Thursday, December 19, 2013

Year End Odds & Ends

Previously: The Book of Mormon Bait & Switch

With December winding down, instead of posting one of my usual themed articles, I thought I'd just make a couple of general announcements, cover some updates and other scraps of information, and generally weigh in on the pressing matters of the day.

Announcements, Announcements, Annow-wounce-ments!
Many, MANY THANKS to those who offered up prayers and thoughts of spiritual energy for my lovely bride Connie as she underwent hip replacement surgery last month. As I've written previously, Connie has been defined as something of a medical anomaly, and in the past, surgeries were always followed by high fever and infections resulting in hospital stays of up to two months. (Her other hip had been replaced when she was 33 years old, and the experience was so horrific she postponed this other leg until X-rays taken a few weeks ago showed things were critical).

This time there were no such complications, and I was able to bring her home after four days. We credit your prayers for this smoother recovery. The hospital still sends nurses and a physical therapist to our home to monitor and work with her, and movement is difficult and painful; but she's making better progress than usual.

Here's an interesting story: Two weeks after surgery, Connie began to experience excruciating nerve pain all along that leg. The home nurse reported it to the doctor, and the doctor requested I bring her in immediately.  The doctor took some X-rays and felt around, and sent her home for the time being. Connie was in such pain as we left the doctor's office that she really didn't know how she was going to make it home.

Next thing we know, a young man who appeared to be in his early twenties approached out of nowhere, told Connie he noticed her there in the wheelchair and asked if he could pray over her. We said of course.

So right there outside in the hallway he took Connie's hand and said a simple, straightforward prayer for her bone to completely heal and she be relieved of her pain. After the prayer, we chatted for a minute and the guy told us had witnessed occasions where God had caused metal to grow back into bone. I wondered where he saw that happen?  "That's small potatoes for Jesus," he confidently asserted. After I thanked him and gave him a hug, he turned and walked away. I bent down for a moment to adjust Connie's legs in the wheelchair footholds, and she asked me "Where did he go?"

I looked up and turned around. "Gee, I don't know." It didn't seem to me like he had time to get very far away, but the guy had disappeared down that hall like some kind of ninja.

Now, I don't know if this guy was an angel from heaven or just one of those ordinary earthly angels we encounter now and then who always seem to show up at the right time. But I'll tell you this: that prayer worked its magic. As I was assisting Connie with getting out of her wheelchair and back into the car, she said, "look how easy it is for me to get in the car! I really can't feel much pain right now at all." She described it as a surge of pleasing energy.

Getting her from our door at home and out to the car previously had been a major undertaking, and now she said she could hardly feel any pain. I repeated what our new friend had just said to us. "That's small potatoes for Jesus."

The relief didn't last forever, but the temporary reprieve gave her much needed encouragement. The experience renewed her hope.

This guy had seemed curiously confident for his age. I was sorry to see him go, but whoever he was we credit all your prayers for his appearance. I recall Betty Eadie, in describing her visit to the afterlife, seeing shafts of light shoot up into heaven, and angels scrambling around responding to them.

Betty was informed that those shafts of light represented prayers from people down on earth, and the thicker ones were multiple prayers said by groups of people on behalf of someone in special need. That image has always stayed with me. I visualize all of your prayers for Connie as individual strands of cable meeting in the sky and being woven together to become one mighty column of light. I like that picture: the more prayers, the more power; mighty columns of light so big that heaven can't miss 'em.

The Aussies Have Landed
Andrew and Eva Gore, our friends from Australia discussed in this segment in August, arrived with their children in Utah the day before Thanksgiving, and many of their expenses were covered by readers of this blog. I can't tell you how much that pleases me.

Eva had been disfellowshiped from her ward in Australia after she bore testimony of having given a blessing to her sick baby one night at home. Of course, in Nauvoo, the Mormon women gave each other blessings of healing all the time, so there is certainly nothing wrong with Eva blessing her own child to get better. But in some parts of the world this is a different church than it was in the Nauvoo days, and when Eva's husband sided with his wife over this, the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from him as well. Then Andrew lost his job. A short time later, God made it known to these two that he wanted them in Utah for some reason, so the readers of this and a couple of other blogs decided to make it happen.

I have become online friends with several people who have gotten to know this couple, and they tell me the witness of the spirit about them both is phenomenal.  I have had phone and Skype communications with the Gores, and I can confirm there is certainly something special about these two.

So they are here. Many of you donated clothes, blankets, household goods, money, airfare, and even use of a car. A family in Roy, Utah has provided a basement apartment for the family to stay in until they get themselves situated. It was simply amazing how quickly all this fell into place. I, for one, am very interested in seeing what the Lord has in store for them.

The Recent Announcement On Race
The official Church website has posted what amounts to a repudiation of past teachings regarding racial inferiority, and several people have asked for my take on this news.

Well, of course I'm pleased to see it. Although these doctrines have not been taught from the pulpit for decades, the absence of any kind of renunciation has left many members believing the assumptions underlying those teachings remain doctrinal, even if not openly taught. Included among these teachings was that the black African race is descended from Cain, that they were cursed by God, and that they had somehow been less valiant than the rest of us in the pre-existence.

The big question, of course, is what took LDS, Inc so long to issue this clarification? Well, the answer should be obvious. For decades those in authority have assured the members that the Church is true. That assertion painted them into a corner. How can any organization that positions itself as "true" ever admit to being wrong?

The commonly held assumption that those in administrative office within the church actually constitute "The Church" itself, has also resulted in an unfortunate dynamic. It forces those holding high office at Church headquarters to feel a responsibility to protect the testimonies of the members below them, for if a Church leader were found to have erred in doctrine, it could hurt people's testimonies and suggest to some that the Church is less than true.

This problem only exists because for decades the Brethren have stressed two false teachings as essential to our salvation:

1. We must cultivate a testimony of the Church
2. We must follow and obey our priesthood leaders.

Neither of these heavily emphasized dogmas was ever revealed to us by God. In fact, God's word contradicts them. They are the teachings of men, and by constantly repeating them, the Brethren have painted themselves into the embarrassing corner they are now awkwardly trying to extricate themselves from.

The statement itself is problematic for Church leadership. It is a tacit admission that prophets can indeed lead the church astray, because this is an admission at long last that Brigham Young and his long line of successors did indeed commit that very sin. They led the Church astray, preaching and expounding on racial inferiority on countless occasions, and they adamantly affirmed it was all officially doctrinal in two fairly recent Statements of the First Presidency issued in 1949 and 1969.

As Daymon Smith points out over at Mormonism Uncorrelated, this is what comes of allowing others to spoon feed us their own opinions when we should be relying instead on the word of God:
"The statement could’ve pointed out the obvious: that using racial features to discriminate who can and cannot be “given” the priesthood is an absurd, totally unscriptural practice.  But I suppose that would mean pointing out that for 126 years very few leaders apparently taught their scriptures to others content on having someone tell them what their scriptures mean."
In his post, Daymon suggests that maybe when some of the scriptures speak of "white" and "black" or "darkness," we have been all wrong in assuming that had anything to do with skin tone. Maybe it meant something else entirely.

As refreshing as it is to find this statement on the Church's official website, it still falls short. For one thing, as Corbin Volluz reminds us in his excellent analysis over at Rational Faiths, the statement does not include an apology. There is a lot of equivocating as to who might be to blame for these demonstrably harmful practices, but the piece carefully avoids indicting any actual Church authorities. I guess that is to be expected.

But it also fails because it is not an official reversal. We can assume that it was cleared for publication at the very highest levels, since it is on the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nevertheless, it is an unsigned editorial that appears to have been written by a committee of Church scholars, not general authorities.

Most disconcertingly, the statement is not signed by the First Presidency. As we have been reminded through official channels, only statements issued by the First Presidency are to be considered doctrinal and therefore binding on the whole Church. It's a wonderful thing that this editorial can be found on the official Church website, but that's just the internet. Until a statement is issued by the First Presidency repudiating those doctrines, officially the statements issued in 1949 and 1969 still stand.

Also a bit problematic is the fact that this statement was not disseminated through the proper channels, which is why you may have not heard this wonderful news actually discussed where you would expect it to be: in church. There was not the usual letter sent to bishops and stake presidents with instructions that it be read from the pulpit, so as far as Mike and Molly Mormon are aware, this didn't happen.  Church headquarters didn't even issue a press release. This unprecedented announcement was not even on the front page at LDS.org. That prime spot was taken up by a feature about the lights on Temple Square and instructions on how to download Christmas wallpaper for your screensaver.

It was not announced from the pulpit as you would expect of an official change in policy of this magnitude. Rank and file members who don't follow this stuff on the internet are not likely to have heard anything about it.

I think our Dear Leaders put this thing off for as long as they could, and this statement was a timid attempt at saving face.

Hopefully though, this editorial will have the effect of awakening more of our brothers and sisters in the faith whose allegiance has been to the Church and its leaders more than to Christ and His gospel. But I'm not holding my breath. Most members are unable to grasp the difference between the Church and the gospel, and the Magisterium has been caught quashing attempts by those who dared suggest the Church leadership may not be that necessary to our salvation. As Denver Snuffer recently opined, we can expect the doublespeak to continue:
"The LDS position is that the church leaders can never lead its members astray, except in the past - and then it can correct it - in the here and now. When corrected, the LDS church can then consign its past leaders to condemnation for their sins. Sort of ex post facto 'we’re still not going to lead you astray' as long as you are living when we fix it... or something like that. It’s really hard to keep up with the 'we’re not going to lead you astray' component of modern Mormonism with all the dramatic changes and strong denouncements of past errors and sins and mistakes by racist, sexist, polygamous church presidents. But, trust them, they’re somehow not going to lead you astray."
Tithing Unsettlement
If you google the words "Mormon" and "tithing," the third result that comes up is the piece I wrote last year on the law of tithing. That would explain why suddenly this month that post is getting a lot of traffic -upwards of 500-600 hits every day since the first of the month.

That amount of traffic, along with an increasing number of private communications I've been receiving, suggests that there is a desire among many in the church to understand their actual obligation.  I'm also hearing rumblings (I guess I should say "grumblings") of dissatisfaction over the newly aggressive methods some stakes have resorted to in getting members to show up for tithing settlement.

Until quite recently, the way tithing settlement usually worked was like this: around the first of December the bishop would make an announcement in sacrament meeting that there would be a sheet of paper on his door so that all those who desired to meet with him for tithing settlement could make an appointment to do so.  That was it.

This tradition of tithing settlement, as I wrote in my piece, is an anachronism today. Since not many members pay their tithing using crops and farm animals anymore, the procedure for meeting with the bishop to settle up by paying their tithing "in kind" is not really necessary.

So somehow tithing settlement has morphed into a sort of "meet the Principal and go over your report card together" kind of meeting. Which is fine for those who enjoy that sort of grilling.

But the thing that is rubbing some people the wrong way is this recent trend to push everyone into this year-end financial confab, because some folks would rather not. Bishops have been assigning their counselors to corner members in the foyer or call them at home to commit to an appointment. In some cases I'm hearing about, if a family can't be nailed down to a committed time, the bishop has come to their home uninvited and conducted tithing settlement at the kitchen table.

All this is done under the guise that one's devotion to the gospel is measurable only by how diligently one pays his dues to the organization.  In ancient Jerusalem the high priests colluded with the money changers to guilt people into buying their way in to Lord's House. Today your local bishop serves that function.

In the meantime, there is no requirement regarding the paying of fast offerings or directly assisting the needy on your own. Whether you were diligent in giving your alms to the poor is not a question on the quiz.

If you want the honest truth, this is the most recent book I've read.
Christmas Gift Books!
I've received a handful of requests from readers wanting to know what books I read. Okay, it wasn't quite a handful. It was really only three. Three people want to know what books I read.

Quite often when I post a piece here,  I'll include links to whatever books I'm citing from, but I'm learning some folks don't
bother clicking on those links. One of these days I'll compile a list of what I think are some essential sources for getting a more accurate picture of LDS history and theology than most of us were raised on. But for now I want to mention some books I came across this year that I think most folks probably haven't heard about, but which I think readers of this blog might like. So in the spirit of the major publications, I hereby present my Year End Roundup of Christmas Gift Books (and yes, I realize this is posting just days before Christmas. So buy them for yourself.)

First let's talk about the best dang book bargain of the year:  The Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations -Facsimile Edition.  I guess the folks at Deseret Book figured out that most Mormons can't afford to pay a hundred dollars for a book. So they finally got wise and are now issuing this masterpiece for $80 off the original price! Pardon me if I am unable to contain my excitement, but I really wanted this book and for what they were originally asking for it, I knew I'd never own one. Now I do.

This beauty is a must-have, and for the price you really should get one before they're all gone. If you don't live close to a Deseret Book store, you can buy it online, but this volume is so big and heavy they charge an additional $7 on top of the basic $4 fee for shipping. But it's still a bargain at that price. This is an essential reference, as it contains photo reproductions of Joseph Smith's original manuscripts, with commentary and color coding so you can tell if a revelation was written in the hand of the prophet or someone else. Buy it for someone you love, and they'll think you just spent a hundred bucks on them.

Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo by Michael G. Reed (John Whitmer Books).
Two classes of people are known for having an adverse reaction to the cross of Jesus Christ: vampires
and Mormons. But for Mormons, it wasn't always so. Author Michael Reed gives a fascinating account of how ubiquitous the cross once was within Mormon culture, and the reason its use eventually became anathema to Saints in the 20th century.

Other Christian denominations have been known to berate us for our reluctance to display the universal symbol of Christianity, but the reality is that Mormons adopted the cross at a time when protestants rejected the symbol as a papist representation of Satanism. (Reed relates a fascinating incident at Nauvoo where a mob of non-Mormon “Christians” rioted and threatened to burn down a building simply because a young Mormon boy had hung a banner from a window with a cross drawn on it.)

In 19th century Utah, the cross could be found virtually everywhere. A large wooden cross was the original marker at the “This Is The Place” monument. Brigham Young admonished missionaries to keep their hearts “riveted to the cross of Christ,” the kind of counsel you will rarely hear from the pulpit today. This is one of those books that took me completely by surprise. I had no idea that our people once prominently and proudly displayed the cross on their persons and in their chapels. It's chock full of photographs of crosses on LDS chapels and in stained glass windows, prominent Mormons wearing crosses as jewelry, crosses displayed on the walls of Mormon homes, sewn into fabrics, and etched onto gravestones. This book is an eye-opener and a reminder that once upon a time we were Christians.

There Are Save Two Churches Only, by D. Christian Markham (TwoChurchesOnly.com).
This is a very well laid out history and analysis of secret societies aimed at the latter-day Saint reader. Tracing the roots of secret societies beginning with Cain, the author takes us through Mystery Babylon and ancient Egypt up to the present time. There is substantial discussion of Freemasonry and Joseph Smith's involvement in it, along with an analysis of Mystic Christianity and much more.

Because it was once commonly believed by members of the LDS church that the great and abominable church of the devil referred to in the first book of Nephi was in fact the Roman Catholic Church, a significant amount of space is devoted to that controversy. Included is an interview I had not been aware of, featuring Bruce McConkie's son describing in great detail his father's Mormon Doctrine entry and the flap that resulted from it.

Some readers may take issue with one or two of the author's conclusions, but the book is an undeniably rich resource of materials and a deep well of source documents. Every time I pick this book up just to skim through its pages, I am impressed by its reach.

The Source (Part One: The Seed) by Norlan Jacobs (Amazon, Barnes &Noble)
Joseph Smith's friend and confidante, Benjamin F. Johnson wrote in his autobiography of the time he asked the prophet if he knew the whereabouts of the lost tribes of Israel. According to Johnson, the prophet told him they were living inside the north pole, in a concave similar to the big potash kettle Johnson used to boil maple sap. He further told Johnson that John the Revelator was with them at that time preparing them for their return.

Unfortunately, no one else was around at the time to corroborate Johnson's story, so we have only Johnson's word that Joseph Smith actually said it. But if Joseph Smith was the first to advance what later came to be known as the Hollow Earth theory, he surely wasn't the last. There have been enough scientific anomalies in the waters close to the magnetic pole to raise substantial questions about that area in the minds of many. And though no one other than Norwegian sailor Olaf Jansen claims to have been there and back, several novelists, including Edgar Rice Burroughs, have written adventure tales of expeditions to the hollow earth and the civilizations within.

Comes now LDS novelist Norlan Jacobs with his ripping thriller about an expedition to the real Middle Earth. Though not a book directed specifically at a Mormon audience, Latter-day Saints will recognize the theocratic civilization his adventurers encounter. The book is filled with other subtle references Mormon audiences will likely get. A compelling plot propelled by convincing science makes this hefty novel a satisfying read.

Presidents and Prophets: The Story of America's Presidents and the LDS Church, by Michael K. Winder (Covenant Communications).
This coffee table book contains a description of every single interaction any president of the Church or other prominent Mormon has ever had with any president of the United States. And I mean ever. Each U.S. president gets his own chapter, beginning with George Washington, and since there were U.S. Presidents long before there were Mormons, in those instances the author provides us with statements famous Mormons have made about those presidents who came before them.

Of course, our nefarious run-ins with Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan are well documented here, but so is every possible bit of trivia you can imagine about every other president vis-a-vis Mormons and Mormonism. I don't know how the author managed to collect all this minutiae, but he didn't miss a thing as far as I can tell.

Did you know Mary Todd Lincoln attended Joseph Smith's extradition hearing in 1843? Or that Woodrow Wilson was the only U.S. president mention in a temple dedicatory prayer?

Want to know the Mormon reaction to the Kennedy assassination? Or read about LBJ's blatant kissing up to David O. McKay? All here, and much, much more.

The only thing missing from these accounts of a latter-day prophet coming into contact with the political class is that none of them (with the exception of Joseph Smith) ever took the opportunity to act like a true prophet and speak truth to power. Why don't modern prophets do what the ancient ones did: rebuke civil rulers and call them to repentance?

