Sunday, June 14, 2015

Interview With The Apostate

Previously: Yerrrrr OUT!

New Zealander Gina Colvin, proprietor of the incomparable blog Kiwi Mormon, recently interviewed me in-depth for the podcast series A Thoughtful Faith.

In this two part interview, Gina and I discuss the precise reasons why "apostasy" was a bogus charge used to oust me from the church in spite of my clear testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, my belief in the Book of Mormon, and acceptance of the divine calling of Joseph Smith as prophet, seer, and revelator.

We examine how the current purge of some of the church's most faithful is beginning to impact the church at large, as an increasing number of devout members are forced out on the flimsiest of excuses; how numerous violations of Church law are routinely employed in church courts to railroad the faithful, and why I continue to call myself a Mormon despite being expelled from the corporate wing of the Church.

You can Download Parts One and Two directly from the website.

These interviews can be considered a further exploration of the issues introduced last week in the two video interviews previously conducted for Mormon Stories Podcasts, available for viewing Here and Here.

                                                                     *****

Related Posts:
Conduct Unbecoming A Member of the Church

Yerrrrr OUT!

118 comments:

Jon said...

Are going to address the recent meeting that was posted on Mormon Stories? It would be interesting to hear your thoughts. It seemed the meeting was talking about people like you and Snuffer (sp).

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I presume you're talking about the Boise Rescue, Jon? I'm looking forward to hearing it. Hell, I'm looking forward to hearing my own interview with Gina. Haven't even had time for that yet. But by tomorrow I expect to have absorbed the Boise thing. I'm hearing it was a doozy.

Steve said...

Buckle up!

Jon said...

Yes, that's the one! No hurry. I think you have probably have addressed some or all of the points they make in your blog before; but it would be interesting to see your response directly to their points directly.

Steven Lester said...

The thought has crossed my mind more than once as to how much of this
purging is being managed by Packer. He's next in line, and Monson isn't
getting any younger. I wouldn't be surprised if Packer has sold his soul to
the Devil in return for unnatural long life, and when he inherits the
Corporate Church, we'll know for sure who the anti-Christ actually is.
Packer is one of the most evil men whose name I know.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Looks like the gauntlet has been thrown down, as the purge is being implemented in various pockets of the church. Here is what just took place in one person's home stake, as related in a private Facebook group:

"And so.... The battle of Cardston begins...... After many months of slanderous rumours and defamation by the local Mormons and one specific Bishop, who believe they are called of God, the area stake president decided to go to the pulpit with his dire warnings of a group of apostates in the area who have been excommunicated. He gave names and supposed things they have done to offend the church. Their families were present in the congregation when their names were presented and further slandered. A great much of what was stated was actual lies, mis-truths or allegations.

"The persons named had not been excommunicated or even placed in any type of discipline actions, but rather were and are as of today in good standing. There was a call of fear to stay clear of these people and do not associate with them. Members of the Relief Society stood up and opposed the stake president,and indicated that they would be doing the Christ-like thing and would fellowship the "apostates." The SP stated over the pulpit that he would not allow these apostates in the LDS meetings and they are not welcome in church. He stated boldly that this would 'not be permitted on his watch.'

"After the meeting , a younger brother of mine asked to see the SP. Long story short, SP was asked to explain himself. SP turned it back on him. SP stated that we must follow the Brethren and build a foundation upon them. My Brother denounced such a foolish notion and cited examples like the salamander letters and other times when the Bretherenite were deceived. He stated that he would only build a foundation upon Christ and no other. SP scoffed but was confounded

"SP indicated that my Brother's temple recommend was now revoked and he was now on formal probation. When asked why, what did he do wrong, SP would only say 'you know exactly what you have done', but he would not expound and tell him what he did wrong.

"If there ever was a testimony that could be conjured up to prove these men are NOT led by the spirit, this would be it."

dx said...

"...in spite of my clear testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, my belief in the Book of Mormon, and acceptance of the divine calling of Joseph Smith as prophet, seer, and revelator."

Can you please explain how those characteristics qualify one to not teach from the scriptures but to teach one's own unauthorized doctrines?

DeeLyn said...

dx,

It's called free speech. A God-given right that true disciples of Christ uphold, even in Church. It's up to us as adults to discern truth from error in what people say, leaders cannot do that for us, for they are often wrong themselves.

aredesuyo said...

Free speech has nothing to do with it. The institutional church has every right to restrict the speech of those who use its property or wish to have membership in its organization. The issue is whether the Church is exercising its rights in righteousness.

Log said...

Well, Aredesuyo, that issue is settled, too. If the scriptures take precedence, the answer is "no." If the Brethren take precedence, the answer is "yes."

The real issue is which takes precedence: the scriptures, XOR* the Brethren. And that is a value judgement left to each individual to make for themselves.

*A XOR B means "A or B and not both A and B."

Log said...

In fact, Rock got kicked out because he says the scriptures ought to take precedence, while outlining where the Brethren have departed from them. Isn't that pretty much this whole blog?

Log said...

The Goedel Incompleteness Theorems imply that from within a logical system able to express certain facts of arithmetic, you can either have consistent and incomplete knowledge of the system, or you can prove everything, and you cannot do both.

You might see it as consistency/law vs. control/power. I think I prefer consistency/law. Others prefer control/power, with the concomitant inconsistency and lawlessness.

You get what you want in the end.

In a different context, the same issue was treated from a different angle.

Left wing “thought” is merely a series of rationalizations to gain power, with no consistency necessary.

So this blip won’t make a dent in them, whichever way they come out. And civilization will slide further into chaos.

It’s like watching a little girl make up the rules to their games of pretend—altogether, the rules make zero sense and contradict one another, but individually, the rules exist to maximize that particular little girl’s power in her pretend world. Her tea parties are dungeons with pretty doily chains around each of her guests legs and arms.

But hey, at least we elected Obama.


The same principles that are playing out in society at large are being played out in the Church - and whether you're in or out of the Church, you are going to be making a decision between them - consistency/law/civilization vs. control/power/collapse.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

dx asks of me, "Can you please explain how those characteristics qualify one to not teach from the scriptures but to teach one's own unauthorized doctrines?"

I sure will, dx. Just as soon as you point out to me what "unauthorized doctrines" I've been teaching.

Log said...

Also, this was the conflict in the council before this world - whether men should be free to choose their fate, consistent with the Golden Rule, or, after all was said and done, whether those who had sinned against the Holy Ghost should be saved compulsorily.

Needless to say, at the time, we agreed with God upon consistency, while Lucifer and his band of merry men opted for completeness.

But it seems some have switched sides in the interim.

Mike H said...

One thing that Rock continually mentions is asking what sin he has committed. I wanted to bring up a few so that we could discuss whether they are relevant.

1. Pride. This sin covers many areas and is so braod as to be abused. But, it's a possibility.

2. Murmuring. The BOM uses this alot. Nephi was a ruler appointed by God over his brethren. The brethren are rulers. Rock murmurs against the rule of the brethren.

3. Haughtiness. More of an O.T. sin. Like pride. Opposite humility, meekness.

4. Stiffneckedness. Another BOM sin.

5. Disobedience. Refusing to obey commands of rulers (to end the blog).

6. Also some kind of sin is those who touched the ark of the covenant. Even if it were to fall, none could reach out a hand to catch it unless they were Aaronic priests (appointed), or they would die. Not sure what you would call it.

7. Vanity. Vanity could be argued if Rock was doing something for God he wasn't commanded to do. The blog could be considered vanity.

8. Usurping. As in Usurping Authority to act or speak as an authority for God or scripture.

9. Fighting. Fighting against the church. (all those who fight against Zion, ect)

10. Revenge. It could be said that Rock is angry over past discipline from the church and is out for revenge and to lead others astray or to unbelief.

I'm sure we could come up with some more. And I think it's necessary for every individual to consider them whether there is sin here or not, according to the word.

Mosiah 4:29
And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.

I listened to the talk in Boise. I think the arguments made are well made. The problem is that these same arguments can be made by those of other religion against Joseph Smith, the BOM, and Mormonism. Therefore the question becomes: Does Christ teach (and Mosiah) that we should go against whatever system is in place, or should we support it, as part of being a Christian? And if we speak against it or fight against it or leave it, is that a sin?

In short the idea is; whatever religion you were born into, stay in and support, otherwise it's sin because it's apostasy.

David said...

Log,

Is it safe to surmise that we can either have safety/security or we can have liberty/freedom? Rock trying to exercise his liberty/freedom rocks the boat of safety/security since liberty/freedom is chaotic and messy. Isn't that the crux of the whole pre-mortal conflict?

Kyrie said...

Jim Jones had his followers show their commitment by testing them. He would run through scenarios of mass suicide and watch the reactions of his people, to see who were the true blue believers and who were the followers, and who were ready to jump ship. An explanation for the technique is such: Oust the nonbelievers before they can cause the remainder to start thinking for themselves. Then when Jim Jones was exposed as a fraud, he killed his followers.

The FLDS does this. David Koresh did this.

If you wonder why the LDS church has begun the mass excommunication, it is to out the nonbelievers from the followers. Then the leadership has total control, as the TBM will shun those who have been excommunicated. The church is strong and needs to maintain control of the state of Utah, Idaho, and yes, even Nevada.

Log said...

David: That's one way to see it. And you can see that precise fight happening both within and without the Church. "Security" also covers "being protected from doubleplusungoodthink," such as "racism," "sexism," "apostasy," etc. After all, hurt feelings and offense are real injuries, don'cha no.

And freedom has already lost; all our actions are now retreats. We can either seek to preserve our society for as long as we are able, abandon it for a society of our own making - this will happen soon enough, or seek to set it alight and watch the world burn - this, too, will happen soon enough, without our help.

God's preference is known: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

David said...

"Peacemakers" are few and far between. Society teaches us to see peace as an absence of conflict which is entirely false. Does a starving child in an area with no war or major conflict find peace? Was the Savior able to find peace during the atonement (arguably one of the most conflicted times ever even though it physically only affected him at the time)? Do peacemakers always flee from or avoid conflict at all costs? Did the Savior? We need to understand what peace is before we can become a peacemaker, and in my opinion, there is only one true source for peace.

Log said...

Peace is the absence of conflict.

During the atonement, the Savior was afflicted with our conflicts.

Indeed, the greatest peace of all is to be at peace with the truth.

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.


22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.


If the peace of God rests in us, then we have peace indeed, whether we are starving or being burned at the stake. It is in being born again, through complete repentance and mighty prayer unto faith in Christ, that we are made alive to a world without conflict.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, this may be just my pride talking, Mike H, but I don't see things quite the way you do. Of course it would have helped when you drew up that list of "sins" you feel I'm guilty of, had you provided some examples. Oh well, let me have a go at a response.

"1. Pride. This sin covers many areas and is so braod as to be abused. But, it's a possibility."

