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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Follow The Prophet: True or False?

Quick. Without thinking about it, visualize in your mind the current head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Did you think of Gordon B. Hinckley? Understandable, but no cigar. How about Thomas S. Monson? Wrong again.

I was raised to believe that the head of the Church of Jesus Christ was... Jesus Christ. That's why we named the thing after Him, and not Hinckley or Monson or Smith. But apparently that belief is no longer in vogue.

These days I'm feeling somewhat alone in my assertion of who's actually supposed to be in charge, especially when I read the emails I receive in reference to something I've written on here.

Oddly, although I now get hundreds of hits every time I write a piece, very few people comment in the Comments section. But I do get a whole bunch of letters in my email box and on my Facebook account. And very often I'm called to task for not engaging in the type of hero worship some members think I should.

Today I came across an anonymous post in my comment box following my piece entitled "Too Bad I Don't Like Beer". It's typical of the type of private responses I got to it. The piece in question demonstrated, along with ample quotes and plenty of links citing sources, that beer was not only sanctioned for our use by God, but that no latter-day saint, including the leaders of the church, ever so much as questioned that fact until after prohibition, when the church changed its policy as a public relations ploy.

What was once endorsed by God in scripture was now prohibited so that we would be found more acceptable to the world.

Many of the responses I got went something like this (and I'm paraphrasing wildly here): "I don't care what God says or ever said in the past; what is important is that today we are blessed with prophets and apostles who contradict God, so I'll put my money on those modern leaders. What our leaders tell us today is more important than what God said yesterday."

I touched on the topic of this fanatic Mormon Idolotry back in August, but it looks like it didn't quite take. Below is the latest example of a reader calling me on the carpet. My response can be found in boldface below it:

Anonymous said...
It's interesting to me that I could do a search on this page and not once find the word "prophet". This is a very interesting discussion, but Alan, to me, you are doing exactly what you are accusing non-beer-drinkers of doing. You are taking scripture and mixing it with the philosophies of men. You are looking at section 89 and YOU are deciding what it means. We have a living prophet on the earth today. What do you think he would say if you asked him whether or not you are living the Word of Wisdom by drinking beer? Just curious. Mentioned above is something to the effect of obeying God instead of obeying man, insinuating that we shouldn't listen to current prophets, seers, and revelators, but that we should read section 89 and obey that. But again, YOU are determining what it means and passing it off as God's will. There is a reason that we have a prophet on the earth today. Usually they teach us doctrines and principles, and we are supposed to be smart enough to get our day to day rules from them. However, occasionally (and reportedly regrettably) they have to give us very specific rules. An example of that was when President Hinckley said that there were to be no tattoos and no earrings for guys, and only one set of earrings for girls. We have had many recent prophets say that alcohol (uh, which includes beer) is a part of the word of wisdom. To me, it really comes down to whether or not you believe that the church is true, and if you believe that there is a true and living prophet of God on the earth today. In fact, let me take it one step further. If the living prophet came out and added something specific to the word of wisdom, would you (speaking collectively) be willing to follow it, or would you count it false because it wasn't mentioned in section 89? Anyway, I'm no scholar, but I do have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of a true and living prophet on the Earth today, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. Certainly we have 100% imperfect people in the church today, but the truthfulness of council given by the mouth of a prophet to the world is not up for debate. The only question is whether we are prepared to follow it. I hope I didn't come off argumentative. I just felt like bearing testimony of the great news that there is a prophet of God on the earth today! It's awesome! Or am I taking you too seriously, and this is all a joke? :)

Dear Anonymous;

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to forget that the role of a prophet is to receive and convey revelation directly from God.

You appear to be of the opinion that if a prophet expresses an opinion of his own accord, that his opinion trumps God's word, or at least that it holds a position equal to God's own pronouncements.

Have you forgotten that we received the word of wisdom from God through a prophet, and that the prophet wrote down the revelation as he received it directly from God?

If or when the Lord wishes to clarify, amplify, or amend the Word of Wisdom, he will do so as he always has, by communicating his precise words to the prophet who will write them down and pronounce those words as having come directly from the Lord.

If, as you posit, the living prophet "came out and added something specific to the word of wisdom", he would be acting without God’s authority. The prophet does not have the authority to pronounce ex cathedra; he is not our pope. The president of the church can't just speak and "make it so". That authority is reserved only to God (and possibly Jean-Luc Picard).

You seem to believe that when President Hinckley cautioned against tattoos and earrings that he was passing on to his youthful audience a revelation he had received from God.

Now, I personally happen to be of the opinion that tattoos and piercings are unattractive and foolish. I would not care to receive any, and if someone sought my opinion on the subject I would not hesitate to advise him or her against it. So I agree with Pres. Hinckely's opinion, and I see it as valuable and instructive counsel.

But....

It was only his opinion. No member of his audience had any obligation to treat that opinion as anything other than wise counsel. He did not claim it was any pronouncement from God, so his young listeners had no more obligation to obey that counsel than they did the advice of any other person (with the possible exception of their parents).

If Dr. James Dobson or the Reverend Pat Robertson had given that advice from the pulpit (and they probably have), would you be writing me about it? Absent a revelation from God, President Hinckley had no more authority than they do to compel the saints to obey. He did, however, have the right to do what he did, which was to share some of his musings and misgivings on the prevailing fashions of the day.

Let's remember that a prophet is only a prophet when he speaks as a prophet; that is, when he is revealing the actual will of the Lord.

The President of the church wears more than one hat. Joseph Smith taught that the president holds the keys of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and can exercise those keys only when the lord sees fit to use him in that capacity. Most of the time the president simply presides. That’s why he’s called the president. He is the “Preside-ant”. He functions as an officer of the corporation that is the institutional church, and presides over the day to day affairs of that corporation. He is never in charge of you or me or any other member of the church of Christ.

When President Hinckley advised against tattoos and piercings, he was sharing his personal opinion, just as I’m sharing my personal opinion with you right now that his advice was valid and useful and worthy of consideration. But make no mistake: when he was telling those kids that he didn't understand why some young men would want to disfigure their bodies, and when he told the young women that he did not find multiple earrings on a woman attractive, he was not channeling God, he was channeling your grampa.

Do you really believe that the very God who had nothing to say to the prophet in April 2003 regarding America’s heretofore unprecedented attack and occupation of distant nations; who gave no warning since then of the endless killing and the quagmire that would result; who offered his prophet no prophecies regarding the devastating floods, tsunamis and economic depression, nor any hints about the emerging plagues and America's impending police state; are you telling me that this same God somehow found the time to whisper into Hinckley’s ear a trivial bit of fashion advice?

Is our God the Lord of Shabaoth, or is He the Lord of Teen People and Gentlemen’s Quarterly?

If Hinckley’s counsel had come directly from the Lord, he would have said so, and he would have presented a written revelation in the words of the Lord (or as close as man can come to approximating those words) just as we do throughout the Doctrine and Covenants.

I would caution you to rethink your belief that "we are supposed to be smart enough to get our day to day rules from [the prophets]". This is unscriptural, undoctrinal, and subversive to God's plan. Second Nephi 32:5 as well as countless other scriptures state unequivocally that it is the role of the Holy Ghost to show unto us all the things that we should do.

Nowhere was I ever notified that the function of the Holy Ghost had
been outsourced to Salt Lake City.

I don't wish to suggest that those members advocating blind obedience to the prophet may be having difficulty getting all of their synapses firing properly, but Joseph Smith declared that a person who advocated such obedience "should not claim a rank among intelligent beings".

It's not merely a stupid belief, it's a potentially dangerous one. Brigham Young prophesied in 1861 that
some day "this church will be led on to the very brink of hell by the leaders of this people."

So maybe it's time to rethink who should have more influence in your day-to-day life: Holy Ghost, or Corporate Office Holder?

Perhaps you've forgotten Lehi's dream in which we learn that the only safe haven is to hold to the iron rod, which Nephi interpreted to be the word of God. That word is received by us in three ways:

1. Through scripture, where it is clearly specified as coming through revelation.

2. Through the witness of the Holy Ghost

3. Through modern revelation.

The Lord has very carefully placed conditions on how modern revelation is given and received. He placed these safeguards on the church so that we can differentiate His words from those of the prophets.

A revelation must indicate that it has come directly from the mouth of the Lord, for instance being prefaced with the words, "thus saith the Lord"; it will not contradict previously given revelation; it will not violate the doctrine of free agency; it must be written down; the people are to pray about it so that the Holy Ghost may witness to the people that these words truly are of the Lord; and finally the people, having had a witness from the Holy Ghost, are to vote upon the written revelation in conference as having come directly from the Lord and therefore is binding on the whole church.

"Follow the Prophet, don't go astray" makes a dandy primary song, but it’s not doctrine. It is a 20th Century invention, an old wives’ tale, a Mormon Urban Legend that has slowly gained credence through constant repetition. For the past couple of decades The Brethren have quoted each other in circles regarding this "doctrine", but they never seem to quote God Himself on it.

You won’t find such a teaching in the writings or speeches of Joseph Smith or anywhere in Scripture, and you won’t find it in any modern revelation from God. As the apostle Peter (who was a prophet, don’t forget) insisted, we ought to obey God rather than men", and unless the prophet speaks in the name of God, you are following a man when you put your faith in the arm of flesh.

You ask me, "what do you think [the prophet] would say if you asked him whether or not you are living the Word of Wisdom by drinking beer?"

Well, first of all, I don't drink beer. I simply mentioned that it was too bad I can't stand the taste of it, since God stated in his revelation that he placed barley on the earth for our use in beer and ale and that he fully expects us to consume those drinks as His people have throughout history.

Secondly, I would not ask the prophet such a question, because this is a matter that the scriptures are already clear on and we have been admonished to "be not commanded in all things", particularly those things that have already been promulgated and have not been superceded by any subsequent commandment.

However, if the prophet expressed to me an opinion on beer contrary to the revelation Joseph Smith received, I would ask him if he has received a direct revelation from God on the matter. And if so, I would respectfully ask to see said revelation so that I may pray about it and receive confirmation from the Holy Ghost that it did indeed come from God.

I would also ask him to inquire of the Lord why, if mild drinks are forbidden the saints, did He permit Brigham Young to finance the building of his personal mansions with the profits from beer and wine sales which were purchased and consumed by the saints?

Every pronouncement on the subject of beer that we have today appears to have been influenced by the adopted creeds of the sectarian churches around the time of prohibition- churches which our own traditions have rightly decried. No statement of any general authority purporting to wedge beer into the category of "strong drink" pretends to have been received through a revelation.

A living prophet is very useful when conveying direct revelation or prophecy. However, what I gather from your letter is that according to your personal doctrine, men can usurp the will of God any time they want simply by virtue of having been given an office and a title. You not only appear to believe that the prophet must always be obeyed, the entire theme of your letter seems to promote it as the First Principle of the Gospel.

Where do you get such ideas? Nothing you are espousing can be found anywhere in the theology of the Restoration.

The only sure path through this life is to hold to the iron rod which leads to joy in Christ. To advocate letting go of that rod and reaching for the arm of flesh is to risk wandering from the path and falling into the mists of darkness.

_

129 comments:

Zenochio said...

Right. On. The. Money. !!!

Thank you so much for articulating this idea of semi-worship of prophets. It is a big problem in the church, and getting bigger.

A lot of this reminds of me of this old treatise by J J Dewey called "Infallible Authority":

http://members.cox.net/zenochi/J%20J%20Dewey%20-%20Infallible%20Authority.pdf

It is long, but well worth a read. The first few paragraphs pull you right in.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Interesting that you should mention "Infallible Authority", Zenochio. I've been considering writing a post on Dewey and that essay for sometime in the future, and I actually linked to his page as one source of the Brigham Young quote above.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can expound the deeper mysteries like like J.J. Dewey. And his asking of the pertinent question "Where is the revelation?" is essential reading, so I'm in complete agreement with you that it's worth the trip.

Eventually I'm going to write about and recommend "Infallible Authority", but in the meantime, readers, take note. If you want the straight skinny, hie on over there and check it out. I have a link to it here on Pure Mormonism's home page under "Web Links".

Yuukanna said...

My dad once tried to convince me that the prophet forbade spikey hair (which I had), based on a general conference address to the Aaronic preisthood youth. I never felt I was being contrary to the church, as I understood the same point you made in this article, that the prophet was giving an opinion.
I did agree that it was a valid opinion... what would people think of the church if the young preisthood holders looked like goth, punk or 'emo' kids. They aren't styles that is respected in general, let alone in a religious environment. But it's not a pronouncement from god.
I would like to image that god would look down on how silly I looked as a youth and chuckle a little about it. That maybe in the afterlife If I were walking side by side with Jesus, he might turn and say something like "...like when you looked so silly back in the day.." and we could both chuckle about it.
On the brighter side, my dad also told me a story of an old Deacon friend of his as a youth that grew a beard... a rarity for someone so young. The bishop tried to tell this young Deacon that the beard was 'unbecoming of a deacon', to which the youth responded "that just because the other's can't grow one", and kept his beard.

I have often wondered over the years at why the Doctrine & Covenants have not been amended in so very long when it seemed to me that more and more 'commandments' have been given as of late. The simple answer is many member often injustly traslate a general authority's advisories into doctrine.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Yuukanna, you remind me of an incident from my own youth.

Some guy in the bishopric came into our teacher's quorum class with the intent to head off any plans any of us had of becoming hippies. He read to us Paul's comment about long hair on a man as being a shame to him.

This was around 1967 when most of us guys wished we had long hair, but couldn't even if our parents would let us (they wouldn't)because school standards required that our hair be above the ears and sideburns at mid-ear. So the best some of us did was what we could reasonably get away with, which was having our hair barely brushing the tops of our ears.

So when this priesthood leader admonished us boys about our impending shame, Kirk Englehardt pointed to a picture of David O. McKay on the wall and said, "Then this guy must really be ashamed of himself."

McKay was the current president of the church, and his wavy white hair in that photo was clearly longer than anything any of us was then sporting.

Anonymous said...

Alan,

While I agree with the spirit of your post, there is a fine balance to be maintained in offering the Brethren the respect and consideration they deserve as prophets, seers, and revelators and in ridiculing or discounting their advice as out-of-touch old men.

I do not think the issue lies with the Brethren. I think it lies with the laziness, apathy and non-thinking of our members. There are cultural members (family connections of TBMs), social members (who see the church as a social outlet for them and their children), and gospel members (those who build their testimonies upon a solid foundation of the Restored Gospel and the Atonement).

Unless someone is willing to discard the distractions of the world in their homes and families and seriously choose to take the Holy Ghost as their teacher, companion, and guide, they will never gain the spiritual capability to differentiate between opinion and true spiritual guidance. And when they don't gain this talent, they can be swayed by minor cultural conformity items which have nothing to do with developing Christ-like attributes.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I hope you weren't implying that I was "ridiculing or discounting their advice as out-of-touch old men."

I was quite explicit in my expression of favor and agreement with Hinckley's advice regarding piercings and tattoos (although I do reserve the right to be non-judgmental toward those who so choose to "decorate" their bodies in ways I would not acquire for myself).

If you go back and read Hinckley's talk on the subject, you'll see that he is not laying down the law or commanding obeisance. My quarrel is with those who interpreted his words as something other than what they were.

In the original post that is being addressed in this blog entry, "Anonymous" professes the following:

"President Hinckley said that there were to be no tattoos and no earrings for guys, and only one set of earrings for girls."

Of course, Hinckley pronounced no such royal edict, but tell that to the legions who have since taken his talk and given it their own spin to the point that today it is widely considered a tenet of the gospel of Christ.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Okay, I'm going to try and fix something I botched above. While attempting to delete my OWN comment above due to a misspelled word, I inadvertently deleted somebody else's post, something I am resolved to never do. I don't wish to edit or censor anybody who has comments to make here.

Fortunately a copy of the post I deleted landed in my email box, so I reproduce it here. It's from another person named "Anonymous", not, apparently the "Anonymous" who was the target of my diatribe. this person is responding to my most recent comment above at 12:16 PM. I'm placing that response here in quotes:


"My apologies. I was not implying that you were at fault of such a mistake.

"I am the second anonymous commenter (I would use my regular name if I could figure out how this name / URL thing works - I don't have a URL). I agree wholeheartedly that President Hinckley's advice was just that - advice. Especially since I have a tattoo already."


(To which my response was going to be "You have a tattoo?! Get thee behind me, Satan!

But I misspelled "Tattoo", and now it's not funny anymore.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Pursuant to the concern that the previous poster had about not being able to post any other name than "anonymous" because this system doesn't seem to be user friendly:

I get that complaint a lot from my personal acquaintances who would like to post but give up in frustration. That probably accounts for the reason I get lots of readers on this site but hardly any comments.

I wish I understood how it works, but I don't.

It seems like the best solution is to get yourself a free Google email account, even if you don't intend to use if for your email. Then when the "Google" tab comes up, it's automatic and your name or pseudonym can be typed in there. Or it comes up automatically.

Or so I think.

Somebody please try it and let the rest of us know.

Yuukanna said...

