Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why I Grieve For Boyd K. Packer

Previously: Where Did The Oracles Go?

When a beloved general authority dies, as happened last month with Apostle L. Tom Perry, the internet is flooded with an outpouring of love and fond recollections.  But what to expect when a general authority passes away who was not so beloved? What then?

That's when we get the kind of reactions we saw following the death of Boyd K. Packer last week.  As I write this, there are a mere 43 comments following Packer's obituary at the Deseret News.  From the ones I've read, they tend to follow a certain pattern. "I got to shake Elder Packer's hand once" or "he came and spoke to us when I was on my mission."  Not much there in the way of fond anecdotes that would tell us anything about the deceased man's character.

In contrast, over at the Salt Lake Tribune, a paper whose readership tends to be less deferential to Church leaders than those at the Church-owned news organ, I found well over two thousand comments, most of them arguing over just how much harm Boyd Packer caused individuals within the church while he was in office.  Social media was even less forgiving, as the news of Packer's passing was met with a flurry of giddy celebrations. Many duplicated each other by sending around a video clip from The Wizard of Oz where the happy munchkins are joyfully dancing and singing "Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead." 

Yikes.

One of the more reserved comments I read on Facebook following the announcement of Packer's passing was this one:
"Apparently it's rude to speak ill of the dead; maybe because they're not around to defend themselves. If we speak lovingly of them even if they were awful and caused great harm, then are we contributing to the delusion that they were above reproach or that their ideas weren't harmful and wrongheaded?  Now that Boyd K. Packer is gone I can say that I'm just mostly relieved....I sure hope for my kids and their kids that the archaic, barbaric, and cruel ideals of this man will go to the grave with him. If I can say anything nice about Boyd K. Packer it's that he gave his greatest gift to the world when he died."
Another commenter summed up the feelings of many with this simple assessment:
"If he wanted to be remembered kindly after his death, he should have been kinder while he was alive."
Not A Packer Fan
For my part, I'm not known to be overly fond of Boyd K. Packer. It has been my shared opinion he may have done as much harm to the church in the 1980s and 90s as any single anti-Mormon activist in that period. Certainly he had a greater facility for offending and driving liberal-minded members out of the church than he had for keeping them in. He famously condemned and alienated an entire class of Mormons -three categories of Mormons, actually- when he declared that the three greatest threats to the church were homosexuals, feminists, and intellectuals."[1]
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[1] Boyd K. Packer, To the All-Church Coordinating Council. I actually agreed with Packer's assessment at the time. Today I don't see any of these people as a threat to the church I love. I now recognize that homosexuals are human beings; the term "feminist" is a loaded label often misconstrued to mean anything its detractors want it to mean; and as for intellectuals...well believe it or not, some people are calling me an intellectual these days, so I'm no longer as prejudiced against that label as I used to be.

Paul Toscano, a passionate member who twenty years ago was expelled from the church for criticizing its leaders, was asked by an interviewer if he felt anyone had left the church because of something he wrote. He replied, "I'll stack my body count up against Boyd K. Packer's any day."

Though a prominent leader in the church for some 45 years, Packer somehow never seemed to engender the kind of accolades often showered upon his peers, and at times that seemed to bother him.  He was the type of person of whom people might say "you either love him or you hate him."

But he was also the type of person of whom other people said, "you either hate him or...you don't really hate him too much." Although most of the five million active members in the church probably held him in high regard, a significant number were either extremely passionate in their opinions against Boyd Packer, or they felt nothing for him. In the community of disaffected believers I was acquainted with, that was pretty much the length of the entire Packer Likeability Spectrum.

As for myself, I did not shed a tear at the news of Packer's passing. At one point I even joined in with the online criticism.  Then later that day I read this comment from my friend Brian Bowler, which made me realize I was in need of an attitude adjustment:
"Boyd K Packer, in my feeling, began to change the last 7 years. He gave a talk in his ward in 2008 that was a change from what came before. Though some of his thoughts focused on the church, he spoke from the heart and I believe he was right about many things. I believe all of us, Including a Priest (Alma) can change. I will not be an accuser of a man. I believe President Packer was confused in many ways, but he also seemed to change at the last, and had moments when he did appear to see past the curtain.

"I believe the Church today will waver more and more. Packer at least had a moral compass, even if it was off at times."
Brian's words brought to mind something I had once heard from Maxine Hanks. Maxine had been among the so-called "September Six," a half dozen believing members who had been questioned and cast out of the church, it was alleged by some, at the request of  Boyd K. Packer. At least one or two cases were linked to Packer.[2]
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[2] The late Malcolm Jeppsen, a member of the Seventy and best friend of Boyd Packer since childhood, admitted in his unpublished memoirs to the role he played as agent for his friend Boyd Packer in engineering one of these disciplines, that of Avraham Gileadi. (Gileadi's expulsion was later ruled a mistake; he was reinstated, and all references to his excommunication expunged.) 

According to Joseph Smith, it was a violation of Church law for any apostle to interfere with matters regarding members of a stake:
     "The Twelve will have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof where there is a standing High Council. But it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the church." (quoted in
William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt, Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism's Original Quorum of the Twelve, pg 85-86)


Maxine Hanks tells how, many years after her excommunication, she encountered the aging Boyd Packer on temple square, sitting in a wheelchair looking frail and weak.  She said hello to him, and he smiled at her with a welcoming gesture. Yet Packer did not recognize the woman whose life he had affected nearly twenty years earlier. "I found myself feeling nothing but compassion and love for a man who had once seemed like an enemy," Maxine later recalled.

I sense that is the way Christ would have me react. Last week upon hearing of the passing of Brother Packer, Maxine wrote this on her Facebook page:
"His death is still hard to grasp; it feels monumental.  When I saw myself at odds with him in the 1990s, our views seemed mutually exclusive; yet I thought I understood him. Later, over the years, I read him more closely, understood him better, saw things we actually agreed on, things I'd never noticed before. Ultimately, I'm grateful for a grace that enabled me to find some healing with him before he died. Whatever we all have learned from our relationship with him, I pray that our experiences will help us focus on healing wounds, no matter how deep, and moving forward in the Church."
There is an unexpected benefit to discovering common ground with someone we may have once thought of as our enemy, and I admire Maxine's grace in this instance. I have to admit that in spite of some of the major differences I've had with Boyd Packer over the years, I too have discovered positions of his, particularly in recent years, that I completely agree with.  Last week I even quoted a statement by him in the appeal I submitted in response to my own excommunication.  If you think it surprising that I would find something Boyd K. Packer said as a useful argument to bolster my own position...well, you're no more surprised than I am.[3]
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[3] I will be posting that twelve page appeal in its entirety on this blog once the recipients have had sufficient opportunity to review and decide upon it.

Forgive and Forget?  
Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things our Lord asks of us. It may be our privilege to fester in our anger and frustration over the iniquity of others, but it sure isn't healthy. It only serves to poison our souls.  Thank goodness administering justice is above our pay grade. It is the Lord's to administer, not ours. So, no matter the harm we have received at the hands of another, we get to leave it in His hands to deal with. Jesus reminds us, "of you it is required to forgive all men."

Learning to forgive prevents us from remaining bitter about the actions of others that we can't control anyway.  Forgiveness enables us to move on. But does forgiveness require us to ignore the harm someone has done us?  Does it mean we condone the sins of another, particularly when those sins have detrimentally affected so many? Does it require us to act as though nothing ever happened?

I submit it does not.

My wife and I were close friends with another couple in our California ward. Some years ago the husband died. Fortunately for his widow, he left behind a sizable amount of life insurance, enough to support her and her young son for the rest of their lives.

This widow knew a trusted member of her stake who was a successful real estate developer, and he offered to help her invest that money. The money went into a local sure thing, a can't miss commercial development.  Because of the man's status as an informed financial expert, and especially because he was also a respected member of the stake high council, our friend had complete confidence that her insurance money was safe with him, and trusted the man with nearly all of it. This was in 2007.

Well, you know what came next: 2008.  The bottom completely fell out of the commercial real estate market, and our friend's money was gone. All of it.  In spite of this, the widow continued to have every confidence that the man would find a way to repay her "because he's a good member of the church."

But the man couldn't possibly pay back her money.  He didn't have it.  He had lost his own money as well as hers because he had turned it all over to someone else, and that someone else lost it, too. The money was gone, plain and simple. 

So here's the question: Is our friend required to forgive the man who lost her money?  Of course she is. God requires it. And to her credit, she did forgive him.

But in so forgiving, is she required to pretend the loss never happened? Or to condone the damage done to her?  No she is not.

Our friend suffered mightily because of that loss. She was thrown into poverty and forced to depend upon the government and church welfare systems just so she and her child could survive.  So although she has forgiven the man and learned to move on, it doesn't change the harm he did to her life. How responsible to her future well-being and the well-being of her son would she be if she did not learn from the experience and resolve to be just a little bit more careful in the future?  Shouldn't she do what she can to make certain such harm is never repeated, either to herself or to any other?  Is there a lesson in there somewhere she could benefit from?

I'd say there is. And here it is: Just because a man is a member of the church with a high calling does not automatically mean he is incapable of making mistakes or doing harm.  Even the most well-intentioned person may not always do right by you.

Repentance is a process that often requires we forgive ourselves as well as others.  I have come to realize that sinning -falling short of the mark- is an essential part of what we were put on this earth to do, and most importantly to learn from.  God is not surprised when we fall short; he fully expects it of us. He doesn't get angry or frustrated with us when it happens. (Unless we keep making the same dumb mistakes over and over that tend to bring harm to others. The scriptures show that does seem to irk him somewhat.)

I've found that when I have committed a mistake or a sin that I'm in need of repenting of, the Lord really has only one question for me: "Did you learn anything?"

If I can recognize the lesson and learn from it and apply what I learned, I'm usually able to move on and do better. If I can't -or won't- learn from the experience, I remain stuck in my sins.

How equally important is it then, when we are sinned against, as some trusting latter-day Saints undoubtedly were by the apostle Boyd K. Packer, to learn from his mistakes and ours, by resolving not to fall into the trap of trusting in the arm of flesh merely because the person attached to that arm holds high office and station in the Church, but to instead follow the light of Christ within ourselves? This protects us from gullibility and harm, but it also enables us to be healers instead of victims. Or enemies.

There are some faithful members reading this piece who may have never heard about any of the controversies surrounding Boyd K. Packer. All this will be news to them and they might wonder what great harm did Packer actually do?  When I first set out to write this piece, I felt it important to list, document, and delineate the precise wrongs some church members suffered due to Boyd Packer's overbearing zealotry.

But I've changed my mind. I may lay it all out it in some future blog post, but not this week. Not today.

Boyd K. Packer has gone to his reward, whatever that reward is in God's Realm.  But in our realm, we would do well to follow the tender example of Christ, who forgave those who sinned, and reminds us we are all sinners.  Is it possible we can allow ourselves instead to feel compassion for Church leaders when they misjudge us or unjustly act against us? Could we use the truth of who we are in productive ways, rather than conflicted ways -to find common ground or solutions, rather than inflame mistrust?

This week, Brother Packer's family members are grieving his loss, while people they never knew about continue to grieve over the harm some of his words and actions once inflicted on them and their loved ones. There are plenty of reasons to grieve all around, so let's go ahead and grieve. And while we grieve, we might send sincere prayers to heaven on Brother Packer's behalf, recognizing that he was no more or less flawed than the rest of us are in our own ways. Maybe we can make a conscious effort to learn from the mistakes he made, by seeing the higher truth, about ourselves and him, rather than the lesser view we frequently buy into about each other.

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Announcements:
The annual Sunstone Symposium takes place in Salt Lake City at the end of this month, and I will be one of the presenters there. I'll be speaking on Leaving the Church But Remaining a Mormon: The Rise of Uncorrelated Mormonism. Here's a description from the abstract:
Call them what you will: "Maverick Mormons," "Uncorrelated Mormons," "The Remnant," "Saints in the Wilderness," "Neo-Restorationists," or even "LDS Anarchists;" most Saints who find their spiritual nourishment outside the structure of the LDS Church have two common characteristics: 1.) A devotion to Christ and the principles of the Restoration, and 2.) A belief that contemporary Church leaders no longer receive revelation and are therefore spiritually irrelevant to the church. As their ranks swell, how might these unfaithful faithful affect the future of the church?
I'll be attending all three days, and presenting on Saturday, August 1st at 3:45 in the afternoon. For those who are unable to attend the full conference, tickets to individual presentations are available for only $10.00 each. Directly following me in the same conference room will be a panel that includes Daymon Smith and Denver Snuffer, so I would encourage you buy a second ticket and stick around and help make these young newcomers feel welcome.

A hastily arranged panel of recently branded ex-Mormons will also be featured, among them myself, Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, Carson and Marisa Calderwood, and whoever else happens to get caught in the net between now and the end of July.

I will also be hanging around after the conference hoping for the chance meet some of my readers at the Linger picnic at the end of the conference on Saturday. Tickets for that are ten bucks as well. I hope readers of this blog will come up and introduce themselves to me.

All information for the symposium is available at Sunstone.org (a downloadable advance program is there also), or you can call 801-355-5926. I hope to see you there!

121 comments:

Diana said...

My journey away from correlated Mormonism has been rough, but I guess I didn't give enough attention to Packer to take offense. It is sad that his words hurt so many.

Log said...

Rock,

I am going to disagree on two points.

1. I think if you pass your section on what forgiveness requires through the golden rule, you might feel inclined to change it. All "damage" we suffer here has, as its purpose, teaching us the ways of wisdom and godliness.

2. I think you will be hard pressed to establish the leadership doesn't receive revelation - howsoever loosely defined - for the Church. There is a strategy in play and a function being fulfilled by the Church. Mother is a very good parent for small children and infants, though she is overbearing and controlling towards her growing teenagers who are beginning to assert themselves against her dictates. It's all part of the game.

Jon said...

The woman who lent her money to be invested is a poor example. She is just as responsible. Just a little bit of reading on how to invest your money should reveal that you don't put all your eggs in one basket. She is responsible to learn how to properly invest her money. Yes, the person she lent the money to is responsible also, but his same follies is the same exact follies she had.

watermeloncrew2 said...

