Sunday, December 31, 2017

Why Heed Prophetic Counsel?

Previously: Some Pretty Good Reasons For Skipping Tithing Settlement

I'm a firm believer in listening to prophetic counsel. In fact, I can think of only one thing more valuable than taking counsel from a prophet and that would be taking counsel from the Lord as He conveys it to us through his prophet.

That kind of counsel can be found throughout our Doctrine & Covenants, where the Lord identifies Himself as the one who is speaking.  We refer to these communications as oracles or revelations. This type of divine counsel differs from prophetic counsel, because prophetic counsel indicates it is counsel given by a prophet in his own words, rather than conveyed "first person" in the Lord's own words.

This is not to minimize the importance of Prophetic Counsel, because, as Henry Eyring indicates in the quote above, prophetic counsel is often inspired counsel. The scriptures provide evidence that every true prophet who ever lived was infused with knowledge and wisdom far greater than he had  prior to having met Jesus Christ in person. It was this first-hand acquaintance with the Lord that qualified Joseph Smith to speak with increasing wisdom and authority, even in those instances when he was merely expressing his own opinion and not quoting the Lord directly. 

The angel who visited John the Revelator told John that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," and we can see that from the time Joseph Smith had his first personal encounter with Jesus (and numerous subsequent encounters), he acquired the spirit of prophecy, which expanded his understanding and gave him added knowledge and wisdom. It would appear, then, that a prophet is defined by his having had a personal encounter with God, an encounter which he is willing to testify of without hesitation.

This is important, because it would appear that the defining quality that separates a true prophet from a false one, is that the true prophet is not reluctant to share his personal testimony of Jesus. And by "personal testimony" I don't mean the kind of belief in Jesus most of us have obtained through study and prayer. I mean someone who can testify unequivocally to having met the resurrected Jesus face-to-face.

Even long before Jesus was resurrected -or even born into this world- we have the testimonies of prophets from the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon who were defined by their experience of having encountered the Lord in a very personal way. In the April 1997 conference talk accompanying the picture above, Henry Eyring provides the example of Lehi, a man who encountered the yet-unborn Savior on multiple occasions in dreams and visions, and who was instructed by that divine being, first to prophecy of the things he had been shown, and ultimately to take his family far away to safety. Lehi had a testimony of Jesus not because he had read about Him in the scriptures or learned about Him in the synogogue, but because he had encountered the future Messiah in person. This encounter resulted in Lehi's obtaining  greater knowledge and wisdom than he had previously, and it qualified him to provide prophetic counsel not only to his family, but to those who joined Lehi's family in their Journey.

Likewise, Lehi's son, Nephi, strove to obtain a testimony of Christ, as did many who came after Nephi. Again and again in the Book of Mormon, those prophets who taught us things they felt were important for us to know in our day are known to us as prophets; not merely because they wrote down the history of their people, but because they had a testimony of a personal encounter with Jesus -often many encounters. Each of these prophets spoke from the dust as one having authority; authority that was obtained not because other men laid their hands on their heads and gave it to them. This was authority that could only be given directly from Jesus Christ. The prophet Joseph declared that all the prophets were ordained by God Himself (TPJS pg 181).  This is not some invisible "authority" that can be handed down from one man or group of men to another.

The original twelve apostles had known Jesus personally; it was He who ordained them and sent them out to preach His gospel after His resurrection. These prophets would travel to distant cities, make converts, and then move on. Their role was not as leaders of the churches they established, but they did often write back with letters of advice to those converts.

Those letters -at least the ones that survived- contain very little in the way of direct revelation from the mouth of God. But because they had known Jesus personally (and presumably continued to be visited by Him), these men were qualified to provide prophetic counsel in their own voices, counsel that was valid precisely because they were personal witnesses of Jesus Christ.  We continue to embrace their prophetic counsel as useful because of the wisdom these men obtained through their proximity to the Lord.

We include the apostle Paul within that group, because even though he had not known the Lord Jesus Christ when Jesus was on the earth in the flesh, he certainly had a memorable encounter with him that day on the road to Damascus. Paul's personal experience with Jesus qualified him to represent the Lord to many who had never heard of Him, and Paul's letters to the early Christians at Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, and elsewhere contain some of the most valuable prophetic counsel available. (As long as you ignore that nonsense in 1st Corinthians requiring women to keep silent in the churches.)*
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*Paul is said to have written,"Let your women keep silent in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (1 Cor 14:34-35)
Biblical scholars are divided on the question of whether Paul actually wrote those words. A minority have suggested that Paul, a former Pharisee, was still influenced by Old Testament law, but that theory doesn't wash because there is no place in the Old Testament requiring women to keep their traps shut in church. There was a rabbinical tradition that women were not allowed to speak in the synagogue, and while Paul was steeped in Rabinnical tradition, those who believe he held onto those traditions from his past tend to ignore what he wrote to the Galatians where he rejected the Rabbinical prayer that made distinctions between Jew and Gentile, bond and free, male and female; as Paul now recognized all are one in Christ Jesus.


"Shut yer festerin' yaps, ya lousy dames!"
The majority of biblical scholars are convinced some misogynistic monk sneaked these words into the text on his own while he was copying the letter by hand, and I'm inclined to that view myself, since emendations to scripture by the monks charged with preserving them was not uncommon. As Richard Hays writes, “All things considered, this passage is best explained as a gloss [addition] introduced into the text by the second-or-third-generation Pauline interpreters who compiled the pastoral epistles.” (Gordon Fee, ed, First Epistle to the Corinthians: The New International Commentary on the New Testament, pg 707)                                                           
Prophetic Counsel That Could Have Saved Lives
   
Regarding this talk of Henry Eyring's under discussion here, I came across it  while thumbing through a back issue of the Ensign Magazine dated June of 2008 where it was presented as the First Presidency Message. I stopped to read it because I'm intrigued by how often this term "prophetic counsel" has been carelessly bandied about in the church in the past couple of decades. It seems to be a neologism that grew legs fairly recently, because I don't think it was commonly used in the Church while I was growing up, at least as far as I can recall.

 I do, however, think it's a useful term, especially to describe the counsel given by Joseph Smith during those times when he was volunteering his personal views. It's known that Joseph Smith delivered somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred and fifty sermons during his brief lifetime, but only fifty are known to have been recorded by scribes. Some of these existing sermons are available in the Documentary History of the Church, and it is from that source that the several snippets of useful counsel have been gathered into the one volume Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In my opinion it's permissible to call some of these excerpts "prophetic counsel," not necessarily because these snippets contain actual prophecies, but because they contain the wise counsel from a man we know to have been a prophet.

The talk by Henry Eyring in that edition of the Ensign was originally delivered during April conference 1997, and Eyring had me agreeing with him for quite awhile as I read it. He spoke of the importance of heeding prophetic counsel, and even spoke of such counsel coming from the Lord's "authorized servants," an important qualifier if there ever was one. If we are going to abide by prophetic counsel, we had better make darn certain those teachings come from someone we have evidence was authorized by God to be His mouthpiece. Otherwise that counsel could be injurious to the church. Sadly, though Eyring writes early in his piece on the importance of heeding prophetic counsel from authorized servants, later in the piece he undercuts his own argument.

But I'll get to that in a moment. First I want to mention an important example Brother Eyring uses that I wholeheartedly I agree with.

Eyring brings up the tragic massacre at Haun's Mill, where nineteen Mormon men, women, and children were killed and fifteen more seriously wounded at the hands of a ruthless mob on October 30th of 1838. The prophet Joseph had sent word by way of Jacob Haun, owner of the mill, telling the people living in that area to leave immediately and gather with the Saints at Far West. For whatever reason, Brother Haun chose not to convey that message to the others. The result was a brutal tragedy that could have been avoided had Jacob Haun simply heeded Joseph's prophetic counsel. Some time later, Joseph said,
"Up to this day God had given me wisdom to save the people who took counsel. None had ever been killed who abode by my counsel. At Hauns' Mill the brethren went contrary to my counsel; if they had not, their lives would have been spared."
Note that Joseph stated that God had given him the wisdom to save the people who took counsel. Joseph was not acting on a personal whim; Even when not dictating a warning directly in the name and voice of the Lord as he did when conveying revelations, Joseph was given the gift of wisdom; a gift he received precisely because his encounters with the Lord had enabled him to cultivate such gifts. He did not boast of his own wisdom; he knew from where that inspiration came.

Who Are The Lord's Authorized Servants?
I would submit that all who choose to serve the Lord can be called "the Lord's servants," but when Henry Eyring makes reference to the Lord's authorized servants, he seems at first to be referring to actual prophets of the Lord -men who had been specially anointed by God.

It would then seem to be of the utmost importance that we have a method by which we can determine who is actually a "prophet" and who is not. Happily we can easily tell one from the other because when the Lord authorizes someone to be His servant, He tells us straight out. He gives that servant His personal endorsement so no one has to guess.  Here is the Lord speaking to the twelve apostles about Joseph Smith in 1837:
"Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him..." (D&C 112:15)
Of course, a cynic might say, "well, of course that revelation would endorse Joseph Smith; Joseph was the one dictating the revelation. He could say anything about himself he wanted to."

That's why we are instructed not to take Joseph Smith's word at face value. The Saints were never instructed to "follow the prophet" without questioning anything he told them. It's a modern heresy to teach that the prophet is incapable of leading the church astray, a heresy that is becoming more and more transparent as the leaders strive ever harder to promote it. But it is not doctrinal. Nowhere in any revelation or scripture in the standard works can you find the Lord suggesting anything remotely close to it. Indeed, the scriptures are chock full of examples that teach the exact opposite. The Lord has never offered such a blanket assurance regarding any prophet in history, not even Joseph Smith.

What we are in fact supposed to do (and it's something almost no one in the Church bothers with anymore) is read every revelation God gave to His prophet, then take it to the Lord in prayer and ask God, "Is this yours? Did this come from you?"

We are taught to do that in order to get a witness from the Holy Ghost that what Joseph Smith dictated was indeed a true oracle from the Lord, and not just something he made up in order to bamboozle the yahoos. You can bet that the Twelve Apostles all took that revelation to heart and got a personal witness that it came from God and not from the mind of Joseph Smith. The early church members understood that having a reliable check against corruption was their duty every time Joseph Smith dictated a revelation, because the idea of blindly trusting in what the scriptures frequently referred to as "the arm of flesh" was one of the quickest ways to damn one's self to destruction. (2 Nephi 28:21)

Even though no one in the church is infallible, there are a multitude of places in the Doctrine & Covenants where the Lord endorses Joseph Smith to be His prophet, seer, and revelator, but that endorsement was conditional upon Joseph's walking in all holiness before Him, in all patience and faith. (D&C 21:4&5) If Joseph failed in his appointment, the Lord could pull those gifts right out from under him.  Nevertheless, the Lord still expects us to ask Him about the legitimacy of each and every revelation given through anyone who purports to be His servant. We are not to take any claim at face value.

I've written a post where you can find several statements by the Lord that provide hard evidence that Joseph Smith was the Lord's chosen servant. You can find them posted here. I've included Elder Hugh B. Brown's famous Evidences of a True Prophet, along with several statements from the Lord directly endorsing Joseph Smith. The following endorsement is probably the most succinct, but note this: the endorsement was not unconditional:
"Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall." (D&C 3:9)
That doesn't mince words. Joseph was the chosen one, but he could be replaced if he messed up. The Lord recognized that even Joseph Smith was capable of leading the church astray. That reality differs markedly from the smug assertions of Church leaders in our day, who constantly assure the members they are incapable of failure.

What follows may be the most important endorsement of Joseph Smith in scripture, because it's packed with meaningful qualifiers most people don't notice on the first reading. It begins by addressing Joseph Smith directly and describing Joseph's authority and how he got it directly from Jesus Christ through the will of the Father:
"There shall be a record kept among you; and in it you [Joseph Smith] shall be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ,
Then in verse four, the Lord shifts from addressing Joseph directly and is now addressing the members of the church:
"Wherefore, meaning the church, 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)
That latter part is interesting for several reasons. First, this is not about "following prophetic counsel" as we've been discussing up to this point. When it comes to the actual doctrines of the church, we are not to rely on the prophet's personal thoughts, opinions, expressions, or whims. The Lord is talking here about His words and commandments, not some arbitrary rules or policy changes announced by the president of the church. That's why the Lord is very specific about that qualifying phrase: only the words and commandments Joseph gives unto the people that he receives directly from God are the words the members are to consider binding upon them.

In other words, we have never been commanded to "follow the prophet." We are commanded to follow those words Joseph Smith received that can rightly be considered "as if from [God's] own mouth." 

And there's one further detail. Notice the Lord doesn't tell us we are obligated to obey the words the Lord puts in Joseph's mouth. We aren't even commanded to "follow" the prophet. We are to heed the words and commandments. To "heed" means "to consider; to give careful attention to."

In other words, we are to pay careful attention to any purported revelation, then consider whether these words came from the mouth of God, while carefully praying for a witness that they are indeed God's words and commandments, and not just the wisdom of Joseph Smith. Since we are to do that regarding the revelations that came through Joseph Smith, it should go without saying that we ought to give the same prayerful consideration to anything said by anyone purporting to be God's Authorized Servant in our day.

Fudging The Word Of God
Have you ever watched someone tell an outright lie over the pulpit? You haven't? Then you don't spend much time watching general conference, do you?

There are loads of examples of made-up "doctrines" which I've already documented elsewhere on this blog, but given that revelation from D&C 21 I just quoted, take a look at how Carol McConkie took -shall we say, "certain liberties"- with the sacred words God uttered in that revelation when she had a go at it during October conference 2014. First she says,"we sustain President Thomas S. Monson as our prophet, seer, and revelator. He reveals the word of the Lord to guide and direct our entire Church," then Sister McConkie went on to misattribute the actual words of Jesus Christ Himself:
"Concerning the living prophet, the Lord commands the people of His Church: '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.' "
Whoa! Wait a minute, what was that?

Open up your D&C to section 21 and see who it was the Lord was saying those words concerning. Was he saying that about "the living prophet" Thomas Monson, or was he saying it about the long-since departed Joseph Smith?

Where is the revelation from God indicating His choice of Thomas Monson to be the current prophet, seer, and revelator? We have nothing at all from the Lord endorsing Thomas Monson as His prophet, living or otherwise. Don't you think Thomas Monson's appointment by God as His mouthpiece on the earth would be important enough that every member of the Church could recite that revelation by heart?

We can't find any evidence that Thomas S. Monson was ever anointed, appointed, ordained, called, or simply set apart by the Lord to any office whatsoever, and yet here we have a woman who is willing to blatantly lie about the the very words that came out of God's mouth, all in order to convince those in the congregation gullible enough, or simply unacquainted with scripture enough, to buy into her load of baloney.

But Sister McConkie is just getting started:
"In a world threatened by a famine of righteousness and spiritual starvation, we have been commanded to sustain the prophet."
Really, Carol? Commanded to sustain which prophet? Joseph Smith? And when did the Lord command us to do that? I'd be happy to sustain Joseph Smith, but I'm not aware of any commandment requiring anyone to do so. To my knowledge no one in the church has ever been commanded to sustain Joseph Smith, or any other prophet, ever. Now you're not just lying about what the scriptures say, Carol McConkie, you're making up new commandments out of thin air and insisting they came from God.

Are you saying we are commanded by God to sustain Thomas Monson? Okay, fine. May we please see that commandment in writing so members of the church can do their duty by taking it before the Lord for a witness that it did indeed come from Him, and not from the fevered brain of a middle-aged, idol-worshiping Meschugena?


Maybe some women should keep silent in church.

Sister McConkie threw bits and pieces of scripture into her talk, almost none of them fitting together properly with each other. For example, after declaring, "We also sustain President Monson’s counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators," she segues effortlessly into a verse found in D&C 68: without even stopping to give it proper attribution:
“And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture … and the power of God unto salvation.” (D&C 68: 4)
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that particular scripture verse has no application whatsoever to President Monson's counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. That revelation was directed at four specific elders regarding a specific ministry at a specific time; and although verse 2 (which Sister McConkie failed to quote) states that it could have application to others "whose mission is appointed to them to go forth," neither the First Presidency nor any of the Twelve apostles bother to "go forth" anymore these days as their offices require them to. Instead, they stay close to the corporate boardroom so they can direct the financial affairs of the Church without leaving their comfy headquarters in Salt Lake City.

But that isn't my primary objection to Carol's misuse of that scripture verse. She seems to have overlooked the qualifier in there about speaking "when moved upon by the Holy Ghost." Even Harold B. Lee recognized we should not make the assumptions Carol McConkie wants us to:
“It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they write. I don't care what his position is, if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard church works.”
When was the last time you saw a member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles moved upon by the Holy Ghost? You'll forgive me for belaboring the obvious, but reading a talk from a teleprompter that was prepared weeks earlier by staff writers does not equate with being moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

Sister McConkie's talk was a shameful display of propaganda, aimed at an audience she hoped would be ignorant of the scriptures she was deliberately mangling.  But she is not the first to do so, and she won't be the last. Two other speakers in that very conference session lied from the pulpit just like Carol did, but I won't bother to list those sins at this sitting. You can find an accurate summary by Matt Lohmeier by clicking here.

I will, however, mention that back in October conference of 2010, the aforementioned Henry Eyring plagiarized the word of the Lord that was directed at some real prophets and tried to apply it to himself and his cronies:
"I know the servants of God who will speak to you during this conference. They are called of God to give messages to His children. The Lord has said of them: “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.”
"The Lord has said of them."

The Lord has said of them?! Anyone who reads that revelation in its entirety knows the Lord said no such thing about those who were sitting in the chief seats in 2010. His words were directed at a specific, small group of men who compiled the Book of Commandments years before Henry Eyring and his friends were born. And no one besides those particular servants, as would be obvious to anyone reading the entire revelation.

Examples of Prophetic Counsel Provided By Joseph Smith
I think we've established that in order for anyone's words to qualify as "prophetic counsel," the speaker of those words must be shown to be a bona fide prophet. And I think we have established that Joseph Smith qualifies, because not only can we find numerous instances where the Lord has affirmed his divine calling, but Joseph Smith published evidence in the form of revelations that can be readily produced for examination.

But despite my digressions, this essay is not about revelations; it is about prophetic counsel. Or put another way, at this time we are examining statements of a prophet that come from the prophet's own mind, rather from the mouth of the Lord. So let's take a look at three or four examples of prophetic counsel given by our founding prophet, and then take a quick look at whether or not Henry Eyring and his pals in the Church hierarchy have been taking that counsel to heart.
Prophetic Counsel, Exhibit A
"If we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God. And if they do not have the oracles of God, they are not the people of God."  (Joseph Smith, Documentary History of the Church, Volume 5, pg 257)
Today there are no oracles in the LDS Church -the very Church making the claim that the entire bunch at the top of the Church hierarchy receive revelations all the time. You're not supposed to ask why we haven't seen or heard any of those oracles, because asking that question is considered ill-mannered. To get around this absence of oracles in the church today, the Church lesson manuals now teach that the president of the Church and his counselors are themselves oracles.

God talked about oracles several times, but it was pretty clear he was not referring to human beings when he used that term, and neither was Joseph Smith when he spoke about oracles.  What I find glaringly obvious about these so-called "living oracles" is that none of them have managed to generate as much as one revelation that has been placed before the congregation for a sustaining vote in over a hundred and fifty years. You'll excuse me for saying so, but that makes their boast about being either "living" prophets or "living" oracles ring a bit hollow.
Prophetic Counsel, Exhibit B
"The Twelve will have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof where there is a standing high council. But it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all duties relative to the different branches of the church. When the Twelve are together, or a quorum of them in any church, they will have to do business by the voice of the Church." (Joseph Smith, Kirtland High Council Minute Book, pg 112)
The Twelve apostles today completely ignore that prophetic counsel, and that includes Henry Eyring, who spent a great deal of effort warning about the dangers we face when choosing not to take prophetic counsel. He's right, of course. The Twelve's failure to take prophetic counsel provided to them by Joseph Smith has changed the very ground upon which they stand, as every week more and more members of the Church recognize these guys cannot follow through with the promises they have been making.