Signing in to a Google account is a great option, but the name/url should work easier.

Michael Kartchner said...

Thanks for your great insight. I know that hero worship can sometime be interpreted in different ways. I may in someway be guilty of it myself. but I know who leads and guides his church.

Apidae said...

Very interesting. Well said, and well supported. You should be the prophet;)

Apidae said...

Also:
to comment just select Name/Url from the dropdown list, type in your name and make up a Url such as yourname.com

Its that simple.

Anonymous said...

I am a little confused at the contention. As a parent I receive inspiration needed for the calling. In this calling I am able to share wise counsel that is entirely left up to my precious little ones to heed. They can tell you that freedom to choose does not imply freedom from consequence : )
The Lord's church was restored in it's perfection with proper channels established. I have received inspiration through these channels in callings held just as surely as in my calling as a parent. I can't tell you how many times the seemingly most trivial thing proved to be of great consequence. I would never presume to know the Lord's mysteries and choose not to delve into them. I find comfort in being able to hear and discern through constant prayer and study of His holy scriptures.
The prophet does wear many hats, besides being a mouthpiece and a judge in Israel he receives inspiration for those about the Lord's work with him. We are all His hands here as we are about His work.
Only the Lord knows how this work is to best be done. If His prophet suggests it is best done with no tattoos, piercings and hair above the collar I am good with that. Seems to fall right in line with treating our body as our temple. This makes perfect sense to me and kind of reminds me of the whole In and Out Burger chain's clean almost sterile philosophy and the success it has brought the chain. I am lost as to the reference to the war in Iraq but if what I think was meant was meant then this implies the prophet would be expected to direct our every move individually and as a whole which was satan's plan not the Saviors. I don't get a correlation between counsel to treat our body as a temple by abstaining from a drink that has proved to be the ruin of many poor souls and not tattooing, piercing or having long locks and tossing our free will out the window. I know my thoughts are a little scattered, the hour is late and this is my first reply on a blog but someone asked what I thought...

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous,

I hope you will not take offense with what I have to say here, as I confess that I did have some difficulty making sense of your comments. Whatever it was you were trying to say was confusing and difficult to discern and I had trouble understanding exactly what points you were trying to get across.

But as you say yourself, the hour was late when you wrote it and you weren't accustomed to replying to a blog, so I'll cut you some slack for your thoughts being, as you say, "a little scattered".

But may I offer a suggestion on why you seem to have no little amount of difficulty expressing your thoughts? You stated "I would never presume to know the Lord's mysteries and choose not to delve into them."

My question is, why not? Isn't striving to know the mysteries of God the primary goal of every latter-day saint?

Perhaps your brain was fuzzy due to the lateness of the hour, or perhaps your mind is clouded because you harden your heart against the word of God. This may sound like a harsh allegation but Again, I mean no offense.

As we are taught in Alma chapter 12, of those who harden their hearts against unfamiliar ideas "to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries".

Conversely, "he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full."

Our scriptures are full of admonitions that, once we have been introduced to the basics of the gospel, we are to diligently seek to know the mysteries. Why would you deny yourself that privilege? An understanding of the mysteries of Godliness is essential to your salvation.

Now, I may have you all wrong, because as I said, it was a bit hard to follow your arguments. But since God tells us he wants us to know all of His mysteries in full, wouldn't you be better served by delving into them rather than boasting about your apathy?

Anonymous said...

I am not a person to take offense and the transfer of my thoughts into this post was truly scattered so definitely - none taken : ) I have been struggling for two weeks to kick the swine flu from our home with high fevers besetting my children and myself once more after a short respite and I do ramble but my thoughts on this subject are anything but scattered so let me see if I can convey them in a clear fashion.
First there is a marked difference in delving into the mysteries of Godliness and as you quoted from the 12th chapter of Alma having been given these mysteries. This gift carries with it a command I’m sure you are familiar with.

The Lord’s church has been restored in glory and perfection and the proper channels are established. The prophet is a mouthpiece and does lead and guide those who choose to heed the Lord’s word with diligence. We are to study the scriptures and the words of the latter-day prophets. Lehi’s vision reminds of us the simplicity of this goal. To attempt to make it more complex is precarious at best. We are counseled to study the gospel in it’s plainness and then, “according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him” the mysteries of Godliness are given unto us. To presume to learn of them through our own devices is again precarious at best.

In bringing up my parental inspirations and other inspirations received via the appropriate channels accompanying various callings which I have been set apart to serve in throughout the years I was attempting to illustrate the relevance or should I say non- relevance of the whole one earring, no tattoo issue with which you took issue and oh yeah the beer thing. It is not within our realm of understanding to know the importance of all of the Lord’s promptings, only those within our own channels. As I tried to say earlier some seemingly trivial inspirations are of grandiose consequence. You know the Lord moves in mysterious ways. I highly doubt anyone in the blogosphere or JJ Dewey would have more of an answer to His purposes than Him.

I find it amusing that you perceive me to be not only apathetic but boastful in my supposed apathy and moreover that between the lines you have accused me of having hardened my heart against “unfamiliar ideas.” In my absolute humility I believe ALL things but I do also “seek after things virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy.”
Herein I have found merely contention and confusion which you are correct these are unfamiliar to me.

You have asked lots of questions and seem to be searching for answers, me - not so much. I am sure in the knowledge that the Lord has called the prophet to direct the Lord our Savior’s work here in His stead and is an instrument in His hands simply because he has given himself over to that work. I am further confident that we are to be about His work here also as we are His hands on this earth. He alone heads up this work and those who follow Him are not to be confused with the ignorant sheeple you seem to be referring to. The ignorance comes from not knowing Him and not from an absence of knowledge of some philosophy of man. This seems to be contradictory on your part as you express concern for members mingling philosophy with religion all the while extolling JJ Dewey’s assertions as “essential reading.”

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:46 AM:

Apparently sleep didn't do much to unscatter your thoughts. I can't follow you at all.

Do you see a difference between inspiration and revelation?

Is there a difference between good and commandment?

Can a prophet be inspired to enlighten us on the good word without commanding us by revelation?

Is it possible to be a member of a true church that is also fallible?

If a church is led by God, and he deems it beneficial to men to let them carry out the daily policies and practices, would he stop them from ever making mistakes? Wouldn't that be satanic (satan's plan) for God to impede free will and man's ability to err? Wouldn't he cease to be God?

So which is it? Is Jesus the only pure and perfect flesh to ever walk this earth, or does the prophet through common sustaining acheive perfection and is therefore infallible? Is every word uttered by the prophet scripture?

I used to believe every word uttered by the presidents of the church to be scripture and binding. I'm not saying I went through some enlightenment and that I'm therefore better than you, but actually was faced with so many inconsistencies in our history I finally had to reconcile the fact that we can be a true church, led by God in his almighty power, and still be fallible since we are directed by men.

Harold B. Lee was once quoted as saying, and I mention this hesitantly since I don't have the reference and can't completely verify it, in reference to a high ranking member leaving the church upon seeing how the members of the twelve and first presidency were not always of one mind, and often discussed issues, disagreed, and often came to decisions through un-unanimous vote: "Doesn't he realize that we are men doing the best that we can?" If a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator can have humility like that, why should we deify him/them?

-Anonymous (that left the beer suggestions)

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous (that left the beer suggestions)
Thanks for making me feel better about my scattered post. What on earth are you trying to say? I mean I get the confession that you have deified the prophet which in and of itself shows you have no grasp of gospel principles but why on earth would you think the church of Jesus Christ is fallible? Unlike mere man such as you and I and for your future reference since you seem to be unsure about this any prophet that has ever walked the face of the earth, the church itself is perfect. Perfect as it's head. How could a thinking person intertwine the church in it's perfection with mortal men - which again includes prophets. Inconsistencies in church history? Only your comprehension of them. Your confusion is based on your skewed vision not on reality. But thanks for the enlightenement. I do now see Alan's concern is warranted. I had no idea the depth of ignorance he was referring to or how anyone could profess to be a member of a church all the while having no clue as to what it espouses or even it's history. I have never actually met anyone who would deify a prophet or follow one blindly without consulting their Master as to the course to follow first. Oh my goodness no wonder there is so much misconception about the Lord's church. I beg of you, print up some type of disclaimer before sharing this type of "insight" with those searching for truth. You don't want to have that much 'splaining to do!

Dave P. said...

Once again this is a topic that's been bugging me for a long time, especially since a speaker at a recent stake conference drew heavily from a BYU devotional given by Elder Benson entitled "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet" and found here- http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6751

Point 6 is what bothers me the most since it does contradict the process of receiving and accepting revelation as a church the most. Sadly what I noticed is that a lot of the points are derived from scriptural/historical anecdotes but the points themselves aren't directly found in scripture.

Also, for those who are having trouble with the Name/URL field, you can leave the URL portion blank. Just put your name in, click "Continue," and write/post your comment.

152 said...

Alright, there are too many contributors by the name anonymous, so I'll go ahead and start using a handle.

Anonymous 6:16:
1. Can you please reference where and when the Lord has EVER claimed our church to be "perfect". The closest he has ever come is to refer to it as "true" and that He is "well pleased". (DC 1:30)
I have discussed long and often with non-member friends the fact that while the scriptures come from God they are interpreted by men and have had mistranslations over the millenia. Their - my friends' - biggest folly is believing that since God gave us the scriptures, he would never let them be misinterpreted. They seem to believe that God will, in this one instance, take away free agency and protect his scriptures from the folly of men. They are wrong as we agree, the scriptures were often translated incorrectly. I only question whether or not you are doing the same with the church believing that since it is God's church (and it is) that he will never let his chosen make a mis-step.

2. I never said I deified the prophet. I have no idea where you would get that idea. I was saying the exact opposite that we shouldn't deify a prophet and hold him to a standard of perfection that no man can attain.

3. You are making a pretty brave assumption that I have a "skewed vision". Sounds like a personal attack. I don't intend on attacking you, please don't attack me. I don't demand that you agree with me and am quite content with you having a different paradigm when it comes to your faith and beliefs. But to assume that you know more than me and that I must be fallen is to assume a lot. I hope you are inspired in your judgement.

4. You claim you have never met someone who would blindly follow the prophet without consulting their master. Are you sure? There are millions who follow the pope without questioning. There were numbers of people who followed Jim Jones and drank the punch to their own demise. Every year suicide bombers sacrifice their own lives and hundreds of others following their spiritual leaders. Are you telling me in a church of 12 million, for that matter in a ward of 300, that you have never come in contact with a follower that would obey unquestioningly??? I didn't realize that we were so much better than everyone else in the world.

Anonymous said...

Anonomous said 'the Church is perfect' and something to the effect that prophets don't make mistakes -

aaah, yea, So, what is

- The Kirtland Banking society ?
- The Kinderhook Plates
- can't forget about Zelph can we ?
- Putting a bar in your house (JS) and having your wife make you take it out.
- Then there is the whole marrying 14 year olds and other men's wives thing. Unless you think God approves of that. I don't.
- The Expositor incident ?
- Adam-God Doctrine ?
- Let's not forget about the Martin Handcart company - they never should have been given the go to leave.
- Blacks first the get the priesthood, then they don't, and now none of that was ever docterinal ?
- let's not forget about Mountain Meadows shall we - if JC was really talking to Brigham Young don't you think he would have said 'hey, brigem buddy, you should probably call of those dudes down south before something bad happens.

or more near term -

- salamander letters / Mark Hoffman ? yea, no one made a mistake there did they ?

- then there is that Paul H. Dunn thing about making up stories and the Prophet couldn't tell - great discernment there hugh ?

I could go on and on. Yes, the prophets do make mistakes. NO the Church isn't perfect by any means. I see NO justification to say that Jesus Christ is leading it, since the leaders are so prone to mistakes. Look at Dallin H. Oaks talk last week - yea, that wasn't a mistake. No way there - comparing the civil rights movement to the Church today - no, that didn't generate any bad publicity for Gods Church did it.

If you don't think that the prophet makes mistakes, if you think the Church is perfect - well, then you head is, in the best case, stuck deep in the sand. You don't want to know about it, you don't want to see it, so you just deny it ever happens and sing happy tunes.

Good luck with that. I'm sure you are really progressing as an individual human being. Much more than those of us who live in reality.

Anonymous said...

I didn’t and don’t demand anyone agree with me and I readily acknowledge that you are content with your different paradigm when it comes to faith and belief. Rock on. The judgment is not made on you or your beliefs. You like the prophet are free to choose. It is made on your pronouncement of your paradigm as factual. This nonsense may be misconstrued as having any remote basis in fact by brothers and sisters searching for the truth - merely because you say you are a member and imply you have “knowledge.” This creates a burden on others to clarify the fact that this is garbage that you are spewing. There are things that one can form opinions on and then there are what we call cold hard facts. Again I cannot be more clear about this issue, this confusion you have is to be taken to the Lord for clarification not bandied about on the blogosphere or amongst the less fortunate who have not been blessed with the opportunity to be approached with the true gospel. What if they stumble upon you or your words as a first representation of the Lord’s church and assume they are factual? The damage you may do can be irreversible to not only innocents but yourself.

Anonymous said...

continued from 11: 18 AM
This confusion you have of rolling everything up in a ball may be based on a lack of comprehension skills, life experiences, education, plain old common sense or some combination of factors. I cannot say which, but I can assure you that people, church and scripture are all three different and distinct nouns. You intertwine them so freely it is reminiscent of the thought process that is currently leading to the contentions we face politically in our nation.
Let me give it to you ABC.
Let’s say you go into business with a fellow member of your ward and this acquaintance disappears with a substantial amount of your money. It sounds to me as though you are the type of thinker to blame the church or maybe even the acquaintance rather than taking responsibility for the fact that you foolishly relied on the “arm of the flesh” rather than maintaining responsibility for money under your stewardship and having due diligence in it’s direction and taking the necessary precautions to safeguard satisfactory results. We all make mistakes. That is how we learn and grow. There is a rampant irresponsibility abroad in the land today with more and more people looking for any means to avoid this responsibility. Their rhetoric is similar to your posts. There are bunches of people who have no desire to grow from experience but would rather revel in their ignorance and wallow in their loss incurred by their own actions. All the while they continue looking for satisfaction outside of their own agency and the needed direction given by the Lord. If only we could all return to personal responsibility in our thoughts words and actions coupled with a humble desire to seek the Lord’s guidance. This lack of responsibility for our agency is leading to disastrous monumental losses in the agency our government affords us, which of course is more in line with satan’s plan not the Lord’s. Brush up on your comprehension skills and try to move the Lord’s work and plan forward.
To clarify my point because you just don’t seem to grasp what I am saying… when has a church or a corporation ever done any time in prison?
I promise you this fact. The Lord’s church is perfect. Period. If you cannot differentiate between nouns than I suggest you look up the word “noun” in the dictionary and then ponder on it.
I have never implied or said in any of my posts anything other than the fact that no one is perfect and everyone is capable of making mistakes. The church is not! - again two different nouns.
As to your further assumption that I have met people who would blindly follow the prophet as you have confessed to have done in your past I assure you I have never met anyone with a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ who would foolishly risk their salvation by trusting in the arm of the flesh and it is people like you who claim to have a testimony and then spew this nonsense that give a wrong impression of the Lord’s church and the members of it. That is not to say that I have not met plenty of people who are living on borrowed light that may be led astray. This fact is what led me to take the time to answer your ridiculous accusations which have no resemblance to truth and no basis in fact.
I stand by and your post reaffirms the fact that your vision is skewed, not in relation to mine, in relation to fact, not just my interpretation of facts. A noun is a noun is a noun.

Anonymous said...

To the doofus @ 8:29 AM – Yeah the church is perfect. : )
Christ is at it’s head. : )
It is incumbent on us all to follow Him - that includes prophets : )
My head is not in the sand : )
But…I DO love to sing happy tunes : ) you get 1 point!
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet; don’t go astray… : )
PS: Your “reality” is anything but - just more skewed “facts” which also are anything but : )

152 said...

1. I'm well aware of what a noun is. Thank you. Not that its pertinent but I graduated from an Ivy League college, I have a very adequate IQ, and if you would like to call my high school English teacher, I'm sure she would count me as an adequate student. So there's one point you are wrong on.

My point was to compare things; Allegory if you will. I was showing the similarities of believing in an infallible church to believing in an infallible scripture. I wasn't saying they were the same, I wasn't even saying that if A=B and B=C that A=C. Nope, it was just a comparison.


2. You've lumped me in with people who shift blame. I can assure you that is not my personality at all. In fact I have no idea where you get this idea from. But like all of your other accusations you seem to have pulled it from thin air. I don't eat children either and I've never sacrificed a rabbit on Easter.

3. I don't know why you have chosen to single me out for a fight. But for some reason that I can't understand, I keep posting direct responses to your arguements and - mostly - your accusations, and you seem to just want to turn around and accuse me of more things. In fact, the only thing that you have touched on in response is to assure me that the church is "Perfect". I take issue with that, as I have clearly posted. I believe the church to be true. ONCE AGAIN I ASK YOU TO POINT OUT TO ME WHERE, IN SCRIPTURE OR ANYTHING THAT THE CHURCH ACCEPTS AS CANON, THE LORD HAS CALLED HIS CHURCH PERFECT. If you respond to one thing in my post, please respond to that. The fact is, to my knowledge, he hasn't, he won't, it isn't.