What's done can never be undone. I agree, I think it is a disservice to sweep terrible situations under the rug and pretend like they didn't happen - No one benefits from that. To do so oft times ends up enabling the misaligned behavior to continue with the potential of injuring others still within their circle if influence. Repentance is never off the table, anyone can change. It's our lot to forgive and move forward in faith with the new knowledge and understanding we've acquired and to always deal with love. Our trespasses won't be forgiven if we can't forgive others. I love that you get that and convey the logic behind your thinking so well. Good post.

Good Will said...

In the temple film, some are assigned to play Elohim and Jehovah, while others fill the roles of Michael and Lucifer. After the filming is done, they all go out for bite to eat and maybe a rootbeer.

In the end we will see that each played his "part". We filled our purpose. The wisest among us "hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation" (Acts 17:26).

I have always felt a fondness for Boyd K. Packer. I still do for Russell M. Nelson (despite whatever role he played in my own excommunication). I cannot easily think of -- or find -- evil in those at the local level who were (and are) likewise complicit in my (continued) suffering. And that's a good thing. I have burdens enough. Why would I want to carry them and their sins on my shoulders as well? To each his own. Let's move on.

I liked your piece, Rock. You're an amazing "intellectual". ;o) I wish I could attend the Sunstone Symposium with you.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jon, I must not have been clear that when someone like an investor sins against us, it's important to look within and examine whether we might have been complicit in some way, or trusted him enough to turn over our personal judgment to him. Quite a few of the "bad" things that have happened to me can be traced to my not being aware, or handing my power to some other person.

Many of those who were hurt by Boyd Packer were hurt because to some extent they gave away their power to him. Boyd Packer misunderstood his role as an apostle of Christ. He saw himself as a watchman on the tower charged with keeping the Church pure. He was actually disobedient to his true charge, which was to follow the Golden Rule and apply it in every instance.

A member might assume that because of his calling and title, Packer had actual authority over them given to him by God. He did not. But if that member allows Packer that authority, he will use it against them. The appropriate response to a church leader overstepping the bounds of his authority and attempting control over you is to simply ignore him. He is not relevant, therefore he has only the amount of power you give him by believing he has a claim on you, your membership, or your standing with God.

Rob said...

I don't dare judge the brethren as individuals.

Although I cannot stand as a witness for Christ at all times and in all places without recognizing and trying to persuade against sin wherever I find it, and therefore MUST scrutinize their actions to judge if they are right or wrong, I do not judge them as sinners or saints.

The reason: I asked God about these men and what he thought of them. Instead of answering my question, he assisted me to consider the possibility that they are doing what they believe to be right. Although this does not excuse their actions or withhold God's judgement (see what Jesus had to say about the Sanhedrin, who were in the same place), it does raise a very important question.

Who is more evil, me who knows better and still sins, or they who may be sinning without knowing it?

I don't know all things, but I wouldn't be surprised if Boyd Packer remained much truer to his idea of what is right than many of his critics. We are judged according to our understanding and capacity.

DeeLyn said...

I remember one quote from Mr. Packer that I very much agreed with, "Everyone knows when they do wrong". But that would include him too, so it's sad that even though he understood right from wrong (and the real truth about the Church and his false authority) he still continued to hurt countless people, especially women, & lead members astray and away from Christ and continued to take advantage of & live off the widow's & poor's last mite.

I consider him a very false prophet who did not follow Christ and who didn't seem to keep hardly any of Christ's commandments, which is how Christ said we detect false prophets. Thus I don't have much hope for him in the next life unless Christ was not really serious about the things he taught.

While we should forgive people of their offenses, that doesn't mean we should not warn others about their falsehoods and misdeeds, as Christ did, so others don't continue to be harmed by them, even after they are gone, especially when the person didn't repent and make things right.

I agree that our sins are meant for our learning & growth, and the wiser we are in following Christ's commandments, then the fewer sins we have to commit and suffer from to learn.

I believe that in the hereafter, we must finally learn how to keep Christ's commandments & all the hard lessons of life that we refused to learn in this life, but it takes must longer and is much harder, for it's by personally experiencing all the evils we supported in this life and by experiencing how it feels to have done to us what we did or allowed to be done to others in this life.

So it's a positive thing that Mr. Packer will finally learn how the glory of God is intelligence and knowledge (not blind obedience), how women are equal to men in all things, including power, position and Priesthood, and how the poor are to be 'cared for' and 'given to', not 'lived off of' and 'taken from', and how it feels to be a woman abused in polygamy and never hardly see her husband for he's off running around living with multiple other women, or what it feels like be abandoned by a spouse and how the Church completely encourages, & supports your spouse to remarry & go off in the sunset with their new romance, leaving you alone to support, feed & raise the children all by yourself.

I believe it will be a long road for Mr. Packer before he comes to really understand & live Christ's teachings, for one in his high position must have been aware of a lot of suffering and evil that he had to ignore and harden himself against in order to maintain his perks and position.

Rebecca C. said...

Thanks for turning my mind toward forgiveness.

Tyler Jorgenson said...

I agree that this woman has a significant shared responsibility. Rock even stated that the crash of 2008 happened but still pointed he finger to the 'trusted' member of the church.
However the analogy can still work. Do we not have a shared responsibility when we are offended. It is, after all, vain to take offense when none was intended.

creeksalmon said...

http://thetruthaboutmormonism-creeksalmon.blogspot.com/2014/11/one-of-biggest-lies-mormon-leaders-teach.html

Tom Irvine said...

I am here to defend President Boyd K. Packer, in a round about way. He taught a stunning truth in the October 2014 conference which was so ahead of current doctrinal understanding that few church members have begun to grasp its implications.

Actually, President Packer did not give this message directly, rather he delivered it via his understudy, Elder Lynn G. Robbins. The title was "Which Way do you Face?"

Elder Robbins immediately followed President Packer in the Saturday Morning session of that October conference. Elder Robbins explained that the subject of the talk originated in a conversation he had with President Packer, as if Elder Robbins' topic was given by way of assignment.

Here is quote from President Packer as relayed by Elder Robbins.

“A Seventy does not represent the people to the prophet but the prophet to the people. Never forget which way you face!"

Presumably the same could be said regarding all of the "Living Oracles."

Now here is a derivable point of illumination, whether intended or not. If the Brethren do not represent us to the prophet, then how can the prophet represent us unto the Lord? The answer is they cannot.

The Brethren at best are "True Messengers," but they are not mediators. There is only one Mediator, even Christ Jesus.

The following scripture has recently been referenced frequently by some current and former members of the LDS Church.

2 Nephi 9:41

O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.

* * *

Furthermore...

Both the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem had an inner room called the “Holy of Holies” which had a thick curtain or veil that separated it from the outer room. This inner room was God’s special dwelling place in the midst of his people.

Once a year the high priest solemnly lifted a corner of this veil to enter the room bringing blood and holy incense. This occurred on a prescribed day called the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The high priest then passed into the immediate presence of Jehovah.
But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 9:7)

The tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins.

God’s presence is now directly accessible to all who humbly seek Him.

* * *

– Tom Irvine

watermeloncrew2 said...

Whatever... We're responsible for ourselves. Sure. Should we forgive others? Definitely. Can we come together in a unity of faith? That has yet to be seen. We have a long way to go.

Lester said...

Thank you for being an example of the humble followers of Jesus Christ, Rock. As the story of the September Six eventually emerged I sneered and raged for years at the sanctimonious petty tyrant that was Boyd Packer. Had you retold the story here again I undoubtedly would have sneered and raged a bit more with delight. But your choice to forego that telling in favor of actually following our Lord is the better, truer choice. Well done.

Good strength in your participation at Sunstone. With the late President Packer and his compadres in the chief seats looking more and more like the Jewish leadership at the time of Christ—over-confident in their positions of status and increasingly inclined to rely on the arm of flesh—folks who yet believe in Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon but not the leadership will become increasingly important to the Lord's plan of restoration.

Lena Hansen said...

Jon and Rock,

Going kinda off topic here, but I need to educate you all to what happens when someone is left widowed, especially if the passing was sudden and to a young spouse, and especially if there is money involved.
In the hours, days and months that follow the death, the grieving spouse is completely unable to rationally make decisions. People come at them continually wanting to "help". Some of these "helpers" "help" themselves more than they help the grieving family. Feeling pushed and pulled in many directions, and in their grieving stupor, the widow desires to be left alone. Unfortunately the widow feels powerless to the intrusions and does not have the capacity to recognize a "wolf in sheep's clothing". Often the widow listens to the loudest and most confident voice.
The investor in this story probably made more money off the widow and her child in the transaction than the widow used all year. Truly despicable. The financial advisor should have advised the widow to diversify.
For those of you who wish to avoid this situation in the event of your untimely demise, make sure you and your spouse hire your family's financial advisor ahead of time, and have a will/trust already established. Put your decisions in writing and show a trusted member in the extended family where the documents are in case of death. Trust me, your loved ones are busy just trying to remember to breathe.

Lena

DrabMatter said...

I am a member who has largely missed the controversy surrounding Elder Packer but wanted to share the following:

Today in High Priest's Group the lesson was on following the living prophet. The teacher started at the death of Joseph Smith and the schisms that followed and essentially asked us why our church was the one true schism. The answer was of course that Brigham Young was a prophet and no other schism had one. I impertinently pointed out that Brigham Young never claimed to be a prophet, but described himself as a Yankee guesser. To my surprise and relief another brother commented that years ago in a stake conference Elder Packer had described Brigham as a 'scalawag' but that he was the right man at that time to lead the church (which I can agree with).

Another brother brought up Brigham's pronouncements about blacks and the priesthood and it was asked how can we know that what is taught today won't be disavowed 10 years from now?

The class members included a judge and a doctor and the questions of performing gay marriages or prescribing end-of-life medications (both are legal in my state) were broached : Should they just follow the prophet or did they have personal responsibility when confronted with these decisions?

Finally someone (OK, it was me) said that a prophet's duty is to bring us to Christ, that once we have Him we have all we need and that at the judgement bar He and not the prophet will be our advocate, and to this every man in the room said Amen.

I share this anecdote because it involved Elder Packer and because my impertinent comment and final comment were only possible because I read this blog (I am very grateful for this blog; It has brought me closer to the Gospel and counter-intuitively to the church as well).

I have similar thoughts to Good Will, that all the world's a stage and some day when the plays is over we will appreciate even our tormentors for personifying "what ere thou art, act well thy part".

I struggled with the concept of forgiveness for years because as watermeloncrew2 says, what's done can't be undone. I finally realized that being forgiven by God doesn't undo what we did, it means that because of the Atonement He offers us a relationship with Him on condition that we change. Our offenses to others still exist, we still bear responsibility for them and those we have offended may or may not forgive us. But by the grace of God they might and we can hope to someday once again have the good will of those we have offended.

Lee said...

Elder Packer had just received his call as apostle when he and Marion Romney were assigned to clean up a mess in Belgium where a dozen or so missionaries apostatized and relocated to Mexico to establish Zion. The year was 1970. I had just been transferred to Brussels to be secretary to the mission president when Elder Packer visited for the first time. One the day before his arrival, the mission headquarters estate was burglarized. Calculators, cameras, typewriters, cash boxes all taken and loaded into a van and driven out the ornate iron gates of the property with only the gardener as witness. When Elder Packer arrived and learned of the theft, he was livid. I witnessed him loudly berate my mission president for not protecting Church property which he was steward of. Packer ordered him to get a security system, or a loud barking dog--- immediately. Prior to his return in three months the mission staff and president discussed options. We elders favored getting a puppy. My mission president declined our recommendation. A decision on security was tabled. Three months passed and Elder Packer would again arrive. We scheduled a late breakfast at the mission home for him the morning his plane landed. The event included zone leaders, two stake presidents, local ward bishops, the director of the European church distribution center, and the mission home staff. We were together downstairs in the grand dining room with Elder Packer at the head of the table. It was thrilling for all of us to have an Apostle of the Lord lifting a fork with us. But meanwhile---at the very same moment, burglars had placed a ladder against the outside wall, climbed up, and entered through a second floor window. They ferried our brand new calculators, cameras, typewriters and cash boxes down to a waiting van. Out of the dining room windows we watched a van suddenly speed by and race out the gates. No siren was heard and no puppy barked. I was not privy to the dressing down my mission president received behind closed doors from Elder Packer for not following his explicit instructions. I would later learn it was brutal. My mission president wore the look of a whipped animal for weeks until he would finally drive into Germany to identify and recover the stuff after the thieves were caught. The moral of the story: at our peril do we disregard direct and unequivocal instructions from a prophet, seer and revelator.

DeeLyn said...

True Prophets, seers and revelators don't berate people and they don't act like they have any authority over other people to tell them what to do. Christ said we can tell true prophets by their love.

Lee Williams said...

So you can see no love in his concern for the mission's well being and safety? Look a little deeper.

DeeLyn said...

No I do not, especially not in the way he treated the Mission Pres. But there are far more angles to this story then just how harsh he was. That he even considered spending tithing money on any mission needs rather then the needy is another huge red flag.

Taking care of the needy comes way before supporting missionary efforts, which can be easily done near to home so expensive missions are not needed, nor would mission pres. need to be paid, as they never should be.

If the Church leaders would just follow Christ instead of their own doctrines, the church would be flooded with new members, without any other missionary work needed. I think we need to study the teachings of Christ more to understand how to discern and identify true disciples of Christ. Christ taught that true prophets always keep all his commandments, as well as having love for others.

Sam said...

My grandma used to play with the Packers when she was a child living in Brigham City. Everyone in those circles always though he would make the Presidency.

I never got warm fuzzies from the guy but grateful for his administration and dedication.

LJn said...

"The moral of the story: at our peril do we disregard direct and unequivocal instructions from a prophet, seer and revelator."

The true moral of the story is that we disregard direct an unequivocal instructions from mean and nasty men at our peril. He could have been nice. If he'd been a true servant of God, serving God faithfully, he would have been kind.