The Twelve apostles, who previously were strictly prohibited from having any managerial or administrative function in the Church, have become, in modern times, the top governing body at the very top of the hierarchy. But to get there, they had to disobey direct commandments God made in D&C 104. Their choices to ignore prophetic counsel have had consequences, as convert baptisms are nearly at a standstill and believing members are walking away from the Church in massive numbers. The ground is changing, indeed. As Eyring himself foretold, the ground he and his cohorts have been standing on is becoming more dangerous to them as the saints discover that the claims of the modern Church leaders are empty boasts.
Prophetic Counsel, Exhibit C
“the patriarchal office is the highest office in the church. And Father Smith conferred this office on Hyrum Smith on his deathbed.” -Joseph Smith, May 27th, 1843 in meeting with Hyrum Smith, James Adams, Newell K. Whitney, and others. Reposed in the LDS Archives but found in D. Michael Quinn’s The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, pg. 306, footnote 70.
This is another instance where modern leaders of the Church opted to ignore the prophetic counsel of Joseph Smith and do things their way to ensure they would remain top dogs in the corporate structure. The Presiding Patriarch is denominated as a prophet, seer, and revelator in D&C section 124. Yet in 1979, absent a revelation from God, and without consulting the church membership for a vote, the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles forced the presiding patriarch into an early retirement and quietly abolished the highest office in the church. This travesty is documented at length in "Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover." The Church cannot operate under the government established by Jesus Christ so long as members of the current government were willing to give the boot to the one person holding the only legitimate office that remained.
Prophetic Counsel, Exhibit D
[From the minutes of the Nauvoo Relief Society]: President Joseph Smith rose, read the 14th Chap. of Ezekiel— said the Lord had declared by the prophet that the people should each one stand for himself and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church— that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls— applied it to the present state of the church of Latter-Day Saints— said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall— that they were depending on the prophet hence were darkened in their minds from neglect of themselves— (Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, Pg 51)
Here is yet another instance where the current Church leadership has opted to ignore the clear prophetic counsel of a true prophet in favor of doing things their own way.  Joseph Smith was emphatic about the dangers inherent to the church when the people choose to depend too much on the prophet, yet here is the counsel given by Elder Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve to a stadium full of BYU students a few years back:
"You keep your eyes riveted on the prophet and the Twelve apostles. We will not lead you astray. We cannot. So keep your eyes riveted on the leadership of the Church." (Russell Ballard speaking at BYU, 1996)
I'd sure like to read the revelation Elder Ballard got that from. This alarming change in emphasis is indication of nearly a hundred and seventy years of progress in this church simply abandoned to the wind, converting the once promising Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into just another anemic cult.
Prophetic Counsel, Exhibit E
"If any man preaches to you doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine & Covenants, set him down as an imposter...Try them by the principles contained in the acknowledged word of God; if they preach, or teach, or practice contrary to that, disfellowship them; cut them off from among you as useless and dangerous branches, and if they are belonging to any of the quorums of the church, report them to the president of the quorum to which they belong." (Joseph Smith, Times & Seasons,5:490-491, April, 1, 1844, emphasis in the original.)

You're probably familiar with the saying, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," but I don't think that holds true among those of us who already believe in the gospel of the Restoration. We are already convinced of the truthfulness of the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and the core fundamentals of Mormonism. Prominent members of the Church such as Thomas Monson, Henry Eyring, Russell Ballard, Russell Nelson, Carol McConkie, and others have made extraordinary claims, but I think it would take only an ordinary bit of evidence if they wanted to be proven correct.

The men at the top of the chain in the Church claim to be prophets, seers, and revelators, in the same manner Joseph Smith was, with all the same gifts, authority, and "keys" the Lord gave to the prophet Joseph, and because they hold that authority they insist that the rest of us follow them without question.

So okay. Here is how they can get the rest of us back on board and once again fill the pews with active and enthusiastic members:

We don't need them to show us any extraordinary evidence to back up their claims of being prophets, seers, and revelators. All they need to do is produce one or two actual revelations from the mouth of God, so those of us who believe in continuous revelation can take those revelations to the Lord for confirmation.

That's all. Just produce a couple of simple pieces of evidence for us to examine, and if it turns out the Lord is truly directing your efforts, we will stop speaking out against you.

But if you fail to comply with that reasonable request, there may be no alternative for the rest of us than to follow the Prophetic Counsel of Joseph Smith and set you down as imposters, and cut you off from among us as dangerous and useless branches.


                                                                         *****

Related Posts Or Posts Referenced In This Essay:

Evil Speaking Of The Lord's Anointed

Where Did The Oracles Go?

Not Quite The Same

How Jesus Christ Was Ousted As Head Of The Church Of Jesus Christ

Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover

On The High Road To Apostasy

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

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

240 comments:

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John Scott Peterson said...

Well done Rock. I know you are busy but I appreciate every post you write. Have a great 2018!

John Scott Peterson

Leonard said...

Dude...this is awesome. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...especially the comment under the image of Sister McConkie hilarious

matt lohrke said...

"It would appear, then, that a prophet is defined by his having had a personal encounter with God, an encounter which he testifies of at every opportunity."

100% this. I tried to share this idea once with a TBM acquaintance. It didn't go well, as you might imagine.

Every bona fide prophet has had this experience. The BOM opens with Lehi's vision, thus setting the model.

@Leonard - I read your comment as "The image of Sinister McConkie." haha.

Happy New Year, everyone!

dx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DeeLyn said...

I believe Christ taught that we don't need and shouldn't trust or follow any prophet, true or false ones, for all will lead us astray, for none are perfect or always right. Christ taught we should only follow him and his simple message (or our conscience which teaches the same things).

Christ taught that many will claim to know him or have encounters with him or to be a prophet, but that we will discern his true disciples by their fruits, by whether they keep all of his commandments or not, which is the only way to tell and which few if any mortals have ever been able to do.

But even true disciples should not be followed or trusted even if we could find one, for they could still easily be wrong or fall. We have to find and discern all truth and error on our own, we can't rely on any mortal to do it for us.

Christ taught us the law of love and the Golden Rule, things we already know deep down in our conscience. God made us completely spiritually self reliant.

DudeDuderino Duderino said...

As a true believer in the restoration which Joseph was called to begin anew and phantom-less wondrous of the revelation's he received and wrote and contained in them, I am grieved. I grieve that we have been deceived and "I AM" ashamed that "we" have not been as diligent as commanded by the Lord to his saints.
I have always said,IF ANY ONE says --- thus sayeth the Lord [which I have not heard since becoming a LDS] --- and then watching it come to fruit will tell me whether he is a Prophet or not.......I also KNOW that for a very long time no revelations had come forth because I have NOT heard these words they had been preaching but Josephs words from Christ's contained in D+C to be prepared for the midnight call [ parable of the 5 wise virgins ] If ye are prepared ye shall not fear...D+C 38
We have been put to sleep. Oh! wo wo wo is me for I have said all is well in Zion! 2 Nephi 28

BUT

We are NOT lost as of yet I do believe this if we repent and humble ourselves to God and Jesus Christ......I have also know we are "prophets" ourselves should he call us into his service at any time..Samuel the lamanite brings to memory,and it is ANYONE that is called by God [ himself ] is a prophet/seer/revelator to warn his people of future destruction's to come by saying this I ALSO qualify the actual reality of seeing either God the Father or Christ or BOTH.
John 1--- Acts 7--- Acts 9---1 Nephi 8&9 --J-SH 1/19
(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 31:20)
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

DudeDuderino Duderino said...

ps may I also add this comment to the discussion.
There is NONE that is mentioned as his servant which will receive the oracles of God to his saints besides Joseph Smith Jr and this is the reason why we have not had any more revelations which the body of the church may have considered and voted on.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 5:9 - 10)
Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; 10 But this generation shall have my word through you;

NO mention of anyone else, as yet.
BUT I am patiently waiting and enduring as I am witnessing alot of wickedness from leaders especially for alleged apostasy?

Suffice to leave it here, let the Lord judge between me and them.

Rebecca C. said...

This got me thinking a few times about the way I used to think. I used to assume so much that wasn't really there. A few of those things were that everything those guys said was words from god, assumed they frequently talked to God or Jesus face to face, and i assumed everything in the scriptures applied to all modern day church leaders. Even though they even emphasized the idea of context as early as seminary, it was never taught how to actually do it and as a result we were all swept away with our silly assumptions. I think what finally made me see scriptures for what they are without all the layers of assumptions was learning some church history and words of Joseph Smith for myself, not the snippets of quotes full of ellipses that we find in Sunday school manuals, for example. Now I look back and I'm in astonishment at all the assumptions I used to make. I would have gobbled up that woman's talk and even assumed it was approved by Jesus himself. But now I can think critically and I realize that most adults in the church are just as befuddled and passive as I was. She probably really believed everything she said in that talk. We have the blind leading the blind now.

Lester said...

A vital post, here, Rock. It is vital to our salvation where we place our loyalties and our obedience. When I taught Gospel Doctrine several years ago I was dumbfounded to learn that ancient Israel repeatedly ran amok when the leaders turned from Jehovah and yet continued to demand the loyalty and obedience of the common people. We’re like the ancient Israelites but we’re inclined to believe we’re somehow cooler than they were.

Anyone resonating to this post might also enjoy an interview John Dehlin did with Matthew Lohmeier, an F15 pilot who was about as straight a Mormon arrow as there ever was, but one who came to believe by his study that the LDS church is in apostasy.

http://www.mormonstories.org/matthew-lohmeier/

Focusing on three talks from October general conference 2014, including the Carol McConkie talk that you’ve written about, he wrote a letter to his bishop and stake president, calling out the leaders on their untruths. Not surprisingly that got him heaved off The Good Ship Zion by direction of the Magisterium.

http://boisebelievers.net/forum/index.php/attachment/5a274063e248f_Letter_to_Stake_Presidency_2_16_Oct_14.pdf

In the course of the interview Lohmeier discusses Dallin Oaks’ assertion at the Boise Rescue meeting in 2015 that the belief that ordinary human beings can seek a personal meeting with Jesus Christ “is an old trick of the devil.” There was a certain electrifying moment when Lohmeier called Oaks’ teaching "antichrist". If you believe the scriptures that teach Christ’s whole purpose is to bring us directly into a relationship with him and that salvation is defined by that relationship, then there is a real energy in calling Oaks’ comment, “antichrist.” Likewise, there is real energy in you calling Sister McConkie’s words a lie. We don’t usually allow ourselves the freedom to call a spade a spade like this but you lay out a good case for it. Thank you.

matt lohrke said...

I second Lester's suggestion. I've only ever listened to two Mormon Stories: Daymon Smith and Matthew Lohmeier. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more level-headed, spiritually-attuned human being than Brother Matthew.

Chad said...

Mr. Waterman, your writing is excellent and your commentary is always on point. Thank you so much for taking the time to express your cogent thoughts and observations about modern Mormonism. Reading your blog is always a breath of much-needed fresh air. Carry on, good sir.

Tom M said...

Speaking of lies over the pulpit at general conference - in Oct 2004 closing remarks, Pres Hinckley delivered a pre planned feminist whopper (thanks, Fred Riley!), that men are responsible for most child abuse, spouse abuse and divorce! Stats, studies and surveys prove the opposite is actually the fact. Women rule here too! Look that lie up too, and weep for the lies told across the pulpit in the name of God... Gotta love Christ's Bullies.

Shaun said...

Thanks, Rock. Since I started taking the religion red pill, I've always kind of known this - that even when Joseph Smith wasn't delivering the exact words of the Lord through revelation, his sermons and ideas carry a special weight because of his proximity to God. Still, as with purported revelation, we ought never to hand the reigns over to any mortal - even Joseph - and abdicate our responsibility to vet the truth of any statement for ourselves.

Lester said...

Matthew Lohmeier's letter to his bishop and stake president can be found here:

http://traffic.libsyn.com/mormonstories/Letter_to_Stake_Presidency_2_16_Oct_14.pdf

dx said...
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Alan Rock Waterman said...

You have an interesting way of interpreting scripture, DX. Have you considered giving a talk in conference? I think you'd fit right in!

When the Pharisees demanded a sign from Jesus, they were demanding He show them a sign IN THE SKY. Go read those verses in Matthew 16, Mark 8, and Luke 11 and you will see that the Pharisees are demanding Jesus conjure up a stupendous magic trick in the heavens in order to prove His divinity. Two problems with that: First, a magnificent show in the sky such as blocking out the son or conjuring a comet had nothing to do with what Jesus was talking about at the time. It would have been an impressive trick, but would have been incongruous for Jesus to interrupt what he was doing just to show off His power to His enemies, since he was all about humility and faith.

Secondly, the Pharisees were not really looking for evidence of Jesus' divinity, they were seeking to trip Him up. Getting Jesus to conjure up a heavenly fireworks display would allow them to accuse Jesus of being a sorcerer in league with the devil, which is exactly what they were looking to charge Him with. Being a Wizard or Necormancer was prohibited in Deuteronomy 18, and would have been grounds for putting him to death. (You'll recall they eventually settled for charging Jesus with blasphemy, which was all they could get him on.)

Jesus was already performing many miracles, but these miracles were in line with His actual ministry, such as healing the sick, feeding the multitudes, etc., but these guys wanted a sign they could see in the heavens, and Jesus simply wasn't going to indulge them. There had already been one sign in heaven demonstrating that the Messiah had arrived on the earth; that was the only heavnley sign that was prophesied.

The miracles of Jesus were not the "signs" these guys wanted, but the common people were able to discern them as evidences of His divinity. He performed these "quiet" miracles so that those who had eyes to see would recognize that he was no ordinary man; but even then, the miracles were incidental; He was there to change men's hearts.

I think you are confusing "signs" with "evidences," DX. Nowhere in this post have I demanded Church leaders show me a sign from heaven or perform any miracles. I'm certainly not asking any of them to prove he is the Messiah. Jesus distinctly instructed us that when anyone came among us claiming to be a prophet, we were to judge them by their fruits. That way we would be able to tell whether they were true prophets or false prophets.

What is the fruit of a true prophet? It is ability to produce revelations from God. Joseph Smith produced a great number of revelations, while the leaders of the church today, though they insist they are prophets the same as Joseph Smith, have produced no revelations at all. Wouldn't you think a prophet who never prophesies isn't much of a prophet?

A person who says he is the mouthpiece of God is making an extraordinary claim, DX. Don't you think Jesus was right to insist we examine a claim like that?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Lester,
Thanks for that mention of Matt Lohmeir's interview. It's terrific! I had intended to mention it in the piece, along with a link, but I forgot.

And a note to readers: I know people who skip the first half of most of John Dehlin's interviews due to John's penchant for spending too much time on a person's background and tales of growing up. But in this one, Matthew hits the ground running right from the start, so I recommend not skipping any of it.

Also, just prior to Matthew's interview, you'll find Kirk and Karen Strong telling their story on that same website. Also highly recommended. Both they and Matt Set the record straight on what has been mischaracterized as the "Denver Snuffer Movement."

dx said...
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TC said...

I'm either confused or not seeing it, but how do you get from the first paragraph shown below to the conclusion that the defining quality that separates a true prophet from a false one is that a true prophet is not reluctant to share his personal testimony of Jesus but to do this one must first see Christ face-to-face (a personal encounter); that it is such a visitation that leads to a personal testimony and the spirit of prophecy? Is this the defining quality and how are you arriving at that conclusion?

I like what you're saying in this post - it's this one point that confuses me. It doesn't seem like a logical jump and would appreciate any help in understanding this. Thanks.
_________________

"The angel who visited John the Revelator told John that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," and we can see that from the time Joseph Smith had his first personal encounter with Jesus (and numerous subsequent encounters), he acquired the spirit of prophecy, which expanded his understanding and gave him added knowledge and wisdom. It would appear, then, that a prophet is defined by his having had a personal encounter with God, an encounter which he is willing to testify of without hesitation.

This is important, because it would appear that the defining quality that separates a true prophet from a false one, is that the true prophet is not reluctant to share his personal testimony of Jesus. And by "personal testimony" I don't mean the kind of belief in Jesus most of us have obtained through study and prayer. I mean someone who can testify unequivocally to having met the resurrected Jesus face-to-face."

dx said...
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Alan Rock Waterman said...

Let me see if I can concisely address your questions, DX:

"It seems like you want to qualify your request as just a small miracle."

Well, of course a revelation from God is a "miracle" of sorts, since it is something that occurs by supernatural means. I don't think it's one of those "Holy Cow!" miracles in the same class as, say, raising someone from the dead, but it is a miraculous gift the Church leaders of today claim to have, and since they not only claim to have the gifts of BEING prophets, AND seers, AND revelators, I would think they ought to be able to demonstrate at least one of those gifts at least once in a century.

"What do you think the Church leaders response would be to your "small" request if you were able to get a direct audience with them?"

I think their response would be quite similar to the response several of them have given when asked if they have seen Christ personally as they are required to in order to qualify as His apostles. They invariably hem and haw and hint that they MIGHT have had such an experience, but that testimony is "too sacred to share."

Joseph Smith didn't think his testimony was too sacred to share. He shared his initial experience on at least four separate occasions. Oliver Cowdery was not reluctant to testify of what he saw either, on the occasion when he saw the Savior face-to-face along with Joseph Smith:

'And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! FOR WE SAW HIM, even on the right hand of God; AND WE HEARD THE VOICE bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father'


DX, you quote from the Lord condemning those who boasted of doing many wonderful works in his name, afterwhich he would command them to depart from Him because they never knew him.
Who do you think the Lord is referring to here? Doesn't that fit the description of men who would claim to have the authority of God, yet not be able to demonstrate that He ever gave them such authority? He condemns them for working iniquity. Only people who place themselves in a position where they have control over others can work iniquity. Who in the Church is demanding obedience? Is it the members? Or are the leaders demanding that the members recognize their authority of them?

"If the Church leaders met your small request, I'm not sure you would be closer to discerning whether they are false. Perhaps there is some nuance I am missing in what you are demanding."

Yeah, you're missing the nuance where I emphasized the members of taking the revelation to the Lord to confirm that it did indeed come from HIM. The mere act of a Church leader producing a revelation is not proof that the leader didn't make it up. It certainly doesn't constitute a miracle. Consider this incident where Russell Nelson completely made up a story about Thomas Monson receiving a revelation, because he said he (Nelson) was present and saw Monson's face as he received it. Yet, No one had ever heard of this revelation before Nelson mentioned it, and Nelson says nothing at all about what the actual words of the revelation; just says he "saw" Monson get a revelation. And mind you, this supposed "revelation" completely contradicts the word of God throughout scripture and overturns the core doctrine of the gospel as laid out in D&C 10. So if that revelation was real, it was certainly something that should have been presented to the church. You can read my analysis of it here:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2016/01/did-nelson-m-russell-take-lords-name-in.html

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX (Continued)

"I think you are ruling out the case that God does not choose to reveal anything new at this time."

I'm not ruling that out at all. In fact, that was the position of every president of the church from Brigham Young all the way to Heber Grant. After Joseph's murder, Brigham Young told the saints, 'Heretofore you have had a prophet as the mouth of the Lord to speak to you...and now, for the first time, you are called to walk by faith, not by sight.' No president of the church was referred to as "prophet, seer, and revelator, or sustained as such until that false tradition crept in during the 1950s and the members were never asked to sustain them as holding any other title except "President."

I think you are forgetting that it has only been since the middle of the 20th century that it has been constantly hammered home to us that now we DO have a prophet as the mouth of the Lord to speak to us. Only problem is, he never lives up to the hype. My question is, since Brigham Young frequently asserted that he was not a prophet as was Joseph Smith, and that he denied being Joseph Smith's legal successor, where does Thomas Monson get his authority? Didn't it have to be passed down from Brigham, then to Taylor, and Woodruff, and Snow, et al?

"Are prophets only prophets in the very moment in which they are speaking on behalf of the Lord?"

I think you are confusing a prophet with a president. Gordon Hinckley was was president of the Church for many years, and during that time he ALWAYS acted as president. He was also said to be a prophet, though he died having never once acted as a prophet. His lack of prophetic gifts did not lesson his authority as president of the church, because that was a position the members elected him to when they first sustained him. It was the same with every other president of the church. A man can be given the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator by God, and the members can also elect him their president, as the Saints did with Joseph Smith. But the Saints cannot bestow upon the president the spiritual gifts that only God can give.

Read what Brigham Young said about the differences:
"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)

But to your question: Now that Thomas Monson is in his dotage, perhaps it would make more sense if you were to ask, 'Is Thomas Monson a prophet only in the very moment when he is speaking on behalf of the Lord; and would it be proper to say he was a prophet if he lived and died having NEVER spoken on behalf of the Lord?'