Thats not to say that He doesn't love His church, that it isn't His church. I'm not making any such claim. It IS His church and He DOES love it. Because he loves it, and us, he allows those in charge to make mistakes.

152 said...

4. I already responded to this, but apparently you just read past it without taking the time to comprehend it. I never said I blindly followed the prophet. Go back and read my posts. No such words never were typed by my fingertips.

The closest I came was claiming that I at one time believed in a perfect church. Thats it.

5. I sincerely doubt that my claim that the church is not perfect will lead any single person on the face of the earth away from the church. Especially those seeking information on the church for the first time. "Perfect Church" ideology is something that is very rare outside of Mormonism, if anything most converts would probably not even notice my claim as anything less than ordinary. It is Mormons who have taken the "Perfect Church" doctrine and ran with it. And it is only die-hard Mormons, whose faith is founded on the church instead of on Jesus Christ, that will ever take offense to it. And on that count I'm sorry if I offended you by stating my belief. I am one of few people (in the church) who starts his testimony with "I know Jesus Christ died for our sins" instead of "I know the church is true" because that is what I have a testimony of: Jesus Christ. I fully believe that he has chosen prophets, starting in our dispensation with Joseph Smith, and most recently Thomas Monson, to expound doctrine and bring us new commandments. I just choose to base the center of my faith in Jesus Christ. If my comment that the church is less than perfect shakes a persons faith, I'm sure it is shaking their faith in the church (which I don't intend to do) not in Jesus Christ. And quite frankly its an idea they will probably run into multiple times on the internet by people much more vicious than me. Hopefully if anything my comments will provide inocculation against such attacks and they will already be familiar with the idea that the church can be both true and imperfect when faced with those attacks. Hopefully my ideas can provide help to someone whose faith might otherwise crumble. But like most things, I leave that in the Lord's hands. I hope to one day stand blameless before Him - because of Him, and I do hope that my comments on a random blog won't prove to be damning to me. I really doubt they will, because they are words I truly believe, and if I'm wrong I hope that by the spirit people are able to discern that. But I imagine that spirit wouldn't lead them to attack me personally. I imagine such spirit would lead to a fruitful discussion as opposed to an all-out attack on my character. But hey, what do I know, you've barely come short of saying I've never felt the spirit in my life.

Anonymous said...

Again you draw this into a personal realm rather than staying on task…I did not lump you in with “people who shift blame.” I was referring to a mindset that cannot think a straight line and stay on task. As in: you give your money to someone they disappear = maybe I shouldn’t have done that to people who can stay on task. If unable to stay on task it leads to really complex drama that no one can learn or grow from. Allegory schmallegory and algebraic comparisons ? I believe you have again proved my point. The point is so simple and yet you continue to dance all around it. Where did I imply or say , “you have never felt the spirit, you ate children, or sacrificed bunnies?” Again I refer you back to some comprehension skills that are sorely lacking. Ivy league or no – or do we want to go to “it depends on your definition of…” since you seem to want to go all ivy league on us. Yes, I am sure you are the vaccine needed to be impervious to attacks on gospel doctrine. (just so you don’t get confused that was your assertion not mine. I was being sarcastic in referring to it - you can check your prior post)
I can only maintain my original stance. The church is perfect. Jesus Christ is the iron rod we must have a firm hold on. Basic. Simple.
Maybe if you can come down off of your IQ ( yeah… lol I’m gonna call your high school teacher to verify some skills – FYI they have already been displayed here in their full glory) and ivy league self aggrandizement you can hear the simplicity and the beauty of it. Are you kidding me??!!?? You are the “one of the few people ( in the church) who starts his testimony with “I know Jesus Christ died for our sins” instead of “I know this church is true” I have not been to your ward ( I don’t think…) but just based on your other chest thumping I would venture to say this is not accurate. More probable it was your comprehension skills or/and self absorption that have once more led you to believe you are oh so much more everything else than everyone else.
I repeat for you once again I don’t take offense so don’t worry about “offending me” I am merely concerned about damage control or shall I say side effects of your self proclaimed “innoculation.” Oops… almost forgot… He doesn’t “allow those in charge to make mistakes because He loves us” in actuality He is bound by His law. : )

152 said...

Stay on task? I asked specifically that you answer one question: When has God claimed His church to be perfect? You still haven't answered that.

And its because its not His doctrine. Its yours.

Thats it. I'm done. I don't want to be insulted anymore. Post whatever you want about me.

I appologize to you Rock for using your platform as a place of arguement, I realize that it takes away from the message you were trying to convey.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I' a doofus ? so, tell me which of my facts are skewed ? that is such a typical TBM answer. If you don't like the facts, call them anti-mormon or skewed, or any other name - then ignor them.

Dear, that doesn't make them go away. The fact is that the prophets do make mistakes. Many and often. The fact is that the Church is the sum total of it's leaders, it's teachings, it's members and it's culture. Mistakes are made by each of them all the time.

If you want to pretend there is some magical 'Church' that is different than the above, and that that Church is perfect - wow,again, more power to you in this one.

So please explain the Hoffman/Salamander letter incident to me ? Did Hinckley screw up ? I don't see how you can say he didn't.

So, explain Joseph marrying 14 year old girls, and other mens wives ? I got to believe that one was a mistake, not commanded by God - your take ?

What about the kirtland banking society ? Joseph made all sorts of promises to his investors - was this a mistake ?

Don't just call the facts skewed, please do point out where they are skewed. I'm sure everyone else out there wants to know as well.

See, if the prophets can make mistakes - like Brigham Young did leading up the the Mountain Meadows - we are all required as citizens of this planet to question that authority and judge for ourselvs. Never blindly follow.

It's when people blindly follow orders that bad things happen. Yea, I know as a member of the Church you don't believe the prophet would ever tell you something harmfull. WAKE UP - go back to the mountain meadows - yea, harmful.

Wake UP - the Church was on the wrong side of the civil war, and on the wrong side of the civil rights movement. Yea, explain this one will ya ? Why was it during the civil war that there was an Northern Regiment surrounding Brigham's house ? Why was it Utah in general celebrated each south victory ? Don't take my word for it - go look at the Utah newspapers of the time. Another dirty little secret of the Church.

Again - if it makes you feel better call me what you want to. I don't take offense. Just do point out my factual errors will you ?

Most members can't face the truth. They can't look at real history and not become very uncomfortable, to the point of getting sick. Can you ? Will you ? Or do real facts bother you ?

D

Cap'nMoroni said...

If I can just jump in here for a minute and break up this fight...

It's getting so it's hard to tell one "Anonymous" from another. Thankfully "Beer Suggestion Anonymous" is now "152" so that helps. I'll refer to you other two respectfully as "ScatterBrain Anonymous", and "Doofus Anonymous".

Working backwards: Many of us members of the faithful don't like to admit it, but Doofus Anonymous has brought up several legitimate problems in our history that we can't afford to ignore. None of these things individually threatens my testimony, but to dismiss them as false or irrelevent is something we do at our own peril. They are real problems, they did occur, and the incidents Doofus refers to are as true as the Book of Mormon. When I say "true" I mean they actually did occur, and they blackened our eyes.

These and problems Doofus lists strike at the subject of whether the church is perfect, as Scatterbrain Anonymous so adamantly insists.

Scatterbrain, I recommend you learn how to argue. It's difficult for anyone to know where to start in getting a grasp on your position, or even what point you are trying to make. The way you ramble, it's difficult to get a toe hold anywhere in there to mount a reasonable response. You are just all over the place and you contradict yourself often in the same sentence. It is simply impossible to follow your arguments.

And while you're at it, learn to read the other party's argument correctly. 152 was not saying you had accused him of sacrificing rabbits or eating babies. He was using hyperbole to make a point.

Scatterbrain, if you are so concerned that some poor innocent might stumble upon this blog and be forever poisoned in their impression of the church, you didn't do any of us any favors by attracting Doofus over here with your inane claims. Because you so vehemently insisted the church was perfect, Doofus smelled blood and pointed out many of the infinite ways that it is not.

So I now formally declare that all the potential converts that might have joined the church because of Rock's efforts here, but have instead drifted away because Doofus pointed out the truth, well those lost souls are now all on your head.

You and I and Rock and 152 are all of the same religion, but you do seem woefully ignorant of the beliefs and history of our heritage, preferring instead to substitute your own doctrine for that of the church, and then going forward defending that doctrine as if you are protecting the church. Believe me, with friends like you...well, the church just doesn't need friends like you.

152 is corrrect in calling you on your belief that the church is perfect "because the head is perfect". (By the "head" I assume you mean Jesus Christ, and not the prophet)

The Problem with your assertion is that the church is the BODY of Christ, and not the head. The scriptures teach us that the body of Christ is made up of the members. The members are imperfect, and it follows that the church is imperfect.

You have my humble permission to assert, as 152 does, that the church is true, but it's just plain foolish to claim that the church is perfect when EVERYBODY knows it is not. It is an earthly institution. It is people, and buildings, and administrators. It's also doctrines, many of which were admittedly speculative, as Brigham Young was often quick to point out. The church is imperfect and fallible. And I say that as someone who believes in it and defends it with all my heart.

Jesus is perfect. Why don't you just stick with that?

Jonas said...

Alan, as always you inspire me to reach for higher truth and to question what I believe - not for the sake of questioning, but for the sake of finding answers that make sense.

Someone said earlier, "I would never presume to know the Lord's mysteries and choose not to delve into them."

My question is, does it serve to live in a box and bury my head in the sand? Or am I better served by expanding my awareness to higher realms? What would God have me do? Do I dare trust myself enough to truly receive personal revelation from God? What if a revelation comes that doesn't fit the box?

Ah, Rock, you know that when I write these things out they get all jumbled up and it never comes out right. My thoughts get scattered all over the damn universe and then I get frustrated.

If you follow a man, then you follow with your head or your ego mind and your ego will always lead you astray. If you follow your heart it will ALWAYS lead you down the path you are meant to travel - no matter what that looks like.

Learn to trust yourself and your intuition.

Love and Light my friend!

Jonas

Anonymous said...

You sir are no Captain Moroni! I do not need your permission to assert anything. You are incorrect in asserting the church is the body of Christ. You say yourself in the same breath the body of Christ is made up of the members. Which you are correct finally and yes all of us members are imperfect. Christ is the head - us members are the body. He is perfect us not so much. His church is perfect. Do you people have any grasp of the concrete and abstract?

Before I forget! check the prior post - Doofus had already rambled on about MEMBERS imperfections which led to the nickname Doofus because he lays that on the Lord's church rather than where it squarely belongs on it's members. He numerated them before I went off I just chose not to address it because although he has some information accurate it is quite skewed. If you care to read all the posts you would see he laid all this garbage out way before I could have made him "smell blood." On the contrary it is I who smelled blood and was forced to defend the church against one of it's members much like the other members he referred to who have wrought confusion with bad choices. So do not attept to blame this nonsense on me. Why would you think i am woefully ignorant because I refuse to engage an idiot who "uses hyperbole" to make a point? eating children and sacrificing bunnies? this is equivalent to his other skewed facts on members mistakes that have left a shadow on the church where it is wrongly placed because there are simpletons like you that cannot differentiate.
Wow! c'mon guys stay with me here I know you have a hard time following anything but like minded people but check it out...
when the church was restored was he tossing down buildings and people? No. It is ordinances, keys and the pure organization which are all the church and it is perfect!
Wow! Again I will use this analogy when have you ever seen a corporation or a church do time for a crime committed by a human in it's flock or employ? They are blameless it is the human factor and the Lord's church is anything but to blame for members indiscretions. It is beyond me how you people cannot grasp this concept! Do any of own your own buiness or were you all ivy leaguers?

Anonymous said...

cap'n moroni and 152 im a twelve year old kid and i understand what anonymous is saying but apparantley your small sorry exuses for brains cant grasp it so let me lay it out for you in the smallest words possible so your "brains" might be able to wrap around it.

1. First i would like to target the utterly stupid tattoo and beer suggestions you posted,the prophet is a tool in the Lord's hands and says what the Lord reveals to him, the Lord moves in mysterious ways and whatever he says always has a reason behind it like in the word of WISDOM when it said not to smoke later people find out ciggaretts KILL them, and also tattoos probably do the same by getting in your bloodstream or something there have already been occurences of people getting bad diseases from them. So if i were you i would do what the Lord says by using the prophet as a messenger. =]

2.The church is perfect Jesus Christ leads it the only thing that is imperfect is the people in it like me and you.

3.also the poster who posted about "giving up", stand up and be a man you suck-tiddy baby, if you believe in something, even if it is utterly stupid, stand behind it and be a man! =]

4. Fourthly that stupid posting you posted about Joseph Smith marrying 14 year old girls, dude, everybody got married at 14 it was the 1800s as a matter of fact my baptist grandma and granpa got married when she was 15 and they are still married 54 years later with 7 kids and too many grandkids to count and on him marrying other mens wifes the men were dead and he was taking care of the women, poligimy was legal back then and if you want to go look it up the Lord never said poligimy was bad the laws of the land outlawed it later on and he wants us to obey the laws of the land so we did and dropped poligimy cause he wanted us to.

5. also in a posting you posted at on october 22nd at 1:22pm on number 4 you used a double negative mr. "Ivy League college graduate". (=

Cap'nMoroni said...

Oh my goodness, I can't believe I'm about to argue with a twelve-year-old, but here goes.

1. You say that "the prophet is a tool..."

Shame on you! I realize that this is the way you young people talk these days, but I still think it's disrespectful, especially when referring to the prophet, who is merely trying to warn you young whippersnappers of the dangers of owning an extra pair of earrings.

How would you feel if Elder Thomas S. Monson was to come to your house and call you a douche? Not so funny when you're not hiding behind a keyboard, is it?

I don't think anybody here has argued that Brother Hinckley's counsel was not wise, only that it didn't come through revelation. Read his talk yourself. He never implies he is speaking as the Lord's mouthpiece.

Nevertheless, I do wish he had spoken up about it sooner. Had this counsel against body piercings been announced just a couple of months sooner, I could have avoided the nasty infection in my scrotum. Alas, there was no one to warn me about the dangers of poking an unsterilized steel rod through my nut-sack until President Hinckley spoke out, and that warning came too late.

You're lucky you got this advice while you were twelve. I'm 64 and will suffer when sitting all my life because I didn't have the prophet's words to guide me when I was younger.

2. You say "The church is perfect...the only thing that is imperfect is the people".

Like I said, the church IS the people, the people make up the body, the head is not the body and the head is not the church. I have to insist, along with 152, that SOMEBODY demonstrate WHERE we find any revelation, declaration, or doctrine that implies that the church is perfect? We seem to go 'round and 'round about this. It's like trying to argue with a 12-year-old.

3. You mis-spelled "Tiddy".

4. You also mis-spelled "Poligimy", which was actually NOT legal back then. That's why the federal government threatened to seize temple square from the Mormons. The Mormons were breaking federal law. Temple square, being in federal territory, was subject to seizure by the owner of the land, the federal government.

According to the prophecies recorded by John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, the Lord did not want the church to "drop" poligimy. These written revelations warned in no uncertain terms that the church would be cursed from the moment it backed down in the face of the threat by the feds. In the face of that stare-down, the church blinked, and today the church is cursed. Evidence of that curse is that today the church is being defended by 12-year-old kids.

4. I feel bad for 152. All he did is attempt to clarify to another poster that he is qualified to know what a noun is, and now the poor sap is being attacked by a 12-year-old.

Cap'nMoroni said...

This is for Scatterbrain Anonymous:

I took your advice and went back to check on exactly when it was that Doofus Anonymous smelled blood and arrived on the scene. Sure enough, it was AFTER you had declared the church to be perfect. That was what attracted him, and that is what he tells you he is responding to.

The reason you have never seen a corporation "do time for a crime" is because a corporation is a legal fiction. It is an artificial entity, incapable of being held physically accountable for its sins like you or I can, which is why God never created corporations.

Legal fictions are the invention of men precisely for the purpose of avoiding personal accountability; they are not the realm in which God operates.

At any rate, the logic of your argument on this matter is lost on me. Would you, by any chance, be twelve years old?

Yes, you do indeed need my permission to assert anything. You can look it up. It's in the bible.

The use of hyperbole is a legitimate tool to demonstrate absurdity. 152 was reflecting back to you the absurdity of your exaggerated attacks on his character and intelligence.

You say to me, "You sir, are no Captain Moroni!".

Well, I never claimed to be Captain Moroni. My name is "Cap'n" Moroni, which, sadly, happens to be my real name.

I was given this unfortunate autonym by my father, who happened to be sitting at the breakfast table reading the Book of Mormon while eating his favorite cereal at the very moment of my birth.

Something about the confluence of his reading Captain Moroni's words on the Title of Liberty at the very moment that a spoonful of Cap'n Crunch cereal was scratching a permanent wound into his upper palate while my mother was struggling to give birth to me in the chair opposite, struck my father as inspired.