@ Lena Hansen. I also want to add that men seeking money are overbearing, crafty, and ruthless. And women in the Church are taught to bow down to men because they know everything and women know very little. I absolutely would not find fault with the widow who was cheated (notice it was a man who accused her of being complicit in being robbed and cheated).

DeeLyn said... "True Prophets, seers and revelators don't berate people and they don't act like they have any authority over other people to tell them what to do."

Triple Amen to that, DeeLyn. But, I understand, one of the ways to get on the Church's ugly side is to mess with their stuff (money, property).

Tammy said...

I have experienced a few things here in Brigham City, Utah since the passing of Brother Packer that shows how we the people have set these men up for the lives they have led.
The funeral was here in the tabernacle and I saw many people sitting on the lawns waiting to perhaps get a glance at the Packer Family when they came out. I am part of the stake that was providing the luncheon.
I heard comments like," I feel so honored to be able to bake such and such for this. " Then this morning I saw a business board up that read ," welcome home President Packer". Because this is where he was raised and has now returned.
It felt like celebrity drooling and I thought to myself, " Well, he was a man who lived and died and did what he thought was what he ought.
And he has a family grieving their loss of husband and father. "
I think that to honor anything other than the common feelings one has at the loss of loved ones is sad and truly shows our idolatry.
I served as a helper with funeral luncheons for years and I never heard anyone say they were honored to bake such and such.

Log said...

Toni,

You had a good idea there. The lesson wasn't about ignoring prophetic counsel - the lesson was (pick one):

"People don't care what you know until they know that you care."

or...

"You catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

or...

"Even a broken clock is right twice a day."

or...

"'If you love me,' said the greatest of all leaders, 'you will keep my commandments.' 'If you know what is good for you,' says the manager, 'you will keep my commandments and not make waves.'"

or...

34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

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

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

38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.


&c.

Diana said...

Lee,

The story about Packer in Belgium is amusing to say the least. Why did Packer have to be so mean? The Church has billions of dollars. Thieves steal things, things get broken, disasters destroy assets, members abuse materials and meetinghouses and on and on and on. It's obvious which way Packer faced...toward the correlated incorporated Church and it's managers! Can you imagine Jesus setting up businesses to keep the coffers full, to compensate for flagging attendance and tithing receipts? I can't and don't. Let Packer and those like him fret and cry over "sacred funds." It's all for show anyway. If you only knew how your precious tithing money was spent...but maybe it doesn't matter to you since they're the stewards of the "sacred" and you are not.

Shana said...

Thank you so much for writing your blog. This post spoke to what I have felt in my heart, as well. Even though I don't much care for BKP's thoughts and interpretations, I know that he was doing the best he could with what he had. And I realize that I would want the same merciful attitude extended toward me in all of my personal shortcomings and flaws.

Even though I have fully left the Mormon church behind, and I don't believe Joseph Smith was what you still claim him to be, I have found peace and healing by reading your blog. When I left the LDS church, I found myself in a place of feeling so betrayed that it was my gut reaction to just eschew everything about the LDS church. And I found myself in no-man's land. Everything foundational to who I was was gone, and I didn't know how I was going to recreate myself.

Over time, I found myself returning to foundational spiritual truths that still resonated with me - but I knew that I could not return to the organization of the LDS faith. There were many things that were wrong with it, and I could not in good conscience, return to the flock.

But then I stumbled across your blog through PostMormon.org. And I found solace in your words, because you were able to find a balance in questioning the organization while still embracing eternal truths. I don't agree with you that J.S. was a prophet in the full sense of the word - but I do find some eternal truths that resonate with me from my upbringing as a member of the LDS church. We may not agree on everything, but I feel that I have found a kindred spirit in your writings.

Thank you for helping me to restore balance as I redefine who I am and what I believe. I will forever be grateful for your writings. Keep up the good work. Love to you and yours.

Lee said...

Furthermore....
Elder Packer was keen on visiting Italy during his European assignment, although that country was not part of his official charge. The reason for Italy? He loved statuary. He would purchase small to medium sized works, package them up and send them to the Brussels mission home where he would pick up the art pieces prior to taking them with him on the plane home.
One early morning while I was yet sleeping, Elder Packer called. He could tell I was roused out of deep sleep and sharply berated me for sleeping in. I had justifiable reasons for it, but I kept those to myself. I was upset that one of the AP's didn't pick up the phone since they were movin' and groovin' in the office by then.
After the scolding, Elder Packer asked if his packages had arrived. I affirmed that they had—all 9 of them! End of phone call from Florence. Two days pass. Elder Packer arrives in Brussels following his tour. At the mission home on the dining room table he unpacks the sculptures. Most ALL of them were damaged or broken into pieces!
Elder Packer-- A: was heart-broken. B: was untroubled. C. upset with himself for his careless packaging skills. D: came unzipped. The answer: I quickly exited the room leaving Elder Packer alone with my again 'apostle-burdened' mission president.
Moral of the story? It is best to stay on the path that is narrow and that lieth in a straight course when on the Lord's errand. That way we don't end up in pieces on arrival.

Lester said...

Good on you for listening to foundational spiritual truths, Shana. Those are the meat of the gospel of Jesus Christ and transcend the people and politics of the Mormon church. One of the most profound eternal truths you never heard in Sunday School is found in the D&C and the Book of Mormon where Jesus defines his doctrine and church:

67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.

68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. (D&C 10:67-68)

By that definition you literally still might be a member in good standing of Jesus' church!

You might find the writing of Denver Snuffer interesting. While he claims that the Mormon church failed to complete the work of God's restoration begun in the 1830s, he also claims that God has once again set his hand to renew the restoration and prepare all who will to become a Zion people. Snuffer doesn't care if you believe he's seen and talked with Jesus Christ—he believes all of us have the right and the opportunity to see and talk with Jesus Christ.

http://denversnuffer.com/

LJn said...

Log said... " Toni,
" You had a good idea there. The lesson wasn't about ignoring prophetic counsel - the lesson was (pick one):
"People don't care what you know until they know that you care."

I vote for the last one. If he had been kind, they may have listened to him and followed his advice. (And your reply/reaction was kinder than mine. Thank you for that.)


Diana said...
"Let Packer and those like him fret and cry over "sacred funds." It's all for show anyway"

You know, whenever I got help from the Church, it didn't really feel like sacred funds to me (I was too busy stressing over the fact that I had to get help), even when a bishop called it that (in an effort to make me feel guilty, I think - but am not sure).

On the other hand, whenever people who have chosen to pay their tithing by directly helping the poor decide to help me, I feel the sacredness of it. I feel I have an obligation to God in regards to that money.

Lee, that story is quite telling. Perhaps more than BP would like anyone to know, it shows his heart. (And maybe why he was so upset at the two break-ins).

LJn said...

I second what Lester said about reading Denver's blog.

He gave a series of 7 lectures that are, in essence, one talk. Both the audio and the transcripts are on his site (no charge). They make the best sense when listened to or read in order.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

You've fallen behind, LJn; it isn't 7 lectures, it's ten now. And they are essential.

I enjoyed Lee's story about Packer and the statuary. I feel bad for the statues; not so much for Packer's loss.

I do however take issue with Lee's conclusion in his original story, the moral of which he sees as "at our peril do we disregard direct and unequivocal instructions from a prophet, seer and revelator."

The instructions Packer gave to tighten security at the Mission Home did not require a revelation. Packer was operating as any company executive would: he was giving orders to underlings to take care of temporal affairs. As someone else above pointed out, had he been a more effective manager he would not have given those instructions in such an angry, bossy manner, and the assignment might have been willingly carried out.

a servant of the Lord (or, if you wish, a prophet, seer, and revelator) would not have given the command in such a cantankerous way as Packer did, who violated section 121 in the manner in which he gave the orders.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Occasionally I am asked why I don't moderate this forum more closely to contain the types of arguments that filled much of last month's comment section. It's because I don't wish to shut out ANY voices, even those who disagree with me. Shutting down discussion is what people do who are losing the argument. Example:

Just yesterday I responded to some comments about me found on the Mormon Dialogue and Discussion board. This board is populated mostly by Brethrenites who cannot see beyond their unsupported belief that the leaders of the Church today hold all keys of authority, and that the line has been unbroken going back to Joseph Smith. I challenged someone to cite the date when Brigham Young was anointed prophet, seer, and revelator, and who anointed him. Here is the response by "Duncan."

"He was sustained on Dec 5, 1847 by the Twelve and three weeks later on the 27th sustained by the assembled saints. The new First pres. was later sustained by the saints in Salt Lake."

But I had not asked for the date when Brigham Young was sustained. A sustaining vote is a vote of approval by the people that comes AFTER the anointing. What I wanted to know was when had God called and anointed Brigham Young as he had Joseph Smith. This is key to the question of our time, since if we cannot verify that Brigham Young was anointed and given authority by God to lead, the authority of those who came after is also called into question. Everyone knows Brigham Young was elected to preside. But his election by the people is not an ordination.

Unfortunately, I find I am unable to respond on that forum to correct the record because the discussion has been locked. And this after another member asked me a direct question. I have the answer, but how am I supposed to give it? I have been locked out, not because I was rude, but because I asked the wrong question.

Of course, I shouldn't expect anyone at Mormon Dialogue and Discussion Board to be persuaded by facts. They rarely are. But this does illustrate the propensity we see everywhere in the church today toward those presenting uncomfortable truths or asking uncomfortable questions. They reaction is to silence them so they cannot be heard.

As I write this, four more people I know are being called into disciplinary councils for asking the wrong question, that question being distilled to "how can I sustain the current Church leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators when I can find no prophecies, no works of seership, and no revelations emanating from them?"

The response from those who THINK they hold authority over the questioner is to lock them out of the church. And so we see the purge continuing week after week.

This strategy will only work for so long. Eventually everyone will be asking questions.



Mark Foree said...

You know Rock. I'm amazed that here you are leading this blog and you don't even understand basic principles of priesthood organization. The 12 hold the keys to the presidency. The keys went with the 12 to Utah. The 12 had the authority and the keys to designate, ordain, anoint, set up Brigham Young as the President of the Church and the office of Prophet seer and revelator. It was the same when Christ himself died because he was the designated lead apostle. Peter became the leader of the church after Christ because of the authority given him by Christ to be an Apostle, then by the Quorum of the 12 to be sustained and ordained after Christ died. I'm not quoting the scriptures but that is the basic logic according to LDS doctrine. Don't you understand Hebrews 5:4? Aaron was not called by God, he was called of God through the mortal man who held the keys to call him to that position.

Mark Foree said...

You know Rock, I still can't find the Mormonism in your blogging. I think you've completely missed the beautiful points of the gospel. You speak of the ant hills and ignore the forest, the mountains, and the multi colored sunsets. I wrote to you many months ago and asked you where is the Mormonism in your blog. You later contacted me and called me friend and used my letter in your blog in a post entitled, "How to Argue with a Mormon". I thought it odd then that you were so excited about getting my permission for using my letter in the post and that you even exclaimed that we, “would be famous". I wouldn't give a hoot about being famous, but you seemed sincerely interested in my comments and you agreed to be fair, which I thought you ultimately were. I only mention that previous dealing with you now, because I still question your motivation for your blog and its spirit of discontent in the first place.

“PureMormonism’s” first purpose can't have been to educate the public on the attributes of being Mormon, or in the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, or any number of other worthy doctrines or ideals that Mormonism espouses. It can't have been any of those things, because after all this time you still find more to complain about than praise, both in the gospel as taught in the church and in the leadership of the prophets including Joseph Smith. You claim to have a testimony of Joseph, yet I find from your blog that you are selective of which Joseph’s doctrines to believe, and deny the fulfillment of his vision of the expansion of the gospel of Christ through the church organization that he started.

Joseph never promised a perfect organization or that all subsequent leaders would be infallible. Your blog seems intent that the current leadership has faults therefore you infer that the organization by default must be in some state of apostasy itself therefore justifying separation from the church. By logic then you fail to accept that the Lord would rule his earthly kingdom by the weak of the earth, which is the Lord's direct decree (D&C 1:19 among other scriptures). It's like the old saying, that "Catholics teach the infallibility of the Pope, but none of the Catholics believe it. And the Mormons teach that the prophet is fallible, but none of the Mormons believe it". You seem to believe that the Lord can't use fallible leaders to fulfill His purposes. Or, you simply haven't the faith to follow imperfect leaders who you may disagree with from time to time. We have never been asked to follow blindly, but we have been asked to enlighten ourselves then remain faithful and follow. Its enlightened, or “unblinded” discipleship that is asked for, but it is still discipleship. It's often ultimately an act of total faith to follow our leaders, especially when you believe they have faults, or something they have said or done has offended us. And, I expect that none of us in the church, and very much including myself, have never been offended by a leader or at least by other members. It boils down to faith and testimony of the gospel and the priesthood organization of the church.
.

Mark Foree said...