Mike, since we're examining words used in scripture as understood in the early 19th century, we'll examine their use in light of definitions given in the first Dictionary of the American Language, the one published in 1828 by Noah Webster. This will give us an accurate idea of the meaning of these words, which, you correctly assert (in most cases)do qualify as sins.

Pride is defined thusly:
'Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others.'

I do so wish I held high office from which I could look down on others inferior in rank to my own, but alas, I can make no claim. I know some people who do, though. They can be found in general conference sitting in 'the chief seats in the synogogue,' as the apostle Mark might have put it.

Alas, I'm just a poor dumb schmuck whose talents never reached the level of superiority, so I have had little opportunity to manifest myself in lofty airs.

Every time I see the scriptures warning against pride, the warning is directed at Pharisaical types who feel others should comport themselves the way THEY would have them do. I know I have been a Pharisee in the past, but this blog is an attempt to repent of those ways. so if you would care to provide some examples from my blog in which I have exhibited pride, I'd be interested in seeing them, then we could go from there.



"2. Murmuring. The BOM uses this alot. Nephi was a ruler appointed by God over his brethren. The brethren are rulers. Rock murmurs against the rule of the brethren."

Murmuring is defined as 'To grumble; to complain; to utter complaints in a low, half articulated voice; to utter sullen discontent; with at, before the thing which is the cause of discontent.'

Nephi's brothers murmered against him in a kind of grumbling, gossipy way, and that's wrong. I have voiced legitimate criticism at times over the way many of us, leaders included, have disobeyed God and tried to invent our own doctrines for others to follow. And though you are right to say that Nephi was a ruler appointed by God, I have seen no evidence to support your contention that the Brethren today are rulers over the body of Christ. When they finally deign to speak in the voice of God, and I murmur against God's clear counsel, then I might be guilty of murmuring.



"3. Haughtiness. More of an O.T. sin. Like pride. Opposite humility, meekness."

You're right. It is like pride. So why are you repeating yourself, Mike? Is it in order to pad this list of sins to make it seem like there are more in number?

Haughty: 'Proud and disdainful; having a high opinion of one's self, with some contempt for others; lofty and arrogant; supercilious.'

'Proceeding from excessive pride, or pride mingled with contempt; manifesting pride and disdain; as a haughty air or walk.'

Again Mike, I just don't see any of this applying to me, but then my pride might be getting in the way of recognizing these faults in myself. Some examples would be helpful, for then I could repent and stop being prideful.



(Continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

To Mike H. (Continued)

"4. Stiffneckedness. Another BOM sin."

Yep, this is a Book of Mormon sin, and though Webster doesn't define stiffneckedness, he does define stiffly as 'Rigidly; obstinately; with stubbornness. The doctrine of the infallibility of the church of Rome is stiffly maintained by its adherents.'

As the Book of Mormon uses the term, it usually refers to someone who refuses to consider any view other than the one he himself rigidly adheres to as the 'right' one. A stiffnecked person is one who is not teachable. Again Mike, I wish you had provided examples from my blog where I appear to dismiss outright opposing arguments, because then I could repent of my stiffneckedness.


"5. Disobedience. Refusing to obey commands of rulers (to end the blog)."

I think you're confused here, Mike. Although it may be a sin to disobey God, I don't see where God views it a sin to disobey any man. Especially when men like those in the high council attempt to exert rule over a fellow latter-day Saint in contradiction of scripture as well as Church policy. I could be wrong, so if you disagree with me, please tell me how the men in the high council room came to be my rulers.


"6. Also some kind of sin is those who touched the ark of the covenant. Even if it were to fall, none could reach out a hand to catch it unless they were Aaronic priests (appointed), or they would die. Not sure what you would call it."

Well, what I would call it is having nothing to do with me, Mike I haven't attempted to steady any ark, or even to reform the Church. Having seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark" several times, you couldn't get me anywhere near that thing.



"7. Vanity. Vanity could be argued if Rock was doing something for God he wasn't commanded to do. The blog could be considered vanity."

Now you're getting close, Mike. Vanity is defined as 'Fruitless desire or endeavor,' so if you're saying the effort spent on writing this blog was a waste of my time, it seems like it was, as far as having any effect on you. Not sure that could be counted a sin on my part, though. I waste far more time watching TV than I spend blogging.


"8. Usurping. As in Usurping Authority to act or speak as an authority for God or scripture."

Now that's quite an accusation! If you can find some place I've attempted to speak as an authority for God or scripture, please let me know so I can stop it immediately. I would suggest that any man pretending to speak for God, without God actually putting words into that man's mouth, is a serious sin because it can end up leading people astray. Certainly not something I would wish to be found guilty of.


"9. Fighting. Fighting against the church. (all those who fight against Zion, ect)"

Not sure I've ever fought against the church. Sure hope I haven't, as that would put me at odds against all who repent and come unto Christ (D&C 10:67). As for fighting against Zion, I am known as a vigorous advocate for Zion, so I think you would be hard pressed to prove I'm fighting against it. I have been critical of Zion's bank, though to accuse me of actively 'fighting against Zion's bank' might also be a bit hard to prove.


"10. Revenge. It could be said that Rock is angry over past discipline from the church and is out for revenge and to lead others astray or to unbelief."

It could also be said that Rock is angry over once being passed over for President of the Deacon's quorum, and is out for revenge for that long ago slight. But it wouldn't be very accurate.


(Continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

To Mike H. (Continued)

"I'm sure we could come up with some more."

Oh, I don't doubt you could.


"I listened to the talk in Boise. I think the arguments made are well made."

Well, I guess someone was bound to think so.


"In short the idea is; whatever religion you were born into, stay in and support, otherwise it's sin because it's apostasy."

Okay, up until this point I thought I was engaging here with a thinking, rational human being, albeit one who was only SLIGHTLY confused.

My mistake.

Sam said...

Rock, I guess I interpreted Mike H. as simply being sarcastic. I think all of his accusations were leveled in jest.

Mike H said...

"Well, this may be just my pride talking, Mike H, but I don't see things quite the way you do. Of course it would have helped when you drew up that list of "sins" you feel I'm guilty of, had you provided some examples. Oh well, let me have a go at a response."

I'm not saying that you are guilty of these "sins". And I'm not really trying to play Devils advocate. I'm just trying to look with a critical eye what could be sins as far as your accusers are concerned. Like you said, apostasy isn't really a sin but the product of a sin. And I'm not simply pointing the critical finger at you. If you are guilty of apostasy, all of us who agree with you are. I'm talking about any of us. I didn't mean to come off as offensive. I can't express myself well in writing anymore because I become too impatient.

"Pride is defined thusly:
'Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others.'"

Yes, some could look upon this blog as evidence of that pride. In fact I'm sure some do. Why the brethren didn't mention the potential for this, I don't know. They easily could. And what would be the defense if they did? Like I said, it's so broad, anyone could be found guilty of it.

"I have seen no evidence to support your contention that the Brethren today are rulers over the body of Christ"

I don't say that Christ appointed them. Maybe we did somewhere along the way? But, they are in a position that rules over us, in a self evident manner. I'm not sure if it matters how it happened, so far as christian teaching is concerned.

"You're right. It is like pride. So why are you repeating yourself, Mike? Is it in order to pad this list of sins to make it seem like there are more in number?"

Just looking for the right shoe, if there is one..

"Again Mike, I just don't see any of this applying to me, but then my pride might be getting in the way of recognizing these faults in myself. Some examples would be helpful, for then I could repent and stop being prideful."

Exactly. Because we often cannot see our own faults, I bring this up so that we can critically examine what they might be if any. Because just because you or I might be right in one regard, what if we are woefully wrong in another?

"I think you're confused here, Mike. Although it may be a sin to disobey God, I don't see where God views it a sin to disobey any man. Especially when men like those in the high council attempt to exert rule over a fellow latter-day Saint in contradiction of scripture as well as Church policy. I could be wrong, so if you disagree with me, please tell me how the men in the high council room came to be my rulers."

Well, I am confused. I'm confused because I think you, I and others see correctly. But other people think we are in error. It's confusing times. A good time to be cautious. Again, I don't know who made them rulers over us. But they summoned you to their court and you went to defend yourself.

"Well, what I would call it is having nothing to do with me, Mike I haven't attempted to steady any ark, or even to reform the Church. Having seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark" several times, you couldn't get me anywhere near that thing."

Isn't that a weird commandment by God? To me it just speaks of God saying he can take care of his own holy thing, be it the ark or maybe the church. Somebody attempt to reach out their hand to steady it for good, but it's not. Why? What makes it wrong. Maybe it has nothing to do with this maybe it does, dunno.

(con't)

Mike H said...

"8. Usurping. As in Usurping Authority to act or speak as an authority for God or scripture.

Now that's quite an accusation! If you can find some place I've attempted to speak as an authority for God or scripture, please let me know so I can stop it immediately. I would suggest that any man pretending to speak for God, without God actually putting words into that man's mouth, is a serious sin because it can end up leading people astray. Certainly not something I would wish to be found guilty of."

This blog is all about scripture and doctrine. But is it a sin? Could it legitimately be construed as such? It's a question.

"9. Fighting. Fighting against the church. (all those who fight against Zion, ect)"

Not sure I've ever fought against the church. Sure hope I haven't, as that would put me at odds against all who repent and come unto Christ (D&C 10:67). As for fighting against Zion, I am known as a vigorous advocate for Zion, so I think you would be hard pressed to prove I'm fighting against it. I have been critical of Zion's bank, though to accuse me of actively 'fighting against Zion's bank' might also be a bit hard to prove."

LOL. Or, just fighting in general. Another way to say it might be resistance.

""I'm sure we could come up with some more."

Oh, I don't doubt you could."

What I mean to say Rock is that there are many ways to sin, and surely I haven't hit on all the ones that could be leveled at any of us.

""I listened to the talk in Boise. I think the arguments made are well made."

Well, I guess someone was bound to think so."

And like I said, their arguments could be used against Mormons by any other religion, so what value does it offer? To hear them talk about it, Mormonism is the original Christian religion on earth. When put into perspective though I have to ask, is anyone (according to their talks) justified in ever acting against their original church? And then I ask, isn't this an original Christian teaching, to pay unto Caesars what is his and to love our enemy and do good to those who....yada yada, you get it. If so, who can be justified??

""In short the idea is; whatever religion you were born into, stay in and support, otherwise it's sin because it's apostasy."

Okay, up until this point I thought I was engaging here with a thinking, rational human being, albeit one who was only SLIGHTLY confused."

Again, to clarify, I'm just giving the apparent logic by which I feel I am being completely bombarded with.

Mike H said...

Rock, you asked repeatedly on the podcasts what sin you have committed. I felt that there were many that could be leveled by the church, if they wanted. The church is going to get wise to this sin-defense and figure out a clear reply, as I think they tried to do in Boise.

