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Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read


One of the little ironies in modern church history was that In The Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Four, someone in the church hierarchy pulled a stunt right out of George Orwell's totalitarian novel 1984.

It was in October conference of that year that Elder Ronald E. Poelman of the First Quorum of the Seventy delivered an address that was hailed by many members as one of the best conference talks they had ever heard.

But the following month when those members picked up the conference issue of The Ensign magazine to read the text of the speech, they were baffled to find that the words on paper bore little resemblance to the televised talk they thought they remembered hearing the month before. What's more, anyone seeking the video record of Elder Poelman's talk would find that Poelman's segment had been pulled from the official Church archives and replaced with a counterfeit.

Thus one of the most interesting -and some would say most important- conference talks of the latter half of the twentieth century simply disappeared down the memory hole.

You'll remember that George Orwell first coined the term the memory hole in his novel 1984 to describe what became of information deemed unworthy by The Powers That Be. Whenever a particular truth interfered with the reality put forth by Big Brother, a new version of "truth” was created to replace it. The old evidence was dropped into a slot leading to a series of pneumatic tubes, “whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.”

What had once been common history gradually faded from the collective memory. Eventually it was forgotten altogether.

Something similar occurred with Elder Poelman's conference talk. Someone or some committee -we still don't really know who- consigned the original record to outer darkness and replaced it with some type of evil twin.

Video Cassette Recorders in the early 1980's could cost anywhere from 600 to 1300 dollars, and by 1984 fewer than ten percent of American households owned one. The number of Mormon households with VCRs at that time would have been minuscule. So unless you were one of those privileged few and you happened to use your machine to record general conference, you were not likely to ever see that conference talk again.


So What Was The Big Deal?

There was nothing unusual or radical about the talk itself, although Poelman did introduce some concepts that had not been openly discussed in the church for a while. The address contained pearls of pure Mormonism; treasures of truth that could just as well have come from the lips of the prophet Joseph Smith during a conference at Nauvoo. Church members old enough to remember how things were in the 1950's said that listening to Poelman's talk took them wistfully back to the days of President David O. McKay.

Elder Poelman began his talk by reminding the congregation that there is an important difference between the gospel and the Church. "There is a distinction between them which is significant", he said, "and it is very important that this distinction be understood."

Poelman cautioned that failure to distinguish between the two, and to comprehend their proper relationship, could lead to "confusion and misplaced priorities".

The gospel, he explained, is the substance of the divine plan for personal, individual salvation and exaltation. The Church, on the other hand, is the delivery system that provides the means and resources to implement that plan.

As Elder Poelman explained it, the gospel of Jesus Christ is eternal and unchanging. The Church of Jesus Christ is not. “Policies, programs, and procedures do change from time to time as necessary to fulfill gospel purposes.”

“When we understand the difference between the gospel and the church and the appropriate function of each in our lives, we are much more likely to do the right things for the right reasons.”

Elder Poelman admonished the congregation to remain mindful that every church member has not only the right, but also the obligation to exercise his free agency and receive a personal witness not only of gospel principles, but also of Church practices. “In response to study, prayer and by the influence of the Holy Spirit we may seek and obtain an individual, personal witness that the principle or counsel is correct and divinely inspired.”

Makes perfect sense, right?

Well, not to everybody.

Someone sitting on the stand that day was apparently not too keen on the idea of the common folk thinking about questioning Church practices.

But what really seems to have set off alarm bells among the The Brethren was this bombshell: According to Elder Poelman, the ultimate goal of each of us should be to eventually get to that point in our spiritual and intellectual growth where we will no longer need the institutional Church in our lives. Here is how Elder Poelman put it:

“As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered.”

Whoaaa, Nelly! Hold the phone and stop the presses!

Members of the church not needing the church? Who is this guy?!

If you had been one of the pontifical poobahs sitting on the stand that day overlooking the crowd below, I suppose I can understand how you might have thought Poelman's words bordered on heresy. You may have come to believe during your lengthy career of service in the church that you and your vatic brethren had the sacred responsibility of protecting the testimonies of those beneath you. People do make unwise decisions for themselves, after all. They do not always choose the right. Many members are new to the fold and should be fed milk before they are exposed to the meat of the gospel. They need looking after. They need supervision. They need to be taught to obey.

To most of us listening, Elder Poelman's reminder was consistent with what we had been taught all our lives growing up. Didn't Brother Joseph preach similar distinctions? Are we not on our individual paths to perfection? At some point in our progress shouldn't we expect to no longer require someone holding our hand?

Sadly, there have always been those in positions of authority who are suspicious of unsupervised freedom and see it as a dangerous thing. And so it was that within days of the close of general conference, when the tabernacle was pretty much empty except for a cameraman and a teleprompter, Elder Ronald E. Poelman of the Quorum of the Seventy was secretly escorted back to the podium and instructed to deliver his talk a second time. Only this time it wasn't the same talk. The text had been fundamentally altered to make it more palatable to the corporate Church.

Afterward, an audio "cough track" was added into the background to give the impression that Elder Poelman was speaking live before a full auditorium. This reworked video was then spliced into the existing conference record where it replaced the original, then it was filed with the Church archives. Copies were dubbed into foreign languages and sent to missions abroad. This new version was now the official truth.

Meanwhile the original, true, and accurate video record of Elder Poelman's conference address simply disappeared.

Vanished down the memory hole.

Except not quite.


Rise Of The Machines

As it turns out, there actually were a handful of church members here and there who owned some of those expensive video cassette recorders, and some of them had used their machines to record general conference. The disparity between the words spoken by Elder Poelman on their video tapes and the redacted text in the Ensign were glaringly obvious. They didn't match up at all.

Sensing an awkward controversy developing, Church spokesmen trotted out a statement to the effect that Elder Poelman had decided, on his own, to revise his address for purposes of clarity.

But few were buying it. Those who read the bowdlerized do-over in The Ensign could tell that it didn't clarify a darn thing. This re-edit of the talk entitled The Gospel And The Church was a rambling muddle of platitudes. Elder Poelman seemed to be saying the exact opposite in the text from what he had asserted from the pulpit.

L. Jackson Newell described it like this: "The text was not edited -his ideas were turned inside out.”

Indeed. Poelman's conference address, originally a rare and inspiring defense of free agency became "yet another cry for obedience.”

In recent years there has been a subtle shift in the way some in the Church hierarchy have come to view their relationship to the rank and file membership. The once pre-eminent doctrine of free agency has been, shall we say, “de-emphasized” in LDS teachings for almost four decades now. Joseph Smith's view that his role was to “teach the people correct principles and let them govern themselves” has been supplanted by the relatively new dogma that asserts obedience as the first law of the church. It goes without saying that we ought to render obedience to God. But more often than not these days what is expected is obedience to Church authority.

From "The Gospel And The Church" To "The Gospel IS The Church"
So it was that the entire meaning of Elder Poelman's inspired dissertation was palpably inverted. For example, in his original address, Elder Poelman declared that “it is not enough that we obey the commandments and counsel of Church leaders.”

That line was changed to “We should obey the commandments and counsel of Church leaders.”

Poelman's statement that “the orthodoxy upon which we insist must be founded in fundamental principles and eternal law, including free agency and the divine uniqueness of the individual,” became this:

“The orthodoxy upon which we insist must be founded in fundamental principles, eternal law, and direction given by those authorized in the Church.”

Every reference to free agency in the original was deleted except one, and that had been altered to imply that free agency is only effective under Church aegis.

The new version completely eradicates any distinctions between the church and the gospel. One would get the impression from Elder Poelman's new talk that the church and the gospel are one and the same. In the redacted version, allegiance to the corporation had become no less important than adherence to the gospel.

Happily, someone has now posted both the original and the revised texts of Elder Poelman's talk online, and you can read them side by side if you click here. All the changes, deletions, and alterations have been highlighted, so you can determine for yourself which version you feel was actually inspired from on high.

Also, thanks to someone on YouTube, the original address before the congregation in the tabernacle is finally available for viewing here and here. If you want to see the censored version, contact Church headquarters and ask to see the original talk. You'll be directed to the fake one.


The Cheese Man Cometh

How's this for a metaphor:

As I've sat at my desk this morning writing the words above, I've also been excitedly awaiting the arrival of a special visitor. His name is John, and he's my local UPS driver. I'm looking forward to John's visit because today he is scheduled to deliver me a case of cheese. Real cheddar cheese packed in tin cans.

Two weeks ago I didn't even know canned cheese existed, and if the reports are true, this variety of cheddar cheese is going to suit me just fine. People say it's firm and delicious like regular cheddar, and just like deli cheese it can be shredded, sliced, and melted. Best of all it can be stored almost indefinitely. I ordered this cheese because I love, love, love cheese; I eat it every day. If the day arrives when fresh cheese is hard to come by, I'll now have something other than a No.10 can of dehydrated cheese powder on hand. I'll be able to retreat to my precious stash of cheddar 'neath the stairs, thanks in part to the noble efforts of John the UPS guy. I can't wait until he gets here.

Now, it should be obvious that it's not really John that I'm excited about seeing today; what I'm all a-dither about is what he's bringing with him. When John arrives I'll answer the door and sign his electronic gizmo, he'll hand over the box, then he'll leave. He will be entitled to, and he will receive, my effusive thanks.

Every couple of months or so John brings me something. Sometimes it's food. More often he brings me books that teach me things I didn't know or hadn't thought about before. So I suppose you could say that in some small way I am indebted to John for my spiritual and intellectual edification. I like John. John and his wonder truck are part of an impressive system that delivers sustenance to me. But neither John, nor his truck, nor that system is the actual sustenance.

You would certainly think it odd if I were to fawn all over John and his delivery truck to the point of forgetting all about any package he's trying to hand me. Likewise I would think John a bit screwy if he were to hint that I should accept deliveries from no other source but him, or that I obey his pronouncements and follow his counsel because he is so adept at getting stuff to me. I greatly appreciate the role John plays in my life. But I keep that role in perspective.

So here's my point. As Poelman taught, the Church as an institution has a divine function. It provides resources and materials that edify us and enrich our lives. The intrinsic purpose of the Book of Mormon is to bring people to Christ, so by publishing and distributing that book, the Church is providing an incalculable service. The Church also manages a way for us to gather together as a community of fellow believers. Perhaps most importantly, the Church disseminates the word of God and boldly proclaims the gospel of the restoration.

The Church provides us with spiritual sustenance. But the Church is not the sustenance. The Church is merely the vehicle that delivers the sustenance. As Elder Poelman insisted, it is very important that this distinction be understood.

How often do we hear our fellow saints extol the virtues of The Brethren and remark upon what a blessing they are in our lives? It's been my experience that few of these adulators exhibit the same high level of passion for Christ and His gospel. They seem to have a crush on the delivery man.

I have remarked elsewhere on the curious practice a lot of members have of bearing testimony of the delivery system while virtually ignoring the plain and precious goods being delivered by that system. Or even forgetting to mention the name of He who is the source of all those goods.

The people of George Orwell's futuristic dystopia had come to believe that they existed to serve their leaders, rather than the other way around. They were not concerned that knowledge was being kept from them; their daily mantra included the slogan, "Ignorance is Strength". Some of these people would have been right at home with those among us who insist that "not everything that is true is useful".