Your review of Boyd K Packer’s impact on the church callously only shows a perspective from those disaffected by very his direct style of counsel. Have you ever met someone that joined the church or who is still in the church specifically because of Boyd K Packer? I have. There are many members who appreciated his unbendable testimony and knowledge of the scriptures, and his efforts in putting out the LDS cross referenced version of the standard works among many other accomplishments. I also know of a missionary who was about to return home after a couple of months but stayed on his mission because his missionary companion read to him a talk by Boyd K Packer. You say that none of us are perfect, including yourself and including Boyd K Packer, and that forgiveness is in order. Yet in practice your very public blog turns every direction to find out and point out things you consider errors, making our leader’s human fallibility their major point rather than their minor. Whose measuring stick will you use to judge the effectiveness of the other apostles? Don’t you see irony in judging an apostle by his statistics on social media? You seem to not know that the gospel of Christ has never sought popularity especially in Christ’s own mortal lifetime, but has sought to bring the love of God and Christ and the benefits of the atonement and a life of repentance and striving to live God’s commandments to as many people as possible. I highly recommend you consider re-reading the talk by Boyd K Packer entitled, “The Candle of the Lord” written in 1983 which is the talk I mentioned that kept that missionary on his mission. Here is the link. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1983/01/the-candle-of-the-lord?lang=eng

I once emailed you and recommended that you close your blog, because no matter what you felt it's qualities were or are, your blog wasn't (and still isn't) as important as your church membership. You chose not to. I assume your bishop and Stake President gave you similar counsel which you apparently declined to follow. From my many years in the church, I can tell you that 100% of people who left the church over doctrine, practice, or policy (not plain jack mormons) that I have had discussions with always claim that they didn’t leave the church, the church left them. But if they were honest, that excuse is more correctly stated that they let the church move on without them because they couldn’t swallow their own pride and bend to counsel. In one of your posts you mentioned that you love and think highly of your bishop and stake president. Apparently not enough to follow their counsel, respecting their calling no matter how imperfect their counsel may be. And, no matter how many symposiums on “uncorrelated Mormons” you may speak at about how to be excommunicated and remain “Mormon”, that speaking can never equal the importance of the good you may do someone from service in your own ward in humbly teaching a primary class or serving as assistant ward clerk. The heroes of the body of Christ have never been those who speak at symposiums, they’ve always been the average member doing their duty.

Mark Foree said...

The intent of your blog has always appeared to me to be harmful to the purposes of the gospel and the spirit of Christ that fills it. I especially feel that way when I have read the comments of some of your followers that declare how great a motivator you were for them leaving activity of the body of Christ in the church. I know that you claim that your blog has done more good than bad, but I don't see it. It's a place for commiserating with other commiserators. Mormonism's doctrines of the atonement of Christ and of at-one-ment with Christ, a loving personal and caring God, and the glorious potential of eternal progression give people hope, encouragement, and promotes love, service, and compassion. These are things NOT found in your blog. I for one wish you would change the name of your blog. "Sour Grapes Mormonism" would be more accurate. Or, maybe the true goal of your blogging has never been to advocate or dissuade, but to be popular as your statement to me about being "famous" hinted. I think you know, or I hope you know that the fact that you have a popular blog, or that you are asked to speak at symposiums doesn’t mean you are right, or that you are justified in your dissent.

Your title of “Pure Mormonism” from the beginning days of your blog points at your ultimate direction. In naming your blog “pure Mormonism” you issued a subtle but telling prideful statement that “pure Mormonism” is found in your blog and not at LDS.org or in the standard works, or the publications of the church. Is it any wonder that your blog has taken you to this point of being separated from the body of Christ? Come back. Close you blog. Do it for your love of God, or for what remains of your testimony of Joseph Smith. Do it for the brotherly love in your ward family that you are likely missing out on. It may injure your pride, but what is pride compared to love?

Log said...

Because Rock can't possibly be doing what God has asked him to do, can he be?

DeeLyn said...

Mark,

Love desires 'truth' more then membership in a church.

And in reverse, just because you may think you are, doesn't mean you are right either. We all have fallen for countless deceptions in and out of the Church. This life is to see who will awake to those deceptions and see the truth instead, which is what makes Rock's blog so powerful to those who seek the truth. For his blog teaches far more truth then the Church ever has. The Church doesn't seem to want to even talk about the truth, for it makes people wake up to all it's errors.

Just like long ago when Catholics started reading the Bible & thinking for themselves, how they began to see the errors & falsehoods in their Church and leaders. The internet & blogs like Rocks are serving that same vital purpose today, for those who have eyes to see.

It's unlikely that you will ever see how important Rock's blog is until you only believe in and follow Christ instead of men. Those who believe in following fallible men rarely want to follow Christ & hear the truth, for it's too hard and not pleasing to the carnal man like the Chruch's doctrines are.

I went to church for 50 years and listen to it's so called 'prophets' and I never learned how to really follow Christ until I studied his own words in the New Testament myself.

We all can worship & serve God far better by actually going out and serving the needy on Sunday for 3 hours then just talking & singing about it while sitting in church for those 3 hours. Sunday is often the only day many people have to actually go visit the needy at length, so God would never want it wasted by sitting in Church just talking about it just to make people feel good. Let alone giving church leaders our money thinking they will take care of the needy when it usually doesn't get used for such.

I left the Church because I realized that the Church does not and never did 'follow Christ' or even teach his doctrines. I don't know of one church leader, from top to bottom, who follows or even really believes in Christ, though they like to claim they do.

You seem to not have studied the teachings of Christ, or if you have you don't seem to believe in them, but you instead believe what men say who claim to be prophets, yet they don't prove it by keeping all of Christ's commandments, which is how Christ said we discern true prophets from false ones. Just because men may claim to be prophets doesn't mean they really are. Yet you want people to follow men who don't keep all the commandments. That is totally contrary to Christ and though it's easier it will not get you or us Eternal Life.

Janeen Krambule said...

Mark Foree...you know not of what you speak. And perhaps you know not what true humility really is. And Rock, KEEP BLOGGING!!!! There are worse things than not being part "the church". Far worse would be separated from Christ himself. If he were to come today, he would be killed again. Sad...

DeeLyn said...

Mark, (Continued)

Rocks blog is infinitely more important then membership in the Church, for it teaches far more truth then going to Church will ever teach a person. I have learned more truth on Rock's blog in 3 years then I ever learned sitting in Church for 50 years. Membership is meaningless, even detrimental to our salvation, for it shows we fell for false prophets instead of following Christ.

Even Joseph Smith (who the Church doesn't even follow either) taught that we would lose our salvation if we fell for false prophets like the LDS leaders who teach & believe in things contrary to Christ, like polygamy for example. For if you study Christ's teachings you would know Christ completely condemned any and all polygamy, as did Joseph Smith. Did you know Joseph Smith didn't have confidence in BY? and it seems he was about to excommunicate him for adultery? or do you believe BY instead, a man who admittedly abuses women by polygamy? Is the kind of men you want us to have blind faith in? And not Christ or Joseph Smith who condemned any & all polygamy?

Only those who like the idea of polygamy & don't want to have to be totally faithful to a spouse would fall for men who practice, preach or believe in it. Those who love their spouse and have self-respect and who follow Christ & his Golden Rule would never believe in polygamy, or the many other doctrines in the Church that are contrary to Christ.

What thinking person would follow someone who wasn't infallible, who wasn't perfect? Especially if that person was a true follower of Christ. Why would a true follower of Christ follow a man or church that isn't following Christ? The thought makes reason stare.

With all of Christ's warnings about falling for false teachers, false prophets and false people who teach contrary to him, only the blindly obedient would follow & listen to counsel from imperfect leaders or people, for it 's much easier then following Christ.

All my adult life I have found that church leaders from top to bottom practice and preach contrary to Christ's teachings, but are too prideful to realize it. They didn't care how they might be wrong, they just wanted obedience, like you seem to.

At 1st I thought that it was just lots of cases of individual apostasy among leaders, but as I studied more I found that no LDS church leader follows Christ, at least none that I know of, and if they did it would be contrary to the Church's practices, so they would most likely lose their positions.

I also found that none of the early church presidents and leaders followed Christ either, though it seems Joseph was alot better person then Brigham, assuming Joseph was truly innocent of polygamy.

And yes, the church does require blind obedience, which they like to call 'faith' for it sounds better. If you think your leader is wrong and you refuse to follow them, you will likely be disciplined, as we see happening all around us. That is called requiring blind obedience and putting men ahead of God & Christ, which is contrary to the greatest commandment God ever gave, to obey only Him & Christ and never men.

I hope you can come to see how deceived you have been, like all of us are and have been, and come to only follow Christ's teachings instead.

Log said...

Rock: Wait. On what date did God call and anoint Joseph as prophet, seer, revelator, and translator? With what was he anointed?

Double standards are no standards.

Mark:

Your apparent anger, frustration, or disgust towards Rock might be justified if salvation consists of following the Brethren. They do indeed claim to be infallible whenever they agree, as Elder (now President, and maybe soon-to-be-Prophet) Nelson taught last October. We're having a rocking discussion about this, and its implications, over at http://rationalfaiths.com/is-the-lds-church-in-apostasy/#comments . You might join it. Or not.

The united 15 have recently infallibly declared, in their letter on homogamy, that Jesus was a sinner by infallibly declaring that consumption of alcohol is contrary to the law of God. This, I think, is theologically problematic - but apparently when the Brethren teach "nobody's perfect," they mean it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hi, Mark!
It's good to hear from you again, though I see there has been no softening of your opinion of me.

My remark to you that by allowing me to reprint your email conversations with me would make you famous was said facetiously; I regret you didn't get the joke.

The intent of that particular post was to show that even when to latter-day Saints seem to have divergent outlooks, they can still argue civilly and without acrimony. Your recent comments show that you and I are still 180 degrees on the propriety of my expressing my opinions, but hopefully neither one of us is prepared to throw firebombs.

At the risk of starting up another lengthy series of disputations that look to never be resolved between us, I wish to comment on a couple of your points:

Your assertion that the 12 hold the keys to authority that have been handed down from him is revisionist history that was tucked into the revised narrative decades later. At the time of Joseph's death, there was much confusion as to who held the keys and what they were for. (I would recommend "Passing the Heavenly Gift" for an accurate history of the leadership of the Church, but I don't hold out hope you will read it, as the author, Denver Snuffer, has no more credibility in your eyes than I do.)

Our D&C shows only three men holding the keys of prophet, seer, and revelator in the early church, and at the time of the succession two of those men were dead and the third was ailing. The members bought Brigham's temporary solution not because he proposed himself as president to replace Joseph, but that he proposed the Quorum of the Twelve AS A BODY to make the necessary preparations to lead the saints out west. Brigham proposed that with the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, the First Presidency was dissolved. It was three years later when he proposed that he, Brigham, be elected to replace Sidney Rigdon as president of the church. And he was so elected.

What was missing was an appointment by God. None of the Twelve possessed the keys of prophet, seer, and revelator, so hard as we may try to want to believe they held those keys as a group, the facts just don't support it. Brigham wasn't even ordained to the priesthood by Joseph Smith. There simply is no connection. James Strang had a tighter claim to succession, because at least he produced what he claimed was a letter of authority from Joseph. Brigham had nothing going for him except a strong personality.

(Continued below)



Alan Rock Waterman said...

To Mark Foree (continued)

You bemoan my disagreement with the official narrative, convinced as you are that by dissenting from the conventional wisdom I am putting myself in jeopardy. But I am motivated to question the approved narrative precisely because I wish to keep myself out of jeopardy.

How certain are you that the story we've been handed is the true one? I certainly was. I was certain enough to testify boldly "with every fiber of my being" that the things I had been taught were true.

But not everything I had been taught WAS true. I continue to embrace the Book of Mormon and the doctrines of the restoration, but after looking CAREFULLY into the historical record, I find much of it was fabricated after the 1880s. The Documentary History of the Church was heavily doctored by Willard Richard under the direction of Brigham Young. This itself is a matter of historical record, as one of those assigned to doctor the record spilled the beans. We can still look to some of the original documents and see how they have been altered once they were published in the DHC.

So it is my desire to be meticulous about what I accept as gospel truth, especially regarding the claims of those who would claim authority to act in the name of God. I would expect most honest seekers of truth to want to make absolutely certain they were following the will of God when following the words of those who claim to speak for him. So I ask you, Mark: Can you testify to your beliefs from a perfect knowledge? Or have you folded your beliefs regarding authority into your testimony of Joseph Smith.

It is well that we obtain a testimony of the basic truths. But I think we do ourselves a great disservice by assuming that if something was true as regards Joseph Smith, it naturally follows everything else is true.

That is what motivates me to write: the realization that I can be wrong, and the recognition that I HAVE been wrong about many of my deeply held assumptions. This blog is not titled "Pure Mormonism" because I believe I am in possession of the truth of my religion. It's titled that way because I have found that there exists a "true" narrative about Mormonism, and a false one. I am searching for the truth within my religion and learning to let go of the false traditions handed down from the fathers.

(continued below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

To Mark Foree (continued),

I well recall your patronizing counsel warning me that my membership in the Church is more important than any blog. I included that message in my book, "What To Expect When You're Excommunicated." I included it (without identifying you by your name)because I thought it was an interesting view into the workings of the mind of one wholly taken over by idolatry. As Log questioned you in his comment above, "because Rock can't possibly be doing what God has asked him to, can he be?"

My standing with the Lord is more important to me than membership in a Church that has been altered and corrupted by tradition almost beyond recognition. Membership in that body may be more important to you than life itself, Mark, but it is not to me. I remain a welcome member of the church of Jesus Christ as HE defined it in his own words in D&C 10:67, and I wholly reject the church he rejects in verse 68.

For the benefit of readers who have not seen that excerpt from my book, I'll reprint it below, with my response (Everything below is reprinted from that book):

Just the other day I received an email with “A Suggestion”
written in the subject line:

Rock:
I was sorry to see your last post on your blog. I
suggest that you close down and take your blog off
line. It may be easier said than done but you won't
do anybody any good, especially not yourself, if you
are blogging as an ex-Mormon. You'll just be one of
those hundreds that couldn't take instruction from
priesthood leaders and left because of pride. Your
blog is not the most important thing in your life and
is not nearly as important as your membership.”
“Just a suggestion. You obviously can choose.
Mark”

Well, isn't that the entire point of threatening to oust me
from the church? That I won't have credibility with active
Mormons if I'm blogging as an ex-Mormon?
Someone should introduce my friend Mark to the internet.
The more people who stumble across my blog and the
many others out there like it, the more they come to realize
they are not alone in their concerns with the direction the
modern LDS Church is heading. These people are not anti-
Mormon, and neither am I. I'm not going to suddenly turn
against the church of Christ just because they kick me out
of the corporate version; I'll simply go on as if nothing has changed. Because nothing will have changed.

As far as my blog being more important than my
membership in the church, of course it isn't. My
membership in the church of Jesus Christ is the most
valuable thing I possess. Which is why I'm glad no group
of men have the power to take it from me. I am satisfied
I'm currently in good standing in His church. What care I
for the anemic counterfeits of men?