It sure would have been something if, that time Gordon Hinckley shared the stage at BYU with Dick Cheney, instead of shaking hands and chatting amiably with the Vice President afterward, Hinckley had walked up to Cheney and gone all Abinadi on his ass. A definite missed opportunity, if you ask me.

When Hollywood Came To Town: A History of Moviemaking In Utah, by James V. D'arc (Gibbs Smith)
This is a perfect gift book. A person can spend hours pouring over just the photographs alone.
Organized by the various counties where film companies set up on location, this book documents every single film ever made in Utah from the silent days until now. Every movie ever made in the Beehive State is included here, from silent era westerns to the more recent Back to the Future III and Galaxy Quest. The 1940 feature film "Brigham Young" was a very big deal, and seemingly all of Salt Lake City filled the streets for the premiere complete with red carpet for the stars. A short chapter is dedicated to sorting out the conflicting tales of how John Ford discovered Monument Valley, the Utah location so iconic that moviegoers the world over still hold the image of that landscape as embodying the old west.

James D'arc is the curator of the BYU film archives and was instrumental in acquiring the entire collections of some of the greatest directors of the golden age of Hollywood, so the book contains many candid stills from those collections that have not previously been published elsewhere. All the greats are here: John Ford, Cecil B. Demille, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda; as well as Buffalo Bill, Butch Cassidy, and the Lone Ranger.

What gives this book a unique flavor is the fascinating insights from locals who were alive in those days. D'arc tracked down and interviewed many of the people who lived in the mostly rural areas of Utah where many of these movies were shot. Some locals were hired on as extras or helped with catering, while others relate the excitement of meeting big stars stopping into their tiny stores to pick up a few groceries. These interviews provide a quaint and charming era of how exciting it was to live in Utah during the golden age of movies when Hollywood came to town.

Other Super-Essential Reading
Elsewhere on these pages I have strongly recommended the recent works of Daymon Smith and
Denver Snuffer on history and theology; and Anthony Larson's explication of prophecy. So I won't repeat myself here other than to issue a reminder that volumes II and III of Smith's A Cultural History of the Book of Mormon are now available.

Well, that was fun. I think I'll do more book reviews in future posts, because there's a lot of great stuff out there and some of the most interesting and important books don't always get shelf space at Deseret Book. Maybe I should make book reviews a regular feature of this blog. Anybody interested?

The Last Announcement Of The Year
I'm scheduled to be a guest on the Paul Duane radio show on Monday December 30th from 1-3 pm. That's on Salt Lake City's K-TKK 630 a.m. K-Talk, to you natives.

The show is also streamed live and available as a podcast, so for those not living on the Wasatch Front, take heart. I am always as close as your earbuds.You should be able access the show hereabouts, or on Paul Duane's Facebook page.

Okay, THIS Is The Last Announcement Of The Year
Connie and I would both like to thank you all for the incredible kindness many of you have shown us this past year. We have made some lasting friendships with amazing people, most of whom we have never met in person. Your love has buoyed us up and given us hope when the seas got a little rough.

Also, for those of you who have shared this blog with friends, a very special thank you. I receive private communications almost daily from people whose spirits have been lifted and outlooks changed after discovering some of the things that have been written here. But invariably it has not been my words that affected them the most. They tell me it was discovering the things written by the rest of you in the various comment sections that have convinced them they are not alone in their struggle to sort truth from error.

I'm happy to have had a part in facilitating the discussions in this community, but it has been largely your conversations that have helped others to understand that our happiness lies not in having a testimony of "The Church," but in learning to believe -really believe- in Christ and His saving gospel. Sometimes all it takes to break through the confusion is to realize that the two are not necessarily connected.

Merry Christmas To All!
See you in January.

156 comments:

David Fife said...

I find your blog to be intoxicating (pun intended)! At night after my children and wife have gone to bed, I read at least one of your blog entries and most of the comments. I am impressed with how well written and researched your blog is, not to mention the thoughtful comments of the readers.
With regard to the tithing subject, my bishopric has been quite tenacious in getting us to agree to a tithing settlement. Its reminiscent of when I was 90 days late on a credit card payment. Once I emphatically told them that there was no way that I was going to pay tithing, did they stop badgering me. As for paying tithing, I've found that we are spending about 10% of our income at City Creek this holiday season, so as far as I'm concerned, we are good!
George Carlin has some videos on YouTube about many social issues, one of many is on the subject of religion. He is a little coarse for my tastes, but I don’t necessarily disagree with his assertions. One of his comments ( I’m paraphrasing) is that God is all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, all-wise, etc... but he just can’t handle money! No matter how much money you give him, he needs just a little bit more!
I laughed and thought, like most people, "Wow, that is really true about other peoples’ religions, but not mine!" After further reflection, I went and got a receipt from my tax folder from my recent fast offering donation. When I looked at the receipt, this is what I saw: After the Tithing entry, there are eight (8) other line items for possible reasons to give even more money to the church! Eight! The last line being the all encompassing "Other". It's interesting that 10% of your gross income just aint’ cutting it anymore!

Tom said...

As far as the Church not offering an apology, I think D&C section 121:37 applies to institutions / church as well. "when a church undertakes to cover it's sins, or to gratify it's pride, it's vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that church."
And you can see it.

Anonymous said...

Rock,
Thank you for the book reviews. I was not aware that the Jos. Smith Papers volume was being discounted at DB. I too have wanted one but could not afford.
While I certainly do not want you to get a swelled head, most of what I have gained from Pure Mormonism came from your writings, not from comments. I have very much appreciated your well researched articles and your courageous speaking of truth to power (yes I KNOW there are little gnomes in the COB watching your every keystroke).
I laughed out loud at the comment about wishing GBH had gone "all Abinadi" on Cheney's sorry ass. Too much to expect from a proper mormon I guess…like thinking maybe someday someone might applaud or cheer after some little girl plays her violin, or someone sings a beautiful song, in a stodgy Sacrament mtg.
Good cheer to you and a Merry Christmas to you and your family, and thank you for all you have given to so many. Indeed, Angels are not far away and looking after those whom the Savior loves!
JR

Anonymous said...

David, have you also noticed the newer tithing slips? At the bottom is a little note stating (in a nutshell, my words of course) You can give to which ever category that you want, but once it get in the church's hands, it becomes OUR money and we can pretty much do with it whatever we WANT, it's out of your control!! We don't have to tell you what we are doing with it, but trust us…we have things ALL figured out.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, the good news, JR, is that there are little gnomes in the COB who feel as we do about the corruption and hypocrisy within Church headquarters. Some of them feed me information about members of the twelve that would horrify most members of the Church.

Happily, there are some encouraging things. One source I have known for decades who works closely with the Twelve has a lot of respect for Tom Perry because he rejects being coddled and comforted just because he's a GA. On the other hand, he tells me Ballard revels in the celebrity of his position. "He acts like a rock star" and approves the allocation of funds for projects on those in the COB who curry favor with him.

But I've said too much.

Thanks for your kind words, JR.

Anonymous said...

Rock, I got a voicemail message from the exec sec to set up an appt for tithing settlement and and e-mail from the exec sec stating, "Please make the time to meet with Bishop and report your stewardship to the Lord's representative."

Roll eyes. Ok guys, come on now....chill.

Anonymous said...

Rock, sometime ago a friend of mine who was a former Bishop had a conversation with a gentlemen at the COB who was in auditing. He told my friend that the Church paid regular payments to the Vatican as a corporate entity. He was never told how much we pay or how often. Do your gnomes at the COB no anything about this? I remember a recent article in the Deseret News speaking of M Russell Ballard announcing we were giving money to the Catholic Charities to distribute worldwide.

LDSDPer said...

I always go back to politics, because politics and religion are, supposedly, or the sentiments behind them, the loyalties, the values--

found in the same part of the brain--

on DP (yes, it's still alive, even though Ron more or less retired)--

it's common to read comments such as:

"getting deeper into the rabbit hole"--

*sigh*

I always think I won't be surprised, and then I am more surprised and saddened.

But this tithing business is tough; there is a tithing policeman in our ward who isn't even in the bishopric who watches peoples' donations and then talks about them in early morning Sunday meetings--

scary person--

it was soon after becoming aware of that (because of being in early morning Sunday meetings) that we began paying our tithing (whatever we feel by the Spirit that it should be) to the church, general--

rather than paying to the ward--

the sad thing is that nobody spoke up and said, "um, that's not 'appropriate'"--

it's not appropriate to put too many names on a prayer roll, but it's appropriate enough to talk about how much tithing new members are paying, etc.--

or the poorer people in the ward, and "we need to talk to them; maybe they just don't understand, yet"--

yikes--

rabbit holes--

in the meantime, I believe in angels, Rock--

and I'm glad Connie came through the latest surgery so well--

you are in our prayers--

Alan Rock Waterman said...

That's news to me. I don't know why they would be cutting a check to the Vatican, or even if that is true.

I do recall some years ago during a big earthquake somewhere or other big emergency, the Church did decide to work through an existing Catholic charity because that charity already had everything in place and did not operate at a profit or take a cut of donations as many major charities do. I have no objection to that, but I didn't know it was still ongoing.

Anyone else know anything about this?

Anonymous said...

Yes, exactly. But most members don't want to face that fact.

ck said...

I enjoyed the entry on tithing settlements as well. this year when my husband ( first councilor, yikes! ) signed us up I told him I already knew I paid a full tithe and that I didn't feel the need to go state this to the bishop who could already see exactly what we had paid anyway. I guess he felt it was useless to argue so he went without me.

ck said...

I have been interested in this verse as well. It makes me wonder to what extent we still have the priesthood. And if we don't how can we say our church is much truer than any other Christian denomination. there is also a verse in Jacob I believe, that says in the last days all the churches will have gone astray. And the few people who do truly try to follow Him will be led astray by their leaders. I guess one could argue this was talking about before the restoration, but that's not the impression it gave me.

ck said...

Every time I think that there is nothing about the church that can shock me anymore I find a new "fun" tidbit of information. I am glad so many people came together to help your Aussie friends, it just appalls me what happened to them though. I probably shouldn't say this, but if the church new what my real beliefs were they would probably disfellowship me too. Oh, and I love your story about the prayers, I'm so glad Connie is doing ok, I feel privileged to have maybe had a very very small part in that. Thank you.

Steven Lester said...

Well, Rock, there is an amazing prophecy supposedly written in the 11th century by a monk which purports to list all the popes in order from his day until the last one of all, living in our day, which is supposed to be that present pope who is calling the Christian world to stop being so money-hungry and to take care of the poor instead. You know, Pope Francis. The list is apparently quite accurate, if one is aware of the various codes used back then.

Well, if he is the last pope, then the Catholics will be just like the Greek Orthodox folks, led by a council instead of one man. Rome is supposed to be destroyed by a giant flood soon, also.

Which means that the Roman guys will join back up with the Greek guys, and then the flood will hit and make everybody poor, and then the Church will swoop in and help everybody and in gratitude, this big, now totally and truly Catholic church will join the Mormons, thus forming the Great Whore of All the Earth, and led by the Anti-Christ Himself. All of this is in the planning done years ago. Or so I've been told. You folks are the first to know of this, outside of the very elect. Pretend I never said anything, okay? Shhhhhh.

Steven Lester said...

I wish an angel would visit me sometime. If he did, though, he's never be able to deliver his message or healing, because I'd be pumping him for information and details about the other side nonstop. He'd have to use his earthquake and thunder voice to get me to quiet down.

But, that'll never happen. Double the odds of winning the Power Ball; that is, 1 in 259 million times two.

I make jest of the yearning or envy I feel right now. I fully believe in what you have said, Rock.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well Steven, I think the reason things like this don't happen to guys like you and me is that we just don't have the right kind of faith. Deep down, I don't REALLY believe God has time to send angels to bother with a shlub like me, so consequently angels don't bother me. At least not that I'm usually aware of.

The only reason this guy showed up was for Connie. The supernatural doesn't surprise her, and so incidents like this occur to her now and then. I just happened to be there with her for this one, and at the time I was too dumb to recognize what was actually going on. It was Connie who shortly afterward said, "I think he might have been an angel."

Big Dave said...

Rock: are you aware of the scripture in the D+C that says whether by my mouth or the mouth of my prophet it is the same? So I believe we are obligated to follow church leaders (If we wish to be an active part of the church structure). This is precisely why I have withdrawn from the church. Also, the leaders of the church hold the keys for various functions. That is why a man cannot come up and lay his hands upon you without authority to bless you (prayers are OK). Also, are you not aware of the many passages in the Pearl of Great price where the Blacks are specifically banned from the priesthood?
I have respect for you and don't wish to cause a stir, but some of your comments don't jive with the scriptures. I would be happy to provide scriptural references.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Big Dave,

Thanks for your thoughtful concerns. I would indeed appreciate seeing those scripture references. I know of no place in the D&C that says "whether by my mouth or by the mouth of my prophet it is the same." I know we are told to "heed" the words of the prophet (specifically in reference to Joseph Smith and the ancient prophets), which means to give consideration to their words, not obey their decrees.

But I don't know that we have ever been told that regardless of whether something is said by God or his PROPHET, it's to be considered the same thing.

Nor can I find confirmation in scripture to indicate the current leadership hold all the keys they claim. Wilford Woodruff, I believe it was, said that at the time the Twelve (what was left of them) didn't know what keys they held or what they were supposed to be for. Our history has been revised to where we have been taught there was a smooth and sure transition. There wasn't. And Brigham Young was chosen because he campaigned for the position. Don't you think Joseph Smith's successor should have been chosen through revelation, not an election? Shouldn't the choice have been made by God, not by a vote of the people over who gave the best speech?

(Technically, the people were electing Hyrum's successor, because it was Hyrum who had already been ordained by his brother to take over as prophet, seer, and revelator.)

I would also be interested in seeing any scripture in the Pearl of Great Price that specifically names blacks as being barred from the priesthood. I haven't seen that, though I have assumed a lot that it didn't say.

The Book of Mormon speaks of the Lamanites being given a dark skin, but they are not the same people as the Black Africans, and there's every reason to believe that at one point the Lamanites held whatever priesthood was enjoyed by the Nephites, so I'm not convinced the shade of their skin was relevant where priesthood is concerned. Check out the link I provided to Daymon Smith's explanation for more on the curse of Cain, and what the scriptures tell us about that curse.

The Arkwelder said...

I think Rock is aware since he alluded to the relevant scriptures on race in his post. As to following the leaders, I think it's a questions as to what's within the scope of their mandate. I remember as a kid we all played Rook because McConkie had something in passing condemning Poker cards. It was like these guys controlled every aspect of our lives. Perhaps it's the prophet-as-babysitter that many of us are critical of.

Big Dave said...

Rock: Some scripture relating to blacks and the priesthood. The real problem in the church is not going back on what previous prophets have said, but in the fact that Kimball gave us a fake revelation to begin with. The blacks are forbidden by the lord to ever receive the priesthood. Kimball gave a "convenient" revelation that solved the problem of the temple being built in Brazil at the time. The church was also in danger of losing it's tax exempt status under president Carter because of discrimination against black males at BYU , so this "revelation" miraculously appeared.

Moses 7:22 "And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it were the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them".

Zechariah 14:20-21 "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls after the alter.
Yea, every pot in Jerusalem shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more Canaanite in the house of the Lord of host".

Also read Abraham 1:21-27 It is too long to quote.

Also read Matthew 15:21-28

Toni said...

ck, Perhaps you were thinking about this chapter? 2 Nephi 28

3 For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord's; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord's; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—
...
9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.

11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.

12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.

13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.

14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.

Toni said...

Or, perhaps, this one, with Moroni speaking directly to us:

3 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.

34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?

39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.
Mormon chapter 8

Toni said...

Rock, some of us have been wondering when you are going to post the promised (?) article on BKP. Some of your comments here and there have us exceedingly curious as to what it is we should understand there.

Toni said...

Big Dave said, "Rock: are you aware of the scripture in the D+C that says whether by my mouth or the mouth of my prophet it is the same? So I believe we are obligated to follow church leaders (If we wish to be an active part of the church structure). This is precisely why I have withdrawn from the church."

They are no longer servants of the Lord, if they ever were. When they ousted a true biblical-type prophet from the church (and all levels from stake through first presidency ratified it), they were in essence ousting the Lord.

"Whether by my mouth or the mouth of my servant, it is the same." So true. Thus, by casting out a true prophet, they have in essence cast out the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Big Dave,
Right you are. I stand corrected regarding the PofGP using the word "black."
I thought it merely referred to the seed of cain as "cursed."

But consider this. I could be wrong, but don't think anywhere in the PofGP does black refer to their skin. I still think Daymon Smith research is worth a look when he suggests that "black" in that context might very well have meant they became dark, or demonic.

We don't know that the Negroid race was decended from Cain. We only make that assumption because it says the sons of Cain became black, so we looked around and saw blackest people on the planet were from Africa, so they must be the one.

Right you are also about there never having been a revelation. Spencer Kimball SAID there was a revelation, but where is it? Since when is the prophet allowed to keep revelations to himself. If the Lord had something to say to the membership, the body of the church is entitled to see and read it and pray for a witness about it.

No such revelation has been forthcoming. Like our tithing money, we're just supposed to trust. (What was that Nephi warned about trusting in the arm of flesh?)

Like I said, everything about this recent announcement is problematic, because the original claim regarding inferior races was problematic, and then trying to reverse by faking a revelation makes things worse.

It would have been better if we just admitted Brigham Young made a sharp departure from the way Joseph Smith viewed things (that free black men had every right to the priesthood) and that Brigham's successors were no more enlightened than he was. Then we could apologize, wipe the slate clean, and move on.

But the true Church is like Nancy Grace. Neither is capable of admitting they were wrong.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Toni, I have not forgotten the piece about Packer; I'm just waiting for the right time. When I do write it, It's going to make a lot of people mad, so I thought I'd give this blog a little more time to pick up more readers before I lose about half of them by being snarky.