All truth is useful to those seeking their way back to The Father. That is why we are taught that the very essence of eternal progression is to be ever increasing in knowledge. Ignorance is not strength, it is weakness. Ignorance is not power; Knowledge is power.

We Mormons are a peculiar people indeed. We join the Church because the Book of Mormon brings us to Christ. But once we are enveloped in the church we often allow our allegiance to be nudged ever so gently away from Christ and directed toward the institutions of men.

Update February 22, 2013:
At the time I wrote this piece, it was quite difficult to find a video of the do-over, though the text of both talks has been available for side-by-side comparison. Yes, it's odd, because the do-over is supposedly the "official" video. My guess is the news of its fakery has motivated the Church to keep it on the down low as best they could. But now eagle-eyed viewer BNI has located a video of the notorious fake that has been sitting on Youtube without my knowledge since June of 2012. When comparing it with the original, live version, you'll note that the background behind Elder Poelman is completely blacked out, while in the original, members of the Tab Choir can be seen behind him.  Here is that re-do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hWmp4ZCcM8
_

153 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I can't wait to read the comments on this one. While I was aware of the switch, I did not have access to the original. Thanks.

PS - I think you became a little melodramatic with the comparison to 1984 and the psuedo-worship of church leaders.

Anonymous said...

I remember this talk very well. Very well. I thought at the time, it was one of the best talks I'd ever heard. When I got my Ensign and saw that it had been edited, I was furious! I wrote a letter to Elder Packer with my objections and he wrote back and said that the edits were Elder Poelman's own idea. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe he was nudged a bit. But it still bothers me. I have Elder Packer's letter somewhere. annegb

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If you can put your hands on that letter from Elder Packer, I'm sure many of us here would love to see it reproduced here. Let me know.

Anonymous said...

Certainly my own exit from the faith (I was a convert) in the late 80's was partly due to my distinct impression that church leadership was clamping down on free thinking among the members. The day I was baptized, I promised myself: If ever this church causes me to lose my individuality, I'm out of here. Well, it tried and I did.

Gordon said...

Well said, Rock. I too, have had issue with the bearing of testimonies that illustrate members believing that the "church is true" without ever mentioning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This continues to drive me crazy every Fast Sunday. My wife always holds my hand firmly to help me keep my cool.Someone once told me "The Gospel is perfect, even if the church is not" Have we forgotten this fact? The church, as an organization, is operated by humans, and with that come all of the variables of human weakness and behavior that ALL of us possess to varying degrees. Given this, it is not wrong to scrutinize the things we hear from our church leaders despite the constant admonition to "follow the prophet" and our church leaders. When was it a good idea to blindly follow anyone or anything. Our Lord Jesus Christ even said "Prove me now herewith, whether the things I say are true" (approx. translation) when referring to things he said during his ministry, Knowing that - Truth always stands,in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

You're doing a lot of sarcastic mind-reading in this post, even going against evidence.

Anonymous said...

(And FWIW, I read this in Sunstone years ago... They published the whole thing.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Sunstone didn't published the entire talk, but excerpts from both the original and the redacted version appear in Volume 10 No 1. You may have missed my link to the Sunstone article above. To see it, click on the reference to the "cough track.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous,

I would appreciate being shown the evidence you claim I was going against above so that I can make any corrections.

As for accusing me of sarcasm: Who, Me?

DavidH said...

I disagree. I think the best conference talk people will never read is Stephen L. Richards' "Bringing Humanity to the Gospel," which so irritated someone that it did not make it, even in edited form, into the conference report at all. https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/015-43-46.pdf

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DavidH,

I just finished reading the talk you link to and I certainly agree it should be read by all members -and leaders! What a shame he had to approach with such trepidation the subject of being more Christlike within the Church.

My copies of Conference report don't go back to 1932, so I could not verify for myself that Richard's talk was indeed excluded from the record. I couldn't find it on LDS.org either, but then I can rarely find anything I'm looking for on that site. That search process could use an overhaul.

Thank you very much for bringing that talk to my attention. I think it is very valuable.

Anthony E. Larson said...

Insightful and revealing, Alan--especially the welcome sarcasim. Your UPS analogy is most appropriate and entertaining. I've certainly seen plenty of this attitude among some church leaders over my lifetime, expecially since I began writing. I call them "defenders of the faith." They are certain that their calling includes telling me what to think and how to behave. And while I've remained true to my covenants and active in the church, it has sometimes been difficult. My research into gospel topics has taken me far afield (www.mormonprophecy.blogspot.com). As a result, many have attempted to show me where and how I've "gone astray." They cannot understand that my testimony of the gospel has grown exponentially as a result of my studies while my appreciation for the church has grown but little. While I clearly see the absolutely vital function that the church serves, I see the pitfalls in believing that the institution, philosophy and teachings are one and the same. In fact, I was stunned to learn that most of my fellow Mormons did not share my enthusiasm for and desire to learn everything about the restored gospel. The vast majority were, and still are, content to do little more than review the most basic tenets of our religion, making no effort to expand their knowledge of the gospel. Therefore, I recognize in your observations and those of Elder Poelman what I have embraced for myself, and I applaud you both for taking that stance. I wish more Latter-day Saints were as well centered and discerning.

Rock Waterman said...

Anthony,

It is an honor to hear from you. I do know who you are, and have followed your impressive work for some time.

I was assigned many years ago to review your book "And The Moon Shall Turn To Blood" when I was writing for the Central Utah Journal. You never saw that review because the editor wouldn't publish it -not because of the content, but because I wasn't much of a writer back then.
At least I wasn't known for taking on serious topics. The editor wanted something with more zing -he said it read like a book report.

And he was probably right. Your insights were so new to me at the time that I just couldn't get a good handle on how to approach your book.
But it did leave a huge impression.

Few researchers diligent enough to plunge as far down the rabbit hole as you are rarely meet with the understanding of the average Saint. But you were my introduction to what a broad and fascinating ride the theo-cosmology of our religion can take those who seek for greater light and knowledge.

On my recent visit to Utah (about 3 years ago now)I only then discovered and bought "Parallel Histories" and "Revelations: The Plainest Book".

I'm honored that you have stopped by.

And now I'm on my way over to your blog, "Mormon Prophecy", to see what I've been missing lately.

Dustin Wills said...

Amazing!!

Anonymous said...

As an LDS convert and a gay man with a deep love of the Restored Gospel, I have only been able to maintain my testimony by separating the church culture (with all its psuedo-doctrinal cutural practices) from the deep nourishment of the Spirit. My personal sanity has been much improved by letting go of need to try and fit into a culture that is so suffocating (for me). The Temple has been my salvation. I drink deeply of its waters whenever I attend.

Rock Waterman said...

Well said, and thanks for your comment.

Ben said...

Uncle Rock, I really enjoy reading your blogs. They're always insightful.

Here's the deal: The Church will not change. It's led by people who like the way it is. Those people will become more and more powerful as the Church grows. They'll become more and more Pope-like as time progresses. Eventually, there will be a modern-day Martin Luther that breaks away from the central Church to go back to basics. It would be my opinion that the majority of members who are active are not interested in individuality and free-will.

I have a coworker whom I've attempted to engage in conversation about various topics discussed here. She is adamant that what she was taught was 100% right, and no amount of discussion will disuade her. Even pointing out the actual text that says her basic argument is flawed doesn't work.

In short, she has Religion. The LDS Church is no longer a church with a faith, it is the faith. You cannot separate them. The Book of Mormon is no longer the rulebook, it's the guidebook. The rulebook is written by whoever is currently in charge.

I guess it's gone from strict democratic to entirely republic. No more say from the people... seems funny that it's following the government's way of doing things so closely.

Rock Waterman said...

Ben, I too have noted that parallel. No one can deny that our government today bears no resemblance to that created by its founders. Similarly, the Church seems to have cut itself loose from many of the core teachings.

And I'm not talking here about polygamy; that was not a core doctrine. I'm referring to the pure theology that attracted so many people to Christ during the Missouri and Nauvoo eras. As I noted in my second entry on this blog, Joseph Smith himself wouldn't recognize this church.

And if Joseph Smith wanted to join, I'm not sure they'd let him. They sure as hell wouldn't give him a temple recommend.

Anonymous said...

These alterations bother me, but they do not distort the meaning of the talk as fully as you suggest. I would recommend that everyone that reads this post actually read the parallel talks linked above. Aside from the deletion of references to free agency, most of the changes really do convey the same substance but with a different connotative syntax

GayBob SpongeBath said...

WHAT?
I disagree with the above entirely. The changes do not convey the same substance at all, but turn the meaning of the talk inside out. How can you not see that? All you have to do is read the side by side comparisons as you suggest. The entire meaning is changed. It is clear as a bell. What kind of disinformation are you peddling?

Andrew S said...

I don't have much to say this time, but I will say this was a fantastic entry. Not only that, but the analogy with the UPS guy was just as great, making the entire analogy work.

Now, I'll have to go through this original talk (I never heard it because I wasn't *alive* back then.)

Jettboy said...

"Eventually, there will be a modern-day Martin Luther that breaks away from the central Church to go back to basics."

I'd like to see that. Really, I would. There are so many reasons that history has proven such movements are short lived or very small. Little "Martin Luther" back to the basics Churches have cropped up almost from the time Joseph Smith formed the Church with six members.

I contend that the first talk is false doctrine. The Gospel *is* the Church, although the Gospel extends beyond the Church. That is the whole idea behind the Restoration or one might as well be a Catholic, Protestant, or Rastafarian.

Dave P. said...

Wow, only a day late in reading this and there are already this many comments. This is the kind of discussion that I can eat up.

While reading through the actual essay I was reminded of a time I was taught either in my late teens in high school or my early 20s in college, but one of my teachers had mentioned that the only reason for the primary program's introduction was because the parents weren't teaching the Gospel to their children at home. Nowadays I see it as a bit of an indoctrination system to teach the cute little boys and girls to be good little Mormons and "Follow the prophet."

I'm treading on thin ice right here, but I can't help but shake the feeling lately that even the ordinance of the Temple Endowment has been partially hijacked when I think of the words related to the covenant of the Law of Consecration and the church today.


Jettboy,

If that's your reaction to a conference talk, I'd love to see how you'd react to Joseph Smith's Lectures on Faith.

To say the the Gospel *is* the church is false doctrine in and of itself. Did Adam, Noah, Abraham, and even Moses have "the church?" Remember that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever- unchanging- and the Gospel is His word and (literally) good news for our salvation. Because it is the word of God, it too is unchanging. To say that the Gospel = the church, all it takes is one citation of how the church has changed in many ways since its founding to say that the Gospel is a changing thing, that God Himself is changing, and thus ceases to be God.

A friend and I recently had a discussion on this: After the repeal of the 18th Amendment, wherein Utah was basically the final swing state, President Heber J. Grant basically decreed that the church membership was not allowed to sing "We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet" for one full year. What had the church members done wrong? A little research led me to find that Brother Grant was a leading supporter for the ratification of the 18th Amendment when he was an Apostle, but he was in no way acting in the role of his church calling. How much of his "decree" had been inspired by revelation rather than motivated by political leanings?