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX (Continued)

"Perhaps the faith of the members collectively is not sufficient for them to receive new general revelation from the Lord?"

I think you nailed it, DX. The members in this generation have failed to show their faith in the Lord by their insistence on trusting in the arm of flesh, an act that Nephi tells them will result in their condemnation. They are engaging in idol worship, and the leaders are encouraging such worship by making it mandatory to sustain the President of the Church as a prophet, seer, and revelator in order to obtain a recommend to enter the house of the Lord. Converts for baptism are also required to confess a belief that the president of the church holds gifts they have no way of knowing whether he posesses, or they will not be baptized, regardless of the fact that baptism is an ordinance demonstrating one's committment to the Lord, not to Church leadership.

And don't forget the Lord Himself told the saints they were under condemnation as early as 1832, and President Benson reminded us as recently as 1985 that the condemnation had not been lifted.

The great sins of the church in the latter days, according to Mormon 8, would be iniquity and the worship of idols. So yes, I agree with you. The faith of the saints is not sufficient for them to receive new general revelation from the Lord at this time.

Remember what Joseph Smith said about a people who do not have the oracles not being God's people? This is the time for repenting, so our king will once again call us His own.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

TC,
You ask me about my view that a personal encounter with Christ is the defining quality of what makes a prophet, and how I arrived at that conclusion. Simply put, I note that we learn from a reading of scripture that all the prophets we read about in scripture have had some kind of very real encounter or visitation at least once, and likely more than once.

Remember that Joseph Smith declared that ALL the prophets had been anointed by Jesus Christ HIMSELF. That would certainly indicate a close encounter. Jesus would not anoint someone himself without his self being present.

It should be noted that the prophet taught that it was the privilege of everyone to have such an encounter, but very few bother to seek for it. "I will not leave you comfortless," He told His original apostles before his ascension, "I will come to you."

Regarding those verses in John 14:16-17, Joseph expounded:

"After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say of him, Son, thous shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints [at which point Joseph refers to these verses in John's gospel]." (TPJS pg 150.)

I don't know that every person who receives this second comforter in this life qualifies to be a prophet, a seer, and a revelator, but it's fairly certain that anyone who has been given those three gifts has most certainly had this experience of knowing the Lord in person.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hmm. That's interesting, DX. Everyone I know who has watched the Matthew Lohmeir interview is struck by that man's humility, yet what you took away from that interview was that he was extremely narcissistic and self-righteous.

Quite telling, that.

You must forgive me for saying so, but from your comments above attempting to deflect the palpable need for the church to repent, and your own lack of humility (to be teachable is the very essence of the meaning of being "humble") it shouldn't surprise me that you are unable to recognize true humility when you have been directly exposed to it.

Say, you wouldn't happen to be a general authority would you? You kinda sound like you might be.

The Lord defines "humility" as being willing to be taught, but I find Church leaders today appear to define humility as "deference to their authority." That was the experience I had, and the experience of many people I've come to know who were disciplined by the Church. It did not matter how vigorously I testified of my belief in Jesus Christ and His restored gospel, of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith's divine calling. The only thing they wanted to know was "do you sustain Thomas Monson as prophet, seer, and revelator?"

If you fail to answer that question to their satisfaction, it doesn't matter how loyal you are to Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel; they don't want you in "his" church if you can't show the proper deference toward the arm of flesh.

Repent, DX, Repent, I say! I think we may be losing you!

Loadius said...

Though I agree with much of what is being presented in this post, I feel like I need to say something about the manner in which a true prophet can be recognized.

The Lord himself gave a us a way in which we could recognize a false prophet from a true prophet when he said..."Ye shall know them by their fruits". The servants of Christ do THE SAME WORKS that Christ himself did. Knowing that...it would be simple to distinguish between a false prophet and a true prophet. I true prophet would have the guts...but more importantly the knowledge...to actually PROPHESY. Duet. 18:20-22

The Lord gave a list of SIGNS several times in Moromon 9, D&C 84, & the Bible that ALWAYS follow his true servants. Seeking after those signs TO PROVE WHETHER A MAN/WOMAN IS A TRUE SERVANT OF CHRIST IS NOT BY ANY MEANS A WICKED ACT. In fact it is what the righteous are supposed to be doing! Those signs include the power to IMMEDIATELY heal a person from whatever infirmity they are suffering from...a power that I have not found in the LDS church or anywhere else at the moment.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IS THIS!!!!!! The doctrine that is taught by a true servant of God does not...and will not ever...vary from the doctrine found in the B of M and the JST Bible!!! What was it in Lehi's dream that led the people to God? The Iron Rod!!! What was Jospeh Smith's first task??? To bring forth the B of M! He had to establish the IRON ROD that we were to hold on to in these last days. This was why the church was brought under condemnation in Section 84! They were not holding onto the rod of iron...aka B of M! You will notice in section 35 that ALL of Joseph Smith's revelations had to be proven and held accountable to the doctrine that was already given to them in the B of M. Why??? Because the Lord himself declared that it contained a FULNESS of the gospel.

5 Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, CONTAINING THE FULNESS OF MY EVERLASTING GOSPEL, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim;

GOD DOES NOT CHANGE. His gospel and doctrine DOES NOT CHANGE. It has been the same since Adam to Joseph Smith. That is why Joseph was being held accountable to a book which already contained a FULNESS of the gospel. When you understand the doctrine being presented in the B of M, you will be able to go through all of Joseph's revelations and see that his revelations NEVER strayed from the doctrine in the B of M...except some sections of the D&C that Brigham Young added back in 1876...like the abominable section 132...which was never approved by Sydney Rigdon. Once you understand the doctrine found in the B of M you will also be able to see that many of the corrections that Joseph & Sydney made to the Bible brought it in line with the doctrine in the B of M! It's crazy!

So...back to my point. The revelations and doctrine of any man claiming to be a prophet of God can be weighed and measured in the B of M...just like Joseph's were. This is why it is SOOOOOO important to hold on to the rod found in the B of M. We live in a day of false prophets! We have to have the one and only tool that can protect us and can keep us from being deceived.

That being said... The true servants of Christ are about to return to finish what they started. Be ready for it. Keep your eyes open. Hold them accountable to the defined fruits of the true servants of Christ. That's what they want!

Loadius said...

You will notice that I have not thrown prayer into the mix above. That is not because I do not believe in prayer. It is because far to often people allow their feelings while praying to obstruct their vision of the actual truth provided by the Lord in the B of M. Almost all religious people pray to God...or a God. And ALL of them have allowed their own thoughts and feelings to alter the truth. Again...that is why the Lord gave us the B of M. It was put in place so we don't have to guess! It is there to put down all confusion and contention.

Sorry this was short. I wish I had the time to really get into the details.

matt lohrke said...

The insane thing about the baptismal interview for induction to the corporation is that the potential recruit is *required* to bear false witness in stating they believe Brother Thomas as "prophet, seer and revelator," despite the fact that Brother Thomas has issued no prophecy, declared no eye witness to the Lord Jesus, has never used the Urim and Thummin, never shared a vision of things past or future, nor has revealed or unfolded any mysteries of God.

Side note: I love it so much when Alma says to Corianton, "Now, I unfold unto you mystery," regarding the resurrection. Does this mean the doctrine of the resurrection was largely unknown or lost to the Nephites prior to Alma? Anyway...

I believe Alma's assertion that "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." That last part is the kicker.

If we have a dearth of divine pronouncements and supernatural miracles, perhaps we are putting our faith in things that are "not true." Faith in untruths isn't faith at all. It's blind allegiance and ultimately damnation.

Speaking of Close Encounters, I recently watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Talk about a pretty good parallel for those here who have had some sort of spiritual manifestation that challenges their belief system and drives the search for Truth. What do we sacrifice? What are willing to do get to the top of the mountain? What are the obstacles and deception we need to identify and overcome? What's the reward? Phew!

Lester said...

I admire your sustained enthusiasm for the primacy of the LDS leadership, dx. The Lord cautions us in the strongest of term not to be wishy washy or neutral in our beliefs.

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:14–16)

However, as one who met Jesus Christ, was forgiven his severe sins then experienced a profound change of heart, Paul cautions us to take care in whom we place our loyalty and obedience, noting that anything less that Jesus Christ is in effect a fool’s bargain.

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Colossians 2: 8-10)

Finally, for your sake, consider going easy on Matt Lohmeier! The Lord cautions us over-and-over to forbear from judging one another because whatever measure we use to judge another will be used on us when we are judged. Even if Matt was found to be delusional, misguided or wildly misdirected, wouldn’t a true follower of Christ think kindly of him and seek his well-being?

I’d agree with Rock that it is never too late for us to examine our beliefs to determine where our assumptions and loyalties lie, dx. If you’re interested in light and truth you likely will find new delights and hidden treasures in a new commitment to Jesus Christ. Seek him, man. No other human being matters in this question.

TC said...

Thank you.

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matt lohrke said...

It appears Brother Thomas has passed away. For the all the controversies around these parts, he definitely did a lot of good things and we should thank him.

Things are about to get real weird with Brother Russell at the helm.

Dave P. said...

Think he'll confess the sins of the corporation and begin steering it towards a state of repentance?

...

...

...

I'm not holding my breath.

Eric Kuntz said...

"...dissolving all organized religion altogether."

best idea yet!

matt lohrke said...

@DaveP - I suspect we'll see even more appeals to authority and more oath-like requirements as that seems to be Russell's wheelhouse.

MrHFMetz said...

The whole idea of knowing the next church president on beforehand indicates that there is something wrong here. In the late eighteenhundreds the Brethren had the opinion that this needed a revelation from the Lord.

Loadius said...

We have been following the same pattern as the children of Israel. First came Moses (Joseph) and Aaron (Sydney), then came Joshua (Hyrum), then came 15 judges in Israel (Brigham Young to Thomas Monson), then came Saul (Russell Nelson?), then came David (The Davidic Servant).

The 15th judge in latter day Israel just passed away. Now comes the Davidic Servant. Get ready. (or could there be a "Saul" that comes before that?)

dx said...
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Insightful Nana said...


Thank you Rock for expressing so well my personal thoughts and feelings about the “Follow The Prophet” issue.

Like Rebecca C expressed in her comments above, for years I “assumed” that the leaders of the Church were not only inspired but received direct revelation as Joseph Smith did. My focus was first upon the Church at it’s leaders, then Christ as taught by the Church.

7 years ago I decided to read the Book of Mormon purely. I already had a testimony of the restoration so I was not reading it for authenticity. I decided I would read it, “BELIEVING” every word as it came from the pages. I cut out all of the outside voices of seminary, Sunday school teachers and Ensign articles and conference talks. That experience was one of the most remarkable experiences I have ever had. It opened my eyes to the fact that I could have the same experience that Nephi had, as he set a pattern by which I too could have a face to face experience with Christ, if I followed the same pattern.

I also notice that none the of BoM prophets ever said in any way, “Follow me". Their focus was always the MESSAGE of Christ, not on themselves. By the time I read to the end of the book, I realized I had “dwindled in unbelief,” by putting my loyalty in the “Church” first before “Christ”. The “Follow the Prophet” mantra has been bothersome to me every since.

I now see the “Church Loyalty Pattern” evident in many testimonies coming from the pulpit. Folks bear testimony of: “I know President Monson is a prophet.” - “I know the Church is true”... etc. Christ, if mentioned, generally comes at the end, like an after thought.

There is no doubt, we have been encouraged toward Church loyalty first for some time by way of conference talks, as well as written Ensign articles and our manuals.

I have to say that I found the Matthew Lohmeier interview to be very compelling. I found him to be very humble and straight forward in his comments. As John tried to steer him into a bit of “anti-mormon” dialogue, Matthew stayed true to his testimony of the gospel and the restoration in detailing his own personal experience.

And DX, can you respect the fact that he shared his own experience without the suggestion you know his intent for doing so? Personally I found his journey to be up lifting.

The fact that he challenged the “Follow The Prophet” issue was the same issue many of my friends faced before they were excommunicated. They, like Matthew valued their membership in the Church but just wanted the “Follow The Prophet” issue to be put into perspective. We all may be put in a similar position soon. From my understanding (don't know if it's fact or fiction) the new temple recommend questions are going to sort out the sheep from the goats and individually we are going to have to make a choice. If this is true, I know where my loyalty lies... and come what may.


MrHFMetz said...

DX 10.55 AM - I don't want stability, I want revelation; not "All is well in Zion". If you prefer stability you end up with nothing, and that is the situation right now.

dx said...
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dx said...
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matt lohrke said...

DX - it's not my list. It was forwarded to me by a friend. I made no comments or value judgments on it. I just found it interesting.

dx said...
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matt lohrke said...

DX - No problem. ;)

dx said...

Donald J. Trump

Verified account

@realDonaldTrump
1m1 minute ago
More
Melania and I are deeply saddened by the death of Thomas S. Monson, a beloved President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

dx said...

Statement from President Donald J. Trump Regarding the Passing of Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Issued on: January 3, 2018

Melania and I are deeply saddened by the death of Thomas S. Monson, a beloved President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While serving for over half a century in the leadership of his church, President Monson demonstrated wisdom, inspired leadership, and great compassion. Considered a prophet by the nearly 16 million members of the LDS Church, his message was one of optimism, forgiveness, and faith. Our thoughts and prayers are with his three children and the rest of the Monson family.

Lester said...

dx,
While there is a certain orderliness and even beauty in the workings of organized religion, I’m not convinced that is what Jesus Christ values. When I taught D&C 10:67–69 in Gospel Doctrine once I got mostly blank stares, especially the part about anything more or anything less than the Lord’s definition being not of him and actually being against him.

“Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.” (D&C 10:67-69)

Regardless of how messy and chaotic it may seem I’m inclined to take the Lord at his word and see where it leads. One could make a strong case that the church teaches both more and less than the Lord’s definition of his church here. We have lots of prophetic counsel from the leaders claiming divine approval of both more and less than this definition and we lap it up with gusto. Because he will never impinge on our agency, however, the Lord will never force the leaders to repent of their overreach or force us to repent of our ignorance—and embrace his definition.

Matt,
Your friend’s survey results mirrors my own experience teaching Gospel Doctrine. When I realized that virtually no one was ready to engage in a substantive discussion about the lesson material because they hadn’t read it, I tried to meet them where they were and lead them in exploring it. We ended up growing in understanding because we read many scriptures and discussed the context and implications of them.

Over time I realized that while the quotes from past church leaders in the manual commenting on the concepts in the lessons tended to support the confirmation bias of most believing members, those quotes often didn’t stimulate the class to thinking for themselves. Gradually I pretty much stopped using the quotes from the leaders. The class seemed to thrive on more scriptures and less commentaries from the General Authorities. I’m not convinced that the recent change in the seminary program of focusing on concepts instead of the scriptures will lead the students to Jesus Christ. He alone can save. Everything else is integration with an organized religion.

Eric Kuntz said...

"Melania and I are deeply saddened by the death of Thomas S. Monson, a beloved President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints..."

Says one secret society member to another.

Zebedee said...

Hey Rock,

Loved the article as always. I have some comments and questions for you.

First of all I was going to suggest that you were a little hard on Sister McConkie. I was going to say that I think she didn’t do it on purpose. That she was just parroting what she had heard so many times before. And that speaking to a worldwide audience must have been fairly intimidating and she played it safe. But then I realized she’s not a “general authority” and can’t really do much else but repeat the same narrative anyway. Plus she probably didn’t even write it. Still, I just shake my head at our pitiful situation.

But what I am really curious about are these statements of yours:

“[Follow the prophet is] a heresy that is becoming more and more transparent as the leaders strive ever harder to promote it.”

“Every week more and more members of the Church recognize these guys cannot follow through with the promises they have been making.”

“The ground [Eyring] and his cohorts have been standing on is becoming more dangerous to them as the saints discover that the claims of the modern Church leaders are empty boasts.”

I’d like to believe more and more members are waking up, but are there some actual numbers to support that, or is it just a gut feeling (and maybe wishful thinking) on our part? I personally know several who have bailed in recent years, but I’m just a small sample. Has there been some leaked data from HQ where the “leaders” are shown some PowerPoint from some analysis group somewhere? I’d like to know what numbers are we talking about here?

Jared Mata said...

Usually I think of myself as the guy who lives and let live, but there are times, as when I read comments like those from dx or that other guy who calls himself Robin Hood, when I think I should say something. And this is what I want to say. YOU ARE TRYING TO DEFEND SOMETHING THAT'S JUST INDEFENSIBLE. We are not just talking here about a couple of things out of order. We are talking here about a COMPLETELY OPPOSITE SYSTEM. Think of this. The nature of tithing, the responsibilities of the quorums, changing or removing offices, changing or removing ordinances, changing or removing scriptures. Do you really think everything's OK? Are you really saying LDS Church is OK? IT'S NOT. It's far from being OK. You come here, cite (out of context) a couple of passages and expect you have won the argument. But you haven't. And yes, there is an argument going on here. You failed to show us why we are better with the current leadership and policies of the Church. You failed to show us why their way of doing the work is better than THE WAY THE LORD HIMSELF GAVE THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH. I mean, c'mon, anyone can see it. It's obvious. But you have convinced yourself that you're right and the brethren are right and Rock Waterman is wrong and an adulterer. And failed to adress EACH ONE OF THE OBJECTIONS HE HAS POINTED OUT IN HIS OTHERS POSTS. They are all legitimate concerns. And not only Rock, there's a facebook group, Questions for the Brethren. I would like to see how you answer them. You say that's all old stuff that have been adressed by some other TBM or apologist before. Well, if it's that simply, bring it on. Copy and paste those answers. Copy and paste the links, damn it. Show us why we are better here, in our own countries, than gathered in Missouri. Explain why the change in the hierarchy of the church, why they abandoned the common consent. Why they changed doctrine. Why the changed ordinances. Why to do, not a deviation, but AN ENTIRE REVERSAL OF THE WILL OF THE LORD. We are lost, my friends. None of us are doing the things we should. Rock Waterman, Denver Snuffer, and other people, are trying to find their purpose in life. They try to learn God's will for them. And I sincerely respect that and follow their work. I know I am lost, no matter what I would do. I will never achieve what the Lord has asked for us. He asked us many things in this dispensation and we have not done them. WE ARE, INDEED, IN AN AWFUL SITUATION. Our message should not be one of optimism. I think it is debatable if our situation is worse than those of others dispensations. But one thing for sure is: we have failed to what the Lord required for us in this dispensation. What I try to do now is trying to live the best life I can. I try to help my neighbor and to tolerate him. I try to be a good husband and father. I try to worship God and teach my children to the same. I try to put aside the differences. I know I am lost. But at least, I can do the best I can. Couple of days ago, one TBM, one of the persons who judged me as an apostate, came to my mother's house to annoint her and bless her as she was very sick; I could not be with her in those momments, but when I knew what my enemy had done, I could do no more than showing him my sincere thankfulness and put aside our differences and love him. This is what I try to do. MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Lester said...

Zebedee,

Quitmormon.org tallies the number of folks they assist in resigning from the church each week and posts that number and a running total in their Twitter feed. Recent weekly numbers are running between 200 and close to 400 resignations per week with a total currently standing at 12,830.

For those who are interested in officially getting off The Good Ship Zion, quitmormon is a lovely service, offered free-of-charge. Going through the process on your own can be a protracted legal pain in the neck. I get no sense that they're attempting to tear the church down or persuade the dissafected to leave. When my daughter tired of strangers showing up on her doorstep every time she moved I put her on to quitmormon and she was out in a month.

The complete picture would be even higher numbers by including the folks who simply opt out but don't go to the trouble of resigning.

MrHFMetz said...

Matt Lohrke, your friend's list, that I found to be deleted again, this morning, was an important document, and a quite alarming report. To me it was an important message, because it highlights much of what is going wrong in this church at present, especially among the membership. Could it be posted back again?

Eric Kuntz said...

Jared Mata says:

"YOU ARE TRYING TO DEFEND SOMETHING THAT'S JUST INDEFENSIBLE."

Right on! It's the attitude and ego of people like 'dx' that IS the problem. It allows the corruption and lies to continue.

Eric Kuntz said...

This idol worship of Brother Thomas all over Mormon country makes me very sad.

dx said...
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Dave P. said...

I admittedly found the NYTimes obituary headline about his passing to be in poor taste. At the same time, the idol worship for him will be replaced with Nelson after next Friday once the funeral's over.

dx said...
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matt lohrke said...