Andrew T said...

Rock, thanks for sharing the blessing your wife received. I love those stories.

I wonder... Does Presidents and Prophets show Cheney giving Hinckley a handshake much like one you'd see in the temple (during the ceremony where BYU gave Dick a honorary doctorate) and Dubya doing the same to Monson?

We got the same treatment about tithing settlement. No longer a sign up, but a phone call invitation.

Merry Christmas Rock. Thanks for all you do.

LDSDPer said...

Yes, Enoch used the word "black"--

he is talking about how the 'blacks' are separated out; does he say that either he or God approves of that?

Why is it that when we read scripture we think that all observations are approved of God?

This is something that happens in the Book of Mormon all the time.

If a prophet makes an observation, *we* automatically assume he is approving of whatever he is seeing unless he says he is not--

sometimes observations have been made--

So, the 'bottom line' here is that Joseph Smith had little regard for the Pearly of Great Price, since he gave the priesthood to several black men--and allowed it to be given to those to whom he did not personally give it.

So, do you base your entire faith on Joseph's being a fallen prophet, because he gave the priesthood to a few black men?

Thus, he was killed? How preposterous! The Book of Mormon uses the word "black" when referring to the love and acceptance God has for ALL--

I don't doubt that black people were considered inferior in Enoch's time--

not at all. And Enoch saw it; he witnessed it and made a comment on it. Read it THAT way and see what I mean.

But I doubt you will, Dave, because you've already made up your mind.

The fact is that there needed to be no revelation from Kimball, because the brethren knew that Brigham Young had 'blown it' (and others, such as Parley P. Pratt) in taking the priesthood away, once Joseph deemed it appropriate for the blacks to have it--

why would there need to be a revelation? Only a restoration--

or a restitution--

It astounds me that anyone would base any kind of righteousness on any kind of biology--

but I know it happens ALL the time. Everyone I have ever met who does this is . . .

well, small of heart.

But once a person determines that all of creation is about biology and never about spirit, not to mention pre-mortal spirit--

or defines any group of people according to biology of being inferior or superior--

that person has denied the Spirit--

because spiritual things can only be understood by the Spirit--

and those who only understand biology will be biological.

People who base truth on biology, and I know a few, are sad.

I always privately hope that people who have these sorts of opinions, that blacks are inferior, find out someday that they are black--

:/

better be doing your family history, but you can only go back so far--

*chuckling*

the joke, if there is one, will be on those who can't prove their white "purity"

LDSDPer said...

Pearl, not Pearly--

Alan Rock Waterman said...

LDS DPer,

You make some excellent points, as always. But I think you're being too hard on Big Dave by accusing him of having made up his mind.

I think his questions were honest efforts to sort through some of the misconceptions most of us were raised on. I didn't get the impression that he was coming from a position of thinking his opinion was the "right" one.

And thank you for reminding us that just because something is described in scripture, it was the Lord's idea. We assume, for instance, that when we read that the seed of Cain was cursed, that it was cursed of God. Maybe, but maybe not. And we still have no way of knowing that the African black race is the one decended from Cain. That's a big assumption Christians have made that is not necessarily supportable.

Good comment.

Big Dave said...

LDSDper,

We are told that in the pre-existence 1/3 of the host of heaven were denied a body because of their rebellion. Is it really a stretch that a portion of people that made it to Earth were denied the priesthood? God practices discrimination on a regular basis. He has said that Israel are his chosen people. Members of the church are of the tribe of Ephraim for the most part. The Jews are of the tribe of Judah. There are a few scattered people from other tribes. I'm willing to bet if you have a patriarchal blessing it says you are from the tribe of Ephraim. The rights of the priesthood have been given to the tribe of Ephraim (D+C 133:32-34). The blacks are not even of any tribe of Israel. Although I'm sure many blacks that have been given patriarchal blessing have erroneously been told that their lineage is of Ephraim. This cannot be so.
So if you are concerned about prejudice, take it up with God. He gave Abraham and all his descendants the birthright and his richest blessings. If you do not understand what the birthright means, or if you believe it can be transferred to someone else, well, then I feel sorry for you.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I know the photos you're referring to, Andrew, and though at the moment I can't readily get to that book to double check, I'm pretty sure those photos are not in it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Big Dave, if the English and Scots-Irish are indeed of the tribe of Ephraim as commonly believed, then most -if not all- African Americans do indeed have the blood of Ephraim in them because of the miscegenation that took place between master and slave since colonial times. Most black Americans are not as dark skinned as their African Brethren because of the mixing of the races that took place in America.

Brigham Young did not see that as making a significant difference, however, because he insisted that anyone with even a single drop of "the blood of Cain" was barred from the priesthood. If, however, we recognize the see of Ephraim does exist in African Americans who are descended from slaves, we would be obliged to make that count. Unless, of course, we were to accept Brigham Young's declaration, which I don't. He did not make that statement as a result of a revelation. He just strongly believed it to be true.

Big Dave said...

Rock: what you say may have some truth in it as far as African Americans are concerned. However, the church is actively building temples in Africa and giving the priesthood and temple ordinances to Africans that have absolutely no Ephraim blood in them.

The problem Kimball was faced with in Brazil when the temple was under construction was how did the church determine who had any African blood in them since Brazil is such a mixed race country. Kimball's answer was just to give the priesthood to everyone - problem solved.

I think you don't understand the lengths the Lord goes to to preserve the purity of his chosen people. When Joseph went to Egypt, it was at a time when the Semitic Hyksos were in power. The Lord provided a suitable wife for Joseph in Asenath, who was Hyksos and white and closely related to the genetic population where Joseph originally came from. Asenath was the mother of Ephraim and Manasseh.

Abraham sent his servant back to his far away family to bring back a suitable wife for Isaac.

Jacob was forbidden from marrying a Canaanite woman, and was sent to live with his uncle Laban for 14 years, and married his two daughters and their servants. The Lord was very careful when he set up the conditions for the siring of the 12 tribes of Israel. Even the birth order of the 12 children and the mother they were assigned by God provided a hierarchy for the tribes and a means of accommodating sons with different temperaments and different personalities.

I don't expect you to agree with me, but I think I have provided you with some compelling evidence about race. It is naive to think that there were only two divisions of people in the pre-existence-those who got a body, and those that did not. We are told that after this life the Celestial Kingdom has 3 divisions, I'm not sure about the Terrestial, but I know that the Telestial will have infinite divisions as one star differs from another. These Kingdoms are necessary to accommodate all the varied personalities that are found among gods children.

Adam and Eve were white, I'm sure you will agree with that. I have proven to you that the seed of Cain were black. The Lord made their skin black so they could be differentiated from the other children of Adam. Where else did the black race come from? Do you know something I don't? Did Adam and Eve have a black child from the womb?

I think that to say we are all the same here on Earth and differ only by skin color is naive. The lord has differentiated people so that they may be told apart, and for good reason. Our standing in this second estate has a direct bearing on our performance in the first estate. In the first estate those that rebelled alot were denied bodies. Those that rebelled a little were sanctioned from having the priesthood. Those that were valiant were born into the tribes of Israel. Those that were not valiant were born when the gospel was not on the Earth. This is my belief.

So if Enoch says the people were black, but someone on here said their personalities were black, where did the black skin come from? Black is a dominant gene. Two white people cannot have a black baby.

Now we know that the American Indians are the Lamanites. Science doesn't believe this because their DNA is not semitic. I believe that their DNA was altered by god when they had dark skins placed upon them, just like the posterity of Cain. Blacks get sickle cell anemia, and whites don't. Our DNA is slightly different. I tend to think you believe color is only skin deep but it is not. There have been important genetic modifications made by God on the human race. For instance, God and Jesus have (I believe) identical DNA. This is why Brigham Young kept saying that Adam is God, because Adam was a clone of God but Brigham young didn't understand the science. How many times did Christ say "If you have seen me, you have seen the father"?

Anyway, I hope you understand what I am trying to get across.

ck said...

Haha yes, I suppose it is way more than just one verse that speaks of it...the one I was thinking of though was 2 Nephi :28.

ck said...

I enjoy reading both of your viewpoints on this matter. especially, Big Dave your theory on brighams Adam god doctorine, I never considered that possibility. I think we have all found our way to a blog like this because we are searching for truth. We may not all agree on what that truth is, but I think we all agree there are some crucial truths missing from "our" church. lately my prayers have been for God to help my heart be soft enough to accept Gods truth, even if it is something foreign to me. But I digress...back to the race issue...so what do you believe caused the existence of races other than black and white? Tower of Bable perhaps? My theory on the cursing of the lamanites is that they mixed their seed with native peoples of the area, that in combination with their lack of clothing would have turned all their skins dark within a generation. But the real curse wasn't the fact that they had dark skin, it was that, according to the law of Moses they polluted their bloodline. Thus any person following Gods law at that time would have held the idea of mixing in with the lamanites...whose blood was now impure, abhorrent. I don't know how true this is, or even if it has a significance if it is true, it's just a thought that came to me a while ago. :)

BearDeGuerre said...

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you and yours Rock. May the blessings of our Lord be upon you throughout the coming year.

Anonymous said...

Yes ck,

The Book of Mormon does foretell a latter day apostasy of the 'Holy Church of God', and I believe it happened when Joseph died. I believe he saw it coming and tried to get the Saints to repent and listen to him but most wouldn't and so they easily fell for false prophets who had lost an authority they had, and took over the church, or the part of the membership that would follow them.

There were many many people who could see through Brigham Young and thus didn't follow him, including some of the other apostles.

So, yes, Joseph Smith warned us in D&C 121 how to tell a true church or true prophet from false churches and false prophets.

But just because the Church isn't true doesn't mean the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn't, it is! Just because most people are led astray doesn't mean you have to be too, you can live worthy of the Holy Spirit to teach you the truth of all things and tell you all things which you should do. You can lead and teach your family on your own, you don't need a Church or leaders to live righteously.

mtman318 said...

A couple of my old roommates at BYU a few years back met Elder Perry at the Provo Town Center mall, just sitting by himself outside one of the shops which Sister Perry was browsing in. One of the roommates was about to call someone, until he noticed him, whereon he promptly hung up and asked, "Aren't you Elder Perry?" "That's what some people call me." He and his wife were really, genuinely nice, they said. They were also surprised how tall he was!

I met Elders Scott and Bednar on my mission (back in 2006 to 2008)--In a huge group setting, though, rather than one-on-one. Actually, I met Elder Scott THRICE, twice in the MTC during Thanksgiving week, and then a few months later. He was kind of intimidating, if I remember correctly. However, during his concluding testimony for the last meeting, he basically said that he had personally seen Jesus, and knew ("not by faith," to use his words) that He lives. I certainly believed his testimony then, and I still do now. (Though I wish those who have such a witness would be more plain and open about it in General Conference, and anywhere, really. I think one can retain the sacredness of such an experience if they don't give every detail of it. But what do I know?)

Elder Bednar came near the end of my mission. Let's just say he's very self-aware, and he basically made fun of how he seems, at General Conference, to be absolutely stiff, humorless, etc. (It's probably because he's just nervous, or because the sermon is not extemporaneous.) He also apologized in advance in case his bluntness offended anyone--saying that it wasn't his intention to offend, but that said bluntness was due to the habit of trying to save time. He didn't seem too bad though. The meeting consisted of sermons in the first half, and a question and answer session in the second. I mostly remember how much fun he was having the whole time. I commented at the end about what I had learned via the Spirit earlier in the meeting, and fifteen or twenty minutes later, as we were shaking hands with him and the others there, he thanked me for that comment specifically; frankly, given the amount of people there, I was surprised he remembered.

As I was writing these things, I realized that in spite of the short comings that leaders of the Church have, their hearts are, I believe, in the right place. I suppose I can't speak for all of them, but I believe this is certainly true for most. And that doesn't mean I agree with everything they do and say either. (There are certain things taught by both the Apostles I've met which I don't agree with, viz, that marriage is the first priority without exception, and basically the entire "don't get offended" talk--which seems to put the whole blame of being less-active on less-actives, which simply isn't true. Then there's the whole "stand up when a prophet/apostle enters" thing, which I despise. Now the mission basically destroyed any aspirations I ever had for Church callings, thank goodness, but if I'm ever in such a position it will be my goal to end that practice, among other things, but I digress.)

I'm normally a pessimistic person, but I believe that so long as we live the Gospel, we will rise above and overcome the problems both in the Church and in the world in general, both individually and collectively.

mtman318 said...

I've got the JS Papers and Presidents/Prophets book that you posted, partially read and very interesting! With the second, if I remember correctly, it was said that Reagan wrote a letter to a missionary quoting the Book of Mormon, how awesome is that!? And I think both Harding and Coolidge (or his wife) had received a priesthood blessing, on account of illness.

I'll try to be brief with my other comments. With the statement on priesthood eligibility and race, perhaps there's no signed declaration because there isn't a unified viewpoint among the leading quorums concerning the origins of the restriction, or perhaps with OD-2 they feel that knowing the origins is irrelevant. As for an apology, if the restriction was placed (or replaced, rather) by God, then what does the Church have to apologize for? And if it all was truly a big mistake, someone will probably say "It's okay, we'll just do all their temple work, lolz!" *Sigh*

Anyway, I suspect much of our time in the spirit world, or during the last judgment, will be spent listening while either God or His angels do what Mosiah did and "explain it all" to us.

That's all for now.

mtman318 said...

Forgot to mention, however, that an abbreviated version of the statement was included as a heading for the 2013 edition of the scriptures. That's pretty big, in my opinion.

mtman318 said...

"Nor can I find confirmation in scripture to indicate the current leadership hold all the keys they claim."

Well, if you believe D&C 136 and 138 are revelations from God (one being the actual words of Christ, and the other being a first hand account of a vision), then the content of these revelations seem to imply that the priesthood keys were indeed passed on to the Apostles after Joseph Smith, until our day.

"And Brigham Young was chosen because he campaigned for the position. Don't you think Joseph Smith's successor should have been chosen through revelation, not an election? Shouldn't the choice have been made by God, not by a vote of the people over who gave the best speech?"

Or what if they cast lots for it! How ridiculous would that be, settling a question of succession like that?! Oh, wait a sec... (Besides, doesn't D&C 107 say the Presiding High Priest should be chosen and upheld by the people?)

"Wilford Woodruff, I believe it was, said that at the time the Twelve (what was left of them) didn't know what keys they held or what they were supposed to be for. Our history has been revised to where we have been taught there was a smooth and sure transition. There wasn't."

Again, that sounds an awful lot like the original Apostles immediately after the death and resurrection of Christ. I'm sure He had made it abundantly clear to them what keys they held, and what their duties would be, but they didn't quite grasp it all at first. They got it eventually, and the period of uncertainty did not make their authority any less true.

LDSDPer said...

Rock, I will apologize to you for sounding too harsh in my judgements of Big Dave.

I was having trouble with my computer and could barely type out what I did--

But I think Big Dave has made it clear what he believes, and I can 'smell' a Mormon white supremacist a LONG way off.

Big Dave--

Are you aware that there is at least one tribe in the deepest and darkest of Africa that has the DNA of Levi? And they know it. They knew it before geneticists went 'down there' to test them. They had believed themselves to be ancient Jews for a very long time--since long before they were tested.
Sadly, when some of them (and Ethiopian Jews) tried to emigrate to Israel, they were not welcomed with open arms.

But they are Jews; blood tests show they are Jews. And I read about the study in the Wall Street Journal (not the Enquirer) in the early 90s.

There are other African tribes that have legends of having descendancy from Jews but lost their Jewish identity centuries and centuries earlier--

As I said, you seem even more convinced that you are right, and I've not found it easy to deal with Mormons who are racist. You might not have a small heart, and I'm sorry I said that, but--

Nephi tried to tell his children/people that they couldn't understand the Jews. Nephi didn't even want his children to know about the Jews, because he wanted them to have more pure knowledge; he wanted there to be a new beginning, but even then there is some question about whether or not Nephi succeeded; his experience with Laban may have dampened that, a bit.

*looking for a reference*--

2 Nephi 26:33 makes it very clear that it is NOT God who is discriminating. And I have "taken it up" with God. I believe that Joseph Smith knew what he was saying when he said that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book--

refer back to 2 Nephi 26:33--

"and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white"--

he uses the words "black and white" first after making it clear that God denies none that comes unto him.

Rock, I am VERY familiar with the beliefs of people like Big Dave. I have been around some painful blocks, and I won't air it on here--
I had a roommate at BYU who was a Mormon white supremacist, and we had terrible arguments very late at night--until other roommates would plead with us to be silent.

If I were to tell you who that roommate is--
*ha*
years later, after much experience, this roommate returned to me, thanked me for holding my ground and told me that her entire perspective had changed, had been changed--
she had also been a VERY proud person--

I have my pride problems, but I am painfully aware of them--

that is only one thing I will say, about my roommate who boasted of being superior for being white and loved to talk about her bloodlines--

But you are correct, Rock; I should give everyone the greatest benefit of doubt--

and not jump . . . to conclusions. But Big Dave has no shame--LOL! He's made it clear that he believes that the Pearl of Great Price and the Bible 'trump' the Book of Mormon on skin color--

back to 2 Nephi 26:33, which is pure and clear--

and that the Bible is inspired and has no mistakes in it, including managing to relate the idea to millions of Christians from shortly after the death of Christ (and Jews, I might add) until right now--

LDSDPer said...

second part of a tirade on race by LDSDPer

that skin color matters, because the people in the bible were never very righteous, and, if so, not for long.

They never got it right, but they loved their jots and their tittles, and they loved their genealogies--

what did Paul say to Timothy, "endless genealogies"--

and Jesus Himself to the stiff-necked, race proud Jews:

JST, Matthew 3:36--
but perhaps you only believe in Brigham Young, not in Joseph Smith, and you don't think his work on the bible means anything--

if so, then, honestly, Big Dave, we can't talk--

and the other 'roommates' on Rock's blog (or Rock himself) will tell us to go to sleep and let others have peace--

LOL!