Brother Larson,

I hope to spend some free time this week following and reading your blog as well. It looks like there's a lot of catching up to do from the beginning.

Jammerwoch said...

One of the earliest articles on Poelman's "revised" speech was published in Sunstone magazine, Vol 10 Num 1 (Jan 1985). In it, Peggy Fletcher listed the changes side-by-side. My understanding is that her source was Lavina Fielding Anderson, then working as an editor with Ensign. Lavina was immediately fired (and later, in Sept 1993, excommunicated for writing about ecclesiastical abuse in the LDS church).

Although anecdotal, I have the following story first-hand from a friend who used to work for Radio West (a subsidiary of KSL) in SLC. After Spencer Kinnard, long-time announcer for Music and the Spoken Word, was ex'ed for adultery, my friend came to work one night and found all sorts of people in the normally empty building. Security was tight. He asked a co-worker what was going on, and learned that old broadcasts were being re-filmed to edit out Kinnard and add his replacement.

Although I was fairly active LDS at the time, it was a major cog dis moment for me. Isn't this the kind of thing that Stalin did to remove his rival Leon Trotsky from Russian history? And weren't the Communists evil--not the kind of folks we should be emulating?

Dave P. said...

That reminds me of another conversation with the same friend I mentioned above about a history professor at BYU who was told to only teach history that was "faith-promoting" (translation: makes the church look good) rather than historical fact when having to choose between the two.

The one who told him that: Boyd K. Packer.

Kent Larson said...

While I see your point, Rock, I'm not sure about the importance of bringing it up. The analogy of the cheese delivery is good and I have always been an advocate of testimonies being based on the Gospel and not on the people, you know that from my priesthood lessons, but to bring up this controversy seems to be going past proving the point of the importance of where we should anchor our testimonies and more about stirring the pot of controversy.

As always, your grasp of religion, philosophy, and literature are great and very articulate, but I'd only question if there was a need to try and give the Church a black-eye or to just expound on the need to not worship the UPS man.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Kent,

It's good to hear from you, old friend.

I believe your concerns bear a fuller response than I have time for at the moment. I understand your position, however, having held that position myself in the past. Perhaps I'll be able to address the matter in greater depth at a later time. Maybe in a full-length entry in the near future.

But the short answer is: I don't think I'm capable of giving the Church a black eye.

On the other hand, any institution, be it a government, Church, or business, is capable of blackening its own eyes whenever it engages in dishonest behavior in order to protect its own interests.

Some unknown person or group of persons slammed the church's face straight into a door when they engaged in altering sacred and essential truth spoken from the pulpit, and further blackened the image of the Church by doing so in secret with the hopes of not being found out.

Truth was withheld from the membership, and the spiritual growth of the membership was stunted as a result.

Moroni lamented that God's church in the latter days would be polluted from the inside. Jesus Christ gave us charge, through the words of Moroni, to be always on watch for signs of corruption within this very church. We were never told to sit back and let "leaders" take the reins from our hands with assurances that "all is well in Zion", nor were we were to accept the wholly unsupported contention that the leaders will never lead the church astray.

Is it not our duty as members to find those who would commit acts that blacken the eye of The Lord's Church and expose them to the light? Haven't the prophets warned that there will come among us wolves in sheep's clothing, all the more dangerous because they come clothed in the habiliments of the holy priesthood?

Defending the faith is a noble thing. Defending the corporate Church when it makes unauthorized changes to the faith takes us in the opposite direction.

Dave P. said...

"Moroni lamented that God's church in the latter days would be polluted from the inside. Jesus Christ gave us charge, through the words of Moroni, to be always on watch for signs of corruption within this very church."

Can I get the exact citation of those warnings, please? I want to be able to pull those verses out (along with the Savior's words that the elect would be deceived from Matthew 24/Joseph Smith-Matthew) when I tell them about people from within and without the church proclaiming to be false Christs (they can "save" the earth from global warming after all) and those who show "many signs and wonders."

Rock Waterman said...

Oh gosh, Dave, I'm not writing this from home so I don't have my sticks in front of me, but I'm guessing Mormon 8 around v 38, if memory serves. Also Ether 8 somewhere is similar,I think, but I'm not totally sure off hand. Moroni cautions us against subversion in society, government, and the Church.

Moroni has picked up the record where his father left off and tells those of us in the future who will receive the book that we have gotten too comfortable and allowed things to slide. "I speak to you as if you were here, and yet you are not", he says, and then "Why do you pollute the holy church of God?", I suppose if you were to google that phrase, you'd find the exact scripture. President Benson had a lot to say in that area, also you might find on LDS.Org.

Growing up, I thought that was directed at the medieval Catholic church, but according to Benson and others he's directing it at those of us who have "received" -that is accepted- Moroni's words in these last days. And you can certainly see it in context.

Dave P. said...

They are indeed verses 35-41 and serves as a direct warning to all churches, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so Moroni may as well be saying this at the pulpit of General Conference with everyone who normally sits on the stand sitting down with the general audience.

I especially love verse 38 wherein he basically asks, "Why do ye do all these things simply for the praise of the world?" And yes, there have been times where the church went into basically a complete panic mode over some issues and resorted to "damage control" in order to regain favor in the eyes of the world. The prohibition of beer in the early 20th century that you mentioned in that post is one, but another one that immediately came to mind is the coming forth of the forged "Salamander Letter."

Going back to the warnings foretold in Matthew 24 about many signs and wonders, I'm reminded of an incident that my D&C professor related that happened back in the 70s. If I remember correctly, a woman in the Provo area was simply hanging her laundry when a being of light who claimed to be Moroni appeared to her to deliver what became known as "The Sacred Scriptures." These contained Moroni 11-13, the Book of Shulemma, and several others that completely contradicted what had already been written and received. I forget the exact numbers, but I believe it was around 40 stake presidents, even more bishops, and hundreds of regular members within Utah were deceived by this. This is the exact same thing that happened numerous times in the early days of the church, and recorded more than once, when people other than Joseph Smith claimed to be receiving revelation and ended up drawing people away. But is this story known to the general church membership?

Moroni warns about secret combinations who seek to obtain wordly and political power in order to overthrow the liberty of all nations and it doesn't take a lot of searching to find out who those modern-day Gadiantons are because, like the Nephites in Nephi the son of Helaman's day, the people have accepted the wickedness of the Gadiantons to the point where they no longer had to operate in secret and could operate out in the open without fear of punishment under the law. Not to mention that several of those same elements had infiltrated the church at the time. Just look at the heated discussion that arose on your essays on not only the church's stance on war, but what the Lord has stated clearly and directly in the Doctrine and Covenants.

I'll be reminding people who talk about Moroni's warnings to the world in Ether chapter 8 to let them know about his warning to the church in Mormon 8, because one pattern I've noticed in the Book of Mormon as a whole is that the warnings and prophesies contained therein have aspects that are temporal and aspects that are spiritual, but not necessarily in the same chapter, or even the same book.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dave, you are indeed a font of knowledge and wisdom. Whenever I see that a posting here is from you, I get a little twinge of excitement, as I know there's good reading ahead.

I know that sounds hyperbolic, but it's true. Your contributions here are a blessing. Thanks for all of your informative posts, and please keep 'em coming.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Great post and great blog. I did a post a while back about what Joseph Smith would think about the modern-day LDS Church and it created some interesting discussion, including some comments from Anthony, whom I had never heard of before then.

Fabio Ferrari said...

Hi Alan,

I just landed on your blog thanks to a friend who, empathetically so, thought I would benefit from your writings. She was right! I can't wait to dig more into your other posts, in the meantime I would like to add my two cents on what you wrote.

Cent number 1. Just today, during my 10-mile run along the Hudson Riven in NYC, as I was listening to a Deepak Chopra audiobook, my mind began formulating the Orwellian comparison you describe so eloquently here above. A few hours later I was directed to your blog where you gave words to my thoughts. A mere coincidence? Not for one like me who likes Deepak Chopra.

Cent number 2. I really like your metaphor of the UPS delivery guy and your conclusion that the "adulators" among the members fold have developed a "crush on the delivery man" but I didn't seem to find in your piece another obvious (in my opinion) conclusion, which should say that the delivery man seems to have developed a narcissistic image of himself, and to such an extent that he believes that it is HIM (and not the cheese) that people should care about. In his attempt at keeping the adulations coming, he's been raising the standards of his service to stellar levels, while deliberately passing around a lower-quality cheese. In his narcissistic mind, cheese directly competes with his popularity.

Cheese lovers and connoisseurs like you, (the ones who read periodicals about cheese and appreciate the sharing of the good stuff with fellow cheese lovers) would instantly spot the delivered "fraud" and would call UPS headquarters to make a complaint. That's why, it is in John's best interest to keep as many consignees as possible in the dark, or the adulation (and corresponding corresponding tithing and blind-republican-voting) might drastically drop or, worse, John might get fired due to the growing number of complaints.

Please correct me if you think my conclusions don't really apply.

Fabio Ferrari

fabio Ferrari said...

One more Cent for you, Alan, (forgive me but three is a charm, always was, always will be).

What Mormons have a hard time keeping in mind (or admitting) is that, the same way God, on April 6 1830, chose UPS to deliver the good cheese, if John gets out of control, nothing stops God to go FedEx next time, leaving John and his defrauded consignees happy together (He's done it before...). ;)

Fabio

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Faithful Dissident,

I have heard of your blog and now that I have jumped over there to take a look I'm kicking myself for not getting around to checking it out sooner. That is some fascinating work you've done there.

Apropos of your recent piece, the late Samuel Taylor wrote a little fantasy about what it would be like if Joseph Smith attended a modern ward meeting. I link to it in my second piece here entitled "Joseph Smith Enters The Twilight Zone". You'll find it above if you click on March 2009.

Very soon I intend to devote an entire afternoon to reading The Faithful Dissident.

Dave P. said...

fabio Ferrari,

You are exactly right. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that the Lord will never remove the church from off the earth again, but rather the Priesthood in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.

All that's required is a reading of the Doctrine and Covenants to quickly learn that the Lord puts the church under condemnation more than once, usually for their own sins but most notably for treating lightly the messages contained in the Book of Mormon. It was President Benson who had to remind the church that it's not immune to that same condemnation a second, third, even fourth and beyond times.

Some people may try to talk about how the Lord refers to the "true and living church" in Section 1, but there's that pesky keyword "and" again. If the church dies from within, it takes the truthfulness with it.

You know what the great irony is right now? Not two weeks ago I began a new job working for the church and have been told several times that, "At least it's a place that will never go out of business." My response is to ask where that's found in the scriptures and am still waiting for replies.

Frank Staheli said...

If I have read all the comments correctly, I will be a minority of one in my stance. It is certainly interesting that Poelman's talk seems to have been changed. It would be very interesting to understand why, but I can see, from a clarity perspective, how the 2nd version of the talk works better. I wonder if perhaps those who don't like the 2nd version don't like it simply because they're sure that Poelman was railroaded into redoing it. Whether or not he was "forced" to redo the talk, I think the 2nd version is better.

Both talks are equally good, while the 2nd version would be less confusing to new members or those investigating the church.