As you can imagine, I've spent my entire life being teased by schoolchildren over my name. And now, at the very moment I thought I was protected by the anonymity of the internet, you bring it all up and throw it in my face and all those horrible memories come flooding back.

[Cap'n Moroni has just run crying from the room.]

_

Jonas said...

With all the contention here I have a question. Which of you is at peace? Did not the Great Master himself teach us to be at peace? One cannot be at peace and be contentious at the same time.

The problem is that everyone wants to be "right". "My view is the "right" one, which makes all others "wrong".

Right and wrong are things of the ego and not of the spirit. If you are being contentious then I ask you, are you following the Savior you profess to follow? What would the prophet say of your contention?

Isn't it funny, Rock, that right and wrong come up here? I have to smile.

Love and light

Jonas

PS Why are there so many anonymouses? Are you afraid of who you are?

Anonymous said...

Scatterbrain Anonymous@Cap'nMoroni, you are hilarious! quite entertaining...it is obvious from the post that the "12 year old" intended the more common usage of the word "tool" as opposed to the slang you reference. Nothing in the post was disrespectful toward the prophet or you. Clever play on words though : ) In any regard just in case this truly is a 12 year old, let us take a stab at appropriate behavior. I have admittedly been less than civil and I appreciate Jonas (who really did shed 'love and light') reminding me - thank you : ) This was my initial thought too "contention and confusion" and now I have waded right in and where is my Peace? thank you again Jonas. A thought...12 year olds defending ideals is not a new thing and definitely does not carry a negative connotation...stripling warriors come to mind and were quite effective! I certainly appreciated that someone was able to understand something from my ramblings.
question? Captain Crunch was introduced in 1963. I remember it well... one of my faves. So this begs the question, How much truth is in your posts? or was 64 a typo? and you possibly meant 46 which could have made your Dad's Captain Crunch some of the very first ever.
No anonymity intended here - just an old fogey without a google account - like I mentioned this is my first blog to venture onto - was invited to check it out by a friend - turned out well - I have received an appropo handle in the interim - suits me

Anonymous said...

Doofus here - Jonas asked "which of you are at peace here ?"

Me !!! I'm very much at peace now.

As a Member of the LDS Church I was often conflicted at how members treated each other, how leaders treated members, how it seemed there was the high and mighty super leaders and everyone else.

Then when I learned the real history - No way could I sit through almost any lesson with out feeling a great deal of frustration at the unturths the half truths, the out and out lies that were told and the unwillingness of most members to face reality and instead believe in happy stories and myths.

Once I figured out that it was all made up. That Joseph Smith and company, were pulling a fast one. Everything then made sense. All the puzzel pieces fell into place.

This was followed by a strong sense of peace. Yes I prayed about it, a lot. As strong as anyone ever got a witness of the truth of the Church I got a witness of what it really is. The message I got from praying was clear - "Contratulations you figured it out, now you can grow and have a better life"

So yes, I'm very at peace, and very happy. Just a bit pissed that my family has been trapped in this so-called Church for 160 years.

S

Cap'nMoroni said...

Scatterbrain;

What a lovely person you've turned out to be!

Your last post certainly shows us a brighter and friendlier side than I had suspected you had based on your earlier postings, but I know how these things get out of hand. One frustration after another, and the next thing you know, we're all slinging accusations and talking AT one another rather than TO each other.

Believe me, I know. I've left angry comments all over YouTube putting others in their place when I should have been simply letting my love shine. I have hardly ever been the emmissary of Christ I should have been.

So we all have Jonas to thank for helping us step back and take a deep breath. Christ is the center of our religion, and we get to remember that we don't have to fight his battles for him; he fights ours for us.

You did trip me up on the origin of my name, you scamp, you! Little did I suspect that anyone would catch the fact that Cap'n Crunch cereal was only around since the '60's.

Anyway, the story of my birth is the same: kitchen table, dad reading, mom struggling to expel me. It's just that what dad was reading was the label on a quart of Quaker State Oil and he was eating a bowl of oatmeal.

Yes, my real name is Quaker Oats.

My middle name is "State".

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Now that we've all calmed down and are in a space of love and peace here, I hope no one is fixing to dismiss Doofus's testimony. And it is a testimony, as foreign as his words may seem to us believers.

I've gotten to know several people who, for whatever reason, have chosen to leave the church, and I've come to learn that happiness is found in different places for different people.

In the past I would have been horrified to find an "apostate" among us, but today I would not attempt to dissuade someone from the life he's chosen anymore than I would want him to attempt to dissuade me from mine.

LDS member John P. Dehlin has offered a wonderful Youtube video "Why People Leave The LDS Church" and I would encourage anyone to watch it who might be tempted to attack those whose beliefs no longer coincide with our own.

-Rock

jtom1798 said...

Doofus,

Well said and congratulations on finding your own truth. This is why I encourage people to question, question, question! This is why I like Rock's blog. One does not have to agree with him, but if it makes a person THINK and question thier beliefs, then he has served the world.

Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-church. What I know is that all churches serve the people who attend. If Catholicism works for a person, then that's where they belong. There is no right or wrong about it. The LDS church serves the people well, but it's not all there is. So don't begrudge those who follow it. Encourage them (with love) to look further, but if they choose a different road than you and me, that's okay. It is their path.

So Doofus, you have questioned and found another answer. I have friends who have questioned deeply and and found their answer and remain faithful LDS. Accolades to both!

Again, it's not a question of I'm right you're wrong, it's about finding what resonates with each individual. What resonates is where that individual belongs and gets the most growth.

My issue then is with those who will not look beyond the narrow focus that they are told they must see. If a person sees something differeently than "the church" (whatever church that might be) they are "called to repentance", shunned, maybe excommunicated, and condemned to hell. This is where I really pull away from all churches because they are teaching fear, not love. That doesn't mean they don't teach love in Sunday school, but as soon as one brings in the fear factor, (you have to do it this way or else. It has to be this way or else. Ours is the only true one, or else. Etc) then they have strayed from the way of love and light.

There is an age old question: What is the opposite of love? Most people answer "hate", but hate is not the opposite of love. Fear is the opposite of love. Now how can the churches teach love when they are teaching fear?

Well, that is a topic for another day.

As for following "the prophet" one cannot argue against the counsel and wisdom of these men. The problem is following them blindly and demanding that they are THE authority and that it MUST be right. This is why wee are told that it is not "meet that I should command you in all things." Did I quote that correctly? If not, spank me and forget it. :) You get the point.

Love and light to all of you!

Jonas

TruthSeeker said...

I was happy and relieved to see what Jonas said here, as I was also feeling the lack of love developing as I read some of these comments. Even though Jonas said many of the things I felt, I thought I'd share some similar thoughts.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, seems to engender more anger and argument than the subject of religion and our belief systems. Even those within the same religion!

I felt my heart breaking as I read the arguments here and I KNOW that Jesus Christ does not inspire the spirit of contention. A battle over bruised egos and throwing insults does not trump the spirit of the One who "Descended below ALL things" for our sakes.

As a lifelong Mormon, who is ever searching for the truth in all things, which I feel inspired to do in my own life; I never fail to be amazed at how UN-Christ-like my fellow Brothers and Sisters often can and do become over what they "KNOW".

The church is not perfect and neither are the men and women who are in His service. Many mistakes have and will be made over the years. This is the very sad truth. I am not judging anyone here. This is pure fact. Please. let's always try to remember to step back and look at the mud we are slinging to literal strangers. I sincerely pray that this is not how some of you would act or be in your daily life, with those you know and love.

Not openly admitting to the past and present mistakes of our LDS history is causing many good souls to just leave the church. This is heartbreaking. I know way too many of them. The kind of personal attacks that I have read here are what unfortunately, the LDS church membership is becoming all too well known for.

Like Cap'n Moroni admits to above, I've seen way to many of my brothers and sisters leave comments on YouTube that make me feel ashamed for them. The attitude of some in our faith is "Either you are for us or you are against us!"

I admit freely to my many mistakes...this is what repentance is for. THIS the perfect part of God's plan. Blessed forgiveness and peace. What and Who is PERFECT is The Christ and His love for us. I am sure that this argument over belief concerning HIM- must make Him simply weep.

Mock and insult me if you wish...but,simplistic as this may sound-I simply felt to tell you all here that you are loved.

Jonas said...

Geez, you guys are awesome! Welcome to a higher realm.

Welcome home.

And in case you're wondering, yes, I have to be reminded sometimes. The good news is we see what we're doing, we make a change and that we are all equal.

Thanks for inspiring me!

Sal540 said...

This is my first time here. i was going to post something angry and nasty because i did not like what the author of this blog was saying but then when i got tot the end to make a comment here i saw what you guys wrote and now i don't want to get mad any more. Truthseeker when i saw your name truthseeker i thought yea right but then all i can say is you soffend my heart and i thought you know that guy has a point i think we do worship our leadders to much at leas thats the way it looks to a lot of people. plus there are lot of things in our church that we should not just take for granted that everything is alway on the up and up just because thats what they told us growing up. so anyway truthseeker you made me stop and think and you too jonas.

Jonas said...

Cap'n Quaker State you crack me up! I have to admit, I didn't get the "State" part at first. It took me all afternoon before I got the joke.

My name is Jonas. I AM a lightworker and I'm outta here for now!

Peace out Baby!

Matthew C. Waterman said...

First, I really like the way you assemble your posts. I can tell they are thoughtful and you put a lot of work into it.

Second, work will always lead to the good. If god gave us agency, then it must, as a part of having agency.

In this case, the good (for now) is comment activity. You've been noticed, which I would imagine feels like a great accomplishment. Now that you have listeners, continue to have something important to say. Stepping outside of what faith lets you lean on is scary for people. I continue to wish you success.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that scatterbrain and others think that by listing true facts that potential converts will read them and then chose to not be baptized.

There seems to be a bit of a shoot the messanger thing going on. True historical facts are not either good or bad, either pro or anti - they just are what they are. It is us, each of us, who give value to the facts. We must decide what they mean. Yet, Doofus gets the blaim for simply listing them ?

Second, I further find it fasinating that the same people who believe the LDS Church to be the one true Church of God - feel that in order for a investigator to progress to being baptized they must be ignorant of true historical facts.

How many here think that if all of the dirt were revealed the conversion rate would go up ? Or even remain the same ?

My wife is a convert, and boy was she ticked when she read about Joseph marrying other mens wives.

So, is God and Jesus ashamed of the behavior of his Church ? Of his prophets ? Why would God have anything to hide ? Their behavior absoutly screams shame.

If God did command Joseph Smith to marry other mens wives and 14 year old girls - then why not shout it from the roof tops ? Why act like it's a dirty secret. Why would a commandment from God keep someone from joining his Church ?

Yes, they do hide it. I defy anyone to go to JosephSmith.net and find Helen Mar Kimbal. Denying they hide anything is another stupid apologist dodge.

Anonymous said...

Doofus here again.

Wow, who here said i "smelled blood in the water" - like it. Never been compared to a shark before. Even though it's not really accurate, I still like it.

Rock, you Rock. You are probably the most honest Mormon I've ever met, and I was born in SLC and grew up in the Church, so I've met quite a few.

I have to say that we should cut Scatterbrain a little slack. She reminds me of my sister. Hey, SB you don't live in Corona do you ? maybe you are my sister -

Anyway, if SB is anything like my sister, her entire sense of self, her self esteeme, her sense of comunitee, her place in the world, her very existence is completely dependant on the Church being perfect and true. She says my facts are skewed. I would bet she couldn't even define what skewed means in this context. She simply uses a label she has seen successfully used before and then ignors facts that cause her pain.

This my friends is called co-dependance. It also is an example of cognative dissonance. She simiply can't hold the two opposite ideas that the Church is perfect and that they were on the wrong side of the Civil war in her brain at one time without resulting in massive mental pain. So, she dodges and evades.

Eventually SB will decide that reading here causes her pain. That researching the facts cause her pain. She will then realize that the devil is the cause of said pain. The next step is to decide that we are all controlled by the devil.

In the case of my sister, since she is convinced we are controlled by the devil she has Gods premission to treat us / or me / any way she pleases. Normal social restrictions no longer apply. I really believe that she would harm one of her children if they were to leave the Church, and she wouldn't feel any guilt about it.

I see it happen over and over again, when Children in my neighborhood no longer want to attend Church and their parents throw them out of the house.

This is not healthy. This kind of behavior is really of the devil if any behavior is. Yet, they can't see it. This makes them dangerous.

Anyway, I'll be kind to SB before I get a knife in the back when I'm not looking. It will be Gods knife, but that won't make it hurt any less.

Doofus

Alan Rock Waterman said...

So you think Scatterbrain is your sister? My wife almost has me convinced that Scatterbrain is MY sister.

At any rate, I'm most happy to see that you two have extended the olive branch to one another, and I hope we'll see you both back here, calmer and lovingly-er. And you too, 152. Hope you didn't bail for good.

I'm more than a bit surprised, but happy just the same, that Scatterbrain and Doofus have accepted your nicknames. Now, I've learned from a reader above that you no longer need to sign in as "Anonymous". All you have to do is go to the Name/URl slot and enter a name. Ignore the URL tab, it isn't necessary.

So I hope to see you both back as Doofus and Scatterbrain some time soon.

And you too, Cap'n Moroni. We could use the laughs.

And whatever happened to the anonymous 12 year-old? I hope Cap'n Moroni didn't scare him off. All this debating has been swell reading for me.

-Rock

Dave P. said...

I don't have anything new to add, but I do wish to clarify on a point that the 12-year-old brought up.

The scriptures only define the followers of Satan as "tools." Tools are meant to be smacked, beaten, rusted, dulled, and thrown away when they're no longer useful.

Servants of the Lord are described as "instruments." When an instrument is well-maintained, fine-tuned, and placed in the proper hands, it will create beautiful music for a lifetime and be remembered fondly by its owner when it can no longer perform.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well put, Dave! God uses people as instruments; Satan uses them as tools. I had not thought of that before.

-Rock

152 said...

Didn't leave for good. Still reading. Just realized that the only fruits coming from the argument were evil and decided that by removing myself maybe some of the heat would dissipate. Glad to see it did.

Doofus said...

Doofus here,

152 said "just realized that the only fruits coming from this argument were evil . . ."

Yea, I got it right. For some TBMs anytime they hear or read something that doesn't cast the LDS Church in a good light they immediatly play the 'evil' card.

I just got to laugh. Silly TBMs.

If the Church or one of it's prophets did something that makes you feel bad - don't you think you should examine why it is that it makes you feel bad ? instead of just calling the whole thing evil and going away ?

It reminds me of a married couple with one spouse cheating on the other. Say the Husband is cheating.

If someone tells the wife about it - she feels very uncomfortable. So is it the guy who told her fault that she feels this way ?

Or is it her cheating husband that made her feel this way ?

In the case of the LDS Church its always the guy who tells you the bad news who gets labeled a minion of satan.


So I guess I wonder why so many TBMs are here at all ? Rock is pointing out a number of flaws. Which should make you very uncomfortable. Loved the whole Word of Wisdom article. That should get you to start thinking.

I shall take leave of this post at this point. Until next month at least.

Just want to leave with the thought . . .

Faith is only faith in a vacuum. If you know nothing about a topic, If no evidence for or aginst exists, then having faith in an answer is perfectly OK.

However having faith in the presence of overwhelming evidence to the contray - is stupidity.

Doofus

152 said...

????????????????????????????????

Ummmmm Doofus?????

I was referring to my arguement with Scatterbrain, wasn't referring to you at all. Referring only to the fact that they kept insulting me and didn't want to have a discussion that we could benefit from, so I dropped out of the argument. The fruits I was referring to were those of my own anger and frustration.

Defensive much?

Isaac Stanfield said...

Wow, that was fun. A little tedious at times, but I got through it.

As sort of a side note, I thought it was interesting that Doofus continually uses the church being "on the wrong side of the Civil War" as one of the main proofs of the severe wrongness, at times, of the church. Doofus also says about Scatterbrain that "researching the facts cause her pain." Since you apparently enjoy researching and history, and maybe even researching history, I suggest doing a little research on the "Civil" war. Tom DiLorenzo has a few books and essays about the topic, and those are a great place to start. He has a large archive of columns at lewrockwell.com. You may or may not agree with his conclusions, but I think that you'll agree that having the most information possible about a subject will provide the most accurate opinion.

Rock Waterman said...

Isaac, I'm glad you brought up Tom DiLorenzo and his valuable work on the truth about Lincoln. I also caught the comments about the church being "on the wrong side of the civil war". I maintain that those defending their lands and freedoms at the time -the south- were actually the ones on the right side.

Perhaps Doofus was confusing The Right Side with The Winning Side. There can be no dispute that Lincoln was a tyrant and an aggressor. In fact, the south was winning every battle and the North was losing recruits and morale until Lee made the classic mistake that had led to the downfall of the Nephites centuries earlier. Lee changed his tactics from defensive to aggressive by attempting to lead his armies into the lands of the enemies. Gettysburg turned the tide against the south, for they had overstepped the boundary.

