Saturday, December 10, 2016

Did The Lord Choose Not To Anoint "The Lord's Anointed"?

Previously: On The High Road To Apostasy

I have a wonderful cousin who I love like the dickens, but she recently rebuked me online by writing "You are so deceived. I'd rather follow a prophet than someone who is disgruntled, leading others astray. I feel sorry for you."

Well, I get that now and then. But when it comes from someone who hasn't seen me in more than a decade, I feel a correction is in order. So I would like to put my dear cousin's mind at ease and reassure her that I do follow a prophet; a prophet I believe to have been divinely appointed by Jesus Christ to be not only a prophet, but a seer and a revelator as well.  This is a prophet I presume my cousin also looks to as divinely anointed: Joseph Smith, Junior.

On a blog so boldly titled as "Pure Mormonism" you would think readers would be aware of my testimony of Joseph Smith and my devotion to the gospel of Christ he was instrumental in restoring. But it turns out that a good number of active members of the Church -some of whom know me personally- haven't actually read much of my words here, choosing instead to assume I have devolved into a nasty, unrepentant nonbeliever. So I guess a reminder that I remain devoted to the faith, and to the prophet who founded it, may be in order now and then.

This prophet, Joseph Smith, is the only man our pioneer ancestors thought of as the prophet to the church, and he had that sole distinction among the membership throughout the entire lifetimes of the generation who knew him. Even though Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and others attained the office of president of the Church, Joseph Smith was the only one the 19th century Saints ever recognized as the prophet of the Most High.

You can find numerous references to "the prophet" in the journals and writings of the Utah Saints, and even repeatedly in the Deseret News up through the turn of the century. And every time that term was used, it almost never referred to the current Church president, whoever that might have been. When "the prophet" was spoken of, it was in reference to Joseph Smith the martyr, and him alone.

I think where I part ways with my cousin is that although I believe Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet, seer, and revelator, I am no longer convinced the same can be said of the men who currently manage the affairs of the LDS Church.  And I think my reasoning on this is sound.

If the Lord intends for us to revere these men the way we revere our founding prophet, shouldn't we be able to arrive at a testimony of them the same way we came to know of Joseph Smith's divine calling? Should we not, for instance, be able to fairly demonstrate that Thomas Monson has been anointed prophet, seer, and revelator by utilizing the same means and criteria that brought us to the knowledge that Joseph Smith was?

Solving The Prophet Puzzle
Every missionary in my day was familiar with a talk by apostle Hugh B. Brown, "Profile of a Prophet." In this recorded talk, Elder Brown outlines the historic and scriptural criteria by which any of us should be able to recognize the appearance of a true prophet of God. It is a powerful and convincing talk, and at only 25 minutes long, well worth your time. You can listen to it here.

For the sake of brevity, I'll list the following characteristics Elder Brown outlines that should be evident in any man who purports to be a prophet of God:
1. He will boldly claim that God had spoken to him. 
2. Any man so claiming would be a dignified man with a dignified message—no table jumping, no whisperings from the dead, no clairvoyance, but an intelligent statement of truth. 
3. Any man claiming to be a prophet of God would declare his message without any fear and without making any weak concessions to public opinion. 
4. If he were speaking for God he could not make concessions, although what he taught would be new and contrary to the accepted teachings of the day. A prophet bears witness to what he has seen and heard and seldom tries to make a case by argument. His message and not himself is important. 
5. Such a man would speak in the name of the Lord, saying, “Thus said the Lord,” as did Moses, Joshua, and others. 
6. Such a man would predict future events in the name of the Lord, and they would come to pass, as did those predicted by Isaiah and Ezekiel. 
7. He would have not only an important message for his time but often a message for all future time, such as Daniel, Jeremiah, and others had. 
8. He would have courage and faith enough to endure persecution and to give his life, if need be, for the cause he espoused, such as Peter, James, Paul, and others did. 
9. Such a man would denounce wickedness fearlessly. He would generally be rejected or persecuted by the people of his time, but later generations and descendants of his persecutors would build monuments in his honor. 
10. He would be able to do superhuman things—things that no man could do without God’s help. The consequence or result of his message and work would be convincing evidence of his prophetic calling: “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). 
11. His teachings would be in strict conformity with scripture, and his words and his writings would become scripture. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).
Elder Brown's impressive outline had a great deal to do with my acquiring a testimony of Joseph Smith's divine calling. But that was not the only way I arrived at my testimony. I found ample evidence that Joseph Smith was called of God, because God himself acknowledged it. Here's one of the first revelations from the Lord signifying He had selected Joseph Smith to accomplish His purposes:
"Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord." (D&C 3:9)
Now, a cynic might conclude that since it was Joseph Smith himself  who wrote those words, Joseph Smith could have been the one making the claim. Only a fool, it might be said, would accept that statement at face value.

Well, I may be a cynic and a fool, but I also like to think I'm a seeker of truth. So I did what we are all commanded to do, and took that statement and others like it directly to the Lord for confirmation. What I received in answer to my prayers was a witness of the spirit that those words indeed came from the mouth of the Lord. Joseph Smith, I was assured, was indeed called of God to do God's work.

We are charged in scripture not to take any man's statement at face value, no matter his rank or title. We are instructed to examine every single utterance that claims to have come from the Lord, then take that utterance to the Lord in prayer to get a witness through the Holy Ghost that the message did indeed come from Him.

We rarely do that. We have gotten lazy, preferring to believe that our leaders somehow are incapable of leading us astray, even though the Lord has never given us that assurance, but has constantly warned us otherwise. Believing without question what management tells us is just so much easier than actually inquiring of the Lord.

Our great failure as a people is that more often than not, once we receive divine confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true, we tend to accept everything else that is preached from the pulpit without thinking, even things that are taught that are contrary to what the Book of Mormon itself is trying to tell us.

The apostle Paul directs us to "prove all things," then "hold fast to that which is good." The word "prove" means to test a thing, to evince by examination. The LDS Church in the 21st century seems to have formally abandoned that instruction. Indeed, the very act of testing, examining, or questioning certain teachings or practices within the Church in our day is deemed grounds for Church discipline, and even expulsion, according to the Church Handbook of Instruction. (Vol 1, pg 57; see also Jensen, Modern Apostasy, 2014.)

Taking It To The Source
Some years ago I came to the realization that not everything I was taught growing up about my religion was entirely reliable. Some of it was error mixed in with truth.

So in an effort to separate truth from falsehood, I realized I would have to set aside my entire system of fixed beliefs, and start over from scratch. So over time, as I re-read the revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants given to us through Joseph Smith, I made certain that each and every one of them was accurate. And I did so by asking God directly, "did you say this?"

And each time I asked I got a clear witness. Yes, those words were the very oracles of God.

Here are a few more verses affirming Joseph's role as God's mouthpiece in these last days. I asked about each one, and got the same affirmation:
"I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments." (D&C 1:17
"Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ." (D&C 21:1
"Thou wast called and chosen to write the Book of Mormon, and to my ministry...And thou shalt continue in calling upon God in my name, and writing the things which shall be given thee by the Comforter, and expounding all scriptures unto the church." (D&C 24:1,5
"No one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses." (D&C 28:2)
Then there was this revelation given to the members of the church in 1830, which I found most instructive:
"Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth..." (D&C 21:4&5)
I noted that members of the church back then were not told to follow or obey the counsel of the prophet, as I was being taught to do in regards to the president of the Church in my day. This revelation says we shall "give heed to all his words." To "heed" means to give consideration to, give careful attention, to examine and ponder.

Quite a far cry from unquestioning obedience.

Something else I noticed in that revelation: we are not commanded to accept everything Joseph Smith ever said as if it were gospel. Only those words he speaks as he receives them from God. It is only those words that come "as if from mine own mouth" that we are commanded to give heed to. While it is true that Joseph Smith, having seen and conversed with Jesus Christ and the Father, doubtless came away from that experience brimming with wisdom and insight; and while Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet personally ordained by God, not every utterance that ever came out of his mouth is to be accepted ex cathedra. Only those words he delivers as coming from the mouth of God are considered doctrinal. Which brings us to...

The Grand Daddy Of All Scriptures
All of us have our favorite scriptures. For most of us it's a direct quote from Jesus Christ, as well it should be.  But there is one chapter in the Book of Mormon that we ought to take as our guide before we consider any other teaching of the Church, and that is 1st Nephi Chapter 8.

This is the chapter that teaches us that the only sure path to God is by holding to the rod of iron, the symbolic guardrail that represents the word of God.  Therefore, nothing we read in our Sunday School manuals, nothing we're taught in Church, nothing we hear in general conference, is allowed to trump the actual word of God. Only our Lord's actual words as revealed through His prophets are the words we should be clinging to; anything not measuring up to the word of God fails the iron rod test.

When we're trying to figure out whether some man's word is to be taken as God's will, it's not enough to simply rely upon what we were taught growing up in the church. We have to go to the source, and that source is the revealed word of God. Harold B. Lee, himself a former president of the church, delineated what he thought was the biggest danger facing the LDS church in modern times:
"I say we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures. If only each of us would be wise enough to say that we aren't able to answer any question unless we can find a doctrinal answer in the scriptures! And if we hear someone teaching something that is contrary to what is in the scriptures, each of us may know whether the things spoken are false -it is as simple as that. But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about the things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think therein is one of our biggest dangers of today." 
"The Lord has given us in the standard works the means by which we should measure truth and untruth. May we all heed His word: 'Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church.' " D&C 42:59 (First Presidency Message, Ensign, December 1972. Emphasis mine.)
So, are we to simply allow men in leadership positions to govern the church of Christ according to the policies and procedures they institute on their own? Or are they required to govern the church only in accordance with the instructions promulgated by God?  We latter-day Saints have a sacred duty to make an important determination, and this determination should be made carefully and prayerfully: whether the men who succeeded Joseph Smith actually are his successors as authorized by God, or if they are there only because our vain traditions call for them to be.

The way to get to the nub of it all is to seek God's word in the matter. It is not enough to simply accept the next guy in line as though he were appointed by God. We should insist on seeing evidence of that appointment.

I had just begun to question my faith in church succession some years back, when Gordon B. Hinckley was president.  In March of 2003, the president of the United States launched an invasion of a foreign country that had done us no harm, in violation not only of the constitution's separation of powers, but also in direct violation of the words of Jesus Christ, who declared in D&C 98:33 that his people "should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them."

So I was looking forward to general conference three weeks later. We were finally going to hear an actual prophet of God lay into the civil authorities for an act of aggression every bit as unwarranted as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, or the German Blitzkrieg on Poland. This should be worth tuning in to!

But when conference arrived and president Hinckley finally got around to addressing this topic at the final session, it was clear he wasn't going to act anything like a true Old Testament prophet speaking old fashioned truth to power. In fact, he admitted he didn't know what to think about this current war, but he was sure the whole thing would be over in a few short weeks. It was the most wishy-washy, non-committal, unprincipled, and uninformed pile of nothing I had ever heard come out of the mouth of a reputed prophet of God in my life. Caught me completely by surprise.

Hinckley did offer one pertinent quote from Jesus,where the Lord commanded his people to "renounce war and proclaim peace." Then he spent the rest of his talk with a metaphoric shrug as if to say, "But hey, whatcha gonna do?"

Thus began my first crisis of faith in modern Church leadership. So I went to the Lord to ask the question it had never occurred to me to ask before: is Gordon B. Hinckley your appointed mouthpiece on the earth?

I don't want to put words in God's mouth, because he didn't answer me with an audible voice. But if I were to reconstruct the conversation in English, it might have gone something like this:

"Is Gordon B. Hinckley your anointed prophet, seer, and revelator?"

Show me some of Gordon's prophecies and revelations and I'll give you my answer.

"But he has never issued any prophecies or revelations."

Well then, there's your answer.

Follow the Whosit?
A while back, when re-reading 1st Nephi 8, I noticed something I had only glossed over in previous readings, then instantly forgotten. The prophet Lehi was describing a dream in which he found himself in a dark and dreary wilderness. Suddenly a well-dressed, important looking man appeared and bade him follow. Lehi would be rescued from the darkness, for surely this impressive figure -a man of God if ever there was one- would lead Lehi back into the light.

But Lehi soon discovered it had been a mistake to follow this man, for he was only led further into the dark and dreary wasteland. Lehi found himself lost "for the space of many hours," until it occurred to him to call on God directly. Only then was Lehi brought into the light. Now he could see many things clearly, among them that rod of iron along the straight pathway to God's pure love. Lehi realized that the only sure path to God was not by putting his trust in any man, but instead to cling tenaciously to the word of God.

As a devout believer in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I can think of no more pertinent question in our day than to assess whether we are doing the Lord's will in following certain men, or if we are being misled. Even Joseph Smith himself lamented that the people were depending so much on him that they were becoming "darkened in their minds." (Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, pg 51). If the prophet would issue such a warning to the people in his day to back off, why are so many Mormons so anxious to ignore that advice when it comes to Church leaders today?

Brigham Young said something interesting:
"Perhaps it may make some of you stumble, were I to ask you a question—Does a man’s being a Prophet in this Church prove that he shall be the President of it? I answer, no! A man may be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and it may have nothing to do with his being the president of the Church. Suffice it to say, that Joseph was the president of the Church, as long as he lived: the people chose to have it so. He always filled that responsible station by the voice of the people. Can you find any revelation appointing him the President of the Church? The keys of the Priesthood were committed to Joseph, to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth, and were not to be taken from him in time or in eternity; but when he was called to preside over the Church, it was by the voice of the people; though he held the keys of the Priesthood, independent of their voice.” (Journal of Discourses 1:133 Emphasis added.)
Joseph Smith was appointed by the Lord to be the Lord's mouthpiece.  It so happened that Joseph was also elected by the people to preside over the fledgling church. Each of those positions is not the same as the other. Joseph just happened to have worn both hats back in the day; at various times acting as either prophet and/or president.

But it could have easily been the case that while Joseph acted as the mouthpiece of the Lord, some other person -Hyrum Smith, for example, or Sidney Rigdon- could have been elected by the members and sustained as president of the church at the same time Joseph Smith was their prophet.

So the thing we deserve to come to an understanding of in our day is this: how can we know if the president of the church also happens to be a prophet?

How About We Ask The Same Questions?
Obviously, to get an answer to our question we would use the same criteria we used when we came to a knowledge that Joseph Smith was ordained to be God's mouthpiece.  We might first compare the current president to the list of qualifications apostle Brown taught would be recognizable in a prophet. Secondly, we would look for instances where the Lord has declared the modern president to be his mouthpiece, as he did numerous times in regard to Joseph Smith.

Trouble is, we can find no instance where Thomas S. Monson has boldly made the claim that God has spoken to him. Neither has he declared he has received any messages "in the name of the Lord." Neither has president Monson predicted future events, or endured persecution, or met any number of the qualifications recognizable in a true prophet outlined by Apostle Hugh B. Brown above.

Where do we find God's endorsement of Thomas Monson similar to the one given regarding Joseph Smith?  We have no statement from the Lord telling us to "give heed unto all Monson's words and commandments which he shall give unto you, for his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth."

I looked for such an endorsement of President Hinckley, and those who came before him. And then when I got to Heber J. Grant, I read this bombshell from a letter President Grant had written to a Mrs. Claud Peery in 1926:
"I know of no instance where the Lord has appeared to an individual since His appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith."
Wait...WHAT?! I was always taught that the living prophet met with Jesus face to face on a regular basis in the upper room of the temple. And now here's one of those prophets admitting that not only has he never met or spoken to Jesus, but nobody he knows ever has either!

I felt maybe the thing to do was track this all the way back to Brigham Young. Seeing as how Brigham was Joseph Smith's BFF, surely he had the authority to speak for God, and maybe at least I would learn that authority was somehow handed off to those who came after.

The Trail Dead Ends
It turns out, though, that Brigham Young wasn't really all that close to Joseph Smith, for the simple reason they didn't spent much time together.  Joseph lived in Nauvoo, while Brigham was constantly off laboring in the Eastern States and Great Britain.

We have this idea that Brigham Young was Joseph's second in command, but the records don't support that. He wasn't a member of the First Presidency. The minutes of the Nauvoo High Council don't show him in attendance because he was not a member of that body. His association to Joseph Smith, to the extent it was significant at all, was in company with others, not the two of them alone. There were plenty of other men who had a closer association to Joseph Smith than Brigham Young did. Plenty of others.

The myth that Brigham Young and Joseph Smith were best buds was fostered by Brigham in the decades following Joseph's death, and developed over time into the official Church narrative.

"Say Joseph, do you mind if we get a selfie so I can prove I met you once?"
More surprising, when one looks at the record, is that now and then Brigham Young would pop off with some astonishing admissions denying any role as God's anointed:
"I don't profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel." (Journal of Discourses 5:77)
Like all Latter-day Saints at the time, Brigham expected that one day Joseph Smith's eldest son would take the reins of church leadership. Until then, Brigham would act as a sort of placeholder:
"What of Joseph Smith's family? What of his boys? I have prayed from the beginning for sister Emma and for the whole family. There is not a man in this Church that has entertained better feelings towards them. Joseph said to me, “God will take care of my children when I am taken.” They are in the hands of God, and when they make their appearance before this people, full of his power, there are none but what will say—“Amen! We are ready to receive you."
Brigham Young had been president of the church for 13 years when he made the following statement in 1860:
"The brethren testify that brother Brigham is brother Joseph's legal successor. You never heard me say so. I say that I am a good hand to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock. I do not care a groat who rises up. I do not think anything about being Joseph's successor." (Journal of Discourses 8:69). 
Someone "to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock" is exactly what Brigham proposed to be when he went before the assembly that day in August just weeks after Joseph and his brother were murdered. He indicated there would be no prophet to replace the one who had fallen.
"Heretofore you have had a prophet as the mouthpiece of the Lord to speak to you. But he has sealed his testimony with his blood, and now, for the first time, are you called to walk by faith, and not by sight." (Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, (1844, pg 20)
That doesn't sound like a man who believed the mantle of the prophet had fallen on him. And sure enough, he goes on to propose something else entirely:
"I ask the latter-day Saints: do you, as individuals, at this time, want to choose a prophet or a guardian? Inasmuch as our Prophet and our Patriarch are taken from our midst, do you want someone to guard, to guide and lead you through this world into the kingdom of God or not?"
Brigham was attempting to persuade the crowd to reject Sidney Rigdon, the only member of the First Presidency left alive. But if he was hoping to be elected to the top position himself, he was talking them out of choosing him, too.
"All that want some person to be a guardian or a prophet, a spokesman or something else, signify it by raising the right hand."
They must have been confused by the way he worded the question, because the record states no hands were raised.

Brigham ended up suggesting that the best choice for governing the church would be to turn it over to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, acting together as a body. Not one man in particular, mind you, but the whole Twelve would make all the governing decisions as a group. So that's the plan the congregation voted to accept.

Three years later, Brigham persuaded the saints assembled at Winter Quarters to elect him as president of the Church, which they did. Mind you, they did not anoint him their prophet, seer, and revelator. Brigham himself had told them, "You cannot fill the office of a prophet, seer, or revelator. God must do this."

The people never did consider Brigham Young to be prophet, seer, and revelator for the church as was Joseph Smith. They sustained him as their president, the guy whose job it was to preside over the church, not receive revelations for it.

Fast forward thirty years to Brigham Young's death, and now the Twelve are convened to decide what to do next. Brigham had ruled the church with such an iron hand, that once he was gone John Taylor convened the Twelve and said (I'm paraphrasing), "Let's not do that again. From now on, let's all twelve of us be the governing body as originally proposed so as not to risk having another dictator."

And that's what they did. For three years, the Church was run by a twelve-man board of directors, with no president at its head. And then John Taylor decided maybe he would like to try his hand at presiding after all, so he got the Twelve to go along with him and at conference the people were asked to sustain him as their president. Not their prophet, just church president.

In the Spring 2014 issue of the Journal of Mormon History, historian Edward Leo Lyman has documented the slap-dash, make-it-up-as-they-went methods by which the Quorum tried to figure out who should be the next in charge every time one of them shuffled off his mortal coil. (See Succession By Seniority: The Development of Procedural Precedents in the LDS Church).

The way the apostles struggled to work things out over each series of "crises" makes for some fascinating reading. There was still no one in the church hierarchy operating as Joseph Smith had, receiving revelations from God, so they didn't know how they were supposed to handle things. The minutes of the meetings of the Quorum in those days show a lot of debate, infighting, alliances, and jockeying for position. About the only thing the Brethren were ever united on was their agreement that none of them wanted to see George Q. Cannon become president. I wish I knew why, but the minutes don't say.

By the 20th century, a popular narrative had taken hold in the church to the effect that ever since the death of Joseph Smith, there has always been "a living prophet" at the head of the church to guide us and instruct us in God's will.  Nothing could be further from the truth. None of these supposed "prophets" ever conveyed a direct revelation to the members from which the saints could ascertain the will of God. Check your Doctrine & Covenants and you'll see. The oracles simply peter out once Brother Joseph exits the scene.

There is one more loose thread to this story.  The "preferred narrative" most of us were taught growing up in the church states that before he died, Joseph Smith anointed the Twelve apostles to succeed him, and that he turned over to them all the keys and authority to act in the name of God. That part of our history isn't true either. But it makes an interesting tale.

So sit back and get comfy; we're not done yet.

Who Needs Checks And Balances In The Lord's True Church?
LDS Church tradition claims the “Twelve” were given all the “keys” (whatever that is) by Joseph Smith to control everything. This is said to have taken place in a meeting that was held on March 26, 1844. This claim is contrary to scripture, but has not stopped LDS leaders from insisting it is how the Twelve Apostles came to be in charge of everything “Mormon.”

I say it is contrary to scripture because the great revelation on priesthood (D&C 107) expressly limits the jurisdiction of the Twelve.  Jesus Christ Himself, through revelation to his prophet, directed that the governing bodies of the church are to be co-equal in authority, in order that no single entity encroaches on the responsibilities and commissions of another.

If you were to list them in order of importance of governing authority (and we shouldn't, because the Lord set them up to be co-equal branches), the list might look like this:

 The First Presidency
 The High Council
 The Quorum of the Seventy
 The Quorum of Twelve Apostles

The apostles would probably be last, because they had no governing authority within the church. Most of the time they weren't anywhere near Church headquarters, because the common name for the Twelve Apostles was the "Traveling Elders."  These were the missionaries sent out to all the world to spread the gospel. They were only home occasionally before going back out again. The High Council, headquartered at Nauvoo, did most of the governing within the church, handling the day-to-day administrative affairs of the church.

You may have noticed there is no High Council operating at Church headquarters anymore. That office simply disappeared once Brigham Young took charge of things. Like it never existed.

Under the Lord's plan, the Twelve have no authority within any organized stake. They are co-equal with the other bodies, but with very limited jurisdiction. Yet the Twelve today claim they get to own, control, operate and dictate to all other bodies and to every part of the church, both inside and outside organized stakes. All this because of a meeting that took place on March 26, 1844.

The meeting was held by a group known as The Council of Fifty, or more expansively “The Kingdom of God and His Laws, With the Keys and Power Thereof, and Judgement in the Hands of His Servants.” (See Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, p. 45.)

 The thing is, this council was not a part of the church. It operated outside the church; independent of it. And that's because it included both members of the church and non-members.

It is important to recognize that the kingdom of God was not the church, and the Council of Fifty was not part of the church. It was separate. It was not a religious society like the church, but a civil organization newly organized in 1844 as a first step toward Joseph Smith's vision of an eventual civil and political “kingdom” belonging to God.  Its intended purpose was to ensure that the rights of all people were protected, regardless of one's beliefs or religious affiliation. (I go into greater detail on the purposes of the Kingdom of God in a previous post.)

Although the Council of Fifty kept minutes, the March 26, 1844 minutes make no mention of the Twelve getting to control everything, or getting any “keys” from Joseph Smith that day. In fact, there is nothing in the minutes to support the claims of the LDS Church that the Twelve were superior to every other church body, and in possession of all the “keys” (whatever that means).

Because the minutes do not support the claims, the LDS Church Historian’s Office wrote an introduction and provided footnotes for the minutes of the 26 March 1844 meeting. The Historian’s Office thinks that is most likely the probable meeting when the “keys” were passed along.

Their introduction begins on page 62, and the minutes run through page 72 of the volume titled Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records. If it were not for the Historian’s Office interjecting the claim into their introduction and footnotes, there would be nothing in the minutes of the meeting to support the claim that the Twelve got all the “keys” from Joseph Smith to run everything on that day.

Essentially the Historian’s Office explains that missing proof does not prove it didn’t happen.

If it did happen as the LDS Church claims, it is a pretty significant omission.  But the omission from March 1844 is not the only proof that this important event did not happen. The story about “keys” got mentioned the following year, in minutes that should lay the LDS Church's claims to rest.