Rock: You say that free agency has been de-emphasized in recent years. I haven't observed that. It is a bedrock principle of the gospel (I almost wrote "church" ;-0 ) Interestingly, when I search lds.org for "agency" in "General Conference" it returns 0 hits, but when I search for "agent" it returns hundreds, many of which include the word "agency". Also, both the old and the new version of the "Gospel Principles" manual discuss agency in some detail (old: chapter 4 only, new: in chapters 2, 3, and 4.)

I hadn't thought so much about the statement "the church is true" being wrong, but I see the point. It's the gospel that is true, although Christ refers in D&C 1:30 to the Church as "the only true and living church" on the earth.

I don't get the impression that President Packer and others think they are better than the lay members of the church as someone above seems to have implied. At one point I did, but 2 or 3 years ago when he spoke about how everyone is the same in the eyes of God, the spirit bore witness to me that I had been wrong to think negatively of President Packer in this manner, because he is not like that.

As a tangental note, I wrote on my blog (SimpleUtahMormonPolitics--http://economicspolitics.blogspot.com/2009/04/discussion-on-twelve-apostates-how.html) about the faux pas in the BYU Daily Universe a year or two ago wherein a picture referred to the 12 apostles as the "12 apostates". I thought it was funny, and I suspect that the 12 apostles did as well, but some of my BYU co-workers chastised me for (1) thinking that it was funny, (2) thinking that the apostles would think it was funny, and (3) writing about it.

I suspect that lay members of the Church are bigger sourpusses than the general authorities.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Fabio, you found my blog AND you are a fan of Chopra. "There are no accidents" indeed!

Your thoughts on the narcissistic delivery man are intriguing. Human nature being what it is, we would be remiss if we did not recognize that some in authority, yes even some (gasp) in the church hierarchy have been known to let the adoration go to their heads.

In my piece "How To Tell If You Are An Idolator" (have you noticed I like referencing my own work?) I link to a talk given by Boyd K. Packer entitled "The Unwritten Order Of Things". Brother Packer is very clear in his contention that the members are expected to do the bidding of their betters (guys like him).

Even the title of the talk betrays his belief that there is deference due the leaders and procedures that must be followed independent of any direct revelation from God. In his mind, the decrees of the leaders are not to be questioned by the masses.

The reason I take issue with many of Packer's unscriptural pronouncements is that the only thing that differentiates us from other faiths is that we claim we are led by direct revelation from God. Packer is willing to assume that revelation is irrelevant; what counts is deference to the higher caste. And he does seem to see the Church as having two separate castes; those who lead the Church, and those who are expected to sit down and shut up.

He is not the first to think that way. We still have the famous Bruce McConkie rebuke to Eugene England. "It is my province to teach to the Church what the doctrine is. It is your province to echo what I say or to remain silent."

The late and beloved teacher Eugene England was famous throughout the church as one of the most loving, humble, and Christ-like figures the church produced in this generation. The memory many have of of McConkie, on the other hand, was that of a bloviating pharisee best known for his open disobedience to the prophet David O. McKay.

Isaac said...

I was surprised to read about the redacted conference talk. The strangest thing about it is the cover up. Why go to the trouble to make it seem like it was always that way and never any different? Odd.


It might be that everyone has their own idea of what "the church" is. The church is a building down the road. The church is the people you know when you go to the church. The church is the leadership in SLC. And that could go on and on. One thing missing from the conversation so far is that the church is not only a vehicle for the message of the gospel, but the vital physical aspects of the gospel as well. The priesthood was restored before the institution of the church was chartered. Some people might say that the priesthood is "the church," but that would mean they would have been restored at the same time. They are clearly not the same. The authority to administer ordinances is a necessary function of the institution we call "the church," and is the main reason why we meet together at "the church." The ancient church faded because of a lack of this authority, and as Dave P said previously, we've been told that won't be the case again. But when you find priesthood authority, you find an organization, with a few possible exceptions, such as Moroni wandering in the wilderness attempting to avoid being killed. He was alone, but that doesn't mean his priesthood was revoked.

Anyway, my point is that I don't think the condemnation "the church" is under for ignoring explicit warnings will result in a total overhaul and removal of "the church," or a transfer of authority to—just for example—a Buddhist monastery. There will be twelve apostles around until the second coming. The institution isn't going anywhere, but that's not to say there can't be any shakeups (the nature of which I can't even begin to imagine).


One thing I like to try to do—and one reason why I like to read Rock's blog—is try to separate cultural influence from doctrine in my own thinking. The predominant culture in Utah, just judging by my limited time there at the end of the last century, is obviously full of major problems, and seems to produced surface Mormons, or cultural Mormons, or whatever you want to call them (and it should be noted that the Utah culture has great influence in far regions, like southeastern Washington). This is a problem, but that culture shouldn't be considered doctrinal. Suits and ties, special haircuts, certain colors of shirts, green Jell-O, political opinions, etc are obviously not doctrinally based. This is not "the church." The priesthood keys and the authority to administer priesthood ordinances in an organized manner is the church, and anything else is either a bonus or an annoyance, depending on your view. Participating on these ordinances is the fullness of the gospel, and that is why we need the church.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Frank, I agree that not only was the blooper you refer to funny, but I'm also with you in believing the apostles themselves probably found it funny, too.

And most astute of all is your observation that it is often some of the members who are most aghast at what they see as disrespect to authority more often than those in authority themselves. There's that "Should we be laughing at this?" thing going on.

I learned of this first hand years ago from an LDS comic who did impressions of Spencer Kimball, Paul Dunn, Legrand Richards; all the prominent GA's. As I documented previously, there were quite a few rank and file members who thought that what he was doing was terribly disrespectful of the Lord's Anointed.

But then he was asked to perform at a social function for the apostles and their wives, and those dignitaries fell all over themselves with laughter. (Except, if the report I heard was true, Bruce McConkie, who found no humor in the mans' impression of himself.)

Paul Toscano once said something to the effect that individually The Brethren are among the finest people you could ever want to know. But when they get together they take on a corporate mindset, and the life, preservation, and perpetuation of the corporate church takes precedence over all.

Thus the Church's obsession with its image, and the lengths it goes to protect and defend its image at the expense sometimes even of the truth.

I'll tell you why I think Poelman's original talk is the best, Frank. It comes down to, as Poelman said, the importance of knowing the distinction between the gospel and the church. Without that understanding, people are inclined to worship the Church first and Christ second.

One reason members are having some of the problems they are today is that distinction is not widely understood.

Personally, the second talk doesn't do anything for me, but you are not the first to tell me he prefers the revision. Clearly there are others like you who are more than fine with talk number two. Perhaps I should go back and take a second look, leaving behind my prejudices, and see what that second talk has to offer.

Isaac said...

Produced should have been produce, and on should have been in. That's what happens when you type with a baby in one hand.

More on (the original) topic, withholding information from someone is an indication of a lack of faith in that person. You'll probably recognize the worry of a new member or investigator "finding out" about some tidbit or other. Is it because we aren't sure ourselves, or is it because we think the other person is too weak minded to handle it? I make an attempt to never lie to my kids about what goes on in the world, because I know that they will be able to handle that information, even if it takes some extensive explaining on my part. I try to have faith in their ability to make good choices and understand the world through a gospel lens. I think the same should go for people in the church (wait, is it people in the gospel? Dangs!). If there is information to be had, let's have it, and if it causes someone to doubt the truth of some other point of doctrine, then that's up to that person. Hiding the truth always looks suspicious, and it only serves to keep truth from people who can use it. I hope that makes sense.

Dave P. said...

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

- John 8:31-32

These two verses just took on a new meaning for me. Isn't the Savior also saying that, so long as we are His disciples, not only shall we know the truth of the Gospel, but also the truth about anything? Haven't we come to learn the truth about Elder Poelman's talk simply through our investigations into the pure doctrine of Mormonism and grown in faithfulness as a result?

There are several more examples that I can think of in the temporal world right now (the fraud of global warming, the identity of the secret combinations Moroni warned us about in Ether 8, etc.) but if I begin going into detail, I'll be late for work.

152 said...

Now if I understand correctly . . . if I love reading your posts, it would be incorrect for me to start worshipping you(?) Well shoot, I'm going to have to get rid of 12 candles and a life-size cutout I made of your picture.

Frank Staheli said...

Rock: I'm not surprised that McConkie wouldn't have had a sense of humor.

As I read your response to me, it occurred to me that the main reason that version #2 of Poelman's talk appeals more to me is because I had read/heard version 1 first. In other words, had I never read or heard version 1, I would have missed a great deal and not even known it. So I'm glad that wonders of technology can make both versions available to us.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

152,

No, no, no!

I'm afraid I have not made myself entirely clear.

Those who currently have a section of their homes set aside as shrines for the worship of me personally, are to continue that practice and change nothing except that henceforth the candles should be embedded within open cans of cheese.

Also, send me a copy of that life-size cut-out. Mine are all gone.

Dave P. said...

Sorry, Rock, but open containers of cheese never last long at my house, courtesy of myself and the dog.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Okay Dave, in your case, you can exclude the cheese. But don't scrimp on the candles.

Dave P. said...

I also forgot to ask: Where are you ordering that cheese from? I think I'd like to try a little myself.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I put links to at least a couple of places within the story there; The best price for my location including shipping was from MREDepot.com

Anonymous said...

Alan

This 'cover-up' or censorship almost makes me greatful that I was excommunicated. You may recall Brother George Rauch in the Anaheim ward. His lies to the Bishop about me were believed until he left the church to be in porn films or some other such lifestyle choice. The apology I received came a bit late for my taste. I am doing fine as a Methodist.

Hope your family is all well.

best
richard

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Richard, who are you?

Clearly you are from my home ward in Anaheim, but I can't venture a guess as to who you are. As for George Rauch, I've been wondering about his whereabouts for many years. Do you have any leads on him?

It doesn't seem likely that given his age at the time he was inclined to enter the porn world. I bumped into him once when I was working at Disneyland and his work with the city had brought him backstage to work on some electrical power source. I remember introducing his former wife to the world of Young Special Interest dances, a society I was then involved in (At 26, I was becoming too old for Young Adults). Kind of weird seeing as I used to babysit her kid.

Wait a minute! I think I DO know who you are, Richard, and I've been searching for you forever also! Please contact me at RockWaterman@gmail.com

ldsanarchy said...

You posted a link to your blog recently at the Three Watches blog and I followed it over here. I'm glad to see another Mormon blogger tackling what I consider to be important issues.

Concerning this post: A friend of mine always watches conference from recorded video. He never reads the Ensign version because of changes that may be made later. Although he never told me why he does this, I suppose it must be the Poelman affair.

LDS Anarchist

Stephen M (Ethesis) said...

Glad to see this linked to in a post of yours at FMH.

You need to submit another guest post, this time for Wheatandtares.org

Tee Rock said...

Allan,

Do you have a copy of the Poelman talk??? Could you email it to me???

KUATO said...

I have an interesting story to add. My sister's ward has just replaced their entire primary leadership because none of them were able to praise Jesus, who was the year's point of focus. All were inclined to praise the Brethren. At least I can be happy that they were released.

Kenmeer livermaile said...

"Aside from the deletion of references to free agency, most of the changes really do convey the same substance but with a different connotative syntax."