Again and again and again, I am sensing by the Spirit that so much in the Bible is culture and not spirit--

Big Dave, you say that it was God who told the children of Abraham not to marry Canaanites, but you said it was because of race. I don't believe that; I believe it was because of faith. He figured there was a better chance of the children of Israel having faithful descendants if there was common faith; the Canaanites worshipped Baal, as did many of the Hebrews and Semites themselves--

it was about faith, not about skin color or bloodlines, but, again, I don't expect you to accept that, but I admire Rock's faith in your open mind and heart--

so . . . try to think about that.

Also, considering that Judah sought out a prostitute, not knowing it was his daughter in law who had been widowed by his son--and would not give her another husband--

I wouldn't say he would pass a temple recommend interview, much less be worthy of being any kind of 'pure'--

and what about the bloody Benjamites--

and what about . . .
what about Jacob's son who lay with his father's concubine?

LDSDPer said...

3rd and final part of racial tirade--

What lovely people they all were?

Who is proud of being descended from them. God doesn't give up on any of His children; He keeps trying; maybe He knows something we don't know--LOL!

But two of the sons of Jacob/Israel were bloody men who went on a rampage and killed an entire community--

you can be proud of being descended from Israel; many Jews are, but--

frankly . . .

I don't see any reason to be proud. God always has honored those who are righteous with promises of blessings IF they are faithful--

but, again, Jesus Himself said . . . that being descended from Abraham meant very little, IF you believe what Joseph Smith corrected from the Bible--

I think even original New Testament has something like that in it--

I've said enough. I stand firm. But it's the Book of Mormon for me, and what is found there is definitive--

I don't want a shouting match.

All right, Rock, I'm leaving the argument; going to bed. No more noise.

:)

I would even go so far as to say, though, one last argument before I shut up--

God has said He chastens those whom He loves. He must love the black people a lot--

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi330694937/

LDSDPer said...

36 And think not to say within yourselves, We are the children of Abraham, and we only have power to bring seed unto our father Abraham; for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children into Abraham.

(Matthew)

33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

(2 Nephi)

thought I would paste them--

Big Dave said...

LDSDper:

I apologize for sounding racist, but I have made some extremely valid points that you seem to be dancing around. It is clear from the Book of Abraham that the Canaanites were a cursed race, and that they were forbidden to have the priesthood. It is there in black and white. Now we can argue who, specifically, the Canaanites were, but the fact is there existed a cursed lineage for whatever reason. I think you are trying to say that God loves everyone and we should all be happy. Nothing is farther from the truth. God is the greatest mass murderer of all time. He destroyed the entire population of the Earth with a flood. He doesn't esteem everyone equally. He gives everyone an equal chance, but we separate ourselves by our behaviors. You seem to forget that God established Israel as his chosen people. Now it is true that some of the 12 brothers were Blackguards, and I alluded to that but did not expand upon it. You need to understand that all of God;s children are different, and he has created lineages for them to be born into to earns rewards based on their pre-existence performance. It is all spelled out in the Pearl of Great Price.
Satan is the father of all lies. He wants to confound and confuse what God has created. He wanted to steal the birthright blessings of Jesus and force everyone to gain exaltation. This is contrary to Celestial law. Of the billions of souls that God has created, the overwhelming majority will never see the Celestial kingdom, and as desperately as you want everyone to be happy, and to be the same, it simply cannot happen the way you would like. Some spirits eliminated themselves as Celestial candidates in the pre-existence and were never given a body. Some were sent to Earth with certain limitations. God is a fair and just being. The justice he metes out is well deserved. It is unsavory for people to think that our actions in the pre-existence and here on this Earth have eternal consequences, but it is true.

Inspire said...

I'd like to see some scriptural support for the tradition that white (American) members are of the House of Ephraim. The Book of Mormon explicitly categorizes the Gentiles (arguably, us) as out of the covenant. We are not "his people" as such. The opportunity is given to us to be brought into Lehi's (Manasseh's) line, or should I say, "numbered among them," but the notion that we are almighty Ephraimites, like so many other things, is another vanity of our generation brought on by the zealousness of Sydney, Parley, Brigham and the rest.

I look forward to the day when we can say, "And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.
And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings..."

Log said...

Satan offered to save everyone in their sins, not to force them to be righteous. That is the straightforward reading of Moses 4, despite the traditions of men.

April the 6th, 1843 124 By Joseph Smith our Prophet
Now concerning Spirits First of all, or in the beginning, the great Eloheam in the Hebrew meaning the
god of all Gods called a grand council &[c] and the[y] counseled to form this planet on which we are
now or do dwell at present. The[y] spoke and earth from cayos [chaos] sprang by their workmanship
Cayos [Chaos] being there matered mater element The[y] saw till time should be no more and the[y]
spoke concerning the redemption of this world and formed limited sircumstances concerning the
redemption Jesus Christ being the greater light or of more intelligence for he loved rituousness and hated
iniquity he being the Elder Brother Presented himself for to come and redeem this world as it was his
right by inheritance he stated he could save all those who did not sin against the holy ghost & the[y]
would obey the code of laws that was given But their sircumstances ware that all who would sin against
the Holy ghost should have no forgiveness neither in this world nor in the world to come, for they had
strove aganst light and knowledg after the[y] had tasted of the good things of the world to come the[y]
should not have any pardon in the world to come because the[y] had a knowledg of the world to come
and ware not willing to abide the law therefore the[y] can have no forgiveness there but must be most
miserable of all and never can be renewed again referred to 6 chapter of Hebrews
But Satan or Lucifer being the next heir and had alloted to him great power and authority even prince of
power of the eir He spake emediatey and boasted of himself saying send me I can save all [he] even
those who sined against the holy ghost and he accused his brethren and was herld [hurled] from the
council for striving to breake the law emediatly and there was a warfare with Satan and the gods and
the[y] hurld Satan out of his place and all them that would not keep the law of the councill But he
himself being one of the council would not keep his or their first estate for he was one of the Sons of
perdition and concequently all the Sons of perdition become devils &[c].

ck said...

Mtman318,

I understand where Rock is comming from on this issue. Isn't it possible that somewhere between the prophet Joseph and today, the leadership of our church removed themselves from Gods Holy Spirit, thus losing the power associated with the priesthood keys? There are severel problems with basing our belief that the leaders still hold all the keys on the fact that they have received revelations.
1. There are revelations that prophets have received that the church now vehemently opposes. (Brighams Adam god doctorine which according to my research was even implemented into the temple rituals. And that he defended until his death)

2. there are revelations/prophecy given by church prophets and leaders that the current leadership of our church ignores. think horseshoe prophecy by John Taylor.

3. There are revelations received by church leadership and members that one might cause one to question wether they originated from God at all. ( think purple tents in the Great Plains protecting people from a poisonous mist that comes out at night...hmmmm...anything is possible. This one would also fall under the category of revelations the church ignores.)

4. people of all faiths over the centuries have received revelations. Everyone that is trying to do the will of god is entitled to recieve direction from him, wether or not they hold any special power.

5. many religious leaders have claimed to recieve revelation and direction from God. Think Ellen g. White and various leaders of churches that ofshooted from Joseph Smith. David Whitmer for example wrote a very interesting letter addressed to current church leadership after he was excommunicated. I expected it to be filled with anger, hate and bitterness. it was not, and wether or not you believe his revelation was from God or not, it is clear that he believed it was.

In conclusion! there is evidence to support our current leadership IS all they claim. There is also evidence that brings their legitimacy into question. I have no doubt that two people could debate for days about it. I think maybe only time and the spirit of God will tell. I just pray that when the truth comes out, I will be ready and willing to accept it.

Ps. PLEASE, in the words of lavar burton....DONT take my word for it! Seriously don't, do your own research.

"Some revelations are from God, some from man and some from the Devil."
-quote attributed by David Wittmer to Joseph Smith. (Paraphrased)

Anonymous said...

I agree that very few of God's children will ever see the 'Celestial Kingdom'. Just look how rare and almost unheard of it is for anyone even in the Church to really believe in Christ and follow the laws he layed out in the New Testament. We listen to the teachings of men who call themselves prophets, ancient or modern, cause they are easier, instead of following Christ's teachings.

When Christ taught his Apostles that it was impossible for a rich man to get into heaven (for a camel can't get through the eye of a needle), even his Apostles realized how shocking that was and thus asked 'Who then will make it?" For they understood how hard that was to pass that test or not being rich, of giving all our excess to the poor. That one test alone quickly shows who is really righteous, no matter what the color of one's skin is.

The color of one's skin is such a lesser thing to care about when determining worthiness for Priesthood, when you 1st consider if one gives all their excess to the poor or not, or is completely faithful (mind, heart & body) to their wife for their whole life or not, or whether they have true unconditional love/charity for everyone or not. These are far more valid and easy to answer questions to use to determine worthiness.

First gather up all the men who can pass those test's of righteousness, if you can find any, and they we can talk about skin color and lineage and scriptures.

And you don't seem to realize that the Church is not true anymore, that it went into apostasy after Joseph Smith. Also, you seem to believe that the POGP is true, when it could actually be false.

I still give Joseph Smith the benefit of a doubt and believe he was a true prophet and thus told the truth that he didn't believe in or live polygamy, but if it turns out that he did then he was just another false or fallen prophet who didn't follow Christ (or even the Book of Mormon), and thus everything else, even the Book of Mormon is highly suspect.

And if you believe in the Church, and Joseph Smith then you have to believe Black could always have the Priesthood, for Joseph allowed it, even if other statements by others or in the scriptures, seem to counter that.

Big Dave said...

Anon 12:08; Even if you choose to not believe in the Pearl of Great Price (although it is one of 4 canonized standard works of the church) you still believe in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon describes the Lamanites as a dark and loathsome people, and that they had a mark (of a dark skin) put upon them. This is proof that God is capable of cursing an entire race and is capable of doing so with a dark skin. This is a major theme of the Book of Mormon.
How else could the Nephites be differentiated from the Lamanites? God considered the Lamanites a real threat and took measures to preserve Nephi and his righteous posterity. Was God being arbitrary and cruel? No! The Lamanites were wicked and rebellious and had plenty of chances to repent.
Now we live in a world where judgment of our transgressions is delayed until a future time. If humanity were immediately judged for their sins, there would likely be many outcasts in our society because of it. Coming to the Earth from the pre-existence is a time of judgment. The lamanites faced a summary judgment in their time. The people of the flood faced summary judgment. We will all face judgment at the end of the world. However, it is useful for the Lord to separate his people from time to time by meting out judgment. I'm sorry you don't understand that. I have tried to use the scriptures as my guide, and have used the words of the prophets to supplement my understanding. I did not invent these concepts. If you believe me to be in error, then show me why, scripturally.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree God can curse a people or person, but as soon as they repent they can have any blessing anyone else can too. He curses white people in other ways too, that might not be as noticeable. Or shall we say people bring curses on themselves also.

We must realize too that the Book of Mormon may not be inspired by God or be God's true scriptures either, though I still believe it is. But it may not be, even though it teaches much truth. So we take what it says with a grain of salt and test and judge it against what Christ taught, to see if what it says is really true or not.

Christ taught us to have unconditional love and forgiveness for all people. Even he offered his gifts and blessings freely to both black and white, righteous and the wicked. I don't believe he would ever keep anyone, regardless of their skin or lineage, from any blessing, including the Priesthood, as long as they were repentant and righteous like anyone else.

I understand this life is a test and a judgment and that God can separate people for protection of the innocent, but that doesn't mean that if someone under a curse repents, that they can't have every blessing now.

ck said...

Here is an little tidbit of information some of you may find interesting. ( by the way, arn't most of us Gentiles adopted into the tribe of Isreal, so most of us who are told we are of the tribe of Ephrium are not literal descendants anyway, maybe some are but how would we know the difference? And does it make a difference, so couldn't a black person of any bloodline be adopted into Isreal like most of us probably are? ) anyway in a family I am very very close to who have absolutely no white blood in them at all...they hail from china and Southeast Asia, all the kids are from Ephrium except one...apparently he is from Gad. And he has the exact same blood line as the others. I have no idea what that means but it is interesting to me.

ck said...

Thank you for your words of encouragement, and I believe your right. We shouldn't need leaders to live righteously. But we do need authority to properly complete sacred ordinances like baptism and the sacrament. this is where the majority of my confusion and frustration lie. lately I have felt like the spirit is telling me to "wait" in regards to these things and in time God will manifest his power unto the world, and there will be no question as to where authority lies and who in originates from. But then again maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part.

Log said...

Seeing as how Christ said nary a word about polygamy in the New Testament, and gave the law of Moses which explicitly permitted it in the Old, agreeing with your personal antipathy towards polygamy as a sufficient test of inspiration seems to leave something to be desired.

anon 98 said...

I had a comment on tithing. At a bishopric training meeting that took place not long ago in my stake, there were statements made that implied a full tithe meant a tenth of one's gross pay. This despite the official statement by the church which reads, one tenth of their interest annually, which is defined as income. No one is authorized to make any statement further than that.

I suspect that this directive came from higher. I do not think the stake presidency took it on their own to redefine "interest annually." I'd say they are far more prone to follow directions from their leaders than to contradict something written in the handbook. These men love the handbook. Keep in mind, this is my personal feeling, I was unable to verify why they decided to redefine what it means to be a full tithe payer. However, tithing was a major topic at that training meeting given to bishops.

I don't believe the church would send out any written word in regards to getting more people to pay tithing, but I do think they would give verbal instructions passed down from one leader to another.

We live in a culture where people assume words from their leaders equals words from God. People use D&C 1:38 as justification for this view. That is where the idea that whether by my voice or my servants, etc.. comes from.

The problem is that people in the church define servant as one who holds a leadership position. Servant is not defined that way. What one can expect, is that if God speaks to a man, and a man transmits that word that came from God to others, that man is acting as God's servant. Whether he be a child or a woman, or just the ward bulletin specialist. Men in positions cannot speak and simply assume because they hold office, they speak the words of God. Or likewise, members should not assume that a leader speaks the word of God, simply because he holds office.

The LDS church has dwindled in unbelief and wandered far from God's presence. The magesterium as a whole is in some pretty bad shape. As Mormon states, awful is our state and we exist as if no redemption had been made. Of course, this statement doesn't apply to those who enjoy the presence of angels and are witness to miracles. All the rest of us should pay serious attention to Mormon's warning.



Anonymous said...

From JRSG in AZ:::
Thanks for all the information on books etc. I sincerely hope and pray your wife's recovery goes smoothly. The young man had absolute faith in prayer and took off before you knew it because he had somewhere to be, or he truly was an Angel which is highly probable.

@ Anon Dec 22 at 1:13 am - I agree and feel exactly the same way. Even though the church has gone off course, and the leaders have done very little to correct it, (some Apostles did try but did not get help) this is still Christ's church, and He will have a lot to deal with.
Merry Christmas and have a safe New Year everyone.

Log said...

2 Nephi 28:31
31 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.


Servants can be wicked while also being the Lord's servants.

Matthew 18:32
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

Luke 19:22
22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow.


Or even evil.

JST, Luke 12:54
54 But the evil servant is he who is not found watching. And if that servant is not found watching, he will say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants, and the maidens, and to eat, and drink, and to be drunken.


So... the issues are very complicated. What should our attitude be towards those we deem wicked, or evil, servants? Shall we reject them, though they are, indeed, the Lord's servants, duly appointed, even if we believe their doctrine is impure, or that they lack charity?

Yet, even those who lack charity bear authority from God - John the Baptist did not have charity, and neither did the Apostles nor the 70 before the day of Pentecost. Rejecting them would have brought upon one the condemnation of God, as it did the Pharisees.

So, does wisdom say?

Inspire said...

So where exactly does it state that we Gentiles are adopted into Ephraim or even Israel for that matter (besides the whole "well, everyone knows" bit)? Perhaps you will cite the couple of places in the B of M we are told the Gentiles will be numbered among Lehi's seed, but if that is the case then you'd better get ready to raise the banner of Manasseh over your house, because that seems like our only "in." Also, that is a future event, because the other things associated with that prophecy have not happened.

If we are willing to change our minds about who are cursed, why can't we do the same regarding those who are "blessed?" For that matter, how do we know who the Lamanites are other than traditions told by those who always put themselves in the role of the good guys?

At any rate, being a Gentile means that we have different responsibilities than that of Israel. But because of our identity crisis, we've been neglectful of what has been asked of us. All is well, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Log,

Actually, I believe Christ taught against polygamy very clearly, in many ways.

1st, He taught that married men and women who remarry someone else commit adultery, even if they divorce their 1st spouse 1st, because the divorce doesn't really dissolve the marriage, thus they are still married and can't marry anyone else, or it's adultery. And 'the act of divorce' is not what makes the remarriage adultery, it's being already married which makes it so. See Matt. 19:9, Mark 10:11 and Luke 16:18.

Christ condemned all polygamy when he condemned all divorce and remarriage.

2nd, Christ taught us to have true love, especially for one's spouse. Those with Christlike true love/charity for their spouse would never abuse their wife or themselves by living polygamy. As the Prophet Jacob also made clear.

3rd, Christ also taught us that the 'Golden Rule' is the basis for all the laws and the prophets. And polygamy doesn't pass the Golden Rule test, because men would not want done to them what they do to women in polygamy. Men would not like, nor put up with, living all alone most of the time, while raising the kids and doing all the chores, meals, gardening, etc. by himself, while staying faithful to a wife he may hardly ever see, because she is usually so busy being wined and dined by other prospective husbands and/or living with the other husbands she already has. Men wouldn't put up with that, nor should they, anymore than women with self respect would or should. So the Golden Rule also reveals how wrong polygamy is.

So in those 3 contexts I believe Christ covered polygamy, though he did it without talking about it directly, since it was such a sensitive thing at the time, for most men believed in it, as well as divorce and remarriage.