The minutes of 25 March 1845 of the Council of Fifty meeting has an introduction written by the LDS Historian’s Office that attempts to support the traditional story thus:
"Orson Hyde read to the council a two-page statement that he hoped to publish as part of his pamphlet on a 'farewell to Rigdonism.'  The document concerned JS’s 'appointing the Twelve to take the responsibility of leading the church,'  an event that likely occurred at a Council of Fifty meeting on 26 March 1844, and Hyde asked how many council members had been present on that occasion and could sign the document as witnesses. Rather than taking up Hyde’s question, the council briefly considered the content of Hyde’s account. After discussion, Young denied Hyde’s request to publish the document and instead instructed him to focus on Rigdonism in his pamphlet 'and let the Twelve alone.' " (Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, p. 371.) 
This introduction is not really a fair account of what happened in the meeting or what was in the minutes. Here is what the minutes of that meeting say when it is mentioned the first time early in the meeting:
     Coun. O. Hyde wanted information as to who were here to day who were present Joseph Smith laid the responsibility of leading the church on the Twelve. 
     The chairman said E[lde]r Hyde would have to lay that matter over a little.                        (Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, p. 375.)
The reference to “The chairman” is to Brigham Young. There follows three pages of notes before the discussion returns to Hyde’s topic. Here is what the minutes say when Hyde’s topic is discussed later in the same meeting:
     Coun. Hyde read a certificate which he had wrote for publication concerning prest Joseph Smith appointing the Twelve to take the responsibility of leading the church. 
     Coun. J. Young moved that the last expression in the article, “so help us God” be left out.
     Coun. Hyde said he had wrote this article and submitted it to this council to find out how many of those here were present at the time it was done, and who can sign it as witnesses. 
     Coun. O. Pratt was present when observations similar to those in the document were made by prest Smith; but would it not be carrying an idea abroad that this was the commencement of the authority of the Twelve. They had the same authority before the time referred to in the document. He should have no objections to the article going forth if the proper date of the authority and appointment was stated. 
     Coun. Hyde gave further reasons why he had wrote the article and requested its publication. 
     The chairman said he should not want the article to go into the history of [Sidney] Rigdon at all. He wants Er Hyde to write his farewell to Rigdonism and let the Twelve alone. He dont [care] whether the world know the authority and power of the Twelve or not, when the time comes they shall feel our power and we shall not try to prove it to them. In regard to Joseph’s remarks, he did not mention anything about the anointing; he said it was this council of fifty which had to bear the responsibility of establishing the kingdom in all the world." (Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, pp. 378- 380.)
 The last remark by Brigham Young (“The chairman”) puts the matter to rest. There was no “anointing” and the “keys of the kingdom” were not given to the Twelve in any earlier meeting. Instead it was “this council of fifty which had to bear the responsibility.” Meaning that there was nothing uniquely given by Joseph Smith to the Twelve, but instead it was given to the “council of fifty.” The council’s members included both Mormons and non-Mormons. The LDS Historian’s Office adds a footnote to explain the troubling remark from Brigham Young that Joseph Smith “did not mention anything about the anointing” by explaining: 
In his statement Young apparently was not affirming that no anointing occurred but clarifying that JS did not perform such an anointing in the late March 1844 meeting of the Council of Fifty. There is no evidence that any ordinance, ordination, or anointing occurred in any meeting of the Council of Fifty; (Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, p. 380, footnote 598.) 
I want to make sure you caught that: There is no evidence that any ordinance, ordination, or anointing occurred in any meeting of the Council of Fifty!

According to the LDS Historian’s Office, there was no ordinance passing the “keys of the kingdom” to the Twelve in the Council of Fifty! Nor was there an ordination passing the “keys of the kingdom” to the Twelve in the Council of Fifty! Nor any sort of anointing passing the “keys” to the Twelve!

But the official tradition in the church today remains. The Twelve somehow got the “keys” in a meeting of the Council of Fifty sans ordinance, sans ordination, and sans anointing.

You may ask yourself, “How did that work?” 

And the tradition has an answer. Here is the official way that the Twelve got their power in the March 26, 1844 meeting, according to the LDS Historian’s Office. I've highlighted the weasel words for you:
"A significant event likely occurred in this meeting, probably in the morning session, about which the minutes are silent but which council members discussed a year later in connection with a written summary prepared by Orson Hyde. Clayton’s brief note that JS spoke “on heavenly things, and many other important subjects” likely marks what was later referred to as JS’s “last charge.” This may have been an extension of the charge relating the history, purpose, and rules of the council that was typically given to new members and that JS may have delivered in this meeting. (Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, pp. 62-63. Emphasis mine.) 
That's a generous passel of "likely"s, "probably"s, and "may have"s in a paragraph ostensibly written by professional historians.

I'm accustomed to reading raw historical data just as it stands.  And when a historian deigns to describe a document to me, I expect him to stick to what is actually in the document he's describing, without speculating and forcing the data to conform to what he wants it to say.

But because traditions of men now dictate that Joseph Smith must have turned over his authority to the traveling elders at some point in history; and because these particular court historians depend upon the corporate Church for their salaries and their pensions, they have apparently decided that this is the moment the invisible transfer of power must have taken place. They chose this moment in history to put words in the mouth of a true prophet of God, so that future "prophets" would have some officially sanctioned event to hang their hats on when declaring their authority to act in God's name. In the opinion of these company men, that meeting in 1844 simply had to be the time and place where Joseph Smith turned over all his authority to the Twelve. It just had to be!

Yet there is absolutely no indication in the record that anything of the sort ever took place.

Would you like to see what Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal on this most momentous occasion, when the prophet of the Restoration reportedly rolled off all his authority onto the shoulders of Woodruff and his pals in the Quorum? The usually loquacious Woodruff apparently hadn't seen anything notable take place that day:
"26th A rainey day. I met in council with the brethren."
     (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Vol. 2, pg. 371, see also The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History, pg 34)
The Lord's Version 
We do have a record of the Lord appointing someone other than Joseph Smith to be a prophet, seer, and revelator to the church, and that was Joseph's brother, Hyrum. Hear the words of the Lord in this instance:
"And from this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph." D&C 124:94)
In that same revelation, Jesus appointed Brigham Young to his place in the church:
"I give unto you my servant Brigham Young to be a president over the Twelve traveling council."
And that's it. That is the only calling Brigham Young ever received by the voice of the Lord: director of the missionary program.

This convoluted megillah showing how Joseph is imagined to have given the Twelve full authority to run the whole shebang is more than a bit of a stretch. Note the historian's obscure reference to Joseph Smith's "last charge" to the Twelve, a "charge" that no one has seen in writing, and that is now imagined to maybe be the "charge" Joseph "may have delivered in this particular meeting."

So now “keys” are given by a “charge” to someone? In scripture, normally a “charge” is either an accusation or a warning. For example, as an accusation: I charge you with murder. (See, e.g., Numbers 5:21; Acts 23:29; 1 Tim. 5:16; D&C 121:11.)

As a warning: I charge you to stay away from Sodom or be killed. (See, e.g., Gen. 28:1; Exo. 19:21; Mark 7:36; Acts 16:23; Alma 35:16.)

If the LDS Historian’s office admits Joseph “charged” the Twelve, but did not give an “ordinance, ordination, or anointing” then how was he charging them? Was he warning them? Or was Joseph accusing them? Either of these would not empower the Twelve, but would caution/accuse them against wrecking the “kingdom”—something which has happened.

If you want to read a good example of Joseph Smith giving Church leaders a "charge," turn to section four in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith This is the section discussed in my last post on this forum. There the prophet goes on for eight pages charging members of the Twelve not to exalt themselves as had the fallen leaders these men were now replacing. He charged them to be humble; to not betray God, to not betray the church, to not betray their brethren; he charged them to be careful. That is the kind of thing we are used to reading whenever Joseph Smith issued a "charge" to the brethren.

This is how Denver Snuffer explained the death of the Council of Fifty and the “kingdom of God” in a post on October 18, 2016:
"The “kingdom of God” is not the LDS Church and the LDS Church is not the “kingdom of God.” They are separate. 
'Joseph Smith stated that the 'literal kingdom of God [that is, the Council of Fifty], and the church of God are two distinct things' as 'the laws of the kingdom are not designed to affect our salvation hereafter.' (Joseph Smith Papers Administrative Records, p. xxiii.)
"So if Joseph rolled the 'kingdom of God' off his shoulders and onto the Twelve, it has nothing to do with giving the Twelve jurisdiction to assume complete autocratic control over the church. There was already a revelation in place (D&C 107) that confirmed the role of the Twelve in the church to co-equality with the seventy, stake high councils, and gave them no jurisdiction within an organized stake. The assertion that the charge allowed them expanded jurisdiction contrary to, and in violation of Section 107 is not justified when the 'kingdom of God' and the church are two separate things. The 'kingdom of God' is 'not designed to affect our salvation' and therefore did not, indeed cannot, subjugate the church.

"Further, even if you accept the charge given to the Twelve, rolled to them the 'kingdom of God,' they abandoned it:  
'The final meetings of the council were held in the mid-1880s. Thereafter the council’s records appear to have remained in the custody of the Office of the First Presidency. In 1922 church president Heber J. Grant reportedly entrusted Joseph Anderson, who served as secretary to Grant and the First Presidency, to safeguard the records. In 1932 Grant and Franklin S. Richards–the last two living members of the council–met together and read through some of the Council of Fifty records. The minutes were also accessed in the late twentieth century. In 2010 the First Presidency transferred the Nauvoo-era record to the Church History Library.' (Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, p. 6.)
"Thus died the 'kingdom of God' which Joseph Smith probably may have charged the Twelve to possess. They neglected the 'kingdom of God' because they were preoccupied with acquiring complete, unfettered control to dictate over the church and hold at defiance any who dared to challenge them. They reign over the Seventies and stake high councils with impunity. Their autocratic control holds the approximate 30% of those who remain nominally active in the church in complete submission.
"They have the 'keys of the kingdom'–which kingdom has lapsed into complete oblivion. But they’ve parlayed that into dictatorship over the other organization, the Church."
The foundational claims of our religion can be tested by inquiring of the Lord. But the more closely the authority claims of the LDS Church are examined, the more groundless they become.

The Restoration happened. Joseph Smith spoke with God and accomplished things only a prophet could accomplish. But that has nothing whatever to do with supporting the anti-scriptural claims by the Twelve that they have the right to complete ownership and control of a church that was founded through an actual prophet of God.

                                                                            *****

Related Posts:

Where Did The Oracles Go?

Not Quite The Same

How We Know Thomas Monson Is A Prophet, Seer, And Revelator

Any Opposed Please Sit Down And Shut Up

Did Russell M. Nelson Take The Lord's Name In Vain?

Where's The Revelation?

352 comments:

1 – 200 of 352   Newer›   Newest»
Scott Peterson said...

Possibly your best work yet! You are spot on Brother Rock. Thanks for your work.

matt lohrke said...

Volumes could be written about Nephi's introductory comments found in 1st Nephi 1. The final words of verse 20 sets God's pattern for calling His servants:

"But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

The Lord chooses His prophets because of their faith, not their place on an org chart. Nor do we have any guarantee there will always be a prophet walking the earth. We see this pattern repeated throughout all the scriptures.

That about sums it up for me.

Collin Parrish said...

In case anyone wants to negate all of this with the transfiguration of Brigham Young:
http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-mormon-history-is-not-what-they-say_25.html

Loved the post! Wondering how to share this with family and friends.

Log said...

It is time to turn attention to the remainder of the trifecta that The United Fifteen Apostles, Peace Be Upon Them, claim in order to maintain dominion over the hearts and minds of the membership, since "succession" has seemingly been debunked as thoroughly as can be on historical grounds in documents acknowledged to be authentic.

"Priesthood" and "keys."

Log said...

On the keys topic, the LDS house organ says:

“The first thing which I thought of,” President Young recorded in his journal, “was whether Joseph had taken the keys of the kingdom with him from the earth; brother Orson Pratt sat on my left; we were both leaning back on our chairs. Bringing my hand down on my knee, I said the keys of the kingdom are right here with the Church.” 19 Brigham was unwavering in his assurance that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had become the Presidency of the Church. With this assurance, Brigham declared to the Saints at the special conference in Nauvoo on 8 August 1844 that the Twelve were “ordained and anointed to bear off the keys of the Kingdom of God in all the world. … If you let the Twelve remain and act in their place the keys of the Kingdom are with them, and they can manage the affairs of the Church and direct all things aright.” 20

Footnote 19 refers to a document I don't have access to, but since the Church admits it into evidence, look at it carefully.

Brigham didn't know where the keys were.

Jared Mata said...

The revelation is clear: in order to be the president of the church, one should hold the office of High Priest; Brigham Young never hold it, he was merely an Apostle. So he didn´t have the right to the presidency either.

Salty said...

I'm still confused as to why O. Hyde was talking about the supposed ordination of the Twelve at all? If it never happened why was he trying to find people that were present at it? Was he trying to prove that it never happened by gathering the signatures of those present? If that is the case and the whole thing was a big rumor or lie, who started it in the first place and why?

Robin Hood said...

Rock,
Not a bad effort on this occasion. Praise where praise is due, I give you 7 out of 10. And given that I'm a super-critical kind of bloke, that's a very good score.

But (you knew there would be one) your argument is a little circular if you don't mind me saying. Mind you, I'd say it even if you do mind! You base your description of what we should expect from a prophet on a sermon by one of the PSR's you so readily dismiss! Do you know for sure that Hugh B Brown's discription is correct 100% of the time? What research have you done to establish this beyond your assent to it as a missionary in the '70's (I assume it was then because I listened to it all the time on my mission too). Like I say, more than a suspicion of circular reasoning.

With regard to the overall thrust of your piece, you only told part of the story and missed out a very important piece of scriptural evidence. I know you know about it because we've discussed it before.
You fail to mention D&C 136. This is a glaring omission. This was a "thus saith the Lord" revelation given after the death of Joseph through the president of the quorum of the twelve; one Brigham Young.
I would draw your attention to the last two verses, because this is absolutely crucial in understanding the period of church "history" we are currently experiencing.
The Lord said to the saints (v41) "Now therefore, hearken, O ye people of my church; and ye elders listen together; YOU HAVE RECEIVED MY KINGDON."
Who has received God's kingdom? We have!
(v42) "Be diligent in keeping all my commandments," What commandments? The ones given through Joseph Smith. "lest judgments come upon you, and your faith fail you, and your enemies triumph over you. SO NO MORE AT PRESENT. AMEN AND AMEN." How much more will there be? No more! In other words, I've given you plenty to be getting on with, so get on with it!

We are living in that consolidation period right now in my view. Our remit is to build that kingdom we have been given (parable of the talents) until God intervenes with something new. Perhaps the "one mighty and strong".

So you are right that our modern day leaders are not prophets in the Joseph Smith sense, but you are wrong to expect them to be.

Nancy said...

Thank you for such a thorough examination of church history. I hope that people reading this post and others you have written realize that the church and the gospel are not the same. You can indeed have one without the other. We may all have the gospel of Jesus Christ, the truths that Joseph Smith restored and not have to submit fealty to men. The heavens are truly open to us again. We can experience all that Joseph Smith desired if we will but shed our unbelief and commitment to the traditions of men and walk forward in faith and belief in the words his prophets (true prophets) have given us.

Log said...

@Robin Hood, RE: D&C 136

Consider D&C 43 a little more carefully.

1 O hearken, ye elders of my church, and give ear to the words which I shall speak unto you.

2 For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.

3 And this ye shall know assuredly--that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me.

4 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.

5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;

6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.

7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.


Verse 5 seems to straightforwardly imply D&C 136, 138, OD1 and OD2, among others, ought not to have been received by the Church, but how do you read it, in light of the apparently historically ironclad fact that Joseph appointed no successor other than Hyrum, who himself apparently appointed no successor?

Seems you can have D&C 136, or you can have D&C 43, but not both; how do you reconcile this first-order contradiction?

Jack W. said...

Great post. Particularly the part showing the actual meaning of "give heed:" to give consideration to, give careful attention, to examine and ponder rather than unquestioning obedience. This post should be expanded and made into part of a book!

Robin Hood said...

Log,
You are mistaken to believe that Joseph had to have a successor as prophet. D&C 43 provides for his succession if he should fall through transgression. It clearly states that, in this circumstance Joseph would lose his gift, except in the event of appointing his successor. He could expect revelation for that purpose.

However, it also says that his successor would "come in at the gate". In other words, through the appointed pattern, ie. through Joseph. One could argue that either Brigham Young did this (Joseph appointed him as president of the twelve) or Joseph Smith III did.

Subsequent events would tend to rule out JSIII.

Milo Jury said...

It appears that Hyde was already trying to discredit any other people who might have cause to claim authority over the leadership of the church. My take might be a bit suspect, but Quinn's book suggests that Samuel Smith had a claim through blood. William Marks, the president of the Nauvoo stake, had authority in that sphere where the 12 apostles did not. Sidney Rigdon had a claim to authority, although his place in church popularity was questionable.
It seems then, that this "guardian" idea was so popular because no one at the time could fathom the arrogance and the hubris of taking over for Joseph. Our objectivity distanced by time cannot describe the feelings then or account for the hole left at the loss of The Prophet.

Log said...

@Robin Hood,

Your reading of D&C 43 does not seem adequately grounded in the text of D&C 43.

Verse 3: There is nobody other than Joseph appointed by the Lord to the elders of the Church to receive revelations and commandments until Joseph dies if Joseph is faithful.

Verse 4: Nobody else shall be appointed to the elders of the Church to receive revelations or commandments either unless Joseph appoints him; and if Joseph is not faithful he will only have power to appoint someone else to receive revelations and commandments.

Verse 5: The Lord commands the elders of the Church to reject the teachings of any who present them as revelations or commandments (implying to my eye those revelations or commandments which do not come through Joseph or he who Joseph has appointed to receive revelations and commandments per verses 3 and 4).

Verse 6: All such are not of God. OR: All revelations and commandments taught that come not through Joseph or his appointed successor in receiving revelations and commandments are not of God.

Take your pick on that one - the former reading means Brigham was not of God, along with many others after him, and both they and their teachings ought not be received, and it seems the more natural reading; the latter reading means D&C 136, D&C 138, D&C 132, "original" D&C 101, OD1, OD2, and perhaps more, are not from God, and what shall be said of those who brought them forward contrary to the commandment of God? 2 Nephi 28:15.

Verse 7: Those whom the Lord ordains shall repent and be baptized (that's the gate - 2 Nephi 31:17) and be ordained and shall teach the revelations and commandments which come through Joseph (and, implicitly, his duly appointed successor in so receiving).

The one being ordained is not appointed to receive revelations and commandments; he is ordained to teach those received through Joseph.

So, the contradiction remains. How should it be resolved?

Log said...

I included D&C 132 in that list because we cannot trace the provenance of the received text back to Joseph. We have to rely upon Brigham and his cronies' word that what we have is what Joseph gave, and such reliance is problematic given the subject under discussion.

Rugger69 said...

Epic info, Rock. Thanks for doing the groundwork which I can now use to show others their error.
Toby

Robin Hood said...

Log,
I'm not interested in Sec. 132, and it has no relevance to this discussion.
Rock made the claim that revelation petered out after Joseph's death, but failed to mention Brigham's very important and last recorded and canonised "thus saith the Lord" revelation recorded as 136.
Not only that, but he didn't mention the fact that these kind of revelations were petering out in Nauvoo well before Joseph was killed.
That's all I'm saying.
Bringing up 132 has absolutely no relevance whatsoever.

Unknown said...

Damn! to much meat for those of us that cannot handle more than milk.Karl

Log said...

D&C 43, taken literally, minimally implies D&C 136 is not from God. D&C 43 maximally implies both Brigham and D&C 136 were / are not of God.

That's the contradiction that must be resolved before D&C 136 can be admitted as evidence against Rock's thesis.

Log said...

In my estimation - and that's worth nothing, I know - the only way to reconcile that contradiction in a way that can possibly preserve the Church's claims, as well as D&C 136 and the rest, is to show that Joseph appointed Brigham to receive revelations and commandments, and that Brigham appointed others to receive such after him, &c. But there must be a contemporary record, with 2 or 3 witnesses, to each such appointment, starting with Brigham's.

Log said...

Because if Joseph appointing Brigham (or anyone else) to receive revelations and commandments didn't happen, then the Church has not been led by revelation and commandment after Joseph was killed; the leadership has been making stuff up ever since, guiding the Church according to their own learning and wisdom, teaching their own precepts and commandments.

Robin Hood said...

Log,
So what does "come in at the gate" mean?
We need to define the gate. That is the crux of the matter.
The successor has to not only be appointed by Joseph (although this is clearly talking about a potential situation of Joseph's hypothetical fall from grace and NOT his death), but has to come in at the gate. These are two seperate things.
The RLDS played the "appointment" card for years, but ignored the other criteria. I contend that a reasonable explanation of coming in by the gate is through one of the leading quorums.
You will probably disagree with me but in doing so you will have to come up with a viable alternative.

In truth Joseph did appoint Hyrum. The problem is that not only did Hyrum also die in Carthage, but he actually died before Joseph, thus rendering the appointment void for the purposes of succession.

Ryan Nickel said...

Robin Hood,

D&C 136 is a false revelation. There are scriptural inaccuracies in it. More than likely penned by Brigham himself.

The main reasoning is that the Kingdom of God was not on the earth at that time nor is it now. A careful reading of JST Rev. 12 and Daniel 2 will show that.

Rock,

Very insightful observation in 1 Ne 8. I got excited for a minute thinking that you were referring to One Who Is Watching and his book "Solving the Prophet Puzzle."

https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/

It solves the duplicity of Joseph Smith.

Another well written blog post.

Christopher West said...

Wow, Rock, really great stuff. Thanks for this.

Log said...

@Robin Hood,

The gate is repentance (from all sin [2 Nephi 31:13-14]) and baptism by water (2 Nephi 31:17).

"Until he be taken" referred to Joseph's hypothetical death, "if he abide in me" referred to Joseph's hypothetical fall from grace.

Nobody's teachings were to be received by the elders of the Church as revelation or commandment except it be Joseph or one appointed by Joseph - which rules out Brigham Young's revelations and commandments, and everyone else's, for that matter - as you say, Hyrum was killed first. That the leadership of the Church went contrary to the law of the Lord and chose to receive as revelation or commandment that which the Lord says is not from him, as he said in D&C 43, means that the Church has publicly and demonstrably been led astray by the leadership, by her own lights, according to her own rules, as published in her own scriptures.

To me, a post-Joseph rudderless Church largely led by the worldly wisdom and learning of her priesthood is the alternative to a Church led by revelation and commandment according the law of the Lord. It seems to match the description of the latter-day Gentiles in the Book of Mormon, as well. It may not be palatable, it may not be viable (ie, does not leave us with a true and living Church), but it has been done before, so we know it is in God's nature for such things to happen. That's how we got the Catholic Church and her many offspring.

The question isn't who was appointed if it wasn't Brigham or any of the Twelve - after all, it seems quite apparent none were appointed - but rather what do we do when we become aware of our situation? For I trust, not being eyewitness, that there is a God, and that Jesus is the Christ, and that Joseph was indeed a true prophet of the living God, and the Book of Mormon is of God. The invitation to come unto Christ by laying aside all ungodliness and diligence in keeping his commandments is still open and abundantly testified to throughout the Book of Mormon, as well as the New Testament. The Church can be false (ie, have departed from the ways of God, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, &c.) and yet the gospel be true.

That's why I keep talking about the commandments of Christ (Luke 6, Matthew 5-7, 3 Nephi 12-15). If we do these specific things we have been asked to do, we will have the Spirit of Christ to be with us always as the sacramental prayer offers, and be able to see clearly, and understand. It's not going to necessarily be pleasant, but it will be eye-opening, and we will be founded upon the rock of the Lord.

Robin Hood said...

Ryan Nickel,
Like I said, the status of Sec 132 is completely irrelevant in terms of this discussion. It just isn't an issue.
For what it's worth I don't go along with 132 either. But like I said, it has no bearing on this particular issue.

On a general note I will just say that when it comes to the succession issue I know what I'm talking about. Not boasting, just saying it as it is. I have studied it for years as a member of the LDS Church and as a member of the RLDS/CofChrist.

I also have the advantage of knowing for sure, through actual personal experience, that the LDS Church does possess at least some of the priesthood keys it claims. I can't vouch for all of them, but I know some of them are here. Therefore it is obvious they have been successfully transfered down through the years.

C nior said...

Robin and Ryan, are you talking about 132 or 136? Robin, can't this be said with the same conviction ("I also have the advantage of knowing for sure, through actual personal experience, that the LDS Church does possess at least some of the Priesthood keys it claims. I can't vouch for all of them, but I know some of them are here. Therefore it is obvious they have been successfully transferred down through the years.") by a member of the Catholic Church? Or MANY other Christian churches?

Sandra Harper said...

For those who don't understand that we should be getting prophets who receive revelation today... consider this:2 Nephi 28:5
5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

Log said...

In the interest of fairness, my reading of D&C 43 implies Brigham was not of God for putting his revelation forward as revelation and commandment to the Church, lacking the appointment to receive such for the Church, even if his revelation may have been authentic; even if it was, the Church was and is under law to not receive it as revelation or commandment. Nevertheless, when read very closely, D&C 136 turns out to be what they call in the law a statement against interest - Brigham apparently broke and taught men to break the commandments of God, while D&C 136 expressly says to keep all of the commandments of God.

Even Caiaphas prophesied truly concerning Christ.

Robin Hood said...

Sandra Harper,
Show me one example where any of the Twelve have said "for behold there is no God today".
Just one will do. Just one and I will concede the point.
If you can't, then the scripture you quoted cannot be applied to the Twelve and is therefore entirely irrelevant for the purposes of this debate.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Salty Said, "I'm still confused as to why O. Hyde was talking about the supposed ordination of the Twelve at all?"

I understand the confusion, because today most of us still can't seem to separate in our minds the two entities "The Church" and "the Kingdom of God." The early brethren often made reference to both in the same sentence, i.e. "the church and kingdom of God" and we grew up believing they were one and the same.

It helps to understand that if Joseph were giving instruction to the Twelve, he would do so at a meeting of the Twelve. If he were giving instruction intended for the Council of Fifty, he would do so at a meeting of the Council of Fifty. Which, as you'll note in Denver's comments which I quoted, he probably may have done at a meeting of the latter.

So, to your question regarding What Orson Hyde wanted from the attendees. As Milo Jury points out above, It appears that Hyde was already trying to discredit any other people who might have cause to claim authority over the leadership of the church. The Twelve felt they should be the ones governing the church. Hyde was preparing a pamphlet "A Farewell to Rigdonism" in which he was attempting once and for all to show that Rigdon's religious philosophy fell short. It wasn't just Rigdon's claim to the right of leadership that rubbed some the wrong way, it was also some of his religious views. Hyde's pamphlet apparently was an argument against "Rigdonism."

So why was Hyde attempting to get signatures from members of the Council of Fifty to affirm Joseph had given his authority to the Twelve? Because it was remembered that three months before he died, he had given instruction to the Council of Fifty to the effect that he was no longer going to run that program alone. Which program? The kingdom of Heaven; the civil and political program.