Whoa, that's a mighty powerful spin recycler you got there.

"...with a different connotative syntax."

That's like calling a pretzel a bagel with an added twist and extra salt. It's not totally untrue but I like to think one recognizes when B has been substituted for A.

Anonymous said...

What do you hope to achieve with this article?

Anonymous said...

I was at BYU for that conference talk, and remember sitting in my living room with my roommates watching this talk and it created quite a stir---for years afterwards, that catch phrase "The Gospel is true, but the Church is not" was thrown around by me and my friends. I never knew of the Church's underhanded scuttling of the original, and always felt a respect for Elder Poelman . . . and since he caved in to the "corporation" and the "pontifical poobahs" as Alan Waterman calls the general authorities, I now have a bit less respect . . . too bad that free agency and personal revelation has be relegated to the scrap heap of LDS doctrinal history.

Anonymous said...

Come on now. This one is little. Do faries have pink or green wings? You could spend your time on that. I found out that "faries" aren't real...took me a while. Free your minds. Look at the LDS religion with the same eye you would any other belief. You will see it is in line with faries. But of course, the fear will most likely keep you believing.

CheeseHead said...

I have to tell you about some really awesome cheese. I also have an unhealthy love for it. When I was in graduate school I worked for a USDA research facility located at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. The university has a creamery named Ferdinand's and they sell some really REALLY good canned cheese. The Cougar Gold is AMAZING. It's like Vermont White Cheddar. I also love the Garlic Dill and Sweet Basil flavors. The Crimson Fire is OK, but I prefer a good Pepper Jack. I've never tried the Viking or Smokey Cheddar. But I'm sure they are great. I get this cheese for my dad for Christmas every year. It's really good stuff. I hope you get a chance to try it. It is a little spendy. But the cans are pretty big... about the size of a coffee can in diameter. So it's not like you're paying $18 for 2 ounces of cheese. http://cougarcheese.wsu.edu/

Anonymous said...

Sometimes people don't even realize what they are saying when they say, "I know the Church is true." I think it is important that we give them a chance to understand and then possibly make the clarification between the Church and the Gospel. "I'm sorry, did you say, 'I know the Church is true,' or did you say, 'I know the Gospel is true.'?" could be a kind way of showing that you make the distinction, and would like to know which one the speaker means.

Anonymous said...

I loved this, I live in Utah county and struggle immensely with BYU culture and the church vs gospel topic. I think you are on the right track absolutely however i wonder where you're going with this? I'm sorry, i'm a little slow, but the comments here have confused me quite a bit, You are obviously a member of the church still and have these beliefs, yet it seems like some these comments are now attacking the church. Like a pot ready to boil over we see the growing angst people have in the church, about issues like this. yet i wonder if we are breeding a rebellion against something that is good. I must admit sometimes i feel as if trusting the church is wrong, yet not trusting in something is just as wrong. God is a god of order, and i feel as if without that order we go into chaos. Are we suggesting that anarchy is the answer?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I shy away from the word "anarchy" simply because the meaning of the word means different things to different people. I reject chaos and disorder, as I reject the absence of government altogether. God is a god of order, after all.

We are commanded to govern ourselves first, and if this dictionary definition of anarchy is what you mean, I suppose that would be my position as regards the Church:

"Anarchy: A theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society."

Here's where I'm coming from: I believe we were meant to be guided by direct revelation from God. Some revelation is personal, some is disseminated institutionally, that is, from God through a prophet who relates God's words to the people.

Any Church policy, program, or decree that does not come directly through revelation should be examined, evaluated, and checked for consistency with previous decrees, and most importantly one should seek a witness from the Holy Ghost.

You mention the angst some people have in the church. I think this is a direct result of so many not being able to separate the church from the gospel. When they do understand the difference, they see more clearly and are more apt to stay in the church rather than to give up in frustration and leave as many have in recent years.

Many of the LDS Church's programs are good;at least benign. But I see a tendency among many members toward the assumption that every opinion of certain men comes from the mind of God, and my intent here is to simply remind others to stop a minute and make sure.

To place the Holy Ghost and the scriptures in second place to a general authority is not the way the Lord intended His church to function.

"Prove all things," Said Joseph Smith, echoing the words of the apostle Paul, "Hold fast to that which is true."

Anonymous said...

fallofreynolds.blogspot.com

Humorous, incisive, true.

James said...

Love the post!

Satan in the Church?

Joseph Smith's Inspired Version Bible quotes Moses's description of satan's philosophy of redemption as being removal of free will that not one church member may be lost!:

3:2 And he came before me, saying, Behold I, send me, I will be thy Son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore, give me thine honor.

Reading your post reminds me of satan's statement and desire to dictate man's worship in a way not good for men. To gain strength a baby must first scoot, then crawl, eventually walk before it can run. Remove the babies choice to do either results in the baby not making mistakes, therefore the child does not learn to be strong, but instead learns to be weak and codependent and a victim.

James said...

P.S.

As an RLDS member I've sat in several LDS services. People standing up saying " they know the church is true " bugs the heck out of me also! For myself it's to pat a statement. Like it's a set up, or somebody is trying to convince themselves.

My father was an alter boy for the Episcopal Church. My father was converted to the RLDS Church at a camp fire one night. As my father died when I was 12, I cannot accurately remember the whole story having been told it at so young an age. But I remember the punchline!

Only that as the group around the campfire began to pray, he looked up and saw the prayers of the Saint's ascending toward heaven.

Myself? I've stood before the congregation and given them words as the Lord hand fed them to me to say. I had no notes,no pen inked into the palms of my hand as to what to say. Just pure power directing me what to say. Later after the service, I was physically shaking and weak, and very worried I had done right by Jesus, hoping I has said everything as He wanted and directed me.

I was directed by the Holy Spirit which woman to pursue as a wife, we are now married! Ironically she was not a member of the Restoration movement at that time. She is now! In prayer one evening arriving home after a 10 hour car trip to see my bride to be, in prayer to the Lord about if we should be married, I heard an audible voice say, " she will be your wife!"

I know God is real, so real that He degrades Himself, stooping so low as to deal with a poor, corruptible, reprobate person as myself. Yet He does! And I love Him for His mercy which I do not deserve as I am as nothing compared to He.

This is how I know something about the Restoration Movement is spiritually right.

But to say a church is true, without giving the Spiritual reason why one believes that way, is like handing a person free car keys,but not giving them the car! Meaningless!

Anonymous said...

Poelman, then Packer...
<Did Packer just 'clarify' his remarks (Gays), or, was his talk Juiced?

inquiring minds Want To Know...

DaneM said...

Hello, all. This is my first time posting here, so please go easy. :-)

I'm a semi-regular reader and commentator on the Mormonism Investigated blog, run by Bobby Gilpin. I am a devout member of the LDS Church, but I have taken some great exception to the behaviors that have necessitated such practices as redacting these materials mentioned above. I wrote a (very lengthy) explanation of WHY the Church leadership would bother with such a distasteful task as this. I've notice that a lot of discussion has been given to how "bad" it is that they did so, but not much real discussion about WHY they did so has seen the light of day. Here is a good-sized dose of it:

http://mormonisminvestigated.co.uk/2011/03/01/elder-poelmans-conference-talk/#comment-695

(Replies and my responses follow.)

Enjoy! :-)

DaneM said...

ACK! I posted the link to one of my later posts, rather than the one I had intended to give you. Here's the REAL link:

http://mormonisminvestigated.co.uk/2011/03/01/elder-poelmans-conference-talk/#comment-691

Now, enjoy. :-)

whitehusky said...

//“As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered.”//

No wonder the talk was pulled. It's the gospel that is important. The church is just there to support it. Yep. The bureaucratic crazies went haywire over that, I'm sure.

Better be careful. Thinking that the church is above the gospel is where apostasy starts. Just look at what the Catholic Church did with such a notion.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dane, thanks for posting that point of view.

Anonymous said...

whitehusky,

While I acknowledge the pageantry and showmanship of the Catholic church may be viewed as placing the church above the Gospel, the Catholic theology is extremely Christ-centered and the liturgy of the Mass is totally directed towards the celebration of Christ and the Atonement. They emphasize obedience as much as the Latter-day Saints but the obedience they advocate is usually justified and centered upon Christ. It has been 30 years since I left Catholicism for Mormonism and I have definitely seen a difference in LDS culture whereby we give heed to the Church leadership in our words and thoughts much more than we focus on giving heed to the Saviour in the same manner. Just compare how many times in conference you hear references to the teachings of other General Authorities rather than the direct teachings of the Saviour. It is disconcerting at times.

Anonymous said...

[I actually saw this on the web! Darren]

Banned Utah Humor !

(1) Three levels of LDS heaven: celestial, terrestrial, cholesterol !
(2) LDS houses are painted by Ladder-Day Saints.
(3) Brigham Young, when looking down on the Salt Lake Valley, said "This is the place." How come so many folks settled in that valley if he looked down on it?
(4) Did Adam Swapp get his wives at a Swapp meet?
(5) New Mormon cat food: 9 Wives !
(6) What's a plastic covered Indian? A laminated Lamanite. Of course I've known this since I was Nephite to a grasshopper.
(7) Mormon: Someone who is more man than woman. Is "Mormon" short for "More Money"?
(8) Mormonism teaches that we can know truth if there is a "burning in the bosom." Joseph Smith was the first Mormon who had a bosom below his belt !
(9) Brigham lived in the Lion House which helped him to keep on Lion.
(10) Utah is the only state where you can spell "Moron" with two m's. And it's the only state where the sheep take care of the cattle !

(Glenn Beck, Jon Huntsman Jr., Warren Jeffs, Thomas Monson, and Mitt Romney did not approve of the above humor.)

trojan said...

where can I view the redacted video version of the talk? i can't find it online.

whitehusky said...

//Just compare how many times in conference you hear references to the teachings of other General Authorities rather than the direct teachings of the Saviour. It is disconcerting at times.//

Yes. It's that kind of thinking that leads people to the blatant error of following after men's thinking instead of accepting the Lord's wisdom. I can't tell you how many arguments I've had with Mormons online who insist that they don't have to accept that Jesus Christ is the Most High God, because, fortunately for them, they don't have to go by scripture; they can just regurgitate something someone else appears to have said.

Then heaven forbid that you should suggest that a Mormon who doesn't know Jesus Christ is the Almighty is more clueless than actually Christian. You'll be told you're offensive and banned from the site.

doyle_megan said...

I think too many Mormons are just lazy. They'd rather fit in with the crowd than seek out the Lord for themselves. I say this because no one would ever say Jesus is a "spirit child" if they knew the Glorious Lord who gave them being.

whitehusky said...

I certainly think there are too many Mormons who think opinion counts as much as (even more than) the word of God. That is not the case. It's the word of God that matters.

So if someone believes something that does not agree with what the Lord says ... it's not going to help that person to insist and argue and fight over the issue. The Lord is always right.

And yes, he's our Eternal God, unchanging and without beginning or end of days.

Unknown said...

I keep running into Mormons who think they know everything but they haven't even bothered to study it out, let alone ask the Lord. They just go by hearsay. "I've always heard ..." or "The prophet says ..."