But even if the church's judgment doesn't matter, Gods does. And it's Gods judgement I fear, as I'm sure you do also. So, I guess this is more about, whether you or any of us are sinning in God's eyes. If so, how.

Linda Gale said...

Dear Mike H.,

I'm sure that Rock needs no defending from your comments/assumptions. He is a very capable wordsmith.


""In short the idea is; whatever religion you were born into, stay in and support, otherwise it's sin because it's apostasy."

Are you saying that we should recall all of the proselytizing missionaries, because otherwise anyone converted to LDS church is in apostasy?

Just wondering?

Mike H said...

"Are you saying that we should recall all of the proselytizing missionaries, because otherwise anyone converted to LDS church is in apostasy?

Just wondering?"

Isn't that what scripture would imply? Isn't that what Mosiah 4 is saying, that fighting is worse that who's right or wrong? That we can't refuse to serve to those who demand it from us for we are all beggars? If we can't fight, and if we can't refuse service to our masters/beggars and we can only love one another, how could we possibly be justified to do anything other than to support the institution that we're in?

Mike H said...

Oh, sorry, and yes they are in apostasy. By our own scriptures/general authorities, they are. But it's ok, because we're the true church, right?

Good Will said...

When I was a teenager (37 years ago!) I wondered when the Lord would return. The idea came to me that He would return when Packer became prophet. Just an idea.

Log said...

Isn't that what scripture would imply? Isn't that what Mosiah 4 is saying, that fighting is worse that who's right or wrong? That we can't refuse to serve to those who demand it from us for we are all beggars? If we can't fight, and if we can't refuse service to our masters/beggars and we can only love one another, how could we possibly be justified to do anything other than to support the institution that we're in?

You can leave without fighting. Those pretty much are your options, unless God says to do something else.

And that's also modeled in the Book of Mormon.

DeeLyn said...

aredesuyo,

Church leaders may thwart free speech in their church, but that doesn't mean it's a righteous thing to do, or what God wants.

True prophets welcome free speech and let their followers decide between the different voices, and don't try to silence them or cast them out.

God lets both true & false prophets walk this earth and thus it creates a perfect test for us to see who we will follow. True churches would be run the same way with both truth & error allowed to be preached.



DeeLyn said...

Mike,

It appears Christ could have been accused of any of those things too. He surely murmured against & disobeyed the leaders of his day, as well as usurped authority from them. He was stubborn in his doctrines, fought off the money changers in the temple & was accused of being prideful, haughty & vain.

Thus most of those things aren't always bad or what they seem to be on the surface.

The key to discerning if someone else is correct in murmuring, disobeying or fighting, etc, is by getting the beam out of our own eye 1st, then we can see clearly to help others with their minor sins.

I have known some very prideful haughty vain people in my day and Rock seems like just the opposite of them. In fact, I firmly believe that if every man was as humble & teachable & wise as Rock this world would be a wonderful place.

And if the leaders of the Church were like Rock I probably would go back to Church myself.

Mike H said...

"You can leave without fighting. Those pretty much are your options, unless God says to do something else."

If you just leave without fighting, isn't that the same as refusing to serve and give of your substance. Isn't that really just a form of silent fighting? Isn't it at least faithlessness in God? I feel Mosiah implies that the institution and the people don't matter. It's all about love, and faith in God. That is the perfect law right there, yes?

But no flesh is justified, and yet we continue to act all the time, and insist that that it is, if we are right. Does it matter if we are right? Mosiah, says no. Maybe all we need to do is to see it, to know ourselves, to know our faults, defined according to scripture.

And if I can see my faults, I can know my sin. Not unto perfection, but perhaps unto humility. I can say yes, it does matter to me what the beggar does with his money God. I'm sorry but it does. All I can do today is to be aware of my sin, cuz I'm not giving that beggar my money and my service and all my substance, I'm not preaching his sermons or singing in his choir. I hope you can forgive me because that's where I am today, and though I know my sin, I'm presently powerless to change it. Even if I tried, I would do so begrudgingly.

Or we could argue that we are without sin. And that, our rightness justify whatever wrongs we might have. We could argue that it is no sin. We can fight with our enemy about who is sinning, use scripture to justify ourselves. But there is no peace there. Better just to admit it, that we know our sin. Better just to confess it to God.

I feel that this has been really healthy for me to grasp all of this. To observe the perfect law and to know for certainty that I can't presently abide in it. To know that I need a savior because some days (most) my will just comes up short. I can't always love my enemies. I can't always support a seemingly despotic institution with love. I can't always turn the other cheek. And I don't feel like this takes me farther away from God but it draws me closer to him. I don't have to be as perfect as him, but I can behold it, it's right there in his law. Mission accomplished BOM, mission accomplished Mosiah, mission accomplished church, I need a savior. I don't need perfection, and rightness, you can have it, I'll take knowing my sin and beg pardon while the sun still shines. And I'm not going to believe I can change it or that it will change. I'll have to rely upon the Savior from here on out, cuz I know now that I won't be saved by the law.

And I finally know now that I don't need to keep fighting this fight. I accept my sin, and see my limitation. I'm not ashamed of it, I've taken the need to be right, and the need to be justified as far as I can currently go in this life. It's just not as important to me as it used to be. The Savior can be perfect now because I'm not. I'm oddly at peace with that.

I don't know if this helps all of you but it's what I've been looking for. To transcend who's right and wrong to whats right and wrong. To see the higher law and realize that I just don't measure up. It's good to understand where I'm at.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mike H.
My apologies for misreading your intent. I guess it's just because I had just finished reading someone on Facebook making some inane excuses for the leaders, that I failed to understand that what you were getting at was trying to make sense of what possible mind-set could a person have to see things from that angle.

I shoulda been more observant. In the future I will be on the lookout for comments with a satirical bent.

dx said...

It's interesting that you appeal to ignorance of the unauthorized doctrines you have been teaching. That appeal accompanies much of your writing. You basically say "tell me where I'm wrong" as you proceed to cook up whatever doctrine suits you. That's fine in terms of free speech and can be entertaining from time to time, but it hardly reflects the discipline required of responsible membership. An alternative, of course, would be to attempt to find accord with authorized doctrine where possible (and seek advice from others if necessary before going too far afield). I suspect you know this already.

I'd rather not point to specific cases in your blog because you should really do the careful analysis yourself. I suspect you know (or at least once knew) when you have come up to the line and crossed it. Plus, any case I bring up will likely become a distraction from the larger issue of a general tone of subversion throughout your blog posts. But, I'll go along with your ignorance claim and discuss an example to make this a bit more clear.

Here's just one example of where you appear to teach your own unauthorized doctrines instead of teaching from the scriptures:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2014/01/why-i-dont-care-if-youre-gay.html

There are many ideas in that article that are in accord with scripture, such as your message on charity and kindness to one another; however, you assert ignorance about the scriptural condemnation of homosexual relationships and go on at length to raise doubts about and to subvert the plain fact that homosexual acts are sinful. Yet, it is condemned in several places in scripture. It's inconsistent with the pattern God has established by creation and with other commandments such as "multiply and replenish the earth." It's definitely not approved or advocated anywhere. (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; and all the inferences from the creation account of man and woman; Noah's flood 2-by-2 animals male and female and Noah's family who were "perfect in his generations"; D&C 49:16-17; D&C 59:6; uniform and repeated experience in the church for ages; etc.)

But where is your external support for your position? It is great error specifically condemned in scripture to call that which is unholy to be holy and vice versa (e.g., Isaiah 5:20). So, if you are going to promote a doctrine such as this one (homosexual acts are not sin) that contradicts doctrine across the Christian sphere as well as for LDS, you should appropriately be held to a high standard of defense.

Of course, your argument that homosexual acts do not constitute sin is not supported by scripture whatsoever. You appeal to ignorance---you seemingly can't find it in scripture, or where you do find it, you seek to undermine or dismiss it. You appeal to absence of a specific and detailed modern revelation on the subject--an appeal that ignores for example D&C 59:6 (no adultery...NOR ANYTHING LIKE UNTO IT) or D&C 49:16-17 ("...they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made."). By the way, in doing so, you either willfully or unwittingly provide an argument that could be applied to support almost any other sin not addressed to your standard of specificity in modern revelation (e.g., bestiality; because you dismiss the clear Old Testament condemnations, which are upheld by the church).

Do you encourage those engaged in homosexual behavior to repent? No. Quite the opposite: you declare it not sin, and instead just sin-neutral at worst. Do you provide a basis to those who seek to excuse themselves in these sins? Yes. This unauthorized doctrine also encourages misguided dissent. Again, if you are going to promote a doctrine such as this, you should appropriately be held to a high standard of defense.

This is just one example.

mark moe said...

What!!!!

What is happening!!!!!!????????

PLEASE post links to the Stake President, the Boise events etc.... I'm confused and want the truth.

andrew said...

you meet a man for the first time. within moments you find out he is gay. do you preach to him or befriend him?

let me change the wording:

you meet a man for the first time. within moments you find out he is running a Ponzi scheme and has taken thousands from unknowing victims. do you preach to him or befriend him?

Log said...

DX: you are aware that the leadership specifically said you can support gay marriage, aren't you?

Your diatribe against Rock on this issue apparently is utterly unsupported by the leadership. What do you think you are doing?

I mean, you are not simply attempting to justify your antagonism against Rock by throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks, right?

mark moe said...

Wow Mike H...

other than 2 and 6 (not sure what 6 is about)... the same could be said for many leaders of the church.

good thing you werent in charge of the 10 Commandments... how many tablets would Moses have needed?

Miguel Aveiro said...

Andrew

Those are two different things. Sin is according to a person's knowledge. I'm assuming by "gay" you mean a homosexual committing homosexual acts. Do they know it's wrong? If they don't understand God's plan of salvation and that marriage is God's plan etc. then what laws are they knowingly transgressing. They may be doing wrong, but they can hardly be judged by the same standard as others who know God's will. It's easier to preach to someone if they know you love them (or at least you need to make the effort to make it known.) Besides you don't necessarily need to befriend them, to preach or not to preach to them. Who was it in the Book of Mormon who called the people he was preaching to beloved? He called them beloved brethren even though they were grossly sinning.

The Ponzi scheme guy should know he was doing wrong. I actually have a friend whom I befriended on mmy mission go to prison for doing something like this. I'm disappointed and saddened. But is he still my friend? Maybe to some degree. What if a friend committed murder or child abuse? Would I still call him a friend? I don't think I would, as he/she would need to be somewhere on the good side of the alignment table, to be my friend and ally. I would wholeheartedly be against what they were doing. But I would want them to repent and follow Christ.

andrew said...