In this subsequent meeting of the Fifty a year after Joseph's death (the one Hyde is asking for signatures at), Joseph was remembered as having said something three months PRIOR to his death to the effect that he was rolling responsibility for that project off his shoulders and onto the council of fifty. Whatever it was he said, it was similar to the Mayor of a city going before the city council and saying, "Look, you're expecting me to do all the work here. If this thing is going to get off the ground, you're going to have to be the ones to make it happen. I'm rolling the responsibility for that off my shoulders and onto yours."
(Continued)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Salty, (Continued)
It's helpful to remind ourselves of the purpose of the kingdom of heaven, and that this kingdom was being formed by a group that included both members and non-members. It was not a church program. I included a lengthy description by Brigham in my post "Where Did the Oracles Go?" from which I'll excerpt a brief part here:

"When the Kingdom of God is fully set up and established on the face of the earth, and takes the pre-eminence over all other nations and kingdoms, it will protect the people in the enjoyment of all their rights, no matter what they believe, what they profess, or what they worship. If they wish to worship a god of their own workmanship, instead of the true and living God, all right, if they will mind their own business and let other people alone."

"And further, though a man may not even believe in any religion, it would be perfectly right, when necessary, to give him the privilege of holding a seat among that body which will make laws to govern all the nations of the earth and control those who make no profession of religion at all; for that body would be governed, controlled, and dictated to acknowledge others in those rights which they wish to enjoy themselves. Then the Latter-day Saints would be protected, if a kingdom of this kind was on the earth, the same as all other people."

So now, at this meeting a year after Joseph apparently told the Fifty they had to take full responsibility to make this thing happen, Orson Hyde brings up something that is not the concern of the Fifty (which, again, is a civil body, not a religious one). Hyde wants to affirm that Joseph gave authority to the Twelve. (Some members of the Council of Fifty were also members of the Quorum of the Twelve, hence the opportunity for confusion.) Hyde comes to a meeting of the Fifty wanting to gather signatures to include in his pamphlet against Rigdon.

Brigham Young, the Chairman, tells Hyde in effect that what he is asking for (acknowledgment of the authority of the Twelve to preside over the church) is not a matter of concern for this body they are meeting in at this time, the council of Fifty. He tells Hyde to leave the Twelve alone, or put another way, leave the Twelve out of it. He reminds Hyde that "it was this council of fifty which had to bear the responsibility of establishing the kingdom in all the world." Hyde was off on a different tangent. He was looking for evidence that the Twelve had to bear responsibility for running the church. Different body, different responsibility.

You'll remember that the other Orson, Orson Pratt, is recorded in the minutes as saying to Orson Hyde that if we promote the view that the Twelve got their authority from Joseph at that meeting of the Council of Fifty in 1844, folks might think that was the first time Joseph had given them any authority, and it was not.

In Summary, the Twelve wanted to be recognized for having authority to preside over the church in the interim following Joseph's death. The Fifty likely HAD been given responsibility for putting into operation a non-religious society for the purpose of protecting civil rights. Brigham was correct in telling Hyde that Joseph Smith had given the council responsibility for establishing that civil kingdom. Whatever the duties of the Twelve in the religious sphere, that was not appropriate to bring up at a meeting of the Council of Fifty, which was a non-church program.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robin Hood,
You challenge me in two areas. Log adequately responded to your concerns regarding section 136, so I'll just respond to your allegation that I engaged in circular reasoning because I cited Hugh B. Brown.

I think you are misreading me. It makes little sense to you that I would cite Hugh B. Brown, since, as you say, I am "dismissive" of the authority claims of the modern Church leaders. Hugh B. Brown was a church leader, and therefore it's odd of me to cite his views.

Yet you say you are familiar with Hugh Brown's talk. Then you'll recall he was relating a lengthy conversation he had with an eminent non-Mormon English barrister. In this conversation, Brown persuaded his friend that there were certain characteristics common in all the prophets in the bible. He then showed how Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, compared favorably with every one of those characteristics.

Brown convinced the other man that Joseph Smith did indeed measure up in every way. In fact, the other man admitted that he hoped it was true that Joseph Smith might actually be a prophet.

But note that Elder Brown did not depend on his office as an authority in the LDS church in order to convince his friend of the validity of his argument. He didn't claim to know what he was talking about because he was a putative prophet, seer, and revelator himself.

In citing Brown's convincing argument, I didn't depend on Brown's "authority" either. His argument could have been made by any theologian of any religion, the argument being that there were certain characteristics that were common to the ancient prophets in scripture. That argument would be just as valid no matter who he was or what religion he belonged to.

And that's key. Brown and other leaders of the church in my day WERE theologians. Although I may not agree with their claims to authority over the church, I can certainly recognize that men in my day, men like Brown, Peterson, McConkie, Richards, and the lot knew their religion a LOT better than the current lot, whose expertise is in management and administrative affairs rather than religion. The modern leaders even require their conference talks ghost written for them, because most of them couldn't locate a specific scripture if their lives depended on it.

I don't agree with everything Brigham Young said and did, but I cite him in my response to Salty above regarding the purpose of the kingdom of God, because he knew what he was talking about. Joseph had taught him about the purposes of the kingdom, and Brigham related what he had learned from Joseph years later. I don't have to recognize Brigham's authority in order to cite something he said.

I don't think it's circular reasoning to employ the knowledge of someone like Hugh B. Brown, who recognized Joseph Smith as a prophet for many of the same reasons I do. I think that shows solid reasoning.

Robin Hood said...

Log,
Your continued reliance on D&C 43 betrays either a misunderstanding on your part, or stubborness in the face of the facts. I'm not sure which it is, but I will assume the former.

D&C 43 was a revelation recorded in early 1831, long before the establishment of the leading priesthood quorums, or reception of vital keys (Kirtland Temple) for the building of the kingdom. It was in response to claims by people other than Joseph that they had received revelation for the church.

The Lord sets out guidelines by which the people can know to whom they can go to receive his revealed will. He says there is (present tense) nobody appointed to receive the revelations other than Joseph.

He then clearly implies that another will be appointed when "he be taken", so long as he (Joseph) remains true.
He then goes on to say that no one else will be appointed to this gift (receiving revelations) except through Joseph. The gift has to pass through Joseph.

No mention of keys at this stage take note. We are talking about the right to receive revelation for the whole church.

It is then stated (v4) that even if Joseph falls and the gift is taken away, and even though he will lose the power to receive revelations for the church, he will keep it in one circumstance, namely choosing the appointment of his replacement.

Verse 5 should be a sobering rebuke for any Snufferites out there, "And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;" This is in order that we "may not be deceived" and "know that they are not of me".

Verse 7; "he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate". I find it interesting that the word used has now changed from appointed to ordained, and that a gate is an authorised entrance which implies order. No climbing over the fence or crasning through the hedge.
It goes on to say that a person so ordained will "teach those revelations which you have received, and shall receive, through him who I have appointed". In other words, this ordained person will teach you what the appointed person (Joseph) has and will teach you.

This gives comfort to those who feel Joseph's teachings trump the teachings of the modern day brethren, and rightly so.

But it clearly implies that the ordained person has the right to do this, and is not going to get much in terms of revelation for the church. His job is to teach the revelations that have come through Joseph.

Any right thinking saint will clearly see that the leadership exercised by the Twelve after the martyrdom was entirely proper. They were equal in authority to the now non-existent first presidency and were approved of by the voice of the people. Therefore they were able to lead the church and to teach Joseph's revelations. This they have done.

A word on Sec 136. This is a revelation given through the president of the Twelve, namely Brigham Young. But it is very specific regarding a matter at hand and did not apply to the whole church. It applied to those crossing the plains and involved specific instructions regarding preparations and behaviour, followed by some brief words of comfort.
It has to be read for what it is.

Brigham was not in a position to receive revelation for the church on a regular basis. He was ordained and had come in at the gate, and was therefore authorised to teach Joseph's revelations. If he had produced a great string of new revelations as JSIII did for the RLDS, he would, by the standards of D&C 43, have been exposed as a fraud. But he didn't. It was not in his remit and the same applies to his successors.





Robin Hood said...

.....continued:

Today we have Twelve (15 actually) who operate on this basis. They are entitled to, and receive, inspiration to operate the keys they possess in accordance with the guidance of the Spirit in order to build the kingdom we have received (D&C 136). We see this in at least two instances, the expansion of temple work and asociated family research, and the gathering of Israel. None of the other Mormon groups are doing these things.

As I said previously, I have exercised some of the priesthood keys myself. It is a real power and is a privelege to do so. I know what I experienced and I am not mistaken.
Nor am I lying.

Robin Hood said...

Rock,
It is circular reasoning by any way you care to measure it.
But you didn't address the main point I made. You are not claiming Brown was using inspiration in his sermon (which I listened to again this morning - brought back a lot of memories, thanks for the link) but you are using his description of what a prophet should be without investigating whether he was right.
Is Brown correct?
Does every prophet of God have to have all of these characteristics?
Are tbere any examples in history where his description of a prophet is not borne out by the historical record?
Is there a y evidence that God always has to do it that way?

Only if you can truthfully answer these questions can you use President Brown's "examination for discovery" exercise as a justifiable basis for your comparison with modern day church leadership.

So I stand by my charge that it is circular reasoning, and would add that it is a strawman argument taboot.

ldsawakening said...

There are some here who call into question the validity of D&C 136, because it was received by Brigham Young after Joseph's death. That's a pretty bold claim, but not surprising considering the overwhelming need that many have to discredit everything Brigham Young did in order to discredit the current church leadership, and I might add to create a politically correct image of Joseph Smith (one who didn't practice and teach plural marriage for example).

However when one reviews the contents of D&C 136 there is no contradiction to other scripture. In fact it fits with what was going on at the time and what the Lord had in store for the church as it headed west quite well.

It's also important to remember that though Brigham Young wasn't Joseph's successor (a claim he himself never made), he was the President of the Quorum of the 12 apostles, who had been properly sustained by common consent as the governing body of the church following Joseph's death. It is completely logical that the Lord would provide Brigham with a revelation giving him instructions for the trek west and telling the saints what he expected of them moving forward.

I see ZERO reason to suspect that Brigham made this revelation up. If he had made it up why didn't he make up more revelations as time went on? Brigham Young certainly had his flaws, as all men do, but he certainly wasn't a bold faced liar. The fact that he didn't put forth any other canonized revelations is very convincing evidence that D&C 136 is legit.

I also see no reason why the church should automatically reject this revelation, because it didn't come from Joseph Smith. Last I checked the scriptures teach us to prove all things. The revelation was presented to the church and the sustained is scripture. That's the process that was to be followed. It hasn't be followed since then, but that's neither here nor there.

On a slightly different note Joseph Smith had the Quorum of the 12 Apostles sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators in 1836 in Kirtland. (TPJS, 109)

"I then called upon the quorums and congregation of Saints to acknowledge the Twelve Apostles, who were present, as Prophets, Seers, Revelators, and special witnesses to all the nations of the earth, holding the keys of the kingdom, to unlock it, or cause it to be done, among them, and uphold them by their prayers, which they assented to by rising."(March 27, 1836.) DHC 2:417.

While I admit that there really is no evidence that any of the apostles or church presidents since Joseph Smith have demonstrated the fruits of being true prophets, seers, and revelators (except for D&C 136 and perhaps D&C 138), it is interesting that the original Quorum of the 12 were sustained as such by the church membership under the direction of Joseph Smith. We have to ask ourselves why that was.

Robin Hood said...

ldsawakening,
Well said.
You put it much better than me.

The problem as I see it is that Rock et al have a particular narrative which they have to promote for reasons of self-justification.

It would be Rock's worst nightmare to discover that he was wrong and that the current leadership are correct. That would mean that his discipline for apostasy was valid and would lead to the mother of all humble pie!

So he and others have to keep snapping at the brethren's heels just to feel ok. It's confirmation bias, pure and simple.

But you're right. Demonise Brigham, hold him to a standard they would never expect to be held to, and then let the current leadership have it with both barrels!

The fact that Brigham didn't make up revelations indicates he was honest. He was not Joseph's successor as the prophet for the church and never claimed to be. But he was his successor as president of the church. Rock points out that these are not always the same thing, and in that he is correct. But I don't know that anyone is claiming they are.
Another strawman argument I'm afraid.

Thanks once again ldsawakening.
RH

ldsawakening said...

Thanks Robin

I agree that Rock and others (mostly Snufferites) have a certain agenda they are trying to push. I do however agree with much of what Rock has put forth in his blog, including this post.

While I agree that Rock and others hold the brethren to too high of a standard at times, they do that themselves, too. The follow the prophet and apostles doctrine is taught constantly at church. At least in my stake. In fact my stake president teaches blindly following the brethren almost every time he opens his mouth. The scriptures do not support putting our blind faith in any man, including a true prophet, and yet this very thing is constantly taught at church. This is a very dangerous false doctrine.

Not only is this false doctrine taught be individual members and local leaders, it is taught by the brethren themselves and in our lesson manuals. This false doctrine has developed over time in the church. Brigham Young, George Q. Cannon and other early church leaders preached against this false doctrine, but over time the church has fully adopted it. When called out about the prevalence of this false doctrine in our midst, apologists try to claim we don't teach blindly following the brethren, but this is not true. We teach that very thing all the time.

Log said...

@Robin Hood,

Your reading of D&C 43:7 is not founded on the text of D&C 43:7.

You (and not the Lord) have replaced "ordained" with "appointed." The Lord is speaking of those whom he ordains, and not them who are appointed to receive revelations and commandments for the elders of the Church (or: the Church). The matter of the appointment was addressed in the previous verses. Those who are ordained of the Lord repent and are baptized and teach the revelations which came through him who was, in fact, appointed: Joseph, and his appointed successors to that appointment, if any exist, which don't.

Therefore, the contradiction remains: Brigham was not appointed to receive revelations, therefore the Church could know, by D&C 43, that Brigham or his revelation were not of God. It's not that he wasn't appointed to receive them on a regular basis - it's that he wasn't appointed to receive them at all. That's the thrust of D&C 43 as it relates to any who "led" the Church after Joseph (and Hyrum), putting forward revelations or commandments to the Church - all were and are known by that act to be not of God, and the Church was and is under law to reject all of them. The fact that the Church did not reject Brigham and his teachings is not a mark of divine approval or authority for Brigham - it is a mark of rebellion against God's law by the Church, as established by D&C 43.

The historical ascendancy of the Twelve, led by Brigham, to supremacy over the other named quorums in D&C 107, and the Church perforce, also is not a mark of divine authority or favor to the Twelve, but an obvious example of rebellion and usurpation by the Twelve. But that's a subject Rock has addressed at length, as well as Denver Snuffer.

I'll return to your "Snufferite" crack in a while, as well as the priesthood issue.

Robin Hood said...

Ldsawakening,
You are certainly right about the rampant sycophancy in the church. All is not well in Zion, and hasn't been since the failure in Missouri.

I'm not sure the Brethren are responsible for this in any way, but certainly some local leadership need to reflect on their behaviour.

In our stake it isn't too bad, and I stamp it out in my ward if it ever surfaces. To be fair, it is never really an issue here.
For example I don't think I have ever heard someone in testimony meeting testify that President Monson is the prophet of God. Hear it about Joseph occasionally, but most testify of Christ's grace.

Totally agree with your comment about the "agenda".

Robin Hood said...

Log,
Don't bother mate.
I'm not really interested in what you have to say.
If you want to, fine. But don't do it on my account as I probably won't read it.
Just sayin'.
Regards,
RH

Log said...

Here's something that I feel might help in understanding the intended order of the Church.

Mosiah 18
18 And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God, ordained priests; even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

19 And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.

20 Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.


By verse 19, the priests were not to teach their own commandments nor revelations. If any were to try it, it would be known they had departed from the commandment and ought to be rejected. He who was ordained would repent, be baptized, and teach what Alma and the holy prophets - those who stood in the divine council in the heavenly temple in the presence of God, Christ, and the angels - had taught.

The Book of Mormon was given for a reason, and that reason was not solely to correct Paulianity (the reduction of the faith of Christ to one or a few verses from Paul).

Log said...

@Robin Hood

If you do not seek truth, and if you cannot be corrected by reference to the scriptures, and if you reject the actual words of the scriptures while publicly re-writing them to support your contentions, then for what purpose do you ever refer to the scriptures, or even come to this blog? Are you trying to con those of us who actually read the scriptures and can see the ever-increasing divergence between the operations of the Church and her purported authorizing documents? That's going to be a very hard sell among those of us who actually read those documents. That is, if you intend to interact meaningfully.

ldsawakening said...

Robin,

I wish your experience with not ever hearing anyone bear testimony that President Monson is the Lords mouth piece, a true prophet, etc was mine. All my life I have been taught that the President of the Church is a living prophet who speaks for the Lord and holds all of the keys of the priesthood on earth.

I've heard that in some wards in testimony meetings Christ is hardly mentioned, but rather that the "living prophet" is the focal point. This has not been my experience fortunately. My experience has been a mix of the two. Scarcely a Sunday goes by that I don't hear the false doctrine of having a living prophet who we need to put our trust in taught. Often I hear it taught multiple times. I have never heard it corrected at church...ever.

I wish this false doctrine of putting our trust completely in the president of the church, his councilors, and the 12 came only from the general membership and local leadership. Sadly this is not the case. Not only do the brethren do nothing to discourage this line of thinking, they actually encourage it.

Just think about the Temple recommend questions. Do any of them suggest that the brethren are prophets, seers, and revelators? Are we not required to sustain them as such in order to maintain in good standing in the church?

How often do we hear President Uchtdorf (who I love by the way) refer to President Monson as "our beloved Prophet". Other apostles such as President Nelson do the same. Elder Ballard frequently teaches from the pulpit and conference that the brethren cannot lead us astray.

You should check out Chapter 11 of the Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, which was a recent manual used in Priesthood and Relief Society. The chapter is entitled "Follow the Living Prophet". Read through that lesson and then tell me that the brethren aren't encouraging us to put our blind trust in the "living prophet".

Like I said I wish that it was the members who were putting the brethren on too high of a pedestal and the brethren were actively trying to put down this false doctrine. Sadly this is not the case.

Robin Hood said...

Ldsawakening,
Maybe it's just that we Brits have a natural indifference, irreverence and disdain for authority.
We like to mock the royals, laugh at our polital leaders, and stick two fingers up (our version of the middle finger) at anyone who thinks they're important.
Look what we told the Brussels elite they could do with their EU project!

We don't like being told what to think, say or do.

When it comes to the church some of that attitude carries through.
Follow the prophet isn't a major theme in my experience, with the possible exception of the primary song.

Robin Hood said...

Log,
Ditto.

Log said...

@Robin Hood,

I'm content to let the published "dialogue" between us demonstrate which of us has done what. I am willing to continue to discuss if you'd like.

scottstover said...

Rock, I agree that this may be our best piece yet. Excellent job! It appears that you are continuing to reach out to the "faithful" LDS members. At some point soon, I think, we will need to begin focusing our efforts on the Kingdom of God, which will become Zion. Not saying that time is now, or in any way suggesting that your efforts are misguided - not saying that at all! It just occurred to me that the time will come, and it will probably come soon.

Robin Hood said...

@Log,
It's not often that someone has you on the ropes, so I'm more than content for our dialogue to serve as encouragement for others.

Log said...

@Robin Hood,

If that's the way you want to spin it, go right ahead. I will simply note that perceptions may substantially differ as to the accuracy of your proffered narrative.

On a subject related to our "discussion," however, I note the generalized similarity with your style of argumentation and what on this side of the pond is known as "progressivism." An observable symptom of progressivism is that the authorizing text is made to conform to the desired results - the results being the true fixed stake of the progressive, relaxing fidelity to the text as needed to produce the results - rather than permitting the text to dictate the results.

For me, the text is fixed, and dictates the results: "ordained" in D&C 43 means "ordained." For you, "ordained" in D&C 43 must mean "appointed" or else the desired result - a true and living Church with intermittent and legitimate "revelations and commandments" being given - cannot obtain.

Unfortunately, as the text uses the word "ordained," there is no functional middle ground between us. For those to whom the text is likewise fixed, come what results may, I have clearly taken the only position which is consistent with the received text, whereas you are demonstrably incorrect in your views on the subject of D&C 43 and the invalidity and significance of canonizing D&C 136.

And also unfortunately, for those to whom the Church's claims must be vindicated, the text of D&C 43 must be transfigured or else the Church's claims cannot be vindicated. To such, I will appear perverse and blind, a follower of dead prophets and a rejector of living ones. All is well in Zion - except for those fools who say all is not well in Zion; can they not behold and see the greatness and glory of our kingdom? We gotta get rid of those negative Nancies, and then all will be well in Zion.

I find, however, that deciding the way reality is and then forcing everything else to conform to that decision - or narrative - is generally a problematic way to approach life and existence.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robin Hood,
I'm not sure you know what is meant by circular reasoning or straw man arguments. I'm not following you.

I think what you're trying to accuse me of is using the logical fallacy of an "appeal to authority," where one side argues that something is true because someone in authority says it's true. If so, I'd still have to disagree with you, because I did not cite Brother Brown because he was an authority, and you'll notice I did not rely on him, nor recommend him to others on those grounds.

If I understand you correctly, your allegation is that I'm contradicting myself because I cite Hugh B. Brown (an acknowledged authority in the church) even though I don't recognize his authority as a prophet, seer and revelator. You then insist I "prove" that Brown was absolutely right in every instance of his argument.

You don't seem to have noticed that I invoked Elder Brown's talk as an INTELLECTUAL argument, not as final, indisutable proof. I did not rely on him for my testimony of Joseph Smith. As you'll notice with a second look at my post, what I said was "Elder Brown's impressive outline had a great deal to do with my ACQUIRING a testimony of Joseph Smith's divine calling. But that was not the only way I arrived at my testimony."

I went on to show that I further investigated what GOD had said regarding Joseph Smith, then as a final step I confirmed God's words by asking God directly if His words were true.

I cited Hugh Brown's conversation precisely because I believe it to be a convincing intellectual argument. I did not require further proof from him that he was correct in every instance. It was enough to get me started on the path.

What I'm wondering about is what did you find about his list of characteristics to disagree with? I thought he covered them all pretty well.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I just finished writing a post about the necessity of praying about any purported revelation in order to determine if it is what it says it is, and then I come onto the comment section and find an ongoing argument regarding section 136. Makes me wonder if those who insist it is a real revelation bothered to pray about it. Or even to read it carefully.

Section 136 DOES indeed represent the will of the Lord. But it is decidedly NOT a revelation from God.

Brigham's instructions to the church in that section represent the will of the Lord because Brigham is repeating instructions that had been given by the Lord to his people when they were embarking on Zion's Camp back in 1834. He would have seen no need to reinvent the wheel, so he reiterated the instructions God gave his people previously. Those instructions entail organizing into captains of 10, 50, and a hundred, and further contain counsel on how to gather, what to bring, etc.

When the Lord is speaking, he doesn't say things like "And this shall be OUR covenant—that WE will walk in all the ordinances of the Lord." He would have worded it to say "and this shall be YOUR covenant and YOU shall walk in all the ordinances of the Lord. and when the Lord is speaking, he does not refer to himself in the third person as is the case within some of the first 11 verses in section 136.

I would suggest LDSAwakening misunderstands me and others when he refers to an "overwhelming need that many have to discredit everything Brigham Young did." I don't feel that way at all. Brigham Young was entitled to lead the Saints at that point.

Since the Twelve were voted by the members to preside over the church, Brigham, as president of the Quorum was perfectly authorized to issue instructions. The church belongs to the people that make it up. Indeed the church IS the people (D&C 10:67), so the people are entitled to select their leaders and take instruction from them, particularly instructions on how to load their wagons and prepare to move out. This is not the same, however, as the Lord selecting his mouthpiece. One is elected, the other is selected.

I find it perfectly acceptable for Brigham to repeat instructions the Lord had given previously in a similar situation. Why should he reinvent the wheel? The will of the Lord had already been given to the Saints on how to gather and move on. They had done it more than once before.

Beginning with verse 12 of section 136, things begin to be more problematic for some, because now it appears that the Lord himself may be speaking. But aside from naming a few specific individuals (is it God who is referring to "my servant" Amasa Lyman et al, or is it Brigham Young?) everything else in section 136 represents things either the Lord or Joseph Smith had spoken previously. Look at the footnotes in section 136 in your set of LDS scriptures (providing your scriptures were published after 1981). You'll see where every statement in that section hearkens back to a previous revelation or teaching.

Some have suggested Brigham is just padding the instructions. But this use of "filler" was common with Joseph Smith too, and especially Oliver Cowdery, who was qualified to receive revelation. Oliver was in the habit of padding his excessively, but who cares? Being given reminders of things the Lord has said previously is always beneficial.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

(continued)

Does Section 136 belong in the canon? We tend to think that everything in the D&C was canonized because God willed it. But whether something comes from God or not has nothing to do with the members voting to canonize it. Does the 12th article of faith belong in the canon? I rest my case.

It's worth noting that in meetings of the council of fifty following Joseph's death, it was frequently proposed that Brigham Young be given unfettered authority to make decisions and issue commands. But their votes wouldn't mean anything if God did not give Brigham His authority.

Section 136 is valid instruction, but it is not revelation. "Revelation" is defined as something "revealed" from God that had heretofore been unknown. There is nothing in section 136 to indicate it came from the mouth of the Lord. If you have questions about its provenance, you might take it to God in prayer. That's what he's there for.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

LDS Awakening quotes from pg 417, Vol 2 of DHC where Joseph is quoted as asking the congregation to sustain the Quorum of the Twelve as prophets, seers, and revelators, although they never exhibited the fruits of those callings. He says "We have to ask ourselves why."

I would prefer to seek out Joseph's original entry before responding, because as we know, the DHC was doctored after his death, and many things Joseph never said were suddenly in the official history. But I have not yet found and unpacked all my books since our move to Idaho. I don't even own a copy of "The Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative History." I had to borrow it from a friend in Utah in order to cite the passages I needed for this blog post. (I'm never going to own that volume myself, as they want 60 bucks apiece for them now. So I'm done collecting all the volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers. They'll have to continue on without me dogging them.)

But I can tell you why Joseph asked for that sustaining vote, if in fact he did. Sidney Rigdon had been pressuring Joseph to give him a position and title in the church so he would be more accepted as an authoritative source. Rigdon had an enormous ego, understandable when you recall that he was a famous American preacher with an enormous following. Joining the Mormons ended up lessening his reputation, and he felt the least Joseph could do would be to make him, Sidney, some sort of co-prophet.