For those readers wanting more information about the pure evil of Abraham Lincoln, I'd follow Isaac's advice and look up Thomas DiLorenzo on Amazon or LewRockwell.com.

The Mormons were right to lend their sympathies with the south. This article by Thomas Woods may give some insight into the real significance of the Civil War:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods31.html

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Anonymous said...

You said: "If or when the Lord wishes to clarify, amplify, or amend the Word of Wisdom, he will do so as he always has, by communicating his precise words to the prophet who will write them down and pronounce those words as having come directly from the Lord."

Not 100% true any more.

The "all worthy males" revelation has never been "pronounced."

All we have is a press release referring to "this revelation."

Since the revelation itself has never been "pronounced," its acceptance by the Church in General Conference Assembled was, by definition, blind.

We now have a new class of "in pectore" revelations (to borrow a term from our Catholic friends).

It's still Scripture, of course; but what "it" is has never been openly revealed.
=====
You said: "what I gather from your letter is that according to your personal doctrine, men can usurp the will of God any time they want simply by virtue of having been given an office and a title."

I'm with you in spirit on this one, but it does have some backing in scripture.

LDS, Catholics, and probably some others do teach that God, by delegating the authority to seal or loose in heaven, has explicitly decreed that He may be overridden by His subordinates.

If you've never watched the movie "Dogma," which explores some of the ramifications of this alleged delegation of Ultimate Authority, I'd *highly* recommend it.
=====
(Sorry for commenting so late; I was directed here by a link in one of your more recent posts.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

It's never too late to post here; we're getting new readers every month.

I suppose you're right; I maybe should have prefaced my statement with "IF THE PROCESS WERE OPERATING PROPERLY, If or when the Lord wishes to clarify, amplify, or amend, etc..."

And of course it's doubtful that any actual revelation exists regarding the All Worthy Males doctrine. More likely it was the kind of inspiration the Brethren tend to call "revelation" these days. If Kimball did receive a revelation, we are led to believe it is sitting in a drawer somewhere. But I think not.

No revelation was necessary anyway, as no revelation was given banning blacks from the priesthood in the first place. It was a mistaken tradition, and all it required was a reversal of policy.

The problem was that the leaders had painted themselves into a corner all those decades by declaring it was set in stone by God.

Not sure if I agree with your loosed on earth position, but it is food for thought. At the moment I'm too bloated with taco salad right now to ponder anything adequately.

Thanks for weighing in.

Anonymous said...

Very good post brother Alan.
Can you please provide scriptural references for the following points you made. Thank you.
A revelation must indicate that it has come directly from the mouth of the Lord, for instance being prefaced with the words, "thus saith the Lord"; it will not contradict previously given revelation; it will not violate the doctrine of free agency; it must be written down; the people are to pray about it so that the Holy Ghost may witness to the people that these words truly are of the Lord; and finally the people, having had a witness from the Holy Ghost, are to vote upon the written revelation in conference as having come directly from the Lord and therefore is binding on the whole church.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I don't know if there's actual scriptural citations for what you're asking, but those are -or were- well known and frequently cited teachings within the church for many decades.

If memory serves, you can find your answers in "Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith" as well as the Journal of Discourses. (I believe Wilford Woodruff particularly stressed this doctrine, so try some of the later volumes. He was also the last president of the church to use the phrase "Thus Saith the Lord," for whatever that's worth.)

Sadly, my copies of those books are in storage and inaccessible to me, so I can't cite you specific volumes or page numbers.

The Journal of Discourses is available online, but my hard copies are marked and tagged, so I could find you those cites if I could lay my hands on my volumes, but I suspect if I searched the words "Thus Saith the Lord" online I would get hundreds of hits without giving me the specific answer you're asking for.

Both Ezra Taft Benson and J. Reuben Clark have made statements to the effect that "Thus Saith the Lord" need not preface a revelation or prophecy, but they did not cite their authority for making such a sudden and unexplained reversal of doctrine, and such blanket declarations go against all the previous teachings as well as common sense. One has only to look to the Doctrine and Covenants to see how prolific the use of the phrase is, as well as noting its absence in those sections where Joseph Smith is not speaking directly for the Lord, but giving policy direction or personal counsel.

You'll note how I indicated above that the phrase may not always be present, but some indication MUST be made to make it clear that the words spoken by the prophet are coming directly from the Lord. This is how Joseph Smith stressed the necessity of differentiating
between the words of the Lord and the mere opinion of the Prophet.

I just don't have the time right now or in the near future to make a diligent search for citations, but your request demonstrates that I really ought to get some of that at my fingertips, so when I can I'll get to it. Another source you might try is Joseph Fielding Smith's "Answers to Gospel Questions", (five volumes). Also, you may find something in the link I included above to Joseph's essay on the Priesthood.

Right now I've just returned home from an exhausting weekend seminar I participated in, and just came across your comment. I wanted to at least acknowledge your query, but I think I'm going to sleep for a week now, so perhaps one of my regular readers with better access or knowledge of those teachings can give you more complete information. Sorry I couldn't be of more immediate help.

Carl Youngblood said...

Alan, I've been lurking on your blog for a while after seeing Faithful Dissident's recommendation but haven't had time until now to comment. I want to say how much I appreciate your cheerful courage in advocating your point of view.

This topic is one I've thought about and discussed with friends for a while. The two scriptures that I like to use to contradict this dogma that it is impossible for the church to fail or to be lead astray are:

1) Mosiah 27:13 "...This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people."
2) D&C 124:32 "... if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God."

Both of these contradict any notion that it is impossible for the church to go astray. We never get off the hook by following the orders of anyone, no matter how great they are. Of people would pin their faith on another's sleeve, the Lord said, "...these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;" (D&C 76:99-100)

Even the choice of not doing anything is still a choice. Inaction carries as much risk as action.

You may want to research the reference on the Millennial Star about people who "should not claim a rank among intelligent beings." I'm not sure it was JS who actually wrote that. I think it was written by the editor of the paper, and I think that was not JS. Still great material though.

Also, the link the BY quote seems broken. I would like to find that reference.

Thanks again and best wishes.

Dave P. said...

I spent a good part of this morning reading through and commenting on the first batch of posts on zo-ma-rah's blog and received a flash of inspiration that has left me terrified in regards to just how evil humans can be. While the post itself is a follow-up to an earlier post on the same topic, it stands well on its own and I'll let my comment at the end speak for itself:

http://zomarah.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/satan-smiles-every-time-a-child-sings-follow-the-prophet/

Dave P. said...

Another thought came to me this morning while I was pondering over something and it helped me to formulate quite a frightening question: When the Abomination of Desolation for the last days arrives, how many TBMs will wait for the president of the church to tell them what to do rather than heed what the Savior has already said in Matthew 24?

Sounds like a classic case of the Lord speaking out against those who have to be commanded in all things. And that's exactly the kind of feeling I get with the "follow the prophet" mantra as many people will will ask, "What did the prophet say we should do now?" or, even worse, "Am I doing the same thing as the prophet right now?"

One of the greatest wallbangers I've ever heard in a talk recently came from a returned sister missionary who told us that we shouldn't even disagree with the prophet, no matter what. Along the lines of the doctrine of "sit down and shut up" I mentioned in a previous comment somewhere, I'll liken that to the new doctrine of, "If the prophet does it, it's not wrong."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Much like Richard Nixon's famous declaration, "If the president does it, it's not illegal, right Dave?

My, what a community of blind followers we have produced. How did this happen? Did it really start rolling with the generation raised on the primary song "Follow the Prophet"? We didn't have that song when I was in primary, so I didn't get infected.

Dave P. said...

I'd say it started with Wildford Woodruff and Heber J. Grant's claims that the prophet is infallible and always right so always show nothing but blind obedience, but those accounts were heard and are often told to adult audiences; people who should already know better.

However, the song has certainly cemented the notion into the young, impressionable, and malleable minds of the primary children. It's something they'll hold to their hearts well into growing up but are only in for more pain when they learn that the whole notion was a lie.

The song contradicts itself as well. The verses that talk about each of the prophets it mentions all tell the story of how they relied on God and were rewarded/spared because of their faith, then the final verse chucks the message out the window and tells people to only listen to the imperfect man who has assumed the title of prophet.

John A. Coltharp said...

Rock, what do you think of the fact that God tells us that we "shalt give heed unto all his [the Prophet's] words and commandments which he shall give unto [us ...]. For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth." (D&C 21:4)? The Lord apparently places no conditions upon this commandment. And he says "all his words," not just explicit revelations that are prefaced with "thus saith the Lord."

I will say, however, that there must be some of his words that we are not required to give heed unto, like if the Prophet says "I think cookie dough ice cream is the best flavor," I don't think God requires us to confine our frozen dessert purchases to cookie dough ice cream.

It's interesting to me just how little God actually says on this subject. No revelatory clarification on all of these questions. It is also interesting to me that there was no revelation given to the general membership of the Church on how succession works (hence the crisis and break-offs immediately after Joseph died).

John A. Coltharp said...

As a response to the Abraham Lincoln discussion, I'll share some quotes I've found while doing my own personal research from the Brethren about their negative feelings towards Abraham Lincoln and their support of the South:

15 March 1861: President [Brigham Young] . . . remarked that Abel Lincoln was no friend of Christ, particularly, he had never raised his voice in our favor when he was aware that we were being persecuted. He was acquainted with Joseph & Hyrum, and had been a Master Freemason. [The Office Journal of President Brigham Young: 1858-1863, Book D (Hanna, Ut.: Collier's Publishing Co., 2006), p. 220.]

9 July 1861: Pres Young remarked to H. C. Kimball who had come in, that old "Abe" the President of the U.S. has it in his mind to pitch in to us when he had got through with the South. President Kimball observed that men that he had met with, whether they had little or much of the Spirit of God, were in favor of the South. [Ibid., p. 266.]

5 August 1861: The President [Brigham Young] remarked that Stephen A. Douglass was a far better man than President Abel Lincoln, for he knew his feelings were hostile to this people. Pres Wells acquiesced in these remarks. [Ibid., pp. 277-78.]

21 August 1861: President Young speaking of Abraham Lincoln remarked [that] if the Kingdom of God was not in the way, Abraham was [a] pretty good man, but he acted as if he would rather the Kingdom of God was out of the way; he was not the man to raise his voice in favor of Joseph Smith when his enemies were persecuting him. He with many others had assented to the deaths of innocent men, and through that he is subject to the influence of a wicked spirit. [Ibid., p. 284.]

24 August 1861: The feelings of the Brethren are gratified by hearing of the continued success which attends the Southern Confederacy. [Ibid., p. 285.]

2 December 1861: In conversation with the brethren about the policy and movements of federal government and Southern Confederacy, the President [Brigham Young] remarked we need not expect any thing sensible from them, for the spirit of wisdom is taken away from them. He remarked that Pres Lincoln and Congress appear not to realize that there is a war on hand. It is not so with the South—they are keen and alive. [Ibid., p. 316.]

11 December 1861: I will see them in hell before I will raise an army for them. Abe Lincoln has sent these men here to prepare the way for an Army. An order has been sent to California to raise an army to come to Utah. This is the reason why Ball came back. I pray daily that the Lord will take away the reigns of Government of the wicked rulers and put it into the hands of the wise and good. I will see the day when those wicked rulers are wiped out. The Governor quoted my sayings about the Constitution I do and always have supported the Constitution but I am not in league with such cursed scoundrels as Abe Lincoln and his minions. They have sought our destruction from the beginning and Abe Lincoln has ordered an army to this Territory from California and that order passed over on these wires. [Wilford Woodruff's Journal, vol. 5 (Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1984), pp. 605-6.]

18 March 1862: Pres. Heber C. Kimball called in. The President [Brigham Young] discussed with him the wicked course the American Nation had taken with this people, observing the government was running into a despotism, and they were willing the government should be despotic while they were in power. The President observed that Abraham Lincoln was a sagacious man, but believed he was wicked. [Office Journal, p. 362.]

Dave P. said...

John,

In reading those verses in section 21, I can both see and not see your question because what I get from it is basically the Lord is saying, "When I reveal something to Joseph and he speaks those words which I gave him, it's the same as if I am speaking them to you directly."

The key point is that the prophet, working in his role as a prophet, must first receive the word of the Lord and teach what he's received. Only when he's doing that should we "heed all his words and commandments."

Also in the case of that you won't hear the prophet saying "follow me" or "listen to my words," but will give some indication that he's speaking for God at the time with something along the lines of, "Thus saith the Lord," or, "Hearken unto the words of Jesus Christ," etc.

Joseph taught that a true revelation from God will never contradict a previous revelation, but never did he teach that a prophet is always correct. The numerous times the Lord rebukes Joseph in the D&C is proof of that.

Also those quotes about Lincoln are wonderful. More members of the church really do need to realize what a horrible man he was as well as how the Battle Hymn of the Republic glorifies the atrocities he stood for and takes the name of God in vain.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dave's answer to your question regarding Section 21 pretty well echoes my position. It's helpful when we remember the Lord was speaking of Joseph Smith, and not to anyone who may hold the title of President of the Church in the future. No successor (until modern times) that I know of attempted to apply those verses to himself.

We have indeed been sold a bill of goods regarding the supposed angelic qualities of Abraham Lincoln, who managed single-handedly to defy the constitution so brazenly that the government was completely altered by force. Thomas DiLorenzo's book "The Real Lincoln" is still the best introductory source to the evils Lincoln brought down on America.

The early Church leaders were indeed correct, but they were not alone. MANY in the northern United States also vigorously opposed Lincoln, until they were beaten and imprisoned by Lincoln's goons for speaking out.

Seth said...

Hey Rock,

Just going through some of your posts that I hadn't read yet. I want to thank you for speaking what is in your heart. I wish you continued success and happiness in your efforts. This is a great blog!

Jared said...

As always, superbly thought out and well substantiated post. SUCH an important topic! Thanks for weighing in so eloquently.

Dave P. said...

Had a discussion with a returned missionary tonight who was only able to answer pretty much all of my questions with, "The prophet will never lead the church astray," as well as discussions on witnesses of the spirit. After I left I thought about what it means for the spirit to confirm something to us through our "minds and hearts," since either our own emotions or satan could counterfeit the feelings in one or the other but not both at once. After a "Eureka!" moment I realized how simple it really is: To have the spirit confirm something to us in our mind and heart simply means that the prompting will be so strong that it's almost impossible for us to think of anything else or experience a different feeling in our hearts so long as the spirit is influencing us.

whitehusky said...

I don't have a problem with the prophet giving good, sound advice, with which the Lord no doubt agrees. What I have a problem with is lazy members who insist that they must take what they think someone said (be he a general authority, or grand hooka) as modern revelation, which therefore causes all scripture to be moot.

That is a completely erroneous view of the word of God. We are supposed to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all things, not by men trading ideas or going off on vain philosophies.

One of these that really bothers me is the militant way many Mormons react when you ever mention anything about praying to the Lord. They might let that go by, but if you slip up and call the Lord Jesus, they have a fit, saying that we must not pray to the Lord then, if we mean pray to Jesus.

In vain I have pointed out that the Lord is our Savior and Redeemer, and that we have one Lord (and it's not Heavenly Father). I have backed it up with scripture from Deuteronomy and Isaiah. Usually I am told I cannot possibly be Mormon because I have no understanding of the proper approved method of prayer.

So then I get out the scripture from the Book of Mormon that shows Jesus approves of our praying to him:

"And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him ... And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray." [3 Nephi 19:25-26]

To this, I usually get the reply that the Nephites were only praying to him because he was there in person, not because he is God Almighty. (Horrors! Worship Christ and pray to him? Never!) Or I get some weird response about how the whole thing was a special deal.

Special deal. Right. Praying to the Lord is now supposedly against Mormon doctrine. Did you know that if you say the Lord is pleased with honest, sincere prayers directed to him specifically, you can't be a Mormon?

Really. I've been repeatedly told I was masquerading as a Mormon simply because I've pointed out that the fact that Jesus is Jehovah means something. What it means is Jesus is the Lord our God.

Anonymous said...

Having the Holy Spirit as our guide is the determining factor whether we will be lead astray or not. If we have the Spirit no false teaching or Prophet can deceive us, but if we don't have the Spirit then we will easily surely be deceived.

We know Prophets can be wrong & teach many false doctrines, for many have since Joseph Smith. More recent Prophets have had to correct the teachings of past Prophets & Presidents of the Church.

Even Joseph himself was deceived for a while by a devilish man, Bennett. He even put him in one of the highest positions in the Church, having been deceived to what his true nature was & that he had abandoned a wife & children in the east.

The ultimate test in this life is not if we will follow the Prophet, for blind obedience is realively easy & most people would rather follow than have to think & decide for themselves, also no one can endure on borrowed light, not even from a Prophet.

Only if we are righteous enough to have the 'Holy Spirit' as our guide to tell us all things that we should do, we will make it to the Celestial Kingdom safely. If we can't receive personal revelation than we will never be able to tell true revelation from false revelation, even from a Prophet, who can error at times, even from the pulpit.