I deleted the list as I should have sought permission first. That permission has been graciously given, so here it is:

****

(1) Only 40% of adult Sunday School students are even nominally aware of the Sunday School topic or lesson before arriving at class. And only 9% have read or done *any* preparation in advance of class.

(2) Sunday school attendees overwhelmingly prefer student-led discussion and student-shared experiences during class over traditional lecture or a study of the history & context of scripture and/or doctrine. (At a ratio of about 3:1.)

(3) When assessing their self-identified aims for their Sunday School experience, students would like to be uplifted and "feel the spirit" much more than they would like to learn, gain insight into the scriptures, or have questions answered. (These were not offered exclusively one to another, but were simply asked to be rank-ordered.)

(4) Only 52% of respondents had heard of “Gospel Topics” on lds.org, and only 39% had ever read one. (This did not distinguish between any of the controversial topics and the other regular topics.)

I have also been conducting an assessment of our three-hour block over the same three-month period (we have been ostensibly covering the Doctrine & Covenants and Church History). Distinguishing by meeting type, I have made note of how many times Jesus Christ was mentioned—directly or by obvious reference—and how many times a scripture from the standard works was either quoted or cited. These are the results, all weeks averaged together:

In Sacrament Meeting (excluding fast Sundays): an average of 1.75 mentions of Christ per meeting, and only 1.16 scriptures referenced.

In Sunday School: an average of 1.2 mentions of Christ per week, and 1.4 scriptures referenced.

In Priesthood: .7 mentions of Christ each week, and only .33 scriptures referenced.

The following are my several observations: If my ward is fairly typical of the Church, I’ve reached the following tentative conclusions:
(1) Our members are generally not serious students of doctrine or the scriptures.
(2) Our members generally don’t have much interest in delving into the scriptures, and would rather have topical discussions or gospel-in-action conversations.
(3) There is currently a dearth and paucity of theology and doctrine in the Church that I have not witnessed in my adult lifetime.
(4) I believe this is in large part the result of the emphasis on messages from our living leaders and the obsession with conference talks.
(5) Because Christ, the scriptures, and theology are noticeably absent from our conference talks, they are also noticeably absent from our three-hour block.
(6) We are becoming more and more a Church of the Fifteen rather than the Church of Jesus Christ or the scriptures.
(7) My anecdotal experience is that a large chunk of those who do take their doctrine and theology seriously (probably not a majority, but a significant contingent) end up distancing themselves from the Church, or becoming more nuanced members. I have often spoken of the various reasons people attend Church, which is fine. But I do believe the bulk of those who are coming to Church every Sunday, do so for social reasons or for validation, rather than to engage in a theological exploration. And I suspect the contemporary Church is simply giving that group what they want.
(8) I have a problem with all of the above.

Eric Kuntz said...

The Mormon people love idol worship and "Praise to the man" is a fitting anthem to a man whose fraudulent life is being exposed through the Holy Scriptures. Joseph’s missteps and mistakes prove what God said to him in the beginning of his career… that he only had “one gift” and not to pretend to any other gifts. Smith spent his life pretending, and it’s all coming unraveled before our eyes. Most Mormons are decent human beings with good hearts who live morally upstanding lives. They have, however, been indoctrinated and programmed from either birth or conversion to “follow the prophet” without question rather than following Jesus Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit. An entire culture or cult has been created within the Mormon church which gives total and absolute obeisance and homage to the fifteen men who sit atop its board of directors, known collectively as “the brethren.” The church hierarchy fancy themselves as “prophets, seers, and revelators” following in the footsteps of the original fraudster Joseph Smith himself.

Unknown said...

It is a complete eye-roller for me to hear you refer to anything Matthew has done as "radical". My car stereo doesn't even go loud enough for me to hear everything he says because he speaks with a quiet humility. Talk about reaching for the top shelf to grab a word. If trying to convince others of their error through persuasion as he does is radical, then I can't fathom the words you must have about Joseph Smith. We do know who he was. He didn't try to convince others of their error through a series of anonymous letters. I assume that's what you want Matthew to do. You act like he's starting a megachurch or something. Give me a break. In fact, just your presence on this comment thread is reason to have you locked up for being such a radical, if Matthew is to be considered one...

Unknown said...

Stability in having one who is not directly called of God be treated as though he were? Whatever floats your boat...

Unknown said...

Amen! DX is deliberately very selective with what he responds to, because so much of it is indefensible...

dx said...
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matt lohrke said...

DX -

Which approach to recommend people take to effectuate the necessary reform in the church? What is the "effective approach?" I'm assuming you have something in mind. I'm genuinely and sincerely interested. I don't think it does any good to tell people their wrong without offering a solution or alternate approach. (If you have and I missed it, I apologize).

I agree in principle that patience and long-suffering are the best approaches, but as plenty of people will attest, pointing out the problems--even if those problems are demonstrably true and manifestly evident--will result in that person being dragged before a bishop or stake president under the nebulous charge of "apostasy." How many people have boldly testified of the untruths contained in our meetings and manuals, only to be booted out of the corporation?

What do we do when the hierarchy simply doesn't listen, has no apparent desire to listen, and simply tells us to follow them under threat of disfellowship or excommunication? If you have problem, they say, "talk to your local leaders." Well, what do local leaders do? They don't listen either. They invite you repent, find a new church, or pray until you get the "right answer" (even when that means bearing false witness). When that all fails, you're invited to a "court of love" where your points won't be addressed, your complaints will be ignored, the scriptures probably won't be allowed and your fate is already decided. And when you appeal that decision, said appeal will fall on deaf ears because the brass has zero willingness to address the real problems. It's easier to just boot the problems out of the community and pretend that "all is well in Zion."

In short, you will be made to bend the knee and kiss the ring of the Quorum of the Board of Directors or you will be ejected. That's the sum and substance of the corporate church.

We have Mormons who quite literally live in fear of being "found out." I've had friends disowned, disavowed and told they aren't allowed in certain homes. I've had friend who'd been "turned in" to their bishop for no other reason than they uncorrelated themselves and sought for Christ first. I've had friends who've been told that they need to forget their concerns and just do their job (church calling). It other words, tow the company line or get the hell out.

My first close friend who left the church said he felt like the motivating factor of modern Mormonism was fear. He was not entirely wrong.

Its madness.

Jared Mata said...

dx
You say I am Anti-Mormon. I said the Lord gave instructions to the prophet Joseph Smith. Does that sound Anti-Mormon to you?
I'll challenge you once more: address the objections presented in this and the other posts. Begin with the prophetic counsel exhibits. Then go to Questions for the Brethren (which is not Anti-Mormon). Answer them. And I am not talking only about inconsistencies in doctrine, I am talking about policies and procedures that violates God's Law for the cuhrch, and which are done by no common-consent.
You say I exaggerate . That's because you don't take God's word seriously. You believe that when the Lord says: "The church is under condemntation" He's really not meaning that.

matt lohrke said...

I second Jared's advice to take a look at "Questions for the Brethren."

I got sucked down the rabbit hole fall of 2016 and watched their videos about eight straight hours. I don't agree with everything, but that's not the point. They got me thinking, reassessing, and I honestly learned a ton of stuff, especially regarding the Polar Configuration and it's relation to the Gospel. Here's the link to their youtube channel. Their videos are easily digestible as they come in at 5-6 minutes each.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBQWxN9G_xwjJebt9BVkhlg/videos

They also have a great series called "The Prophetic Tradition."

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDvVBC9YQfXxz8rtO3NGjOw/videos

And when you're done with that, watch "Symbols of An Alien Sky." WOW!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7EAlTcZFwY&t=1847s


Zebedee said...

This coming Sunday begins a new era in instruction for PH and RS meetings. From lds.org:

"On the first Sunday of each month, quorum, group, and Relief Society meetings will not include a lesson taught by a teacher. Instead, presidencies or group leaders will lead a council meeting. Each quorum, group, or Relief Society will counsel together about local responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges; learn from each other’s insights and experiences; and plan ways to act on impressions received from the Spirit."

"On the second and third Sundays of each month, Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and Relief Societies study the teachings of Church leaders from the most recent general conference. Emphasis should be given to messages from members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; however, based on local needs and inspiration from the Spirit, any message from the most recent conference may be discussed."

"On the fourth Sunday of each month, quorums, groups, and Relief Societies discuss a topic selected by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These topics will be updated with every general conference. The topic until the next general conference will be the Sabbath day. Leaders or teachers may choose from the doctrines and learning activities suggested below, combine several of them, or create their own according to the needs of members."

Excuse me for being considered an apostate, but why so much about General Conference talks? Where are the teachings of Christ in all of this? I thought I belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not the Church of the General Authorities.

Dumbfounded.

Eric Kuntz said...

dx,

I have a sincere question for you. I hope you will answer it thoughtfully, because I truly would like to hear your honest answer. The question is this: What do you take as your standard to measure truth by? Or put another way, how do you know if sometime is either true of false?

This is a very important question for me, because I am a truth seeker. I have no agenda except the truth, meaning if I find that something I once believed is no longer true, I discard that belief from my life and move on. I don't want to be believe false things. I don't mind to be corrected in my thinking, in fact I seek after it. Would you consider yourself a truth seeker?

dx said...
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Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX, you said to Matt Lohrke "I think you are confused about which church you are in." It would appear from your responses to me on January 2, that you are the one who is confused about which church he is in, because you went on a lengthy defense of the Brethren about how difficult it must be for them to carry out the responsibilities they were tasked to do. You used that term over and over, i.e. "they have been tasked with the responsibility of implementation an organization of religious practices," "It's no easy task," The task is daunting," etc.

Your impressive argument might have been persuasive had it been about men who had actually been "tasked" with the role you insist they have been. We are talking about the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles here, aren't we? You might have first established that they had indeed been charged with, to use just one example from your argument, implementing an organization of religious practices.

I appreciate your clarifying where you stand, because it's clear you and I adhere to vastly different religions. My religion is contained in the standard works. That's why, as Harold B. Lee stated, we call them the "standard" of our religion. Anything that contradicts the standard works is not of God.

Certainly you are aware from your reading of sections 104 and 107 et al that the apostles are prohibited from any governing, administrative, or managerial functions within the church. Yet you went on at length about how difficult it is for them to govern, administer, and manage a church of millions. What is your justification, I wonder?

What little bit of governing that was needed by the church that Jesus Christ established could have been handled by the administrative bodies that HE set up at the beginning, but which your beloved apostles tore down because the very existence of the Lord's government threatened their power.

I'm referring to the church standing High Council, which no longer exists at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City. What about the presiding patriarch, the highest office in the church? The apostles got rid of that, too. These men are not noble bearers of God's work. They are usurpers. You would already know that if you were not confused about which religion you adhere to.

Have you noticed they no longer even go by the appellation God gave to them, "Twelve Traveling Council"? It's because clearly they have abandoned the role God placed them in, and decided it was more convenient to run the church from headquarters than to perform the actual responsibilities they were "tasked" to accomplish.

dx said...
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Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX,
And what are these monumental responsibilities you seem to think lie heavy on the leaders of the church? The three legitimate bodies (by which I mean those in governing positions who are NOT part of the quorum of traveling apostles) were not weighted down with the kind of responsibilities you seem to think the apostles today have on their shoulders.

Do you even know what the responsibilities of the First Presidency were? I'll give you a hint: they were not tasked with governing the members. It's also worth noting that when Joseph Smith replaced a counselor in the First Presidency, he NEVER chose an apostle to fill that role. Neither was it ever conceived, even by Brigham Young, that an apostle would fill the role of president of the Church in the event of Joseph's death.

The High Council concerned itself with disputes among the members. So they didn't "govern" the members, either. Truth be told, when the church is operating according to scripture, the people did not require "leaders" to govern them. You'll the reason Joseph quoted from Ezekial 14 that day was to remind them "the people should each one stand for himself and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church" and THEN he applied that lesson to the current church, the implication being that the current leadership could fall to corruption, ESPECIALLY because the people were depending on HIM.

All the way through the pioneer years of the LDS church, there were no chapels built, and no plans to build any, so what exactly are all these responsibilities for running the various wards and stakes you seem to think leaders were needed for?

Each stake was autonomous; with various offices such as high councilors, Elders, High Priests, etc to prevent any usurpation by one group over another. They existed to protect the churches from being corrupted through a top-down hierarchy.

This church started out as one of the first to break away from the corrupt way of conducting itself and returning to the method of members worshiping the same way the first century Christians had. Back then, friends would gather in each other's homes in small groups of families to worship and partake of the sacrament. Some time after the emperor Constantine co-opted the early church, a system of worship developed where a priest was in charge. This priest would stand at the head of the congregation with the congregation seated respectfully at his feet.

Even the Protestant break-offs retained that tradition because by that time they knew no other. When Joseph Smith came along, he, or Sidney Rigdon, or some other person might give an occasional sermon at the grove where the faithful would gather to him them, but otherwise the people were left to themselves to worship, sing, and gather with other like-minded people at home.

Then around the end of the 19th century in Utah, someone in leadership thought it might be a good idea to start building chapels like the catholics and protestants were doing, where Sacrament Meetings would be held. From there the apostles (along with the apostles who had been promoted to the First Presidency) began to exercise control over the people in these wards.

"Wards" by the way, did not spring into existence as extensions of the church; rather wards already existed as geographical neighborhoods, much like you hear about the existence of "wards" in New Orleans. Once chapels were built in these various ward boundaries, people began to naturally refer to their new meeting houses as being in "the Salt Lake 1st ward," The Sugarhouse Ward" and so on.

DX, the need you feel the church as for "leaders" implies the people are incapable of following the word of God without someone in authority interpreting it for them. This is why the church today is being led carefully down to hell, in Nephi's words. Each man is not standing for himself, but relying on men who were never authorized to dictate to him in the first place.

dx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX,
You snidely asked MrHFMetz, regarding the method by which the president of the church should be selected, "Perhaps you prefer smoke signals of secret voting and chaos. Some of us prefer stability."

After the death of Brigham Young, the 12 apostles who remained alive also preferred stability, but they did not know how to achieve it because no one had yet received a revelation from the Lord telling them how he wanted the president of the church chosen.

Now mind you, they were ONLY trying to determine how to select a successor to Brigham Young as the president. No one even considered that they had the authority to choose another prophet to succeed Joseph Smith. They understood that Joseph's designated successor, Hyrum Smith, was the only one who could have filled those shoes. Next in line, to everyone's understanding, was Joseph's son, now grown and able to take the reins, but he would have nothing to do with the apostate Utah Church that he considered had been run into the ground by Brigham Young, who openly disdained Joseph's widow.

So what to do? The entire quorum decided, since Brigham had ruled with such a strong hand, they shouldn't go that route again. So they decided instead of a president, the church should be governed the way Brigham Young originally proposed in August of 1844. That method entailed the Twelve presiding over the church as a body. But three years later, Taylor asked the others to propose him as president of the whole church, which they eventually did, and the people elected him to be president. But at the death of Taylor, the remaining apostles faced the same dilemma: NOW who should be the president? What is the method by which the Lord would have us select someone to preside?

Eventually, after a few more of these starts and stops involving deaths of the sitting president, they went with the way they had when John Taylor finally filled the spot and it ended up being TRADITION that dictated the senior apostle would replace the president upon the president's death.

You wonder if there were options other than smoke signals and secret voting? How about revelation? Clearly the apostles prayed for an answer to the problem.

The question you should be asking yourself,DX, is WHY didn't the Lord give the apostles the answer they were seeking? Could it be because they had disobeyed his instructions by placing themselves in positions of authority? Is it possible that although the Lord continued to operate within the lives of individual members of the church, that he had washed his hands of the leaders? What was that the Lord said about "when ye do not what I say, you have no promise"?

The method of selection of a new church president was slapdash for decades. Smoke signals might done just as well.

You may want to read Edward Leo Lyman's detailed history titled "Succesion By Seniority: The Development of Procedural Precedents in the LDS Church" which I link to in the post below.

(And before you continue to smugly "defend that which is indefensible" as Jared Mata aptly put it, You might also consider reading that entire essay and arm yourself with a few facts on doctrine and church history. So far you you have been proceeding on false assumption after false assumption, and though you may think you've made unassailably brilliant arguments, you have not succeeded in getting a single one of them to land without a thud. You could be helped if you were to employ a few facts in your arguments, DX. Why not try that next time?)

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2016/12/did-lord-choose-not-to-anoint-lords.html&httpsredir=1&article=1080&context=mormonhistory

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX, I would say a word about your name-calling of anti-Mormons as "Losers."

When you employ ad hominems, you have lost the argument. Plus it is unbecoming to someone who, I presume, considers himself a follower of Christ.

Most commenters on this blog are very much pro-Mormon. We embrace the Book of Mormon, the gospel of the Restoration, Jesus Christ, and the divine calling of His servant, Joseph Smith.

And although there are more and more people who have left the church entirely, and who could justly be referred to as unbelievers, isn't it more helpful to listen to their concerns rather than to resort to name-calling? Is that how you think the Lord would have us make converts?

Remember that many who are now solidly in the anti-Mormon camp were once devout believers like yourself: stake presidents, Relief Society presidents, bishops, Elder's quorum presidents, gospel doctrine teacher, etc. But they felt betrayed by a church that, quite frankly, betrayed their trust. Calling them losers does not reflect well on you, my friend.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I would point out that Lester, in his response to Zebedee, has not adequately answered the question posed by Zebedee, who wanted to know about the number of BELIEVERS who left the church, but continue to be devoted believers in the Restoration.

QuitMormon.org caters mostly to former members who have turned their backs on the religion. There are thousands of others who retain their faith in the religion we call "Mormonism" but who rightly have no need of those in the Church who claim authority over them.

This number is unknown, because we are not organized. Like the primitive Christian Church, we gather in independent fellowships all over the world. There are thousands of us, but how many thousands, I couldn't tell you. My educated guess is AT LEAST 20,000, and growing exponentially. Enough to make the leaders of the Church more concerned with us than with the recreants.

The corporation knows how to deal with those who have abandoned the faith: they ignore them. What they can't deal with is faithful believers who embrace everything about Mormonism except the leader's pretended authority. If you dare to place Christ in a position above the leaders, they'll brand you an apostate. Because you are a threat, just as Jesus was a threat to the established Church in His day. They'll kick you out and paint you as a traitor in hopes no one will listen to you.

(P.S.Their strategy isn't working.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX wrote:

"The standard works do not and cannot suffice as a basis for your religion. They require interpretation."

That's a surprising position to take for one who advocates for closely following the counsel of Church authorities. I can cite you dozens upon dozens of statements by church leaders who vigorously disagree with you. Here's one I quoted in a recent blog post titled "Evil Speaking of the Lord's Anointed":

"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...I think therein is one of our biggest dangers of today." (First Presidency Message, Ensign, December 1972.)

You'll note President Lee was referring to church leaders as well as the rank and file when he said, "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!"

Similar statements were made by former church leaders such as Spencer Kimball, Mark E. Peterson, Bruce McConkie Ezra Taft Benson, Marion Romney -Pretty much the entire group of presidents and apostles who led the church as I was growing up. I'm fairly certain any one of them would slap you upside the head if they heard you say we have to have someone interpret our scriptures for us. You can find at least FIFTY statements countering your argument within the pages of a church book titled "Determining Doctrine" and all sourced to their talks or writings.

I did notice that virtually all the statements came from leaders who were in office during the days when we had actual scriptorians leading the church. You can't find scriptorians among the Q15 today and I find it notable that it's THESE ignoramuses who insist we follow them. The old guard very seldom gave such instructions, insisting instead that the scriptures come first.

It's odd that immediately after insisting the scriptures need interpreting, you sail into the example of the protestants having difficulty coming to a consensus on the bible. Did you miss the Sunday school lesson that taught you that's the very reason for the Book of Mormon and the revelations contained in the Doctrine & Covenants? To obviate the need for further interpretation?

I would refer you to the comment above by Insightful Nana, who decided to cut out all outside influences and read the Book of Mormon as it was written. She said it turned out to be one of the most remarkable experiences she ever had.

Imagine that: reading the word of God as it was written! Isn't that what Joseph Smith meant when he said "Everything that we have not a keyword to, we will take it as it reads"? (TPJS, Pg 293.)

Alma said to his son, "Therefore I command you, my son Helaman, that ye be diligent in fulfilling all my words, and that ye be diligent in keeping the commandments of God AS THEY ARE WRITTEN." (Alma 37:20.)

"I believe all that God ever revealed, and I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much; but they are damned for unbelief." Joseph Smith, TPJS, Pg 373.