So Joseph asked for a sustaining vote from the congregation in favor of Sidney Rigdon, and then, as a way of debasing Rigdon's currency, asked for the same recognition for the twelve apostles. Oliver Cowdery told the Twelve that their callings were aspirational, that is intended to encourage them to rise up and be worthy of the titles. Their titles were an honorific at best; they would not truly have fulfilled their callings until they met Jesus Christ face to face. They were encouraged to seek that meeting, because until then they were prophets, seers, and revelators in name only.

You'll recall that enoch had revelation after revelation, but never became a seer until much later. A man does not become a revelator until God commands he publish the revelations.

Jordomazing said...

Robin Hood said...
@Log,
It's not often that someone has you on the ropes, so I'm more than content for our dialogue to serve as encouragement for others.

December 12, 2016 at 1:59 PM

Yeah no shit retard. I know you get personally super butthurt about the fact that any sane human being could look at the dialog that you, specifically, and Log have had.

You come looking off like a pretentious little ignorant shit every time.

And oh yeah, let's all have a jolley joke (right because, Britain) and look at your last little exposition:

"Maybe it's just that we Brits have a natural indifference, irreverence and disdain for authority.
We like to mock the royals, laugh at our polital leaders, and stick two fingers up (our version of the middle finger) at anyone who thinks they're important.
Look what we told the Brussels elite they could do with their EU project!

We don't like being told what to think, say or do.

When it comes to the church some of that attitude carries through.
Follow the prophet isn't a major theme in my experience, with the possible exception of the primary song."

I'm not sure if people are 'allowed to say "fuck"' on this blog -- but Robin? As a very, very interest person who has watched this blog for 5 years (oh yeah, and every damned word you and everyone else has said) -- who do you think you're fucking kidding?


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

Just tell me were I oughta' put my two fingers with regards to you, Mr. Robin Hood.

Jordomazing said...

*Shit gets reaaaal quiet.*

Anyone care to make a peep?

Jordomazing said...

Because Christ HIMSELF said the Scriptures cannot be broken -- and Ye are all Gods? Correct?

So what's with a little 'come let us reason together? Ya know, from one God to Another?

Log said...

Well, people don't really care to be reasoning with those who are casting personal aspersions upon them, as a general thing.

I have been giving some thought to a puzzle Robin Hood posed: given D&C 43, whence Denver Snuffer (if he be appointed)?

Well, here's the solution.

1. The law requiring rejection of any non-Joseph-appointed teachings (D&C 43:6) is given to the elders of the Lord's church.
2. If the LDS Church is not the Lord's church, then LDS ordained elders are not necessarily the ordained elders of the Lord's church.
3. If the LDS Church is the Lord's church, then LDS ordained elders must operate by the Lord's law, in this context, D&C 43:6.
4. The elders of the LDS Church, in receiving D&C 136 (and others) as revelations or commandments broke the law of the Lord.
5. The LDS Church is therefore not the Lord's church since they rebelled against his law.
6. Therefore, I am not an elder in the Lord's church, at least not by virtue of my ordination as an elder within the LDS Church.
7. Therefore, D&C 43:6 does not apply to me.
8. I am free, therefore, to receive Denver Snuffer's teachings, even if he should say they are revelations or commandments.

QED.

Log said...

And for another to be appointed to the gift of receiving revelations and commandments for the elders of the Lord's church, Joseph would apparently have to come and appoint him.

How interesting.

Log said...

Otherwise, once a person is ordained an elder in the Lord's church, then one is bound by D&C 43:6 to reject any others' teachings as revelation or commandment, and also to reject the teacher.

Shall there be a "prophet-led" church that builds Zion? What of the prophesied "one mighty and strong?" Shall he teach revelations or commandments?

Interesting things to ponder.

Jordomazing said...

Eh. The one thing I was afraid I was gonna happen. Drank too much. I cast a bunch of aspersions -- no sarcasm. As much as I wanna hashtagundo everything I said, eh -- might as well be a matter of record.

My bad, I find myself in the unenviable position of having over-estimated my 'rightness' while undermining everyone else's. That ain't cool.

I'm sorry.

-Jordan.

Log said...

D&C 41
5 He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you;

6 For it is not meet that the things which belong to the children of the kingdom should be given to them that are not worthy, or to dogs, or the pearls to be cast before swine.


So what happens when very nearly every last member of the Church saith they recieve it and doeth it not? How then is it his church, except in name only? And what has the Lord done in the past when this circumstance has arisen? Hint: it's how we got the Book of Mormon.

So we go back to that apostasy thing - with a community of pretenders, and the unlucky sot(s) who took their hypocrisy at face value, and when he indiscreetly mentions noticing their hypocrisy they ostracize, pressure, cast out, stone, and slay him.

Lester said...

Moving to Idaho has not lessened your intellectual curiosity or your nose for a good story, Rock. Thank you for this post. LDS history has drifted out of focus over time, bowdlerized by LDS leaders to serve their personal purposes and simply forgotten as perceptions and context have changed. Your sleuthing reveals vital new timely insights.

Sadly, most active LDS folks are not used to thinking critically about church history or even their scriptures or studying either. If invited to read your post, most of the active LDS members that I know would reject it for at least a couple of reasons: first, they would take offense at the subject as some commenters have done here. They would feel obliged to call you out as an apostate stir stick. Secondly, they would balk at the length of the post, its detail and its references to works they're unfamiliar with. For all those reasons we need this post and for your continued energy and inclination to research and write.

As a gospel doctrine teacher for the last five years I've come to recognize a pattern of actual messengers from God behaving in certain ways and laboring against patterns of arrogance and disbelief, even persecution. Until just recently I haven't seen evidence for actual messengers from God anywhere since Joseph Smith and see similar belief patterns of arrogance and disbelief today as those we observe in the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. Despite the smooth words of praise from the men in the plush red chairs, I believe we're running amok. We benefit from studying your post and discussing it, Rock. It doesn't trouble me that not everyone agrees with you or with each other. With or without Denver Snuffer we need to repent and beg God for light and truth.

Log, you've shared some lovely insights here. Much light and truth to you. Jordan, yours is a cautionary tale for us all!

Robin Hood said...

log,
Joseph did appoint another to receive revelations for the church.
He appointed Hyrum.
He also instructed Hyrum not to accompany him to Carthage.
However, Hyrum ignored the instruction and insisted on going with him.
Hyrum died first.
At the point that Hyrum proclaimed "I am a dead man" the church was without a Prophet, and has been ever since.

Now, we have an apostolic administration, very similar to the situation that existed in the New Testament church.
The apostles are prophets, seers and revelators as ldsawakening clearly pointed out. In my view we have prophets (note lower case) but not a Prophet.

ldsawakening said...

Rock,

I wasn’t trying to single you out when I said that there are some here who reject D&C 136 out of a need to discredit everything Brigham Young did in order to fit a certain narrative. What could that narrative be? First off the narrative includes the idea that Joseph Smith never practiced or taught plural marriage. In order to support this claim we have to demonize Brigham and pin the origin of the practice on him. Since Brigham always declared that the practice was from Joseph this would make Brigham a liar, plain and simple. It would also make him an adulterer. So how could a liar and an adulterer possibly receive a true revelation from the Lord? Of course he couldn’t.

It really isn’t a matter of the contents of D&C 136 or whether there are any similarities between the instructions given there in and Zion’s Camp. Many of Joseph’s revelations were repetitive, too, yet we accept them. It comes down to our opinion of Brigham Young and his character and teachings. We don’t like that he was a polygamist. We don’t like that he put an official ban on Blacks holding the priesthood in place, we don’t like that he taught that Adam is God, we don’t like that he taught blood atonement, and on and on. D&C 136 could be the most glorious powerful revelation ever recorded and we would have to reject because in order to fit the narrative we want it HAS to be false.

What’s another key part of the narrative that requires us to discredit Brigham Young at every turn? Hmm…could it be the idea that the church was rejected along with her dead back in Nauvoo? Again Brigham Young couldn’t have received even one true revelation in order to fit that narrative. Now let’s think about which popular blogger and self-proclaimed messenger teaches this narrative. Could it be Denver Snuffer? Yes I believe it is.

Denver Snuffer is the elephant in the room. In order for him to be a true messenger and for the rebaptism he offers to be legit, his version of church history and church doctrine has to be correct. At the end of the day the underlying current of this blog comes down to Denver Snuffer. As much as Denver and his faithful try to deflect attention from him, his influence CANNOT be ignored or minimized.

For example, it doesn’t matter how much evidence there is that Joseph Smith taught and practiced plural marriage. Nor does it matter that Denver use to teach that he practiced it, he now rejects it, so those who accept him as a true messenger have to reject it, too. Which again necessitates demonizing Brigham Young.

Along the same lines the fact that Joseph Smith had the 12 apostles sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators back in 1836 is problematic to the Denver Snuffer narrative.

Rock from where I stand it really comes down to if one accepts Denver Snuffer as a true messenger or not. If one does then one has to spin the facts to fit his narrative, which is what I believe you and many of your readers are doing. Perhaps unintentionally.

ldsawakening said...

Jordomazing,

I would appreciate it if you would remove the rest of your drunken blasphemous posts from this comment section. I would certainly hope that you would learn from this not to touch the devil's drink anymore.

I don't like to assume things, but my guess is that you are also a follower of the Denver Snuffer movement where drinking is encouraged, as is swearing. If I were you I would cut your ties from that false prophet and his teachings right away. By their fruits ye shall know them. Drinking and swearing are two of the evil fruits of DS.

MC

Robin Hood said...

@ldsawakening,
Nail on the head once again.
Snuffer is a false teacher and was rightly expelled from the church.
He will have his reward.

The problem is that there are a lot of gullible people out there.
It was the same with those that followed James Strang.
That didn't end well for him or his followers either.

Log said...

@Robin Hood RE: administrative apostolate

I understand your view.

The most recent claim from the 15 apostles that I am aware of is that they are in possession of every priesthood key ever given to any man in this dispensation ("Sustaining the Prophets"). I will take this claim in its most "merciful" sense that if there was a key given in this dispensation to any man, then they claim to have it, because if I take it in its most restrictive sense, then the claim is demonstrably false by reference to statements from President Spencer W. Kimball, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks (repeating Kimball).

The only problem is that if there is and has been no Prophet since Joseph was killed - as you agree is obviously the case - then Elder Nelson's claim that the apostolate possesses every key ever given to any man in this dispensation is also demonstrably false. To foreshadow where this is going: if they demonstrably lack any key that they claim to have, then they may possibly have no keys at all.

TPJS, p. 171
The next great, grand Patriarch [after Enoch] who held the keys of the Priesthood was Lamech....

Thus we behold the keys of this Priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that He talked with him [Noah] in a familiar and friendly manner, that He continued to him the keys, the covenants, the power and the glory, with which He blessed Adam at the beginning; and the offering of sacrifice, which also shall be continued at the last time; for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the Priesthood, under the directions and commandments of the Almighty in any of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation, therefore all things had under the authority of the Priesthood at any former period, shall be had again, bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets; then shall the sons of Levi offer an acceptable offering to the Lord. "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord." (See Malachi 3:3.)


As well as:

Elijah was the last Prophet that held the keys of the Priesthood, and who will, before the last dispensation, restore the authority and deliver the keys ofthe Priesthood, in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness. It is true that the Savior had authority and power to bestow this blessing; but the sons of Levi were too prejudiced. "And I will send Elijah the Prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord," etc., etc. Why send Elijah? Because he holds the keys of authority to administer in all the ordinances of the Priesthood; and without the authority is given, the ordinances could not be administered in righteousness.

Log said...

The Church claims that Elijah gave Joseph the keys of the Priesthood in 1836, and Russel M. Nelson claims the apostolate possesses them right now. Joseph, in 1840, in the material cited above, said that the restoration of the keys of the Priesthood from Elijah was to yet to happen as of then. These claims cannot be reconciled on their face.

But let us presume Joseph was mistaken in 1840, and that Elijah really gave him the keys of the Priesthood in 1836, and Joseph just didn't know it - including the one that lets the person possessing it the ability to obtain the voice of Jehova and to talk with him in a familiar and friendly manner, &c. One might think that in obtaining the voice of Jehovah, and speaking to him in a familiar and friendly manner, Joseph might have been aware that he had the keys of the Priesthood - but let's let that slide, too. One who can converse with Jehovah is, using your terminology, a capital-P Prophet, of which you acknowledge there have been none in the Church since Joseph was killed. But that implies directly that Nelson is incorrect in that the apostolate possesses every key ever given to any man in this dispensation, or else they would be capital-P Prophets, able to obtain the voice of Jehovah and speak with him in a familiar and friendly way. Instead, Nelson insists that it's when the 15 Apostles agree with themselves that they know the will of the Lord.

Would you agree that the process Nelson describes engaging in to ostensibly obtain the will of the Lord differs substantially from the operation of keys of the Priesthood as Joseph described it?

Log said...

Or would the capital-P Prophet be one appointed to the elders of the Lord's church to receive revelations and commandments, and not merely one able to converse with Jehovah?

Either way, seems we have an apostolate which lacks specific keys while claiming to have them.

And if they falsely claim to have one key, then all their claims concerning keys are possibly false.

Denver Snuffer said...

Rock:

This was an important post and useful for anyone sincerely interested in sorting through the tragic history of the restoration. It is one of your best and I'm pleased you have provided it.

These events and the participants involved are so important they require careful scrutiny and critical assessment. Unfortunately it is almost impossible for a dispassionate consideration to be given by people who worry that they may forfeit salvation if they part from traditions taught by the wealthy and powerful. The sober reality is, however, that the Lord uses "weak things" of this world and whenever there is an actual message from an actual messenger it almost invariably comes from an "outsider" and never from the seat of power.

In a very real sense the Lord always requires mankind to pass the same test. Doesn't matter if it is in Old Testament times, when solitary figures preach repentance and condemn the wayward priests, kings and false teachers, or New Testament times, when the Lord Himself came as one "with no beauty that we should desire him"--a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Nor even in our day when Joseph Smith irked the surrounding believers in a false Christianity by his denouncements that they conspired to kill him. Whenever there is something afoot involving the Lord it seems the test remains constant.

Few people have ever responded to a voice crying repentance from the wilderness. Most who are "religious" point to the wilderness as proof that the voice ought to be ignored, condemned and opposed.

Denver Snuffer said...

While I loved the post I couldn't make it through the comments. The comments seem to have gone adrift, and forgotten your topic. The greatest "proof" to support LDS tradition does not find much (or any) support in the earliest documents of the restoration. Even arguments made August 8, 1844 do not justify what would be later claimed by the LDS twelve. You've pointed out some of the important details in your post. It would be good if the subject of the comments returned to your original theme. There is a great deal more that could be said.

I think the authors, diarists, speakers and testifiers who support the traditions of the LDS institution were telling what they sincerely believed to be true in the 1850s, 60s, and 70s. But remember that once Joseph and Hyrum died, the leadership devolved to a committee of twelve for a short time, then to Brigham Young. Young knew the respect Joseph had from those who accepted the religion and were following it, and therefore relied on Joseph's "mantle"--just not in the way LDS traditions describe it. Brigham Young attributed everything he (Young) wanted to accomplish to his predecessor. And those who lived in the western desert kingdom, on the edge of survival, depended on the governance of Young for everything. Even title to land was originated by the LDS church prior to the establishment of civil government.

In the circumstances, it was easy to "have a testimony" that you were living and practicing the same thing Joseph originated. And, of course, if you "have a testimony" that it was "true" then anything you said to support it was likewise true. And so affidavits, testimonials and talks all echoed the theme of the "restoration through Joseph Smith, continued seamlessly with Brigham Young." The torn seams and missing material were unknown to the saints.

The truth is that any LDS history written before 2004 is woefully incomplete. While I appreciate the work of D. Michael Quinn, because he wrote using materials unavailable to the public, he provided interpretations and arguments that the source materials expose in a different light. It is very difficult to let historical materials speak without inserting traditions.

I resolved the temptation to insert my view by using the scriptures, primarily the Book of Mormon, to tell me the contours of the restoration. They wrote prophetically beforehand. But they claimed to have "seen our day" and therefore to understand us. Taking their themes as guide, it was easy to see events followed the pattern foretold by a fallen people. Hence the accounts in Passing the Heavenly Gift and Preserving the Restoration.

Keep up the fight, Rock. All my best to you and your wife.

Log said...

There are other problems, too - but we can get this far without even troubling ourselves as to what the word "keys" means - for example, without discussing whether "keys" are licenses to exercise power, or whether keys are items of knowledge which serve to unlock the hidden meaning of things.

D&C 128: 11 Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the powers of the Holy Priesthood. For him to whom these keys are given there is no difficulty in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living.

That is, there is no difficulty in obtaining answers from God on these things - but again, contrast this scripture with what Nelson says is the process the apostolate deploys in obtaining, as he claims, the will of the Lord. It seems they have great difficulty in obtaining... well, whatever it is they obtain whenever they agree with themselves.

Is this how Joseph obtained his knowledge - by gathering the 12 apostles together and debating and reconciling and counseling and whatever until everyone agreed and then whatever resulted was held to be "a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men," ie, the will of the Lord? Or did he simply speak as he received it from the voice of the Lord, or in face-to-face discussion with the Lord?

ldsawakening said...

Log,

You make some excellent points about how the current claims of the brethren of being true prophets, seers, and revelators who posses all of the keys ever bestowed upon man do not hold water. In fact in the talk by President Nelson you sited, he declares that the brethren are prophets in the "fullest sense of the word". I really have no idea how Robin can at this point still try to claim that the follow the prophet mantra at church doesn't come from the top. I understand why he takes this position. It's because once one admits that the brethren are not true prophets, seers, and revelators even though they insist that they are, everything falls apart with the church.

It would be one thing for the members to be putting the brethren on a pedestal, while the brethren denounce it, but the fact that the brethren themselves are encouraging and even promoting this false doctrine is very, very bad. Claiming to be a prophet, when one isn't one is being a false prophet. That's all there is to it. Even if one believes one is a prophet when one makes these claims, it still makes one a false prophet. But like I said I can see why Robin is unwilling to admit this to himself. It's a very, very hard reality to accept. It's much easier to be in denial and keep trying to find some bizarre explanation for all the contradictions than it is to come to grips with the awful situation that the members of the church find themselves in.

Log said...

So here's how I perceive the discussion going.

1. The claims of the Q12 to rightful rulership over the Church is demonstrably historically unsupported at best.
2. The defeater to #1 is the claim that the oracles followed the Church, as evidenced by D&C136, thus the rule of Q12 had divine approval.
3. The defeater to #2 is D&C 43, which shows the LDS Church's acceptance of post-martyrdom revelations / commandments, such as D&C 136, to be examples of rebellion against the Lord, thus demonstrating the LDS Church is not the Lord's.
4. The defeater to #3 is that the Q15 has the keys.
5. The defeater to #4 is that the Q15's possession of the keys is false on scriptural, historical, and descriptive grounds on key keys - specifically, the one that gives them power to receive revelations and commandments for the elders of the Lord's church.
6. The defeater to #5 is yet to be put forward.

It occurs to me that we needn't have gone that far. The argument is over at #3 via D&C 43, for if the Q15 cannot receive revelations and commandments for the elders of the Lord's church, and it is agreed that they cannot, then each and every deviation from the scriptures on the part of the Q12/Q15 constitutes additional evidence that the Church - specifically, the leadership - is in rebellion against God's laws and commandments. Consecration, tithing, everything they do that conflicts with the scriptures is evidence of rebellion - which would include the rulership of the Q12/Q15.

ldsawakening said...

Having said that the same thing can be said about Denver Snuffer's claims to being a true messenger. It doesn't matter how many wonderful things Denver teaches or how much better his movement appears than what's going on in the LDS church. All that matters is if he was really called of God or not. If he wasn't then he is a false prophet, even if he believes he's a true messenger (aka a prophet).

Denver just posted two comments on this blog, which is more of the same from him. He again promotes his book Passing the Heavenly Gift. He claims that he doesn't insert his own opinions into his narrative of church history, but rather uses the Book of Mormon as his interpretive lens. That's BS. In his book PTHG he uses the BOM as justification for Joseph's practice of plural marriage. Even speculating that Joseph received his knowledge that polygamy was a correct principle while translating the Book of Jacob and not while translating the Bible. Of course as we all know Denver has done a complete 180 on that. He also calls Joseph's relationship with Fanny Alger a marriage in his lectures, but has since denounced that, too. Hmm...I thought he received the contents of those lectures directly from Christ himself? I also thought that PTHG was the most correct version of church history ever written?

Seriously how does anyone not see Denver Snuffer for what he is? How can anyone take that guy seriously? I guess people are just so desperate to find something to hold on to once they discover what a mess the church is that they'll fall for anything. I guess it really is tough to discern false prophets from true ones. All these people who are reading their scriptures and can see the apostasy in the church, and yet can't see a false prophet for what he is. That Satan sure is good at what he does.

Log said...

@LDSA

Provide quotes from the materials alleged to contain contradictions.

Robin Hood said...

@ldsawakening,
You're right about Snufffer.
No prophecies, no seeing, no revelations. According to the standards Snuffer, Rock and Log demand of the brethren, Snuffer has to be a false teacher, and should be avoided like the plague.
I find it telling that these people refuse to hold Snuffer to the standards they demand of others. Very telling indeed.

Snuffer's book, Passing The Heavenly Gift, is absolutely awful. I read it when it was first published and was completely underwhelmed. I have since had a number of Snufferites tell me it is his worst book, and his earlier work was better. This may be true, but I haven't read them so I can't comment. I wouldn't condemn something I haven't read.

Altbough I don't claim any prophetic gift, I am willing to predict that, unlike Joseph Smith, Snuffer will fade away into obscurity like a vapour in the wind. As will all those itching ears.

Robin Hood said...

@ldsawakening,

Prophet = An inspired teacher of God's will; according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
I would suggest that President Nelson was therefore accurate in his claim.
Maybe you have fallen into the trap that appears to have ensnared Rock and others; namely that you consistently expect more from a prophet than you should. It's called looking beyond the mark.

Robin Hood said...

Incidently, I met and spoke with President Nelson a few weeks ago.
I gained a significant insight on that occasion which I have shared with some.
However, it would clearly be wasted in present company.

ldsawakening said...

Robin,

Yes perhaps I am looking beyond the mark with what I expect from the brethren. Then again perhaps not. I really don't expect that much. I don't expect them to receive powerful revelations and speak in the name of God to the people. What I do expect is that they not change the ordinances and doctrines as taught by Joseph Smith and in the early days of the church.

In addition to many changed teachings, the brethren have changed nearly all of the Temple ordinances over the years. This cannot be justified in any way shape or form. One of the most recent changes to the endowment ceremony that requires the participants to remain seated while making the sacred covenants is in my opinion offensive to God. It shows a lack of respect and reverence. There is ZERO reason for making this change. Those who felt they were unable to stand previously out of age or health reasons were already permitted to remain seated. Forcing the rest to remain seated now, who could easily stand out of respect for God, is wrong. Not only that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to make the signs and tokens correctly while seated. The Temple changes are a clear sign that we are drifting of course. At least that's what I think.

Robin Hood said...

@ldsawakening,
In my view anyone who bleats on about changed temple ordinances demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the temple and the covenants on offer.
But that is a whole different subject.
My advice? Don't condemn what you clearly appear not to understand.

ldsawakening said...

Log,

You should read through Denver's original blog series on D&C 132, his commentary on it in PTHG, his Polygamy Lecture, and then what he has written since then. The shift is subtle, but obvious.

Just look at this. This is from his original series on D&C 132:

"More on Section 132:

This brings us to some details that need to be understood. The clarifications in verses 41-44 were a result of the "mechanics" of how the practice was implemented. The various efforts to "fulfill the law" while still keeping up Elizabethan appearances included performing a "sealing" for time and eternity to one man, while the woman was married for time to another man. This relieved the eternal husband/companion of any duty to have conjugal relations with, or provide financial support for the woman while here. It allowed her to live a "normal" married life with her husband, while still committed eternally to another. A sort of nod in the direction of the plural wife revelation, without any real commitment to actually practice it here. There were other forms of compromise attempted, as well.

The defining of what was and what was not "adultery" was necessary in light of the troubles on the ground, so to speak. Confusion began to multiply as these compromise efforts were attempted by people who really didn't want to get this thing going in the way David and Solomon had done."

So here Denver explains and clarifies what he thinks are some difficult verses in the revelation.

ldsawakening said...

Nowhere in his entire original blog series, PTHG, the polygamy lecture, or his 10 lecture series does he call into question any of the content of section 132.

But look what he has to say on his blog December 12, 2015:

"It is apparent to any reader that D&C §132 is internally inconsistent. Those inconsistencies suggest to me it is an altered document. If it has been altered and/or is not the original language"

"The earliest descriptions of the original document do not match the Kingsbury text. I’ve studied the document and given prayerful consideration to it for years."

After accusing Brigham Young of altering the text to fit his narrative he then proceeds to make corrects to the text of D&C 132 changing words and scratching out entire sentences including verses he previously explained and clarified such as the above verses 41-44.

"The thought that begins in verse 40 is interrupted by 4 verses, then continues in verse 45. The content in-between (verses 41-44) appears to be an interlineation. The addition of those 4 verses seems unnecessary, and invites abusive intrusions by a man pretending to judge others."

Here's a small excerpt of his "corrections":

40 I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things. Ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you according to my word.

41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.

42 If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.

43 And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery.

44 And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committedadultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.

45 For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.

ldsawakening said...

Robin,

Perhaps I do not understand the Temple as well as I should, and this certainly isn't the right place to get into the specifics of the changes. I guess it all depends on what one wants to believe. I believe the scriptures and Joseph Smith who say that sacred saving ordinances are not to be changed. In fact I see the changing of ordinances by the Catholic Church as a key component of the Great Apostasy. Joseph Smith quoted Isaiah 24:5 in relation to the state of apostasy among sectarian Christianity.

5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

What gives us the right to change any of the ordinances, let alone to the extent that we have? Like I said this isn't the appropriate place to get into the specifics or even delve seriously into the changed Temple ordinances, so I would just suggest that you think about the changes and what the significance of those changes might be (i.e. lost symbolism, lost instruction, minimization of the seriousness of the covenants, etc). Every change, without question has been in a move to be more politically correct and make the Temple ordinances more comfortable for the membership.