I can't assume a gay man has sinned any more than a straight man has simply upon meeting him/them. why do so many immediately spew out scripture after scripture trying to support their viewpoint when the words 'gay' or 'homosexual' are merely uttered?

do we do the same to the thieves? was scripture after scripture thrown at Madoff?

andrew said...

well, technically, I can assume they have sinned, for we all have. but you know what i mean...

mark moe said...

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. ....Unless...you want to worship in our meeting rooms?

Why isn't there a campaign can we simply ask a a modern prophet and the leaders to keep his word? Who knows, maybe nothing and maybe the failing test? We all ask for open books... Pre 1959 this was the case... IMO this would clarify a lot. As below...


REPORTER: IN MY COUNTRY, THE...WE SAY THE PEOPLE'S CHURCHES, THE PROTESTANTS, THE CATHOLICS, THEY PUBLISH ALL THEIR BUDGETS, TO ALL THE PUBLIC.

HINCKLEY: YEAH. YEAH.

REPORTER: WHY IS IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOUR CHURCH?

HINCKLEY: WELL, WE SIMPLY THINK THAT THE...THAT INFORMATION BELONGS TO THOSE WHO MADE THE CONTRIBUTION, AND NOT TO THE WORLD. THAT'S THE ONLY THING. YES.

http://www.mormonchallenge.com has the entire interview in both video and transcript.

Hmmmm. President Hinkley has not kept his word. When will he STAND FOR SOMETHING and keep his word to THOSE WHO MADE THE CONTRIBUTION?



Miguel Aveiro said...

Uh, Mark, President Hinckley is dead so he can't stand for anything now, at least not in the way he could as a living President of the Church.

Andrew, I agree with you that simply being gay is not sinning. I was just saying that I assumed you were meaning a gay man who was committing homosexual acts and I said that for argument's sake. Your question wouldn't make much sense to me otherwise. Of course, if you only meant that this imaginary individual is gay but not committing homosexual acts then I have interpreted your question incorrectly.

Miguel Aveiro said...

Btw Rock, you mentioned in your interview with Gina, Gordon Hinckley's response to the question of being a prophet and he answered something like "I am so sustained by the members." Who was he talking to? I remember him replying to Larry King, when he asked the question, with a simple "yes". Which interview did he do first? I wonder if he changed his mind about how he would answer...?

mark moe said...

Miguel I was just thinking of a moment where it was recent and clear... So no, we do t know what they were thinking way back could be used as an out... You may have a better question of that type.

Calleen Bataiff said...

You know, it is very clear to me that the LDS Church does not believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through Joseph Smith Jr. They believe in a modern day man that has taken upon himself the title of prophet not really understanding the definition of the word. They keep all their followers eyes on them instead of the truth, and then quote each others talks, giving themselves merit. All the church officials know is that if they call themselves by certain titles and quote scriptures and then define those scriptures in a way that their gullible public will worship them instead of God. Keeping their followers so busy reading their nonsense to each other every Sunday plus twice a month. Going to a temple as much as possible to keep the dialog ringing in the members ears.

This is not my faith (although it was for most of my life, until my eyes were opened) nor my belief. Why I would want to continue in it is something I cannot comprehend, unless it was for missionary work for truths sake, but I've been playing that game for years now with no known conversions. Some people will recognize the truth, but can't leave their traditions. Those I have come in contact recently are filled with fear, not daring to take a step forward.

My want and desire is to know the will of God and do it. Nothing else matters, especially being a part of the nonsense in today's LDS Church.

I guess, because it was restored by God, that we just naturally expect more from these people. Now we expect nothing but what they give, and that is nothing but deceit.

DeeLyn said...

Miguel,

Everyone knows right from wrong on this earth, even children never taught any religion. You don't have to be LDS to know the truth. In fact, it seems most LDS are far more deceived then most Christians.

You assume the LDS church is true. The BoM & LDS leaders do teach many good things, like most religious books & leaders do, but they also teach many false things that lead people astray to believe & do things they know deep down are wrong, but are pleasing to the carnal mind.



Alan Rock Waterman said...

dx,
I asked you for an example of when I taught false doctrine, and you answered with a long diatribe accusing me of positions I did not take.

The position I took in my piece you cite, "Why I Don't Care If You're Gay" is that in the 182 years since the Restored Gospel has been on the earth, the Lord has not seen fit to make any mention of homosexuality. In the absence, therefore, of MODERN REVELATION condemning the practice, I stated that my responsibility is to live by the Golden Rule and not assume anything beyond that.

(Regarding the numerous biblical verses you cited: you might want to read the comment section; many of those scriptures do not mean what you think they mean.)

Since you skirted the original question, and since you accused me originally of teaching false doctrine, I'll ask the question again: What have I taught as doctrine in my blog that you can show me is either NOT doctrinal, or historically inaccurate? If you can convince me I have made an error in either doctrine or history, I will go back in and correct it. I am not so much interested in whether you disagree with my opinion.

Miguel Aveiro said...

DeeLyn,

I agree with you, but I would like to know what it was that I said to prompt you to tell me this.

Come to think of it, a lot, perhaps MOST, of scripture is God calling people to repentance for their sins. Through Jesus Christ they can be forgiven of sins. I have felt that forgiveness from Him. It's not just about doing good things, as people of any faith, or no faith at all, can do that.

I don't believe God wants us to do wrong, so (hopefully) I won't end up doing anything that is taught by the LDS church that is wrong.

dx said...

Short response:

Modern revelation does condemn the practice. The Lord condemns not only adultery, but "anything like unto it" (D&C 59:6) which would include ALL sexual sins. So, you are wrong in your key assertion, as I had indicated in my previous post. You also side-step the modern revelation that affirms that the very end of man's and woman's creation is inextricably linked with pro-creation that fulfills the measure of their creation (D&C 49:16-17, among others). This end is necessarily nullified for homosexual relationships---no special written decree is needed, creation itself--which was wrought by the word of God--made it so. You don't attempt to reconcile this affirmative doctrine (from both ancient and modern revelation) with your indifference doctrine. You find a way to pretend that it can somehow be ambiguous.

Longer response:

Your false teaching is again on display in your response above. You operate under the false notion that anything that is not outlined in modern revelation (to your standard of specificity) is not doctrine. You therefore teach a false doctrine of INDIFFERENCE outside of the narrow scope that you subjectively choose as valid.

One of the most effective tactics of the evil one against the marvelous work of the latter days is to persuade people that the fullness of the gospel of the restoration is actually "another gospel" (invoking the writings of the apostle Paul in the New Testament, ironically enough, for example, wherein he warned the early-day saints to watch out for another gospel.)

The latter-day restoration does not nullify the need to understand the Bible. In fact, the Book of Mormon cannot be fully understood without a good knowledge of the Bible. You are correct that the Book of Mormon strengthens our understanding of the Bible. However, you err in your teaching that alludes anything in the Bible that is absent in the Book of Mormon to be suspect doctrine. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are companion scriptures. One does not nullify the other and one does not stand alone without the other. The Book of Mormon itself says so. Similarly, modern revelation complements both the Bible and Book of Mormon rather than nullifies or replaces them.

The dangerous implication of your position is that you go beyond the notion of modern revelation as complementing and clarifying doctrine, to the position that modern revelation (again to your standard of specificity) is ALL WE HAVE---and therefore the restoration becomes "another" gospel, divorced from all that preceded it, where not specifically stated otherwise.

Again, in the specific case of homosexuality, your teachings can easily be misapplied into indifference on any number of blatantly sinful practices simply because they are not enumerated to your subjective standard of specificity in modern revelation---very subversive.

DeeLyn said...

Miguel,

Thank you for your response. I was just responding to your statement that people will be judged differently depending on their level of knowledge, meaning how much religion or scriptures or truth they have been exposed to.

I don't believe that, otherwise most of the people who have ever lived would get a pass and get to go to heaven, no matter how they lived their lives, while people who have studied the scriptures & commandments all they can but don't quite live them would not make it.

For most people in the last 5000 years have never read the scriptures, have not studied Christ's teachings or even been LDS (if you believe that is where the truth is) or belonged to a church or religion that teaches them correctly.

And that would also mean that it would be best if we stayed as far from the truth or churches or scriptures as we could, because to know God's commandments and not live them (which is near impossible) would just condemn people far more than help them.

Ignorance really would be bliss then & rewarded. Especially if we get another chance in the next life to learn the truth & live it, where it's much easier & safer.

Instead, I was just saying that I believe God (to be fair) has put the truth into everyone's heart and all know deep down right from wrong about most any subject, unless they sear their conscience by sin.

And if we are sincere & righteous we can also discern even more truth directly from God through the Spirit, no matter what religion we are or where we live or what age of time we lived in.

That way we are all equally accountable for falling for falsehoods, no matter what religion or no religion at all we may be exposed to.

I think Christ came to earth mainly to accomplish the atonement, and his teaching where just giving us a refresher course of things we already knew & were taught in the Pre-Existence, for those who were fortunate enough to hear or read his words. But all cultures, even one's who have never heard of Christ seem to understand the basics of His teachings & the Golden Rule.

As far as doing things wrong & falling for falsehoods, in the LDS church or anywhere, I believe we 'all' already do & have. Life is just to see who will continually try to figure out & repent of all the ways we have been led to do wrong without knowing it. I find new things I fell for all the time. I don't think life is long enough to repent of everything we do wrong. But we can get pretty close if we keep trying. :)

Thanks!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Miguel,
You asked about the interview with Hinckley where he claims he is sustained. It's in the San Francisco Chronicle, available online here:

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/SUNDAY-INTERVIEW-Musings-of-the-Main-Mormon-2846138.php

I note also that the reporter explains in his preface tht Hinckley had been "set apart." Again, that is different from being ordained, but it makes sense since there was no one on the earth who held the keys who could have ordained him to that office.

Sam said...

https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/calling-an-apostle-of-god?cid=HP_FR_6-12-2015_dCN_fCNWS_xLIDyL2-1_&lang=eng

Alan Rock Waterman said...

dx,
I'm beginning to wonder if you've even read the piece you are declaiming against.

I did not advocate FOR homosexuality, nor do I hold that adultery or anything "like unto is" is permissible. Anyone who is married is in a covenant. If a married person were to violate that covenant with someone of the same sex OR the opposite sex, who is not his spouse, I'd say that was "like unto adultery. Very much like unto it.

What you seem to want is for me speak out against homosexuality. Well, as I thought I made clear in my post, I have not been charged by God to do so.

My concern is not that the issue of homosexuality is one of the prominent issues of our day; it clearly is. My concern is that the Book of Mormon seems to tell us that there are a whole passel of issues more important to our day that we as the Saints of God are ignoring. I choose to focus on those.

If you wish to ignore the clear warnings of the Book of Mormon in order to focus on one area that grabs your interest, then have at it. Railing against same-sex attraction may be you calling in life. But it isn't mine.