(Continued Below)

Jared Mata said...

DX
I'm done with you. If your next comment isn't going to answer any of the objections of this blog or Questions for the Brethren's, then we will take you as a distractor, or best said, as a stumbling block for those who are interested in know the truth.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX, (Continued)

You further respond by saying,

"I'm not talking about governing. I'm talking about serving and carrying out their responsibilities."

But they are NOT carrying out their responsibilities. Didn't we just go over that? The responsibility of the Twelve Traveling Elders is to TRAVEL. Their sphere of influence, according to their master, is OUTSIDE the established church, not within the church's borders.

I'll tell you who is serving. Your bishop is serving. Your Relief Society President is serving. the GAs receive a hefty paycheck almost three times the amount of the median income of the average member in the U.S. plus bottomless credit cards, new cars, chauffers available around the clock, primary residences and vacation homes, all provided out of the tithes of obsequious members like you. If you call that "serving" you may be confused about who is serving who.

You know what, DX? I think we've been at this long enough. I like an intelligent argument, because it is through arguing that people learn from one another. But you aren't arguing intelligently. You just want to quarrel. I notice that during the time I've been away from my computer to get a bite to eat, you have already responded at least two more times. I haven't read them, but if they are anything like what you've written so far, they will be off-point and quarrelsome, and not worth my time. So I don't think I'll bother reading them. I have much more pressing concerns.

Other readers can take a crack at you if they want, but I think it's futile. I have come to that conclusion because, even after all the other back-and-forth on this blog since Tuesday, you topped it all off with your ridiculous assertion that the standard works require authority figures to interpret them for us.

Seriously, don't you know ANYTHING about the religion you pretend to be defending? Joseph Smith himself refutes your silly assertion, but you probably won't recognize him as an authority because he is not currently in the hierarchy.

Oh hell, I'll quote him anyway:

"What is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. Understand it precisely as it reads." (TPJS pg 373)

I do wish you luck in your unsupportable belief system, DX. And I hope you won't think me unkind for saying so, but you strike me as a bit of a dope.

dx said...
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Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jared Mata,
I think we both know DX would not have remained on point and answered the questions, but that's moot anyway because his latter comments have been removed from this blog.

He is the only person I have ever banned from here. I like to think I have near infinite patience, but long-time readers will recognize DX as having posted here in the past quite furiously under various names such as "Little Rock" and "Friar Tuck." He was initially banned two or three years ago after losing his temper with a kind friend and reader of this blog named Celia, who was literally on her deathbed at the time and "DX" knew it. He told her off in this space using the most vulgar language, and that was when he used up his last chance.

Up until that point, I had a firm policy of allowing all diverse opinions on this blog, but he pressed it too far, and the outcry from other readers was too much to ignore. I changed the comment screening to disallow anonymous posters.

So why did I allow "dx" to remain for so long? Partly because I was lazy, partly because I wanted to make certain this was the same guy as before, and partly because I simply wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Ultimately I decided that trolls like him are a detriment to the types of discussions we try to have here, and he did have ample opportunity to make his views heard. Though I can tolerate arguments that lack reason, logic, and common sense, in the end, dx betrayed his identity by his inability to remain on point, and his propensity for repeating the same arguments and refusing to acknowledge when those issues had already been asked and answered.

I have allowed some of his comments to remain on this board if they contained something someone else has responded to, in order to avoid confusion on the part of new readers. For instance, if one of you wrote something in response to something dx had written earlier, I left his original comment where it was to avoid confusion by others who arrived late to the conversation.

But everything else that followed my last response to him was little more than him mindlessly ragging on me or ragging on someone else for not seeing things his way, so those have been deleted, as will anything else he attempts to post here, either as "dx" or some other name.

I remain committed to giving space to honest seekers of truth who may have differences of opinion, but when someone becomes quarrelsome to the point where it's a waste of everyone's time just to follow him, it's time to pull the plug. You should know that several people (including my wife) have messaged me me wondering why I've continued to put up with someone THEY recognized as the same old troll as before. I didn't have a good answer.

So, a reminder: This blog does not allow anonymous comments. You may use a pseudonym if you wish, but if you choose to be extraordinarily insulting, or deliberately stupid, your comments will be removed. I don't normally care to know anyone's true identity who posts here using a pseudonym, and I never look behind the dashboard to see who anyone is in real life, but you should know this program does give me the ability to find out if I want to. So, don't test me further, Friar Tuck.

Chris VanCampen said...

There has, in fact, been one so-called "revelation" in recent church history, that careful attention ought to be paid to. It is the change in church policy regarding the baptism of children of openly gay parents. This was a policy change that was first snuck into the "Handbook" without fanfare or notice (along with a subtle, unscriptural and damning change to the definition of apostasy), but which was subsequently discovered, and publicized, by an alert blogger. This was followed up by the Corporation with an awkwardly transparently scripted cockamamie "Question and Answer" session with Elder Christofferson, in which he clarified and explained the "policy change."

But then, there was this: a declaration by the next in line to ascend to the throne, Elder Nelson, that the policy change was, in fact, a revelation:

“The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counsel together and share all the Lord has directed us to understand and to feel, individually and collectively,” he said. “And then, we watch the Lord move upon the President of the Church to proclaim the Lord’s will.”

This “prophetic process”—which also includes fasting, prayer, studying, pondering, and counseling with each other as they wrestle with the issue—was followed in 2012 with the change in age for missionary service, as well as the recent additions to the Church’s handbook, consequent to the legalization of same-sex marriage in some countries, President Nelson said.

“Filled with compassion for all, and especially for the children, we wrestled at length to understand the Lord’s will in this matter,” he said. “Ever mindful of God’s plan of salvation and of His hope for eternal life for each of His children, we considered countless permutations and combinations of possible scenarios that could arise. We met repeatedly in the temple in fasting and prayer and sought further direction and inspiration.

“And then, when the Lord inspired His prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, to declare the mind of the Lord and the will of the Lord, each of us during that sacred moment felt a spiritual confirmation. It was our privilege as Apostles to sustain what had been revealed to President Monson. Revelation from the Lord to His servants is a sacred process. And so is your privilege of receiving personal revelation.”

Setting aside, for a moment, this tortured description of how revelation is received, which has no equal in scripture, let us look to the heart of the matter: the Corporation will no longer allow children a saving ordinance based upon the acts of others.

There have been explanations of how merciful this is to the little children. However, it is directly contradictory to the words of Jesus Christ Himself in Third Nephi:

"31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
...
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
. . .
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them."

So, yes, they do claim "revelation." Problem is, their "revelation" is directly contradictory to Christ, and as such, cannot be what they claim it is. It was on this day, and for this reason, that I ultimately "graduated" from the Corporation and now follow Christ only.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

You were right to place "revelation" in quotes, Chris VanCampen, because if what Russell Nelson claimed to be a revelation was actually a revelation, I'm a Presbyterian.

Nelson made it up, pure and simple, and I don't think he is above making up more nonsense and passing it off as revelation if he thinks the members will swallow it his fantasies. I agree with Matt Lohrke above when he said, "Things are about to get real weird with Brother Russell at the helm."

Think of it: the man who is about to preside over the church and be sustained a prophet, seer, and revelator, lied about "watching" President Monson receive a revelation, although he tells us nothing about the wording of that revelation. A pretty shallow description of something that purports to have the Lord reversing himself on His most important doctrine.

Apparently a revelation from God is now a look that crosses over the face of the "prophet" without any message being conveyed. And this on the face of a man who everyone knows was no longer in control of his faculties.

I wrote about this in my piece, "Did Russell Nelson Take The Lord's Name in Vain?"

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2016/01/did-nelson-m-russell-take-lords-name-in.html

Dave P. said...

Chris, for them it's become a case that they throw the word "revelation" around so much that it has entirely lost its definition.

"When the prophet speaks, it's revelation."
"All conference talks are scripture because they came by revelation."
"The Church Handbook is the result of revelation."
"The lesson manuals came from revelation."
"It came from fasting and prayer so it was revelation."
"The prophet sneezed! It must have been a revelation!" (Only slight exaggeration since I knew one fanatic who believed that every facet of the corporate President's body language during Conference was directed by revelation.)
And so on.

Here's everything they conveniently omit every time:
1. The Lord will make it known that He is the one speaking, either directly or via a proven messenger. (D&C)
2. The Lord will also make it known who He is speaking to. (D&C)
3. A revelation means just that, it reveals something previously unknown. It will also be spoken to the recipient in a manner according to that person's understanding. (D&C)
4. A true revelation from God will never contradict a previous revelation. Those who have eyes to see clearly realized that forbidding children of same-sex couples from being baptized contradicts Christ's direct words in both the New Testament and Book of Mormon. (BoM, D&C)
5. There will always be at least two witnesses. (D&C, NT)
6. The recipient will also be directed on how to act with the revealed knowledge. (BoM, D&C)

Eric Kuntz said...

When someone says that the scriptures require interpretation, this is just another way of saying "The actual words of the scriptures don't correlate with my understanding of what I think the they should say, so I will change them to mean what I want them to mean." Another word for this behavior is wresting.

When we’re taught to believe in certain ideas based on an incorrect reading of scripture, then it’s impossible for us to see the truth and we become blinded by the precepts of men. Wresting the scriptures is one of many ways that we allow darkness to enter into our souls. When a person is blind they walk in the darkness at noon and they cannot see the light.

The Word of God warns us of such behavior.

1 And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men. 2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught. (2 Ne 33)

20 Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction. (Alma 13)

1 Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers. 2 They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ. 3 And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened. 4 And they would not be baptized; neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God. (Mosiah 26)

Log said...

Rock,

I feel it unfortunate that you chose to delete dx's final comments, particularly the one wherein he chose to reveal that he makes much more than the GAs, who themselves make more than 3 times the median American wage (as of 2016) for their "service," as you noted.

The way the scriptures use these terms, the rich are those who have more than enough substance to meet their immediate physical needs. The poor are those who have only enough substance to meet their immediate physical needs. The needy and those who are in want are those who do not have enough substance to meet their immediate physical needs.

It is written that the Lord God despises the learned, the wise, and the rich, and he will not open the gate of baptism and repentance to them that they may be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost and receive a remission of their sins. Thus they never receive the Holy Ghost, nor the testimony that Jesus is the Christ, neither do they obtain the mighty change of heart wherein they may understand the things of God, save they first cast away their learning, their wisdom, and their riches.

That was the opportunity Jesus offered the rich young ruler - who passed on the offer. Yet there is no other way.

To answer the inevitable objection, Abraham first cast all things away and then, when he had found Christ, obtained all things from God as a gift. Even then, when he ran into Melchizedek, Abraham forked over all that he possessed above his immediate needs to the storehouse.

Zebedee said...

Melchizedek was attempting to emulate Enoch and create a Zion society, which the scriptures define as a place where there were no poor among them. Abraham thought what Melchizedek was doing was a good idea and decided to support the cause by giving a portion of his vast wealth (only a tenth of his excess). I believe that that wealth freely given by Abraham (there is no record that Melchizedek asked for it or demanded it) was enough to eradicate the poverty in Salem.

Sometime thereafter Salem had left the planet to join Enoch's city. Was “no poor among them” the reason they could depart? I’m thinking it’s more than coincidence.

It seems to me that today if there is ANY poverty among the members of Christ’s church we do not have a Zion society.

Iniquity basically means “not equal” from the Latin root. To have wealthy men "presiding" over a multi-billion corporation, while tens of thousands of Church members starve in the world is iniquity.

Rank and file members are told that tithing is used mostly to build and maintain the physical infrastructure of the Church and not to feed the poor. It's easy to point to a $200 million temple and thank the tithe payers for their generous contributions. ”See how blessed we are!”

There is no difference between that and the building efforts of King Noah to justify his taxation scheme. He built quite impressive buildings too. And what did Noah’s people say when Abinidi told them they were iniquitous. “Hey man, look at all these buildings. That should show you how righteous we are.”

I wonder could the cost of one temple eradicate the poverty of the Church? Would that be a better use of the vast wealth of the corporation? Or do the tithe payers need to see something tangible for their contributions to keep the scheme alive?

Many promise to give all they have to build Zion. Yet the leaders fail to mention that it is really Zion’s Bank and associated businesses the members are truly building up.

“Charity rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.”

matt lohrke said...

For the last 25 years we've had two fairly avuncular types in the office of President. They were both generally easy-going, humorous, likeable, and non-threatening.

Russell changes that dynamic.

I'm weary of his administration, but at the same time, part of me hopes he serves awhile because of what comes after. Russell is 93. We could have another Howard W. Hunter.

Then all bets are off.

Zebedee said...

Yep, Oaks is on deck.

Unknown said...

If you're looking for something the leadership has referred to as "revelation" to go pray about, in the last conference, Dallin Oaks described the "revelatory process" of how the family proclamation came about, which apparently indicates it now takes 12+ months and multiple quorums for God to reveal His words now using multiple drafts before God can get the wording just right.
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-plan-and-the-proclamation?lang=eng

matt lohrke said...

On a recent read through of the Book of Mormon, I started tracking how revelation came to prophets and it was made known.


Without fail, every single prophetic statement, revelation, etc, is accompanied by "the voice of the Lord came to me," "an angel appeared to me," "the holy spirit said to me," "the spirit made manifest to me," "the lord sent me," or some other variation. Every time. Those true prophets received the word, declared the word and invariably revealed the source by which it came. Both Almas are particularly good at it.

Now 15 men sit in a room and evaluate their feelings until they all come to agreement -- then the mind and will is Lord is determined.

Seems so much easier for the Lord to simply declare His will either in person or though the Holy Spirit in the form a voice.

MC said...

When it comes to revelation the brethren seem to not understand what revelation really is. They mix it up with inspiration.

I do believe that the brethren receive inspiration (not always sure from what source), but they clearly don't receive revelation. That's a problem.

Michael Burke said...

I thought Abraham only gave ten percent of the spoils of war to Melchizedek? Isn't that what it says in both Genesis and Hebrews?
Or do I remember it wrong?

Michael Burke said...

And the book of Mormon?

Bro. B said...

We have to keep in mind that many believe the process described by Dallin H. Oaks is the way true revelation is received. Bemoaning the situation doesn't help any of us. We have to understand and then help others through.

The scriptures, as Matt points out below, are very blunt about how revelation is received. Parley P Pratt discussed his experience watching Joseph receive and dictate revelation:

After we had joined in prayer in his translating room, he dictated in our presence the following revelation: (Each sentence was uttered slowly and very distinctly, and with a pause between each, sufficiently long for it to be recorded, by an ordinary writer, in long hand) This was the manner in which all his written revelations were dictated and written. There was never any hesitation, reviewing, or reading back in order to keep the run of the subject; neither did any of these communications undergo revisions, interlinings, or corrections. As he dictated them so they stood, so far as I have witnessed; and I was present to witness the dictation of several communications of several pages each.

(Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 65-66)

We have subverted true revelation and turned it into "inspired" communal group decision making.

matt lohrke said...

That's a great reference, Bro. B. Thanks for sharing it. Very useful.

Underdog2 said...

Eric,

The entire establishment (run by the secret combination that owns the MSM) is AGAINST Trump.

Therefore I ask what evidence you have that persuades you to believe Trump is "one of them"?

Eric Kuntz said...

9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev 12:9)

"The entire establishment" as you call it, runs way more than just the MSM. They own everything of influence in this world. Media, Hollywood, big business, politics, medical, military, etc. All players in these fields are just employees of the "establishment". The office of president is no different. It's just a position. Trump is playing a part, he is an actor. He does what his overlords tell him to do. Trump is no hero. If you think he is anything more than a puppet of the evil forces (Satan) that run is world, you have been deceived.

The whole world has been deceived.

check out this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWdoM-WJFeg

Underdog2 said...

Preaching to the choir. Having been a student of the ruling elite for almost 30 years, I have credibility in saying that.

You appear to think Trump is playing a role like Obama, the Clinton's, the Bushes, et al.

But why are ALL of them viciously opposed to him? Trump has been systematically dismantling globalism via MAGA programs. Trump's father was fully educated by the John Birch Society. Donald too.

There was a period in the BoM where the Gadiantons were prosecuted and systematically hunted and rooted out by anti Gadiantons.

I propose to you that Trump may be leading that effort today.

You can know a man's heart and character by his enemies. Let that sink in.

There is some evidence I can point to that indicates Trump may be a pawn but the overwhelming evidence points to the conclusion he is an outsider.

In my humble, stufied view.

It's hard for a house divided against itself to stand.

One one point alone, I can make a strong case. Do you really think the elite would bring so much dishonor and embarrassment to their FAKE NEWS via their puppet Trump? Trump had single handedly destroyed the MSM's credibility in the minds of millions of people WORLDWIDE.

Trump is a legend and rock star OUTSIDE America in many countries whose media doesn't so blatantly lie to them about Trump. He's a true populist. His weakness may be not being so pure philosophically (like Ron Paul), but his strengths compensate for the time being.

Consider that you may be deceived about Trump. I admit I could be. He's not perfect. Yes, in many ways he's a hero but not need to idolize him. The evidence is stronger that he's a outsider than an insider pawn as you allege.

Underdog2 said...

Good video. At 4:35 note he refrains from including Trump in his list. The video's purpose is to teach we live in an empire of lies. True enough.

Trump is mostly battling those lies. Who knows if he's not led and inspired by God. Wouldn't surprise me. Could God actually be active in American politics? Hmmmm.

Interesting thought. A God actively involved. You probably believe He is. But with a man whose name is Trump?! Perhaps a Trump has sounded, per John's prophecy.

Zebedee said...

It’s easy to say Trump is part of the evil cabal, but not so easy to prove it. And I don’t believe he is.

I’ve studied secret combinations since President Benson warned us about them 30 years or so ago. Benson said they had infested every organization, and I think he even meant the Church. (There are pictures of McKay, Hinckley, and Monson all doing a masonic handshake with the movers and shakers of the world).

Trump doesn’t fit the mold. He’s not a perfect man, but he’s smart. So smart that he is using the Marines and private security to keep him and his family safe. If he were an insider he would rely on the Secret Service, which seem to fail populist presidents (JFK, Reagan).

The media giants are against him. Most of Congress is against him. The Fed is against him. The Department of Justice and FBI are against him. Even the Mormon golden boy Romney is against him.

Trump knows the risks, but he’s a risk taker by nature. His Executive Order of November 2017 is a declaration of war against the NWO swamp creatures. And things are happening.

My personal feeling is that the Lord is giving us another chance to clean up our act. In the Book of Ether we see good kings, then bad kings, then good kings, and so on. Maybe, just maybe, if we can see through the mud that his enemies are slinging, we have a modern-day Captain Moroni here.

I’m willing to give him a chance. And maybe it’s our last chance.

Janeen Krambule said...

God is always actively involved. Do we have eyes to see? He has brought forth a Trump to sound, just as Underdog2 has shared.

Zebedee said...

Yep God is in control. And He's up to something alright.

I just happened to stumble upon this article tonight. The author is no fanboy of Trump, but sees an opportunity because of what Trump is doing to the establishment.

“The Deep State has to hate Trump, because at the very least, he is a symbol and a lightning rod for anti-Globalism and pro-Nationalism… The ability of the press, in concert with versions of the Deep State, to twist and deform and undermine and reverse and fragment public perception, on every major story and issue, is basically substituting death for life. If the population is, on a daily basis, under the influence of such mind control, then what kind of breakthrough is possible? No breakthrough. None. The game is over. Fortunately, through the Internet, that brainwashing is being shattered by independent media, piece by piece. And then—along came Trump. From a position of devil-may-care, extreme visibility, rudely, crudely, relentlessly, impulsively, he has attacked the press. He’s “crazy” that way. Like some wild Salvador Dali, he’s turned the tables on consensus reality. I don’t care why he’s doing it. I don’t care how he’s doing it. He’s doing it. This is an opening. This is an accelerated opportunity for all sorts of independent voices who, for their own reasons, oppose the Deep State. This opportunity must be taken.”

Jon Rappoport
https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/why-has-the-deep-state-gone-to-war-against-donald-trump/

Eric Kuntz said...

Trump shows up in the video @ 3:30 showing everyone who his allegiance is to. He flashes the gang signs every change he gets. Just google images of Trump. He makes no secret of it.