Just think about it and let it sink in for a while. We can always talk about it later. I appreciate you efforts to combat the false teachings of Denver Snuffer and your zeal in defending the church. Though I don't agree with everything you say I respect that you are willing to boldly stand up for what you believe.

MC

Robin Hood said...

@ldsawakening,
I contend that the ordinance has not been changed, just the form it takes.
The underlying symbology is unaltered.

Log said...

@MC - Denver Snuffer is, of course, of age and can speak for himself. He has no spokesman, after all. I am confused as to the argument you are trying to make, however: are you saying that in order to be a true messenger in something or other one cannot ever have been mistaken on any subject one has ever opened one's mouth upon?

@Robin Hood - נָבִיא , nabiy' = prophet = spokesman. My expectations of the Brethren are actually pretty low. Hell, I'd settle for just "not lying." Unfortunately, even that bar is too high. The Q15 have already tripped over it.

NET Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy lies. The priests exercise power by their own authority. And my people love to have it this way. But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes!

Also, @Robin Hood - you admit the ordinance of the endowment has been changed when you admit the form of the ordinance has been changed (and, if I held your feet to the fire, you'd admit the words have been altered and changed, too, but you'd contend that was a change of form and not a change of content or essence). Shall we find you defending the alteration of baptism from immersion to sprinkling? Or letting gross errors slide when the priest in your ward says the sacramental prayers? Why or why not?

Log said...

In the end, argument doesn't convert. As the aphorism goes, the man who is convinced against his will is of his original opinion still.

Unless one is willing to put everything one thinks one knows, and certainly everything one believes, on the altar, to prove what is good and true, then one cannot be taught, neither can one be persuaded.

Joseph taught: I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes [declare boundaries or limitations, what God can or cannot, or will or will not, do] for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions. - TPJS, p. 321

All of them. Which means unless one actually does know a thing by firsthand experience, including the meaning of one's firsthand experience, one would be wise to treat it as at least questionable.

Dox said...

@Robin Hood

@Log said what I was going to say, but I'll say it anyway. The early Christian change of baptism from immersion to sprinkling has a near-identical parallel with our changing the anointing ordinance from actually putting water and oil on the various parts of the body, to only "symbolically" anointing only one.

If that change for us doesn't invalidate the ordinance, why does the immersion to sprinkling change of the early church invalidate their baptism?

Dox said...

Further, I only describe the recent changes. The change is even more parallel when considering how the ordinance was done in Kirtland and Nauvoo.

Scott Peterson said...

Can anyone here imagine any supposed prophet of the LDS church posting his beliefs on a blog. Yet, Denver Snuffer has done so. Why? Because he is like Enos, who when he realized the LORD had redeemed him from the fall started praying for the welfare of everyone else. That is the mark of a true disciple of CHRIST. "Follow the Savior" has been Denver's constant theme, and "follow the Prophet" is the message of the LDS church. Denver is humble enough to try and help others find CHRIST. The general authorities have to use opinion polls before they make a decision. Finally, if there is any person reading this who thinks the current church policy to make children of gay parents wait to get baptized until they are legally adults is inspired they are correct...it was inspired by Satan.

JimP said...

Having first read this excellent post by Rock (loved it!) and the 95 or so comments following, I'm a bit puzzled. Why all the contention? I must admit that I'm not sure what the point is of the several most vocal commentators. Do they agree with Rock's post or disagree with Rock's post. Or is it just a battle to prove who is right? Are we not all wanting to be more Christ-like? Haven't we been warned by ancient and some modern prophets (you can insert your own capitalization) to NOT follow the arm of flesh? And that our only hope of salvation comes from the One who employs no servant there? Who cares about 15 men who claim some authority? They can do what they want and be accountable for that. As for me and my house we will server the Lord, and Him only.

Peace.

ldsawakening said...

Log,

Of course I'm not suggesting that a true messenger can never be wrong about anything. Even Joseph Smith didn't understand everything at first (or ever I might add). He made mistakes, too.

I apologize that my second set of quotes from DS didn't show the lines crossing out verses 41-44 of D&C 132. I guess when it comes Denver's position on plural marriage I believe it's very telling of what he's all about. He expounds as if he knows without actually taking a hard line stance. He did an extensive explanation on D&C 132 on his blog, in PTHG, and in his polygamy lecture. I actually agreed with most of what he previously taught. But now he has essentially rejected plural marriage. I have heard from someone very close to Denver that Denver claims he has recently spent time with Joseph and Emma and that basically the whole plural marriage thing is bunk.

Anyway, Denver's backpedaling on D&C 132 and plural marriage is just one of many reasons why I reject him as a true messenger. His doctrine on the second comforter and calling and election is wrong. He has also backpedaled off of having to have one's calling and election made sure in this life to be saved. There is ZERO scriptural support for his policy of having a man have 7 women sustain him before he can exercise his priesthood. His teachings and instructions on priesthood ordinations go against scripture and early church practice. Denver has said that the Book of Mormon's primary purpose is to document the many people who have made it back to the presence of God in this life, yet when one reads the BOM it is evident that this is flat out not true. Denver gave a list of scriptures that supposedly document this very thing in the BOM. With the exception of the Brother of Jared there isn't a single verse in the BOM that can be reasonably construed to show that someone had their calling and election made sure. Just seeing Christ in a vision does not constitute receiving the second comforter. There's lots of other issues with Denver's story. His entire movement is unscriptural and he doesn't fit the profile of a true prophet or messenger. Only two last days prophets are mentioned in the scriptures, Joseph Smith and the One mighty and Strong/Davidic Servant/Elias. Denver doesn't in any way fit the profile of the Davidic Servant. I suppose there's also the two prophets who will preach in Jerusalem, be killed, lay in the street for three days, and then be raised up. Denver doesn't fit that one either.

Last, but not least, I just don't feel the Holy Ghost when I read or listen to Denver's stuff. There's no power in his words. I have studied his stuff extensively with an open heart and an open mind. I have prayed a lot about his message and I'm 100% convinced that it is false.

You appear to be well acquainted with the movement. You should know first hand about the evil fruits of swearing and drinking that come with the Denver movement. Those two things alone should be a huge red flag.

People can believe what they want, though. We all have our free agency.

Anonymous said...

ldsawakening,

Just for my own learning and to break down unbelief and tradition can you show me scriptures that show that drinking in moderation and swearing are such horrid sins? I really am curious. Cause I haven't found any but I would consider them if I saw them.

ldsawakening said...

Anonymous,

Well just off the top of my head D&C 89 comes to mind.

4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—

5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

I think these verse are pretty clear. Though the Lord permitted his people to drink wine in moderation in times past, in the last days we are not to drink wine or other strong drink. It is not good and is not pleasing in the sight of our Heavenly Father. The only exception is sacramental wine and that is suppose to be of our own make or we are to use water. This is explained in D&C 27

2 For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.

3 Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies;

4 Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth

Verse 4 states that we are not to use wine for the sacrament unless it is made new among us. New wine would have a lower alcohol content than wine that is more fermented.

It is clear that the Lord does not expect us to use wine even for the sacrament in the last days, but permits it for the sacrament if we make it new ourselves.

D&C 89:17 does mention that barley and other grain may be used for mild drinks, but that doesn't justify drinking beer. Since strong drinks are forbidden in the same section we can't justify drinking alcoholic beer from verse 17.

The scriptures are quite clear that drunkenness is a sin. D&C 89 was given to protect the weak. It's impossible to get drunk if one doesn't drink at all. D&C 89 is very clear that we are not suppose to drink wine or other alcohol in the last days.

ldsawakening said...

As to using vulgar language the scriptures don't flat out say that we shouldn't drop F-bombs or use other forms of vulgar language, but it's certainly implied.

Matthew 15

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

I would suggest that vulgar and offensive language falls under the category of evil thoughts that proceed out of the mouth and come from the heart. These among other things defile a man.

There's also D&C 124

115 And again, verily I say unto you, if my servant Robert D. Foster will obey my voice, let him build a house for my servant Joseph, according to the contract which he has made with him, as the door shall be open to him from time to time.

116 And let him repent of all his folly, and clothe himself with charity; and cease to do evil, and lay aside all his hard speeches;

I would suggest that "hard speeches" is referring to swearing.

D&C 88

121 Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from all your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings.

The Lord condemns light speeches and all laughter.

If the Lord condemns both hard speech and light speech, clearly we are expected to watch what we say. I see no justification whatsoever for swearing or using filthy language in the scriptures.

Think about what Peter did as he denied knowing the savior for the 3rd time. (Matthew 26:74) He began to curse and to swear saying he knew not the man. There is zero indication that Peter was justified in cursing and swearing, in fact just the opposite is strongly implied.

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

Can any mortal (with one singular exception) ever actually be a "true messenger"? Are we wanting too much to trust in the arm of flesh? Whether it be Denver, or Joseph, or Brigham, or McKay, or Hinckley, or Monson? In the historical context of the Endowment even the "true messengers" there, were not (yet) mortal, and exhibited plenty of human weaknesses when they actually did come into mortality.

Perhaps it is the message, not the messenger, that we should be looking for. Perhaps every mortal "prophet" or "messenger" is going to exhibit flaws and weaknesses, in part because being "called" does not automatically make you "chosen", and in part to remind each of us to put our trust in God, and not in mortal man.

Maybe the only true messenger is Christ, and the Holy Ghost who testifies of him. Perhaps the best any of us flawed, imperfect lesser "messengers" or "prophets" can do, is come unto Christ, and point others to Christ. Maybe expecting "prophetic" perfection from any mortal, whether Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, James, John, Joseph, Brigham, Denver, Gordon, Thomas, Rock, Log, Robin Hood or any one else is making them into a false idol.

Log said...

A true messenger is one who is sent to deliver a message with accompanying marks of authenticity, and faithfully delivers the message.

Hence, "how shall I know that you are true messengers?" These things mean stuff.

Robin Hood said...

I'm still waiting for Rock to explain his obvious strawman gaff in his article.
Probably can't.
He's maybe hoping no one will remember.

Robin Hood said...

Rock,
Maybe you need me to be more specific.
Please could you let us know how the likes of Haggai, Obadiah, Micah etc, measure up to President Brown's profile of a prophet.
You seem to have adopted this as your standard measure, and it would therefore be really useful if you could let me know which pages of my bible I need to tear out.
Many thanks.
RH

Robin Hood said...

@Dox,
Maybe because one was authorized and the other wasn't.
It's a thought....

Helorum said...

Robin Hood Stated "Incidently, I met and spoke with President Nelson a few weeks ago.
I gained a significant insight on that occasion which I have shared with some.
However, it would clearly be wasted in present company."

Possibly you could share for those upon whom it would not be wasted?

Anonymous said...

Log, how would someone like Denver provide "accompanying marks of authenticity". Is "stretching forth a hand" one of those marks?

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

When the josephsmithpapers website announced it would be adding the Council of Fifty records a while back, it was announced with such bombast, and the timing was such that it seemed calculated to try and counter the Lord's new movement. At the time I wondered what they thought was so compelling in the sources to stand as evidence for their cause. I expected something ambiguous to give them a little leg up, but I am shocked at how weak their argument is. That being said, years ago when I came across the fact that records DID exist, I really wanted to read them, but they were not available. Now the conflict has brought the LDS to expose them to daylight and forget whatever motives they had before for secrecy, so, happy day!

But, before they came to light, I saw this insight after participating in Masonry and after Denver’s prior comments on the topic before the publication, and this is anecdotal and full of "likely" and "probably" as well (the difference is, I'm not going to organize a multi-million dollar corporate church based off of this claim): any charge given to the body of the council of fifty likely would not have singled out the twelve, but been patterned after Masonic bodies where (inherent in the fact that they called it a "charge" in the first place), 1. a charge is given to all members that represents the scope and glory of the organization and the degree to which they organize, and 2. any individual charge would be related to an office within that body, be related to the duties of that office particularly, and not extend beyond the jurisdiction of that body. Concerning point 2, I had only been aware of a president of the council as the only office, and the rest were a part of the "50" that voted in the council for the group, as they were the standing "constitution" of the body without any needed for bylaws.

Each degree in Masonry had a "charge" for that degree, such as the Entered Apprentice charge at the end of the lecture: "As you are now introduced to the first principles of Masonry, I congratulate you on being accepted...There are three great duties, which as a Mason, you are charged to inculcate--to God, your neighbor, and yourself..." Likewise, if you accepted an office that your degree-level qualified you to accept, there was a particular charge for that office.

Therefore, Wilford Woodruff's recorded testimony about the "charge" still ringing in his ears, would be no more than born out of the feelings he engendered from the lofty language of a general charge connected with the council of fifty, mingled with his colluded interpretation of specific powers he thought that charge conveyed...what about the other members of the council who were likewise charged, i.e. Lyman Wight for instance? That is another scenario just as likely as the one the church historians hypothesize, so no confidence in a conclusion can be settled on by an interpretation of the records alone.

Likewise, I wonder if their recording of the sustaining vote was fabricated to support the "one prophet, one king" ruler idea that Brigham Young later adopted. I wonder if Joseph implemented the ordinance of second anointing (church gives birth to the kingdom, but the kingdom is separate), intended for all members of the council of 50, but emblematic of kings under the king of kings, i.e., more of that steward role. There does seem ample evidence for Joseph Smith's intentions being vastly different than how prejudiced minds might've reacted to how things looked on the surface. The stated purpose for the council motion to sustain sounds quite different than the stated purpose of the LDS anointing ceremony in the temples now.

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

And, as I’ve been reading the Council of Fifty records...the very first day the council met, we have this gem from Joseph: “The brethren then began each to express his views of the subject set forth in the letter. It was encouraging to witness the union of feelings which prevailed on the subject [ . . . ] Pres. Joseph said he wanted all the brethren to speak their minds on this subject and to say what was in their hearts whether good or bad. He did not want to be forever surrounded by a set of ‘dough heads’ and if they did not rise up and shake themselves and exercise themselves in discussing these important matters he should consider them nothing better than ‘dough heads.’ He gave some good advice which seemed to have due effect. The meeting was prolonged being occupied by several of the brethren speaking their views untill [sic] a late hour when upon motion the meeting adjourned untill [sic] tomorrow at 9 o clock A.M. [p. [24]]” (Sunday, 10 Mar 1844, The Joseph Smith Papers: Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846, p. 39). It is William Clayton narrating from crib notes that he copied and expounded on starting the year after Joseph's martyrdom. The account is of the first meeting (which began earlier in the day and continued in the afternoon).

A month later, the Council of Fifty received a report from a committee that had been assigned to re-draft the Constitution of the US and perfect it to include more reference to pure principles from heaven. They didn't get anything done due to the absence of one of the committee members, Parley P. Pratt...and it sounded like he was traveling away from Nauvoo for a while. Joseph said: “Pres. Joseph arose to give some instructions to the council & especially to the committee. He commenced by showing, that the reason why men always failed to establish important measures was, because in their organization they never could agree to disagree long enough to select the pure gold from the dross by the process of investigation. He said that it was right always to judge in favor of the innocent, and it was wrong always, to judge in favor of the guilty He wanted to see a constitution that would compel a man to execute justice in favor of the innocent.” (Thursday, 4 April 1844, The Joseph Smith Papers: Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846, p. 79).

The next day, Brigham Young took a turn sharing his thoughts, and it can be seen what kind of spirit he was of. Notice his insistence on the merger of church and kingdom...yet, there is a definite separation at this time. Clearly, Brigham Young's thoughts ran contrary to the way Joseph organized things, but it is this thought that has prevailed in Mormonism after JS's martyrdom. Remember, JS allowed everyone to be free to share their inmost thoughts, and here we have BY's on display: “Er [Brigham] Young. . . . He then referred to the imperfection and corruption of the governments of the earth. No line can be drawn between the church and other governments, of the spiritual and temporal affairs of the church. Revelations must govern. The voice of God, shall b e the voice of the people. We want to build up the whole church, in all long-suffering &c. Republicanism is, to enjoy every thing there is in heaven, earth or hell to be enjoyed, and not infringe upon the rights of another, and many great things which could not be written [p. [91]]” (Friday, 5 April 1844, The Joseph Smith Papers: Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844-January 1846, p. 82). BY also wishes to enjoy everything in heaven, earth or hell. It sounds like he didn't only blur the line on church vs. kingdom...but blurred the line on a lot of other things as well.

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

And already the publication of the Council of Fifty minutes has been politicized for use by the LGBT agenda...in an otherwise wonderful summary at http://religionandpolitics.org/2016/09/09/the-mormon-council-of-fifty-what-joseph-smiths-secret-records-reveal/ , the professor concludes with "Even as the nation has progressed in providing rights to previously marginalized communities like LGBT Americans, the presidential nominee for one of our two major political parties has based his campaign upon the ostracizing and disenfranchising of minority groups. Recent protests aimed to remind our culture that #BlackLivesMatter are testaments to the limited nature of American justice and liberty. The Mormon experience in the 1830s and 1840s demonstrates that the radical extensions of the majority’s rule has a significant and sobering context, and the Council of Fifty presented only one radical response. In an irony befitting for our national history, Joseph Smith’s theocratic vision proved to be an important moment in America’s democratic experiment."

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

And lastly some thoughts about common consent, and the justification for temporary secrecy in a council, even though the danger of secret combinations are evident throughout the scriptures (i.e., it's the purpose of the secrecy that counts): If a group does good of their own desire, keeping it secret doesn't mean it has to represent an insider clic or evil secret combination...it could represent their desire to work unimpeded from the temptation to not complete the task. As soon as you announce you are doing something, the motivation to complete it waxes cold, or opposition and contention and misunderstanding can quash it.

After the task is complete, like Denver Snuffer's example of a prophet completing the task to be able to later be given the title "prophet," then all can consent to the finished work as "good" or acceptable. Thus, common consent is preserved, and the dilemma of a committee being appointed by a general conference, that fails to produce the desired outcome, is avoided. We wait until we get the desired outcome from independent fellowships or smaller cohorts and--after the fact--consent to accept their production. An example of this dilemma is found in the Council of Fifty records, where a committee was appointed to revise the United States Constitution. They hemmed and they hawed, gave excuses for its lack of completion, then finally asked Joseph Smith to take over by being on their committee, to which he refused. Then, the revelation that the whole council was the Lord's constitution (as opposed to Joseph Smith singularly) came, and the project ended as later Joseph Smith was martyred in part over their presumptuous appointment of Joseph as a king to the council. Obviously many judged Joseph Smith for having secret Council of Fifty meetings, and Anointed Quorum meetings, all while others used the secrecy to promote legitimacy for the spiritual wifery doctrine.

We ought to steer clear of judging others as being presumptuous for trying to do good. Let God judge the motives, and let common consent judge the outcomes. To judge them beforehand is to provide opposition to a potentially good endeavor, and squash it before it has born fruit. Or, in Joseph Smith's case, produce a martyr instead of the kingdom of God.

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

If it is a wicked endeavor, the fruits will display themselves soon enough, without our meddling. Let's consider how difficult it is to complete something for the Lord with Satan opposing us at every turn...consider how hard it was for Joseph Smith to bring forth the Book of Mormon, then apply that logic to the Council of Fifty.

SB said...

JimP, re: some commenters, it's always a battle of who is right. Even the more "enlightened" among us engage in an eternal round of one-up-manship.

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

I hope that Rock doesn't think that Dusty sees him as intellectually or physically *weak, nonetheless great post.
My only stumbling block of the non transitioning mindset from Joseph to Brigham crowd, is why did Joseph have post mortal visits to Lorenzo, Brigham, John Taylor and others.

The Michael Quinn crowd and "Brigham had no authority crowd" can never answer these questions.

In his post mortal life Joseph had little to do with the RLDS bunch except meet Emma as she was leaving mortality here-as she was dying.

Also, why did Martin Harris and Oliver choose Brigham over Sydney or Strang ?



Robin Hood said...

@db schroeder,
Excellent points.
Of course the Snuffer brigade will claim these church leaders were lying, or deceived by evil spirits. And they will claim this on no greater authority than that they thought of it.

Log said...

@Anonymous

You ask how someone like Denver provides "accompanying marks of authenticity." Stretching forth a hand might be one of those marks, if you believe stretching forth a hand would authenticate a message. Hitler and his nation stretched forth their hands; whence their message?

When computers pass messages to each other, there are portions of the messages which authenticate the sender to the receiver. If that portion is damaged or missing, the message is rejected.

Likewise, if a messenger from God brings a message from God, then God must authenticate the message, or else how can it be known to be his? How does God authenticate his messages?

Doctrine and Covenants 1:38
38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.


Doctrine and Covenants 84:52
52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.


Doctrine and Covenants 88:66
66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.


If a man speaks on God's behalf, he will speak with the voice of the Lord. If you keep God's commandments, then you will have his Spirit to be with you, and will be familiar with the voice of the Lord, and will be able to recognize his voice in the voice of his messengers when they speak his words. If you do not keep God's commandments, you have no assurance that you will recognize his messenges nor messengers nor servants, but, then, if you do not keep God's commandments, it is because either you are unfamiliar with them in which case you will repent and keep them when you are made aware of them, or you believe not on the name of Christ.

The commandments of the Lord are in Luke 6, Matthew 5-7, and 3 Nephi 12-15. Keep them with diligence, praying always to be delivered from temptation, and see what happens.

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

I don't see why those persons can't visit LDS Church members as the Snuffer camp believes the LDS Church held the Aaronic Priesthood until Apr 2014. The Aaronic Priesthood includes the ministering of angels. Those in the remnant communities ostensibly do not accept ordinations from RLDS or other Mormonism branches...they only accept pre April 2014 LDS Church ordinations.

“Joseph Smith was commanded by God to establish The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph’s followers, like ancient Israel with Moses, failed to obtain the fullness [D&C 124:28]. The LDS Church has operated under a commission from the time they rejected the fullness offered through Joseph, with limited authority, just as Israel did after Moses was taken. God decided when and how He would bring an end to the authority of the leaders of the LDS Church, just as He has ended the kingdom of the Jews through John. Once God acts, our doubt about it does not change what He has done. God is now free to proceed with another chapter in His ‘strange act.’ His house is a house of order, but since the days of Abraham, God’s house has included things about which mankind retained very little knowledge.” pp. 496-497.

“How does the authority to baptize come? Because John the Baptist laid his hand on Joseph and Oliver, we have continued the practice to lay hands to confer Aaronic Priesthood. We should continue to respect that tradition. No one should baptize until they have had Aaronic priesthood conferred on them by someone who can trace their authority back to John the Baptist, through Joseph and Oliver. Importantly, however, before baptizing , one should obtain Christ’s ‘word’ through the Spirit.” p. 508.

“There are people coming from different faiths to associate with fellowships, including RLDS or Community of Christ, fundamentalist groups, and other splinter ‘Mormon’ denominations. Some of these have been previously ordained within their affiliations. These, like men who are Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran or other Christian faiths will need to be sustained and ordained. They should understand something about priesthood before being sustained. Once sustained, when ordaining someone to serve in these fellowships ordain no one to an office, only confer priesthood. Let everyone be equal. Keep lines of authority. It will reckon through the one who confers the priesthood. But power can only come from Christ. First time ordinations (after April 2014) should be done within a fellowship. All who are ordained in these communities should keep a record of the line of authority and pass it down. Be prepared to defend those lines of authority using the records kept. All of the women who vote to sustain should not only sign the certificate, but also record it in diaries or journals. Let records be kept so if anyone questions, there will be abundant witnesses and documentation. There can be conferences that can be called by anyone, but must include seven women if the business includes priesthood ordination. There is no need for any building to be purchased or built. Meetings can be anywhere.” pp. 512-513.

“[Speaking of the LDS Church…] We should respect and keep in place ordinations before April 2014. God did not complete the work and send a witness until April of that year, and then only as to LDS Church leadership.” pp. 518-519.

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

References from Preserving the Restoration

Helorum said...

Rock, your link in this article, not to take any man's statement at face value, goes to D&C section 107 no specific verse. Could you elaborate on which scripture this link was referring to.

Log said...

@DB Schroeder, @Robin Hood,

Does the credibility of the alleged witnesses matter to you?

If it can be directly proven that Woodruff, Taylor, and Young publicly lied, would that matter to you?

Why or why not?

On the matter of Woodruff, see Rock's post "Wilford Woodruff's Pants Are On Fire".

On the matter of Woodruff and Taylor, see: http://downloads.miridiatech.com.s3.amazonaws.com/remnant/JosephSmithsMonogamy.pdf

On the matter of Young, as Robin Hood admits, Young was not appointed by Joseph per D&C 43 to receive revelations and commandments for the Church - therefore Young's claim to have the right / ability / power / keys to receive revelations for the Church is false. We can do more with Young, but I'd rather not right now.

As for Harris and Cowdery, what reason did they give for joining the Brighamites?

Robin Hood said...

@Log,
You misunderstand me. I claimed that Brigham clearly came "in at the gate".
What's not to understand?

MrHFMetz said...

On Hugh B. Browns characteristics of a true prophet:
I have always liked Browns honesty and openness of mind. It is he who once explained how revelations (like the 1978 one on the priesthood ban) are received these days: by long deliberating among twelve men, until after much prayer an agreement has come up that all “feel good” with.
I would recommend the book “Thus saith the Lord”, 1980, from Duane S. Crowther, that goes into this topic. It was forbidden by a member of the Twelve (whose name I will not mention here) who ordered Crowther to withdraw it and burn all the copies, so there must be some truth in the book.
On the keys of the Priesthood and the Kingdom of God on the earth:
According to church historian Andrew Jensen, on may 26, 1843, while meeting in a priesthood council, Joseph Smith gave seven men all the keys which he held (Hyrum, B Young, HC Kimball, W Richards, J Adams, NK Whitney, W Law). He gave them their endowment and gave them instruction . . . etc.
The report continues “It afforded Joseph great joy and relief to be able to bestow these blessings upon his brethren . . . He now felt that the responsibility and care no longer rested upon himself alone, for he had bestowed upon them the keys of of the priesthood, the same that he himself had; and whatever might happen to him there were others now who had the authority to step forth and build up the kingdom of God on the earth and to perform all the ordinances thereof (Historical Record 7:515; from “The keys and the order the house of God”, 1999, by Lynn L. Bishop, page 182/183).
On march 11, 1844 Joseph Smith organised a body of men as the nucleus of a new government: the political kingdom of God, also referred to by the names Special Council, General Council, or later the Council of Fifty because it was composed of about 50 members. It's establishment was given by revelation directly from God (not as an “idea” of the prophet himself, which some proclaim) as the establishment of Zion's political program, and as the final part of the restitution of all things spoken of by former prophets (from “Joseph Smith and world government” 3rd ed. 1979 by Hyrum L. Andrus, page 1-3).
“It was in Nauvoo early in 1844 in an assembly room, common to the meeting of a council, or a select circle of the Prophet's most trusted friends, including the Twelve . . . which at at times would exceed fifty in number.
. . . then he said with great vehemance: And in the name of the Lord, I now shake from my shoulders the responsibility of bearing off the Kingdom of God to all the world, and here and now I place that responsibility, with all the keys, powers and privileges pertaining thereto, upon the Twelve Apostles, in connection with this Council; . . . (from “An interesting letter” from Patriarch Benjamin F. Johnson to Elder Geo. F. Gibbs, p. 9-10, located in the Utah Historical Society).