The fact that I am not feeling engaged with the same hot button issues as you are does not constitute teaching false doctrine. It simply means I have chosen to spend my time teaching the doctrines that have actually been revealed to us as pertinent in these latter days. That doesn't make my interests either true or false. It just means there are certain issues that grab my attention and to which I wish to lend my focus. The subject of same sex attraction isn't one of them.

You may accuse me of teaching false doctrine because you wish I was as fired up as you are about it, but you'll have to show me how that thinking plays out. As Log pointed out to you above, even the leaders of the church have flip-flopped on that issue.

Which shouldn't surprise anybody.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Sam,
Did you link to that article in response to my statement that there was no one on the earth with the authority to ordain Gordon Hinckley a prophet, seer, and revelator?

If so, you may have noticed that piece you linked to discusses the calling of apostles, not presidents.

The reason there was a succession crisis in June of 1844 was that two of the people who held the keys of prophet, seer, and revelator had just been murdered. The third, Sidney Rigdon, was ailing and not considered by many to be up to leading the saints out west.

Brigham Young campaigned and was eventually ELECTED to preside over the church as they headed for the Rockies. He was never ordained as a prophet, seer, or revelator, and on occasion affirmed he did not have those special gifts.

Randy and Julie said...

Rock,

I wonder how they got away with convening The Common Council of the Church to excommunicate Sydney one month after the Aug 1844 meeting? It has only been convened twice. Once against Joseph Smith in 1834 (he was found not guilty) and once against Sydney. He may not have been all there at times but I don't recall the man ever being insubordinate, apostate, or evil. He just didn't march when Brigham and his gang said "March". Oh how things would have been different had the people listened to him. No polygamy. No blood atonement. Probably no Mountain Meadows massacre, no cover up, and much more.

As for today's leaders, they seem as much managed by the Public Relations Department as they manage the rest of the enterprise. And I see that as corporatism acting as it always does. They are only interested in image and growth. Get in their way or become a perceived threat and they will expell you. Its the tail wagging the dog now. No longer servants of all, they seem to see themselves as their masters. And the sheep say nothing but baaaahhh.

dx said...

And you wonder why the leadership does not engage in getting into the weeds on your false doctrine. You are unable to acknowledge when you are wrong---something shared among most apostates. You are also very deceptive---perhaps deceiving yourself as well. You ask for an example of your false teaching and then when I reluctantly give one, you characterize it as railing on one area that grabs my interest. I could list example after example on a variety of areas. There is no shortage of examples of where you have false and subversive teachings. But you would likely just continue to twist and turn. I don't think you are interested in correcting your errors at all. You evidently prefer being a rebel and an iniquity watcher.

I was surprised they took so long to take action in your case given the plethora of unauthorized doctrine you promote. A complication is that you do have a number of valid insights from time-to-time that are not subversive---many LDS would benefit to learn them. It's unfortunate that you have obscured those bright spots by so much other garbage that the net takeaway is decidedly negative.

I hope you can come around again some day to use your talents for good instead of to give aid and comfort to apostate minds and other iniquity watchers. You can always follow the guidance given by the leadership to humble yourself and return to the fold. I hope you find the strength and courage to do so soon.

Take care.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

dx,
It would appear you and I don't share the same definition of "doctrine." You are confusing "religious tenets" with true doctrine, which is only that which can be shown to have come to us from the mouth of God.

Rather than focus on the question at hand ("what is doctrine"), you are upset that my religious views do not comport with those you have chosen as your own, or that I reject some of the conventional teachings of the church. When I ignore certain teachings, it is because I have found them not to be anchored in doctrine, or the pure words of Christ.

An example of a teaching that was widely held in the church during my lifetime was it would be better for one's child to come home in a coffin than to have broken the law of chastity. This was taught from the pulpit in general conference more than once. Yet God never taught it. It was the invention of men. Were I to teach that, I would be teaching false doctrine.

There are some in the church who believe a person is better off dead than to have engaged in homosexual activity. Could be, but since I don't know that for a fact (because I have not heard it from the mouth of God) I'm going to have to assume that belief is not doctrinal. If I were to espouse it anyway in my blog, dx, you could then point to that as an example of something I have taught as though it were doctrine, which in actuality is not. You have failed to point out where I have taught something to be doctrine when in reality it is not doctrine. What you are doing instead is condemning my opinions.

Let's take as an example from my post "Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?" The doctrine I espouse there is the doctrine taught by Jesus in D&C 119. I maintain that the law of tithing is contained within that section and nowhere else.

Others have added to that doctrine, proposing all manner of extra "teachings" that, they say, also constitute the law.

So where is the doctrine? Were I to say the doctrine includes paying tithing monthly, you could call me on that because that conclusion would be undoctrinal, i.e. not having come to us from God. God said it was to be paid annually.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

to dx (continued)

We Mormons claim that what differentiates us from other faiths is our claim to continuous revelation. Although there are a couple of statements in the old testament concerning homosexuality, those statements do not purport to have come from the mouth of God. They are purportedly contained in the law of Moses. Could be in the original, they might have been added later -who knows? All we know is that they are among a list of laws; we don't know that God spoke them as he did the Ten Commandments.

That's why I look to modern revelation for clarification on these things. I care not what any church father thinks about anything, unless he is the president of the church and he is delivering a revelation he received from the mouth of God. In the absence of any clear doctrine from the mouth of the Lord instructing me to crusade against the activities of other people, I do not feel I have been charged with taking up that campaign.

You'll note that the title of my piece is "Why I Don't Care If You're Gay." I didn't call it "God Doesn't Care If You're Gay." I don't truly know if God cares one way or another, so I don't pretend to put my doctrine in God's mouth. The title reflected MY opinion. You may feel God has an opinion different from mine, and if you know, why don't you write a piece informing us of God's position?

I have enough on my plate dealing with my own sins. If you feel up to reforming society's sins, by all means enjoy your calling. But please do not suppose I am teaching false doctrine unless you can point to the true doctrine that came from the mouth of God that contradicts mine.

Absent any clear instruction to do otherwise, my fallback position is the default doctrine of Christ: to treat others as I would have them treat me. To go around tsk-tsking about how others choose to live their lives would make me a busy-body and a Pharisee.

Robin Hood said...

I think Rock would do well to take dx's comments on board. They reflect my own perfectly, but are presented much more eloquently than I could ever hope to do. I note with interest his (I assume dx is male, apologies if I am mistaken) observation that "(Rock is) unable to acknowledge when (he is) wrong".
He absolutely nailed it.
Until I read that statement it had never occurred to me that Rock was "unable" as opposed to "unwilling".
This explains a great deal.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Sigh.

Lester said...

dx,

Why go to such lengths to point out what you believe are Rock’s failings and deceptions? Jesus Christ didn’t teach us to campaign against the weakness and faults of our fellow believers or even our fellow non-believers. Quite the opposite.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

If you are concerned that Rock is influencing others in a manner you don’t agree with, follow the savior’s direction again and examine the fruits of his words. You may be in error. Hundreds of people have written to thank him for helping them STAY in the Church™. Imagine the confusion the atheist must be feeling who joined the Church™ because of him only to learn that Rock has been cast out of that same body on-trumped up charges.

If you are unable to convince Rock of his error, let him go with your blessing and your good will, not your judgment. Believe the Lord when he cautions all of us that we will be judged with the same degree of forgiveness and generosity that we afford others. Be at peace, dx.

Robin Hood said...

Lester,
There are also individuals who have gone the other way because of Rock. People who have asked to be released from their callings and lost their testimonies and become inactive in the church.
I know this for a fact.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robin Hood,
There are many more individuals who have gone the other way because of Boyd K. Packer, Russell M. Nelson, and other members of the Church hierarchy. People have asked to be released from their callings and lost their testimonies and become inactive in the church because of them.

I know THIS for a fact.

Truth Seeker said...

Well said Lester and Rock I sigh with you.

DeeLyn said...

It wasn't Rock who caused me to leave the Church, it was all the unChristlike leaders themselves who preach & practice contrary to Christ.

If anything, Rock helped me regain some faith in Joseph Smith, but it was the conduct of all the LDS leaders from top to bottom, who helped me see the Church is totally corrupt & false.

The leaders are trying to blame others for the mass exodus today, when it's actually 'them' & their falsehoods & false fronts who are causing people to leave the Church.

Log said...

Bishop Robin Hood:

It is customary to prove beyond question that someone has actually been wrong first, and when he has been proven wrong beyond question, then one may crow about whether the person is unwilling to admit error if he does not admit the proof.

When the sole example of actual "error," so-called, and hence the "scare quotes," is disagreeing with calling a tail a leg - in this case, whether an "area Seventy" constitutes a "local authority" by the mere fiat of the current leadership, in contradistinction to its actual function as a General Authority, then the one crowing is in open conflict with the teachings of the current leadership whose authority, ironically, is apparently being defended. See President Uchtdorf's talk "The Merciful Obtain Mercy."

As a bishop in the Church, it would appear unseemly for you to publicly contravene the teachings of both Christ and the living prophets, both putting the Church in a bad light, and demonstrating by your bad example that being a disciple of Christ, to say nothing of actually doing what the current leadership says, has little, if anything, to do with our religion. Yet, that's the example you have put forth here, time after time.

dx, who you agree with in spirit, as you say and as you demonstrate, has already shown himself to be operating outside the teachings of the current leadership in his hostile swipe at Rock over Rock's not caring if one is homosexual; the current leadership has publicly stated one may support gay marriage and remain in good standing, and his bad example again contravenes the principles taught in President Uchtdorf's talk.

I'm beginning to think you, bishop Robin Hood, and dx are motivated not so much by concern that any are losing salvation as you are simply united in enmity against anyone who refuses to kneel before you and kiss the sceptres of your authority, and gays. Can't forget the gays. What is it about this unseemly and publicly expressed bitterness against Rock and gays dx and you, bishop Robin Hood, share that justifies you in your hearts in contradicting and contravening the teachings of the current leadership, while excoriating others for, as you claim, contradicting or contravening the teachings of the current leadership?

Mike H said...

Rock, these two statements from you above to dx seem to be in contradiction.



"You have failed to point out where I have taught something to be doctrine when in reality it is not doctrine. What you are doing instead is condemning my opinions."

"But please do not suppose I am teaching false doctrine unless you can point to the true doctrine that came from the mouth of God that contradicts mine."


Log said...

For myself, I fail to see a contradiction.

Log said...

For me, the issue over whether the so-called "area Seventies" "are considered" local authorities is along the same lines as whether "Caitlyn" Jenner "is considered" female, or whether Rachel Dolezal "is considered" black. There is a principled, objective answer, and then there is a rhetorical answer dependent upon social hierarchy and social mandates, and the two do not coincide - and the social hierarchy has shown a willingness to toss out and abuse the principled.

Tails are legs, don'cha no.

You can be principled and consistent, or you can wield compulsory social power, but you cannot do both.

Log said...