We all are still deceived about many things, because Satan still has control over this world, but there is not a chance in hell (pardon the pun) that Trump is a good guy. It's just not possible. No one gets to the level Trump has, without paying the piper. He is a Freemason, this is not even arguable. I question if you really have studied the elites like you say, because if you did you should know that there are NO good guys. And ALL politics is just a show for the masses. It keeps people distracted. It's democrat vs republican. Trump, Clinton, Obama, Bush, Reagan, Paul are all in the same club, a club that you and I are not part of.

Underdog2 said...

Flashing the "gang sign" is your basis for belief?

That gang sign you reference is used by people all over the world in innocuous and innocent manner. It means different things to people. Children use it. Completely oblivious people use it. You should be able to grasp this reasoning. On the other hand Thomas S. Monson using the Masonic handshake token is something hard to make excuses for. The logical conclusion would be he was an infiltrator, which should cause every student of the scriptures to appreciate the tares amoung wheat warning.

You're painting with too broad of strokes. The fact you include Ron Paul as part of "the club", by which you mean part of the Satanic Conspiracy, even being a pawn of it, shows that you're over generalizing.

Actions speak louder than words. Paul was "Dr. No." He 100% voted in harmony with the Constitution over 20 years! Rand is in the high 90's.

Actions speak.

I've given you strong evidence above that points to Trump being an outsider. You've not responded. Guess we will agree to disagree.

Eric Kuntz said...

Everyone is looking for a savior...

Continue in your idol worship of men and descend further down into darkness and hell or choose to follow God and soar heavenward and continue in your progress upward.The holy prophets set forth in scripture as plainly as word can be, the serious nature of freeing ourselves from the chains of bondage. Those chains are the precepts and lies and traditions found in every facet of life which control and manipulate us as marionettes on a string.

22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. 23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. (2 Nephi 28)

35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. (Alma 34)

45 O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation. (2 Nephi 9)

13 O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe. (2 Nephi 1)

You can be offended at my words or you can choose to examine your situation.

Underdog2 said...

Eric, you've said nothing offensive. Perhaps you're offended? Let's stay focused on the issue.

I am the one who's questioned your unproven conclusion with facts and evidence brought forth. You choose to ignore such facts and evidence and presented reasoning. Unless you respond to those evidences, there's no point for anybody to respond to you.

The point is to examine evidences and make adjustments based on evidence, as we steer ourselves toward truth. Ignoring evidences and raised questions gets you nowhere.

Good day.

Eric Kuntz said...

Only by taking hold of the Word of God and by repenting we can be freed of the chains of hell.

28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. 29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked— 30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out. (Helaman 3)

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5)

23 And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree? 24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction. 25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things. (1 Nephi 15)

7 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea, they were encircled about by the bands of death, and the chains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did await them. (Alma 5)

matt lohrke said...

Isn't it interesting that there are so many references to clinging to the Word of God, yet in 2018, two Sundays of every month will be dedicated to studying the words of men and women?

"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man...or shall hearken unto the precepts of men," etc.

Week 1 - Meet to discuss local needs. This seems entirely appropriate, though I don't know why it has to be driven by "leaders." k

Weeks 2/3 - Study conference talks by "church leaders"

Week 4 - Study purpose of Priesthood and Relief Society.

Week 5 - "Leaders" decide

I've been checking the landing page at LDS.org 3-4 times a week for the last 2+ years and during that time, there has been 1 feature on the Book of Mormon. 1. It was a video that was up for about 24 hours.

I honestly don't think the church believes in the Book of Mormon, at least not in any serious or meaningful way. If it did, things would necessarily be much, much different.

What a time to be alive.

Dave P. said...

It's all part of the drive to try and convince the members that Conference talks are the "modern scriptures," Matt. And it's only getting worse. For years now, most Sacrament meeting talks don't even bother with assigned general topics anymore as the speakers are just assigned a re-hash of Conference talks.

The Corporation has replaced God with itself and only the TBMs cannot see that.

matt lohrke said...

Dave P - too true, too true.

Eric Kuntz said...

Nice work Matt, I think you are 100% right. The church has been de-emphasizing the scriptures and Jesus Christ Himself for years.

PNW_DPer said...

Well, President Hinckley and President Monson both, towards the end of their lives, tried to get the members to read, study, and pay attention to the Book of Mormon. So maybe they were really trying to fulfill a part of their stewardships as Prophets as they approached their coming to the judgment seat of Christ. But perhaps an entrenched bureaucracy is just too hard to overcome, as long as the people keep wanting to be happy with the bureaucracies' message that "all is well in Zion".

Dave P. said...

Too little, too late, PNW_DPer.

Of course it's also rather ironic given I believe it was Monson who spoke about the inherent insincerity of a "deathbed repentance."

matt lohrke said...

Thanks, Eric.

I agree, the current systems--both structural and belief--are so entrenched into the Mormon psyche that nothing short of direct, manifestly obvious, divine intervention will shake people out of their stupor. And I'm not even sure that would work.

A bible, a bible! We have a bible and need no more bible.

matt lohrke said...

Interesting snippet from an article on LDS.org today:

--The Lord controls the order of succession through seniority (determined by the date the Apostle was ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve, not his age). “The Lord … permits to come to the first place only the one who is destined to take that leadership. Death and life become the controlling factors.--

Nowhere in the scripture pattern is this the case.

They're just making stuff up at this point.

1 Nephi 1:20 -- 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...


matt lohrke said...

Same article under the subheading of "Common Consent."

***

Church members have the right and privilege of sustaining or not sustaining the actions and decisions of their leaders. (This is 100% false, of course--well, not without consequences. Andd no mention of whether or not members are free to sustain or not sustain callings to the Q of 12)

President Russell M. Nelson taught that “when we sustain prophets and other leaders, we invoke the law of common consent, for the Lord said, ‘It shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.’”

“Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us,” President Nelson said.

***

Of the 12 sources cited in the article, not a one comes from the Book of Mormon or D&C, and only 1 from the Bible.

A church of men, truly.

Eric Kuntz said...

Mormonism is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated upon mankind.

Underdog2 said...

Matt,

I found the "controlling factors" quote in a Spencer W. Kimball article from 1972 in which you also find this gem:

This same early apostle (George Q. Cannon) tells us that the Lord gives the authority to judge and condemn only to the regularly constituted councils of the Church and not to man generally; “and those who lift their voices … against the authority of the Holy Priesthood … will go down to hell, unless they repent.”

How convenient! Only those participating in approved councils can judge and condemn an imposter, not the common man.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1973/01/we-thank-thee-o-god-for-a-prophet?lang=eng

Underdog2 said...

Your accused fraud, Joseph Smith, or his testimony of Christ sparked a desire in me to know if the BoM was true.

I asked God. God taught me He was real. God testified that the BoM was true. I know. I cannot deny.

Eric, you reject a true messenger - Joseph - and therefore reject God.

This blog teaches pure Mormonism as revealed through Joseph.

matt lohrke said...

Underdog - Wow, that's a doozy. I remember towards the tail end of my "faith crisis" I was very concerned about my salvation in relationship to "the church." It was very distressing to me. The Lord very calmly reminded me that *all* must stand before the judgment bar of God and the church, in and of itself, has zero salvific power over the souls of men and women. The concern was immediately resolved, the spirit spoke peace to my soul, and I haven't worried about it in that regard since.

I recently read another of Spencer's conference talk from April 1963. It was nothing but a discourse on the Book of Mormon and it's multiple applications. It was great. Just goes to show that leaders can get so much wrong, yet everyone once in awhile, they can get it so right.

Eric Kuntz said...

UD, what message, outside of the BoM do you think JS delivered that was from God?

Dave P. said...

"...only the one who is destined-"

That right there automatically discredits the entire corporation. To be "destined" destroys the concept of agency.

Then again, that's the same reason why the idea of "the prophet will never lead the church astray" is false doctrine by denying the concept of agency.

Bro. B said...

Willard Richard "transcribed" from a group meeting that Joseph said:
Joseph Smith (President)

I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 156–57)

However, if you read his journals of the meeting he said:The meeting was then addressed by President Hyrum Smith, by way of advice to the Twelve &c &c chiefly concerning the nature of their mission, their practicing prudence & humility in their plans or subjects for preaching, the necessity of their not trifling with their office, and of holding on strictly to the importance of their mission & the authority of the priesthood. —— I—— (President Joseph Smith Jr) then addresst them, and gave much instruction calculated to guard them against selfsufficiency, selfrighteousness & selfimportance, touching upon many subjects of importance & value to all who wish to walk humbly before the Lord, but especialy teaching them to observe charity wisdom, & fellow feeling with Love, one towards another in all things & under all circumstances.*

As often happens, Joseph's council was to specific group as he noted: Afternoon, met with the twelve & Some of the Seventies who are about to proceed on their mission to Europe. the nations of the earth, and the Islands of the sea.*

The instruction to the one has been refocused on the masses.

* Joseph Smith, Jr. Journal, 1839 - Entry of July 2, 1839

On a side note, the idea that sustaining is an oath-like indication is found in scripture. Such sustaining was found among Cain's family and among the Gadianton Robbers.

MC said...

Dave P,

In Abraham 3 we learn that the Lord's leaders on earth were chosen for that purpose before they were born in great council in heaven before the earth was even formed.

I can see why the church believes what they do in regards to God making sure that those who are destined to be his leaders will end up in the right place at the right time.

Whether or not the presidents of the church were actually foreordained by God for this calling can be debated, but the concept does not take away anyone's free agency.

God has all time past, present, and future continually before his eyes so He absolutely knows how things will play out. This does not take away free agency at all. If it did we could never trust any prophecies in the scriptures either.

Underdog2 said...

Real quick before I go to bed:

1) He revealed the mystery of what faith is in Lectures on Faith.
2) revealed true nature of God, destroying the Satanic heresy of the Trinity.
3) revealed the 3 degrees of glory and who qualifies.
4) revealed what the Holy Spirit is.
5) introduced back to the world the lost knowledge of the Holy Order of God.
6) gave us the invaluable revelations in the JST of the Bible.
7) testified we ALL could see God and that is what pure Mormonism seeks to do, as Moses did in the wilderness.
8) testified the heavens were open and God wants to talk to us not just the elite clergy.
9) revealed all religions and sects and creeds were corrupted.
10) revealed Satan is real.
11) revealed there's a law irrevocably decreed in heaven upon which all blessings are predicated.
12) revealed ordinances.
13) revealed that we are spirit children of God and the principle of eternal progression.

There's a baker's dozen off the top of my sleepy head. This list, however, would get very very long if everybody was chipping in. He was a true revelator because he revealed hidden truths that he was permitted to teach.

In my view, Denver has revealed more than Joseph already and it appears he's just getting started. What a time to live in!

Good night.

Underdog2 said...

MC,

Actions matter. The thoughts we think and the things we do matter. It is unreasonable and ludicrous to believe that all you have to do to become a "true prophet" (let's call a spade a spade--that's who Abraham was referring to and not some corporation sole president) is to outlive your colleagues. Give me a break. That's just silly. Nothing to do with God's omniscience. GOD'S agency is thwarted, not man's.

Healthy eating and daily exercise would be the dominant deciding factors! Which explains why Nelson is next up, as he is an avid exerciser, I hear.

Here's why God's agency is destroyed, as far as HIM choosing a president.

This is the REAL reason Nelson is president and it has nothing to do with God, but the amended Article Fourth from the 1940 change to the corporate charter:

"...in the event of the death or resignation from office of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or in the event of a vacancy in that office from any cause, the President or Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of said Church, or one of the members of said Quorum thereunto designated by that Quorum, shall, pending the installation of a successor President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, be the corporation sole under these articles, and the laws pursuant to which they are made, and shall be and is authorized in his official capacity to execute in the name of the corporation all documents or other writings necessary to the carrying on of its purposes, business and objects, and to do all things in the name of the corporation which the original signer of the articles of incorporation might do; it being the purpose of these articles that there shall be no failure in succession in the office of such corporation sole."

MC said...

Underdog2,

Excellent list. I'm scratching my head a bit as to how you can believe Denver Snuffer has revealed more than Joseph Smith.

Joseph produced the BOM, D&C, JST, and Book of Abraham. Not too mention the many visions and prophecies he had that were not canonized. Or what about the many saving ordinances he restored.

What has Denver produced? 10 lectures who don't sound anything like scripture, a lengthy blog in which he piggybacks of off what the Lord revealed through Joseph, a few papers on topics such as theorizing about plural marriage and attacking Brigham Young, a few books including a self help book about how to receive the "second comforter" (all piggybacking off of what the Lord revealed through Joseph, and the TSJ which blatantly contradicts the JST.

There's is no comparison. Joseph was one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. Perhaps second only to Christ.

Denver is not even in the same league as Joseph Smith. I'd put him in the same league as the prophet Onidas Robert Cross who produced the second book of commandments.

Underdog2 said...

MC,

Actual scripture wise, Joseph beats Denver hands down.

But Joseph pales in comparison to Denver's teachings in his books and blog. Just the essays alone on his blog, are filled with so much light. Have you read his latest paper on the Holy Order? Joseph had produced nothing remotely in the same league as that.

On virtually EVERY gospel topic, Denver reveals more light and truth than Joseph. No offense to Joseph, but he's a distant second. Now, he was handicapped GREATLY by the lack of technology. I'm guessing there's much more he knew and wrote than what we actually have.

Want proof that Denver has revealed more understanding on things pertaining to the kingdom of God?

Pick a topic, any topic, and then compare what Joseph wrote to what Denver has written. Most of the time, Denver would be shown to have revealed more. That's my gut.

A prophet is not with honor in his own country. You do not appreciate the magnitude and glory of the truth coming through Denver. That's a pity for YOU, my friend.

MC said...

Underdog2,

I'm not disputing that Denver has interpreted the scriptures more than Joseph Smith did. Or that Denver has written more than Joseph Smith did.

I agree that had Joseph had the luxury of having his discourses digitally recorded we would have a lot more. That more or may not be a good thing.

I actually don't feel the spirit nearly as strongly when I study Joseph Smith's teachings than when I read the scriptures the Lord revealed through him. Some of the things Joseph taught in his discourses are clearly HIS opinion and not God's word.

For me it doesn't come down to his discourses and interpretations of scripture. To me it comes down to the revelations and the translations. That's what makes a prophet, not writing books and a blog laying out one's own interpretation of scripture and doctrine.

I haven't read Denver's latest works. After his TSJ nonsense I stopped even bothering with anything he produces.

Now that's not to say that one can't learn a lot from Denver's writings. For example I think he may very well have been right on the money with his original D&C 132 blog series were he suggested that the revelation was received in different stages and that Joseph had himself sealed to other men's wives because he didn't want to live plural marriage and was trying to fulfill the command of the angel with the drawn sword without having to have relations with women besides Emma.

Of course Denver has since done a 180 on that theory and is peddling something completely different these days.

Joseph Smith supposedly once said that the devil reveals 9 truths with every lie. If Denver is a false prophet, which I'm 100% convinced he is, then he should be teaching a lot of truth and certainly a lot that appears to be true but is actually false.

The scriptures say that false prophets will rise up who will deceive even the very elect.

This is why every word Denver teaches and every one of his actions must be compared to the word of God in the scriptures in order to determine if Denver is sent by God or not. His writings "being full of light" is not the correct measuring stick the Lord has given us to determine truth from error. God's word in the scriptures is the measuring stick.

MC said...

Underdog2,

I wasn't taking a stand one way or the other as to whether nor not the church's current method of selecting the president of the church is right or not. Frankly I don't know.

God is all powerful and could have had Nelson die of a heart attack or pancreatic cancer regardless of how much he exercised.

The point is that God has always known whether or not Nelson would become church president on Tuesday or not.

God can still keep him from becoming president if He wants to. God struck a Lamanite dead who was about to kill Ammon. God clearly is able to intervene with sudden death if He wants to.

Again, that's not to say that just because Nelson becomes president on Tuesday, and doesn't all of a sudden drop dead, that he is the Lord's annointed.

In ancient Israel they had good kings, bad kings, and one's who were in between. The Lord recognized all of them as legitimate kings. I believe a very similar thing can be said about the presidents of the church since Joseph Smith.

MC said...

Underdog2,

I'm also curious if there is anyone else out there from the remnant movement who believes Denver is a greater prophet than Joseph Smith. I know Rock doesn't even consider him to be a prophet at all.

matt lohrke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liberty Ghost said...

Rock
Thanks for another uplifting and edifying installment. You have been given tremendous gifts for a reason! I'm glad I came late to the party and missed all the drama with dx or whoever the current troll is.

I'm planning to listen to some of the people that the commenters have posted about.

So far, I haven't made up my mind about Denver. I like what he says, but the groups that I've attended seem to have a different view of him than you advocate. It seems to me that although you've said that Denver does not claim to be a prophet, that these groups seem to regard him as such. True, they do talk of taking the matter to the Lord for confirmation, but they seem to recognize more of a leadership role for Denver than you do. So far I haven't seen any evidence of prophecy coming from him either. I'm not sure what he claimed as the source of the revised gospel of John, but when I read it I didn't receive confirmation.

At this point I feel that I'm pretty much a church of one. Recently I read a piece by someone who argued that Joseph may have been a fallen prophet by the end of his life. His argument was centered on two things: polygamy and the endowment ceremony. Although I think that the evidence is thin, I prefer to hold to the idea, as I believe you do, that Joseph was not a polygamist, that still leaves the endowment ceremony.

While I can lay most of the blame for that on Brigham (who I'm certain was not a prophet), it seems that Joseph did impart something above the store to one or more groups of people. But what? Do you have any sources that discuss the origins of the temple ceremony? I'm aware of the Masonic angle, but I find that pretty troubling. After all, the Masons created their ceremony in the middle ages at the earliest. The idea that the Templars or some other group discovered secrets when they arrived in Jerusalem during the crusades is preposterous. I've just read "The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot" by Dr Ernest L. Martin, and am convinced that by the time Constantine's mother arrived on the scene nobody had a clue about anything relating to Christian origins. I put the same stock in her revelations that I put in Monsen's recent revelations - that is to say, none at all.

I've always had an uneasy relationship with the temple ceremony. I don't understand why, if it is the cornerstone of our religious faith and a saving ordinance, it's not covered in detail in the Book of Mormon, which contains the Fullness of the Gospel. As far as can be discerned from that book, there are no ceremonies held in temples except to (probably) fulfill the Mosaic law. No mention of an Endowment at all.

So, if Brigham lied about polygamy (a virtual certainty) did he make up the endowment as well? Was the endowment given above the store an entirely different thing altogether (unrelated to signs, tokens and veils)? Were the people who received the endowment above the store the same core group of polygamists that Brigham built the church around when he got to Utah - willing to lie about whatever Brigham instructed them to? Are there contemporary accounts in existence?

I like the idea of the temple as taught today in Mormonism, but I suspect that it's an invention of Brigham's overactive imagination rather than the result of a legacy that Joseph handed to him, or certainly revelation. Why would Joseph entrust something like that to a guy whose calling was missionary work as a traveling high councilor with no authority for affairs within the established church? It makes no sense to me. It would make much more sense if the Nauvoo Stake President was given all information about endowments. Is there really evidence that Joseph gave an endowment at all?

Dale B.

MC said...

Hi Dale,

I've had the exact same questions and concerns you have.

Here's a few things I have discovered in my search to those answers that may be of some help. Take them for what they are worth.

First of all. The idea that Brigham Young invented polygamy and pinned on Joseph Smith is virtually impossible. This is what the remnant believes, but it is revisionist history.

There are a number of contemporary sources that document Joseph's practice of polygamy. William Clayton's Nauvoo journal is one. Another is the Nauvoo Expositor. The Nauvoo Expositor was written by William Law who had become convinced that Joseph was a fallen prophet for practicing polygamy and having himself crowned king of Israel by the council of 50.

William Marks who was the stake president in Nauvoo, and who was anti plural marriage later stated that Joseph Smith had told him that polygamy was wrong and ruining the saints and that he (Joseph) had been deceived in this matter. Marks stayed in Nauvoo and later helped found the RLDS church.

There are also over a dozen women who testified that they were married to Joseph and there are contemporary documents of him having been sealed to women besides Emma in Nauvoo.

There's also the whole Fanny Alger marriage in Kirtland. (Denver Snuffer referred to this as a marriage in one of his 10 lectures. He's probably back peddled off of that since then.)

Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated largely because he was adamant that Joseph had had an affair with Fanny.

It would make things easier to digest of Joseph never practiced polygamy, but he did. It is practically irrefutable.