MrHFMetz said...

President Grant to a Mrs. Claud Peery in 1926: "I know of no instance where the Lord has appeared to an individual since His appearance to the Prophet Joseph Smith." No of course he did'nt know; but why quote a selfproclaimed unbeliever as he was. I could name a few: John Taylor, his son John W. Taylor (and this while after he was excommunicated), B.H. Roberts, to name a few, but Grant obviously had his reasons for making his statement.
The fundamentalists (what a name for people who like to have more than one wife) claim that an angel appeared to Wilford Woodruff, after he had issued the 1890 Manifesto, to command him to ordain John W. Woolley in his place as being the Lord's Anointed and that he – Wilford – should remain as the church President only. This position of the Lord's Anointed – the fundamentalists claim – was at the death of John W. given to Lorin C. Woolley, the son of Jon W. They cannot tell you where this position went after Lorin's death. But if this is true, the church President is the President of the church only and no longer holds the position of Lord's Anointed.
The fundi's trace their line of authority back to the Woolley's but they are also out of order, since Lorin had warned them not to organise, nor colonise, etc., not even to hold regular meetings, and that is just what they are doing, which means that by now we are all calling each other apostates and that this whole beautiful Mormon movement has stranded in confusion. Keep investigating. All the best.

Log said...

Quoting Robin Hood:
Joseph did appoint another to receive revelations for the church.
He appointed Hyrum.
He also instructed Hyrum not to accompany him to Carthage.
However, Hyrum ignored the instruction and insisted on going with him.
Hyrum died first.
At the point that Hyrum proclaimed "I am a dead man" the church was without a Prophet, and has been ever since.


Therefore, by your own words, Brigham lied.

Coming in at the gate, which gate is defined in the Book of Mormon as repentance and baptism, and being ordained to the priesthood, does not constitute the appointment by Joseph to receive revelations and commandments for the elders of the Lord's church, as spoken of in D&C 43:1-6.

Log said...

Moreover, even coming in at the gate and being ordained doesn't mean a man is from God if he violates the law of God, such as teaching as revelations or commandments that which was not received through him who was appointed of God to receive revelations and commandments to the elders of the Lord's church - per D&C 121, amen to the priesthood, or authority, of that man.

Robin Hood said...

@Log,
Your logic breaks down where you make the assumption that, in the context of the instruction and guidance in D&C 43, coming "in at the gate" means repentance and baptism.
Clearly that position is logically flawed, and that's why you keep clutching at the same slippery, fraying straw.

Brigham did not lie concerning this issue, as you very well know. In fact, he is on record as saying he isn't Joseph's successor (meaning as the Prophet) and he even refused to declare he was the Prophet, but rather a steady hand to keep the wolves away.

The truth is, the keys were vested in the Quorum of the Twelve and are still there today. This, of course, is disputed by you, Rock and the rest of the Snufferite/Remnant movement, but your objections are in vain.
You will see for yourself one day.

ldsawakening said...

Brian,

Thanks for sharing those quotes from Denver Snuffer. They illustrate my point perfectly that DS is NOT a true messenger or prophet. First off the idea that a person or "messenger" is only called a prophet after completing his work is BS. Joseph Smith was a prophet long before he finished his work. He was a seer the moment he BEGAN translating the Book of Mormon through the gift and power of God. He was a revelator the moment he received his first revelation. He was a prophet the moment he issued his first prophecy.

King Mosiah was referred to as a Seer and greater than a prophet BEFORE he ever translated the plates of the Jaredites through the use of the Urim and Thummim. John the Baptist was a prophet the moment he began proclaiming that he was preparing the way for Christ. Daniel was a prophet the moment he interpreted the writing on the wall or the King's dream. I can name many more examples.

You do realize that Denver has produced more pages of teachings than any prophet ever right? He has written more than Joseph Smith ever did. And yet not one real revelation. Just a bunch of wishy washy teachings and statements and a continual exhortation to repent and follow Christ. Of course there's nothing wrong with preaching Christ and repentance, but does that make one a true prophet or "messenger" in and of itself? No. All the Christian sects in Joseph day, during the protestant reformation, and even today do more or less the same thing. Yet the Lord said that they are all wrong. They draw unto the Lord with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. They teach for doctrine the commandments of men, but deny the power thereof.

Denver's suggestions that a "messenger" becomes a prophet after finishing his work is an attempt to deflect attention away from the fact that what he claims to be is unscripural and that he doesn't show forth the fruits of a true prophet.

Please show me one shred of scriptural support for having 7 women sustain a man in the priesthood? Please show me one shred of scriptural support for ordaining a man to the priesthood, but not to a specific priesthood office? Please show me one shred of scriptural support for the Lord taking away the Aaronic priesthood from a people because their leaders rejected someone who claimed to be a "true messenger" but not a prophet? Or how about for rejecting a true prophet? How many true prophets did the ancient Israelites reject and even kill? Yet they retained the Aaronic priesthood.

If Brigham was a liar and an adulterer along with the rest of the 12 apostles then why didn't the priesthood go with the RLDS? Why does Denver not recognize the RLDS ordinations if the church was rejected along with her dead in Nauvoo? What's the difference? Based on what Denver is peddling, the RLDS would be more correct. But that narrative doesn't fit Denver's claims to having received the priesthood through the LDS church. It's all nonsense.

Open your eyes. Denver is a false messenger. Following him does not lead to Christ or salvation. He can only lead you to the devil and his angels.

Log said...

@Robin Hood,

You say: Your logic breaks down where you make the assumption that, in the context of the instruction and guidance in D&C 43, coming "in at the gate" means repentance and baptism.

I say: It is not my logic, but the word of God.

Earliest Text 2 Nephi 9:41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteousness. 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.

2 Nephi 31:17 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.

That is the gate: repentance and baptism by water. There is no other gate spoken of in this context, save it be the gates of hell.

Robin Hood said...

@Log,
Has it ever occured to you that you could be wrong?
Do you ever stop for a moment and read what you've written back to yourself and see the logical flaws?
If you do then I am confused as to why you continue to post some of your comments.
If you don't, you should.
Stop wresting the scriptures, quit accusing the brethren, apply some logical analysis, and reject Snuffer's sanctimonious claptrap while you still can.

Log said...

@Robin Hood

I'm appealing to publicly available evidence for my positions. By that evidence, my positions follow in a straightforward manner. If you believe you see logical flaws in my posts, then do us all a favor and demonstrate that they are, in fact, logically flawed.

For example, when you say "ordained" means "appointed by the Lord to receive revelations and commandments unto the elders of the Lord's church" in D&C 43:7, and I point out that such an unique, idiosyncratic interpolation makes nonsense out of verses 1-6, on top of already having been contradicted by yourself as I have quoted you, that is a substantial logical barrier to your interpolation being correct, and the burden of proof falls to you to establish that "ordain" in verse 7 means what you have inserted in its place.

When you say "enter in at the gate" in D&C 43:7 means "rise through the ranks of the leadership," or something similar, which would be a unique meaning for that phrase in all of scripture, and when I point out that "enter in at the gate" has an established and publicly defined meaning, repentance and baptism by water, then the burden of proof falls upon you to establish that your unique, idiosyncratic understanding of the phrase "enter in at the gate" in D&C 43:7 is correct; the default position is to read it consistent with the definition given in the Book of Mormon.

As it stands, on the face of things, you are obviously not reading, or not understanding, the text as it actually is, but re-writing it to support conclusions that were reached on other grounds altogether.

Anonymous said...

My goodness people. Let it alone. You've stated your cases. You've argued until your breath has been spent. You're obviously not convincing anyone to change their minds.

It is up to every man to decide which side they are on. For myself I cannot follow "the Brethren" because I see in them the fulfillment of the accusation of "they draw near unto me with their lips but their hearts are far from me." I once did as Denver asked and was re-baptized but saw no fulfillment of the Lord's promises of an authorized baptism.

For myself I choose to abscond from your organized religion and seek God on my own path using the Book of Mormon as my only foundation. You can have your Mormonism and all the bullshit that goes with it.

Robin Hood said...

@Anonymous,
You are right about not arguing back and forth. It isn't going to change anything; including and especially, minds.

I'm happy you have a path.
For me, the brethren have the keys and are steering the church in the right direction. I don't agree with everything, nor does everything suit me. But I couldn't do any better.

I believe we are in the last of the latter days and the brown stuff is really going to hit the fan soon.

iterry said...

Rock
Excellent posting on why we don’t have a prophet or revelation in the Church today. I guess we can debate whether Brigham Young received a real revelation or not in D&C 136 but the bottom line is there has been no revelation since that time. I rather agree with you that it is not a true revelation. Perhaps it came through the Holy Ghost instead which is not revelation to a true prophet. A prophet receives direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation through the Holy Ghost is different. Although there aren’t any contradictions in this between D&C 136 and other revelation there really isn’t any new information either.

And again our friend Robin Hood is found nipping around the edges and not understanding that revelation has been cut off to the Church. Why didn’t you discuss all the wonderful revelations to Monson there Robin? Answer: because there aren’t any revelations. There hasn’t been any revelation since 1847 if you want to call that one to Brigham a revelation. So why won’t you discuss that aspect?

The reason there are no revelations to the Church through the Lord Jesus Christ after 1847 is given in D&C 101:43-62. These verses are called the parable of the Nobleman which describes the redemption of Zion. It actually gives a history of the Church since the time of Joseph Smith to the present and beyond. It also describes when revelation was cut off to the Church. It also reveals what the leaders are like in the last days. I quoted this verse in the last posting of Rock and so I won’t repeat it other than to say that the Church leaders failed to build the tower in these verses. The Tower is revelation to the prophet. They failed to build it because they all became business men. Brigham Young died very wealth whereas the Church was deeply in debt when he died. Why so when he was running the thing?

There are other scriptures that support D&C 101 as well. But the bottom line is there has not been a prophet in this Church since Joseph Smith nor has there been revelation. The Church is in a state of apostasy today due to the lack of revelation. The members of the 1st presidency and 12 are all apostates and do not keep the commandments of God. This is very easy to see in their actions.

Vinny said...

“A [Prophet]! A [Prophet]! We have got a [Prophet], and there cannot be any more [Prophet].” “Thou fool…know ye not that there are more [prophets] than one?”

Well Joseph Smith, Jr. certainly was a prophet. Hyrum too. Maybe even Sydney (he saw several things Joseph saw… like Section 76) and maybe others in Kirtland. I can’t vouch for any others from 1844 onward. And funny we didn’t have “prophets” again until McKay. Now we are told we have 15 “living” self-proclaimed “prophets” sitting on red chairs quoting each other. Not saying they aren’t what they claim to be, it’s just by their fruits you shall know them. Love to see some fruits, even just a little one.

However, from what I’ve read in the scriptures, prophets tend to be rebels whose primary mission is to disrupt the status quo of traditionalism. Most always true prophets are rejected and quite often killed. I guess one way to discover if a prophet is real is if they are just so dang annoying with all those hard words they speak telling us all about our sins. No wonder people hate them. Easy, pleasant, uplifting, and entertaining words are so much nicer. Worth paying for, don’t you think?

So we get 15 “prophets” to guide us (if we give the brethren the benefit of the doubt). But if the “prophet” is by tradition the most senior living apostle on earth, then the real Prophet should be John who was ordained nearly 2000 years ago. Oh that’s right, he has a different mission than “the only one on earth authorized to speak for God” (if you exclude the Pope I suppose). And I won’t even go into the issue of the three other Nephite prophets who are operating outside the direction of the First Presidency.

Here’s the bottom line: The Gentile Church is heading towards its prophetic demise. We have set our hearts on the things of the world (i.e. Mammon) and have rejected the fullness of the Gospel. The Lord gave His church ample time to repent (until the fourth from Hyrum died in 2013) and now the die is cast. The Gospel and its authority is being transferred to the Jews, the Ten Tribes, and the Lehites as prophesized in the Book of Mormon. There is no hope for the Gentiles unless we repent and fast. As Nephi said: “I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.”

Vinny said...

(cont.)

Why aren’t our so-called prophets yelling from the rooftops 24/7 to prepare for the Lord, reject Babylon, and get our spiritual houses in order before its too late? Perhaps they are too busy dedicating shopping malls, high-rent condominiums, extravagant entertainment venues, banks, and Boy Scout retreats.

In all fairness I can imagine running a multi-billion dollar conglomerate takes a lot of time and energy, and these guys aren’t getting any younger. And from their point of view I suppose it’s important to store up treasures on earth to keep the Church financially viable (since tithing revenues are dropping). But come on! If you’re a prophet act like a prophet!

Thus saith the Lord: “Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots; And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities. And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away. For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel; And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.” (3 Nephi 21:14-21)

Amen.

ldsawakening said...

Anonymous,

You are right that there is no point in debating back and forth in endless circles. I just find it so dang annoying that Snufferites can sit back and nit pick every problem in the church and with the brethren, but refuse to apply the same standard to Denver Snuffer. They hold the church's feet to the fire with the scriptures, and rightfully so, but when someone holds Denver Snuffer's feet to the fire, they quote some nonsense Denver has said or refuse to even acknowledge the issues. Snufferites can dish it out, but can't take it.

I don't get it, because they all seem so versed in the scriptures and awake to the problems in the church, yet they have a huge blind spot with Denver. It doesn't make any sense. Yes the church is a mess and headed for destruction, but Denver's claims don't add up with a little scrutiny. That's my point. For me it's not about being right, it's about hopefully saving some lost soul who has put their faith in Denver. I don't expect any will come forward and admit the serious holes in Denver's story, but if even one will sit back and reevaluate the Denver movement and break themselves from it my efforts will not have been in vain.

I give you props that you were willing to say that you have been rebaptized, but didn't see any fruits of that rebaptism. I wish you all the best in your continued search. My firm belief is that the next phase is at the doors. Destruction awaits most of the inhabitants of the earth, and that will begin upon the Lord's house according to D&C 112. All we can do is repent and sit back and wait on the Lord. There simply isn't anywhere to run to or any group to join.

Robin Hood said...

@ldsawakening,
The Snufferites suffer from a selective mindset. The underlying foundation for this is the simple truth that they want to believe him and they don't want to believe the church.
Eventually the penny will drop and they'll desert Snuffer for something else. It's not going to end well for him.
Hopefully, by the time they come to their senses about Snuffer, there'll be someone else on the scene ready to scratch their itching ears.

Log said...

When people you trusted your whole life to teach you only truth and light are shown to have hidden things, spun things, made things up, and outright lied to you, in order to maintain control over you, it does tend to hinder the desire to trust those people. I'll have to agree with you there, Robin Hood.

I indeed do have a selective mindset: I believe the truth and truth-tellers, and disbelieve lies and those who make and love them.

But you're free to have a mind to select the opposite.

boo said...

The issue here Robin isn't who or what Snuffer is or isn't. The issue is the fundamental message which is FOLLOW CHRIST. I don't care one whit what he says about his experiences or how consistent he is or has been in his interpretation of historical practices (incidentally as Emerson said "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds") . To the extent he has been a catalyst to me developing a closer relationship with my Savior ( and he has ) I bless him . To the extent he has been wrong about issues ( and I think he has been on occasion) I forgive him. You yourself on another forum have conceded that some things the institutional church teaches are contrary to the scriptures ( was it Elijah or John on the Mount Of Transfiguration).. Our task is to find out for ourselves the truth of all things. Forget what men say. FOLLOW CHRIST not any man no matter what his name or position may be.

Log said...

D&C 63
17 Wherefore, I, the Lord, have said that the fearful, and the unbelieving, and all liars, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

18 Verily I say, that they shall not have part in the first resurrection.


See Revelation 22:15.

A liar is simply one who lies - intention doesn't matter. To love a lie means to prefer the lie to the truth, and also to serve in the lie's interests rather than the truth's. To make means to create, give substance to, to build up. It doesn't matter that the one loving and making the lie doesn't know it's a lie; they build up that which they do not know to be the truth as the truth.

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

Note everyone that I conceded a point about what those in Snuffer’s camp believed, hence the reasoning for resorting to Snuffer’s position. I wasn’t trying to defend it with scriptures, merely stating the actual belief outlined in the book, which were otherwise misrepresented, and I thought the public should know just where they stood, whether they like the position or not. I was not out to persuade anyone of the legitimacy of those beliefs in that post. My prior comments that were on topic about the Council of Fifty do reveal that I am a fellowshipper, or whatever you want to call it, although nothing in my posts reveal my own beliefs beyond that, and they certainly don’t warrant a designation of Snufferite and for me to be aligned with everything he believes in. Connecting the two somehow gave @ldsawakening reason to believe he has license to attack my beliefs simply for me existing and having them, and despite his lack of knowledge of what my beliefs actually are. On the one hand, so far as he believes 3 Nephi 11, I am willing to fellowship with him, but he seems intent on the attack, so I’m not sure my willingness would be accepted in the proper light. Further, I don’t see any willingness in his tone to sincerely come to an understanding on the thoughts he brought up, with mutual respect, so I see no use in addressing those points. The tone seems calculated to draw one into endless arguments and debate that don’t edify either party. So, I do hope to hear more research into the Council Minutes. My point in addressing them is not to say BY and camp had no authority in some degree, just that the connection to Council of Fifty for authority, in the way they claim it, is unsupported by the evidence. BY himself seems to say not to use Council of Fifty connections to prove their authority. The LDS Church has ignored that in their narrative. I do not think it is wise to apply the house of cards theory very much anywhere in these Restoration matters. There may be some crazy off-shoot claims that, once exposed, fall like a house of cards, but the major ones I do not see things as black and white as @ldsawakening. God bless. If I have mistaken his post for a personal attack where it wasn't intended to be, I apologize...my points are good notes in general even so. That's all I can stomach furthering the endless trolling on here.

Robin Hood said...

@boo,
Do you accept that your "to the extent" argument can also play the other way? Meaning bless the Brethren and forgive them?
Is it not the case that relying on someone like Snuffer to get you closer to Christ says more about you than it does about him?

As I serve the people of my ward I have come to realise that there are a handful of saints who are "spiritually independent". They would be able to operate in the gospel of Christ without any church infrastruture or corporate church input.
They didn't need Mr Snuffer to get them to that stage and neither do you.

Robin Hood said...

@log,
So you never told your kids that Santa is real?

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

For the comment to @boo, Well said, Robin Hood.

Log said...

@Robin Hood,

No, I never told my children that Santa is real. And because I have not intentionally lied to them even in so trivial a matter, they believe me when I tell them about the other invisible sky fairy who bears gifts and keeps a list and checks to see whether you're naughty or nice, even Jesus Christ, and exhort them to keep his commandments.

The liar shall make the truth known. That is how we repent when we discover we have spoken an untruth.

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

But, it looks like you are both in agreement, to me.

iterry said...

Vinny,

Enjoyed reading your comments. However, you have a little bit of a misinterpretation of the term Gentile in your discussion that you ought to be made aware of. Throughout the scriptures and particularly at the time when the BOM was written the term Gentile simply meant "other nation" or in Hebrew the term is Goi or Goym pural. When you plug that in to the interpretation through the BOM you find that the term can mean non-Israelite which is the common meaning of the term, or Israelite (Ephraim in our case - member of the Church). The term was meant to convey the meaning in the scriptures that gentiles are a separate people or nation other than the Nephites or Lamanites. So what you have to do is look at the context of the scripture to figure out if the Lord is talking about non-Israelite or Israel.

This has led to great confusion in the Church that somehow the Church is going to be given to the Lamanites who are of the House of Israel. This is not nor will ever be the case. Ephraim has the birthright and holds the priesthood.

According to 3 Nephi 16:10 at some point the Gospel will be taken from the Gentiles. This has already occurred through the apostasy of the Church. The fullness of the gospel has been withdrawn from among the Gentiles which means both Ephraim which is Israel and non-Israelite peoples of the earth. The fullness is the ordinances of the Church and the priesthood. The priesthood has been taken because of giving the blacks the priesthood. Also the ordinances of the temple have all been changed and are no longer valid (Isaiah 24:5.

At some point the gospel will be given to the House of Israel as it says. But who are they? They are Ephraim. The Gospel was taken from the wicked of Ephraim back in 1978 which was the death of the Church and soon it will be restored again to the righteous remnant of Ephraim who are Israel. Ephraim will gather the tribes of Israel and take the gospel to them. This will be the promised gathering of Israel.

The reason I wanted to go through this explanation is to point out a great misinterpretation in the Church today that somehow the members are righteous gentiles and Not of the House of Israel but are adopted in. This is not true particularly among the early members. Now since the gospel has been taken from the earth the Church is in areas of the world where there are none of the blood of Israel. It used to be that the gospel was taken to areas where Ephraim was found. This of course is due to the apostasy.

boo said...

Robin I pray everyday for the 15 and my local leaders. I like you have served in a variety of callings including multiple bishoprics and 9 years as bishop. I have seen the myriad of benefits that continued activity in the church can bring. That is why I am serving as a gospel doctrine teacher presently and weekly teach the B of M to 25 sexual offenders in our state prison . I fear that I have not been clear enough. I don't need Denver Snuffer nor anyone else in order to work out my salvation. I fear you accuse me of things of which I am not guilty ( there are a host of things you might accurately accuse me of ). I have been closely related to 3 GAs including 2 members of the first quorum of the 70 and one cousin who served for years in the First Presidency. They were all to my knowledge good men with many admirable qualities. I have been in the presence of my cousin when he prophesied something than none in the room believed and then seen it come to pass 20 years later. however the church has changed dramatically since i was baptized. doctrines like Calling and Election which were taught in General conference in my life time are virtually never mentioned . I was endowed prior to 1990 and mourn the fact that man changes revealed ordinances every time I, as a temple worked . officiated in a session . Can we not agree that we need to follow Christ and not any man no matter what his name or title may be ?

ldsawakening said...

Brian,

My comment to you was not intended as a personal attack or an attempt to suck you into an argument. I'm sorry if I came off that way. I also just want to clarify that I don't use the term "Snufferite" as an insult, merely as a means of identifying those who accept Denver as a true messenger, have been rebaptized, participate in the fellowships he started, etc. It's easier to say "Snufferite" than to write the definition all the time. I'm not at all suggesting that you aren't striving to follow Christ or that you are worshiping Denver or anything like that.

I know my comments can come off as a little abrasive which is not my intent. My intentions are out of a genuine concern that many are being deceived by Denver, and by boldly pointing out the holes in his claims and teachings I hope to open people's eyes. I don't see any point in beating around the bush on such crucial matters. I believe in calling a spade a spade. The savior Himself said that He wants us to be either hot or cold and that if we are luke warm we are good for nothing. Beating around the bush and choosing words carefully so as not to offend anyone is a waste of time and accomplishes nothing. There would have been no point to the restoration if Christians could just fellowship each other regardless of denomination and each strive to follow Christ according to their own interpretations of the scriptures.

I think in many ways we find ourselves in a similar boat to the protestant reformers or the revivalists during the first and second great awakenings. All the different groups preached Christ and there were many self proclaimed prophets and messengers, yet none had the full truth. None offered real priesthood authority, and all were deceived to one degree or another. I think all we can do is search the scriptures for ourselves, keep the commandments, and wait on the Lord to put things in motion again.

I hope you will think about some of the things I brought up about Denver's teachings and claims. I wish you all the best on your efforts to follow Christ and search for the truth. I hope there's no hard feelings.

MC

Robin Hood said...

@boo
A phenomenon I have noticed over the years is that those who find fault with the church, it's leaders, it's history, it's practices, or it's doctrines, often feel the need to state their credentials.
Cousin on the first presidency, relatives in the Seventy, bishop etc.
Why do you think that is?

Of course I can agree we need to follow Christ, but how we do that is the real question. Is it really every man for himself, make it up as you go along? Or is there a hierarchy and order for a reason?

I feel that many of the Snufferites, Rockites etc occupy the large and spacious building. They mock the church leaders and those who sustain them. They point the accusing finger at the brethren or even the local leaders (remember, it is Lucifer who is the accuser of the brethren) who are serving the best they know how. They challenge and denounce the church and then belly-ache about it when the leaders take disciplinary action against them.
They are the LDS church version of the millenials; those entitled SJW's who kick and scream and make a great hullaballu about how they've been offended.

While all of this is going on the real saints quietly get on with following Christ by doing their level best to emulate him.

Blair said...

Much of the criticism against Denver Snuffer seems to be based on keys and authority. People are accused of "relying on" Snuffer for their salvation. Anyone who does this is a damned, just as anyone who relies on Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or any of the brethren since is also a damned fool.

Why this insistence on who is following whom? Why does it matter who holds what keys? Reread D&C 76--none of them have any impact on your salvation except for whatever Truth from God that they impart to you. Take the Truth that you can gather, ignore what you find to be false, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord. None of these mortals matter. Seek Truth, Seek Christ. Let all the other chips fall where they may.

I have been accused of "following" Snuffer. I could accuse my accusers of "following" Monson. It's all really rediculous. Follow Christ. He is the only one you can rely on, the only one who can Save.

Brian Zang (The Zang Family) said...