Anonymous said...

Alan,

I agree with your comment above about blacks receiving the Priesthood didn't need a revelation, for it was just letting go of a false tradition or philosophy.

It appears that polygamy was the same situation. It did not need a revelation, but just a change & ending of living it.

Finally the Church repented of polygamy & stopped that most vile & abusive practice towards women & started again teaching 'true love & faithfulness & equality in marriage as Joseph Smith did in the beginning.

Dave P. said...

Unfortunately the church has not repented of polygamy as it's still practiced in the temples. One man can be sealed to many women. Each woman just has to die in this life first.

Anonymous said...

Dave,
I agree that they make it look that way, that a man can be sealed to more than 1 living woman, but in reality, at least the Church preaches that if a man is unfaithful to his 1st wife & does not keep his covenants to her because he is out dating or remarrying another woman, than the sealing is null & void anyway, from his end, even if it's hasn't been voided officially on paper yet.

Also, the Church keeps the sealing in tact for the woman, so she can decide what she wants to do, for the Church knows that usually the man is the cause for the divorce, (according to Pres. Hinckley) no matter who filed.

So they wait to see if the woman decides to remarry & then they break the sealing & seal her to someone else, or if she decides to wait it out & claim her unrighteous husband in the next life after he repents fully, which the sealing will give her that right & of course he will gladly return to her & be grateful to her for wanting him back so he can make it all up to her.

It all looks like it favors the man today, but in reality keeping the sealing in tact just protects the wife's rights & power in the divorce, in case the divorce was not justified & she still wants her husband back once he repents in the future.

Anonymous said...

Otherwise, the seeming 'polygamy' by sealings in the temple, actually goes both ways today. For even women can now be sealed to all the husbands they were ever married to during their life, after they & all their husbands die.

So either polygamy will go both ways in heaven or not lived at all by anyone. I don't believe it will be lived at all in the next life.

I don't think it's cruel to believe that 2nd marriages will end in the next life, because those who remarried after the death of their spouse knew they had a spouse faithfully waiting for them in heaven & they could have waited faithfully also here on earth, without remarrying.

So they bring on their own pain, which they will repent from & get over, of not being able to be with their 2nd spouse in heaven.

If we wouldn't want our spouse in heaven to be running around after someone new up there, then we shouldn't do it either here on earth. It can't be any easier for them to be alone up there then for us down here, especially since they have to watch their spouse be unfaithful.

whitehusky said...

//... if we don't have the Spirit then we will easily surely be deceived.//

That's for sure. If you're looking to temporal leaders instead of going by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, you can believe anything ... and members of the church do. One of the most common false doctrines is that you can't pray to the Lord ... No, don't pray to Jesus Christ. (Ouch!) It just can't be done!

I agree with the comments on polygamy. Multiple sealings in the temple are plural marriage. I don't care if your spouse is dead. That's nothing. Your spouse's temporal body is not your spouse. Your spouse is eternal, an angel just like you. Would you like it if you stepped out of the living room and while you were gone your spouse went out and married someone else? Well, the other side of the veil is even less far away than the living room.

I have to say, though, that some second marriages may be legitimate. Assuming all partners were faithful to the Lord, whose marriage is to be invalidated? This is the pain to avoid. Just don't remarry. But will people listen? No.

They cry at the funeral, but then suddenly they have to replace the loved one. So they have just disrespected their spouse by taking another and ruined a perfectly good marriage.

My uncle did it. I shudder to think what his reception was in heaven when my aunt had to ask him what he was thinking of, to marry and divorce and remarry at least three women after she died.

He really ruined his entire life and put a blot on his eternity.

Anonymous said...

Whitehusky,

Your uncle's wife will have the power to claim him & take him to the Celestial Kingdom with her, if she still wants to after. Those other wives knew he was already married & going to be with his 1st wife in heaven so they brought on the pain themselves. So when they can't be with him in heaven, because his 1st wife will claim him back, they will not be able to say they weren't warned.

I have never understood why a woman would marry a man who is just waiting to be reunited with his 1st wife after he dies & just wants company til then. What woman with any self-respect would want to live polygamy either in this life or the next, even if she thought she could.

I don't believe any 2nd, 3rd, etc. marriages will be valid in the next life for only 'true love' makes a marriage eternal. People who remarry after the death or divorce of their spouse prove they don't really have true love for their 1st spouse.

And if you don't have true love for a 1st spouse, no matter what they do or even if they die, it's impossible to have true love for anyone else in the world you may want to marry. So any remarriage would be invalid & not based on true love.

Oh well, it's nice to know that those with true love always win in the end.

Jen and Rob said...

So I was in the mission when 9/11 happened. A week later Russel Ballard spoke to our mission. He spoke about what happened on 9/11 and that it would not end anytime soon. It was implied pretty obviously from his whole speech to us on it that this was the beginning of the end.

Even as I look back, I wasn't all excited in the moment like a participant on those televangelist shows that release people's evil spirits and leave a ton of audience members sprawled across the stage.

Maybe he just wasn't as freaked out as everyone back in the states apparently was, but he seemed to carry out the role of a prophet really well. Maybe it was just his opinion which could be enhanced by a knowledge of history (which we all forgot going into these wars). But that is the one time in my life where I've felt I heard prophecy.

I just mention it b/c you mention the wars.

ps. I love your blog...keep it up. I'm getting my friends hooked too.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

That's interesting that Ballard would predict an extended conflict when Hinckley, during his conference talk on the Iraq attack, said in his opinion this would help bring things to an end, or words to that effect.

Glad you're on board. And thanks especially for telling your friends!

doyle_megan said...

By the way, Anonymous, I like your comments on true love. I wish more people looked at it that way.

doyle_megan said...

On the subject of following the prophet: I've found tons of church members who are willing to state that such-and-such said this-and-that, therefore, it makes it doctrine and you can ignore what the scriptures say. They don't even bother to find out if such-and-such said such a thing, and as for putting it in context, forget it.

I'd say that this habit of relying on modern authorities is nothing more than an excuse for Mormons to go against what the scriptures say and puff themselves up like they're in greater authority than God's word.

Believe me, no matter how many times it's printed in church materials that Jesus Christ is a "spirit child," it's not going to change the fact that Isaiah identified him as the Everlasting Father. And Isaiah was right.

Dave P. said...

doyle_megan,

There's also the conveniently-forgotten teaching from Joseph Smith that a true revelation will never contradict a previous one; meaning that even a modern-day prophet can NOT "trump" scripture.

AV said...

Has anyone considered this: That while it is true, that a 'true' prophet will not lead us astray (because he is near perfect possessing the Holy Spirit) a false Prophet, even one in the Church, can lead us astray.

Consider this, that if the majority of the members refuse to follow a 'true' Prophet, then God usually gives the people what they want & will give them a 'false' Prophet & the errors & delusions they desire.

Joseph Smith once said that people usually think that a 'false' prophet is a 'true' prophet. And so if Heavenly Father took a true Prophet away, by death, because the people rejected him & then allowed a false or fallen prophet come in & deceived the people, they probably would never know it, except those few who had the Spirit.

Has the majority of the membership rejected the teachings of true Prophets? I believe they definitely have, not only today but since the early days of the Church. The Saints in Nauvoo were not willing to live the higher laws & establish Zion & were unrighteous.

Could that be the reason Joseph Smith was taken away so young? Has Heavenly Father allowed any false prophets to deceive members of the Church? Do we know how to tell a false prophet from a true prophet?

True Prophets have warned that today there will be 'many' false prophets how will deceive even the elect. I highly doubt many of the elect would fall for a self-proclaimed Prophet who was outside the Church. So does that mean they elect will be deceived by false prophets who claim to be such 'inside' the church?

Just something to think about when we keep hearing the Lord will never let the Prophet lead us astray. But that only goes for 'true' prophets & only then if we are righteous & worthy of a true prophet, which we are not at all today.

Dave P. said...

Actually, AV, Joseph was taken because he repeated his mistake of fearing man more than God and failed to heed God's warnings to flee Nauvoo and head into the Rockies to complete his repentance. Regardless of what one believes Joseph's stance on polygamy to be, he still succumbed to his own carnal wills and desires as warned against in Section 3:1-11. He realized how much trouble he was in after destroying the Nauvoo Expositor and began to repent. However, he did not flee to the Rockies, lost the protection of the Lord, and was delivered like a lamb to the slaughter.

So Joseph wasn't taken because of the unrighteousness of the saints, he was taken because of his own actions in exercising his own agency. Why would the Lord have punished a prophet for the actions of the people?

AV said...

I read that Joseph came back because he desired to try to save the saints one last time, because of his love for them, even though he would have been justified to leave & save his own life.

But in returning, he knew that he would probably be killed trying. I believe this account & that he sacrificed his life for the saints.

It would be rare for such a righteous man as Joseph was (& had to be to be a true prophet) to ever fall from such a high station, though it can happen.

I don't doubt that Joseph had minor flaws, no one is perfect, but I do not believe he ever fell by any great sins, especially like polygamy or any form of lust (for he loved Emma too much) or lost his station as a true prophet.

We must 'possess' true love for our spouse to ever understand what true Prophets are like who possess true love.

That he was warned against falling to his carnal wills did not mean he did fall or was even close to falling, but H.F. knew that those around him were falling for their carnal wills & enticing him to do so also. Thus H.F. warned him against it.

I myself am trying hard to keep my covenants despite my husband breaking his, thus the Spirit continually warns me to be careful & not break my covenants, since it is so easy to do so if your spouse does.

But just because the Spirit is kind enough to keep warning me doesn't mean I am doing such or even close to breaking them.

I believe Joseph was an unselfish, true & valiant Prophet to the end of his life, as was his wife Emma, a true Prophetess & valiant lady til the end of her life, despite what all the story books say.

I believe he was taken by death because the saints rejected him & his teachings & instead desired to eagerly accept falsehoods, delusions & abominations rather than the truth.

Dave P. said...

Then I don't know what to tell you, because this romanticized notion of Joseph being wholly "unselfish, true & valiant" is a myth even within church history as the Lord chastised him time and time again for failing to do the Lord's will.

There are some mistakes that he learned from, but others he didn't. In that same Section 3:1-11, the Lord warns him not that he'd be destroyed, but that he'd be "delivered up" to the buffetings and influence of satan, which is exactly what happened. When you compare Joseph's teachings in Kirtland vs. those in Nauvoo that contradicted them, he couldn't have possibly been wholly true and valiant over the entire duration of his ministry.

As for the people rejecting him and his teachings. Had he been valiant, then he wouldn't have needed to be "sacrificed," because a prophet's job is to warn the people so that their sins fall on their own heads. He was not killed to seal his testimony of the Book of Mormon, he was killed because usurpers in the church wanted him out of the way and they had their opportunity.

As Rock has written in "Why Church History Isn't What They Say," it takes active research to dispel the myths that have arisen in church history, and a lot of the truth will be shocking, but it will set you free. I can thank Joseph for fulfilling his mission in restoring the gospel and translating the Book of Mormon, but because a man is responsible for his own sins and transgressions, he exercised his own agency in failing to heed the Lord's warnings.

AV said...

Dave,

Can you point out a couple specific topics of how Joseph 'taught' differently in Nauvoo than in Kirtland &/or what sins he committed where he fell from grace?

Do you believe Joseph believed in & lived polygamy, if even for a short time?

Are you getting your opinions from hearsay & what others have written about Joseph (which must always be read with a huge grain of salt)or purely just what is written in the D&C & what Joseph wrote himself?

Dave P. said...

The major things that Joseph taught in Nauvoo that contradicted his teachings in Kirtland are the plurality of Gods and the nature of God himself.

I've explained in a few other threads how Section 130 contradicts the Lectures on Faith (particularly the 5th) and, when Joseph was translating the Bible, he actually removed or revised references to plural Gods.

As for Joseph himself living polygamy, I believe he did, but began to repent of it before he died.

By the way, this is a great resource: http://www.restored.org/lds/ldsall.htm

Steve said...

I wonder if as Joseph went on through life his views got clearer. Perhaps like us. Or perhaps like Nephi's view of the vision of the tree of life was clearer than his father's because Nephi had heard his father's vision before seeing it for himself.

AV said...

Joseph did receive more & more light as he went along & thus could have corrected things that he realized he had said that were wrong before.

Even Prophets learn the same way we all learn, line upon line, precept upon precept. But to error a little on a subject like the plurality of Gods, is far different than committing polygamy.

It seems to me that Joseph knew too much & suffered too much & loved Emma to much to have ever lived polygamy & do the things so many have said he did, chasing other women.

Those accounts vs. the man he was, are completely opposite & are impossible to be one & the same person. When you are familiar with truly righteous people, you understand how they could never do such things as Joseph was accused of.

But it takes righteousness to recognize righteousness in others.

His letters to Emma at the end of his life show he never lost his true love for her or his righteousness. But only the Spirit can confirm this to us.

Anonymous said...

Why do you believe Joseph Smith? What credibilities does he have? Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life, Joseph Smith was an infallible human just like the rest of us. I'm shocked that so many people blindly follow this man without question.

AV said...

Because I know he is a true Prophet, who brought forth the Book of Mormon by the power of God.

If you read the Book of Mormon you can gain a testimony of it's truthfulness & the power that comes from just reading it's pages. From that you know that Joseph had to be a true Prophet to bring such a book to light.

Plus as we study the Book of Mormon daily, it can open up the windows of heaven to us (if we are living worthy & not doing things to chase away the Spirit) & we can receive further personal revelation from the Holy Spirit, which can confirm to you that Joseph was a true Prophet, among other things we may want an answer to.

You can also compare what Joseph taught to what is taught in the scriptures, especially to Christ's teachings in the New Testiment, to see if he taught truth or not.

All true Prophets will never contradict each other, for all truth is harmonious with itself.

We must remember though that the Bible does have many errors, for it's been translated over & over by humans probably both well intentioned & maybe ones with 'not such good intentions'.

Anonymous said...

Joseph taught that every true doctrine, teaching or revelation, even from a Prophet, must go along with what is taught in the Book of Mormon & D&C (1844 version) & to a lesser degree the Bible (for it may have so many errors).

So where is the 'supporting & confirming' scripture for Wilford Woodruff's teaching & doctrine that 'The Prophet can never lead us astray?"

We must have supporting scripture for that concept or Joseph says to not accept it.

And if it's true that the Prophet can't lead us astray, then why did the Lord allow Joseph to lead the members astray for years, teaching them that polygamy was evil, if it wasn't & was secretly being lived by many members, including himself.

That would be leading the church astray, for many members refused to later believe Brigham Young based on Joseph's teaching that polygamy was evil & to never fall for it.

So both things can't be true, that Joseph practiced polygamy & that the Prophet can't lead us astray, for Joseph would have been an example of that.

Without scriptural backing for Wilford Woodruff's doctrine that 'the Prophet can't lead us astray', how can we consider it true? Especially when Joseph & Brigham seemed to believe & warn us that they could lead us astray.

And based on Joseph's own testimony over & over about how vile polygamy is, how can we believe polygamy is true? For that would mean he lied & lead the Church astray.

If God cannot lie, then he cannot lie through a Prophet either, who speaks his same words.

Dave P. said...

Anonymous,

That "revelation" wherein Wilford Woodruff based his claim that a prophet would never lead a people astray was written by his secretary.

In fact, if you read the Old Testament, the Lord gives numerous warnings of the people to beware of prophets who would lead them astray. So the scriptures confirm the exact opposite of what Woodruff claimed.

For a much more in-depth analysis, check this out:
http://www.mormonstruth.org/astray.html

Head Of Shiz said...

I know I'm late the party but where has this sort of thinking gone?

“And none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the priesthood. We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God… would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their minds to do wrong themselves.” (Millennial Star, vol.14 #38, pp. 593-95)

Anonymous said...

Head of shiz,

Great quote, thanks for posting it. I have read it many times before & wondered the same thing, & why hardly anyone seems to study the words of past Prophet's, especially Joseph's (the one's you can prove he said).

But I realize that it is so much easier to follow blindly & just believe we can blame it on a church leader or even a Prophet if we follow them in doing something wrong.

That's the natural man response to want to put the blame on someone else, it's been going on since Adam & Eve.

But that excuse will not fly on judgment day, any more than at the Nuremburg (sp?) trials of WW2.

God has commanded us to "Prove all things & hold fast to that which is good."

This life is a test to see who can be deceived, by especially false Prophets & false doctrines & philosphies.

God wants to see who will live worthy of the Holy Spirit, so they aren't decieved & so they can discern for themselves all truth from error, right from wrong & even devils from saints.

Only those who can discern truth from error from even those who claim to be Prophets, will inherit the Cel.Kingdom.

As Christ said, it is only by 'Love', perfect love, & by possessing this perfect love, can we discern who are really his true disciples & who are not.

For if we possess this 'perfect unconditional love' we will easily be able to tell if someone else has it too & thus if they are really a true Prophet or not.

For true Prophets & righteous people always 'prove themselves' to be thus, by showing they possess this perfect love. That's the only way we can know who they really are.