Even the Apostles were astonished at Christ's teaching that he taught there was no divorce or remarriage, and that men were bound to only their 1st wife for their whole life. In response the apostles said that if such is the case then it's better to not marry at all (then to maybe get stuck in an unhappy marriage).

If the Apostles had thought there was still the option of polygamy, then they would not have said such a thing.

Also, Christ's Apostles went to teach that no man who lives polygamy could hold a Priesthood calling in the Church, like Elder or Bishop, etc. So it was clearly frowned upon in the Church.

LDSDPer said...

Big Dave,

You assume a lot about me and my attitude about righteousness and eternal life. And you used the phrase "dance around".

You didn't respond to what I said about Joseph Smith. He "gave" *us* the P of G P--

and yet he gave the priesthood to the blacks, and, no, we don't know who those people were, and the understanding I was given, which I believe is a false tradition, during my youth was that being born into a certain line would define a person's 'hereafter'--

I think that is blatantly untrue.

You didn't respond to the irony of Joseph Smith, having handled the P of GP before anyone . . . giving the blacks the priesthood--

nor did you respond to the powerful scripture in 2 Nephi about all being "alike unto God"--

nor did you respond to the Savior's words about the seed of Abraham being able to be raised from stones by God--

One of the major themes in all the scriptures is "the first shall be last, and the last shall be first"--

You focus on the Pearl of Great Price, which I find confusing, I admit--

I focus on the Book of Mormon. This makes our perspectives very different.

You either believe in the Book of Mormon and believe it is the most correct book or you don't. Since you have said nothing about the Book of Mormon but focus on the Pearl of Great Price and the Old Testament--

I guess I am seeing some mighty fine dancing from you, too.

Big Dave, you can't assume that I don't take the plan of salvation seriously or that I believe in Satan's plan.

I am just a libertarian, and it does bleed over into my religion--

I believe in individual choice, individual agency, so powerfully that I have absolutely NO doubt there were righteous people even during the time (besides Mormon and Moroni) when the Nephites, as a collective, were being destroyed, who had experiences with angels and were kept going until they died; we just don't know about them.

I have no doubt that there have been highly righteous people in cursed blood lines and highly evil people in blessed ones.

How 'blessed' is "Israel" now? Not very, I am afraid. Goodness, Israel threw away his/her blessings centuries ago--

why was Jesus born into them? Because they WERE so evil, and He told them, their leaders, that they were. How many even listened to Him? Not many. Blessed. I'm sorry; I don't see the plan of redemption or the Book of Mormon through Old Testament eyes anymore, even though I really do love Isaiah--

a lot of that stuff is very questionable, and Joseph Smith said as much.

LDSDPer said...

the end of the dance: :)

Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ made it absolutely clear through Nephi that all are alike unto God, which means that everyone DOES have a chance, no matter where/how they were born. You are assuming a lot about a cursed bloodline to think that it has anything to do with pre-mortal righteousness. How can anyone assume that curses are permanent or that they are always from God? You say that God is a mass murderer; to Him, who sees those innocent spirits enter into mortal bodies, killing people is another way of bringing them Home. You don't know the Mind of God--
and we assume things based upon unrighteous cultural understandings when we read scriptures. We don’t know God, but I believe that the Book of Mormon defines Him better than any other ancient scripture.

How do you know, for example, that God didn't deliberately send some of the choicest spirits into that cursed bloodline to see what they would do with it?

The idea that all those who look 'nice' here and now and have all the right blood and the right language and church membership, etc.--

are the righteous ones--

has no basis in any kind of scripture.

But many LDS believe that. My husband is a convert from an absolutely monstrous background. A background nobody would want or envy--
and he joined the church, all alone--at age 24, having been on his own for many years, no family. No family.
We moved to the west for a few years, and some people we got to know there--
who had some similar attitudes to what you are writing--

said, "I'm so sorry you were born into such a horrible family; you must have been less righteous in the pre-mortal existence."

They believed it, firmly--

My husband happens to be white; heaven help him if he hadn't been--

we left that home and never went back--such hospitality, right?

It changed my paradigm, and I began to think about what it means "the first shall be last, and the last shall be first"--

Look at the Book of Mormon through different lenses. Think about what cursing means--

maybe it doesn't mean exactly what our culture says it means--

maybe it means things you can't even begin to understand, or I. I don't claim to have all knowledge, but I know that there is a certain self-assurance many LDS have about understanding ancient scripture that leans toward narrow-mindedness; how many assumptions do *we* make, because our parents and grandparents and various apostles, etc.—had things to say that twisted our thinking? Many, I am certain, and I am trying to dismantle those and look at the scriptures through different eyes--

Just respond to the scripture I posted from the Book of Mormon and tell me how it gets along with the scriptures you posted from the Pearl of Great Price--

and respond to what I said about Joseph Smith giving the blacks the priesthood.


Log said...

Christ condemned all polygamy when he condemned all divorce and remarriage.

Those with Christlike true love/charity for their spouse would never abuse their wife or themselves by living polygamy.

And polygamy doesn't pass the Golden Rule test, because men would not want done to them what they do to women in polygamy.


These are all false statements. The last also fails because of the sacrifice of Abraham, according to the scriptures.

Christ covered polygamy, though he did it without talking about it directly,

Which is an admission showing you know the first statement cited is false, and that your statement of belief, "Actually, I believe Christ taught against polygamy very clearly, in many ways," is false as well.

Even the Apostles were astonished at Christ's teaching that he taught there was no divorce or remarriage, and that men were bound to only their 1st wife for their whole life.

Also, Christ's Apostles went to teach that no man who lives polygamy could hold a Priesthood calling in the Church, like Elder or Bishop, etc. So it was clearly frowned upon in the Church.

Those are both personal interpretations which are unpersuasive in this context. Generalizing a rule explicitly intended only for bishops to everyone is, to say the least, not obviously correct, just as it would be if you were to attempt to do so for a rule or scripture which names Joseph Smith.

If the Apostles had thought there was still the option of polygamy, then they would not have said such a thing.

That is not obvious, either.

Big Dave said...

LDSDper:
I wouldn't remind responding to your post, but I feel like I have posted a lot here already, and have stepped on toes. We are talking about a sensitive subject, and I feel as if I have hijacked Rock's blog. I haven't really heard back from Rock on any of these posts, and I do not feel comfortable writing anything else unless Rock is OK with it. I apologize if I have hurt someone's feelings, which I am sure that I have.

LDSDPer said...

World view, political beliefs, spiritual experiences, familial experiences, health, gender, race, economic 'status', type of intelligence, geographical "address" and generation all influence what we "get" when we read scriptures.

Civilization matters much to most humans, but who knows whether God cares more about civilization or about spirit. Hint: 12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

The Lamanites were "loathesome" to the Nephites.

The Nephites' pride destroyed them.

28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

That is what the Nephite prophet Jacob said. And this:

5 Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.

Brigham Young and some of his friends said the opposite--

LDDPer said...

Brigham Young didn't give *us* the Book of Mormon.

*wink*

Log said...

Without taking the whole thing in context, we present a false view of the word of God relating to polygamy.

23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.


I take a very, very dim view of attempts to wrest the scriptures and cry that men have sinned when the accuser has no such knowledge.

16 Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.

17 But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.

ck said...

Yes, I do not know if Gentiles are really adopted into a tribe of Isreal or not. Maybe the church assumes too many things, citing scriptures such as in Abrahams seed all the earth will be blessed or the parable of the olive vineyard in Jacob. But you are correct I believe in saying that we may have misinterpreted these scriptures or even added to them things that were never there. I don't believe one way or the other that we are of a tribe of Isreal or adopted into one or not one at all I really just don't know. But I was speaking from the view point of someone who does believe these things in my previous comment to try to show that there may be some holes in the commonly held belief. Does that make sense?? Sometimes I ramble. Oh but it is pretty clear in the BOM I *think* that the Gentiles will help Isreal bring forth Zion.....so yha I guess we must be different from them in some ways at least. And now that you mention it, t has always bothered me when members of the church refer to people not of the church as Gentiles. ( as if we are not) so you brought up some really good points I never thought of before. Thanks

Alan Rock Waterman said...

It's a sign of how thoroughly I was conditioned to believe certain things growing up that I was drawn into a discussion by Big Dave over the role of Ephraim. It took Inspire's comment above to remind me we have no scriptural reason to believe the white Anglo Saxons even ARE Ephraim. But that assumptions is so ingrained in us that we spin what the Book of Mormon actually says in order to place that assumption front and center.

That belief was commonly held among the Christian settlers in the New World, but we have no cause to believe it is true. It is a tradition.

I am indebted also to Inspire for the reminder that we are adopted into Israel due to our support of the covenants. Could be, but as Inspire points out, the actual wording is not "adopted" but "numbered among them."

I'm learning to be more careful about my assumptions. We were taught a lot of things growing up that just SEEM true, but which did not come from God.

LDSDPer said...

Log, the Lord doesn't say He will command them to have more than one wife--
just that he will command them to raise up seed.

My non-polygamous ancestors had more and healthier children, physically and spiritually. The polygamists had divorce and death by violence.

And who gave the commadment to live polygamy? There is much controversy about whether or not Brigham Young was a prophet, even if he held keys--

Joseph never commanded plural marriage and the origin of section132 is highly debated--

You imply that others are wresting the scriptures, and I daresay your 'dim view' is not a threat; show proof that plural marriage was commanded by God.

Anonymous said...

Regarding regular book reviews on this blog: I for one would greatly appreciate it and enjoy it. There are so very many good and interesting books that no one (or very few people) are aware of. Thank you!
Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano a todos

Log said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Log said...

LDSPer,

The Lord means precisely polygamy. Jacob 2 is crystal clear without attempting to wrest the scripture to say the opposite of what it in fact does say, which attempts arise not from the scriptures, but from an a priori distaste for polygamy specifically. Price et al. did not arrive at "Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy" by a dispassionate analysis of the available evidence, but instead have consistently distorted and omitted evidence to fit their Procrustean thesis.

Joseph is, to my knowledge, the author of D&C 132. The William Clayton journal, released after both Joseph's, and Clayton's, deaths, establishes that from his journal entries of 12 and 13 July, 1843. There were also firsthand records from the Nauvoo High Council which show Hyrum read D&C 132 to the council. The controversy over D&C 132 is from those who, like Price et al., have arrived at their positions against the possibility that God could or would ever command polygamy independently of the evidence actually at hand.

That is all I have said. I have never claimed Joseph commanded polygamy (though we have several others who gave their accounts of how Joseph commanded them to deliver their wives to him), and yes, y'all are wresting both the historical evidence and the scriptures. My taking a dim view of the wresting of the scriptures is not really a threat, but a fact of reality.

Because, as Joseph taught: The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the Devil takes power.

After all:
24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;

25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.

D&C 132 and Joseph's personal obedience to the principle suffices to me to establish, at the least, God commanded Joseph. I don't personally have a care as to who else might have falsely or truly claimed heaven's mandate for polygamy.

Big Dave said...

Rock:
Curious what your endgame is, because you sound like Joseph Smith going into the woods trying to find out which church is true all over again.

BTW, I read Damon Smith's comments on the race issue and he quotes no scripture at all, just basically says all the old guys with beards were wrong.

Merry Christmas and best wished to your wife.

Inspire said...

Ck,
I get excited when I find someone willing to set aside long-held traditions and be open to new possibilities. My reading of the Book of Mormon is that the Gentiles (Joseph said the Saints were a part of this group) have had and will have the Spirit poured out on them because of their belief (some of them anyway). At some point, one or some of them will have the quality of faith that the Brother of Jared had, which will bring the "greater things" or the full account of the words Jesus spoke in Bountiful (recorded on the Plates of Nephi). When this happens it will be so convincing that to disbelieve it is to bring upon oneself a multitude of "woes," and the Gentiles will either come out of captivity and take the records to the remnant of Lehi (assisting them to build Zion), or they will be as savorless salt, and trodden down like a flock of sheep by a young lion.

Of course, all of the blessings promised to Israel will also be offered to the believing Gentiles, "and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity."

While this isn't your traditional narrative, it can be supported in the B of M much more than the reruns we hear at church each week. Anyway, thanks for being open to another possibility.

Kevin said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Joseph Smith Papers book, Rock. $19.95 is a smokin' deal. I picked up a copy this morning. The original price of $99.99 is the same as you'll pay for the most recent versions of both the Thomas Jefferson Papers and the Benjamin Franklin Papers, neither of which reproduces all of their facsimiles in color.

Steven Lester said...

Oh, yes...I determined that I'd never be good enough to get into the Celestial Kingdom ages ago, so now I don't even try. I hope all of you make it, though. I'm sure you'll deserve it.

LDSDPer said...

Joseph is, to my knowledge, the author of D&C 132.

To your knowledge, Log.

In your opinion, Log,*I* wrested the scripture. We assume Jacob meant polygamy in that verse, but polygamy is not mentioned. It does sound as though Jacob meant it, but it was obviously so distasteful to him, he couldn't even say it. For that reason alone, caution should be taken. Jacob is covering God's bases, because God can do what He wants, and Jacob honors that.
Joseph was SEALED to multiple wives. *I* know that. I do not know that he was "married" to them.

I haven't read the Prices, though I find them compelling.
I was raised to defend polygamy tooth and nail--
and two of my ancestors died violently because of polygamy; the were not light weights; they had endured many more trials than most early saints--
as a result of their deaths their descendants took stock and re-prayed it all, and there were miracles. I have been willing to share this; I notice that nobody else has.
Some of my polygamous ancestors had "normal" lives, but I didn't see the miracles--none recorded.
132 may or may not be from Joseph; the doubt is real--
still no commandment from God--
Jacob and I are exonerated.

No hard feelings. I will continue to openly challenge polygamy, but I argued with other LDS who defend pioneer polygamy that the State of Texas was wrong to persecute the FLDS--
those poor souls don't need my condemnation.

I did not introduce polygamy to this discussion except by way of trying to point out that a Book of Mormon prophet commended the Lamanites:

35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.

3 But, wo, wo, unto you that are not pure in heart, that are filthy this day before God; for except ye repent the land is acursed for your sakes; and the Lamanites, which are not bfilthy like unto you, nevertheless they are ccursed with a sore cursing, shall scourge you even unto destruction.

4 And the time speedily cometh, that except ye repent they shall possess the land of your inheritance, and the Lord God will alead away the righteous out from among you.

5 Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not aforgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were bone wife, and cconcubines they should have none, and there should not be dwhoredoms committed among them.

TBC

LDSDPer said...

I was hoping Big Dave would see it (Hi Big Dave)--

since he pointed out that the Lamanites were "Loathesome"

I've been reading Abraham--

I catch different things--

11 Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of aHam. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bbow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians.

It doesn't sound as though righteousness had much to do with skin color--but *everyone* focuses on:

26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that aorder established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the bblessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.

27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of aPriesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain bclaim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;

Anyone else find this confusing? Noah cursed his own son--

does that certify that God did? *We* know that patriarchs can have bad days--

*tongue in cheek*

I apologize for saying I thought you wrested the scriptures, too, Log; I didn't like that you told me I was wresting the scriptures.

And, Big Dave, IF you read this--

you said you felt sorry for me. I forgive you for saying that; I thought it was insulting, but that is just my 'take'--

it's Christmas. And we all believe in Jesus, right?

:)

Peace

:)

LDSPer said...

Inspire,

This:
http://publications.maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1382&index=10

really made me think; I am ashamed that my uncomfortable feelings about the obvious arrogance of most of even the righteous Nephits--

didn't lead me to think of these things myself--

*blush*

culture/civilization are questionable phenomena--

I've thought some of that on my own, but I'm sure someone brilliant thought of it before I did--

:)

Log said...

Joseph was SEALED to multiple wives. *I* know that. I do not know that he was "married" to them.

That is all I am claiming as well. The rite says "husband" and "wife," so it is wise to NOT fudge on these things. Granted, we don't know what words Joseph used.

All - all - the evidence we have - firsthand witnesses to the fact - say Joseph gave D&C 132. Unless we wish to claim Clayton had the gift of prophecy to know to what use his personal journal would be put after his death to record, contemporaneously, Joseph's having given D&C 132. There really is no rational doubt on the source of 132 except among those whose a priori position is that God could never, and would never, command a man and a woman to enter into plural marriage. But history and scripture beyond D&C 132 demonstrates that he would, in fact, and that possibility is explicitly announced in Jacob 2.

Why does it matter?

Rock is here, it seems, trying to educate peeps on "pure" Mormonism. Joseph's polygamy, despite the emotional hangups some have, is part of the pure religion.

It does nobody any good to spread falsehoods around - after all, it is falsehoods about our history that get people into their faith crises, believing the Church to be populated by liars, therefore the Gospel cannot be true. Well, so what, the Church may indeed be populated by liars (hopefully, they're merely the arrogant or the emotional who don't know what they are talking about), but at least where we have the truth on publicly known matters, we ought to accept it, publish it, and damn the consequences. Otherwise (and I'm not particularly aiming this at you, LDSPer) we appear to be liars, spreading confusion.

As for me, I will publicly defend the divinity of Joseph's assignment and authority, the truth of the scriptures he brought forth, and his character; that includes the origin of D&C 132 and polygamy both as a scriptural principle and as Joseph personally practiced it.

Incidentally, I believe that the views of some on the subject of polygamy are entirely too provincial. Without endorsing every word, this essay throws much light on the subject: http://eldenwatson.net/9PM1890Manifesto.htm

Gary Hunt said...

Big Dave,

In an earlier comment you stated...

"Rock: are you aware of the scripture in the D+C that says whether by my mouth or the mouth of my prophet it is the same? So I believe we are obligated to follow church leaders (If we wish to be an active part of the church structure)."

The scripture you are referring to is D&C 1:38, which reads...

38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

Your interpretation of this scripture is common within the church. However, if you carefully read what it is actually saying you will understand that this interpretation is incorrect.

LDSDPer said...