It's interesting that my friend is concerned that if I don't
shut down my blog I'll just be “one of those hundreds that
couldn't take instruction from priesthood leaders and left
because of pride.”

But what instruction would that be? I have yet to hear from
anyone as to what errors of truth or doctrine I am guilty of
promulgating. Is it my incessant drumbeat echoing the
apostle Peter that “we ought to obey God rather than
men”? As far as I can tell, that seems to be the issue.
Someone in the Church hierarchy is clearly irked that I
would advocate following the admonitions of Christ over
their uninspired demands. If taking such a position is
contrary to revealed scriptures, please let me know. It’s my
blog; I can go back in any time and correct any errors.

And what's this about my leaving because of pride? Let me
say it again: I have no plans to leave. I suppose it would
seem a bit prideful if I got all huffy and took my ball and
went home. But that isn't the way this thing seems to be
playing out. I'm not turning my back on either my church
or my religion. All that has happened here is I've been
informed I'm not wanted.

Homo Kayakus said...

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

- - - - -

Has God forgiven you? Have you ever been forgiven?

If you've never experienced his forgiveness, maybe it's hard to turn around and forgive another. If you have, just remember that.

- - - - -

The Lord's prayer contains something like this: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Wow.

What a scary thought!

That we would invite God to forgive us to the same extent that we forgive other people!

DeeLyn said...

Forgiveness and trust are 2 very different things.

While God does want us to forgive people, he has commanded us to 'not' trust or listen to them if they have not proven worthy of our trust and have not repented and repaired what they have done.

Log said...

If he has so commanded, I have been unable to locate where, when, or to whom he said it. What is your source?

Homo Kayakus said...

Log, were you addressing me? If so, here they are:

Peter asking how many times we should forgive
Matthew 18:21-22

The parable
Matthew 18:23-35

"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Matthew 6:12

My take-away: If you've sinned, if you've really sinned and blown it and you know it, and you know you are guilty before God … if you know that, and then KNOW that God has forgiven you, if you've really experienced that forgiveness and know that you don't deserve it, then it frees you up to forgive other people. For me it's not just words. When I reached that point where I knew I was a sinner, and then when I experienced God's mercy and forgiveness, knowing that I didn't deserve it, it made me more compassionate toward others. There has really been a change.

Can I share one more parable that I think relates? I won't be long winded about it. Just read it and see if it makes sense:

A Pharisee invited Jesus to have dinner with him. So Jesus went to the Pharisee’s home and got ready to eat.

When a sinful woman in that town found out that Jesus was there, she bought an expensive bottle of perfume. Then she came and stood behind Jesus. She cried and started washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The woman kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them.

The Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this and said to himself, “If this man really were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him! He would know that she is a sinner.”

Jesus said to the Pharisee, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Teacher, what is it?” Simon replied.

Jesus told him, “Two people were in debt to a moneylender. One of them owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other owed him fifty. Since neither of them could pay him back, the moneylender said that they didn’t have to pay him anything. Which one of them will like him more?”

Simon answered, “I suppose it would be the one who had owed more and didn’t have to pay it back.”

“You are right,” Jesus said.

He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Have you noticed this woman? When I came into your home, you didn’t give me any water so I could wash my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You didn’t even pour olive oil on my head, but she has poured expensive perfume on my feet. So I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love. But anyone who has been forgiven for only a little will show only a little love.”

Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:36-48

Log said...

To answer your question, "no."

Miguel Aveiro said...

I don't know about you guys, but every answer opens up more questions. I guess for those who abandon the whole LDS church and just follow Jesus without it (or go to another church), there won't be as many. However, trying to figure out how it all works with the LDS church is pretty mind boggling. The implications of what people like Rock are saying is staggering.

It's mostly to do with priesthood authority. Again, for those who don't believe there is any authority in the LDS church or only certain manifestations exist and/or only in certain righteous people, there may not be as many questions. But I for one believe people in the church do have priesthood authority. I'm not going to bear my testimony here, but I felt it work from time to time, both through me and through another priesthood holder to me or a third person.

I don't know how the whole line of authority from Brigham Young works, if he was not righteous. I believe God has sorted it out somehow. As for a prophet, I believe God can call a prophet at any time from the ranks of apostles or anyone, for whatever tasks He asks of them.

So as I see it there are three problems that Rock talks about in his blog. They seem to interconnect and feed off each other.

1) A falling away, rejection or alteration of certain doctrines and practices (e.g. tithing, word of wisdom, marriage, the definition of the church.)

2) Individuals of various levels of the church hierarchy either making errors and blunders when they should know better or making the sort of changes mentioned in 1) or following the incorrect doctrines and traditions of men.

3) A change to the general nature and purpose of the church. While there is still a lot that is good and true, there have been big changes to the church such as being more about making money, not focusing on helping people as much, a hierarchical system instead of a flat organisation and unjust excommunications of faithful members.

I'll continue with my questions on my next post.

Miguel Aveiro said...

So due to the three main problems, I have to wonder certain things.

Priesthood authority

In the view of the LDS church, It is what is needed to perform or authorise others to perform ordinances and provide others with access to Jesus Christ's teachings and His atonement. This includes the partaking of the sacrament and participating in temple ordinances.

Now, if people get unrighteously excommunicated, they won't be allowed to partake in the sacrament, baptize anyone or go to the temple. Rock said he continues to take the sacrament at home (or he said he will and I therefore assume he is). Even before his excommunication, he wasn't allowed (under the LDS church's view) to do that without the Bishop's permission. Of course, Rock believes he is still part of the church, according to the Lord's definition and therefore still holds the priesthood.

I'm not just picking on Rock, btw, but some of my concerns pertain to him and those like him who have been unfairly excommunicated.

So how about baptizing someone? Or going to the temple? I read about brother Kloosterman who was denied access to the temple for comments he made (basically congratulating a gay-couple who got married). I'm not in a position to say if it was a fair judgment to revoke his temple blessing, but I'm using him as an example of someone who was devastated to not be able to attend the temple.

So do we all have to fall in line and obey every counsel and commandment or lose our temple recommends/get excommunicated?

Those who have been unfairly treated cannot exercise their priesthood or attend the temple, under the eyes of the LDS church. So do they continue to teach and perform ordinances anyway? Do they ignore the temple? Or continue to desire to attend but realise they may not unless they fall in line and may not want to?


What if they have children? Do they bring them up in the church so they can have the essential ordinances before they get excommunicated (for example) for being like their parents?

How does one receive the priesthood anyway? Is it able to be given to another, if that bearer has been exed?

Lastly, just to clarify, I'm being, I suppose, hypothetical really. As in, if all of what people like Rock Waterman have said is true, then these are the implications and the concerns I have as I see it. There's no need for anyone (I mean my bishop for example) to question my membership status over this.

Hopefully, that's a clear disclaimer :)

Miguel Aveiro said...

Homo Kayakus,

I believe Log was referring to DeeLyn's comment about God commanding us not to trust or follow those who have not proven worthy of our trust and repented of their wrong doing.

I too would like to see a source for this, if you please, DeeLyn. The closest thing to this that I can think of is when Jesus tells us not to do after the works of the Pharisees. To apply this to our day, we should not do the wrong things that others do, whether their political or religious leaders. So I can see how you can fit that around what you said about not following unrighteous leaders.

Lightning Thunder said...

I think everyone is assuming one must be worthy to have priesthood authority, priesthood authority has nothing to do with worthiness, it has to do with someone placing their hands on your head and giving you the priesthood authority. As an example, if a person is baptized by someone who has the authority but is unworthy, does it make the ordinance invalid? No because it was done with the authority of the priesthood. If someone blesses the sacrament who has the authority but is unworthy, does it make the ordinance invalid? No because it was done with the authority of the priesthood. Doesn’t have much to do with worthiness.
Now Power in the priesthood is something totally different, when one is worthy, has studied and fasted then they can heal the sick, raise the dead and move mountains with the power of the priesthood.

Log said...

Where does any scripture say "priesthood power" is anything other than this?

D&C 107:18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—

19 To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

20 The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.


In fact, what does the scripture say about priesthood and worthiness?

D&C 121:34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

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

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

38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.


So apparently worthiness is critically important to the priesthood.

The Catholics argued, and Dan Peterson (lately of FARMS, recently of the Mormon Interpreter) agreed, that worthiness doesn't matter to performing valid priesthood ordinances - but if it doesn't matter, the Catholics are the One True Hierarchy To Which One Must Submit In All Things To Be Saved. They, and not the Mormons, have The One Ring of Power, in that case.

I think y'all haven't thought this through, just as the United 15 Apostles didn't think through the content of their latest Encyclical.

I think y'all don't know what you're talking about.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
What is the latest encyclical you refer to?

(Not that it would be news they have declared something they haven't thought through. In recent months Church leaders seem to be tripping all over themselves.)

But I guess I'm out of the loop because I can't recall their latest declaration.

Mark Foree said...

To Rock,
Ha. Ha. No fire bombs. These will be my last comments on your blog. You say that much of what you learned through the church was wrong. I assume you speak of the details of church history that you complain about in your blog posts. They are all minor issues compared to the beauty of the gospel. Brigham and prophets since haven't been perfect but the lord has done amazing things using them as tools. There is more substance and importance in one Gospel Principles chapter than in all your blog. The gospel of Christ, that He is the son of God and that we can look to him for salvation is what the church is all about. You are stomping on ant hills when you could be climbing the mountain.

To Deelyn
You were active in the church for 50 years and never read the New Testament? You probably were skipping Sunday school because we go through the New Testament every four years. I also read it for Seminary during high school where it was an assignment to read it front to back. I've read it several times since. The New Testament was a key building block to my testimony of the correctness of the gospel I learned through the programs of the church including baptism, faith, priesthood authority, miracles, resurrection, three heavens, new names given, baptism for the dead, the sealing power, the importance of charity, the apostasy and need for a restitution, two divisions of priesthood, and many others. Yes, I learned to follow Christ.

Log said...

Rock,

The latest Apostolic Encyclical from The Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve is this one.

It contains the following unfortunate, and short-sighted declaration, that "[t]he consumption of alcohol[ is] contrary to God’s law[.]"

This has the effect of rendering the Atonement null and void, as Jesus both produced and consumed alcohol and infallibly sinned thereby, and promotes the Orthodox Understanding of the Word of Wisdom pertaining to alcohol to both scripture and commandment, if we accept that the pronouncements of the United 15 constitute the revealed word, will, and law of God.

Corbin Volluz over at RationalFaiths.com pointed out that it used to be that The Prophet couldn't lead us astray... until he did (polygamy, black priesthood ban), then the First Presidency couldn't lead us astray... until they did (black priesthood ban), and now it's the United 15 Apostles - the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles - who cannot lead us astray. While declaring Jesus a sinner.

Oy vey.

The only way to play the infallibility card is to Shut. The. Hell. Up., particularly when, unlike the Catholics, you don't have the backing of the state to enforce your decrees against the heretics and infidels.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Mark Foree, we seem to finally have found something to agree upon! Everything else does indeed pale in comparison to the beauty of the gospel of Christ.

I don't see myself complaining about Church history so much as showing that the flaws in the narrative most of us were taught growing up does not matter in the big scheme of things. We can easily reconcile the differences between "the Church" and the gospel by separating the two into their respective spheres.

The sad fact is that most of us were taught growing up to develop a testimony of the Church, when we should have focused on a testimony of the gospel of Christ. Once I learned the gospel and the earthly Church were not one and the same, it all began to make sense, and I was able to embrace the one without holding an unhealthy allegiance to the other.

All I'm about here on this blog is following the admonition of the apostle Paul: "Prove (investigate) ALL things; hold fast to that which is true."

If something the Church teaches does not gel with the gospel as revealed by Christ, it's okay to let it go. Don't be overly concerned about the Church or its leaders, but instead have an eye single to the glory of God.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
Thanks for that clarification. I recall you bringing that up here before. And I second your recommendation once again of Dee Volluz' essential piece on the current apostasy. Absolutely essential reading for anyone concerned about how wrong things are going in the corporate boardroom, and why.

The leaders have been painting themselves into corners for years. Now, in an attempt to figure a way out of their fix, they have adopted the very mechanism they once rightfully decried in the Catholic Church once it was clear revelation in that organizaton had long ceased. It's a trick that's bound to fail. Seems to me they're just painting themselves further and further into that corner they'll never be able to get out of.

Log said...

It's like a husband who loves his wife and she's cheating on him. He sees the signs - lies and contradictions and inconsistencies - but, because of his love and faith in her, he doesn't connect the dots; he believes her excuses and doesn't press (all of this is perfectly sincere). He cannot conceive of her betraying him because he loves her.

Until one day, someone says to him that she's cheating on him. Then all the dots fall into place and the pattern becomes crystal clear - he realizes she's betrayed him, and oh, how he begins to hate her, as much as he loved her before.

That is the place many are being driven by the Church.

The leadership will not admit some of the Church's key claims are, and always have been, false. Those false claims - the appearance of faithfulness to her husband - are the key to her power.

And why won't they admit this?

Because they don't know it themselves. The leadership are the husbands whose eyes have not been opened, but these don't really have much love for her either; it's more of a marriage of convenience for them - so much time and effort invested. And they have a vested interest in the appearance of faithfulness of their wife, so rather than investigate contrary claims, they attack the messengers. Truth isn't their objective, but neither necessarily is lies, you see? As long as everything's kept discreet, of course. Willful blindness, more like.

Miguel Aveiro said...

The consumption of alcohol could be against God's law and Jesus not be a sinner if that law was given only for us in our time and not before. In Jesus' time, it was against God's law to consume meat from certain animals, while that is not the law for us today. If Jesus was walking among us today in the flesh, he could eat, say, pork and not be in defiance of God's law. However, if He drank alcohol, he would be.