But an additional issue: if contrasting current practices and teachings with the scriptures "is considered" apostasy, then why does the obvious solution not get tried?

Stop publishing the scriptures. Or, alternatively, replace the existing, historical text with "current understandings." It'd be a lot shorter.

D&C 89 can read, in sum: "Thou shalt not partake of coffee nor coffee derivatives, black or green tea, drugs not prescribed by a physician, nor alcoholic beverages."

D&C 119 can read, in sum: "Thou shalt pay thy bishop 10% of thy gross or net income, but if thou choosest net, thou shalt remit to him 10% of thy income tax refund."

And so forth. One must admit, it would certainly afford a greater opportunity for conformity of belief within the Church, while having the added bonus of driving out those who believe the scriptures take precedence over the leadership.

Mike H said...

"D&C 89 can read, in sum: "Thou shalt not partake of coffee nor coffee derivatives, black or green tea, drugs not prescribed by a physician, nor alcoholic beverages."

D&C 119 can read, in sum: "Thou shalt pay thy bishop 10% of thy gross or net income, but if thou choosest net, thou shalt remit to him 10% of thy income tax refund.""

LOL!

One problem might be that even when McKonkie tried to do so, he was over-ruled on some of it. The church knows most of what it's rules are and what is expected of members. But some of it, it either can't agree on or won't write down because it's secret.

Log said...

Imagine - no more having to buy quad sets, nor learn Elizabethan English. Something like this could easily be published in a booklet or pamphlet form - or maybe even a graphic novel. And since they will of course be constantly updated as the current understanding of eternal doctrine changes, it can be tossed and replaced easily - similar, I would imagine, to our current "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church" series, only with more pictures.

And thus one avenue to apostasy - the clear contrast between the contents of the scriptures and the current understanding of eternal doctrine - would be closed.

Why not? What principled reason can be given for NOT doing this? Do we not care for the souls of the proto-apostate who notices patterns and differences between the scriptures and the current teachings? Indeed, why not supplement these new-and-improved books of eternal doctrines with a creed, or something, whereby nobody can misunderstand and misbelieve what the books are saying?

Why does this feel like it's been tried before?

Log said...

The argument goes something like this.

1. The scriptures can only be understood when one has the Spirit. I think it says this somewhere in the scriptures, but whatever.
2. Only the united 15 Apostles can be guaranteed to have the Spirit, since they speak with the voice of God and cannot lead us astray.
3. Therefore, only the understanding of the united 15 Apostles can be guaranteed to be correct, and who wants to settle for less?
4. Therefore, only what the united 15 Apostles teach can be guaranteed to be correct.
5. If the scriptures appear to conflict with the voice of God - the united 15 Apostles, then the person who so believes is simply demonstrating their lack of the Spirit, or their rebellion towards God, being out of conformity with the voice of God - the united 15 Apostles.
6. The scriptures therefore are either superfluous when they agree with the voice of God - the united 15 Apostles, or pernicious when they appear to disagree with the voice of God - the united 15 Apostles.
7. Therefore, to save the souls of the potential apostate or heretic, we ought to stop publishing the scriptures, which can only be misunderstood by anyone who is not in complete harmony with the voice of God - the united 15 Apostles.

What do you think? Is this argument sound?

Mike H said...

I think the easiest thing would be for the president to go to the Lord for revelation and seek an answer about whether or not a person who disagrees with him (or any senior priest) publicly is an apostate and should be punished accordingly.

Get a revelation about the teaching to follow the brethren. Then they can go back to being vague about whatever they want.

Log said...

Mike,

To request confirmation that the voice of God - the united 15 Apostles - is the voice of God is incoherent, since of course the voice of God is the voice of God, and is therefore to show yourself in open rebellion against God and his word. Kate Kelly was a public demonstration of this principle.

See Book 7 in the Chronicles of Narnia. How in the hell did C. S. Lewis see this coming?

Log said...

Clearly, with the united 15 Apostles as the voice of God you would have no need to ask of God. And, besides, if you could ask of God if the united 15 Apostles are the voice of God, then you'd have access to the voice of God, and that could not be trusted since it might be a deception of Satan, so you'd be suspect, unless you agreed in all things with the united 15 Apostles, since they are the only ones guaranteed to be correct in all things whatsoever they tell you.

Good Will said...

dx, with regard to Rock being "careless" about homosexuality....

One of the things Rock has invited you -- or anyone! -- to do is correct him. This is the mark of a humble man. You have made your case (in this instance), brought forth your "evidence"...and this is precisely what this blog (or any relevant discussion) is intended to do: to edify one another.

This is not a "flaw" in Rock. It is a feature in all of us. We are all inclined to be mistaken in something!

I don't agree with Rock in everything. (This topic is decidedly one of those points upon which we disagree.) However, he and I never discuss it. Why? Because we've got so much more important stuff on our plates!

I think there are matters of a sexual nature within marriage, between a husband and wife, that could also be contrary to the Divine Will (hey! is that my next screen name?!) which we, likewise, don't discuss. Does it deserve discussion? Perhaps. But the key point I'm trying to make is that Rock never presented himself as a "prophet, speaking on the Lord's behalf, infallible, incontrovertible, etc. Many a time you can find him (even in this post!) confessing his mistakes. That's humility.

There are others who hold themselves in higher regard who never admit their own errors, only the errors of their predecessors...and their followers.

E. D. Malone said...

Scriptures have to be interpreted, they don't speak for themselves. So who exactly in the LDS Church does this? I would think that would be the job of the PSR. So why couldn't the PSR get up at GC and clear some of these things up for us? Net or gross? "Mild barley drinks" = beer? I mean, come on, if it works for earrings, it should work for this stuff. All Rock ever does is show how muddled this stuff is and call out for some clarification on it. Any of it. Instead of answers, we get excommunications.

Log said...

Do you not see what an opportunity is afforded when you have 15 men that, when united, cannot be wrong? Apostolic consensus is the key to every problem, be it religious, scientific, mathematical, medical, legal, economical, chemical, logistical, tactical, or even sexual!

Do you not understand that, per Elder Ezra Taft Benson's "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet," the Prophet doesn't have to have any background training to offer authoritative statements on any topic in any field whatsoever he listeth - so also, of necessity, the united 15, who, when they pronounce upon a subject, cannot be wrong!

So let us therefore not ask questions of them to challenge them, for as God's vicars upon the earth, they surely have all they claim to have. Nephi, after all, was able to craft a boat using curious worksmanship; Moroni was the inspired tactician; Moses, the inspired lawgiver; Jesus was the inspired economist, propounding the principles of Zion, and the master healer, raising the dead, and the master chemist, turning water to wine without passing it through grapes, as we mere mortals must.

Let us instead ask them questions to get answers to the unsolved problems we have not as yet been able to answer for ourselves, without doubting them; Elder Oaks said they welcome questions, but not doubts. And I think I may well speak for more than just myself when I say I would like to know whether the Reimann Hypothesis is correct, and to see the proof. And, let's also think well upon this, many of the unsolved problems in the world have cash rewards attached to correct answers. Why can we not obtain, for example, a cure to cancer by asking the Lord's Mouthpieces to give it to us? How much more could we help the poor with men who cannot be mistaken about the results to every sporting event, and every lottery, worldwide? And how many unsolved historical mysteries might we obtain knowledge of through the same supernal agency? I'd like to know if JFK was shot from the book depository or the grassy knoll, or to know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried. Wouldn't you?

The world could literally be our oyster. Such is the power of infallibility!

Log said...

Why do we even need the Holy Ghost when we are led by infallible men?

And why do we need the atonement when we cannot go astray just so long as we do what they say? What does repentance even mean, if it doesn't mean "follow the Brethren"?

Truly, when the prophets have spoken, the thinking has been done!

Log said...

Qui interpretabuntur quasi interpretes se?

DeeLyn said...

E. D. Malone,

If we are not righteous enough to interpret the scriptures on our own (as Christ commanded us to), then we will never be able to discern whether a self proclaimed 'prophet' is interpreting them correctly either. And we will always be led astray and never know it.

Thomas said...

One of many things I've learned from this blog is that The First Presidency, Apostles, and Seventies were to operate independently of one another, with no group having seniority over the other. This was the system of checks and balances.

After reading the comments above, possibly the latest model in use is the United 15 Apostles and the Godhead operate independently with neither group having seniority over the other as the system of checks and balances. If the two groups don't agree then follow the brethren (United 15 Apostles). [Tongue-in-cheek]

Log said...

There are only two ways to go if you have an official doctrine of Apostolic infallibility.

1. You repudiate the doctrine. I believe the barrier here is the Correlation Department, which will not permit what it sees as deviation from what is held to be the core tenet of the faith.

2. You progressively make fewer Apostolic pronouncements, and NEVER make one where you can be checked against reality. The problem is you cannot afford to be seen to be wrong, whether you are wrong or not. The Catholics made a mistake with Galileo, with a negative PR stink that has wafted through the centuries. Leadership must be counseled and trained against making intemperate, if well-meaning, remarks such as President Packer's comment on gays being born that way, which can be made to appear to conflict with objective reality as construed by what passes for science in today's culture. The Correlation Dept. must progressively whittle down what is being taught by leadership until it truly can offend none, and the Church must become more ecumenical in its approach to recruitment / proselyting efforts. This entails deemphasizing Joseph Smith and doctrines unique to Mormonism unless they can be reasonably shown to have parallels in ancient Judaism / Christianity. With a deemphasis of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and other modern scripture also gets deemphasized, except those parts which seem to support the understandings and practices and teachings of the current leadership, which mostly flow from select sections of the D&C. Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon / Pearl of Great Price cannot simply be dropped down the memory hole without fatally undermining the justification for the Church's existence, in competition with Catholic claims. But they can simply not be mentioned very much, if at all, in favor of manuals, handbooks, and magazines which emphasize not scripture but the teachings of current leadership, and occasionally referencing only those of past leadership which supports the current, as well as the Bible.

Along with these shifts in focus away from making statements which may conflict with what is socially perceived to be reality, as well as referring to beliefs unique to historic Mormonism, doctrinal boundary maintenance must become draconian for the sake of the majority of membership which, bluntly, doesn't know very much and cannot brook contradiction with their traditions. The Strengthening Church Members Committee must diligently flag heretics and their writings, and work with local leadership to cast out the malcontents. Experience has shown once the core tenet of the faith is rejected, there is very little chance of recovering the heretic himself, and high probability that they will infect others.

Also, it is not to be expected that a lay, uneducated, part-time ministry can successfully preserve the faith, ensure conformity with Correlated doctrine, and answer heretics and apostates. The Church Educational System might be extended into providing trained candidates for paid priesthood leadership in the Church. The Church might also invite the Mormon Interpreter crew to become the paid apologetic wing of the Church, explaining how science and past practices / teachings are, in reality, consistent with the current leadership.