Big Dave,

I have gone back and read and re-read all your scriptures; I even posted the one in Abraham--

you saw one thing; I saw another; I saw the righteousness of those who were 'cursed'--

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All you could see was the curse.

We're the blind man with the elephant--

You focus on skin color and cursing--

I focus on the faith of the individual (the virgins who were 'cursed' but righteous, the righteous Pharoah, the daugher of Canaan whose faith pleased the Lord)--

you can't see beyond the curse.

I am beginning to think that curses may not mean what we all think they mean; they may be a test for the 'blessed'--

the first shall be last; the last shall be first--

keeps coming back to me.

You said you feel sorry for me; I forgive you for it below (*winking and laughing at both of us*)--

but the fact is, Dave, that there is no need for either of us to feel sorry for the other--

truth is, we have different perspectives--

I believe in a Living God--

who blesses (in eternity if not here) those who love Him--

I'm a bleeding heart libertarian who won't buy any chocolate that isn't fair trade, because I worry about the little boys in Africa who are impressed to work as slaves on cocoa plantations--

so . . .

somehow I am assuming that our worldviews are so different that we might not have much in common--
beyond an LDS heritage--

I think Joseph Smith would buy fair trade chocolate, but then I see him as an old friend--

I believe YOU think Joseph Smith spent all his time trying to figure out who needed to be cursed--

*snicker*

enough joking for today--

he gave the priesthood to the blacks; that's good enough for me--

what do you have to say about THAT?

:)

LDSDPer said...

Big Dave, your honesty and humility feels genuine to me--

I'm glad I'm not the only one who worries that I offend or hijack Rock's blog--

I'm surprised he puts up with me, too--

You didn't hurt me, but you gave me a good reason to read and re-read some scriptures I love and have read a lot, but I looked at them differently--

and asked myself questions. I still believe what I have said I believe about those scriptures--

but I am REALLY grateful I have scriptures to read--

feeling very blessed right now about that--

I accept your apology whole-heartedly; it wasn't necessary--

If you stepped on toes, it wasn't mine--

I am very sensitive about the race issue, I acknowledge. Rock knows why--

God is Good. His Mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. That's not a scriptural quote (I think); it's how I feel today--

LDSDPer said...

Log,

I can't respond up where you responded to me; I apologize for that; my computer is acting oddly--

on this site anyway--

:)

Jacob WAS emotional about polygamy; that is obvious. I sympathize with him and relate to him.

To dismiss it as an emotional reaction (though why anyone should be ashamed of emotion seems unnecessary to me) takes away from several important facts:

--no proof can be found that Joseph did have marital relations with the women to whom he was sealed

--polygamy has been anciently and even now a cultural practice; the idea of its being a spiritual practice has been found only among Mormons--
establishing the truth of that is important, and this generation has done that; let people have more than one wife, if that is what they wish--but the practice has many pitfalls; I am aware of them within my own family history--

--pure Mormonism IS the Book of Mormon, and it was Joseph Smith who gave *us* that gift--

Questioning who had access to papers from 170 years ago when Mormon-ness was in huge turmoil and transition is not spreading lies--
it is trying to find the truth, and I have read the questions and doubts about section 132 very differently from you--

--the talk from the man you mentioned (Elden?) comes up with an error message, but I am very cautious and suspicious of anything pro-polygamy that anyone 'modern' might have to say; I won't persecute the FLDS or any polygamists, but I want nothing to do with the practice, and not just because I'm a woman; my husband found it repugnant when he joined the church and struggled with it for years; we feel the same way--

We don't agree. And I appreciate your not calling me a liar. *smile*. I don't think you are one either--

I am just so DONE with polygamy; I never wanted to discuss it again on here--and I got 'led' into it by talking to Big Dave about the Lamanites--

*groan*

You sound like a good person, and I like talking to people who care about Mormonism--

I'm glad I can come on Rock's blog and do that--

right now I am feeling very blessed to have the heritage I have and the Book of Mormon--

I simply love that book--
:)

You have a great Christmas, Log--

peace--

and peace . . .

and more peace--

Anonymous said...

I believe Jacob 2:30 was interpreted by polygamists completely opposite to the way Joseph Smith (who wrote it) believed. I believe Joseph knew it condemned polygamy and taught that unless God commands his people 'to live the commandments' they will hearken unto whoredoms like polygamy. And history has proven this to be true.

I don't believe it even makes sense to interpret Jacob 2:30 as to support polygamy, for polygamy is not a good way to raise up a righteous seed.

For abused unhappy mothers/wives (even BY admitted his wives and most all women were unhappy living polygamy) who have no self respect and thus would even go along with polygamy, have a much harder time raising children who will be righteous and happy, for they see their parents aren't happy and they see their father causing pain and unhappiness to their mother and thus lose all respect for their father, as Jacob clearly testifies.

I believe strong righteous women/mothers with self respect would never put up with polygamy. People back in Nauvoo who believed in Joseph's teachings in Nauvoo could see how evil Brigham Young and his polygmay was and thus wouldn't have anything to do with him.

Happy wives and mothers who are loved, respected and treated equal by husbands who are completely faithful to them, most easily raise the strongest most righteous children and do so the fastest.

For polygamy actually usually slows down the birthrate of a society, as studies have shown.

Bottom line is, Joseph will return someday and ask us why we didn't believe in his testimony or scriptures, but instead believed in the unproven vile claims, hearsay and accusations against him, by men and women who wanted to do just the opposite of what Joseph taught, fought and stood for his whole life.

We each get to believe what we want about polygamy, but Joseph Smith taught, that only those who have true love for their spouse (charity) will not be deceived by false doctrines and false prophets.

Christ also taught that only those who have 'pure christ-like love' are his true disciples and can be trusted. I do not believe Clayton and Brigham Young and all those church leaders had an ounce of love or charity, but just the opposite. So why would I believe anything they claimed or wrote, even if they had a whole book of claims of what Joseph said or did.

I judge everyone and everything by Charity. I know what true love looks like.

So we have to have true charity/Christlike love if we are ever going to know the truth about polygamy.

ck said...

My feelings on polygamy is that sometimes it is sanctioned by God, but in the majority of cases it isn't. My personal belief is that much of the polygamy done in our church maybe wasn't sanctioned by God. According to D&C 132, the chapter that holds the revelation on polygamy how could it be? Doesn't it say that the first wife must give consent? Now their are some people that have raised questions on the validity of that section, but that's a whole different discussion. But their is an interesting blog, titled "defending Joseph" or something like that whose author makes an interesting ( if not airtight, he makes a lot of assumptions) case that Joseph never practiced it at all. Even if one strongly believes he did it is still an interesting read with some thought provoking ideas. However, like a previous poster mentioned I try to be very very careful about accusing people of committing a wrong, so while I don't believe most polygamy was ordained of God, I will not "name names" or point fingers because who am I to judge? But feeling the spirit testify to me ( or believing so anyway) that I did not have to accept polygamy the way we are taught it in the church was one of the most eye opening and spiritual experiences I have ever had and was what started me on my journey to try to seek for the truth.

ck said...

You can say that again! Sometimes it is exhausting trying to sift through the barrage of "doctorine" we have been fed since before we could walk! I pray though that in the end it is worth it. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERONE! Let us all try to remember and follow Jesus Christ this new coming year, and may we find in Him the truth we are seeking!

Gary Hunt said...

Log,

After quoting several scriptures you state "So... the issues are very complicated."

Then you proceed to ask questions about what our attitude and actions should be towards "evil servants".

In the next paragraph you talk about certain of the Lord's the "lack" of "charity".

First , these issues are not complicated. The principles of the Gospel are realy quite simple. The only difficulty comes in determining what are true Gospel principles and what are not.

Secondly, regarding servants. There is a big difference between a "true servant (in deed)" of the Lord and one who is a "servant", in name only (not in deed). The following scripture makes this very clear.

D&C 121:36-37

36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

As far as what our attitudes and actions towards evil "servants" should be I think the Apostle Paul said it clearly...

1 Thessalonians 5:21

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

It is only logical, or wise, to not hold fast to that which is not good. Another word for that could be "reject" that which is not good.

Finally, to say that certain of the Lord's servants lacked charity is being unfair to them. You are judging them based upon the small amount information, in the scriptures, we have about them.

Log said...

Christ also taught that only those who have 'pure christ-like love' are his true disciples and can be trusted. I do not believe Clayton and Brigham Young and all those church leaders had an ounce of love or charity, but just the opposite. So why would I believe anything they claimed or wrote, even if they had a whole book of claims of what Joseph said or did.

Lilli,

Did John the Baptist have charity? (no - Matt 3:14)
Did the Apostles or the 70 have charity? (no - not until Pentecost)

Would rejecting the teachings of anyone from these groups, lacking charity as they did, have brought upon one the condemnation of God?

Nevertheless, if you wish to reject facts because you judge the hearts and characters of those who present them to be lacking because they were doing as God commanded them, then peace be unto you.

But I will oppose your wresting of the scripture.

I believe Joseph knew [Jacob 2] condemned polygamy and taught that unless God commands his people 'to live the commandments' they will hearken unto whoredoms like polygamy.

You are free to believe what you wish, but I am also free to point out the text says nothing like that

Log said...

LDSPer,

You and I probably agree on most things, even if you reject D&C 132. The thrust of my comments is not necessarily intended solely for you.

Try the link again.

Gary Hunt said...

Log,

On December 22, 2013 at 10:06am, you comment and then quoted from something dated April 6, 1843. Would you please provide the reference for your quote.

There are several things which trouble me about your first paragraph. In it you state...

"Satan offered to save everyone in their sins, not to force them to be righteous. That is the straightforward reading of Moses 4, despite the traditions of men."

The first half of your first sentence you say Satan tried to save them "in their sins". Moses 4:1 says... "Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost,".

The second part of your first sentence as well as the remainder of the paragraph. It appears to me to be a half truth. Let me explain.

I did a "straightforward reading" of Moses 4 and it contradicts what you say. Let's look at the verse which is most applicable.

Mose 4:3

3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

Satan did three things. First, he rebelled against God by seeking to "destroy" our free will (agency) which He had given us, andn second, he wanted God to give him His power.

In your comment you say "... not forcing them to be rightous." You can seek "to destroy the agency of man" (free will) in several ways. Trying to forcing a person to be rightous is one of those ways. Trying to forcing a person to do something wrong is another way. There are other more subtle ways (Moses 4:4-13) which do not depend upon the use of blatant force, such as the use of lies and deceipt, and occulting (hiding) valuable knowledge (information) which limits our ability to learn truths and make good choices, thus leading us captive.

In conclusion it appears to me that your statements are not based upon scripture and are false even though they contain some kernals of truth.



Gary Hunt said...

Sorry for the following mistakes:

I said "Satan did three things." It should read Satan did two things.

Next in the forth paragraph it should read "In the first half..." and not "The first half...".

Toni said...

Your post was not directed at me, but I wanted to say that this is true. I also get caught up in the tradition that declares that the above scripture is saying that if our leaders boss us around, it is God bossing us around. Instead, the scripture sounds like it is saying that what is prophesied will come to pass, whether God spoke it personally, or one of His servants said it. It has nothing at all to do with "follow the brethren."

Log said...

Agence does not mean "free will."

Agency is your inalienable ability to represent yourself in binding negotiations with other parties.

Small children have free will, and small children do not have agency.

I cited the Prophet Joseph Smith to establish the point that Satan did not offer to force us to be righteous, as is perfectly clear; if you like I will also cite Elder Henry B. Eyring to the effect that "Agency... is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose."

Log said...

The reference for Joseph Smith's teaching that Satan actually offered to save us in our sins - particularly, that he offered to save all, even those who sinned against the Holy Ghost - may be found in Words of Joseph Smith, p. 273, being one of two records of that particular sermon, in which our modern "Satan offered to force us to be righteous" teaching was laid to rest before it arose, it appears.

yatayata said...

Log at 1:08 p.m.
I thought a "free agent" is one with inalienable ability (and right) to represent oneself in binding negotiations with other parties.

An "agent" of any sort is only a representative of someone or something else doing the negotiations with other parties.

And what is meant as far as a child having free will and not "agency"?

Your writing is a little confusing.

Log said...

D&C 29
39 And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet—

46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

47 Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me.

Log said...

Finally, to say that certain of the Lord's servants lacked charity is being unfair to them. You are judging them based upon the small amount information, in the scriptures, we have about them.

The information is sufficient to show they did not, and could not, have charity, having not been baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. This is not unfair - this is scripture. If, therefore, you wish to take the public position that it is a correct principle to reject the teachings of those who do not have charity, then you must explain on what just basis God condemned the Jews who rejected John the Baptist, as well as the preaching of the Apostles and the 70.

On the other hand, if you agree that even if a man does not have charity, then that does not preclude him from being on the Lord's errand, in accordance with truth and scripture, then you are in the paths of wisdom.

yadayada said...

Log at 1:57 p.m.

Oh, I see, your understanding of those scriptures tells you "free agency" comes with the responsibility of accepting the consequences of a choice, and therefore, a child who doesn't know better cannot suffer the consequences of their actions because Satan cannot tempt them. Is that correct? What about cause and effect? If a child touches something hot do they not get burned? I agree that they cannot be tempted by Satan to choose something that they will need to pay the eternal price until they know better. Satan cannot "tempt" them to sin because they aren't able to respond reasonably. But I believe they still have "free agency".
'Agency' is 'choice'
'Free agency' is unrestricted choice, or you may call it 'man's agency' or 'moral agency'.
There needs to be a qualifying word to explain what kind of agency is being talked about.

Anonymous said...

How do you know that John the Baptist or the Apostles or 70 did not have charity?

And even if they didn't (for most prophets don't achieve charity), a man can be an apostle or even a prophet or 70 and still not be a true disiple of Christ, if he doesn't have charity yet. It doesn't mean they weren't good men, maybe the best Christ could find at the time. But just because they were called by Christ and God to fulfill their roles, doesn't mean they had to be perfect or possess Charity yet, for they were clearly still learning what the Gospel of Jesus Christ was all about and it almost always takes a long time, years, to gain Charity.

And thus without charity those men/leaders could be deceived and it appears they were in many ways, but they still did the best they could as apostles of Christ.

A disciple of Christ is an even higher standard then a prophet or apostle is it appears, for only 'disciples of Christ' possess true charity and thus can't be deceived. Rarely do apostles or prophets gain the higher standing or 'disciple' apparently.

And no, we can't follow blindly even an apostle of Christ, for if they don't have charity they can teach and do incorrect things at times, as we see they did.

So even the people in Christ's day had to take whatever the apostles or 70's said with a huge grain of salt, and make sure they were really teaching truth, but only people with charity would be able to probably discern that.

Just look how fallible and often wrong the apostles were that Joseph chose. I don't think any of them ever gained charity. Even Joseph appeared to struggle to gain it.

But for the few who do gain the very rare trait of charity, Christ calls them his true disciples. I believe it's easier to be a prophet than a 'true disciple of Christ', though both are righteous and will be exalted in my opinion. For both are very righteous, but those with charity are near perfect.

Log said...

How do you know that John the Baptist or the Apostles or 70 did not have charity?

I listed the scriptural proofs of my claims. Those who have been born again, and have received charity, will understand what they mean.

Log said...

I explained my position clearly enough where I feel that to repeat myself would be redundant.

Scriptural agency does not mean "free will," and it does not mean "choice." "Free agency" is an unscriptural term, and "moral agency" is a synonym for agency.

Anonymous said...

Rock,
Regarding tithing settlement, a Bishop must report every member as full, partial or non-payer in the churches MLS system each year. This must be completed by the end of the year or face intervention by stake officers.
A Bishop who follows the handbook of instruction, although making every effort to meet with every member of his ward, should simply log their status as reported by the member (without investigation or assumptions based on donations).
An interesting twist is that if a member pays directly to SLC, the church does not forward the donation information on to the Bishop. That being the case, tithing settlement seems less and less relevant.

LDSDPer said...

yes, I agree with that, but the present "leaders", who I think take or are given too much responsibility, since *we* are all members--

weren't here when those decisions to discriminate were made--

those who made those decisions have been gone a very long time--

this is the big flaw with organizations, though--

the future pays for the past--

LDSDPer said...

I agree, GH and Toni--

not that it matters, but--

LOL!

LDSDPer said...

my husband points out to me again and again that, even if I don't like 132--

(nor does he)--

it does hinge EVERYthing on the approval of the first wife--

that is pretty much . . .

the 'clincher'--

there's an 'out' for anyone who wants it--

LOL!

I question the authenticity of 132--

but there is that one line--

approval of first wife--

Today many people in the church run themselves ragged to:

--fulfill callings

--get into leadership positions

--get their children on missions

--get their children into BYU

--get their children married in the temple

How many of the people who do this ever pray about every step of the way?

From my experience, not many--

the intense pressure to live polygamy probably made it such that very few first wives even DARED to pray about it--

when I told someone in my ward who is VERY diligent and in every way a superior LDS (*tongue in cheek*) that we had prayerfully determined that our children would not go to BYU (our children joined us in these prayers and had the same answers)--

I was treated as though I had suggested that that person do a dance in his/her birthday clothes through the chapel--

prayer is highly suspected in this current culture--

Gary Hunt said...

Log,

Here is a scripture for you to consider.

2 Nephi 26:30

30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.

This was written by a servant of the Lord about 559-545 B.C. which last I checked was before the Pentecost mentioned in Acts.

By the way Nephi 33:7, Ether 12:28, Alma 7:24, Ether 12:34, Ether 12:35 and Ether 12:37 also talks about charity and were written by servants of the Lord.

The only conclusion I can come to, based upon these scriptures, is that your understanding of what charity is is false.

Log said...

You don't know what my understanding of charity is. I haven't explained it. Therefore, I am bemused at your denunciation of whatever you suppose my understanding is.

Proverbs 18:13
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

Anonymous said...

I read Matt. 3:14 and I believe John is just saying that he himself hasn't been baptized and saved yet. That he too needs to be baptized still.