The other day I was discussing the creation, when a fellow Mormon stopped me and told me I was wrong. I stopped her and asked her point blank if she had checked with the Lord on the topic.

"Well, no," she admitted.

So I told her to check with him and then get back with me.

I also suggested she could at least read Genesis again before she makes snap statements like that.

I'm sure it's been ages since she's even looked at Genesis.

Adam said...

I love this post! ive been reading this blog for hours now after i found it today! I am so glad that there are other mormons out there who think the way I do about the LDS church

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks, Adam! It makes me happy when I hear of new people discovering this site for the first time. Welcome aboard.

There are a a bunch of us who love the gospel but believe in keeping a skeptical eye on the corporate Church. Check the section on the right "Blogs I Think Are Worth a Look" For more opinion sites like this one.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI:

Brother Poelman died at age 83 this past Saturday - http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52965492-78/poelman-lds-lake-salt.html.csp

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for that info; I hadn't heard.

Erin said...

Both versions of the talk are true. Sometimes we are just not ready for certain things as a whole people. I trust the prophet with all my heart to know. I trust the Lord to teach me anything that I need to know if for some reason human judgement keeps me from hearing something.

I have read similar things as the first talk from our more modern teachers. Elder Bednar has certainly taught some of those things.

Prophets in the Book of Mormon were often counseled to hold back words and teachings from people. Not because they weren't true. But for reasons only the Lord knows.

Commander Gidgiddoni said...

It's funny how we only apply 1 Ne 13:29 to the changes in translation of the Bible but not to these types of things that you have mentioned that the LDS chuch has done. Here's the scripture:

29 And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

Anonymous said...

Not to be harsh, but it seems like they changed the talk for those with your line of thinking. The point he was making was missed in your excitement over the idea of Orwellian machinations and the possibility of a church leader urging dissent. The reality is something much more mature.

In his original talk, he is saying that our testimonies shouldn't be dependent on church programs, or even on Sunday School every week. Rather, it will be our own personal testimonies of Jesus Christ. To say that he was inferring we don't really need church would be erroneous. The Sacrament is as necessary as almost any other church practice.

Also, by talking about praying for confirmation about directives from our church leaders or about their posts in general, he is asking members to strengthen their belief that they were called of God, not to undermine their authority and cause dissension. It's the same idea of praying about the prophet, asking God if he was divinely called. When I do that, I would be awfully surprised if it was revealed he was a phony — rather, we ask for a witness that a prophet is called of God to strengthen our faith so that we can follow his counsel, instead of merely relying on a logical chain that he is called of God (If the BofM is true, then God called JS. If God called JS, then God called......)

It's lamentable that the text was changed. Personally, I like the ideas he was putting out there. But after reading your article, it must be painfully clear why it was done.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous,
I did not imply that I thought Poelman was saying we would no longer need the church community or the church programs, but that we would get to the place where we no longer needed the institutional Church(TM) to hold our hands.

I don't concern myself with whether or not the president is THE prophet. Instead I eagerly look for revelations to come from him in order that I can then read and pray about those revelations to ascertain through the Holy Ghost whether those revelations truly come from God.

Absent any declared revelations, praying to know if a man is a prophet is useless. We're all prophets. At least we're supposed to be.

Anonymous said...

yes, I felt exactly the same!

Anonymous said...

Hey I stopped reading after you wrote that the talk was about the gospel and church ; Donald Hallstorm recently gave a talk in the April 2012 conference about the distinction of the gospel and the church , I am confused atm did Hallstrom copy this guy or is the church just recycling old talks and if so then is the conference not "inspired"

Anonymous said...

I was going to comment with my feelings on your article but then I got a stupor of thought

(only half sarcasm :P)

Anonymous said...

I don't mind when mormon jokes (even fairly offensive ones) as long as they're funny. Yours are... not remotely funny, sorry

Anonymous said...

If you're getting into arguments with anyone online about anything remotely meaningful, your not going to have productive conversation... just saying.

Anonymous said...

Just because we have heard similar principles before doesn't mean someone can't be inspired to teach those same topics again. Various talks apply more or less to me personally depending on what is going on in my life.

Anonymous said...

If he wanted to change it a bit so be it. What a waste of time for all of us commenting here and reading this. I should spend my time more wisely by reading the numerous talks that were published. And this certainly isn't the best conference talk I have ever read which is obviously what lured me here.

I'm Anonymous, too! said...

correction: the best talk you NEVER read.

Anonymous said...

Feel ripped off. Did a google search for the best conference talk ever and got this garbage.

GayBob Spongebath said...

Damn Google.

Anonymous said...

A link to the original video

http://mormonexpression.com/2011/01/18/104-poelman-conference-talk/

Anonymous said...

The video that is on the church's website is an obvious "re-do". I wonder what his thoughts are about the editing.

Anonymous said...

Editing conference talks after the fact, is done all the time. It is neither new or mysterious. When considering a world wide audience sometimes they may want to tweak how things are perceived. Meh--doesn't bother me.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If you consider what was done to that talk to be mere "editing" or "tweaking," then we may need to change the definition of those words.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If anything close to what was done to Poelman's talk is "done all the time," I'd sure like to see some examples.

Jake said...

And yet Spencer Kinnard's name is still on the credits every Sunday morning that I've watched MatSW. Weird, huh?

ruthiechan said...

Hi Alan,

I am sure you know this but just in case it got missed, in the last conference a distinction between the Church and the Gospel was made. We've even discussed it in Relief Society.

Here is the talk: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/converted-to-his-gospel-through-his-church?lang=eng

Also here is something that By Common Consent mentioned on the topic, even quoting the "evil" Boyd K Packer who was distinguishing between the two. http://bycommonconsent.com/2009/03/16/being-active-in-the-gospel-vs-being-active-in-the-church/

Gary Hunt said...

Alan and ruthiechan:

I have a relative who was at the tabernacle when they were re-doing the Elder Poelman talk. This relative recognized the talk, because they always kept very detailed notes of the conference talks. They had really liked the original talk, so they took notes and went back home to checked their current notes against the notes they had kept of conference and realized major changes had been made. I think the original talk was more correct doctrinally.

My wife brought to my attention that at the last conference they had made some distinctions between
the Church and Gospel. Perhaps the Church (PR Dept.) realized that, because of public demand, they had to bring this concept back in. Who knows?

Anonymous said...

Great, simply great!

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

http://thevoiceofthewise.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-works-and-designs-and-purposes-of.html


Zion and Jerusalem, January 15, 2013

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1)


This discourse is addressed to ALL OF YOU, but more particualry to the Idolaters and Adulamites; and principally to all the Apostates and dissenters of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints. Hear my words and give heed to my speech for the LORD has spoken it saying:

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1 - 4)


Brethren, is this:

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read

Anonymous said...

Say what?

Gary Hunt said...

Bro. Rodriguez:

In your "discourse" you start off using pejorative terms like "ALL OF YOU", "idolaters", "Adulamites"(sic), "Apostates" and "dissenters", to describe the people on this blog. Then you quote a scripture, then ask a question. Quite frankly your comments are very disjointed which causes confusion.

Let me attempt to describe what I think you are trying to say. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

You think that the people on this blog are plotting to overthrow and/ or frustrate the works of God. In my opinion this is a false assumption on your part. In fact I think the opposite is true. I think most people on this blog want to get back to the plain and simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of us are old enough to have experienced changes of doctrine and principles in the Church. In other words, what we are taught today, in some instances, is opposite of what we were taught in our youth. Which one's right?

The scripture you quoted says that "God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round." Another scripture says "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:33). Why are some leaders in the Church today teaching concepts contrary to what has been taught before? The people on this blog are trying to deal with these inconsistencies, because they know God is consistent and is not the author of confusion.


Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

You may have missed the train or you were lost in transaltion…Is not the purpose of the gospel to deny yourself and all your filthiness including your name and identity and take upon you with real intent the name of Christ and be one with him? You never converted. You came into us but you were never from us, but a cake not turned. If there is no need of a shepherd and a fold, or a church to make of us Shepards like unto the master Sheppard, what’s the point of going to a University to get educated to become what? Have you also forgotten that faith comes through hearing and; how are we to believe in him whom we have never heard? And how can that happen unless someone is sent to lets us knot that he is who he says he is? I hope is not too late to return to the true fold, get away from this filthy site and or shun it because this guy here is a ravenous wolf who is building the foundation not only for his but for you destruction.

Apparently you cutt off yourself from the church and saved us the trouble before you were turned over like a pancake. Now unless you repent and amend yourself in dust and ashes you will toast your way out to outer darkness where there is only crying, anger and gnashing of teeth. Here is a life line if you are brave enough to take it, for even in wickedness there are souls to rescue. Come follow me, says the LORD, get turned over before you get hewn down and toasted....

http://thevoiceofthewise.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-works-and-designs-and-purposes-of.html

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1)


This discourse is addressed to ALL OF YOU, but more particualry to the Idolaters and the Adulamites; and principally to all the apostates and dissenters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hear my words and give heed to my speech for the LORD has spoken it saying:

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1 - 4)


Brethren, is this:

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

Its an irony that you still call yourself a Mormon. There is no MORMON in you. You are a child of the devil your father. What has the old man Packer done to you? Why are you persecuting the prophet and stoning them? Better pray that he never finds that letter and post it to bring harm to the old man and further demonize the church because it will be like fuel to fire for you. Have you forgotten the scripture that says touch not my anointed and do no harm to my prophets?

Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

(Old Testament | 1 Chronicles 16:22)


For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

(Old Testament | Isaiah 9:5)


There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

(Old Testament | Ezekiel 22:25 - 27)


Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

(New Testament | 1 Peter 5:8)

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

If the church is true, the gospel is true, is not this a given. The gospel can exist without the church but only in the wilderness for a very short time. And where are you standing? Is not that a Sandy Hook foundation of destruction when the floods, the rain and the winds blow? Perhaps you missed the part that we are to build our faith in the foundation of APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, being CHRIST the chief cornerstone. If you reject the foundation and withdraw from the priesthood, then how can you stand the tempest? Answer me, who do you think is the church, the leadership or you? By condemning the church you are only condemning yourselves. For the Gospel is our nursing father and the church is our nursing mother. Most of the time I eat my fathers cooking, but only when we are hunting for souls. If you are tired of milk and honey here is some onions, meat or bacon as you asked for it. I solemnly prophesy in the name of Jesus Christ that you will not like it.


http://thevoiceofthewise.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-works-and-designs-and-purposes-of.html

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1)


This discourse is addressed to ALL OF YOU, but more particualry to the Idolaters and the Adulamites; and principally to all the apostates and dissenters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hear my words and give heed to my speech for the LORD has spoken it saying:

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1 - 4)


Brethren, is this:

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

Hold your peace, I have gioven them some meat to these devouring beasts. Check it out.

http://thevoiceofthewise.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-works-and-designs-and-purposes-of.html

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1)


This discourse is addressed to ALL OF YOU, but more particualry to the Idolaters and the Adulamites; and principally to all the apostates and dissenters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hear my words and give heed to my speech for the LORD has spoken it saying:

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1 - 4)


Brethren, is this:

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

My coptic INTELLECTUAL friend Charles Anthon Larsen, who is fading like a flower or like an old garment in a furnace like the ancient drunkards of efraim that drank all kids of spiritual wine to fall bakwards, be taken and rise no more. You are praising the wind like those of whom LEHI spoke that departed from the Iron Rod and went on to forbidden paths in the midst of darkness. For darkness covers the earht and gross darkness your mind. How come you do not prais this or that insight?

http://thevoiceofthewise.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-works-and-designs-and-purposes-of.html

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1)


This discourse is addressed to ALL OF YOU, but more particualry to the Idolaters and the Adulamites; and principally to all the apostates and dissenters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hear my words and give heed to my speech for the LORD has spoken it saying:

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1 - 4)


Brethren, is this:

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

I see an Idol for Ido worhisppers. What will you do when the moon turns into blood, when the earth reels to and for and the sun refuses to give off its light? Whether in life or in in death I am going to tell you.