To be short in writing, the doctrine of Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei leads inexorably towards a Church structure and teaching style similar to the Catholics.

Log said...

Indeed, one may see how convenient it would be to remove the scriptures from the possession of the people, who can only misunderstand them where they can be made to appear in conflict with the current leadership, just as is done already with the Church Handbook of Instructions, volume 2. But, again, the Book of Mormon minimally must be published to the world or else the Church has no justification for either proselyting, or existence. Therefore the membership must be guided away from problematic interpretations which might be seen to cast doubt on Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei through rigorous indoctrination, or, alternatively, the Book of Mormon might be used simply as a symbol of the Church's truth claims, while glossing its content in religious instruction, if it must be touched at all.

Thomas said...

Well said Log.

PNW_DPer said...

And then after all these contortions to support Papal (or in the case of LDS, Apostolic) infallibility, along comes a major innovation in information technology such as the printing press with moveable type, or the internet, that basically torpedoes these contortions for control.

In my case, it is only my personal experiential evidence with the Book of Mormon and Moroni 10:4-5, combined with seeing the many parallels and applications of the teachings and prophecies of the Book of Mormon to the modern world, both to the modern LDS church, and to the world at large that provide my foundation of faith.

mark moe said...

Is the world more than roughly six thousand years? Should we believe Genesis 2 where plants came before the sun or Genesis 1? Did Naoh keep the seed of Cain alive? 2 of each animal or 2 of the bad ones, 7 of the good ones? 40 days or a year and a half for Noah.

Did (D&C) Boston and New York tank because the missionary efforts didn't take? A women doesn't need to be a Virginia for plural marriage? The primary prophet JS could enter the temple after stating to the congregation I have only one wife I can see. JS, John Taylor and Hyrum drink wine, BY owns a distillery and uses ETOH for "medical reasons"...

I could write for ever.

The point is we were given brains and agency. If a leader effectively closed your brain or agency. Run! run fast!!

mark moe said...

Again excuse the Apple spelling above... Used to posting on sites where I can edit typos. But you'll get the points above.

Alab said...

In 1980, I decided to leave the church and associate with what was then the RLDS in the UK. A young sister used to come visit my wife and when I was there she askem me questions re the Church. Playing safe, I gave her 2 opinions. the Church opinion and what the RLDS said on the subject.

The next thing I know is that it was announced in Sacrament meeting that I was to be avoided as I was going round member's homes trying to take them away from the Church. None of this was true. I wrote to the SP who was a solicitor [lawyer] outlining my side of things and naming the Sister. As far as I was concerned. the Bishop had slandered me in public by stating these things which were untrue. I asked the SP which families I had visited and when these visits occurred. I asked for an investigation as I was considering suing the Bishop and his counsellors for slander and defamation of character for agreeing to make the announcement.

The SP knew that it would [as we say in the UK] "stand up in court" He ordered an investigation to which I got a written apology and an announcement was made in Sacrament meeting that the information they had been given was a fabrication.

Log said...

Just to make a certain discussion public, we don't really want this situation to arise:

Joseph Smith—History 1:5
5 Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.


If we wish to repent of all our sins, cry mightily to be sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost, follow the voice of the Spirit, keep the commandments of Christ, and through our diligence and faithfulness in all things enter into the presence of God, Christ, and angels, then let us do precisely that.

Pointing out the personal foibles of the leadership of the Church does not advance that cause in the slightest. It is unhelpful to say "NOT THEM" and leave the conversation at that, without proffering a positive program which produces the fruit of the kingdom - sanctified souls, children of Christ.

Moreover, without becoming so ourselves, by being perpetually opposed to others, conflicting with them, attacking them, we are demonstrating we are not the children of Christ. For his children, lacking ego, filled with light and love, feel no need to change nor oppose others.

I must point out that I nowhere claim the Apostles are in error in their teachings or beliefs; indeed, whether they are true or not is an undecidable proposition. I merely point out that their claims have practical consequences and if those claims are to be maintained, those practical consequences require changes to the practices of the Church. If it were up to me, and it's not, I would repudiate the doctrine of Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei, making Galadriel's choice to refuse the One Ring of Power. For that is what this is.

“And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

But remember: they did not put themselves into this situation, any more than modern America put itself into its present place. It doesn't really matter, in a very real sense, how we got here, but only what we do now. Now that we realize where we are and what we are becoming, do we wish to stay the course? Shall we cast the Ring of Power into the fires of Mount Doom from whence it was forged? Or shall we continue becoming cold, unfeeling wraiths through wielding it, living in a dead world of shadow, at war with the Ring's creator to wield compulsory power over the souls of men (for their good, of course), becoming like unto him?

Log said...

Of course, in the books, all they who claimed the Ring met with sticky ends, for there is but one true Lord of the Rings, and the Ring betrays all who are not its master, and he torments those who seek to keep it.

It may be too late to change; our transformation into wraiths may already be complete, and our destruction assured (JST Matthew 21). Oh, Woodruff, what did you do?

Log said...

When one perceives that almost literally everything is about acquiring and maintaining hierarchical power, everything becomes monotonously depressing.

In this scenario, one might think of Rock as representing the Tea Party wing of the GOP, while the Brethren represent the GOP leadership. Notice the parallels?

Log said...

... err, "depressingly monotonous." It's the same story played out everywhere all the time, from the beginning to the end, with the only break being Zion, which doesn't happen very often.

PROTIP: If your society is hierarchical, it ain't Zion.

BONUS QUESTION: What is "the evil gift, and the unclean thing?"

Log said...

More along the same lines. "Civil Service" = "Priesthood leadership."

It is always the same themes. When you see the pattern, you'll **** bricks.

Mike H said...

Er unbelief in spiritual gifts? That which leads to spiritual death?

Sam said...

I'm not as smart as Rock, and I mean that seriously. Can I have a manifesto of what you do and don't support in the church?

Are you saying you only believe that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, Seer and Relevator?

In your opinion, is all Priesthood past Apostleship invalid?

What about Patriarch's? The Seer's and Relevators for individual Stakes?

Thanks

Steven Lester said...

Log, you were just mocking the Church and the Leaders' claim to complete authority yesterday, and now today you're talking about magic rings. Your advanced intellect is confusing my meek and primitive one to no end. Please, simplify all of it into, like, three sentences, if you can. Right now, I think you're just drunk, or its' equivalent.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Sam,
I think the answers to your questions can be found in two of my posts: "My Testimony of the Church" and "Who You Callin' Apostate?"

As for who, what and when revelation is received, see "Not Quite the Same," which, given current events within the church, I'm coming to believe may be my most important post.

As for the current apostleship, I have no doubt they are God's servants. It was Him who set up the apostles originally in the early LDS church. They were, as he describe them "my servants."

God, however has at various times included -or failed to include- an adjective when describing his servants on the earth. That adjective could be anything: "wise servants", or "unwise servants" for instance.

I believe it's up to us to discern whether any of God's servants, ourselves included, are wise, unwise, faithful, slothful, righteous, or even wicked. (See Matthew 21 of the Joseph Smith Translation.)

Few of us fit all of those descriptions at any one time, but at some particular point in our lives, most of us could be said to fit at least one of them.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Lester,
I think Log's recent posts have been clear as a bell, and I know you have more than sufficient brain power to see how astute his analysis has been. Read 'em again. The Lord of the Rings comparison seems to me a very apt analogy.

Miguel Aveiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miguel Aveiro said...

I also like what George RR Martin wrote. The character Varys says, "power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less." This is illustrated in his riddle about a priest a king and a rich man. Who lives and who dies? Who will the swordsman obey. The swordsman is the strong man wielding the weapon. If he holds the power in truth,
why do we pretend the kings have power?

Then of course there's Jaime Lannister who swore several oaths which ended up contradicting. He swore an oath to serve and obey the king and another oath to protect the innocent. But what happens when the king goes mad and starts killing the innocent?

Log said...

Steven,

Unfortunately, the Lord of the Rings movies were steaming piles of crap, yet some of these things can be seen it them. To see the parallel between Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei and The One Ring of Power, one really had ought to read the books.

The claim to speak infallibly with the voice of Heaven coupled with the claim to power to seal Heaven against those who do not submit is the One Ring of Power: the time-honored method for obtaining and maintaining compulsory power over the hearts and minds of men, thus naturally forming a hierarchy of fear and compulsion (is there ever any other kind of hierarchy?). To claim this power openly is to claim the One Ring of Power, thus drawing the attention of its maker, and to wear it renders one invisible (immune to criticism) from those who are under its spell. Over time the Ring corrupts the nature of its claimant, turning one into a wraith, an ageless, cold, invisible, unfeeling being of malice, who exists in a world of shadow, the wounds of whose weapons poison the hearts of the victims - meaning the Ring removes one from the realm of life, love, and joy, and puts one in a place where one merely continues to exist, everything one sees is either cold and dead, or a threat to one's power, and whose compulsory methods kill the hearts of those against whom they are used, turning them into slaves. Claiming the Ring invites eternal warfare from those who seek its power for their own ends.

The Catholics claimed the Ring centuries ago and they are now corporately a wraith, serving the maker of the Ring. Wilford Woodruff openly claimed the Ring for us. And it has been openly wielded anew for us very recently. And who knows? We might indeed have the Ring.

And if we do have the Ring, we really had ought to destroy it (repudiate Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei) if we have choice. Because otherwise we lock ourselves into a position where we have to spend all our time performing boundary maintenance, destroying our internal enemies who do not yield to us (excommunication!), neutralizing our external enemies (apologetics), and making alliances with those who could otherwise threaten our power (making to ourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when we fail, they may receive us into everlasting habitations). And we have to also expend a lot of effort to keep the Ring from slipping off our finger, as it tries to return to its maker (explain away the conflicts between current and past leadership, or between current or past leadership and reality).

I'd rather live in peace, having joy, love, and life in me, than be powerful. Wouldn't you?

Who is on the Lord's side, indeed. Ironically, despite Tolkien's authorial intent, he included the character of God in his books - which character has been consistently excised from adaptations of his works. Tom Bombadil is God. He's not what Tolkien, as a Catholic, would identify as God, but he was included based on a feeling Tolkien could not explain.

"I will teach you through your idols."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log, that was a perfectly rendered analysis of Tolkien's ring as it affects the LDS Church today. However, I feel to warn you never to express the opinion that the Lord of the Rings movies are a steaming pile of crap anywhere near my wife.

If you want to live.

Log said...

Like a lie, the Ring changes sizes in order to betray the claimants and return to its maker.

And like a lie, all one's efforts must be expended in cementing one's claim over the Ring.

It takes researching in the old records to find the test to identify the Ring and the interpretation of the result.

It is identified by applying only a very little heat.

The Ring reveals its nature when so tested.

Log said...