Hi @ldsawakening, Thank you for your clarification and thoughtful words. I understand where you are coming from, I was there at one point myself. Now being on the other side, it is a different experience, although there are points to relate to. I will share with you how it feels by asking these rhetorical questions: do you take the same approach talking to the Catholics about the Pope, the Lutherans about their ministers, the Muslims about Muhammed? Or do you build on relationships of trust and common beliefs with them? I’m not sure many people appreciate such type of concern, no more than I liked it when evangelicals would follow me around on my LDS mission and try to convince me Joseph Smith was a liar and a fraud. Either way, there are no hard feelings. I have already thought through your arguments in the past and have weighed them appropriately to my own satisfaction. I feel your efforts would be more constructive promoting views unique to your religion, and if you can persuade others, the alternative options are proved false by default…such as persuade others that TSM is a prophet in such a way that precludes Denver Snuffer from potentially being one. You’ll attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Tell us of your excitement in following the prophet, for instance, and about some of his teachings you think we relate on. That approach I can respect, even if I think you mislead myself.

iterry said...

Robin Hood. You have that wrong about the great and specious building so let me go through this metaphorical vision for you. The great building is floating in the air. That means it doesn't belong to the earth which means it was originally established by God. That means it is the Church. Now the members of the Church that are in the building (Church office and others) are pointing fingers at those who are at the tree of life. Who are they? Well, to get to the tree they had to grab on to the rod of iron which is the word of God or scriptures. They had to abandon the Building or the Church just as Rock has done to get on the path because the Church no longer keeps any of the commandments of God. They believe in Abortion for example which is murder, Images of Christ which violates the 2nd commandment etc.

I've mentioned a number of times to you that you do not follow the scriptures. You only listen to the false prophets and apostles. You are the one pointing the finger. Rock was recently exed for exposing the fraud of the leaders. They are the ones pointing the finger at Rock and accusing him of apostasy. But It's actually they who are in apostasy as I've pointed out a number of times to you. They do not keep the commandments of God but have their own commandments. There commandment is follow the so-called living prophet. That is the only one you as a member have to live and you can be a homosexual,idolater whatever. It doesn't matter and you can hold any position in the Church and go to the defiled temples.

So when you say the it is us who is in the great building - no - it is you. In fact, I think the great building is the Church Office building. It even has a cast map of the world on the front. Of course it represents all of the buildings of the Church that are also floating in the air. Ezekiel 34 is about the cruelty of the leaders of the Church and what the Lord is going to do to them. This is a good link to the vision of Lehi something that I'm sure you missed.

Vinny said...

iterry,

Thanks for your comments. I always appreciate an insightful discussion. Perhaps I can offer some clarification.

I agree with you about the confusion between the terms Israel and Gentiles. But I was referring to the “Gentile Church” and which is in decline as prophesized. The Gospel going to the Jews and Ten Tribes (jointly called the House of Israel) will transpire. The Lord spells it out pretty clearly in 3 Nephi. And yes the transitions are always because of apostasy.

“The first shall be last, and last shall be first.” Thus first to Israel, then to Gentiles (via the original apostles). Then there was a universal apostatical intermission. Then to the Gentiles (via Joseph Smith), then back to Israel (in process). That second group of Gentiles consists of the current Gentile Church.

On several occasions Joseph Smith made the distinction between the members of the Church in his day as Gentiles and the American Indians as Israel (and sometimes Jew). Clearly he knew the difference.

True, Ephraim (the tribe) has the birthright. And like their father of old (the original Joseph) their job is to gather his father’s (Israel/Jacob) family to safety during a famine (but this time it’s not a physical one but a spiritual one). Ephraim (the man) was of mixed blood. His mother was Egyptian. So Ephraim (the tribe) is also mixed among the other nations. And because of the mixture they are both Gentile and Israel.

You are absolutely right that wicked Ephraimites have lost their standing among the House of Israel (whether in 1978, or 2013, or 1847, it doesn’t matter). But righteous Ephraimites are still out there. And they will hear the call to build the real Zion and will gather in their brethren, the other Lost Tribes. Where are those other Lost Tribes? Are they mixed in with the Gentile nations? Contrary to common belief, no. They are somewhere, most likely in small numbers, and their bloodline is preserved just like the Jews. Their gathering will be The Great and Marvelous Work that we’ve been told will happen. We will be very surprised when the Lord makes bare His arm and does some amazing things. We ain’t seen nothing yet.

I wouldn’t dismiss or discount the Lamanites. They will have a pretty big part in all of this. The Lord tells us that the Promised Land belongs to the descendants of Lehi. It is their “Land of Inheritance,” it doesn’t belong to the Gentiles or Jews. Lehi’s children will be like young lions tearing apart their prey when the Lord uses them to clean house.

However, I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, Gentile or Jew, to rest on his or her derriere thinking all is well because of how or where they were born, who they are related to, or which tribe they belong to. God can make rocks Abraham’s children. If we aren’t born of God, we are dross. The Lord is coming to prune, cleanse, cut off, harvest, and burn. There is no question about that.

As the Primary song should be sung, “Follow the Savior, He is the ONLY way!”

Vinny said...

iterry,

Interesting take on the Great and Spacious Building. I’m not sure God created it since as you say it isn’t part of the earth. I think it represents Satan’s work. He’s not part of the earth either. Regardless, it is without foundation, and we know the foundation of all righteousness is Christ. So the building does not belong to Christ. (By the way there is a counterfeit tree in the courtyard of that building, just so you know. It deceives many).

There is no easy way to get from the building to the tree. There is a great gulf of filthy water between the two. The path leading to the Tree of Life is narrow, and can only be traveled single file. The path to the GASB is broad and easy to travel, in even goes downhill towards the building. In order to get to the tree a person must leave the building (and their fine clothes and materialism) behind and travel against the grain of the people heading towards the building (against traditions, culture, and society). They must travel all the way to the headwaters, cross over, and begin their journey along the true path. Too much work for most people. It’s much easier to let somebody else do the work for them. And to point in scorn those who are humble and earnestly striving to follow Christ.

I think the GASB represents all churches, philosophies, and precepts of men that are pleasing to the carnal man and desires of the flesh. There are only two churches: Christ’s and everything else. When any man (or organization) engages in the works of Babylonian mammon worship, which church do they belong to?

We should rename it the Great and Spacious Building and Loan.

Log said...

All citations are from The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text.

1 Nephi 8:26-28
And I also cast my eyes around about
and beheld on the other side of the river of water a great and spacious building.
And it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female,
and their manner of dress was exceeding fine.
And they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers
towards those which had came up and were partaking of the fruit.

And after that they had tasted of the fruit, they were ashamed
because of those that were a scoffing at them,
and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.

1 Nephi 8:33-34
And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building.
And after that they did enter into that building,
they did point the finger of scorn at me
and those that were partaking of the fruit also,
but we heeded them not.
Thus is the words of my father,
for as many as heeded them had fallen away.

1 Nephi 11:34-36
And after that he was slain, I saw the multitudes of the earth,
that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb,
for thus were the twelve called by the angel of the Lord.
And the multitude of the earth was gathered together,
and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building,
like unto the building which my father saw.
And the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying:
Behold the world and the wisdom thereof;
yea, behold, the house of Israel hath gathered together
to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
And it came to pass that I saw and bare record
that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world;
and the fall thereof was exceeding great.
And the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying:
Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people
that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

1 Nephi 12:18
And the large and spacious building which thy father saw
is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men.
And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them,
yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God and Jesus Christ
which is the Lamb of God,
of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record
from the beginning of the world until this time
and from this time henceforth and forever.

So, the denizens of the Great and Spacious can be discerned, at least verbally, by their scorn, scoffing, and mockery of others. They do so from a professed vantage of superiority to their targets. As they are founded upon vain imaginations and pride, when you test their foundation for truth - which they lack - they will, of course, mock, scorn, and scoff at you.

1 Nephi 16:1-3
And now it came to pass that
after I Nephi had made an end of speaking to my brethren,
behold, they said unto me:
Thou hast declared unto us hard things,
more than which we are able to bear.
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.

And now my brethren, if ye were righteous
and were willing to hearken to the truth and give heed unto it,
that ye might walk uprightly before God,
then ye would not murmur because of the truth and say:
Thou speakest hard things against us.

2 Nephi 28:28
And in fine, woe unto all they
that tremble and are angry because of the truth of God.
For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness.
And he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.

Those built upon a rock are those who keep the commandments of God (3 Nephi 14:24-25).
Those built upon a sandy foundation are those who have the commandments of God but will not keep them (3 Nephi 14:26-27).

Log said...

It is something of a sight to behold to see Rock, a low, poor, sickly man in rags, mocked and scorned as being a member of the Great and Spacious because he's showing a certain theological / philosophical / historical edifice to be without foundation by someone in that edifice.

Robin Hood said...

@iterry
"Rock was recently exed for exposing the fraud of the leaders".
This is, apparently, news to Rock. He is on record as saying he has no idea why he was excommunicated. He's put that in writing on his blog and repeated it in an interview I saw on Youtube.
What I find incredible is that he was present at the disciplinary council but doesn't know why he was disciplined, whereas you weren't there but do!
You need to let Rock know.
Unless of course, you are accusing the brethren based merely on hearsay; an activity with which the occupants of the large and spacious building appear to be very proficient.

Vinny said...

It seems to me that according to 1 Nephi 11:34-36 that the inhabitants of the GASB are those who fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (And by that there is no question Nephi is referring to the original twelve.) So for us to discern who is in the building or not, all we have to do is determine who is fighting against the original twelve. Is Rock? Is Snuffer? Is Monsen?

When Christ’s words (preserved by the original twelve) tell us certain things to do and others to avoid, then check to see who is following those words. If they are not (like serving two masters) then they are hypocrites and are in essence fighting against the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and thus residents of the building.

Not my place to judge. I have enough to worry about with fear and trepidation.

JimP said...

Another indication of who is in the building is their fine clothes, in other words they have material wealth, the complete opposite of humble followers of Christ.

2 Nephi 28:14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

Log said...

Mosiah 23:14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

Imagine if this were taken seriously, and someone were to oppose, say, a bishop - or, really, every leader and calling - during the sustaining, except they were first asked whether they kept the commandments, and had answered the questions. Of course, not being a moron, I recognize that asking your bishop (stake president, Church president, apostle, whatever) if he has a year's supply of food, a three-month supply of money, or a retirement fund, each of which break the commandments of God (3 Nephi 13:19-20), and opposing his sustaining or ordination on the grounds listed in Mosiah 23:14 (because almost assuredly anyone in any significant leadership position has at least one of these things) will almost assuredly result in summary excommunication for apostasy.

Remember: if someone has been endowed, and has covenanted to obey the law of the gospel as contained in the holy scriptures, and breaks that law after being made aware of it, they are to be cast out (D&C 41:5 He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you).

"Perhaps, comrade, you misunderstand your place in this great kingdom. Yours is not to question us about our worthiness to dictate to you but to obey our dictates; ours is to question you about your worthiness to obey us. God has called us and you must obey us therefore."

"But the Book of Mormon says..."

"You misunderstand the role of the Book of Mormon also, comrade; the Book of Mormon is not in charge here, and neither is the Doctrine and Covenants; we are in charge. The Book of Mormon serves only as the proof of our right to rule by divine authority, for it proves Joseph Smith was a prophet and passed the keys of the kingdom down in unbroken succession to us."

"But the Lord says..."

"Whenever we agree with ourselves, we speak with the Lord's voice and according to his will, comrade. Whenever we agree with ourselves, we are always right. We are scripture. God has given his power unto us."

"...."

"Quite so. We want no such men in our kingdom. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, comrade."

Robin Hood said...

@vinny
On what basis do you make the claim that those in the large and spacious building are fighting against the original twelve apostles only?
Would that be the original twelve including Judas, or the eleven, or the eleven plus one that was not original?

Methinks your interpretation is suspect.

iterry said...

Vinny, Good comments about the great a spacious building. One thing I have learned through reading the scriptures is that the Lord generally only talks to the members of the Church and not the world at large. The Building has a foundation but it is floating in the air. That's the difference. It is above the earth hence not part of the earth. That is why it is the Church because the Church when it had the correct principles and doctrines would have had good and righteous people in it but yet floating in the air. Now of course you are correct in your observation that it ought to be renamed. But how about Zions Great and Spacious building and loan.

I guess the reason this is only talking about the members of the Church is because they are the only ones who can grab onto the iron rod that leads to eternal life. The other churches cannot grab that iron rod because they don't have the standard works nor do they accept them. So this vision is only about the members and not the world in general. I do like your observations however and your descriptions are very good.

Good discussion Vinny thanks for your insight

Robin Hood said...

@iterry
You make a good point.

iterry said...

Robin Hood, Oh Comeon now. Of course Rock was exed for writing this blog. Ya he said he doesn't know but it's obvious. He is pointing at the fraud and decent of the leaders of this Church and they can't stand it. Yes they likely didn't tell him exactly why they were throwing him out. Why don't you tell us why you think he was given the boot. You are member of the inquisitions as a bishop so I'm sure you know far more than us.

A good friend of mine was exed because he simply did NOT sustain the wicked leaders of this Church. He was a councilor in the stake presidency when this happened. He could see the corruption in the Church and finally had enough of it.

I was pondering a scripture that you ought to be aware of. There are many of course because it is God who accuses the leaders and members of apostasy. But this one I'm thinking of is very interesting. It is found in Matthew 7:22

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have case out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? vs 23 And then will I profess unto them I never knew you: depart from me , ye that work iniquity.

Who is He talking about RH? He is talking about the leaders of the Church who have fallen into apostasy of course. He is not talking about the non-Israelites of the world because they cannot cast out devils. Who are the devils they are casting out? You got it- Rock and my good friend are just a few. The leaders will all go to hell for their injustice. These are the ones of 2 Nephi 28 who are saying All is Well in Zion and are thrust down to hell.

Oh by the way - Your comment to Vinny was absurd about fighting against the original 12. You brought up Judas - he was replaced in the 12 by Matthias. I'm sure you likely didn't know that.

One more story for you to show how the Church hates the scriptures. I have a friend who doesn't like the rotten, idols of Christ that are so prevalent in the Church now. The Churches have become art galleries of these abominations that are forbidden under the 2nd commandment. A councilor in the bishopric was giving a lesson in Church and told all the members they needed to have these abominations in their homes. My friend took him aside and mildly protested that it wasn't right. Well, you guessed it. The stake president brought him in before his bishop and SP counselors and raked over the coals for daring to question his leader.

But here is the most interesting thing. At some point in the inquisition. The stake president laid before my friend on the table the Standard Works (scriptures) and the ensign. He was asked by the pious jackals which one did he prefer. The sayings of the living prophets or the scriptures. He picked up the standard works. In a loud voice they cried YOUR WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So when I tell you that the Church has lapsed into apostasy I have plenty of examples to back it up. They Church no longer accepts the scriptures. The leaders are not anointed by God as Rock has pointed out. It is quite easy to see RH you just have to open your eyes and see the awful condition of the Church.

Robin Hood said...

@iterry
Make your mind up mate. First you claimed he was exed for "exposing the fraud of the leaders", now you say it was for "writing this blog"!
But, like I said, Rock claims he doesn't know why he was excommunicated apart from a generic "apostasy" charge.
So if you know more than Rock, then you had better let him know.

However, we do, of course, only have Rock's word for it, so you could be right. It wouldn't be the first time he was economical with the truth; sad to say.

Your friends story regarding the standard works versus Ensign is interesting, but then again I have absolutely no idea if it is true, a fabrication, or an exaggeration. I suspect the latter. And the fact is, you don't either given that you weren't there. I know how these things work.
I make it a rule of mine to regard anything other than a bona fide first hand report with a significant degree of suspicion.

With regards to the Lord denying a relationship with the latter-day exorcists, you ask "who is he talking about?". Have you seen any televangelists lately?

You're right, I am currently serving as a bishop. I'm sorry to have to inform you that I just don't see the corruption you so desperately want me to see. I mostly spend my time helping members of the ward with their problems, distributing welfare to those in need, making sure the youth programme is running well, cleaning the chapel, and dealing with emergencies. Sorry to disappoint.

And you have proved my point about the Twelve very well. You clearly agree with me that it cannot refer to the "original" twelve. Thankyou.

In the end I think it comes down to me being a glass half full kind of bloke, whereas you prefer to concentrate on the empty bit.

Vinny said...

@Robin Hood

Here is my basis:

1 Nephi 11:34 And after he was slain I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb; for thus were the twelve called by the angel of the Lord.

1 Nephi 11:35And the multitude of the earth was gathered together; and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Behold the world and the wisdom thereof; yea, behold the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

1 Nephi 12:9 And he said unto me: Thou rememberest the twelve apostles of the Lamb? Behold they are they who shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, the twelve ministers of thy seed shall be judged of them; for ye are of the house of Israel.

Judas was not numbered among the original Twelve in Nephi’s vision because he committed suicide prior to the Lord’s resurrection and long before the Day of Pentecost when the original Twelve received the Holy Ghost and began their mission to preach to the entire world.

I you’re implying that the twelve of this dispensation are also the ones who the occupants of the GASB are fighting against in Nephi’s vision you are mistaken. They are not the judges the twelve tribes or the twelve Nephite prophets either. The occupants of the GASB are out of harmony with or opposed to the teachings of the original twelve, thus the fight.

Judge for yourself who is in harmony with the original twelve and who isn’t. For me, an organization that deals with Babylon and spends tens of millions of dollars annually on PR to appeal to the world is suspect.

Log said...

To clarify: Robin Hood believes / assumes the current 15 "have the keys." That is his fixed stake.

Any scriptural argument that results in the conclusion that the 15 don't "have the keys," be it howsoever well founded and logical and airtight, is therefore to him incorrect, misinterpretation, perverse, ignorant, wicked, stupid, insane, or evil. Or all of that.

He has no need to examine any claims beyond that contradiction: you're wrong. His faith in the keys of the 15 is invincible - proof against any evidence or argument.

He is a member in good standing of the Brethrenite faith. Indeed, within that faith, the second anointings, whereby one may be assured of one's celestialized status, is given to those whose faith in the Brethren has never wavered. He's showing here that he qualifies for that blessing, if he hasn't yet received it.

iterry said...

Robin,

You haven't seen the corruption in the Church. Lets go down the list of things you accept. 1. Abortion - You can have an abortion in this Church for rape, incest, life and health of the mother. There are 3,000 abortions in Utah every year. That is approximately 1/10 of the births in Utah are aborted. This is something that you sustain every time you raise your hand and support that jackals downtown. Isaiah says that we have blood on our hands. That is referring to you oh Bishop. You can't see that this is wrong?

2. Blacks in the priesthood - we've discussed this and you refuse to accept Abraham chapter 1 on this issue which is clear. So we don't need to discuss your disobedience to this commandment any further other than to say that Joseph Smith told various brethren that the Blacks cannot hold the priesthood.

3. Idolatry. The Christus is an idol of Christ. This is forbidden by the 2nd commandment. The command thou shalt not make a graven image is defined in Deut 4:10-20 as an image of God. You disregard this commandment and this again shows your blindness. You can't see that this is wrong?

4. Changed temple ordinances. This should be easy. Isaiah 24:5 says that the ordinances are changed and are invalid. So go ahead and go to the temple - won't do you any good now. But don't worry - the temple ordinances will be restored at the New Jerusalem. Only baptism has not been changed. Washing and Anointing isn't any of that any more. The endowment is all changed. The women don't even have to obey their husbands anymore - this because of feminism that has enter the Church. Sealings are all changed and are no longer valid. You can't see that this is wrong?

5. No common consent. This should be easy. Since you live far away and are likely a recent convert (what I mean by that is your people haven't been in the Church very long). You likely don't know that up until around the 1940's the Church voted on sustained. That was changed when Lucifer put his people in charge of the Church. Now a member cannot vote contrary to anything these apostates do or say. You can't see that this is contrary to the commandments of God? You can't see that this is wrong?

6. Giving money to other Churches D&C 51:10. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. The Church is engaged in business and does not keep the commandments of God. It gives the money of the Saints to refugees, Catholic Church, building a mall for billions. This is contrary to the commandments of God. You can't see that this is wrong? This is thievery. Years ago in the 1990's the Church called a meeting to the upper room of the temple of Church leaders. My old bishop went. He didn't say anything about what happened there. A friend of mine went because he was a member of the bishopric at the time. This meeting they had was to take the Church buildings away from the members. This was thievery outright. He was appalled at what happened. Oh sure - no more building budget and all that. The members were disenfranchised in that meeting. Today there is a sign on the chapel entrance - visitors welcome. What it means is - all members are visitors and have no rights whatsoever. You can't see that this is wrong?

So this is a short list to show you how blind you really are. I think very likely you can see this as wrong but because of your arrogance, wickedness, and hunger for power over the saints that you can't see or I should say won't see it. That is why you will be thrust down to hell because you simply will not keep the commandments of God.

iterry said...

Vinny, again excellent comments. I was going to mention those scriptures in 1 Nephi to Robin as well. His ignorance of the scriptures is profound. The reason is because of the dumbing down of the saints in the last days by the leaders. Truly sad.

boo said...

Robin I have forgotten what it is like to discuss these issues with you. I was relating my personal experiences with 3 GAs whom I knew well and told you that I found them good and well intentioned men and you go all ad hominem on me and accuse me of promoting myself. Likewise I agree with you about the value that the church can bring and offer proof via my experiences and rather than deal with my comments directly you attack me personally. It is such a shame that we can not deal with the issues but rather take refuge in impugning the character of the poster. It is a shame because you often have things to say that are worthwhile.

iterry said...

Curious Log since you've heard of the 2nd anointing if you ever believed in the thing? I did at one time but now I know that it is a made-up ordinance. Thanks

Log said...

Believed in it, meaning did I believe the 2A would result in eternal salvation? I don't know that I ever got as far as to have an opinion on its efficacy before other things superceded the question in my studies and experiences.

After sitting through many endowment sessions - I once lived within an hour of a temple, and attended quite frequently - it was still always a temple worker on the other side of the veil and never the Lord himself. Always a symbol, never the real thing. I think had I been asked back then, I would have said it was most likely another symbol and not the real thing.

Vinny said...

@ Robin Hood

You say, “I am currently serving as a bishop.” Then why, my dear brother, are you so full of contention? Why not persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness and meekness, and love unfeigned as pertaining to your calling? You tend to attack instead of reason. There is indeed ample evidence of corruption in today’s Church, just as there is ample evidence of Christian charity. Shouldn’t we hold to the good and forsake the evil? And shouldn’t we be aware that perhaps, just maybe, there are imperfect human mortals in high places making mistakes, holding to false traditions, or serving worldly interests instead of heavenly ones? Pride at all levels is the curse of this Church.

Just saying.

Robin Hood said...

@vinny
I think you mean "just judging".

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I was on the phone the other day with a friend who wondered why I keep allowing Robin Hood to post here. "If it were my blog," this friend declared, "he would be banished long ago."

What? Get rid of My Own Personal Troll? How then would life be worth living?

Truth be told, I look forward to seeing what surprises my friend Robin Hood will spring on me next. Because no matter how solid an argument I put forth on this blog, Robin Hood MUST take a contrary position. He just HAS to; it's in his very nature.

I do not banish Robin Hood because I am often entertained by this stubborn contrarian. I use the word "entertained" because every time I THINK I have put forth very solid evidence to support my views (such as this one, where I maintain the Twelve DO NOT have the authority they claim), Robin Hood still comes back and tries to knock me down. He feels the need to do this because, although he may find some areas of agreement with me now and then, he is put off by my lack of deference for the Brethren. As Log so succinctly put it above, Robin Hood "has no need to examine any claims beyond that contradiction: you're wrong. His faith in the keys of the 15 is invincible - proof against any evidence or argument."

I also say he entertains me because no matter how many times some other commenter (such as Log, iterry, Vinny, Boo, and others) demolishes Robin Hood's arguments, he never seems to recognize he just got a spanking. He just keeps coming back for more, and rather than attack the main issue, prefers "nipping around the edges" as iterry astutely phrases it.

Logic? I can follow Log's. It's impeccable. Robin Hood's arguments seem to follow a logic all their own.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

As for nipping around the edges, this current obsession Robin Hood has with demanding I prove Hugh B. Brown was correct in every way regarding his assessment of the qualifications of Old Testament prophets baffles me.

How should I know how accurate Brown was? And why should I care? It was sufficient to me in my youth to take Brown's argument as a springboard from which I eventually gained a testimony of Joseph Smith through other means. Brown's argument was an academic one, and as good a place as any to begin a search for truth.

When the comment section opens up, I'm always looking forward to the ways Robin Hood will misrepresent my words. Yesterday he insisted "[Rock] is on record as saying he has no idea why he was excommunicated."

Actually, I am on record relating a conversation my bishop had with me informing me that I would either have to stop blogging or resign, and if I did neither, I would face excommunication.

What I said following the disciplinary court was that I was given NO SPECIFIC REASON why I was excommunicated, and that no one there was able to point to a particular thing in my blog that was grounds for excommunication.

The official "reason" was "You are teaching people not to go to the temple." When I asked to be shown anywhere on my blog that I taught any such thing, I was given no specific answer. As the stake president later amended the charge to me over the phone, "someone reading your blog might decide not to go to the temple."

So when Robin Hood says Rock is on record as saying he has no idea why he was excommunicated, he is wrong. I know very well why I was excommunicated, and I am on record many times stating the reason. I was excommunicated because certain men felt it would not do to have a member of the Church pointing out when Church leadership has been dishonest. By making me an instant non-member, they felt they could dampen my credibility.

When I said I did not know why I was excommunicated, I was referring to the scriptural reason. They were required, pursuant to D&C 20:80, to give me a reason for my excommunication based on scripture, which they failed to provide.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Helorum,
Thanks for pointing out I put the wrong scripture in that link. That should link to 2 Nephi 4:34, which reads, "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."

There are many others, of course, any one which would do. Log cited Mosiah 23:14 above:
"And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments."

And even when someone IS walking in Gods ways and keeping his commandments, as Joseph Smith was, it's still a good idea not to depend upon him, because as Joseph Smith said, that's a good way to become darkened in your mind.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I wasn't planning to comment on LDSAwakening's several harangues against "Snufferites" and Denver Snuffer himself, because those comments are transparently silly to most of us here. But then I realized we get a lot of new readers, and they might think the commenter actually knows what he is talking about. So those comments deserve to be challenged.