Now, there is the matter of whether it is God's law not to consume alcohol. Fairly early on in my membership in the church I've asked the question of how come beer (I think it was) came to be against the word of wisdom when Joseph Smith drank beer. It was explained to me that God did not give the word of wisdom as a commandment to begin with but afterwards did. He gives things line upon line and precept upon precept and He afterwards gave the commandment through a later prophet. I don't recall who that prophet was or whether I ever came across the name of him and it also begs the question of where is the revelation? Why would God give the instruction as a word of wisdom, and not a commandment, by revelation and cause it to be written down but not do this when He gave it as a commandment to a prophet later on? If He never gave it as a commandment, then why are people able to be barred from entering His holy house because they do not comply with a man-made law? I understand that God may let people make their mistakes even when others suffer, but for how long? I have no doubt that God will fix things eventually, but what are we to do in the meantime?

If this is all true, then I feel like I'm one of those people during the Great Apostasy waiting for a restoration to happen, while trying to make do with what we have at the moment.

Log said...

Miguel,

There's always an excuse - a seemingly plausible alternative narrative - for the cheating wife's lies, inconsistencies, and contradictions.

In the end, it's "that was then, this is now, so get with the program and follow the Brethren; they cannot lead us astray."

No matter the discrepancies between what came before and what is being said now.

Because we got the keys, that's why. Two words: "we can damn you to hell."

You see, whether any prophet ever said it before, the United 15 Apostles have Infallibly Declared that consumption of alcohol is contrary to God's law. To even ask if it is God's law or not is to miss the point, brother. Get with the program and follow the current Brethren. What came before is no more.

Miguel Aveiro said...

According to Jacob 5:73-74, the Lord's servants, laboring in the vineyard for the last time and the natural fruit began again to grow and thrive, plucked off and cast away the wild branches. They kept the root and the top thereof equal, accoring to the strength thereof. It was a process requiring time. If the wild branches were removed all at once, the root would become too strong for the natural branches. The Lord of the vineyard also explains that is for the roots themselves to gain strength. He says:

"59 And this I do that, perhaps, the roots thereof may take strength because of their goodness; and because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil."

I think the Lord has been fixing things in the church. We no longer have polygamy. Black men can hold the priesthood. God is taking out the wild branches, one by one.

But there was originally only ONE olive tree. The House of Israel. God's true church. After it became corrupted, the Lord of the vineyard caused grafts to be taken from this natural tree and put into other trees in the vineyard. They grew and produced fruit at first. The Nephites and Lamanites are represented by one of these trees. After they too became corrupted (during the Great Apostasy) the Lord caused the grafts to be put back into the mother tree and more branches for the mother tree to be grafted into the other trees (if I'm reading it right).

So, if one of those trees represented the Nephites and Lamanites earlier on, does it still do so now? What about the mother tree then? Have the grafts gone into it yet? Does it have something to do with the Gospel going to the House of Israel after the Gentiles have rejected the gospel (as Jesus taught in 3 Nephi 16:10-11)?

Miguel Aveiro said...

Log,

Ah yes, of course. The United 15 Brethren can't go wrong, even when their words are contradicted by a future United 15 Brethren, because they were right at the time but not anymore because the future United 15 Brethren will speak and their words will be infallible, just as the words of the previous United 15 Brethren were (or "are" if we go back to the present.)

However, we are not to consider the words of previous United 15 Brethren unless the current United 15 Brethren quote them. We are also to be ever watchful in case any future United 15 Brethren quote these past United 15 Brethren, for we will be expected to abide by their words, which were the words of previous United 15 Brethren, even if they are not the words of our current United 15 Brethren.

Now to make things even more confusing, we are, every once in a while, expected by a leader somewhere in the church hierachy (or even a teacher in a class somewhere) to follow the words of a previous United 15 Brethren, even when they're not repeated by the current United 15 Brethren. This leader or teacher may also teach us to follow the words of any individual member of the current or past United 15 Brethren, even when his words weren't the words of the United 15 Brethren then or now.

Miguel Aveiro said...

This image shows what an angel in Heaven thinks of this:

http://i.imgur.com/e69qoy3.jpg

Log said...

Miguel,

Just so.

Now, let us listen to one of the dead prophets explain HOW the vineyard became corrupt.

Jacob 5:6 And it came to pass that after many days [the tame olive tree] began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches; but behold, the main top thereof began to perish.

The branches at the main top (a curious phrase, isn't that?) of the tame olive tree died. Oh, mystery of mysteries, who can explain to us what it means for the main top of the tree to die?

Jacob 5:48
48 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted?


Branches "taking strength unto themselves," in excess of the capacity of the roots, caused the corruption of the vineyard, saith the Lord. Oh, whatever can this thing mean? It is oh so ever mysterious, isn't it?

"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past."

DeeLyn said...

Mark,

Yes, I read the NT a few times through the years but didn't take it seriously because the Church pushed the BoM so much more and was telling us to let leaders think for us and they were excusing so many unChristlike doctrines and practices, even saying that some of Christ's teachings don't pertain to us today.

It wasn't until I couldn't excuse all the unChristlike practices and doctrines anymore that I realized how the Church leaders have never really followed Christ from the very beginning.

So I did an in-depth study of what Christ really taught and knew I had to choose to believe & follow Christ or the Church, who's teachings and practices are completely opposite Christ.

For one can't follow both the Church and Christ for they are opposites.

I have also since found that most members are like I was, and do not even realize what Christ actually taught and how contrary the Church is from his teachings. They, like me, just blindly believed whatever the Church claimed or explained away as truth.

For no matter how much time you spend in Sunday School the Church isn't about to admit & teach it's members where it and Christ differ. So it's not surprising that I never learned the truth at Church, until I saw the blatant hypocrisy in all the leaders, from bottom to top.

You may 'think' you follow Christ but the Gospel & Christ that the Church teaches are far different then the real deal.

DeeLyn said...

Log & Miguel,

Not sure exactly what you want a source on but in answer to your question about sources, For starters, I have provided a few scriptures below by mostly Christ and a few from his Apostles about discerning if someone is worthy to trust or listen to, especially as a leader, if you want to begin your own study on it.

But I'm a little perplexed why you would think it wise to trust or follow someone who has not proven worthy of that trust or proven they truly follow Christ or who hasn't proven they have repented & made restitution.

Christ warned us over and over to beware of being led astray and taken advantage of by false spirits, false prophets, false Christ's, false angels, false revelation, false teachers, false people, etc, that may feel or seem right or righteous on the surface but inwardly they are not.

For if we are led astray to believe or do 'contrary to Christ', we will probably not realize it, but yet we could lose out on Eternal Life. Reason enough to be very wary of who we trust, believe, listen to or follow.

Christ gave us some signs that help us to discern who to trust and believe is a true disciple or prophet of His. For example, they must have love, keep his commandments & teachings, serve others more then most do, not take money for their service or preaching, not be rich, etc.

Why would anyone trust or listen to anyone who doesn't keep Christ's commandments, let alone make them our leaders? Christ said he was the only one we should ever follow or make our leader.

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." Matt. 7:15 (Fruits = if they keep his commandment & have love or not.)

"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another". John 13:35.

"Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:6-8.

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. John 14:21

"If anyone loves me he will keep my word." John 14:23

"Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching." John 14:24

"Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1-6

"The people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me, in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men." Mark 7:6-9.

"Not everyone who says "Lord Lord", will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of the Father." Matt 7:21

"If ye continue in my words then are ye my disciples indeed." John 8:31

"Whoever says I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him." John 2:4

"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" Gal. 1:8

Log said...

"But I'm a little perplexed why you would think it wise to trust or follow someone who has not proven worthy of that trust or proven they truly follow Christ or who hasn't proven they have repented & made restitution."

I'm not sure where I said I would think it wise to trust anyone, ever, at all, for anyone to be perplexed. I was simply verifying that you did not have justification for this claim:

"While God does want us to forgive people, he has commanded us to 'not' trust or listen to them if they have not proven worthy of our trust and have not repented and repaired what they have done."

DeeLyn said...

Log,

I believe I did show plenty off justification for the claim that Christ commanded us to be wary of those who have not proved worthy of our trust. I'm sorry if you disagree though, and don't see it that way.

Log said...

What you believe, and what you cited, are indeed two very different things; your citations cannot be reduced to your initial claim; your last claim here is also not reducible to your first claim; and your citations cannot be reduced even to your final claim.

And I haven't even factored in the fact that, to be consistent with other things you've said, you'd have to have omitted the citation to 1 John, as well as Galatians - since neither was a citation of Christ's words (though the only words of Christ we have in the scriptures are provided by his servants, the prophets and apostles).

Also, fruits are more likely words (Luke 6:45) than deeds. But that, too, is open to interpretation.

I would prefer it if you were internally self-consistent, and also consistent with the scriptures, but you have the right to teach whatever doctrines you find appealing, from whatever sources you choose to trust.

DeeLyn said...

Log,

We just disagree. For one will only believe what they are willing to live.

Log said...

We do disagree. For example, I note that you are unwilling to withhold judgement - indeed, you preach the virtue of - nay, even necessity of - judgement. I gather, from this last statement of yours, you do not believe in withholding judgement because you are not willing to withhold judgement, even though Jesus said to not judge, using exactly those words.

Then the response is always "but he said judge righteous judgement!" (This response comes because the person does not wish for correction, but to justify what they're willing to live.) But righteous judgement means to withhold judgement - unless you wish to be judged just as rashly and as shallowly as you judge, and with as many double-standards, for that is the promised outcome.

Again, fruits are more likely words, for the reason I cite above (Luke 6:45), for it is someone's words which reveal the contents of the heart, and not necessarily one's actions. If a person tells you what is in their heart, they may be believed, for the alternative is that they are lying.

I grow tired of the same counter-scriptural gospel of distrust / disbelief / fear / judgement I hear from you continually under your many guises and screen names. I tire of hearing your condemnation of individuals and your unmerciful judgement of their discipleship - a matter strictly between them and Christ. It would be one thing if you were internally consistent, but you aren't. It would be one thing again if you were consistent with the scriptures, but you aren't. When you start with the scriptures and read your doctrine out of them, I am contented. When you start with your doctrines and read them into the scriptures, I am discontented.

But you're free to judge and condemn whomever you wish on whatever grounds you wish, and you are free to preach your gospel of distrust / disbelief / fear. Just understand that when people tend not to respond to you, it is not necessarily because they agree with you.

DeeLyn said...

Log,

As I said before, both you and I and all of us believe and interpret the scriptures according to what we are willing to live. And it doesn't matter how many agree with us or not, for this life is not a popularity contest, in fact, most people will not like the truth, that is to be expected.

You are right, I do believe Christ commanded us to judge, that's the only way to help ourselves and others not be led astray, He just wanted us to judge righteously and make sure we do it with love & have the beam out of our own eye 1st, then he said we will see clearly to help others.

If we take one isolated verse from all of his teachings, like 'Do not judge', then we can get the wrong idea of what he meant'. But when we look at the whole picture of what he was saying, including things like 'beware of false prophets & people & discern them by their fruits', which absolutely requires one to judge, then we get a better idea of what he was saying. We just need to make sure we are living the laws that we use to judge others, lest we ourselves become a false prophet or false teacher and don't know it.

And we should never judge to condemn people, but to help them & guide them to the truth and away from error.

And as far as fruits, I don't believe we can tell what a person is like by their 'words', for even the wicked can pretend & say all kinds of wonderful things & preach tons of truth and talk of Christ and sound more right then the righteous do.

False prophets say more pleasing things then true ones, for true ones teach hard doctrines that most people are not willing to live.

Thus most everyone thinks false prophets are true and true prophets are false, it's been that way since the beginning of the world.

For it's much easier & faster to judge someone by what they say then by what they do. Actions take longer to discern then words. But if you watch their actions & whether they keep the commandments or not, then that proves things, for words can be lies, but the wicked never pretend to keep all the commandments, for it's too hard, and if they did then they wouldn't be wicked anymore.

I hear people all the time saying how they think church leaders are righteous and true because they give such inspiring talks and teach so many true things. But most don't want to look closer and see how the leaders aren't really keeping the commandments of Christ and thus couldn't be true prophets.

Because if they did look closer and see how they were false prophets, then the people would have to take responsibility for their own salvation and that's alot harder, most people would rather let a prophet, true or false, lead them then have to lead themselves and follow Christ on their own.

Some of the most wicked people are the most inspiring and convincing to listen to and they know they can convince most people just by what they say, for few watch or care what they may do.

I have found this way to discern never fails. Those who keep Christ's commandments always pan out to be good and righteous trustworthy people, but those who only talk good but don't really keep his commandments prove not to be trustworthy or righteous.

Christ told us we will know if his words are true by'living them' & experimenting on them, and I have done this and found them to be true.

Miguel Aveiro said...

Log,

As you may be aware, the verses you cited and the ones I cited were about the state of the vineyard at two different time periods. Your ones happened first. The branches taking strength unto themselves beyond the capacity of the roots happened before all the vineyard went corrupt. Afterwards come the events of the verses I cited, when the Lord of the vineyard sets about working on the vineyard one last time to obtain the desirable fruit, before the end comes.

Thus, your verses were about the Great Apostasy and mine are about the Restoration. The puzzling thing is that there wasn't one big fix overnight, it was a gradual pruning, of removing the bad branches one by one. But we are apt to think there was a restoration that happened all during Joseph Smith's time and then there was a decline after his death (or perhaps an apostasy). This latter-day apostasy isn't prophesied in Jacob chapter 5. It just says things are being fixed over time. Spencer W Kimball and the apostles of his time said they received a revelation to end the Priesthood ban on black people. Actually, it was black Africans. Apparently Aborigines or black people from Indian descent were able to receive the priesthood then. As Rock has said we have a statement from them saying they have received the revelation but not the revelation itself. Still, I believe this is an instance of a bad branch being cut off.

We have to look at other scriptures if we hope to understand what's going on with this restoration (after the Great Apostasy), then apostasy (by some) and then a restoration again, before the Millennium.

However, that's not to say i

Miguel Aveiro said...

Sorry, that last little bit, the incomplete sentence, was thought by me to have been erased.

Log said...

Miguel,

I'm simply pointing out the process of corruption starts at the top in Jacob 5, and is accomplished by exalting oneself and arrogating to oneself authority and power in excess of one's commission.