As well as JST Matthew 21, see also JST Luke 12 (among others):

44 And now, verily I say these things unto you, that ye may know this, that the coming of the Lord is as a thief in the night.

45 And it is like unto a man who is an householder, who, if he watcheth not his goods, the thief cometh in an hour of which he is not aware, and taketh his goods, and divideth them among his fellows.

46 And they said among themselves, If the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through and the loss of his goods.

47 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

48 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speaketh thou this parable unto us, or unto all?

49 And the Lord said, I speak unto those whom the Lord shall make rulers over his household, to give his children their portion of meat in due season.

50 And they said, Who then is that faithful and wise servant?

51 And the Lord said unto them, It is that servant who watcheth, to impart his portion of meat in due season.


52 Blessed be that servant whom his Lord shall find, when he cometh, so doing.

53 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

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.

55 The Lord of that servant will come in a day he looketh not for, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him down, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

56 And that servant who knew his Lord's will, and prepared not for his Lord's coming, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

57 But he that knew not his Lord's will, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom the Lord has committed much, of him will men ask the more.

58 For they are not well pleased with the Lord's doings; therefore I am come to send fire on the earth; and what is it to you, if I will that it be already kindled?

Miguel Aveiro said...

Here's the riddle I referred to above:

“In a room sit three great men, a king, a priest, and a rich man with his gold. Between them stands a sellsword, a little man of common birth and no great mind. Each of the great ones bids him slay the other two. ‘Do it,’ says the king, ‘for I am your lawful ruler.’ ‘Do it,’ says the priest, ‘for I command you in the names of the gods.’ ‘Do it,’ says the rich man, ‘and all this gold shall be yours.’ So tell me – who lives and who dies?”

I'm not sharing this because it's about the LDS church but it's an intersting illustration about power. I thought of it after reading Log's posts on the Ring of Power, which by the way, is thought by certain people to bestow powers on the one who holds it. But they cannot wield it like the true master can. All one would receive is invisibility when wearing it and long life when having it in one's possession. Although one may be blessed for a time, the blessing will eventually turn into a curse, when the servants of the Dark Lord find the bearer, as they are not invisible to them. Not to mention the uncanny dependance one has to it, which eventually drives them mad and evil.

Back to my point though. People in the church (Like Rock, Adrian Larsen, Denver Snuffer) are being made to decide whom to serve: God or the Brethren? When we are to believe the scriptures as well as the brethren, our loyalties can contradict when the Brethren do things contrary to the scriptures. Jaime Lannister found himself with contradicting oaths.

While I'm not advoacting that we stab the king in the back (sorry, George RR Martin is grittier than Tolkien), we need to choose a higher path. Varys, the advisor who posed the riddle, chooses to serve the realm (there's more to it than that, but that's what he professes). So can we stay in the kingdom, professing loyalty to the king and serve the realm? In other words, do we stay in the church, even though those running it may be doing things wrong and have inherited a faulty system? If we choose the Lord over the Brethren, if that is our choice when we're pushed into making this choice, how do we do that?

The Lord noticed false traditions in Israel. He was not supposed to start dinner without having washed his hands, according to the custom. But, before having dinner with a Pharisee, he chose to not wash his hands first. The Pharisee was shocked. But Jesus wasn't interested in following the traditions and philosophies of men. God did not command that one must wash their hands before dinner. So, are we to pass the sacrament without a white shirt on? Or baptize without a (weird and silly) white jumpsuit? People would be shocked and insist we go and put the special clothing on (which God did not command and if you believe he did, show me where he revealed this) or else we could not participate in the ordinance. What if we drank beer? I believe Jesus wasn't avoiding washing his hands to be rebelious or insolent infront of a high and mighty Pharisee, but was teaching them that it was not a commandment of God. Then he tells him an example of how they have removed one of God's commandments, one of looking after one's elderly parents, by a tradition that has the son or daughter state that any help they give the parent is a gift, when it should have been what they were required to do according to the law of Moses.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Miguel,
I also find it interesting that the purpose of washing hands seems to have been lost on the Pharisees. According to bible scholars, the law originated in the valid practice of wanting to have clean hands before touching the food, but by Jesus' time had devolved into a ceremonial rinsing -cleanliness had less to do with it than the show of performing the ceremony. Reminds me a bit of the days when I was a priest at the sacrament table. There was a small bowl of water into which we dipped our hands, then dried them on a towel before breaking the bread.

Although I've always been an incessant hand washer, I had my doubts about how clean my compatriot's hands were before breaking the bread. The quick dipping of the fingertips into the water did nothing to assure cleanliness. (I believe today Wet-Naps are provided for the purpose. You can decide for yourself if a quick wipe with a Wet-Nap will get the grime off a teenager's hands before he breaks the bread you are about to eat.)

I hasten to mention that in my entire time in the Aaronic priesthood, not grown-up ever reminded us it might be a good idea to wash our hands with soap and water before the meeting started.

I wonder how thoroughly the Pharisees in Jesus' day worried about the actual cleanliness of their hands before eating, or were they no more concerned about that aspect of the handwashing than the average 16-17 year old priest today.

Miguel Aveiro said...

I didn't know that hand washing was actually in the law. Funny how people would misunderstand what it's for and just make a ritual out of it.

I remember a bowl of water suddenly appearing on the sacrament table one Sabbath Day. I thought it was a good idea and that, because it was a good idea, it was going to always be put there. Then a couple of weeks later it suddenly vanished. We did have a teacher in Priesthood tell us about washing hands before blessing the sacrament, but that was just one time.

I found something interesting in Matthew 23:34. Jesus tells the Pharisees that he sends unto them prophets. I remembered this much from a previous reading of the New Testament. But this time I noticed that he also said he sends wise men and scribes. So the Lord doesn't just send prophets, men called of God with Priesthood authority, but also some other guys. I suppose these guys know their stuff from learning about the Lord and his gospel, laws etc. before being sent to teach others. Are these other guys high up in the church hierarchy? There's no mention of this. Unless they're priests from the tribe of Levi, the Pharisees probably wouldn't recognise their authority, and wouldn't consider them to be above them in any way, like a Seventy is to a Stake President. It seems to me these are just learned men who know the truth and are receptive to the Lord, so He can send Him to teach, or call others to repentance. Even if they're audience is those high up in authority, like the Pharisees.

Oh wait a minute... that can't be right. It's always someone higher up in authority correcting those lower than him in authority. We can't have it the other way round. That would be against the order of heaven wouldn't it? I've never heard it explicitly explained like this, but that's how the Kingdom of God seems to work, judging by how the LDS church does things. I should stop with these heretical ideas and fall back in line.

I'm not saying it's necessarily the way it works is necessarily wrong. But the Lord has made provision for leaders to be corrected by some regular members if need be. I've had people point things out to me that I could do better, even if they're not leaders placed above me. And I'm fine with that.

Andrea Angel said...

So, now with Brother Boyd having "graduated mortality" as I call it, there will be no more Packer-driven purges, at least... I seem to remember reading somewhere about Elder Oaks sort of apologizing to someone, saying Pres. Packer was kind of like a bull that nobody could corral.

I think a lot of the problem is that with 15 men to bring into "one accord", you have 15 different walls of status quo sets of beliefs to hurdle in order for the church at large to make any sort of policy progress. I believe they do receive directions from God, but He has to work against people's deeply-held paradigms. I was thinking earlier today just how difficult it is for people to hear a truth that's too far outside of their paradigm, and that's hearing a phsical voice speaking to them. It's a whole different ballgame when it's the whispers of the Spirit trying to get a hearing to break through who knows what distractions must fill the day of an Apostle.

http://zelophehadsdaughters.com/2009/10/14/predicting-who-will-be-church-president/

This page is 6 years old, but kinda confirms a long-held suspicion I've had that Brother Dallin and Brother David could be major players during the winding-up scenes in the next decade or two.

Andrea Angel said...

Aha, I found one that's meant to auto-update with the numbers, though Perry and Packer are both still on there, and the charter says he's not going to update until October - I'm guessing after the new Q15 are announced.

http://zelophehadsdaughters.com/2015/04/09/predicting-who-will-be-church-president-now-continuously-updated/

And another site, looks like you could run your own numbers off their pattern - ithub/philngo/mormon-prophets/blob/master/prophet-calculations.ipynb

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Andrea Angel,
Here is that Dallin Oaks quote about Packer:


In SUNSTONE's news sec-
tion, both Arizona Republic car-
toonist Steve Bensonk statements
were reported about a conversa-
tion he had had with Elder Oaks
and Oaks's initial reply. One such
statement was Elder Oaks speak-
ing about Elder Packer, "You
can't stage manage a grizzly
bear," adding that "it was a mis-
take for Packer to meet with
Heinz and a mistake for Heinz to
ask for the meeting."

See https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/093-67-72.pdf

Oaks did not know at the time that Steve Benson, the grandson of Ezra Taft Benson, was already disaffected from the church at the time he (Oaks) confided in him. Steve Benson had become quite upset at the way Church leaders like Gordon Hinckley reassured the congregation at conference that President Benson was fully capable and leading the Church, when at the time Steve knew his grandfather was on his deathbed and completely not in control of his faculties. Hinckley was using a mechanical Autopen to attach President Benson' signature to documents that Benson, in his catatonic state, was not even capable of reading.


andreanicoleangel said...

Ah, yes! That was it. "Stage-manage a grizzly bear". Even better :)

Good catch, Rock - thanks!

andreanicoleangel said...

I do love catching glimpses of the fact that the GAs are all still individuals with their own opinions :) And funny how a comment like that tells about people... says as much about Elder Oaks as Pres. Packer, actually.

But stories like those, especially the Autopen thing... you can guarantee everybody is going to have their own filter of interpretation. Some folks would jump straight to the conclusion that it was a convenient puppet-type thing, and that Pres. Hinckley was enjoying a little power-play ... my inclination is to think that from Pres. Hinckley's viewpoint, it may have been more like trying to preserve the Church's face of functionality, and maybe trying to use the Spirit to determine the Lord's will and how He'd have directed Pres. Benson were he truly capable.

I do believe in the concept of the "pious lie", as Orson Scott Card explained it (I think it was in the Afterword of "Sarah", from his Women of Genesis novels) - basically that God will accept a man's uttering an untruth if it is for the purpose of protecting a righteous person or purpose. Where He draws the line in such cases is one of those blurry things that I chalk up to being very much between the "untruth utterer" and God.

Skipping back to a couple comments ago... I think about that "handwashing thing" every time I think about the Sacrament now. The more I investigate, the more I lament the swervings of a "mostly righteous" church I still want to be a part of, but am not sure if my life path is meant to remain mainstream. Good luck with... or maybe I should say, God be with you, and with those who review your reinstatement appeal. This church needs more folks like you to be a leavening... there must come more balance between rational and revelatory learning before people will be more easily able to come to a deeper knowledge of the truth, and really bring Zion.

- Andi