As far as I know Sidney Rigdon accused Joseph of polygamy, too. I think Joseph wanted to marry his daughter Nancy. I could be mistaken about that.

You'll have to decide for yourself what you will believe, but the truth is that Joseph practiced polygamy, married other mens wives, teenage girls, and sometimes did this behind Emma's back; all while publicly denying it. It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's the only conclusion based on all the available evidence.

MC said...

Dale cont...

There is also ironclad proof from contemporary sources that Joseph Smith was 100% the one behind the endowment and sealing ceremonies. Joseph even instituted the second anointing. All of this was done in the red brick store.

No as far the idea that Joseph was a fallen prophet over practicing polygamy and introducing the endowment ceremony, that's a tough one.

You likely read that on onewhoiswatching's blog. He could be right. He has a lot of scriptures and evidence to support his case. There are some holes in his argument though.

For one thing, at the end of the day what is actually evil about the endowment? Nothing.

The signs for the penalties were not swearing by one's head as watcher claims, rather they were a covenant that one would rather have one's life taken then break one's covenants not to reveal the signs and tokens.

Also what does one covenant in the temple? To repent, to keep the commandments as contained in the scriptures, to live the law of chastity, and to live the law of concecration. Nothing wrong with any of those. There's no secret oath to gey gain or commit murder. Even the oath of vengeance which was added by Brigham, was a prayer that God would avenge the blood of the saints, not an oath that the saints themselves would take vengeance on anyone.

Now there are of course many similarities between the original endowment as revealed through Joseph and free masonry. In fact Joseph introduced the endowment just a couple of weeks after becoming a mason.

I don't remember the exact quote but it was reported by at least one of the Nauvoo saints who was close to Joseph that free masonry was a corrupted form of the endowment and that God had inspired Joseph with free masonry to restore the correct endowment or something like that. I think the guys last name was Robinson.

You have to remember that Satan tries to copy everything that God does, so even though free masonry is used for wicked purposes today, that doesn't prove that the endowment is from Satan.

Anyway, just some things to think about.

Watch out with that Denver Snuffer stuff. That train is headed for a major train wreck soon. They're already unraveling over the new scripture covenant.

Underdog2 said...

Matt,

I found a direct rebuttal of George Q. Cannon's false statement above about who can judge a leader:

DC 64:

38 For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion.

39 And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be KNOWN.

Cannon's false precept is completely destroyed.

Eric Kuntz said...

The temple ritual is completely masonic. JS was a 33 degree master mason, along with most of the rest of the leaders in Nauvoo. He lifted it straight from the masons. So, another way saying the first sentence is: The temple ritual is completely contrary to the word of God in scripture and therefore evil.

matt lohrke said...

UD -

The original Book of Commandments reads:

"For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things

and all liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them and they which are not Apostles and prophets shall be known."

www.comparedandc.com is a great site for comparing the original BOC against the various iterations of the D&C. There are some very substantial changes between the BOC and D&C, which raise some important questions, I think.

Zebedee said...

I’d like to jump in here and point out a few things.

First of all, we all need to be very careful about claiming absolute certainty regarding ANYTHING in the past. History is just words on paper. And anybody can write them.

Go to the source. Read what was published in Nauvoo in 1842-1844 from the Times and Seasons. Read the affidavits from the leading citizens of Nauvoo printed in the paper denouncing the lies accusing Joseph of being a polygamist. He was a victim of a smear campaign. We see it today (i.e. Roy Moore). Nothing has changed.

Joseph Smith a 33-degree Mason? Who told you that? Whoever it was is an ignoramus—because that ranking didn’t exist in the 1840s, especially to some outsider like Smith. Go look it up. The high level Masonic rankings changed after the civil war with Albert Pike. Degree 32 being the highest at that time (go read his book Morals and Dogma and find out for yourself). Sure the 33rd degree is possible today, men always aspire to be at some higher level then the next guy. But former insiders claim the levels go even higher than that. So what's the point? What this really proves is we are all gullible to believe what some other guy tells without checking the facts.

Yes, Smith was a Mason, but it was because John Bennett encouraged him to become one, so that Smith would use his influence to build a lodge and establish Freemasonry among the Mormons. Read the Times and Seasons, it’s all online and learn about Bennett and what they discovered about him. This guy was a total infiltrator.

Smith was a indeed a prophet, but very fallible and a lousy judge of character. He wanted people to like him and was easily swayed by men, especially those of renown. It was his weakness. However, when Bennett betrayed him he struck back and kicked him out the Church and the city. Unfortunately, Bennett had already caused plenty of damage, spreading his vile lies that Smith was secretly practicing polygamy. Go read the Times and Seasons and find out the real story.

Later on, fellow Mason and Bennett’s buddy thought having several playthings called wives would be a good thing for his overacted sex drive. He had no compunction about telling the same lies and even embellishing them. Nor did he think nothing of revising history to pin his corrupted doctrines on Smith. And to top it off he forced his loyal subjects, especially women, to bear false witness against Smith decades after his death.

Brigham Young’s blatant fabrications and revisionist fingerprints are all right there in our face if you care read the Joseph Smith Papers.

Did Young change the endowment, or did he invent it? Hard to say. We do for sure that Young completely changed the interior plan of the Nauvoo temple from Smith's original plan. My question then is if Joseph revealed the endowment in the Red Brick store and gave the instructions on how to build the temple around that, why did Young change the floor plan? My assumption is he changed more than that, he changed everything.

Young was a ravening wolf left in charge of the sheepfold. The rest is history.

Linda Gale said...



Joseph Smith achieved the highest office in freemasonry within a couple of days. Amazing rise for anyone.

Freemasons are good citizens, but the higher ups are anti-christs, which makes one wonder why the Baphomet (Goat-head star in a circle) symbol is so prominent on the SLC temple.

"Mormon use of Masonic symbols has also been publicly acknowledged. Mormons were hardly discreet in their depictions of symbols long associated with Freemasonry...including the square, the compass, the sun, moon, and stars, the beehive, the all-seeing eye, ritualistic hand grips, two interlaced triangles forming a six-pointed star...and a number of other Masonic symbols on endowment houses, temples, cooperatives, grave markers, tabernacles, church meetinghouses, newspaper mastheads, hotels, residences, money, logos, and seals." ("Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry": The Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism, by Michael W. Homer, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol.27, no.3, Fall 1994, p.73)

Since the LDS Church rejects the use of the cross as a religious symbol, one is left to wonder why they would adopt symbols used by the Masons and Satanists?

Linda Gale said...

freemasons cont.

"Following Anton LaVey, and ultimately based on a drawing by French nobleman and occultist Stanislas de Guaita (La Clef de la Magie Noire, 1897), the Sigil of Baphomet, a pentagram with two points up inscribed in a double circle with the head of a goat inside the pentagram is the copyrighted logo of the Church of Satan."

"Albert Pike has indicated elsewhere in his writings that the 30th, 31st, and 32nd degrees are to be taught the Luciferian doctrine. In speaking to the 33rd degree, he says:

That which we must say to a crowd is—We worship a God, but it is the God that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st, and 30th degrees—The Masonic Religion should be, by all of us initates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian Doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay whose deeds prove his cruelty, perdify and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonay and his priests, calumniate him? Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods: darkness being necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive. Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy; and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil."

Quite startling!

matt lohrke said...

Did Mormonism adopt Freemasonic symbols/imagery, etc, or did Freemasonry corrupt signs and tokens of the Gospel of Christ?

If so, are these corrupted signs and tokens the same ones the Gaddiantons used (that had been passed down since the beginning?)

I don't think it's a suggest Pagan/Folk magic is a corruption of the Gospel:

Magic wands = Aaron's rod
Carried away in the spirit = teleportation
Seer stones = crystal balls

etc.

Satan always raises up a counterfeit. But I don't know either way. Just spitballin'.

Like Zebedee said, since the principal actors are all long since passed away, there's really no way to know what happened.

Underdog2 said...

God creates; Satan imitates.

Benjamin F. Johnson (1843):

Joseph Smith “told me Freemasonry, as at present, was the apostate endowments, as sectarian religion was the apostate religion."

It makes perfect sense that conspiring "Mormon" Masons would murder Joseph and his brother.

It would likewise be foolish to think that Masonic infiltrators do not have a seat at the table at the highest levels of the current Church. They likely are running the show completely now which is why they are making so many blatantly obvious "mistakes".

Like Nelson's comment about making binding, oath-like commitments to sustain the president.

Eric Kuntz said...

"Go to the source."

Couldn't agree more! Let's shake off the chains with which we are bound and to set aside the traditions of men and turn to the Word of God. The Holy Scriptures were written to expose these evils for what they are. Let's open them and see what the prophets wrote about these evil signs, tokens, and penalties.

21 But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the more part of the Nephites, insomuch that they did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would protect and preserve one another in whatsoever difficult circumstances they should be placed, that they should not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and their stealings. 22 And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant. 26 Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit—30 And behold, it is he who is the author of all sin. And behold, he doth carry on his works of darkness and secret murder, and doth hand down their plots, and their oaths, and their covenants, and their plans of awful wickedness, from generation to generation according as he can get hold upon the hearts of the children of men.(Hel 6:)

27 And now, my son, I command you that ye retain all their oaths, and their covenants, and their agreements in their secret abominations; yea, and all their signs and their wonders ye shall keep from this people, that they know them not, lest peradventure they should fall into darkness also and be destroyed. (Alma 37)

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (Col 2:14, 20-22)

Eric Kuntz said...

The prophets expose the false temple rituals continued...

33 And again it is written, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths; 34 But verily, verily, I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white; 37 But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil. (3Nep 12:33-37)

12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. (James 5:12)

5 And it came to pass that Akish sought the life of his father-in-law; and he applied unto those whom he had sworn by the oath of the ancients, and they obtained the head of his father-in-law, as he sat upon his throne, giving audience to his people. (Ether 9:5)

9 And now, because of this great thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies. 10 And they did swear by the heavens, and also by the throne of God, that they would go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land. 14 And when they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their enemies to battle, and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren, behold the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: (Morm 3:9-10, 14)

10 For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. 11 For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord. 12 Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord. (Jer 23:10-12)

20 And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor. 21 And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice. 22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever. (2Nep 26:20-22)

27 And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding? (2Nep 27:27)

Eric Kuntz said...

Great info Linda, yes temple square is awash in occult symbolism. It's everywhere. It's not even hidden.

21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: (Jer 5)

matt lohrke said...

Yep, I think it would be foolish to assume that infiltration to some degree hasn't occurred. I have no inside information, but given prevalence of secret combination references in the Book of Mormon, and the decided lack of warnings against those same combinations coming from the pulpit since Ezra died, well...

I wondered for years why the 15 weren't out there pointing out secret societies and exposing their secret works and corruption. I only later realized that it's because they either don't know, don't care, or are involved.


Ryan Nickel said...

Because it was a secret group of insiders that killed Joseph and Hyrum and took off with the church. Ronald Karren has a great book about it on Amazon. It’s called “Exhonorating Emma, Jospeh and Hyrum”.

Zebedee said...

I agree freemasonry is one of many secret combinations in the world. Satan is the author of them all, whether they know it or not. These groups are everywhere and have infiltrated most organizations… even the Church.

There is no doubt occult symbols are on the Salt Lake Temple and the Nauvoo temple (original and restored). Brigham Young wanted Saturn stones engraved in addition to the Earth, Moon, Sun, and stars on the SL temple. They didn't make it in the final, and I'm glad they didn't because Saturn is significant in it's symbolic meaning.

But remember those temples were Brigham's temples. He altered Joseph's original designs. Whether Smith wanted those symbols on the Nauvoo temple is unknown. But they weren't on the Kirtland temple that I know of.

There is no scriptural corroboration for what takes place in our modern temples, except perhaps for vicarious baptism, which was the original purpose of the Nauvoo temple according to the D&C.

The Book of Mormon stops talking about temples after 3 Nephi. According to Nephi he built them so his younger brothers who were anointed as priests and teachers (even though they weren’t Levites) could continue to observe the Mosaic law of animal sacrifice. Once Christ had fulfilled that law, there was no need for the temple. Sacrament of the Lord’s supper replaced animal sacrifice.

We are told the temple rituals are “saving ordinances.” But when I started reading the scriptures, really reading what they said and not listening to what someone told me what they said, I could see that the only really saving ordinances are baptism by water and fire.

There are some good things taught in the temples, but they are also taught in the scriptures. So there isn't any real additional knowledge, except for the esoteric kind.

I can’t find scriptural or historical backing for the modern temples, and have issues with certain things like oaths (contrary to Christ’s teachings), special heavenly hall passes (even though Christ employs no servants there), and promises to give all to build up Zion (what a mockery!)

The temple creates class distinctions: there are temple-going members and there are not. If you don’t or can’t pay tithing you are excluded. If you don’t acknowledge the divine right of leaders you can’t go. If you have a beer you can’t go (although if you pig out on meat no problem).

Ancient Israel did not exclude anyone from their temples. In fact, they were commanded to go there to offer their sacrifices especially as sinners. And they only had ONE temple and no plans to build others.

I’m not sure Joseph Smith really made that statement about the Freemasons corrupting the ceremonies they found from the Temple of Solomon. I’d like to find the source where he actually said that, and not some hearsay. All of my reading of the tabernacle and temple of ancient Israel don’t even come close to what our modern temples are like. So where did the Masons/Templars get that stuff?

Methinks someone is feeding us some altered history.

matt lohrke said...

Yes, one would think that if the temple endowment were the end-all be-all, there would be more information found in the BOM. I can only recall three temples: Nephi's, Zarahemla (where Benjamin addressed the people), and Bountiful. I assume there were animal sacrifices. And I assume the Lord appeared to Nephi & Jacob there (and probably Sam and Joseph). The Mulekite temple was probably similar to Nephi's temple (just an assumption). And of course Christ appeared in Bountiful. But Zeb is right, Christ's appearance seems to have nullified that model, He being the last and great sacrifice.

It seems Joseph Smith's temple was indeed for baptisms, learning, and communing with God. I found this letter from 1833 to W.W. Phelps interesting (assuming it hasn't been doctored):

"I send you the “olive leaf” which we have plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us; for though our brethren in Zion indulge in feelings towards us, which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant, yet, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us, and has accepted us, and established His name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations; for the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness...

The brethren in Kirtland pray for you unceasingly, for, knowing the terrors of the Lord, they greatly fear for you. You will see that the Lord commanded us, in Kirtland, to build a house of God, and establish a school for the Prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us, and we must, yea, the Lord helping us, we will obey: as on conditions of our obedience He has promised us great things; yea, even a visit from the heavens to honor us with His own presence. We greatly fear before the Lord lest we should fail of this great honor, which our Master proposes to confer on us; we are seeking for humility and great faith lest we be ashamed in His presence."

And then the Lord stating one of the purposes of the Nauvoo temple was for the Lord to dwell there and reveal things that had never before been revealed (what a tragedy). To my knowledge that was the last temple the Lord commanded be built.

I have a friend close friend who went through the temple for the first time and said, "I belong to a cult." Yet you hear people having choice experiences in the temple and seeing departed family (I seem to recall Denver telling a similar story in one of his 10 talks). I'm sure many more will tell similar experiences, being is visions, personal revelation, etc.

Long story short: I have no idea.

matt lohrke said...

Eric - that book seems to have been memory-holed from Amazon...

Linda Gale said...

I have questions about the veracity of the Book of Mormon. If someone has knowledge and references to answer my questions, please, please give them in this forum.

We are told by David Whitmer and others who observed the "translation" process.

"David Whitmer was one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. The majority of the translation work took place in the Whitmer home.
I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."

So how is it that there have been over 3000 changes, many of them of great substance, if by the power of God the wording was perfect? Especially grievous is the part about Jesus being God the Eternal Father having been changed to "son of God the eternal Father".

How can the wording, not only approved by God, but the process not allowed to continue without the correction being made, then be changed through the years? Are mortals allowed to correct God? Or did Joseph just pull the entire thing out of his magicians hat?

Eric Kuntz said...

Linda, I recommend this post on the BOM.

http://greatandmarvelouswork.com/the-book-of-mormon-and-the-great-and-marvelous-work/

MC said...

Linda,

Don't listen to those crafty anti-Mormon arguments.

The vast majority of changes over the years have been to correct punctuation and other grammar. When the manuscript was brought to the printer it didn't contain a single punctuation mark. Not only is this very strong evidence for the book being translated as described, it also resulted in very poor punctuation. The printer did the best he could to add them were he thought they should go.

Oliver's handwriting was sloppy at times resulting in errors in the first printing.

Some of the changes to the grammar over the years were to make the book more readable to modern readers. Some of the original grammar was strange and flowed weird, because it was a phrase for phrase translation of an ancient language.

I don't see a problem with the change about Mary being the mother of God the Father to the being the mother of the son of God the father.

Oliver could have written it down wrong and Joseph didn't catch it when it was read back to him. These guys weren't perfect.

It's also quite possible that the phrase was correct as originally written and Joseph was merely clarifying that Christ was being referred to and not the father. The passage is doctrinaly correct either way it is written.

I've studied this out pretty extensively and I'm 100% satisfied that the Book of Mormon is a translation of an ancient record and not a work of fiction.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Anyone who seriously studies it will come to that conclusion unless they harden their heart and refuse to see the truth.

You have dig a little deeper than just listening to the anti-Mormons. You might want to start by looking at the work of Royal Skousen. His life's work absolutely proves the authenticity of the BOM.

MC said...

Eric,

Those are all great scriptural warnings about secret combinations.

I guess for me I don't see a match between those verses and the temple endowment.

In the temple endowment there is no oath to get gain, commit murder, or to do any type of iniquity. There never has been. Even with the pre 1990 penalty signs, people weren't swearing to keep some secret oath or be killed, but rather that they would allow themselves to be killed rather than reveal the signs and tokens of the priesthood.

As Matt has pointed out, there is no way to know if the endowment is copying the secret combinations of Satan or if the masons adopted an apostate version of the sacred signs and tokens of the priesthood after the primitive church fell into apostasy.

There's no way to know for sure. There is evidence that the endowment ceremony was practiced in the primitive church. Now it could be that it was after the church fell into apostasy.

The endowment could be false. I don't know. It didn't exist at the time of the Kirtland temple dedication were the heavens were opened and many people saw angels and other manifestations.

It is possible that Joseph fell as a prophet and was deceived into mixing free masonry with the gospel. There is some evidence to support this.

Even if this is true, the endowment is still not equal with the secret combinations to murder and get gain, not even close.

At this point I'm accepting that the endowment as revealed through Joseph Smith is from God. I'm taking that on faith. I've explored every angle I can think of on the endowment and none of them provide a completely satisfying answer.

The fact that the endowment is mentioned in the BOM proves nothing. It was never supposed to be written down. It was supposed to be transmitted orally.

I'm curious, why are so adamant that the endowment is the same as the secret combination to commit murder and get gain described in the scriptures?

MC said...

I meant to say that the endowment isn't mentioned in the BOM

Linda Gale said...

Thank you Eric and thank you MC for your replies to my request for more information on the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

I do appreciate your efforts and any links you provided for further information.

As a life-long member I have read the BofM more than 30 times cover to cover, and have favorite characters and favorite gospel principles gleaned from its pages.

There have been over 3000 changes to the text, some significant, since it was first printed. And NO, these are not printers' errors or punctuation correction, as those are not considered significant.

Linda Gale said...

"That errors of grammar and faults in dictation do exist in the Book of Mormon (and more especially and abundantly in the first edition) must be conceded; and what is more, while some of the errors may be referred to inefficient proof-reading, such as is to be expected in a country printing establishment, yet such is the nature of the errors in question, and so interwoven are they throughout the diction of the Book, that they may not be disposed of by saying they result from inefficient proof-reading or referring them to the mischievous disposition of the 'typos' or the unfriendliness of the publishing house. The errors are constitutional in their character; they are of the web and woof of the style, and not such errors as may be classed as typographical. Indeed, the first edition of the Book of Mormon is SINGULARLY FREE FROM TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS." (Defense of the Faith, by B. H. Roberts, pp. 280-281; reprinted in A New Witness For Christ in America, by Francis W. Kirkham, Vol. 1, pp. 200-201)

matt lohrke said...