So, when we see this pattern, we know what's going on, don't we?

Ah, religion made of "newspapers, novels, notions of men and women sugared over with scripture." Where would we be without ye?

Miguel Aveiro said...

Log,

By "ye" do you mean "you plural"? I don't remember quoting a newspaper. That must have been somebody else.

Maybe I should one up Lucifer by selling my philosophies of men, mingled with scripture for money, as he never indicated he would do that. I think Joseph Smith said his enemies were worse than the Devil, so it is possible to one up him as an evil villain.

Buy my book, "Tending the Vineyard," and you'll receive a free indulgence!

P.S Right after I wrote that, I searched "Tending the Vineyard" on Google and found that a Rabbi already wrote a book with that title. Meh, plagiarizing the title only adds to my evilness!

Log said...

The deletions are because sometimes I think better of saying stuff.

I was referring to the old endowments. "Ye" is formal singular in Early Modern English.

ammon17 said...

This is Ammon Prolife from Idaho.

Decades ago, my parents left the church, upon discovering that the abortion policy had exceptions. We are always seeking conservative (ex)mormons, but they are few and far between. If you ever come across anyone who thinks the church it too 'liberal', yet retain their LDS view on the status of God, please let me know, as I would like to meet such individuals/families.

My email is: ammonprolife@yahoo.com (ammonprolife at yahoodotcom)

Thanks, and God bless.

DeeLyn said...

ammon17,

That is a very good reason to leave the Church, for that one reason alone. Your parents were wise. For the Church shouldn't have any exceptions for abortion, and wouldn't if it were a true Church of Christ and followed his commandments.

I have left the Church for that reason too, and because of all the other things the Church and it's leaders preach and practice contrary to Christ.

Lightning Thunder said...

We have so many voices shouting how bad our leaders are, so many offended people, so many hurts our leaders have so consistently forced into our lives. It is very easy to lose focus on the only real doctrine that matters.

Article of faith 4 says

4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Then in 3rd Nephi Jesus Christ describe his Gospel/Doctrine

3rd Nephi 31 - 40

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

The Doctrine/Gospel of Jesus Christ is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost…period.

Ignore everything else, Satan wants us to have the spirit of contention, he wants us to rant and rave about the word of wisdom, chastity, abortion, endowments, gay marriage, poor leadership, polygamy, second comforters…it is all distraction. Focus on Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Log said...

If you can teach us, Lightning, please do so. It would be a nice change to see someone else who understood those doctrines well enough to teach them effectively.

Log said...

On a related topic, it seems to make very little sense for Joseph to institute the endowments, or for God to speak and cause to be written many more words than "faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost," only to be told that we shouldn't pay any attention to them, would you not agree?

Log said...

Indeed, the more I ponder on this, the more it seems... interesting... to consider "the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel" to be "the only real doctrine that matters." Granted, all are free to attach whatever importance they will to whatever they want, but to do so for everyone else?

There is, of course, an audience for whom faith, repentance, baptism by water, and baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost are of primary importance in reality, if not in their hearts. But I'm not sure what justifies declaring that these things are, or ought to be, the only things that matter to everyone.

Lightning Thunder said...

In the words of Admiral Ackbar....IT'S A TRAP! That is what your last comment feels like. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, if you pay attention when you read it, you will find it testifying of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost on almost ever chapter, it truly is amazing. I know that Joseph Smith translated it and it doesn't bother me at all if he used a peep stone and a hat, it's content speaks for itself, and last of all I know Jesus Christ lives, he suffered in the garden, was crucified, was resurrected, and I know he will return soon. I KNOW all these things are true. Call me simple if you want, but the gospel is simple and that works for me.

Log said...

Well, if you haven't progressed in your knowledge of the gospel beyond faith, repentance, baptism by water and the gift of the Holy Ghost, is it really working for you?

Isn't that kinda like perpetually studying arithmetic instead of progressing to algebra, and then calculus, and beyond?

Would you take math lessons from someone who declares arithmetic to be the only real topic of importance, and that everything else was merely a distraction from its purity?

Lightning Thunder said...

A very wise Man once told me that you could study those 4 principles your whole life and never be done. My point is that there really isn't anything more to the gospel than that. What more is there then to have faith like the brother of Jared and learn and know as he did?

Log said...

Have you then the faith of the brother of Jared, and have you then learned and know as he did?

As Korihor said, "ye cannot know of things which ye do not see," and nobody actually contradicted him. I think indeed he's right; without handling something, said Joseph Smith, no man can truly say he knows God (and, notice, the Nephites handled something and could testify of God). Without sight, we believe, or at best have faith, having our belief answered by the power of heaven. While I understand that in LDS culture it is common to refer to faith, or, worse, belief, as knowledge, I kinda tire of that practice as well.

Log said...

I will also note that there is quite a path from belief to the perfect faith necessary to be saved, which probably accounts for the rest of the words of the prophets in the scriptures which go beyond the first principles and ordinances, as well as the endowments.

But to each their own. There's more out there...

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

Well, whenever you feel to get around to answering the questions which have been posed to you, I would be interested to see the answers. Including the "trap," which does admit a correct answer.

Lightning Thunder said...

Do I have faith like the brother of Jared, not even close, but it gives me something to strive for.

DeeLyn said...

I believe that to focus on 'faith, repentance, baptism, & HG, is actually the trap and is why the Church is not progressing but digressing and following the same path as the world, for it keeps it's members focused on themselves & their own salvation.

But if we focus instead on the salvation and temporal needs of others, by lovingly relieving the needs & sufferings of the needy & afflicted around us, among our families, friends & neighbors, which is the main idea of Christ's Gospel, and a vital thing Christ said that will gain us Eternal Life, then we will naturally develop faith, repentance, & other essential traits in abundance without even thinking about it.

The Adversary would have us spend our time & Sundays sitting in Church & meetings just talking about the needy and give our money to a Bishop or Church to theoretically take care of the needy for us (which often or usually doesn't happen).

But only in actually visiting the needy ourselves & personally giving them money and help and a listening ear do we really grow, progress & gain love and come to understand their plight and how to choose right from wrong.

No amount of church or temple attendance, scripture reading or prayer will teach us true faith, cause repentance or gain the Holy Ghost until we actually visit & help the needy ourselves as much as we can.

Lightning Thunder said...

Where most of us get caught up is where we put our faith. The principal is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not faith in the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. The church exists for one purpose, to organize the priesthood so it can perform saving ordnances namely baptism and by extension the sacrament. Jesus Christ and the LDS Church are NOT the same thing. Most members of the LDS church don’t understand that principal.

When we are baptized we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and should try out best to follow his teachings, I think it is best stated by Alma in Mosiah 18:9

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

In trying to be Christlike we get caught up in the daily workings of the LDS church, 3 hours on Sunday, quorum socials , relief society craft days, Boy Scouts, mutual nights, tithing settlements, ward councils, primary teacher training meetings, etc..etc…etc, the list goes on and on and on and on and on and on, well you get the idea.

So when trials come, and they will come, our faith is based on a sandy foundation and we end up hurt, or offended or worse. If we base our faith in Jesus Christ try to live by his teachings, truly serve others, and give to the poor we build are foundation on the Rock of Jesus Christ.

I’m not saying the church is bad, I think MOST involved have very good intentions but are misplacing their faith. What I am saying we should do is put our faith in Christ, we should focus on him, we should live by his teachings, we should server our fellow beings, we should give to the poor. In short we should follow the admonitions of Nephi in 2 Nephi 31:17

17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

And then in verses 19-20

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Unknown said...

This question/comment is for DeeLyn: (or anyone who has insight)

You mentioned a couple of times that the leaders aren't keeping the commandments and that they teach contrary to the teachings of Christ. As a genuine seeker of truth, can you provide specific examples of said teachings and/or actions of past or current leaders that support this claim? I am on a journey to discover truth...real truth, not just what sounds good. Not just what is easy to live. Quite honestly, being born and raised in the church, it would be easiest to just go with the herd. It's all I've ever known. But I also don't want to be deceived. Christ is who I want to follow. I know I must question everything that comes from man. I have been back and forth when it comes to questioning the leadership. Someone once said that the search for truth will break you, but once found (and excepted), you will be free! As of yet, I don't feel free. Most days I feel more confused. Research is not one of my strong suits, especially with ALL that can be accessed on the Internet. It's daunting to me. Maybe that's a cop-out. I have genuinely taken this to the Lord, and will continue to do so until it becomes clear. Maybe, just maybe, He led me here. When I hear the leaders speak, it sounds good, and they speak of Christ, and they teach the things He taught, etc. So, can you share with me specific things in their individual lives that are contrary to their teachings? Things that would point to them not being a true prophet? I know that a prophet is still a man and capable of mistakes, but what is it about them that shows us they aren't true prophets?
Sara Jo

LJn said...

Alan Rock Waterman said...

You've fallen behind, LJn; it isn't 7 lectures, it's ten now. And they are essential.

Oops. You caught me. I should have said 10 lectures.

Toni

Ilyan Kei Lavanway said...

Many of us have covenanted to avoid speaking (that also implies thinking and feeling) ill towards or about the Lord's chosen vessels. Nephi explained clearly:

"And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center." - 1 Nephi 16:2

Nephi's younger brother, Jacob reiterates this:

"O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken." - 2 Nephi 9:40

Truth is offensive to those who embrace error. Elder Boyd K. Packer is one of the most outspoken and clear witnesses this dispensation has ever seen. He is and will always be justified in speaking as boldly as he has. If there are those who are offended by him or by his words, I suppose such individuals must be in the gall of bitterness, and they persist in remaining among those who embrace error.

Why not just repent and cease to be offended? Elder Packer would not have been preserved by the Lord in an apostolic position if his efforts were in any way contradictory to the Lord's will.

Many of you have argued over Elder Poelman's edited conference talk given in October 1984. You have seen, in that case, an example of one of the Lord's servants promptly making a course correction after realizing something he had said may not have been clearly in line with the Lord's will.

Elder Packer has not needed to recant his remarks in any way, as far as I am aware. The Church has not published significantly revised editions of any of Elder Packer's talks. Therefore, we can safely rest our souls on the veracity of Elder Packer's words as they now stand, as bold as they may be.

Sometimes, the wicked and those in error will not come to or return to truth except by the bearing down in pure testimony against them. After Alma had given up the judgment seat to Nephihah in the ninth year of the reign of the judges, it was written of Alma, as it could also be said of Elder Packer:

"And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them." - Alma 4:19

We ought to have nothing but profound love and admiration for Elder Packer and for all of his words. What a courageous man to have stayed the course in spite of so many in and out of the Church who have railed against him with all manner of insults and false accusations.

I testify boldly that Elder Boyd K. Packer is one of the Lord's duly appointed apostles and that he stands as a special witness of Jesus Christ, having as much authority as any of the apostles with whom he has served. I tell you this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Log said...

You say: Many of us have covenanted to avoid speaking (that also implies thinking and feeling) ill towards or about the Lord's chosen vessels.

I reply: It implies no such thing. Such is simply imposition and presumption on your part, and we are in no way bound to accept your pronouncements as binding.

You say: Elder Packer has not needed to recant his remarks in any way, as far as I am aware. The Church has not published significantly revised editions of any of Elder Packer's talks. Therefore, we can safely rest our souls on the veracity of Elder Packer's words as they now stand, as bold as they may be.

I reply: I shall enlighten you.

The Church has revised Packer's remarks at least twice, significantly, that I am aware of and have seen in my own lifetime. Elder Packer referred to the fact that the united 15 apostles agreed upon the Proclamation on the Family, and that by virtue of such agreement the Proclamation qualifies by definition as revelation. That statement, given at about 1:00 in the video, was redacted from the published version of his talk. View it here, and compare with the written version.

Elder Packer also questioned, in the same talk, why a loving God would create of his children gays in the same talk. That was also redacted from the published version of his talk. Apparently, even rhetorically allowing for the possibility that some are "born that way" was too much. That redacted material is at about 9:12 in the video.

I will admit that such redactions do not necessarily reflect Elder Packer's personal "need to recant his remarks," but certainly someone felt such a need about his remarks. They were redacted, after all.

And I will also admit that you may justly claim that such redactions are not "significant revisions." After all, you may feel differently about them; "significance" is purely subjective, and wisdom cares about that which foolishness pays no mind. But such redactions certainly seem significant to others, and they also strongly imply lack of inspiration in either Packer's original sentiments, or in his Correlation Department handlers which allowed them and / or redacted them for publication.

You say: What a courageous man to have stayed the course in spite of so many in and out of the Church who have railed against him with all manner of insults and false accusations.

I reply: Being in a position from which one's needs are always comfortably met regardless of one's quality of performance does observably tend to breed arrogance and stubbornness in one's views and expressions thereof. And, given Packer's position that he was a servant to his betters, and the master of his lessors - that's what "Patriarchal Government," or "Priesthood" meant to him (Führerprinzip - "Remember which way you face!") - I'm not sure I would characterize his disregard towards the complaints of his underlings as courage.

You claim to testify boldly, but instead declare dogmatically.

Others claim to pray humbly.

I reject all such self-aggrandizing falsehoods.

On another topic, someone at RationalFaiths.com produced this gem: "The Gospel is simple and the purpose of life is clear: find the prophet. Once you’ve found the prophet, the thinking is done. Just do 100% of what he says. No more and no less. And then you’re home free."

It hurts because it's true: that is the Gospel of Mormonism today. That is what is taught from the pulpits and in the classrooms and sung in the hymns.

Log said...

I forgot this gem: Elder Packer would not have been preserved by the Lord in an apostolic position if his efforts were in any way contradictory to the Lord's will.

Well, you are free to believe that if you wish it. I do not know that the Lord said any such thing about any one or any office in any church ever, including but not limited to our own. But I am willing to accord this, which is clearly your faith, and which I summarize as Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei, as much respect as I would give a Catholic's faith, or a Muslim's faith. And that respect, summed up, is "Cool story, bro!"