We must realize that today in the church, as in the early days of the church, it is highly likely that we will have many false prophets & we must be able to discern them from true Prophets.

Even some of the apostles in Joseph's day were false prophets. Why would we think it wouldn't happen today, even more than then, for today the wickedness is even greater.

This is God's greatest test for us, to see if we can be deceived or not & are really worthy of his greatest blessings.

Dave P. said...

Head of Shiz,

I was looking for the full version and reference of that exact quote. Thanks!

Micah said...

A little off topic: Anyone have any idea why wine is not good except in sacraments, but beer is ok? Wine wouldn't be considered a strong drink, but there is the prohibition.

Shawn Warner st George ut said...

Not a day has gone by for a month or so that I haven't cut and pasted something off this site and sent it to friends!!!!! I've never heard things defined in a way that I more closely agree with than rock!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rock, I really enjoy and agree with your site. However, do you consider the Proclamation for The Family to be revelation? It is written down, but the wording says "we solemnly proclaim" It does not claim to be the word of God anywhere. Right?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Why, thank you, Shawn! That's very encouraging.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The Proclamation on the Family is not a revelation, nor does it claim to be, though many LDS mistakenly see it for a revelation.

It should be considered more of a position paper; it is a promulgation on official Church position on the topic.

ruthiechan said...

Question: Alan, you say here that Brigham Young prophesied about the church being on the brink of hell. In another post I read of yours you linked tow here Young said that he was not a prophet but just a yankee guesser. So, either Young was a prophet or he was not, or he became the prophet sometime later, possibly because he was the one leading the root of the church and God had to have somebody do the job despite the clear flaws. What are your thoughts on this?

And thanks for this post. I've always liked that primary song as a kid mostly because it had some oomph to it and when I started paying attention I started to wonder if people were taking that to mean we should blindly obey instead of getting our own spiritual confirmation.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ruthichan,
I believe Brigham when he said he was not a prophet "like Daniel or Joseph." That is, he did not posess the ability to speak for God in the manner those two did.

When I was younger I read most of the Journal of Discourses, and I don't recall any instance of "thus saith the Lord" coming from Brigham Young.

I also believe him when he "prophesied" that this church would be led ton to the brink of hell by the leaders. Why? Because his common sense told him that a people who follow blind authority will eventually divert from the path they are on.

In this instance he was a prophet in the same sense I am when I used to tell my kids that if they got in an accident and were not wearing a seatbelt, they could fly right out the windshield.

In short, you can be a prophet without necessarily channeling the voice of God as Joseph did. Brigham Young made many statements that were prophetic, and many that were hooey. You just have to be able to sort the inspired ones from the hogwash.

Sometimes the Lord inspires, and sometimes he gives revelations. If you hear a conference talk that moves you and rings true, you might say the speaker was inspired. But these days we rarely get the kind of revelations we might expect to come from a true prophet of God.

Was Brigham Young a prophet in the sense we often think of today? He said he wasn't, and the members did not refer to him as "the prophet." The Saints who followed Brigham Young to Utah did so because he was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Without doubt he was a very effective leader. But he was never thought of as a prophet until some time in the 20th century, long after his death.

Luke said...

I have enjoyed reading your responses. While almost anything we say over a dialogue box can be misinterpreted, I believe that you have shed some light on a lot of subjects that the average member or potential seeker would overlook.

With that said, the topic of the church being "perfect" is what I'd like to comment on.

Being one that is deciding if I want to become a member, I have to say that if the church were truly "perfect", then i believe it would scare most members and potential converts away. Knowing that the church is not perfect moves me in a way that allows me to realize that not everything that comes from the leaders, whether it be at church or at conference, should be taken so literally as not to ponder it oneself. If there is a truth out there, I will apply it to my life. Because our lives our unique from one to another, those truths are applied in unique ways. Therefor, they are not necessarily black and white.

I hope that makes sense. Great topics, though... As I reply four years later! :)

Lucas said...

I haven't laughed so hard in a long while. Thanks!

Dale B. said...

Sorry I'm so late to the party, but I just recently discovered your site. I've spent the last couple of weeks reading through a fair number of your essays and the comments. I really appreciate your thoughtful and articulate articles and non-judgmental responses. You have given me much to think about, which while upsetting to my wife, will I'm sure be ultimately good for me.

I'm still trying to come to grips with this new paradigm. If the last legitimate Prophet was Joseph Smith and neither Brigham, nor Sidney possessed a true claim to apostolic succession, where does that leave us? Is the church today in the same condition it was in when Christ was on the Earth?

In His day the legitimate priesthood authority was on the Earth, but thoroughly corrupt. The Saviour encouraged respect toward the institutions of the church, the temple, etc. while at the same time accusing those leaders of the church of being children of hell. Of course, he was right, and eventually they proved it by having him crucified.

How do you approach the modern church and it's leadership? Do you still pay tithes and offerings to the local unit? Do you still regard the priesthood and leadership as intact or in a fallen state? In Joseph's day he regarded the Catholic Church as a completely fallen institution, without priesthood authority, yet it seems likely that in that case too, the church gradually fell away through the actions of well-meaning men, rather than as an overt act of deliberate destruction. Talmage says that he is certain that by the time of Constantine the church was destroyed, but it seems an [informed] assumption. In our day with the doctrines being removed line by line by well meaning men, is the church a viable institution?

If we are to partake of the Sacrament each week and it is important enough to correct the priest when he makes a small mistake, have we been authorized to omit wine from the ordinance? Was this a revelation? Was it authorized? If we no longer perform this ordinance in accordance with the Lord's wishes and the pulpit has been turned into a modern Rameumpton (sp?), where does that leave us?

Anon 23 said...

Dale,

Good for you, you have your thinking cap on! As Joseph found out, only by asking questions do we really get the right answers.

The new paradigm you have found will become more and more wonderful and enlightening as time goes on. You are now in warp speed with your new paradigm and can now learn how things really are and were and will be.

I personally believe that Joseph would consider the present LDS Church the same as the Catholic Church, completely devoid of any real authority, priesthood or power. For Brigham Young and all the other leaders who followed him committed whoredoms like King Noah and weren't righteous, so they lost any Priesthood authority they may have had. And they could not pass it on or make the Church an authorized continuation of the real deal, anymore than any Catholic Priest could today.

Not to mention that Brigham Young and all the leaders who followed him out west and even today taught/teach completely opposite to what Christ and Joseph Smith taught. Thus how could the LDS Church be the same as the one Joseph founded.

I don't pay tithing anymore, I give money directly to those in need, so I know it gets where it should. I cringe to think how much money I was deceived to give men who most likely didn't use it on the poor as I thought they did, but instead to pay salaries to able-bodied men (often rich men) who live off the fatherless and cause single mothers & widows & the poor and their children to suffer even more, so these men can live cush lives and build great and spacious churches, false temples and malls. When if they were true prophets there would be no poor among the LDS. I am having to repent for falling for their ploys and not seeing it sooner.

True prophets and righteous men don't take a cent from the people to support themselves, unless they are truly disabled, they support themselves as King Benjamin and Alma did, and do church service for free, no matter what position they hold.

I do not attend Church anymore for it's the same as going to any other Church on earth, in fact in my opinion, it's far worse than most churches. For at least many other Christian Churches don't teach whoredoms like polygamy and divorce and remarriage, inequality of women or take advantage of the poor. It was the Baptist Church that was inspired to come up with one of the greatest movies ever made about unconditional love in marriage, "Fireproof". I doubt that any of the LDS Leader even believe in such Christlike love and I definitely don't believe they possess it, like Christ said is true prophets and disciples would.

Joseph taught that the test of this life is to see who can be deceived to fall for false prophets and their false doctrines. I believe he saw how the Saints were falling for false doctrines like polygamy and other evils and that he knew Brigham Young and other apostles were false prophets even before he died. And from what other's like Emma have appeared to say, he was fearful for the Saints if they ever fell for letting BY or others corrupt apostles ever lead them. Unfortunately many did fall for BY and were led out west by him. But I believe the righteous saw through him and stayed behind and went off on their own doing the best they could until Christ returns to establish his Church again in Zion.


Dale B. said...

I hope I'm not approaching any changes this profound at warp speed. While I have had serious doubts about some aspects of the corporate church over the last 30 years, I am not by nature rebellious and wish to approach these ideas carefully, especially considering the impact it may have on my family.

If authority is important, and I believe that Joseph taught that it is, then where is priesthood authority on the Earth today? If BY and those that followed him West lost their authority through willful deception (your claim), then Sidney Rigdon and/or the RLDS church would seem to have equal claim on it, but both have dwindled to the point of being inconsequential.

The Community of Christ, from what I understand, barely acknowledge their roots and actively seek to distance themselves from the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. If we apply the same test to the leaders of either church, we find them at least as lacking as the LDS Church with regard to true prophecies, revelations, the actions of a seer and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. But if that is the case and they too have lost their priesthood authority, then Joseph Smith's declaration that the Priesthood authority would not be taken again from the Earth is wrong.

This makes me lean in the direction of the Church being closer to that state it was in when the Saviour was on the Earth; where the ordinances are upheld but the individual righteousness of those in leadership makes their exercise of it null and void as far as their own personal salvation is concerned. Sort of like the case where a Priest does not honor his covenants on Saturday, but blesses the Sacrament the next day; blessing the Sacrament under such conditions does not take away it's efficacy for those who partake of it, but that priest receives condemnation rather than a blessing for his unworthy exercise of priesthood authority.

If so, it seems more likely that we are in a similar situation today where the priesthood is intact (possibly in all of the churches which have split from the restoration), but under great condemnation for it's departure from divinely established doctrine.
I suppose it depends on how far you feel the Church has strayed from divinely revealed truth. Since you feel that what the LDS Church teaches today is the "opposite" of what was restored, I can see why you take your position, but at this point, I feel more like there are a few doctrines which may have become muddied than that there has been a wholesale reversal (Polygamy is perhaps a glaring exception).


Anon 23 said...

Dale,

1st, do you have proof that Joseph said "Priesthood authority would not be taken from the earth"? And even if he did say this, he was wrong about other things, so maybe he was wrong on that too. But I believe true Priesthood authority is still on the earth, somewhere in a few men & a few true prophets.

Joseph Smith supposedly said or was quoted to say, that as long as their was at least 1 righteous man on the earth who held the Priesthood and who could receive personal revelation from God, then the Kingdom of God would remain on the earth.

I believe it's possible that a few rare righteous men could still possess true Priesthood authority, men who had it handed down by righteous men who went off on their own after Joseph died, and who didn't follow apostate apostles like Brigham Young.

I do not believe baptism or other ordinances are valid if the person doing them is void of authority and power. That doesn't mean that people can't be forgiven of their sins if they've truly repented, whether they take the Sacrament or not, and that doesn't mean a person can't still be healed if it's God's will or the sick person had sufficient faith, even if the blesser was evil and without any authority. Many people in other religions are healed by blessings too.

But I believe that taking the sacrament in the LDS Church is as effective or ineffective as taking the Sacrament in any other Christian Church, or that LDS baptism is just as non-effective as any other Christian Church's baptism. For I see nothing that makes the LDS Church more valid than the Baptist Church or any other.

All Churches, including the LDS, preach some parts of Christ's Gospel, but that doesn't mean they retain or have any true authority.

Joseph Smith warned us that 'false' prophets teach so near to what 'true' prophets say, that most everyone falls for them.

It doesn't take much for a person or church to lose authority or the Spirit. Just teaching polygamy alone will do it, not to mention the numerous other evils that destroy families that the Church supports and teaches yesterday and today.

Dale B. said...

You may be right. I only know what I think JS taught, but I don't have proof that he actually said it. But so many things that I thought to be true seem less solid than before that it feels like I need to completely rebuild my foundation based on my new understandings/thoughts.

In the Book of Mormon, authority appears to have been on the Earth throughout the experience. At least I don't recall that it was an issue. In the original Church that Christ set up, authority was only on the Earth for a few hundred years at most, but if what you're suggesting is true then the "grand restoration" only lasted 15-20 years or so. To what purpose? The vision of Daniel seems to promise more than that. What is the stone, cut without hands that is to smash the image apart? When viewed in that context, the LDS Church, with all it's apparent flaws is still the best candidate around.

It seems that your idea that the authority is still on the Earth is based more on hope than anything else. While my idea is based (admittedly) on the hope that authority can survive even though false doctrines are being promulgated. In such an uncertain environment, how can anyone have any certainty that authority exists today? Even if someone claimed they had it, unless you received a manifestation that the claim was valid, you're just guessing. In the Book of Mormon there were several episodes where the Church seems to have gotten off track, but that did not mean that they had to start from scratch.

Many years ago we used a talk about a person who searched for the true church by teasing 14 points of doctrine from the Bible and then searching each denomination until he found one that answered all 14. Of course, he ended up joining the LDS Church. What would be the points of doctrine that the Church of Christ today would be built upon? How different is it from what the LDS Church teaches today?

When you take a car in pristine condition and get into a minor collision, it is no longer the pristine vehicle you started with, but it is certainly the same car. As the accident becomes more severe, at some point, the car no longer resembles the original, does not work, and is a total loss. There is a lot of room in between the two states. If the Church is like that car, where is it in the continuum?

Many reject polygamy outright, and I think there is a lot of merit for that, but the 12 tribes are honored by the Lord over and over. Why would he do that if polygamy were an abomination at all times and at all places? Moses wasn't allowed into the promised land for something that seems minor compared to that, but there is not a word of rebuke about Israel's wives.

To me, while it certainly appears more likely that BY was telling stories than JS was; it is still a practice which is not clear cut. I'm willing to say that I don't comprehend what marriage will be like in the eternities. If I have known my sisters for billions of years, and will have that knowledge returned to me at the resurrection, the tiny amount of time spent together in mortality seems trivial even if weighted pretty heavily. Maybe we are making too much of marriage? On the other hand, Christ taught that we should take it more seriously than we typically do today. Is that for reasons that are different than we mortals typically ascribe? I don't know. It seems clear that there is something sacred about families, but how far should it be taken?

If polygamy is placed on a scale of importance, should it be weighted so heavily that a collision with it would total that car, or will it just need some time in the shop and a new fender? If we place the Church on a scale of absolutism, then no Church has any viability. On the other hand, if we criticize Catholics for not seriously looking at the glaring flaws in their Church and it's historical claims, shouldn't we be brave enough to look at our own in the same light?

Anon 23 said...

Dale,

No, my opinions about authority are based on Christ's words and scriptures that Joseph gave us, not hope, that is too flimsy to put faith in.

You are still assuming that the LDS Church is the continuation of the Church Joseph started, just because it claims to be. I find no evidence or even reason to believe the people who left Nauvoo and went to Utah had any authority or Priesthood. Using your logic, then the RLDS, FLDS, Catholic and every Church in between should have true Priesthood authority also, no matter how unrighteous their leaders or doctrines have become.

You can't say the LDS Church is the Lord's Church and not the Catholic or FLDS or RLDS, etc. Do you really think Warren Jeffs is a true prophet that God will work through? He has just as much right to say he has authority from God and Priesthood as Brigham Young did or Thomas Monson does.

Is that what you really believe? All these Churches are true?

I believe your example of a car is not a good comparison, for it is very easy for a Church or person to lose all power & authority, while still looking near perfect. In fact, I believe it's impossible to tell if a prophet is true or false unless one has the Holy Spirit. For they both look and seem and talk so good.

When Churches in the BoM went astray, like with King Noah, Alma had to completely repent and become totally righteous again before his Priesthood authority was restored to him, assuming he ever had any, or perhaps a resurrected being came down and ordained him with authority to start the true Church again, like happened with Joseph after an apostasy.

But one thing the scriptures say is that once a man becomes unrighteous, which doesn't take much, he loses all his power and authority to be a leader or pass on such anymore.

And the LDS Church does far more then 'preach' falsehoods, most, if not all, their leaders have either supported or committed the vilest of whoredoms.

Size or numbers do not make a Church God's, he can keep his Kingdom alive with just 1 man for awhile if he has to, according to Joseph Smith.

Just because the Bible seems to honor the 12 tribes or certain men, doesn't mean it's correct. The Bible has many errors, and if there is ever a contradiction then we go with what Christ taught, which is that polygamy is adultery (Matt. 19:9).

Why would Christ, Joseph Smith and the ancient prophets of the BoM say that polygamy was an abomination if it was ok for a few?

Prophets are not perfect and they often do fall and have fallen and lost their standing, especially for things like polygamy throughout the ages. But the translators of the Bible probably wouldn't have told us that truth, for most of them probably believed in polygamy, so they wrote in favor or it and as if those old prophets were still favored of God. I believe you assume to much in the Bible to be true and don't realize how it came to be and by whom.

Even Moses appeared to have weakened also.

I believe that when you hear both sides to the story, BY & JS's, it is very clear cut who was telling the truth, especially if you have the Spirit and are striving to possess true Charity, for without that we are easily deceived, Joseph taught.

Yes, I believe 'marriage' is the greatest test of our existence, very few can pass the marriage test & have true love & complete faithfulness for a lifetime for one person, even after they die and we are left alone.