And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

(New Testament | Revelation 6:15 - 17)


But that is only wishful thinking for you must face in your filthiness the justice of God unless you speedily repent and amend your ways.

Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned. For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence. But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.

(Book of Mormon | Alma 12:13 - 15)

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

AMAZING APOSTASY!!!


http://thevoiceofthewise.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-works-and-designs-and-purposes-of.html

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1)


This discourse is addressed to ALL OF YOU, but more particualry to the Idolaters and the Adulamites; and principally to all the apostates and dissenters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hear my words and give heed to my speech for the LORD has spoken it saying:

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1 - 4)


Brethren, is this:

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...


Is not us, it is the Knowledge of sin and the laws of GOD that suffocated you. But that suffocation will turn eternal unless you fully repent and amend your ways. The relief that you now have is only a temporal convenience, for the fire speedily approaches. There is no pseudo doctrine in the commandments. You never discovered your true power and potential as a holy Nazarene for as long as the LORD required it from you. It was never meant to be a permanent contrition. Consecrated virgins, Nazarenes and eunuchs have place on high better than that of sons and of daughters. It would have been better for you to remain neutral than to have taken the forbidden path. Because you did not like women that was not a given that you had to like men. By takig that path by the pressure of the world, by ignorance or by your won free will and choice you crossed the line like any other idolater or adulterer would do. We have great need of people like you in the kingdom of God under heaven. Have you not read the scriptures?


For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

(Old Testament | Isaiah 56:4 - 7)

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!

Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!

Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!

Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!

And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.

Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
\
Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 28:18 - 32)

Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

Are you talking about me Jettboy? If you are be careful you are going ahead of yourself.

No, sir, I hate divisions and branching out. sir it is better to keep a fortress that to retake it. It is easier to clean up and set in order than to destroy and make anew? What do you think I am doing here in this site? I am cleaning the skid marks my brethren left behind, overthrowing their walls and their watchtower. This is the rough work with a large broom. It is a good practice before the finish and detail work. Have you not read what Isaiah Said?

For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

(Old Testament | Isaiah 28:27 - 29)


Here is the scoop….


http://thevoiceofthewise.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-works-and-designs-and-purposes-of.html

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1)


This discourse is addressed to ALL OF YOU, but more particualry to the Idolaters and the Adulamites; and principally to all the apostates and dissenters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hear my words and give heed to my speech for the LORD has spoken it saying:

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1 - 4)


Brethren, is this:

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read





Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

What if the devil comes and feeds you what you do not wat to eat? Then when you die you are susprised becasue you did not meet expectations by finidng yourself in hell? If you liked that analogy it profited you not, you easily fell for a bile lie. True knowledge hurts and pierces the soul to the very center, but it does not kill or send the souls to hell unless it is rejected.


http://thevoiceofthewise.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-works-and-designs-and-purposes-of.html

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1)


This discourse is addressed to ALL OF YOU, but more particualry to the Idolaters and the Adulamites; and principally to all the apostates and dissenters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hear my words and give heed to my speech for the LORD has spoken it saying:

THE works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.

For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 3:1 - 4)


Brethren, is this:

The Best Conference Talk You Never Read







Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez said...

Jett boy, you are in the large and spacious building Lehi talked about. I came to rescue you. Get out of this elevator quickly. I will not tell you this if I had not seen it goind speedily down to hell. Just imagine an elevator in a free fall from a 666 floor. The next time you get into one elevator in any great and spacious building, you will remeber me and the words of Enos that say:

And there were exceedingly many prophets among us. And the people were a stiffnecked people, hard to understand.

And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. And after this manner do I write concerning them.

(Book of Mormon | Enos 1:22 - 23)


Gary Hunt said...

Bro. Rodriguez:

Yesterday (January 16, 2013)when I read the comments you made at 4:29pm, I did not realize that you had started posting multiple comments at 12:38pm. Twelve previous ones to be exact. I have a few more comments to make regarding your sadditional posts.

1. Most of the people you viciously attacked have experienced, what is termed ecclesiastical abuse. This abuse came from their Church leaders and fellow "saints". I as well as my family, friends and many other aquaintences have experienced this same type of abuse. When they tried to resolve these issues, through the "proper channels", they are told by their higher ranking Church leaders that they, the members, are wrong and that their leaders (the same ones that had abused them) are right, and that they need to shut up and stop being a trouble maker!

2. Just to be fair to you, yesterday before I made my comments, I visited your blog to try and better understand your perspective.

3. What I found was consistent with your rantings and ravings here. These rantings and ravings are that of a religous zealot armed with a little knowledge and a very poor understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a very dangerous situation because of the spiritual damage you can do to others as well as yourself.

4. You endlessly quote scriptures which have very little or nothing to do with the point you are attempting to make. This is why I said that your comments are confusing and disjointed. This to me is not "the voice of the wise". May I suggest that you go online and look up "Logical Fallacies". You use a lot of them. I will give you one example. You use what is called "Ad Hominem Attacks". This is where you attack the person and not what they say. This is demonstrated in the fact that you call people names such as "You are a child of the devil your father."

5. You claim to be a prophet and can prophesy in the name of the Lord. You use inflated language which you have stolen from scriptures which I beleive you are using to inflate your own ego. This, to me, is very prideful and the sign of a false prophet or in other words a fraud.

I hope you take the opinions I have expressed seriously and ease up on your harsh judgements of others, because...

"For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged:and with what measure ye meet, it shall measured to you again." (Matt 7:2)

Gary Hunt said...

I want to apologize to everyone on this blog who was attacked by Bro. Rodriguez.

Apparently after posting my response (January 15, 2013 at 11:33 PM) to his comments (January 15, 2013 at 4:29 PM), he started attacking many of you who had left comments. His attacks (12 posts total)started with Rock Waterman at 12:38 PM (Rock's original post was February 13, 2010) and ended with Jettboy at 1:32 PM (Jettboy's original post was February 14, 2010).

He may have done his attacks anyway but I think I may have triggered him. Again I hope you accept my appology and will forgive me.

Sincerely,

Gary Hunt

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Gary, I think Brother Miguel triggers himself.

I was not planning to respond to any of his comments, but I can't resist responding to this one demand:

"Answer me, who do you think is the church, the leadership or you?"

Well, me, of course. And everyone like me, according to the word of God, who tells us in D&C 10:67 that His church is made up of all who repent and come unto him.

God certainly never indicates anywhere that the Church consists of the leadership OF the church. Indeed, in verse 68 he appears to insist that anyone attempting to apply such a definition does not belong to Him.

Anonymous said...

Dude you are loco! You could care less for your fellow man.

John said...

Thank you Miguel Angel Tonico Rodriguez. This is the best response I have ever read. Let your testimony be read by all.

Captain Mahonri said...

You seem a bit overwrought, Miguel. Can I get you something? Perhaps a nice cup of Christ's overflowing love to offset all that anger you have against your brethren?

You seem to favor the arm of flesh over the doctrines of Christ, Miguel. You might want to take a deep breath and try communing with Christ. Try doing it calmly, so as not to wake the neighbors.

BNI said...

You can compare them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hWmp4ZCcM8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcM7koDc-jg

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thank you for providing those links, BNI. Video of the do-over has not been easy to come across, and I see it was just posted June of last year.

Readers will find that in the re-do (the first link above) Elder Poelman is speaking in front of a completely dark backdrop, while in the video that was actually taped live, the choir can be seen behind him.

Anonymous said...

It is really getting annoying reading you constantly posting - it doesn't change anyone's mind & they are ignoring your comments. You are one who is pushy here, Mich. Get a life.

Frank Staheli said...

Rock:

Poelman's talk was given during a time of great strain for the LDS Church, its leaders having almost been duped by Mark Hoffman's salamander letter and other forgeries. It's likely that this "siege mentality" contributed to the ill-advised "editing".

It is interesting that in the Priesthood session of the April 2013 LDS general conference, President Dieter Uchtdorf made a statement very similar to one that was excised from Poelman's original talk.

Here's a part of what Poelman said originally:

"Sometimes traditions, customs, social practices and personal preferences of individual Church members may, through repeated or common usage be misconstrued as Church procedures or policies.

Occasionally, such traditions, customs and practices may even be regarded by some as eternal gospel principles.

Under such circumstances those who do not conform to these cultural standards may mistakenly be regarded as unorthodox or even unworthy. In fact, the eternal principles of the gospel and the divinely inspired Church do accommodate a broad spectrum of individual uniqueness and cultural diversity.

The orthodoxy upon which we insist must be founded in fundamental principles and eternal law, including free agency and the divine uniqueness of the individual."

And here's what Uchtdorf said very similarly in April 2013

"We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.

It also contradicts the intent and purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ, which acknowledges and protects the moral agency—with all its far-reaching consequences—of each and every one of God’s children. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are united in our testimony of the restored gospel and our commitment to keep God’s commandments. But we are diverse in our cultural, social, and political preferences."

I WONDER if Uchtdorf recently read Poelman's original. ;-) It's unfortunate that someone in the LDS leadership felt the need to require the changes to Elder Poelman's talk. I'm glad the original is now available, because it does comport with what other leaders of the Church then (i.e. David O McKay and Hugh B Brown) and now (Uchtdorf) teach.

isaacblackwrites said...

First off, just playing devil's advocate, Pres. Hinckley gave a talk where he laid out the priorities for saints: 1. God, 2. family, 3. church, 4. country. I thought it was significant that, for one, he didn't conflate God and church--something I was sensitive to at the time--but that he also ranked church third on the priority list. But this talk didn't have a whole lot of impact, at least in my experience.

Secondly, the distinction between the gospel and the church actually has a lot of traction. Tell someone that you have a tough time going to church because of how insular, self-righteous, and wholly deferential to authority the average mormon is, and you will invariably hear a defense of the Church that distinguishes it from the "culture," which is the same thing to my mind. What I'm saying is that the separation of Gospel and Church is not that radical and pretty well-accepted among faithful mormons. And while I really appreciate the intent of Elder Poelman's talk, I think it's a false distinction. The Gospel has everything to do with dealing with other people, and dealing with ward members in Sunday school or homeless people on the street or your coworkers is all part of that. The distinction between the Gospel and the Church seems to fit in with an individualist, transcendentalist strain of thought, while LDS doctrine has always been thoroughly collectivist, like it or not.