But even people who haven't been baptized can achieve Charity. There is nothing in that scripture that suggests that John didn't have Charity. He may or may not have had Charity, but Christ still could and would have used him for his purposes either way.

And the answer is 'No', to your original question of 'Would someone come under condemnation for 'not' following a leader who doesn't possess Charity. Christ was very clear about Charity being the trait of his 'true disciples' thus warning us about being wary of who to trust.

For Christ knew that even apostles without charity can often be wrong and or fall and lead people astray.

So no, I do not believe anyone would have come under condemnation for not following Christ's apostles if they didn't think those men had charity.

People then and today could/can follow their own conscience and personal revelation from God and would still be as good or better off then following Christ's disciples.

For Prophets/Apostles are really for those who 'don't' have the Holy Spirit to guide them. Thus they need help and guidance and reminders to repent.

Those who 'do' have the Holy Spirit know just as much, and often more, then prophets do, for they are getting their information from the same source, which would tell them the very same things.

Gary Hunt said...

Log,

You made the following statements/ claims...

"Agence does not mean "free will." "

"Agency is your inalienable ability to represent yourself in binding negotiations with other parties."

"Small children have free will, and small children do not have agency."

"Scriptural agency does not mean "free will," and it does not mean "choice." "Free agency" is an unscriptural term, and "moral agency" is a synonym for agency."

Let me share the definitions of a few of the words you used. I will use the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (Copyright 1966) as my source.

"Agent, One who (that which) acts or operates." "Agency" is a dirivation of agent.

"Free, not in bondage or subject to control from outside."

"Freewill, unrestrained choice, (theol.) power of direction one's actions without constraint by necessity." As a side note "(theol.)" is an abbreviation for theological (scriptural) meaning.

"Choice, act of choosing."

"Moral, pert. to character or conduct."

"Free agency" is just a composite of the two words. The word "free" is an adjective (qualifier) used to describe the type of "agency". This was accurately explained by "yadayada". If you will look up the word "agency" in the LDS Topical Guide or the word "free" in the index to the scriptures, you will see that free is used eight times to describe the same concept, and is used in the same context, as the words "agent" or "agency".

My understanding (as well as "yadayada's") of these words and terms is in line with what the words actually mean, both scripturally (in the context intended) and as defined in the dictionary I cited above.

Perhaps you can tell to us the source/ sources for your definitions of these words, terms and concepts, and explain to us why you think your interpretations are correct and our's are false.

Log said...

There is nothing in that scripture that suggests that John didn't have Charity. He may or may not have had Charity, but Christ still could and would have used him for his purposes either way.

The Jews who received not John's testimony were condemned (JST Matt 21:32-34).

As John lacked the baptism of Christ, which John plainly stated - which baptism is the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost (Matt 3:11), which alone is spoken of in scripture as bringing charity (Moroni 8:26, Moses 6:61,65-66) - your position is inconsistent with scripture and reality.

It is because of wickedness and unbelief that the Lord withholds the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost (Mormon 1:14).

You are free to believe what you will; however, you are not correct in your beliefs. As Joseph taught, the devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the Devil takes power.

Log said...

2 Nephi 18:20
20 To the law and to the testimony; and if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Log said...

I quoted Elder Eyring for the definition of agency, and you heard him not.

I cited Joseph Smith who clearly taught that Satan's offer was to save all, no matter what their sins were - therefore, whatever "agency" meant in Moses 4 did not mean "free will," nor any variant thereof, since men must of necessity sin, and be free to do so, for them to need redemption from death and hell.

You did not understand that, either.

Both your, and yada's, understandings are contrary to the scriptures and the Prophet, even if you are in company with the vast majority of the Church.

Why, therefore, do you ask me again for what it pleases you to mischaracterize as "my" definitions?

After all, as the Savior said, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

In case you were unaware, the study helps to the scriptures are not themselves scripture.

Log said...

Incidentally, you might try dictionaries published closer to the time the Prophet wrote the scriptures to get a more accurate idea of what he meant.

Agency

A'GENCY, n. [L. agens. See Act.]
1. The quality of moving or of exerting power; the state of being in action; action; operation; instrumentality; as, the agency of providence in the natural world.
2. The office of an agent, or factor; business of an agent entrusted with the concerns of another; as, the principal pays the charges of agency.


In the context of the scriptures, definition 2 is closest to what is meant. Notice, also, the lack of "choice" or "free will" as a synonym for agency.

The scriptures were, after all, given to the Prophet after the manner of his own language and understanding (D&C 1:24).

LDSDPer said...

I have had some more thoughts, or answers--

Dave, I know you aren't comfortable discussing this, but--

I believe it is very likely that God holds all the DNA for everything--

and, yes, two black people can have a white child. IF they are part white--

they can look black and have a child that 'passes' for white--

God works through natural laws, some believe. He can speed up laws, though, I believe.

Were Adam and Eve 'white'? Or were they something unique that could house all the dna for an entire world?

Also, you stated that you believe it is naive for anyone to think that people either got a body or did not and that there were no other stratifications in the pre-mortal existence.

Here is my proposal, something I am not sure I believe but am willing to consider--and something that is no more bizarre to believe than that all black people are spiritually cursed.

Cursed as to society, surely. But by God? That I question.

Here it is:

How easy it would be simply to look at someone's skin color and say, "good, bad, good, bad" according to their skin color. Those theologians who supported racism during the time of the writing of the U.S. constitution, during the time when slavery was being supported throughout the 'white' world (Britain and its colonies)--

and being used by all white people--

taught that blacks were inferior in every way and 'cursed'. *We* all heard that from our childhoods if we were raised in homes and societies that believed it.

But, what if God has a sense of humor? What if He really means it when He says:

30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

(Matthew 19)

and:

12 And when these things come, bringeth to pass the scripture which saith, there are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first.

(Ether)

and put spirits of those who were highly refined into the bodies of people who would be put on slave ships and treated like cattle and die . . .

and put spirits that were poorly developed into the bodies of people who would cause them to be beaten and abused--

as a test?

To see what others would do?

To see how the refined spirits would handle the challenge and if the poorly developed spirits would either get better or get worse?

The truth is that nobody knows.

This is why it is extremely important that *we* as followers of Christ treat everyone with equal respect, because as the scriptures tell us:

God is no respector of persons (Acts 10)

But *I* believe that Father in Heaven mixes everyone all up and sends good and bad spirits into the same communities, so that there are bad and good of all races, all religions, all classes, all nations--etc.

how better to test all of *us*?

LDSDPer said...

ck at 10:40 a.m. on Christmas Eve--

I think God 'allows' a lot of things; sometimes He probably does it so we can grow or be tried--

I believe that there are many things mortals do that disgust Him, but somehow He doesn't give up--

I am sure even people He speaks to annoy and displease Him on many occasions, but He still doesn't give up on *us*--

'allowing' polygamy as a test might be one way of saying it--

I realize that I won't know until I die what really happened, and if I find out that Joseph 'slept with' any of those other women he was sealed to, besides Emma, I will still be grateful for his work to bring forth the Book of Mormon--

and the sealing powers--

beyond that, I probably won't have that much to do with him, because I am not his descendant--

and I will probably be busy with other people; he'll have a lot on his hands--

will I respect him? I have no idea who I will respect and who I will not at that point--

But I am very grateful to him for translating the Book of Mormon--

as for other 'prophets' or presidents of the church--

some I have better feelings about than others, but unlike many LDS I really don't think anyone is a "hero"; I just don't celebrate people--

I really try to focus on Jesus.

He only saves--

LDSDPer said...

are you using Webster's 1828, Log?

I'll look it up in that dictionary--

I am not understanding much of what anyone is saying on here--

and it could be that my brain is tired--

but I use Webster's 1828--

Gary Hunt said...

Log,

Prior to posting my comments above, I anticipated that you would exploit this tactic. So I consulted the Amertican Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster 1828 to make sure the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology had the same meaning for the word "agent". It does.

Definition 2 does not best fit what is meant. I will explain.

1. The type of agent spoken of in the scriptures when God said He gave us our own agency is the type where we are agents unto ourselves. Each individual has the right to act according to their own free will or choice.

2. The second type of agent is where the principal contracts with an agent to act for them according to the directions the principal gives them. This second type fits definition 2 whioch you listed above.

Here are two quotes by Joseph Smith:

“All persons are entitled to their agency, for God has so ordained it. He has constituted mankind moral agents, and given them power to choose good or evil; to seek after that which is good, by pursuing the pathway of holiness in this life, which brings peace of mind, and joy in the Holy Ghost here, and a fulness of joy and happiness at His right hand hereafter; or to pursue an evil course, going on in sin and rebellion against God, thereby bringing condemnation to their souls in this world, and an eternal loss in the world to come. (History of the Church, 4:45, footnote; from a letter from the First Presidency and high council to the Saints living west of Kirtland, Ohio, Dec. 8, 1839, Commerce, Illinois, published in Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, p. 29.)


"Satan cannot seduce us by his enticements unless we in our hearts consent and yield. Our organization is such that we can resist the devil; if we were not organized so, we would not be free agents.” Quoted by William P. McIntire, reporting a discourse given by Joseph Smith in early 1841 in Nauvoo, Illinois; William Patterson McIntire, Notebook 1840–45, Church Archives.

These quotes contradict your position.

Gary Hunt said...

Log,

You are correct. I do not know exactly what your understanding of charity is. I did not say I did. If you understood what I actually said you would see that the words you have spoken indicate that you have a very narrow definition for charity (which you have not explained), which does not allow any of the Lord's servants to have charity prior to the Pentecost recorded in Acts.

It would be a good idea for you to look up the word charity in the American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster 1828. It has the same definition for charity as the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.

It would be a good idea to provide an explaination of your understanding of the word charity so that we can at least understand your position. Also I think it is unfair for you to criticize others for having a different understanding of charity than you do. Especially when you make bold statements about the Lord's servants not having charity prior to a certain event and not explaining what you mean by it. You are occulting information which is relevant to the discussion and then trying to argue from a position you believe to be superior.

ck said...

LDSDPer

Thank You for your comment, that is such important advise to remember...focus on Christ more than anything else.

ck said...

Inspire,

I really appreciate your comment and I have been praying that my heart will be soft enough to accept Gods truth even if it is different than what I have been taught. I believe the Book of Mormon does support what you say. I look forward to hearing more of your ideas in future discussions on Rocks blog.

LDSDPer said...

log,

Both your, and yada's, understandings are contrary to the scriptures and the Prophet, even if you are in company with the vast majority of the Church.

Why, therefore, do you ask me again for what it pleases you to mischaracterize as "my" definitions?

(Log)


This does sound superior. In a discussion I was having with you, you spoke as though you have authority.

Log, I have no authority. Ha, I don't even hold the priesthood, being a woman, but I don't think it's my right to state things with authority. I have a right to have an opinion and to share ideas, but I realize that, though I do have strong opinions and sometimes am too fond of my own ideas--

I am not the 'last word'--

Nobody is, not anyone mortal, anyway--

You will be taken more seriously if you are a little less assured that you have all the answers and it is your responsibility to teach others--

I know I 'talk' too much on here; I am keenly aware of it, and a few people have said as much (though Rock has been kind to me about it)--

I have WAY too many ideas, but I do not pretend to know more than anyone else, and one of the things I value about this blog is that I learn SO much from others--

Sometimes I feel that I nag others to respond to me, especially when they have been adamant that they are correct about something, and I find a scripture that shows there might be another way of looking at things--

that's wrong, but I don't say, "you are wrong; I am right"--

because I don't think it's true.

It's hard to talk with people who appear to think they have all the answers and are just here to teach others--



me said...

Many years ago (around 50) my grandparents gave my parents a thick booklet called "The Hollow Earth" by Raymond Bernard, A.B. M.A. Ph.D.
From the time I was little, I've always been fascinated with this theory.
It's dedication page reads:
" To the future explorers of the new world that exists beyond North and South poles in the hollow interior of the earth, who will repeat Admiral Byrd's historic flight for 1,700 miles beyond the north pole and that of his expedition for 2,300 miles beyond the south pole, entering a new unknown territory not shown on any map, covering an immense land area whose total size is larger than north America, consisting of forests, mountains, lakes, vegetation, and animal life. The aviator who will be the first to reach this new territory, unknown until Admiral Byrd first discovered it, will go down in history as a new Columbus and greater than Columbus, for while Columbus discovered a new continent, he will discover a new world."

The book has 105 8 1/2 x 11 pages and I was lucky enough to inherit it from my parents. It's a fascinating read. I don't know if it is even available anywhere anymore.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

"Regarding tithing settlement, a Bishop must report every member as full, partial, or non-payer in the churches MLS system each year. This must be completed by the end of the year or face intervention by stake officers."

If evidence was needed to show this organization has been diverted from a religion to a corporate business, this unscriptural "rule" should do it.

There is nothing in the word of God about requiring members to declare themselves in one column or another as above. It can, however, be found in the corporate Standard Operating Procedures manual we know as the Church Handbook of Instruction. This is the way business corporations operate; a scramble to obtain and provide Pro Forma reports, statistics, and year-end totals.

It's telling that one of the things the Lord absolutely requires regarding tithing is a yearly accounting from the leaders of precisely how said leaders disbursed the member's tithing funds. But this is commandment the leadership has chosen to ignore since 1958 when out of control spending threatened to embarrass those charged with that duty.

Toni said...

From Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Earth-geographical-discovery-mysterious/dp/0517307936/sr=1-8/qid=1161543538?ie=UTF8&s=books

It looks like it is still in print.

Ashley said...

I don't usually comment much but I always enjoy your blog posts Rock. I love the humor so much. I was so pleased and happy to hear about Connie's success and also hear about the Gore's coming to Utah. I have quite a few mutual friends with them and I hear they are fantastic people. :) God is so good. Thanks for making me laugh today and speaking from a genuine place. God Bless.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Just a reminder that I'll be the guest today on K-Talk Radio's Paul Duane Show. We will be discussing this blog. For those living on the Wasatch Front, that's at 630 on the am dial from 1-3pm. All others can hear it streaming live here:

www.PaulDuaneShow.com

That's 1-3pm Utah time, of course. I'd be pleased to hear any of you readers call in at 801-254-5885.

ldsapostasy said...

The priesthood ban against the blacks is found in the Book of Abraham, and in the Old Testament. Why does everyone keep ignoring that? This deliberate ignorance of the scriptures is really getting on my nerves. Political correctness is apparently more important than integrity.

Anonymous said...

ldsapostasy,

Joseph Smith apparently didn't agree that the Book of Abraham justified a Priesthood Ban for Blacks, since he produced it and still allowed Blacks to have the Priesthood,

And there is a huge question about whether the BoA is even true scripture or not, but and that's a whole other topic.

And the Bible must be taken with a huge grain of salt too, for it is probably not usually translated correctly.

And since the Church apologized for the Priesthood Ban and said it was wrong and those leaders were wrong to do it, and since the Church put out the BoA, then if you are right about the BoA, then that means the Church is wrong, so why do you care what the Church thinks or does, and why would you even believe in the BoA if the Church is not true cause it's leaders prove to be so fallible and ignorant as you say?

Brigham could have also been wrong to start the Priesthood Ban and racism and to support slavery, and I believe he was.

So there doesn't seem to be much support for thinking the BoA supports a P. Ban, if even the Church and Joseph disagree.

Why would you believe in the BoA but not Joseph Smith or the Church leaders today?

If the BoA really does support racism and withholding Priesthood from righteous Blacks then I would not believe it is true, for it would be contrary to Christ and the Golden Rule, which is the real test of all God's laws. Christ trumps the BoA.

Big Dave said...

ldsapostasy

That's what I keep saying, but it seems folks think the scriptures are a smorgasbord to pick and choose from. I haven't really wanted to get too postal about it because I am not quit sure of our audience here. And from my research I have deduced that Joseph initially ordained a few blacks to the priesthood but very quickly received a revelation from the Lord that it was wrong. The revelation was recorded in private papers and has been covered up by the church over time.

I. Willet deVale said...

I'm not so sure. Does the Book of Abraham really say the priesthood ban is against blacks, or does it say the seed of Canaan?

The question then is who are the seed of Canaan? Our traditions assume they are black Africans, but I don't think the scripture is clear on that. I'd rather not assume things about the scriptures that are not explicitly stated.

LDSDPer said...

"getting on my nerves"--

wow; how deep. "smorgasboard", Big Dave? What about 2 Nephi 26:33? You never answered my question about that scripture and what *you* think it means in light of the P of GP and the Old Testament.

Joseph Smith (do any of you think he was a prophet) said that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book and the foundation of *our* religion--

he didn't say that about the Pearl of Great Price, and he said the Bible was the word of God "as far as it is translated correctly". *We* each choose which scripture we think supersedes the others or has the most authority. For me, it is the Book of Mormon.

For me, the Pearl of Great Price is obviously not understood. Never in there does it say that God cursed that line; Enoch merely observes that they were separated out, but he doesn't say by whom.

Noah obviously cursed his son Ham. A very loving thing to do.

I think it's pointless to discuss this with people whose minds are so obviously trained to think a certain way. I grew up thinking the same things ldsapostasy and Big Dave are saying, and I had a change of heart.
Joseph "very quickly received a revelation from the Lord that it was wrong", Big Dave? Show us that revelation. Who wrote it down? How do you know it is authentic? The only thing *we* can know is authentic is the Book of Mormon, and *we* have been warned that there will be condemnation if we don't accept it.

What in 2 Nephi 26:33 states that blacks are cursed? Show me.

I'm listening.

This goes beyond political correctness, though I realize there are those who want to call it that.

It goes to trying to correct past mistakes. I. Willet deVale points out that *we* don't even know who the seed of Cain are, and I will point out that the Old Testament is not as reliable as the Book of Mormon.

As for the Pearl of Great Price, all I can see is observations of human choices.