First, there is no such thing as a "Snufferite," if by the meaning of that word LDSA is referring to those who follow Denver Snuffer. Denver Snuffer has no followers. Thomas Monson has followers, because Monson's underlings insist Monson is a prophet. Denver has made no such claim, and he vigorously denounces anyone who attempts to follow him.

Is Denver a prophet? The LDS bible dictionary defines a prophet, among other things, as someone who has a testimony of Christ. Denver has a testimony of Christ, so I guess you can call him a prophet if you want to. I don't advise it, however, because that title has a loaded conotation to members of the Church. They assume a "prophet" is someone in a leadership position and should be followed. Denver will not tolerate follwers.

Neither has he issued commandments, nor, to my knowledge, spoken to anyone in the voice of the Lord. What Denver is, is a teacher.

What Denver teaches is to look to scripture for our answers. I cited Harold B. Lee in my piece saying the same thing; am I a Harold-ite because I repeat something Harold taught?

Denver did not start the fellowships, as LDSA insists. Many fellowships already existed. Denver did suggest (not command) anyone seeking a Zion community might find it advantagous to associate with like-minded individuals, or "fellowships." That is hardly an original idea, and the suggestion hardly places him in a position of leadership over others.

Nor is there any direction from Denver Snuffer that people should be re-baptized, though he did remind people that in earlier days in this church people were rebaptized again and again; it was part and parcel of being a Mormon. Denver never commanded anyone to be rebaptized, but he did suggest that it was a Godly thing to do if one felt compelled by the spirit to do so.

I think the illusion LDSAwakening is laboring under is one common to members of the church, even those in the process of becoming awakened. It stems from the conditioning we received growing up in the church, that there MUST be one individual leading the community. If that individual is not the current president of the church, this thinking goes, then it must be someone else. LDSA has mistakenly assumed Denver Snuffer has aspired to that position, when he decidedly has not. LDSA has created a straw man he calls Denver Snuffer, and attributed to that straw man characteristics Denver does not claim. Then he knocks down that straw man and says, "see? he isn't what he says he is" even though the real Denver never said he was anything of the sort.

Log said...

There can be no reconciliation between what Rock is calling "pure Mormonism," which is scriptural literalism and historical realism, and LDS Mormonism which takes as its foundational absolute that the ruling Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a.k.a. "Q15", possesses mandate of heaven - monopoly control of the administration of salvation unto the children of men, which monopoly control is also called "the keys of the priesthood."

They do not share the same foundation of background knowledge and paradigmatic assumptions. Any appearance of dialogue between these factions is misleading, since the meanings of the words being used are not agreed upon. Because possession of the mandate of heaven is non-negotiable for the LDS Mormon, the scriptures and historical documents which, taken literally, preclude their possession of the mandate of heaven, are not and cannot be taken literally but must be rewritten through equivocation and special pleading to instead support their claims to the mandate of heaven. "Pure Mormonism," on the other hand, takes the texts at face value, which, if the texts are true, is incompatible with the Q15 possessing the mandate of heaven. Therefore, even while deploying the same vocabulary, they're talking past one another, as can be seen in the exchange between Robin Hood and myself on the subject of D&C 43:1-7.

The experiential foundation for the claim that the Q15 possess the mandate of heaven is never made explicit, I note. I suspect it is because someone saw a healing somewhere sometime and was told by tradition or an authority that this kind of occurrence is proof of possession of the mandate of heaven. Nevertheless, healings occur outside of the Church also, which may be conceded by the LDS Mormon, despite the immediate logical contradiction with their own claims.

If one has read one's Nibley, one might see parallels between this kind of conflict and the origination and uprising of the Catholic Church. There is a reason for that.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

A word about Denver's changing opinion regarding plural marriage:

LDSAwakening insists Denver Snuffer cannot be a true messenger (whatever that means) because he once believed D&C 132 (the polygamy section) was legitimate, and no longer holds to that view today.

Denver's opinion about that false teaching has changed over time, as has his opinion of the authority claims of the leaders of the LDS Church. It is not a mark of a waffler to change one's opinion when one is confronted with new information. That is an attribute of wisdom.

Log said...

Rock,

There is at least one thing that Denver Snuffer has said in the name of the Lord: "I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment [to be baptized] is renewed again by Him today, to you." This statement is found on page 325 of the PDF book 40 Years in Mormonism, in lecture 10.

Another interesting statement to be found in that book on pages 315-316 is the claim that when Denver Snuffer's appeal of his excommunication was denied, the Lord ended all claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to claim that it is led by the priesthood. If this claim is true, then speaking according to the original order, there are no priests nor elders among the top 85 (Q15 + 1Q70), which means they have no keys whatsoever, by any definition - neither licenses nor knowledge. If this claim is true, LDS Mormonism is simply another corrupt and apostate sect of Christianity, who with their lips praise God but their hearts are far from him, having the form of godliness while denying the power thereof, ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth.

I acknowledge the voice of the Lord is not necessarily to be found in the declaration "thus saith the Lord," for liars can prophesy, but whether the glory of the voice of the Lord is to be found in the words of the messenger, and whether that glory is discerned in the words of one purporting to be a messenger is a matter between the hearer and the Lord, and not the alleged messenger and the hearer.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for that reminder, Log.
And it's also well that you note that the choice to accept a message is a matter between the hearer and the Lord, not the alleged messenger and the hearer.

In other words, Denver Snuffer did not issue any "commandment" to any Denver Snuffer "followers." He relayed something the Lord had communicated to him, and the hearer can take it or leave it, dependent on whether the Lord has placed any action on his heart.

The commandment to repent and be baptized is not new. That many of us who were deceived into believing we were required to obey earthly authorities on the basis of their rank, calling, and station in the Church certainly strikes me as something to repent of.

Robin Hood said...

Rock, you disappoint me.
You know very well that you used Brown's profile of a prophet speech to establish a standard in your essay regarding the characterists of a prophet. We all do, because we can all read.
When challenged on that you do what you often do, try to wriggle out of it and start having a go at the messenger. You used very similar tactics over your pathetic "area seventy = general authority" debacle. You behaved very badly on that ocassion and I have not forgotten it. In fact it coloured my previously positive view of you so deeply that I cannot now read anything you say without seeing it through that filter.

So, just to clarify, you claimed that Brown's description of a prophet was the standard. There could have been no other reason, in the context of the essay, to post it. When challenged on this claim you once again duck the issue and aim for the questioner. Any reasonable person can see what you're up to Rock.

As for banning me, that has to be your next logical step in an attempt to preserve this ongoing sycophant-fest.
I wonder if the person you spoke to on the phone was our mutual friend (a distant relative of mine). You know, the one you told that you didn't think there is a God. But of course, that's hearsay and easily and plausibly deniable.

So come on Rock, man up. If your use of the "profile of a prophet" sermon as a standard by which to judge the present day Brethren was ill-advised, then just say so. It's ok to be wrong.

Robin Hood said...

@iterry
Thank you for your points.
1. Abortion in Utah.
This is a silly point to raise. Utah is subject to federal law. You might just as well point to the even higher abortion figures in Italy and claim the Catholic Church is pro-abortion.

2. Blacks in the Priesthood.
Abraham clearly says that Pharoah has no "right" to the priesthood. It doesn't say he couldn't receive it through righteousness. Even Rock disagrees with you on this.

3. Idolatry.
I agree with you about this.

4. Changed temple ordinances.
Disagree with you. They haven't changed, only the form of their delivery. Do you really think the early Christians used freemasonry in order to deliver covenants to the believers?

5. Common consent.
The church is too big to do it the old way, especially at GC. I don't think this is a major issue in the scheme of things.

6. Finances
You have a point here with regards City Creek, but not about co-operation with other like minded organisations such as Catholic charities. Often partnering with such charities is more effective on the ground. If you don't want the church to use it's resources to assist refugees, that says a great deal about you. Let's hope you're never a refugee.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robin Hood, I swear I don't know what you're trying to get at with this Hugh B. Brown thing. OF COURSE I claim that his talk is the standard by which I -and all latter-day Saints- should judge the characteristics of a prophet. I don't know how you decided I was backpedaling on that. What I couldn't figure out, and still can't figure out, is why you have a problem with it. I even asked you in a previous comment to tell me where you felt he came up short, and you have not yet answered my question.

Seriously, I just don't get why you have zeroed in on my use of Brown's thesis. Doesn't make sense to me. If I understood you correctly, your initial objection was you felt it was somehow hypocritical of me to use an LDS apostle's statement as to what characteristics should be found in a prophet of God, if I don't recognize Brown's own authority as a prophet, seer, and revelator. I responded that it was not Brown's calling, title, or standing in the Church that matter -it was the things he listed in his argument that were persuasive. Surely the English barrister Brown was providing his outline to was not swayed by Brown's position as an apostle in the church, but by the contents of his argument.

Again, Brown's argument was persuasive on an intellectual level. It certainly persuaded me. You then responded by calling into question Brown's outline as (near as I can tell) inadequate in your view. I responded that it was more than adequate for me, but if it fell short in some other ways, or to some other people, so what? It was an excellent and very persuasive step for me on my path to gaining a spiritually-based testimony as to Joseph Smith's divine calling.

So what, precisely, is your objection? I honestly don't know where you're going with this.

In answer to your other charge, no, the person I spoke to on the phone is not your distant relative. As far as I know, he does not know you personally. But your suggestion that I EVER told anyone I didn't think there was a God is ludicrous. I never said any such thing to anyone at any time. I further doubt your relative even suggested such a thing to you. He is a good friend of mine. I've met him in person when he came to America this past summer, and before that I've had many face-to-face conversations through Skype. I can't imagine him saying any such thing about me. I suppose this is just another instance of your taking something someone said and having your brain turn it inside out.

Gotta admit though, that one's a doozy. It tops all your other misinterpretations by a mile.

Regarding the role of the modern Area Seventy having standing as a general authority, I stand by that. I take Elder Hanson's statement to me at his word when he told me an Area Seventy does not act on his own accord, but takes direction from the Twelve. I never waffled on that.

Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Robin Hood said...

@Rock,
You obviously haven't read what I said previously.
We agree that you claim the standard by which you judge a prophet is president Brown's profile. I said, in effect, "are you sure about that?" On what basis do you make that claim?
I then asked you to apply the same standard to those historical figures we also revere as prophets to see if they measure up. Obadiah, Habbakuk etc. As I explained, it would be useful for me to know which pages to tear out of my bible!
My point being that you have built a strawman argument. Don't you see that if we can find prophets who haven't written scripture for example, we can, according to your logic, at least consider rejecting them as prophets since that was one of President Brown's criteria; and by adoption yours.
So, for example we would have to reject Elijah.
The alternative would be to say that Brown's list doesn't have to be the case with every prophet, but that could let President Monson off the hook (shudder the thought) so you can't do that. All because you set up a ridiculous strawman argument.

With regard to the Area Seventy issue, I proved you wrong at the time and you know I did. You even conceded the point at one stage but then backtracked with caveats of your own making because your fallibility had been exposed for all to see.
This was another strawman expedition because you had claimed that it was a GA who had initiated your church discipline. You waxed lyrical about how that was out of order etc; so when I pointed out that an area authority was by definition an authority over an "area" and was not therefore "general" you tried every which way to prove me wrong. You failed but you had to try because your whole strawman argument was at stake.
It's the same with the Brown quote.

Lance Irons said...

As always a great read. I am interested to hear your thoughts Mr. Waterman, if you are willing, on what you previously described in your past post as the prairie saints, who now mostly make up the Community of Christ church previously known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I previously was a member of the Utah church and did not know much of anything about the prairie saints growing up. However since attending the services at a local congregation over the past year and also having the privilege of attending their World Conference in Independence Missouri. I have been amazed at how much their practices, organization, and belief in continuing revelation greatly reflect an honest and rich expression of the restoration that had come into being through Joseph Smith Jr. It really has been a breath of fresh air in many ways. Now going with the your current post. It really is interesting the history behind the reorganization and how leaders who were previously members of the council of fifty, High council, and Nauvoo stake presidency, specifically speaking about William Marks, became an integral part of the reorganization with William Marks as the first councilor in the first presidency to Joseph Smith III and how practices such as common consent and continuing revelation through additions to the doctrine and covenants are still an integral part of CofChrist practice. Although I don't consider myself a scholar or historian on the matter as I am currently a student with very little time to go in depth on the history. I have read a couple of books including JSIII biography, Emma Smith's biography, as well as watched several videos from historians on the history of the reorganization that really have piqued my interest in this group of latter-day saints. I would be interested in hearing your opinion on the matter.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robin Hood, you're still losing me on the Hugh B. Brown stuff. And I'm struggling to see it as a straw man argument. So what you're saying is that Monson shouldn't have to CLAIM he is a prophet, or speak the words of the Lord, etc in order to qualify as a prophet because MAYBE there might be some items on Brown's list that don't apply to every Old Testament prophet in every instance?

That sounds like an argument you'll have to take up with Elder Brown. I'm no expert on Obadiah, Habbakuk, etc., so I don't know what parts of Brown's list you think wouldn't apply to them. But I think men like Hinckley and Monson, who are described as having all the powers and abilities Joseph Smith possessed, ought to at least exhibit one or two of Joseph's prophetic abilities.

Regarding the Area Seventy controversy, what I recall about it is you and I went round and round about what constitutes an Area Seventy, and I showed how my research convinced me the Church doesn't even have a consistent view of what a Seventy is at all anymore, and what precisely they are supposed to do. There was a long period of time when the Seventies themselves didn't have much in the way of assignments. In the old days the Seventy were an autonomous body, separate from the Twelve. The Church seems to keep them around today as lapdogs and gofers in service to the Twelve Apostles.

Today the QUORUMS of the Seventy in Salt Lake City take their marching orders directly from the Twelve. The AREA Seventies take their orders directly from the Twelve also. There is no descending line of authority such as Apostle, then Seventy, then Area Seventy. Orders go directly from Apostles to Area Seventies, just as orders go directly from Apostles to Quorum of Seventies.

You insisted on getting tied up in semantics, while I looked at it in terms of how Church government operates. The office of the First Presidency, the office of the Twelve Apostles, and the office of the Seventy are all considered what we call "general authorities" of the church. You felt the Area Seventy didn't count. Fine, we disagree.

I also recall telling you none of it really matters as much as you wanted it to, but it was an argument you sank your teeth into and wouldn't let go. Your position was that technically an Area Seventy is not a general authority. I countered with for all intents and purposes, they operate as a general authority in the exact same way the first and second quorum of Seventies do.

We reached a standstill, you with your opinion, me with mine. But I didn't change my view, as you allege I had. My assertion was, and always has been, that a general authority of the Church informed my stake president I either had to stop blogging, resign, or be expelled. Hans H. Mattson, a former Area Seventy, convinced me that particular Area Seventy who gave those orders had not gone rogue. He was acting under authority of the Twelve.

Log said...

Hugh B. Brown's plugged prophet points, of course, are not necessary, nor are they sufficient, to encompass every prophet sent from God.

5. Such a man would speak in the name of the Lord, saying, “Thus said the Lord,” as did Moses, Joshua, and others.
6. Such a man would predict future events in the name of the Lord, and they would come to pass, as did those predicted by Isaiah and Ezekiel.
10. He would be able to do superhuman things—things that no man could do without God’s help. The consequence or result of his message and work would be convincing evidence of his prophetic calling: “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

I'm unpersuaded John, the Baptist, the greatest prophet born to woman, fulfilled these three points. John, for example, worked no miracle (John 10:41), point #10. All he did, apparently, was preach and baptize, declare the gospel of the kingdom of God, and declare the Messiah. I am not sure he ever said "thus saith the Lord" or equivalent language, point #5. I do not know that he foretold the future beyond the coming of the Messiah, point #6.

And so what? It wasn't relevant to the thrust of Rock's post, so why even bring it up? The conclusion of the post follows irrespective of the prophets' points. It's on another subject altogether. This quibbling seems to me the spitting definition of motes (concern with Hugh B. Brown's prophetic points accuracy) vs. beams (the Q12's rule over the Church is based on a demonstrable lie and not the mandate of heaven). And I mean that in the scriptural sense.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Lance Irons,
I don't really have much of an opinion on the RLDS tradition, other than to agree with you that their organization certainly operates closer to the way the church did in Joseph Smith's day. Or at least it did for several generations. That was also the conclusion in a court of law around 1890, when our two churches clashed over the patch of land in Independence upon which Joseph prophesied the temple would one day be built.

Since both the Brighamites and Josephites violently disagreed on which "church" should have ownership of the property, a trial was held to determine which of these splinters more closely resembled the church under Joseph Smith. The conclusion of the court was that the RLDS tradition won hands down, and that Brigham et al had so departed from the original teachings (while continuing to invoke the name of Joseph Smith) that the Utah church was almost unrecognizable.

It should be noted that there was a great schism in the RLDS church between traditional restorationists and a more liberal element, resulting in what was left renaming themselves the Community of Christ. But they lost a LOT of members who felt the CofC was abandoning the fundamentals of the faith in an effort to become acceptable to the protestant world.

There is no doubt that the saints at the time of Joseph's death expected the line of authority to go to Joseph's brother Samuel, and then, when he was grown, to Joseph's son, Joseph the third. But Samuel also died mysteriously within a month of his two brothers. The line was then expected to go to Joseph's eldest son, but not until he came of age.

Meanwhile at least half the Saints did not go to the Rockies with Brigham. Some stayed in Illinois, others settled in Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and round the Great Lakes. There continued to be branches of the church in all these areas, and these saints generally expected Joseph III to take the reins of the church when he grew to manhood. Meanwhile, we Utah Mormons were being taught that Emma had become a wicked woman and that she and her sons had abandoned the faith, which wasn't true.

I don't feel authority today resides in either the Josephites, Brighamites, Strangites, or any other factions. I do believe the Lord works through individual "Mormons" no matter which tribe they sprout from. One problem with the CofC as far as I'm concerned is that church incorporated, too. You can't be the church of Christ and be beholden to any government of men for your right to exist.

iterry said...

Thanks Robin for finally answering these points of apostasy. You agree on a number of them. By golly we are getting somewhere which I thought was completely impossible because of your apostasy. So since you agree that we have a problem what are you going to do about it? Doing nothing about it puts you in the camp of those who are NOT valiant for the truth. Those who are not valiant are luke-warm as it says in the scriptures and the Lord would rather you be hot or cold. You are neither and that is why he will spew you out of his mouth as it says. All is not well in Zion and this is why the leaders lead the members down to hell. So you might want to ponder these points a bit more. The Church is in complete apostasy now just like all the other Churches of the world. It always happens and follows the same pattern through the ages whenever there is a restoration. The gifts of the spirit have been taken along with the priesthood and now we are just drifting along. The first thing that the members have to do is find the truth and live it. If you can't do that then you will not be able to be saved in the kingdom of God, but will have to go to the lowest kingdom. That is what the scriptures say will happen to you.
1. Abortion in Utah.
Nonsense Robin. The LDS Church must take a stand against the evil tide of the world against this barbaric practice. It doesn't matter if it is Federal law or not. The Lord accuses us of murder Isaiah 1:15, 21. This is a serious crime. The problem is that you did not address is the policy of the Church. The Church says that you can have an abortion and still be a good member of the Church. That's apostasy!
2. Blacks in the Priesthood.
Abraham clearly says that Pharoah has no "right" to the priesthood. It doesn't say he couldn't receive it through righteousness. Even Rock disagrees with you on this.
Both you and Rock would be wrong. I know you've likely ripped your Abraham 1 out of your scriptures because you obviously didn't read this part: vs 26 Pharaoh, being a RIGHTEOUS MAN... vs 27 Pharaoh of that LINEAGE by which he could NOT have the right of Priesthood.
This completely contradicts what you've said. This was the final death of the Church. The Lord removed the priesthood from the Church at that time in 1978. Since then there has been no manifestation of the gifts of the priesthood in the Church at all. Nothing! Not in the leaders nor members. I held the priesthood before 1978 and I know the difference between what is claimed now and what it was like before. The fact is - this is apostasy because you and the Church have departed from the scriptures. You've broken free of that iron rod.
3. Idolatry.
I agree with you about this.
No kidden - so ahh are you going to do as the reformers did in Switzerland for example? Zwingli in Zurich Switzerland during the reformation took all of the statues, pictures, and icons of the saints and of Christ and deposited them in the local garbage dump where they belong. Today if you go into the protestant Church there it is devoid of all these abominations. We should be the same. This is Apostasy and you can see it too. That's great! What are you going to do about it?

iterry said...

4. Changed temple ordinances.
Oh please why are you bringing up freemasonry? That has nothing to do with it. I get my information from the Iron Rod. Look at Isaiah 24:5 The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants: they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, set at nought the everlasting covenant.
It's not just delivery that has changed but everything but doctrinally it has changed. So the question is - If Joseph Smith received these from HEAVEN in their pure form why did the leaders have to CHANGE them at all? In Teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith states that the temple ordinance are NOT to be changed. Again - this is apostasy. Perhaps you do not know because you are likely a recent convert to the Church about those changes. You might want to look at some websites to educate yourself as to what has happened. Again - this is apostasy and a prophet of God Isaiah prophesied that this would happen and the ordinances are invalid.
5. Common consent.
The church is too big to do it the old way, especially at GC. I don't think this is a major issue in the scheme of things.
Really? How about at the local level? How about at ward conference? I talked to a fellow the other day that was thrown out of the Church for raising his hand in opposition at both Stake Conference and at his ward conference. This is a big deal and has led to great abuse of power by the leaders of the Church. They were doing this in the 1940's in General Conference. They would stop the proceedings with many thousands of the saints present and answer the objection. So why does the Church not follow the D&C law of common consent? This is apostasy!
6. Finances
Okay - so you can see the abuse. Now lets talk about your precious refugees. I know you have a problem with this in the UK and that is one of the reasons for Brexit happened. But we living here in the Promised Land of America have a requirement set forth in the scriptures. Look at Ether 2:8-12. I won't quote it because it is rather long. It says that the people of this land will worship the God of this land who is Jesus Christ or they will be swept off. The Muslims do not worship Jesus Christ and in fact fight against him. They do not assimilate into western culture as well. You know this is a problem too. Bringing them here is not the solution.
There is another problem and this is found in several places in the scriptures D&C 51:10 says very clearly that the Church is not to give money to other Churches. This is a violation of the commandments given in the D&C. The reason for common consent would also prevent this thievery against the members. Again - I've showed you several scriptures from the iron rod that shows that this Church is in apostasy.

Lance Irons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am curious about your thoughts on these verses in D&C 112:
30 For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.
31 Which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation;
32 For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you.
33 Verily I say unto you, behold how great is your calling. Cleanse your hearts and your garments, lest the blood of this generation be required at your hands.

The Lord is speaking to Thomas B. Marsh, president of the Q12, and saying in 1837 that the keys of this dispensation have already been received by the Q12. Thus, there is no need for transmission of authority at an 1844 meeting. The "charge" could have merely been instruction to the 12, who were among the attendees, to do their job once Joseph was gone.

Vinny said...

@iterry

Great points. I believe (as do many) that the Church is in apostasy, but I take a small exception to what you said that the Church is in "complete" apostasy. True the Church, Inc. is way out of line, but by definition authored by Rock in other posts, the Church as a body of Christ (meaning all the members) is only in a semi-state of apostasy. There is always a righteous remnant.

The danger, which I think Rock, you, and others are trying to convey, is that the blind leaders are leading the blind followers into a blind alley. But they are not alone. Nephi and Moroni feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Lord gave another way for revelations to be received for the church in D&C 107. This supplements what was said in D&C 43.

First, The Lord allows the presidency of the high priesthood to be appointed and ordained by the church. The apostles for a quorum equal in authority to the presidency of the high priesthood.

21 Of necessity there are presidents, or presiding officers growing out of, or appointed of or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods.
22 Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.
23 The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.
24 And they form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned.

The duties of the presidency are given here, and include being a revelator.

91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.

I do note, however, that it is the DUTY, not an automatic reality, of the president to be a prophet, seer and revelator.

Vinny said...

@Anonymous (a name or handle would be helpful)

Excellent question. It appears that something had transpired here in 1837 giving the Twelve equal authority to the First Presidency. And that is backed up in Section 107. In the beginning of Section 112, the “keys” are given to Marsh only in those places outside the reach of The First Presidency who were tasked to managing the established churches.

However, the current narrative of official Church history claims that Joseph gave “the keys” of leadership over the entire Church to the Twelve in 1844. And the editors of the Joseph Smith Papers try to smooth over the lack of evidence at that 1844 meeting.

Also, I’m not sure, but I believe that about half of these Twelve were later excommunicated, including Marsh.

It is also interesting to read the verses just ahead of the ones you quoted in 112.

24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.


Lance Irons said...

Rock,

Thank you for your thoughts on this. It is interesting that although the CofChrist itself is definitely closer to mainstream Protestantism than the LDS church, they still consider themselves a part of the Restoration. From my understanding a lot of that stems from a greater emphasis on the Kirtland and Missouri era than the Nauvoo era. The RLDS never accepted polygamy and they didn't continue the temple ordinances that were introduced in Nauvoo mainly because a lot of those teachings were tied to polygamy. There was an interview that someone did this year with Wallace B smith who was the prophet-president of the RLDS from 1978-1996 when the schism was happening he knew from internal polling that the revelation that included women in the priesthood would be very unpopular and would most likely cause a significant hit both financially and membership wise to the church but he felt it was God's will for the church so he preceded with presenting the revelations to the church as well as presenting the many changes that eventually occurred over that time period that led to many members leaving. Despite the schism. I've noticed that there is still a diversity of viewpoints within the membership. Specifically there is a large group of members who vote opposed whenever a women is ordained to an office in the priesthood as part of the world church even though Priesthood ordination for women was enshrined in the RLDS D&C in 1984. There was also opposition in the recent conference where section 165 was added. I actually found it very refreshing to see such a large number of people voting opposed without fear of their standing in the church being at risk. They're definitely an interesting group of people and an interesting branch of Mormonism. Thank you once again for your thoughts I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog for about two years now and look forward to reading more.

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