Anyway, creepy post. Good digging.

Gary Hunt said...

isaacblackwrites,

Good comments. I think of the church as a vehicle and the gospel the road back to God. Ultimately we all have to travel this road (gospel) under our own individual power. We can offer a helping hand to others but we can't carry them. It's a straight and narrow path. Buses will not fit on the path.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to say a word about the conference talk--I was out of the church then and didn't see it. But I can tell you, as an aged person, that your info on the availability of video cassette recorders and tape recorders is totally wrong. I got my first cassette recorder (audio only) in 1967. It wasn't terribly expensive; about $30. People I knew were buying VCR video recorders in 1979. Many would only record 2 hours. I got my first one in 1981; it recorded 6 hours. The technology was among us and being used daily.

ParadoxNOW said...

Miguel, I think you'd better read my blog. It's written just for arrogant ignoramus' like you: http://theantianti.blogspot.com/2012/04/no-fanaticism-no-apologetics-full.html
Read it until you believe it.

Anonymous said...

Damn you're an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Hey Miguel Angel Tinoco Rodriguez here's a news flash for you. It has never been the "the works, and the designs, and the purposes of God" to make his children (humans) loath themselves for guilt so that they desire to "deny yourself and all your filthiness including your name and identity". That is what humans, children of God feel like when influenced by evil entities.
If you picked up that idea by following the teachings of the LDS church.....well I guess you did.
Now to the rest of the readers which might have a shred of objective thought process left I hereby submit Exhibit A and rest my case.
Get out of the man controlled and SLC based portion of the GACD.

Muccavwon said...

I don't know how recently they started putting up video with the conference talks, but I noticed it today. And the first thing I checked was Poelman's talk. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1984/10/the-gospel-and-the-church?lang=eng&query=poelman Check out the nice visual @ 4:56! (It's the same video you have linked at the end of your post.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous,
Well sure, cassette recorders were available, but not many people set their little portable tape player in front of the TV to record all the sessions of conference. For one thing, sound distortion was terrible. There was no way in those days to patch a sound cord directly into the TV, so not many did it.

VCRs existed, as I said in my piece, but in 1984 they were prohibitively expensive. Your average family did not own one. Even later, when video stores began to crop up to rent videos, most everyone had to also rent a machine to play their tapes on.

I think what I was getting at here was that SOME members did own some of these new-fangled devices and put them to work recording conference. I don't think the Church leaders who re-recorded Poelman's talk had thought about the possibility of exposure from home video devices.

Steve Florman said...

The re-do video, as noted by the last commenter, is on the Church website along with the revised transcript. As much as I cringe at the lds-mormon.com website sometimes, I'm obliged for the link to the original talk. (I was not a member of the Church at the time it was given.) I do think that President Hinckley and President Monson have been more open in recent years than some of their predecessors, and perhaps Elder Packer's influence is waning along with his health...

Have you read Prince and Wright's "David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism"?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Yes, Steve. I highly recommend that book to everyone.

Anonymous said...

LOL!

Anonymous said...

Interesting, I had never heard of any of this before.

I can see how church leaders would be wary of some of Poelman's statements. That said, if a member of the church essentially transcended the need for church programs they would still need to participate in said church programs. In those scenarios the transcended member would simply move from the demand side of church programs to the supply side.

Valariel said...

Actually Anon, I quite enjoy MATR bringing in all these wonderful scriptures! They cause me to pause, to ponder on the Word Of God, to have compassion for any and all who are lost and confused (which, is all of us), to change my behavior and thinking to come in to focus with God, and to Thank the Father for sending a voice of warning to me so that I might repent and come to Him.

Haha, besides, why get so upset when this world is upside down anyway, and most of what we know is wrong? Most times, the very scriptural defenses we spout are the ones that condemn us. Attacks and rebukes from any source ought to be carefully considered and humbly believed. Christ works with those who consider themselves fools. So, if you can, don't be upset; let the attacks that assail you come into your heart and change you for the better; return love to them that smite you.

May your broken heart warrant you the grace neccesary to enter His Kingdom,
Valariel

June said...

I don't know if this is when they first started having a "dress rehearsal" for conference or not. But I heard a long time ago that they have a run through to make sure the timing of conference as a whole is correct. That would give them access to each speakers content and be able to change whatever things deemed necessary. If you believe this is the true church and the prophet is really a prophet of God, these things shouldn't be such a big deal. They are our leaders and in communion with God and Jesus Christ. He ultimately is in charge of all. Stop looking for faults and let the spirit of truth acknowledge truth.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

June wrote, "They are our leaders and in communion with God and Jesus Christ."

This was clearly the case with Joseph Smith, as he reported his experiences meeting God and Jesus Christ, and wrote down the many revelations he received from on high. But your statement about the present leaders assumes facts not in evidence.

When I was growing up in the church, I was taught that you could tell a prophet by his fruits. What fruits do we see today? What evidence do we have that the current leaders are in communication with God and Jesus Christ, as you assert? Have any of them shared any experiences that would provide that evidence? Or do we assume that simply because Joseph Smith had specific gifts, those with similar titles have those gifts as well?

Elder Poelman's talk was bowdlerized because he taught truth that conflicted with the opinion of someone in high office. He taught that the Church leadership was not as important as the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that our goal should be to one day get to the place where we no longer need those leaders holding our hands.

Someone in a position of authority did not like being told he would become obsolete.

Anonymous said...

I abandoned the church after my mission and went on a personal spiritual oddysey of sorts. It took me 15 years after that to learn the stuff Elder Poelman was talking about the HARD way on my own.

If "The Man" had taught me that important bit of profound wisdom instead of trying to hide it from me, my life would have been very different, and I wouldn't have quite as many scars today.

It's a bit ironic to think, but an "unacceptable" talk from the 80's that miraculously made it to 2014 despite the best efforts of the "Bretheren" (and they probably had good, if not misguided intentions) might be the thing that brings me back.

I think someone in the church office building seriously miscalculated the ability of the members to grasp higher spirtual concepts. They are still running a "law of Moses" type church when so many are ready for "Jesus type" spirtuality.

Thank you Alan, this was inspiring!





K. Oakes said...

Thanks for posting this. I've always suspected this behavior from the LDS church and I've seen the shift just over the last 5-10 years to emphasize personal agency less and less. I've also had some serious self-doubt and family/friend conflicts because of notes and things I had from conference talks that were later altered in publication. (No one believed me! And, worse, I didn't believe myself!)

Again, thank you for blogging this. It has helped me grasp some closure in this matter.

Clarence Snickers said...

The redo is actually available on lds.org under the section general conference of october 1984.

Paul Engemann said...

As a 26 year old and a returned missionary, I had been struggling with my testimony and had become somewhat less active. I went to my Stake President (a family friend) and poured out my heart to him. He counseled me to "leave show business" and told me that I would find happiness if I did so. I found that advise absurd, as the Lord had given me a talent and I had used it for years to earn a living. Additionally, my entire family was in show business and had achieved great success in that business.

I determined that I would not follow his advice. I also determined that I would return to full activity and go "all in" because I felt so unhappy living any other way than fully living the gospel. I soon met my future wife, fell deeply in love, got a contract with a major record label and felt entirely blessed, happy and right with my Savior.

Shortly after this, I ran into my Stake President in the foyer of the chapel at which I attended the singles ward. It was the 80's and I was dressed as a young, fashion conscious person of the 80's might dress: unconstructed suit, high collar tux shirt with a pin at the collar instead of a tie. I was with my beautiful bride to be. I felt so full of the spirit and was so happy to see this man and tell him how my life had been blessed. I eagerly approached him, held out my hand and exclaimed "President _______, it's so nice to see you!" He did NOT take my hand. Instead, he simply asked, "Brother, where is your tie?" STILL without taking my hand, he turned and walked away.

I was immediately FURIOUS and hurt. I couldn't take the sacrament because of the feeling of humiliation, anger and, frankly, hatred I felt towards this man. It was at this point that, gratefully, I had an epiphany about the relationship of the Gospel of Christ to the Church and the fallible men that run it. I am so grateful, these 30 years later, that I decided that my testimony was of the Savior and of the restored Gospel of Christ . . . and NOT of the CHURCH or the fallible men that run it. The gospel is perfect. The Church is the body that has been placed on earth to disseminate the gospel. The only instruments to which our Father in Heaven can turn to run the Church are imperfect men who make mistakes. I believe in the priesthood. I believe the gospel was restored. I am a faithful member. I also KNOW that we must not confuse the culture of the Church with the Gospel of Christ nor blindly follow fallible men.

Anonymous said...

You mention difficulty finding the revision. And then you updated to indicate a link to YouTube. It's been some time since the original post or the revision, but I had no difficulty whatsoever finding the revision listed and presented in concert with other General Conference talks as listed on ldd.org

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/conferences?lang=eng

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hey, Hi Paul!

I don't expect you to remember me, but I bumped elbows with you a time or two back in the day. I was on the periphery of Utah show business myself back then. Went by the name of Alan Rockwell, if that rings a bell.

My wife Connie recorded a jingle (at Osmond Studios, I believe) with either your wife or Karl's (I can't remember her name).

It was some kind of promo for the Ronald Reagan campaign with the lyrics, "The eagle ain't no chicken."

Good to hear from a voice from the past.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I've been reading this blog a lot over the last few days and it has given me a lot to think about. I found your blog because of the recent events in the media.
I too have longed for new revelation during conference talks. Even so, I do come away from conference feeling inspired, and wanting to become a better person, which, ultimately, is the point.
I will confess that my favorite part of conference is the music. Mack Wilberg's latest arrangements are always a real treat.

Anonymous said...

Well, I enjoyed the talk on youtube, and can see the need for discussion about it and the implications that come from alterations to it. This comment, though, is about your analogy about the cheese and the UPS guy. Some posts above seem to be enamored with the description and supposition that the UPS guy and the church act out similar roles; I am not. Your focus on the cheese is, in my opinion, correct, but your characterization of the UPS guy, a person who has nothing to do with the cheese, has no real association with the cheese, and no knowledge or authority to even talk about the cheese is akin to the church (and its leaders) is incorrect. It does not align correctly even if you downgrade much of what the church does. The church exists for the members and to assist (as Elder Poleman suggest) and help us along our path to living the gospel and returning to God. Every single person who receives cheese or any other package from John needs john in exactly the same way. Every single member in the church is in a very different point in life and on the path. The church cares about the gospel, john prolly does not even know there is cheese in the package he delivered to you. Some may need the church and its leaders more and some may need it less. Therein Elder Poleman is correct. Therein your example is incorrect. You may say this is nitpicking, but if you do, you do not know as much about the gospel as you think you do. I have been the sole authority and the person responsible for the church and its teachings in two different countries. I have nurtured souls in need of learning the basics of the gospel and the organization delivering the gospel. I know its foibles and its problems (people-especially me) and know that without the church it cannot be stood up and those who are supping from it would go without. What you are talking about, and what Elder Poleman was addressing was very high level stuff. I have no problem at all with him saying it, him saying it in conference or it being discussed even in a gospel principles class. It is regrettable that the "people" of the church did not trust all members of the church population to be able to absorb it. However, you may need to burnish your analogies better before your next blog.