But I am not even sure that *we* are aware, beyond the false teachings concerning it that have been around for centuries--

what the point of the 'cursing' even was. The priesthood was not the same then as it is now anyway--

I pointed out that the 'blacks' that were referred to as cursed in Abraham were killed for their righteousness, etc.--

but nobody responded to that either. I don't think *you* will; I think you have too much to lose if you begin to look at things differently.

White pride, perhaps.

LDSDPer said...

Big Dave, you don't want to get 'postal', because you are unsure of *our* "audience"?

*shaking my head*

What on earth does THAT mean? You mean, there might be people on here who won't sympathize with white supremacy?

Do you think others have not read that supposed "revelation" Joseph received about having made a mistake to ordain blacks or allow them to be ordained?

I've read about it, and I question its authenticity.

But you don't, because it suits you to think it is authentic, to think that Joseph believed he had made a mistake.

He didn't change the 'policy', whether he had a revelation or not; the 'policy' was not changed until long after his death, or, assassination--

But you won't answer my questions.

I have responded to your every point. When I did, you said you didn't want to 'hijack' Rock's blog, and now you say that you are unsure of *our* "audience".

Well, this part of the "audience" is definitely not white supremacist.



LDSDPer said...

I agree, anonymous--

but the Book of Mormon is such an obvious answer, and those who continue to cry out that black men shouldn't have the priesthood . . .

won't answer my question about this verse:

33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he ainviteth them ball to ccome unto him and partake of his goodness; and he ddenieth none that come unto him, black and white, ebond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the fheathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

These people either refuse to read it or read something into it that simply isn't there--

right after, "he denieth none that come unto him . . ." is found "black and white"--

he denieth none. Denying the priesthood is not made as an exception here--

I guess there are those who just pass over this verse, because the priesthood isn't mentioned.

It isn't mentioned here either:

26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that aorder established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the bblessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.

27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of aPriesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain bclaim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry;

except that Ham was cursed by his father, Noah, so his lineage couldn't have the priesthood.

I don't see cursing by God, and I believe that even prophets who build arks can make mistakes--

what it does say is that Pharoah was righteous--

Abraham's father was led away by their idolatry, but Pharoah was righteous; Abraham's father had the priesthood; this is HARD to understand; what is being said here?

Have any of you ever been cursed? I mean, really cursed? By someone who thinks htey have authority, even non-LDS? It is a terrible experience, a life altering experience, and often it comes out of anger or unrigheousness; I have never . . .

heard a curse, a real curse, not 'swearing' or using foul language, from a righteous man or woman, but I have heard cursings from those who are evil--

I'm sorry Noah did that, but many prophets have experiences in which they falter towards the end; many righteous men and women do--

which is why enduring to the end is so important.

Until you have been, literally, cursed and felt the cursing (I was, and it was on my mission, and the person doing the cursing was blaspheming Jesus Christ as he administered the curse to me)--

maybe you need to be careful talking about curses so casually--

LDSDPer said...

sorry about the typos--

I doubt those to whom I am addressing the parts about the priesthood will read it anyway, but I should have made it clear that in Abraham the wording was not that the priesthood was denied by God, but by Noah--

yes, the word "priesthood" is most definitely mentioned.

That was a sad piece of writing--

apologies--

in case someone who believes the Pearl of Great Price over the Book of Mormon wants to read what I wrote--

LDSDPer said...

I did click on that link--

or went to that website, rather.

I don't see the program there--

but I'm assuming it will be coming?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

LDS Dper,
I don't think it can be said any better than you just did. Those accusing others here of selecting from the scriptures as though the scriptures are a smorgasbord ought to check their own assumptions first.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

LDS Dper,
Duane tells me he is editing out the commercials and will post it soon. Probably on itunes, but whereever it ends up, I'll mention it in my next blog post.

Meantime, I keep scouring his website daily waiting for news of the podcast because Connie heard my end of the conversation but is very much interested in hearing what the callers were saying.

me said...

You've convinced me LDSDPer. I was wondering if anyone would be able to do it. The issue of the blacks and the priesthood has always annoyed me.

LDSDPer said...

*meep*

Thanks, Rock--

*blushing for my loquaciousness*

I guess I have opinions--*blush, blush*

:)

I need to check back on that website; I can imagine how frustrating it would be to only hear half of a conversation--

LOL!

Big Dave said...

With respect, Rock,

You are absent for most of the blog and come back to make comments like that? I could really lay everything out on the line and show you all the evidence that supports my conclusions, but in the interest of keeping the peace I have not. Yet LDSDper continues to goad me. I made a small comment and immediately the attacks begin. Good luck being luke warm about everything, Rock, and being everyone's friend.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

No offense meant to you personally, Big Dave, but I can see after re-reading my comment how it was taken that way. I apologize.

I am very interested in learning more about your statement about Joseph Smith receiving a revelation that was found later in someone's personal papers. Can you elaborate?


Isaac said...

BigDave, you make a lot of assumptions. You quote scripture but the meanings you assign to them and the conclusions you reach go through an extensive series of assumptions and leaps.

You aren't unique in this, but I worry that you might injure your shoulder with your vigorous back-patting, as so many have done in the past and continue to do. The elect, the chosen, the elite, the born-worthy—blah blah blah. Let it go and get over yourself.

Rob said...

LDSPer, your explanation is creative, but I don't think it matches well with the scriptures.

Do a word search for "curse" in the scriptures:
http://www.lds.org/scriptures/search?lang=eng&query=curse&x=-1388&y=-285

I think Joseph Smith said it best when he recommended to read scripture literally. I like to build my take-away from what the scriptures say, not approach the scriptures with a foregone conclusion.

Best,
Rob

Big Dave said...

You really think that in one or two paragraphs I can explain complex doctrines? I just hit the high points, and I really don't care if you agree with me or not. Lets face it, everyone believes what they want to believe, including you.

LDSDPer said...

Rob,

I went through 3 pages of 'cursing'--LOL!

I saw nothing about 'black'. Lots of cursing. *We* are probably cursed all the time for things we don't do that we *should* do and things we do that we shouldn't do--

the meaning of the word 'curse' is one of the difficult things--

It's extremely vague in all the scriptures mentioned that have the word 'curse' or 'cursing' in them; there is never mention of detail or type--

You've made my point for me; there is no mention in 3 pages of 'black'--

or even of priesthood. Cursing is quite common, but notice that little mention, if any, is made as to what the curse really even means.

I don't take the O.T. very seriously anymore. I just don't, because I believe in the Articles of Faith, and I find too much disagreement between the O.T. and the Book of Mormon--

There is no foregone conclusion; I AM reading the scriptures literally.

With curses being so common, why don't church leaders/church members/*we* spend our time trying to find out what each individual's curse might be, instead of focusing on what a few dead white men said about black people and the priesthood*--

those words, not for blacks, though something is said about Laman and Lemuel and their descendants, though not concerning the priesthood--

are dubiously from God.

The first scripture, in the D&C talks about how God will curse whom His servants curse--

well, whom did Joseph Smith curse? And who ARE the servants?

Do you see how many thorny places there are with understanding.

What I HAVE done, Rob, is try to dispel my old beliefs, which were mostly restorationist and not Book of Mormon centered.

I've been paralleling some of things Rock has said about that for years, though he has introduced me to a few new ideas.

The ONE thing I have taken away from my years of intense study about this (before coming onto any Mormon blog)--

is that culture influences interpretation of scripture--

and trying to get rid of that is a lot of work--

*can you imagine it? The bishop calls in Brother or Sister so-and-so and says, "let's talk about the curses that are on you right now"--

and everyone agrees and talks about what curses they might have?

Has anyone ever heard of that? But it DID happen to people who were descended from Africans, right here and for centuries--

"you are cursed, because you have a black skin, because Cain killed Abel, and Cain was cursed"--

and . . . however many tens of thousands of years later you are still cursed, but Brother ____________ is white, and even though he has a secret addiction nobody knows about and he's in the SP'cy, he has no curse, but you do?

TBC
:)

LDSDPer said...

Cain was cursed, and he was marked. How much of that was done by God, and how much of it was done by the people living then, his family?

I have no doubt God did some of it--

but then Joseph Smith said:

2 We believe that men will be apunished for their bown sins, and not for cAdam’s transgression.

If not punished for Adam's, why for Cain's? It defies logic--

and yet cultures have dictated it for centuries--

Creative? Not really--

just trying to be literal, and trying not to be influenced by old, dead, white men who were not inspired and didn't even pretend to be receiving revelation.

At least President Kimball sought guidance and revelation, but it ended up being a restoration, because the blacks should never have been denied the priesthood.

Joseph Smith did not deny them the priesthood--

that is the 'rub'.

Some on here have claimed that he had a 'revelation' in which he regretted having allowed the 3 or 4 who were given the priesthood (black men blessed enough to make it to Nauvoo; FEW blacks were free back then)--

to have been given it.

Where is that revelation? Where was the policy change Joseph made? It doesn't exist--

it is all second hand--

so what is the problem here?

The 'bottom line' is that some of *us* take the Book of Mormon over the Old Testament and, yes, even the Pearl of Great Price.

That's not creativity; that's just a choice, and it's one I have made.

Peace--

P.S. The one really good thing about the O.T. is that it shows how much human culture influences belief--

Perhaps that is why the O.T. IS important!?

It's absolutely filled with superstition and custom that has nothing to do with God or Godly things--

Maybe it's time to focus on that instead of taking it all as being the literal word of God--

culture is dangerous; is is of the carnal mind--

and needs to be understood in order for human beings not to be destroyed by it--

The Book of Mormon talks a lot about the 'traditions of the fathers', mostly in reference to the Lamanites, because there was a cultural bias against the Lamanites from the beginning--

how often do most LDS think about what that means and how it applies to *us*?

I have, a little, but not enough--



LDSDPer said...

line 18 in paragraph 10 of the first part doesn't make sense, even to me.

*sorry*

I was trying to say that curses were mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and a mark or skin color was mentioned, but no mention was made of priesthood--

Later I talked about Cain being cursed. The idea of an entire lineage being cursed, because of something a parent did is . . .

questionable, BUT I think that many of *us* LDS are 'cursed', because our ancestors did things they shouldn't have done. ALL people inherit the sins of their fathers, not necessarily accountability for the sin itself but the result(s) of the sin--

in that sense, cursing would apply to every human being who has ever been born.

Cursed to be spiritually narrow, because of materialism.
Cursed to drink, because parents drank.
Cursed to divorce, because parents divorced . . .
Cursed with poverty, because parents were in poverty--

People DO break cycles, but cycles of sad living are found in every human family--

Many people have murdered, in cold blood, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and the effects of those murders are felt, so, in fact, the sin is a curse for subsequent generations--

In the case of Cain, however, why the priesthood was withheld when, generations later, many of his descendants were righteous . . .

is what *I* question, because of the correctness of the Bible and the confusing writing of the Pearl of Great Price. I don't doubt the validity of the Pearl of Great Price; I think it is authentic, but I question how accurate it is, because it was also kept and 'handled' for centuries, if not milennia.

Enough--

Thanks to anyone who reads this--

Cursing is very real. Righteous, innocent people suffer all the time for the sins of forebears and family members--

but condemning an entire population descended from a man who did evil thousands of years before is inexplicable--

and defies, to me, the plan of redemption--

the idea of people being more righteous in the pre-mortal existence being born to the priesthood also doesn't seem very logical to me. The mortal test would be invalidated, if everyone who was righteous was born into a priestly line. All *people* would have to do would be to look at the priesthood holders and say, "ah, they are the righteous ones"--

where is the test of mortality then?

And anyone who had that warped idea is 'playing God'--

Only God knows the worthiness or diligence or righteousness of a spirit before it goes into a body--



LDSDPer said...

@Log--

the link to someone named Elden (I have a distant relative now dead with that name, so I remembered it)--

I read it. I have read MANY such essays.

The above statement attributed to Brigham Young is simply bogus.

That is found (the above) in the essay. That is how I feel about all those who quoted Joseph Smith as having secretly preached polygamy.

I have read 132 so many times my head has swam. I began reading it about 50 years ago, and I haven't stopped, and everytime I read it I feel a spirit of confusion and conflict.

I used to feel pain over this, because I truly believed it was a revelation from the Lord to Joseph Smith.

It's SO VAGUE. Nowhere in there does it say: "I, the Lord, command ______ to take plural wives."

It implies, it chases around; it drops inuendos. But it never commands. I keep thinking about how God says in the Book of Mormon that His words and His commands are plain.

D&C 132 is not plain. It is not clear. The only thing I can conclude is that it was muddied, somehow. I had no idea that it was not canonized until long after Joseph Smith's death; there was plenty of time for it to be messed with.

I don't know why it happened. I can't just assume that people were evil; I don't believe that, but I think much evil comes of people who are distracted and deceived, even if they think in their hearts that they are good--

I can't imagine people being able to explain why they were doing something so morally repugnant, unless they convinced themselves it was of God.

Their zeal for ultimate restoration extended to ancient Israel and the patriarchs. They wanted all of those 'blessings' to be restored, and yet for the years (Old Testament classes at BYU with some of the most stellar bible scholars) I spent trying to understand those blessings, I got so much confusion.

Only the Book of Mormon seems clear to me. And it is enough for me. Yes, I know the D&C is considered canon. But I have some real reservations about some of it.

I've been trying to read through the Joseph Smith papers. My husband wants to buy the ones Rock suggests above--

we agree on all of this; we have gotten our heads spinning so much that we've had to simply put the D&C down and concentrate on the Book of Mormon.

The fact is that I grew up with the kind of reasoning that Elden uses--

it is VERY familiar to me. All of it. But I have a different perspective now. My heart and mind have changed as I have read the Book of Mormon, prayerfully, over and over and over again.

It sounds wacky to suggest that the Book of Mormon contradicts other scripture; I wouldn't go that far. But if there have been prophetic utterances in the last few decades, they have been the stern admonitions from Benson and Hinckley and others to READ THE BOOK OF MORMON.

I just don't accept the cultural traditions about polygamy anymore. Those traditions of the fathers (and my 'fathers' and 'mothers' lived them, many of them--polygamy)--

I struggle through the spirit to discern truth from error, and after many years of struggle, I just can't justify polygamy any more.

Joseph Smith never taught it. All the quotes are second hand AFTER he died.

That is entirely too much cloudiness for me.

LDSDPer said...

*people* love to laugh at the hollow earth theory, but I find it truly fascinating--

and I've heard of the original book.

It will be nice to know all the truth about it someday--

LDSDPer said...

Big Dave,

If you feel that I have 'goaded' you, I am truly sorry. I have tried to answer your questions. I have admitted that I am very opinionated. I have admitted that I am sensitive about racial issues.

I have also mentioned that, perhaps, our perspectives are just so very different that we will not be able to communicate on this; perhaps we will not be able to communicate on much of anything.

I grew up with people who speak as you do, Dave. People I loved and admired and respected and listened to. And then life happened, and I had my entire perspective changed. I can't go back. But today I have what I did not have then, a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ. I can't go back to what I was before, but I am very grateful for my upbringing in the church, even though I don't share some of the philosophies that sound very familiar coming from you.
I have not left the church, at all. I have done a lot to help my husband with his family history, and we attend the temple regularly. It is not easy to go to church and be silent, but I do. My husband rarely bears his testimony of Jesus Christ; beyond that he says little or nothing. But there are good people in the church; there are mortal ministering angels all over.

I think that Rock's ability to be kind to everyone is why people come on to his blog. He wants to be peaceful, and he takes seriously what the scriptures say about contention being of the devil.

MY problem is that I have a hard time finding that line.

I do sincerely apologize if you have felt that I have goaded you. In *my* perspective, you didn't answer my questions about the scriptures.

In *your* perspective, I goaded you, because I wanted answers you would not give--and yet you continued to say the same things--things I have heard since I was very young and small.

I will not respond to you anymore, because I respect Rock's desire to keep this site peaceful, and I'm afraid I have not contributed to that.

I do feel passionate about finding the truth. I do not pretend to have found it all, but I do look at the scriptures very differently from the way I did 40 or 50 years ago.

Rock, I'm sorry. I am, I am afraid, a very argumentative person, but I mean no personal insults to anyone.

I once had a missionary companion who said, "you are such a NICE person, until you think you are right about something, and heaven help the person who doesn't agree with you."

*blush*

I can admit my faults. Can anyone else? Well, I've seen Rock apologize (seen the words; I haven't seen Rock, just his little picture; I HAVE talked to his wife, and she is a very wise woman)--

I apologize. And I will end this. I have tried to be funny a time or two, and I really do forgive everyone who has ever offended me, but I'm over the hill, and I can't remember what all those offenses might be at this time--

if you have offended me, I forgive me. But I can't remember any.

Goad is not happy, Dave. It's like a cattle prod. I'll put the prod down now.

When I see your posts and want to respond I will have a family member duct tape my hands together, so I can't type out a response.

Peace?

LDSDPer said...

if you have offended me, I forgive me. But I can't remember any.


Get it? BAD typo--

I can laugh at myself, can't I?

If you have offended me, I forgive YOU.

*shaking my head*

Anyone else see the humor? Oh well, I daresay nobody is reading this or will read this--

that's all right--

there might be a bored angel somewhere, taking everything down--

:)

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MrHFMetz said...

Most Mormons are thinking they'll go right into the Third Heaven, while they are now living the terrestrial law. Is'nt that wonderful.
The comments again show how much confusion exists among us as a people, race and polygamy being the greatest stumbling block. And Brigham Young being the Lord's Anointed of course. Poor Big Dave was having a hard time. These things don't really matter very much today, since the church has become quite out of order. Sorry folks but simple answers are not available here. We don't get real revelations from the Lord anymore, as a church. For the time we should do our own research and believe nobody.
The links to the books are always welcome; I found out that some books are cheaper on Amazon or Abebooks as used items.
Brother Rock, I hope your wife is feeling better these days. This account of the appearance of the young man made my hair raise. Thanks for sharing the event. Have a good Christmas.