It's simply not my faith.

Log said...

What if we replaced Elder Packer's name with another apostle's name, and see if the claim seems reasonable?

Judas would not have been preserved by the Lord in an apostolic position if his efforts were in any way contradictory to the Lord's will.

Hmm. What do y'all think?

Log said...

I mean, we have just as much evidence for this last as we do for the one offered by Ilyan Kei Lavanway. So if it works for Elder Packer, it has to work for Judas, right? And vice versa. Remember, kids, double standards are no standards!

Log said...

Huh. From "Which Way Do You Face?" -

The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior, which in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, will “develop self-contentment instead of seeking self-improvement”3 and repentance. Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy. Many of the churches among the Nephites two centuries after the Savior’s visit to them began to “dumb down” the doctrine, borrowing a phrase from Elder Holland.4

Sometimes, I wonder if the kids these days have read their Nibley - "the poverty of our manuals defies belief!" Dumbing down the doctrine was the purpose of Priesthood Correlation.

As you listen to this passage from 4 Nephi, look for parallels in our day: “And it came to pass that when two hundred and ten years had passed away there were many churches in the land; yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel, insomuch that they did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness” (4 Nephi 1:27).

One such parallel - actually, NOT a parallel - is the administering of the sacrament to them who have not been baptized yet, which is in fact exactly what is being referred to in that verse.

Déjà vu in the latter days! Some members don’t realize they are falling into the same snare when they lobby for acceptance of local or ethnic “tradition[s] of their fathers” (D&C 93:39) that are not in harmony with the gospel culture.

You don't say.

Remember, kids, "It's apostasy when you do it, but continuing revelation when I do it, because I have the keys, that's why!"

Log said...

And this idea that salvation consists solely in finding and obeying the prophet does seem to lead to self-contentment instead of self-improvement, eh?

Alma 60:23
23 Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.

Robin said...

I am impressed to remark As a HP in The Church, having spent the first 35 years of my Christianity in "orthodox Protestantism".

I travel through your article chronologically ... You noted a difference between the remarks found in 2 obits in the trib...I found them different, even inverse, to your take. There was no difference for the former than the latter (Perry vs. Packer) being a part of each conversation. Haters will be found intensely regardless of the departed Apostle. We only have a new inner circle of those most bitter. It seems all so new to them. Only if they were to gaze down at the seats where they sit and the paths they walk...so very worn.

Next, your remarks about forgiveness is more pop cultural than even Christian in origin...I am reflecting on the relative wisdom in it, as compared to the teachings of the Brethren and Savior on the subject (forgiveness). Your short excerpt of your coming discourse mentions that the utterances of the GAs is "irrelevant" (where you suppose them uninspired). Wrong. Few are skeptical to their precepts.... most of them are predisposed to that mindset. Nevertheless whatever your disposition, it would be intellectually honest to acknowledge their relevance to the organization they run. The Church is most certainly guided by them. Thus, they are most certainly relevant. That is a key distinction to orthodox Protestantism. There is no center to them , to their denominations...even within their denominations they require independence. All within the fold abide in reverence to their words.

There is now an ongoing procession of Apostles that as they pass-on will bring together another cycle of darkness each time.
Before your people can experience the true fruits of forgiveness, they need to leave it behind. The redeeming value of our individual lives is in moving forward in life with a view forward. Frankly, after so many years, why do you persist in strolling backwards through the rest of your life. Fundamentally, reflecting on your pop widom...it just blocks you. Right??

Robin said...

I hope my thoughts were clear enough to understand. I have a high regard for the Apostles, finding Packer with a clarity of thought next to McConkie, next to Brigham. But to make a distinction between them, living or dead, is odd. But you speak to your perceived differences. They speak as one as God is one.

Miguel Aveiro said...

I used to live in Boyd K Packer's stake in Sandy, Utah. It was half of my area on the mission for 11 months. There's a long road going through the middle of the stake, as well as through a couple of others, right up to the Wasatch Mountains. A wall runs along the side of the road at the bottom end and on that road was some graffiti about Boyd K Packer. It wasn't nice. It was a drawing of him and some words about him being a child molester. I was surprised it remained there for so long and that it was just ignored. It's easy to miss while driving the first or first few times, but I used to cycle up and down that road a lot, and would notice it every time. I only heard people talk about it when I bought it up.

One of my first talks was in his ward and he was scheduled to be present there. So no pressure! I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard he couldn't be there. I think it was for health reasons, in which case I felt a little bad for said sigh of relief. Another missionary was not so lucky. His very first talk was given in his ward and President Packer was seated behind him. The young Elder could hear his heavy breathing the whole time. It ended well though. Apparently discerning the missionary's nervous disposition, Packer gave him a hug afterwards.

I heard about other Elders who rang his doorbell. Bad idea! President Packer came out and sharply reproved them for wasting the Lord's time as they didn't come for referrals. I told this to members over dinner and they said something about how everyone has their ways of avoiding giving referrals to missionaries and this was his. Haha.

I felt the Spirit strongly when he entered the room, as our mission waited to hear his words. I believe if he wasn't who he said he was, I wouldn't have got that feeling. A charlatan couldn't bring the Spirit into the room. I felt the Spirit when my mission president would enter the room too. Now, I love my mission president, but some missionaries had mixed feelings about him and one of these was a companion I had. He talked about some of his faults. See, the president before him was very loving and had great spiritual discernment, but wasn't very strict with the rules (while the one before that one, or two before the one I had, compiled a list of extra rules that the missionaries had to obey). This one (the one before my one) picked up the extra rule-book and stated that the missionaries didn't need it (I think he tore it up). He told them they had the missionary handbook and they had their brains. But he overlooked missionaries who broke some of the missionary handbook's rules, and was relaxed about some of them. As long as missionaries were still good over all and doing their job, he was fine with them. My mission president got stricter on the rules.

There have been mission presidents who got corrupted or carried away with personal matters instead of doing their duty. I believe this can happen to apostles too. It happened during Jesus' time and during Joseph Smith's. I wonder why so many were excommunicated during JS time but I've never heard of a single one getting exed since then.

Log said...

There was at least one apostle ex'd during Brigham's reign - Amasa Lyman. John W. Taylor was ex'd, and Matthias Cowley had his "priesthood suspended."

Those are just the ones I know about.

Ayon said...

In response to my brother Ilyan Kei:

The wording specifically of that temple covenant is to avoid speaking ill of the Lord's anointed. One of the tacit assumption underlying your statement is that the general authorities of the LDS church are in fact the Lord's anointed. What if, after careful and even prayerful consideration, one were to arrive at the conclusion that they are not the Lord's anointed?

Jesus said to beware of false prophets. He also taught that we could distinguish prophets by their works. I posit that the many hateful discourses of Boyd Packer that have caused serious emotional and psychological damage to many of his fellow beings indicate that he was not one of the Lord's anointed. I understand Rock's post of trying to forgive as anger hurts the angered most, but I also think it's important to look at things with eyes wide open and see the effects of Packer's words on all kinds of people.

Another tacit assumption is that the covenant you allude to is a covenant that Jesus would have us make. Jesus himself denounced the Pharisees and "teachers of the law" in Matt 23. These were the religious leaders of the day, and yet they (and Herod) were the only people Jesus denounced or "spoke ill of".

cont

Ayon said...

cont

Another tacit assumption is that the temple ordinance where this covenant is required is revealed by god. This is a whole separate issue with regards to the masonic influence of the temple ordinances, the multiple changes in the ordinances, the requirement to pay tithing to be able to participate in supposed "essential" ordinances of salvation and exaltation...That's a big conversation that is tangential to this thread, so I'll save it.

The tacit assumption that you make by offering the quotes from Nephi and Jacob is that Packer spoke the words of the Lord. Which, if he did, why were some of them redacted as Log stated above. And again, would the words of the Lord be so exclusionary and cause such damage to so many?! Just because Packer said it, doesn't mean that we should "rest our souls on the veracity of [his] words". A truly believing Christian should only rest there souls on the words of Christ. This is something that Rock repeatedly attempts to establish in this blog. Compare Packer's rhetoric of exclusion and bigotry to Christ's words of inclusion and love and ask yourself if you really want to rest your soul on the words of this man Packer, or any man for that matter.

Your question of "Why not repent and cease to be offended" is rife with tacit assumptions too: the assumption that it's a sin to speak against Packer, the assumption that people who are offended by Packers aggressive divisiveness shouldn't be offended, the assumption that "repent" in this case means to accept Packer's aggressive divisiveness, or at least not be offended by it. I think that people should take offense at bigoted comments. You are trying to call people on what you think is mistaken thought processes. Packer's detractors have that same right.

cont

Ayon said...

I do not understand the argument that "Elder Packer would not have been preserved by the Lord in an apostolic position if his efforts were in any way contradictory to the Lord's will". I know the assumption is that the Lord would remove any "prophet" from his place were he to lead the people astray, but that seems an illogical thought process on many levels. Would the Lord kill him? Wouldn't that constitute a violation of agency, which, according to Talmage the Lord jealously gaurds? Would he be removed from his post by the first presidency? Consider that pres David McKay found Bruce McKonkie's "Mormon Doctrine" to be so rife with error and false doctrine that he assigned two other GAs to see what would need to be redacted for the book to be accurate. They came back to him and stated that it was so full of error that it would have to be written again. And nothing happened to McKonkie because of the repercussions reprimand or disciplinary action against an apostle might have among the membership. The story is in "David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism" if you want to look it up. It is written by a believing member of the church using an extensive source of original material form McKay's longtime secretary. If you think the politics of power doesn't have place within the 15, think again. And what about Brigham Young's bigotry against blacks that cause an entire race of people to not be eligible for ordinances necessary to salvation? Was that not leading the people astray? Or Brigham's Adam/God Doctrine which Spencer Kimble denounced as false doctrine? Or Brigham's doctrine of Blood Atonement which essentially denied the universal efficacy of Christ's atonement? Or Ezra Taft Benson's involvement in the John Birch society and his statements about Martin Luther King being a communist? Or his question of if a democrat could actually be a member in good standing? There are so many examples of the 15 doing and saying things that lead people astray without being removed from their position that to hold to that misguided notion just baffles me!

cont

I know that my words probably will have as much effect on you as yours do on me, and my aim in this reply is not to try to change your mind, but offer a counter argument to anyone who might be interested in it. I think it's ok if you truly believe what you have written here, but I also feel that it's ok for people to have opposing beliefs.

The whole point of Rock's post about Packer is to illustrate that we can find common ground despite our differences, and in honor of that sentiment I finish by saying this:

I love you my brother despite our differences.

Ayon said...

Addendum:

Actually, I hope that I can change your mind, but acknowledge that I probably won't. Also, I don't know that I think it's okay for people to hold false viewpoints if those opinions cause damage, but understand that I'm a peon and nobody has to listen to me:)

Carleen Mandwe said...

I love your blog! I love that you have objective theories and proof to back them up. A lot of things that, to me don't ring true in common Mormon beliefs, and has made me uncomfortable for along time, has been addressed on your blog. I find this to be very supportive to my testimony. However I am uncomfortable around orthodox Mormon thinkers and wish to leave the church because I feel so alone in my thinking. thank you for all you do!

Daniel Collins said...

@Carleen: It is difficult for me as well. Everyone at the local ward were complete "followers of the prophet" that it is not spiritually uplifting. We have been attending the ward from 1994. Our beliefs do not line up with most attendees.

There are others I think that may have similar beliefs . . . they do not attend either. You have to go seek these folks out. Lots of times, they are spouses that no longer attend the ward because they feel like I do.

Randy and Julie said...

I believe many, who think as the two above, feel the same way. It is one reason many come here to read things they haven't been exposed to or to express themselves where they would fear to do so in their home congregations.

I believe the corporate Church is being more forthcoming about many historical findings because not to do so is worse than the well-intentioned but foolish non disclosure of these facts was in previous decades. The proverbial cat is out of the bag. Time for some spin or damage control. That doesn't make the Church evil or its leaders anything but human. But it can be disappointing to those raised to venerate the Church and its leaders as representing the Kingdom of God. Milk before meat is now viewed as being manipulative. Critical thinking is taught in schools and expected of people at work. You jusy can't turn it off when its beome habitual.

Good luck in reconciling these conflicts. You are not alone in feeling this way. Its the reason I check in here as well despite occasional rants about pretensious topics such as Vox Dei, Vox Apostoli and other ripped off latin phrases or JR Tolkien themes about a ring of power. Such has litlle, if anything, to do with the topic at hand. But, its more entertaining than Gospel Doctrine class and the verbal sparring can be informative. Its more than what you will hear in your Ward, at least.

Waiting for your next blog article Rock. Hope you enjoyed or are enjoying Sunstone.

Log said...

You summoned me, Randy. What is it you want?

Log said...

For the record, I am willing to explain what I mean by Vox Apostoli, Vox Dei (ask Google where it was "ripped it off" from) and why the tight thematic correlation between this core doctrine of the modern LDS Church and J. R. R. Tolkien's One Ring of Power, as described in the Lord of the Rings series of books, is interesting.

Of course, not everyone will agree that it is interesting. And maybe such who do not find it interesting might choose to believe that I'm "attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed." But just because one person fails to see thematic connections and their application to the topic at hand, and also our real lives, it does not follow that all others will likewise so fail.

Surely the charge of pretentiousness doesn't arise from my having read the Lord of the Rings series? /:?

Randy and Julie said...

Nothing. Just a late night post. No summons, just writing. Relax.

Log said...

Oh my gosh. I AM being derided as pretentious because I've read some books and, worse, saw connections between them and real life concerns.

desert dispatches said...

Not a fan of Packer, but I am a fan of you, Mr. Waterman, so I read the whole post. Still not a fan of Packer, but I did receive more confirmation of why I like you. Thanks for sharing with us!

mark moe said...

Hey Rock,

I hope you and yours are OK. There has been a quiet spell here and I thought the Sunstone event would have been a great source to blog about.

Good, bad etc give us a report. All most of want is a truthful report and for you and yours to be OK.

Take care,

Mark