I again believe that no church I know of today, is the true continuation of the true Church, though I do believe there are true prophets and disciples of Christ who walk the earth, they are rare but they know who they are and what they are to do and someday they will get together and form Zion.

Dale B. said...

Okay so you're essentially saying we are on our own, just as they were in the Dark Ages. If there are individual prophets out there, unconnected with any churches, they seem to be keeping a pretty low profile, so I don't see any basis for the view that they are "out there", unless you've had personal revelation to that effect. As for disciples, I suspect that there have always been disciples trying to act within the light they have been given.

But how does that fit in with the establishment of Zion? It seems pretty clear to me that we are living within a stone's throw of the last days. Where is the fulfillment of prophecies regarding the 'stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which fills the whole Earth'? A few scattered individuals and quiet-as-mice prophets do not seem a fulfillment.

I really don't know much about the doctrine of the Community of Christ denomination, but have always assumed that they pretty much adhered to doctrines and practices originating in Joseph Smith's day, although I understand they are distancing themselves somewhat from those ideas now. If so, what is your basis for rejecting their claim to authority? For my part I have always looked at the lack of a dynamic church as evidence that the fruits of the spirit of prophecy were absent. Ditto for the Strangites, if they are even around anymore.

Like it or not, the LDS church at least appears to be dynamic which is in consonance with what one would expect if you are trying to find a church which may fit some of the characteristics expected to fulfill latter day prophecy. In spite of it's apparent flaws, it still appears to be the only viable candidate on the field.

The Lord is fulfilling prophecy with modern Jews, who are surely in a fallen state. Could he not be doing the same with the LDS church? Even though the church in Christ's day was in an apostate condition, it still retained some legitimacy. Perhaps the Lord will simply call some prophets to call the LDS church to repentance when the time comes. As an institution, it may be corrupt, but that does not mean that the Lord does not recognize that individual members, like sheep, are still trying to follow the shephard. If the church was to suffer some serious setback which could humble both leaders and members, the church is capable of change, however reluctant. Perhaps, just like Thomas Jefferson, we are simply waiting for him to send messengers to effect that change and get on with his program.

If, as you suggest, there is no church with authority, then there appears to be no harm done by allying oneself with any denomination while waiting for messengers if that denomination helps keep you pointed in the right direction. As Rock aptly demonstrates, it seems possible to associate with LDS members and community even if your own brand of religion is much more personal; even when that effort is opposed strongly by the Church. Of course, by being outside the mainstream in a church which cultivates an atmosphere of conformity, you would sacrifice much of the community aspect which is normally a strength, but it might be worthwhile if just to be true to one's self.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dale B and Anon 23,
Let me just jump in here and say how much I am benefiting from both your viewpoints. Very stimulating!

I like the car analogy, and can see a benefit both in seeing a "car" that has been through a series of collisions but still remains essentially the same automobile; and also Anon's point that a car can appear in perfect condition and still be without power.

Anyway, good discussion, both of you. I myself don't know the answer to the "authority" question, but these kinds of conversations are what I had hoped to see on this forum. Great food for thought.

Dale B. said...

Thanks Rock for your willingness to host such open and honest discussion. My brother and his wife are now in the MTC and I asked him what he thought about some of these issues (Joseph Smith and polygamy, etc); his response was that "he stayed away from those areas" because essentially to start asking the hard questions is too caustic to one's testimony. I too, have spent much of my adult life learning to suppress doubts, concerns and questions, which for the most part, I have been quite successful at. In fact, like my brother, this may be one of the keys to being a "good" Latter Day Saint. But, as I pointed out to him, "it's not intellectually honest."

Many years ago, as a missionary, we listened to tapes of a convert to Mormonism who had discovered the Church by comparing it's doctrines to 14 points that he had culled from the Bible. Of course, that is essentially how any Christian denomination gets started; a student of the scriptures creates a new paradigm from his understanding of the scriptures that is different from other faiths and attracts a following.

What would such an organization look like in doctrine and structure in your view? For example, I've always been disappointed that the LDS Church gave up so easily on communal living. It seems pretty clear in the New Testament, the descriptions of Enoch's day and the BOM after Christ's visit that church members held things in common in some fashion. It seems like one of the hallmarks of true Christianity. In the New Testament, the Lord went so far as to kill members who did not give all of their property to the church when they said they would, so it seems an important principle.

How is it that the Amish seem to live closer to this ideal than members who have been enlightened by the true gospel? Even the FLDS seem to do a better job of it than the LDS. I know of many LDS who (I think) secretly long for a return to communal living, in spite of it's perceived difficulties. Today, many feel that there is "no way we could live it", but I don't understand why. Certainly, we won't get any better at it if we never attempt it; it will just remain a museum piece doctrine, but no part of a true and living church.

You have spent a lot of time figuring out what and how things in the Church today are different than when they were originally restored; What structure, if any, would you expect to see in the Lord's Church? Would it be made up of autonomous wards? Autonomous Stakes? Simply families? How often would they meet? What role would the quorum of the 12 play? How would they be called? The 70? Would there be any centralization at all or would each congregation be essentially left alone? After being indoctrinated all my life in the LDS corporate organization, it is liberating to contemplate how it could be different.

Do you have any ideas as to where the RLDS Church went astray? I have very little knowledge of their church. Other than non acceptance of Polygamy, I don't know much of their doctrine, but theoretically, it should be closer to the Pure Mormonism that you're striving for - except it appears to have drifted even further from the restored gospel than the LDS Church.

It's as though Joseph came down, stirred the pot, left the Book of Mormon and then he and the spirit caught the next train out of town and were gone, leaving a few empty shells. So, (since you like the analogy) here we are in the junkyard with a couple of nearly unrecognizable wrecks, without any engines and some with weeds growing out of the engine compartment. If we were to attempt to restore them, you have identified some of the blueprints, but what will they look like if they were fully restored? Will they ever run again?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dale, I'm afraid I don't know enough about the law of consecration or the United Order to offer much of an opinion; that's an area I I simply haven't focused much energy on but which I intend to study one day.

But I was surprised to learn from a friend that under the law of consecration, individuals still held their own property and owned their own things. I don't know how it works that way, so that's grounds for further research.

I would like to see local congregations operating with much more autonomy than they do today. John Dehlin has just posted a video presentation given by John Hamer over at Mormon Stories, and he relates how for some years after the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, the various branches scattered throughout Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Ohio continued to function quite well (remember, there were thousands and thousands of Mormons who did not choose to go west) even though the Brighamites and the Strangites both claimed competing authority as the so-called "leaders." These branches simply accepted visits from both "wings" as having equal authority; they didn't seem to care about the infighting. They just continued to be Mormons. Hamer has a facility for putting our early history in the proper context. Here's the link:

http://mormonstories.org/a-visual-history-of-the-community-of-christ-rlds/

Gary Hunt said...

Dale B.,

I hope what I have to say doesn't offend you, but I will have to burst the bubble of your communal living utopia.

1. The Law of Consecration and the United Order are two separate things. The first is God's law. The second was a vehicle adapted at the time to try and implement God's law.

2. The United Order was never intended to be "communal living". Joseph Smith made very clear that it was not a communal order and that it was an individualistic order. In other words no eating every meal at the community table. No communal ownership of property (the church doesn't own everything). Each individual has legal title to their possessions. No equal distribution of goods, no "if you want a new pair of pants everyone gets a new pair of pants" if approved by the leaders of the collective, etc.... The only thing that went into the Bishop's Storehouse was the excess beyond the family's needs and wants.

By the way the Amish own their own property individually and not collectively.

3. There were many experiments going on in Mormon communities, in Utah, to try and live the United Order. Orderville being the most famous. Brigham Young saw what other religions in the east and midwest were doing, regarding communal living, and tried to copy them. He was not following revelation, the scriptures or Joseph Smith's instructions regarding the United Order. To paraphrase John Taylor, it was one of Brigham's pet projects not revelation. These experiments failed because they were not following the Lord's instructions in the scriptures and Joseph Smith's understanding of the revelations given to him.

AK said...

Hello,

I have been reading several of your posts tonight and want to thank you for writing them. I appreciate your perspective. I just had a question (which maybe you've already answered in the comments here but there are so many to go through!)

I was curious about where you got this:

"That word is received by us in three ways:

1. Through scripture, where it is clearly specified as coming through revelation.

2. Through the witness of the Holy Ghost

3. Through modern revelation.

The Lord has very carefully placed conditions on how modern revelation is given and received. He placed these safeguards on the church so that we can differentiate His words from those of the prophets.

A revelation must indicate that it has come directly from the mouth of the Lord, for instance being prefaced with the words, "thus saith the Lord"; it will not contradict previously given revelation; it will not violate the doctrine of free agency; it must be written down; the people are to pray about it so that the Holy Ghost may witness to the people that these words truly are of the Lord; and finally the people, having had a witness from the Holy Ghost, are to vote upon the written revelation in conference as having come directly from the Lord and therefore is binding on the whole church."

I'm sorry if it's an obvious answer that I should know already as a member of the church. Thanks again for giving another perspective on many church issues, for voicing another side of the story.

Greg S said...

It follows right along with the worship of the state and its rulers. All people are conditioned to obey and submit to and not to question 'authority' these days.
Satan is so happy about this.

Anon 23 said...

Dale,

You may not ever see this, but in answer to your question about 'why not just stay in the Church for community' even if it is not true or does not have true authority or true prophets, I believe there is great harm to our Celestial standing in doing such.

For Joseph Smith warned us that we would be damned for allowing ourselves to be deceived to follow, support or go along with false prophets, especially when they teach and promote false doctrines and vile whoredoms as the LDS leaders have since Brigham and still do today.

We come under further condemnation if we allow ourselves to give sacred tithing (meant for the poor) to false prophets and imposters who will use most of it on themselves or other things rather than the fatherless 1st & foremost. We will share in the blame for the hardships that the fatherless have to suffer if we don't make sure 'all' our money (fast offerings & tithing) gets to them, until there are not more poor among us. Then we can think about using donations for churches & temples, true temples that is, not Brigham's false temples with his false ordinances and endowments & sealings.

So I believe there is great condemnation by staying in and supporting an apostate Church, despite how much they may claim to be or look like the true continuation of the original Church.

Alma & other righteous people had to flee the apostate Church of King Noah when they realized just how apostate & evil it was. It could not have been a good thing to stay with it.

I believe the LDS Church today is just like King Noah's Church back then, with all it's false priests and prophets living lavish lives supported by the poor while the leaders commit or support the vilest of evils.

I don't believe it will be overlooked on judgement day that we stayed and were deceived to support such evil and evil leaders, it's just far too blatant when you start to awake to it all.

Remember, Joseph and ancient prophets warned that we would lose our salvation just by being deceived to support evil and false prophets, we don't get a pass just by saying we didn't know. We are all able to wake up to our the awful state of the Church, if we are willing to. To stay deceived and in denial is a choice we will be accountable for.

If we are righteous and have the Holy Spirit as our guide we do not need a Church or leaders to lead us. We can, as the ancient saints did in Christ's day, meet in our own homes with family & friends to worship and study together and who give help the fatherless directly so they make sure it gets to where the Spirit tells them it's needed. There are many who do this and it works just fine.

The longer we ourselves stay in an apostate church with apostate leaders who have not real authority and who preach and practice completely opposite the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the harder & longer it will be for our children, friends & family members to wake up and see the light too.

True prophets continually warn us to wake up to our awful situation today. I believe staying in the LDS Church is like refusing to board personal life rafts & instead staying on the Titanic, a ship no one thought could ever sink either.

Clarisse McClellan said...

I'm SO late to the party. As a young latter-day saint with two very young children I've been contemplating the Church versus Gospel as of late. I suppose the Kate Kelly debauchle has lead me to Dehlin and Snuffer and Waterman and the like.

And while I've always been resistant to authority, I was always too afraid to resist church authority. And now I find myself at a church school with my education hanging over my head (if my bishop feels I am not following the church as I should, he pulls my endorsement...which has been threatened for little things like mentioning the Journal of Discourses in Sunday School...)

But I digress. Despite my position at school I am earnestly seeking answers to questions, and, above all, truth. I feel Rock's writings (as the ideas of those I mentioned earlier) have set me on a path to truth and happiness. For that I am grateful.

The last poster, Anon23, said, nearly 8 months ago, that the prophets of the church today teach the vilest whoredomes. Can you elaborate on that for me? Give me specific examples (other than polygamy, because that one I know)? I''m honestly interested.

Also, the question never was answered, if the modern LDS church has fallen away and does not have proper priesthood authority, why not join the RLDS church? Or leave the church altogether? It seems that anyone who shares Rock's views (or Snuffers) are just biding time until they are excommunicated (unless they meet in secret and keep their mouths shut in church).

As I'm learning and reading and asking more questions I'm filled with even more questions and concerns. And it makes me really wary of corporate church. But at the same time I feel fear. Fear that I'll be punished for not raising my children in the church. Fear that I'll lose access to the temple. Fear of losing my place in the Celestial Kingdom (and therefore my eternal marriage to my wonderful spouse). And then I feel like I shouldn't be feeling fear--it feels too brainwashy for me to be comfortable with.

Am I making any sense? I don't want to be nonsensical like Scatterbrain was (no offense meant).

If anyone is still active on this particular post, I'd love to hear thoughts and ideas and read suggested articles or scriptures.

Thank you, Rock, for fostering a place of honest, civil discourse, and a place where I don't feel like a diseased animal because I have questions.

Anon 23 said...

Clarisse,

2 Timothy says & I believe, that "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind..."

While it is good for you to be careful to not fall for falsehoods and make wrong choices, God does not expect you to automatically believe whatever anyone says or commands, even if they claim to be prophets, ancient or modern.

God has commanded us to 'prove all things' before following or believing in them.

I understand how you are feeling, I felt the same way as I was waking up. It can take many months or years to gradually learn enough truth and search out enough answers to be able to see how false and evil the Church is and to feel not only 'ok' leaving it but how very wrong it is to stay a part of it and support it.

I would recommend you not worry so much about making any huge decisions quickly, for God knows you need time to research, pray, study, question and learn the truth, before you know exactly what you are to do. Heavenly Father gives us the time we need and as long as we are sincerely searching for the truth he will not hold us accountable for not knowing more or for being deceived at present. For if we have a sincere heart, in time we will learn all things and have the courage to follow truth, no matter where it takes us.

The RLDS Church has no true Priesthood or authority either, nor does any church on this earth, imo. I believe we are back to square one, with just the Gospel of Jesus Christ that he left us which is all recorded in the New Testament. If Christ didn't teach something I wouldn't believe it. He said everything that needs to be said in order to gain eternal life.

You only believe in the LDS doctrines that have been added to Christ's words because you have been raised in it. But neither Christ, nor Joseph, taught about the temple the way the LDS use it, or about sealings, endowments, etc.

It is a false doctrine made up by Brigham Young that we must be married in the temple in order to have eternal marriages and families. (and I was married in the temple and was as true blue as anyone else, for 50 years)

But all (1st) marriages and families are eternal. It's impossible for them not to be. There is no way to keep anyone from knowing and loving their family members in the next life.

It is only the LDS Church that has taught that we must pay to have eternal families, when it has always been a completely free gift, for both the good and the bad.

But you will come to see this as you study the teachings of Christ and compare them with what the Church has been teaching all along.

Anon 23 said...

Clarisse, Continued -


And yes, polygamy is one of the many vile things the Church continues to promote, promise, preach and practice, if only 'serial polygamy' at present. But other evils the Church preaches and practices are divorce and remarriage (which Christ said was always adultery) and ignoring the fatherless and the needy, paid ministry, destruction of families by supporting and looking the other way as men abuse and abandon their wives & families, disrespect of the true equality & authority of women in church and home, just to name a few, as if those things weren't enough.

The Saints in Christ's day met in their homes with family & friends. We can do that too, and need to if we are going to protect our children and loved ones from false doctrines and false prophets. Christ gave us his full Gospel when he was on the earth, that is all we need. God gives every righteous person is power, Priesthood power, it is the power of true love, charity, which again is God's power. No man can bestow God's power, it must be earned, then God will grant us a portion of his power.

The LDS Church wants us to believe we are dependent on them for eternal life, nothing could be farther from the truth. But don't take my word for it, only believe Christ. Even Joseph Smith said to compare everyone's teachings, especially prophets, to what Christ said, and if they teach contrary or add to Christ's doctrines, then we mustn't listen to them, or we can lose our salvation.

Christ warned us of false prophets, learn how to tell the difference, learn how to discern charity, to tell who are the true followers of Christ, not just those who look good and seem good and say all the right things but do the opposite, like the LDS leaders do.

Anonymous said...

Rock, you said J"oseph Smith taught that the president holds the keys of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and can exercise those keys only when the lord sees fit to use him in that capacity."
Can you please provide me with that reference? Thanks

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous, I wish I had included the link to the source in my piece, because at the moment I don't recall off the top of my head. It was probably in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, but I don't know what happened to my copy for now. I'd look up Keys or authority in the index.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If anyone else knows the source, please let me know.