Hi, Linda:

I second MC. Royal Skousen's The Earliest Text version of the Book of Mormon quite literally changed my life. Freed from chapter headings (which are sometimes incorrect) and footnotes, one is able to take it face value without any presumptions, assumptions, or impositions. When I threw out my LDS and Deseret Book-approved study guides and started paying attention to what it actually said instead of what everyone else tried to tell me it said, it opened up to me in ways I couldn't even have fathomed previously (and throws a lot of conventional LDS beliefs and teaching on their heads). It is your Urim and Thummim.

But more importantly, I have to ask myself: Does it point my heart towards Christ? Does it provoke me to repentance? Has my faith increased? Has my knowledge increased? Have the mysteries of God been unfolded to me? Have I seen an increased love for my fellow men? Has my love of God increased? Has the Holy Spirit testified it is what it claims to be? In each case, the answer is an unequivocal yes. I wake up every morning thinking about it and more often than not, I'm up in the wee hours of the morning trying to unfold further mysteries. Many of things I used to really love to do are now tedious because once you've dipped your toe on that light, very little compares.

Is it perfect? No. The prophet-writers worried that we would cast it aside because of their weaknesses. So, I certainly understand why people take a suspicious approach. On its face, it's a bizarre thing to have occurred if you think about it. Metal plates buried in the ground for 1400 years? It's crazy.

I dunno if it would be help, but if possible, try to detach it from the church, Joseph and any other associations it has. Try to take it on its own merits.

Godspeed.

Dave P. said...

Changing "the mother of God" to "the mother of the Son of God" is actually significant, because it contradicts Abinadi's declaration of the Father and the Son being the same as well as Amulek's statement of there being only one God.

Most importantly, along with Mosiah 15, the Fifth Lecture on Faith goes into great detail about: Jesus Christ is Heavenly Father in the flesh. In Joseph's handwritten account of the First Vision, he only saw "the Lord" and not two separate people. Even the current Book of Mormon still gets "the condescension of God" part correct within the same vision.

Also going back to the signs, tokens, and oaths of secret combinations, they don't necessarily have to be made to commit murder for gain, because they are still tied to secret oaths. Christ taught to never make an oath of any kind. The endowment is full of the same kinds of secret signs, tokens, and oaths to never reveal the inner workings and, most importantly, the temple endowment is idolatrous because of consecrating everything to "the church" (i.e. the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and not to God.

Christ is very clear in both the BoM and D&C that anything more or less than His doctrine of repentance and baptism is not of Him. The D&C is also very clear that the New and Everlasting Covenant is baptism. Section 132 is false doctrine with no second witnesses in any other scripture (especially not in the keystone that is the BoM) and everything in it is used as a marketing gimmick.

Nephi's vision states that plain and precious truths would be removed from both the Bible and BoM and Moroni outright asks the restored church "Why have you altered the Word of God?" in reference to changing the BoM?

So many blog posts and comments I've seen have been about trying to justify hanging on to the traditions of the Brighamite church while claiming to adhere to what Joseph taught. The baseline is the first edition of the Book of Mormon, the Lectures on Faith, the Book of Commandments, and arguably the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible.

And, knowing God's modus operandi, if the church doesn't fully repent and come clean, it will be wiped out and He will start over. The church wasn't even a few years old before it fell under condemnation for treating lightly the things in the Book of Mormon. What does it mean to treat lightly? To dismiss what it says, attempt to justify doing the things it explicitly warns against (most especially polygamy), and not using it as the standard against which everything spoken of by church leaders is tested against.

Finally, here is an old blog post I guest wrote that goes into further detail on how everything in the temple except baptisms for the dead is not of God: https://mormonstruthrestored.blogspot.com/2011/10/beware-mormon-endowment.html

Linda Gale said...

Dave P.,

As long as I have known of the Pure Mormonism blog, I've lurked.....and greatly appreciated your comments. Perhaps participants don't understand lurkers, but we gain so much from the back-and-forth comments made in the comment section, which act as a type of refining of ideas. I have appreciated your perspectives from day one. I was so grateful to see you posting again after what seemed to me to be a long space of time without you commenting. So glad you are back. I hope all is well with you.

Linda Gale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Gale said...

Dave,
Very interesting article you wrote on your blog about the endowment and the LDS temple rituals. Thanks for making that available.

As new initiates we are never told that we will make oaths with eternal consequences, which we have had no time to review and decide if that is something we wish to pledge our eternal selves to. With supportive family and friends gathered around, the pressure is there to fall in line with whatever has been done before. I find this very disturbing.

One thing someone mentioned a while back was, that during the endowment session it was Satan who told Adam & Eve to take leaves and make them into aprons to hide their nakedness, and then all the temple patrons are told to stand up and put on their aprons!!!! So we following Adam & Eve in obeying Satan!!! YIKES

Zebedee said...

Wow Linda, I never made that connection about the fig leaves before. I guess I was focused on other things. It could be assumed the leaves are symbolic of our fallen nature. But then at some point you would think we should remove them, which we never do during the ceremony. Adam and Eve had coats of skins made for them to replace the leaves, but we still keep ours on. Does that mean we are we "under Satan's power?" Interesting.

One tip off for me about the validity of the endowment is that we are trained to keep secrets, which the Lord condemns. True we are not swearing to participate in murder, but we are promising to help those above us gain wealth and power, which was the definition of secret combinations in the BoM.

Eric Kuntz said...
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Eric Kuntz said...

MC,

The scriptures tell us that murder is coming again. Jesus's life in mortality in Jerusalem was just a type and shadow of the last days, the main event is still to come. It's all going to play out one more time. The scriptures all tell the same story, the story of the last days. This time it will be the Mormons in SLC instead of the Jews. Jesus walked among the Jews and taught them the truth and they killed him for it. The last days “servant” will walk among the Mormons and teach them truth and they will also kill him. This is all told in scripture in dramatic detail. What has been shall be again. TBM Mormons for the most part will stick with the "follow the prophet" mantra and commit spiritual suicide. We have been given the BOM to wake us up, it's our choice if we will or not.

matt lohrke said...

I do believe that Christ is the Very Eternal Father, but also the Son by virtue of his condescension.

What do we make of his statements about doing the work of the father, or the work of the one who sent him, or voice that said:

"Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him."

Is this all self-referential?

Or is "The very Eternal Father" a title bestowed upon him by virtue of him being the creator and redeemer? There are numerous commands to pray to the father in the name of the son...I'm a bit perplexed. I know there's an answer, but I don't know what it is.

MC said...

Matt,

I share your perplextion. The scriptures seem to contradict themselves on the exact nature of the Father and the Son. Perhaps it's beyond the level of us mortals to understand.

I do not believe in the Trinitarian notion that God is a single being who manifests Himself as three different personages. Clearly there are at least two seperate and distinct personages in the Godhead. The Father and the Son. We we believe the D&C then the Holy Ghost is a third personage.

One the one hand Christ says that He and the Father are one and that He is in Father and the Father in Him. Yet Christ also tells us to become one with Him and His Father in the same way. I don't fully understand it. The LDS church clearly teaches an overly simplistic version of the Godhead. Yet I'm not really sure if anyone out there fully understands the true nature and relationship between the Father and the Son.

It's safe to say that they are two distinct personages and that we are to pray to the Father in the name of Christ, as you pointed out.

How exactly they are connected and their exact natures will likely be something we won't fully understand in this life.

matt lohrke said...

MC - I'm glad I'm not alone. I'll be interested to hear what other people have to say.

Mosiah 15:

Christ is God ("God himself shall come among the children of men")
Christ is the Son because he will dwell in the flesh
Christ is the Father because he was conceived by the power of God (is this what we refer to as "Immaculate Conception?")

= The Father and the Son, both Christ, are one God, the Very Eternal Father of Heaven and Earth

Mosiah 15:5

"And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God"

Flesh / Son
Spirit / Father
= One God / One Personage, yet distinct from the THE Father?

If so, what is the role of THE Father? I don't mean to oversimplify it, but is it some sort of supervisory capacity? Christ, after all, had done all the work, so to speak:

Christ is the mediator with the Father
Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant
Christ effectuated the atonement
Christ condescended to mortality
Christ conquered death
Christ appeared to the Brother of Jared, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, Moroni, Joseph Smith.

Is it just a matter of semantics? Pre-mortal Christ is the Father, mortal Christ is the Son. The combination of Pre- and Post-mortal Christ constitute the One God, the Very Eternal Father.

"Very" in the 1828 Dictionary: As an adverb, or modifier of adjectives and adverbs, very denotes in a great degree, an eminent or high degree, but not generally the highest.

This seems to suggest that God THE father is elevated above Christ. That makes a lot of sense to me. Christ defers to a higher God, even though he, too, is God.

God THE Father begat (could mean "generated") God the Son. I don't know that Christ is the literal off-spring of God THE Father?

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack this post....





MC said...

Matt,

Those are all great questions. Perhaps someone out there will have an answer.

A few quick thoughts before I head off to bed.

Wasn't it the Father who appeared to Moses in Moses chapter 1? Didn't the Father also appear to Joseph Smith together with the Son?

According to Zebedee Coltrin, both the Father and the Son appeared in the Kirtland temple during the school of the prophets. The Father was sitting in a chair surrounded by what appeared to be a ball of fire around his body and the Son was walking around the class. Joseph Smith was sure to point out to the group that they had now seen that the Father and the Son were two seperate beings.

You can find this account in Zebedee Coltrin's journal on boap.org.

At Christ baptism and when he appeared to the Nephites the Father's voice bore record of His Son.

I don't see how the two are not seperate beings.

Now it could very well be, based on Mosiah 15:5 and the Lectures on Faith, that the Father is a personage of spirit and the Son a personage of tabernacle or flesh. That would obviously go against what is currently taught in the LDS church.

I'm not completely sure what the Father's purpose is other than to obtain more glory, honor, and power by bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). He does this through the Son. The Son does the will of the Father in all things. In fact He only does what He has seen the Father do. This is the premise for the King Follett discourse about how the Father once laid down His own life like Christ did.

I really think the whole concept is beyond our level to truly understand. Just like we can't fathom how God can have planets and creation greater than the sand on the seashore and offspring so great that they can't be numbered by us, only by Him. How does He hear all of their prayers? How is He always there to bless and help and forgive the moment we humble ourselves and ask? It is impossible for us to comprehend with out finite minds.

MrHFMetz said...

This is confusing stuff. Abinadi tries to explain in Mosiah. Some clues could also be found in "Mysteries of Creation" by Ogden Kraut, chapter 7, called Names, Titles, Offices. The book is on ogdenkraut.com and then further to "read books online"

David said...

If Christ has received of the fullness of the Father, how is possible for the Father to elevated above him. Though I believe there is merit in the idea of eternal increase and eternal progression. I know, sounds kind of contradictory to my first sentence.

Perhaps there is also real benefit in looking at the roles and titles of Christ. The very Eternal Father of heaven and earth (and all things which in them are). What heaven and what earth? This one of course. He is the creator of this heaven and this earth. He is the creator of everything that we observe within either of those spheres. Perhaps heaven is as far as can be observed by a location. Being the Father of earth and all of the elements and pieces of this creation means he is the creator of our physical bodies, or at least the materials that make up our bodies. Remember, creator does not mean He made something out of nothing. Light and matter are eternal. He somehow constructs them to be what they are today.

How about the title God? Being the creator would qualify Him as God, but that is not all. His role as Savior and Redeemer mean He has the power to save. That is not a power that is reserved or held in check by another. I personally love the title Redeemer because on some level it means to give value to something that alone is worthless. You redeem coupons and receive a benefit by doing so even though the actual coupon is worthless. (Mosiah 15:9) He is also the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the God of the BOM. He is whom the ancients revered and worshiped.

The Son. Abinadi makes it clear that He is the son because of the flesh, but we also have to understand what exactly that means. It's more than just being a physical being. He condescended from his position as God (creator) to come down and be a mortal man. He left whatever state He was previously in and became something much less. He learned and progressed line upon line, precept on precept and did not have a "fulness at the first" (D&C 93:8-14) I really recommend you read the first 40 verses of Section 93 and figure out what it means in verse 19.

In D&C we learn that He is also the Spirit (D&C 84:44-47), the Spirit of truth (D&C 93:11, 23-26). Notice the distinction of mentioning the Holy Ghost in vs 15. Different roles are identified and they are roles filled by different beings. In 1 Nephi 11 you will also notice a distinction between Spirit, or Spirit of the Lord and Holy Ghost. Though it is true that it literally was the Spirit of Jesus Christ who began showing and explaining the vision to Nephi, you still see that there is a distinction between the Spirit of the Lord and the Holy Ghost. Good luck figuring out all scripture references about the Spirit and which one it represents. Maybe that is why we need to become familiar with the Spirit to know who is saying or doing what. After all, it is the voice of Jesus Christ that will ultimately call and we need to be able to hear and recognize His voice.

Can we really have faith in Christ if we cannot understand who He is or what He does? Do we really have faith today? Whom should we worship? How should we worship? D&C 93:1 "Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name (pray to Jesus is different than we teach), and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;" Relate that to John 17:3.

Why is hard for us to understand? Because we don't teach it. Why don't we teach it? Because we don't understand it. A vicious cycle.

Eric Kuntz said...
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Eric Kuntz said...

The only reason the ONE GOD true doctrine is hard for Mormons to understand is because we have been indoctrinated to beLIEve in a bogus idea of the Mormon Godhead of (3) separate beings which is wholly unsubstantiated by the Book of Mormon or the Bible.

The Word of God is in complete agreement about ONE GOD, aside from this one statement purported as scripture, which stands alone in complete contradiction with the BOM & Bible.

22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. (D&C 130)

It would take pages and pages to list all the scriptures that prove that the body of God is comprised of Spirit and not flesh and bone and that The Father, The Son & The Holy Ghost are ONE GOD.

Here are just a few examples...

… for I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another. (1Nep 11:11)

24 And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? 25 And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth.26 And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit? 27 And he said, Yea. 28 And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth? (Alma 18)

44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. (Alma 11.)

21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (2Nep 31.)

7 And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end. (Morm 7.)

Dave P. said...

Eric,

Bringing up D&C 130 is an excellent point. Remember that Heber J. Grant removed the Lectures on Faith from the church's canonized scriptures without a vote from the membership.

Section 130 (which came later), clearly contradicted the 5th Lecture.

David said...

Eric,

The terms referring to the Spirit of the Lord and the Great Spirit you quoted are both accurate in their timing. Both occurrences were prior to the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was indeed a spirit. However, we cannot discount the resurrection. He showed himself physically to His followers in and around Jerusalem and also to His followers in the Americas. He allowed them to touch Him. He did very physical things like eating. He did those things to show the reality of His resurrection.

The scriptures teach that the spirit and the body are the soul of man. We, like Him, are also spirits. That does not mean we're not physical. As the D&C teaches, Spirit is truth and light. God is truth and light. D&C also teaches that "Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." (D&C 93:29) Other verses teach that intelligence is independent in the sphere which God placed it and "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." (vs 30, 36)

As we grow in intelligence, we become filled with the Spirit of truth, we grow in glory, we become like God. Our intelligence does not wipe away the physical part of our being. We are spirit and physical bodies.

There is also evidence that Jesus followed and worshiped another. There is a reason that Nephi points out a clear distinction between the Spirit of the Lord and the Holy Ghost. Reread 1 Nephi 11 and set aside any and all preconceived ideas and see what Nephi says.

Jesus teaches in various scriptures that He is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit or Spirit of truth. He does not teach that He is His father or the Holy Ghost. It's important to note that Nephi and the John both make clear distinctions between the Spirit and the Holy Ghost. (1 Nephi 11, D&C 93:11-15) It's also significant that John states in vs 15 that "there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son." He didn't state that Jesus declared it. He didn't state that God declared it, but he clearly stated that the voice came out of heaven. It came from another in another place. That voice was from His Father (or even Mother because John does not describe the voice as masculine or feminine or if it was possibly voices in unison as the voice).

Underdog2 said...

Regarding the Godhead, a few random points:

1) The DC 130 quote above is debated. Recent, painstaking research, in attempt to restore the restoration, shows the actual quote is: "The Holy Ghost is a personage, and a person cannot have the personage of the Holy Ghost in his heart. A man may receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost may descend upon a man, but not to tarry with him."

2) The Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit are two different things. LoF define the Holy Spirit as the mind of Christ. "And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father-possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit..." Also, "The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man..." Because "spirit" is matter, just very refined, that means that were the Father to be in your presence, he would appear to have a body of flesh and bones (recall the Brother of Jared's reaction to seeing just the finger of Jesus in Ether 3? He thought he was seeing flesh and bone!). If there are multiple mortalities, then this would explain how we could be resurrected in a "spirit" yet physical form and then lay our body down again to be born again into another earth-like experience somewhere in the universe.

3) I believe when the Holy Ghost tarries with you, you are at one with the Father and the Son. This is our goal.

4) Since I have not seen the Father and the Son, I don't know this for sure. But this is the value of having a true prophet to teach us. Joseph testified he's seen the Father and the Son, TWO DISTINCT personages floating the air. Case closed. But since these teachings are apparently being debated/ doubted even now, then it certainly is helpful to have another prophet today, as Denver Snuffer testifies to having seen the Father and the Son, and he, as an eye witness backs up and validates what Joseph testified of. May we all know for ourselves is my prayer. But I thank God, in the meantime, for sending prophets to help us understand even a little the mysteries of God.

5) The scriptures Eric quotes do not remotely prove what he is trying to prove. Here's why:
** DC 130 -- already addressed above.
** 1 Nephi 11:11: this was the pre-mortal Jesus who was a spirit body (see Ether 3 if you do not know what that means).
** Alma 18: Yes, God is a spirit. We all are. Your point? Ammon was teaching line upon line, precept upon precept, identifying with the man whom he was teaching. Nothing false was taught.
** Alma 11, 2 Nephi 31, and Mormon 7 all teach a truth, as John 7 teaches as well. There is no contradiction. They are one God. WE too become "one" with them when we have their mind. We become part of the Godhead when the Holy Ghost is with us. Our goal is to become "one" with them in purpose and mind.
** Let me simply say, "father" means father, and "son" means son. There's no ventriloquist at Jesus' baptism or in 3 Nephi 11. No need to complicate things. Joseph's teachings are regarded by naught by Eric. Joseph's testimony is trampled under Eric's feet. And yet Eric goes about quoting scriptures, thinking his quotations prove the Trinity is true. I'm guessing Eric is a converted Southern Baptist or equivalent.

The Mormon teaching on the Godhead is not bogus. It is saving truth. Darkness comprehendeth not the light that is come into the world, even when presented in plain language. If Joseph's teaching on the Godhead is bogus, then so are the Lectures on Faith. But they are not bogus. In fact, if you do not understand the nature of God you can't even exercise faith in Christ. You are lost and doomed to be separated from him unless you understand His character.

Underdog2 said...

I meant to say John 17 and not John 7 above.

I just read Dave's rebuttal to Eric, which is very similar to mine. Standard points made over the years to the fanatical anti Mormon Protestant who glories in their incomprehensible Trinity God and is offended at the testimony of Joseph Smith, who had the audacity to declare as a 14 year-old nobody that he had a personal encounter with God and a few years later able to provide the "proof" he was telling the truth, in the form of the BoM.

I'm truly astonished that the mainstream LDS Church also throws Joseph under the bus. Either Joseph was lying, or Brigham was lying, about polygamy. Both could not be telling the truth. And the Church sides with Brigham(!) who confessed, "I am not going to interpret dreams; for I don't profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel; but I am a Yankee guesser."

Unreal.

The enemies within "hath done this" (Matt 13). It seems unavoidable for me to have to come out in open "battle" against the real "apostates" in the Church eventually. The "great division" is surely going to come to pass soon.

38 For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion.

39 And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known.

40 And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead.

DeeLyn said...
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matt lohrke said...

Thanks, everyone, for all the input. Very useful and helpful.

What about the differences between The Most High God and the Very Eternal Father?

In Abinidi's discourse, he refers to Christ as the Very Eternal Father (not the Most High God, or not yet the Most High God). I think Abinidi's is simply stating that pre-mortal Christ and mortal Christ are the same entity and designates one as the Father and one as the Son to distinguish between the two.

When the resurrected Christ appeared to bountiful, the survivors shouted, "Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!" (new title?) Is this because Christ had received the Fullness of the Father by virtue of overcoming death, no longer being the "very eternal Father?"

To further complicate the issue:

"And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all. And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired." (1 Nephi 11:17)

Or is it simply that Christ achieved the same title as His father--the Most High God--through the atonement and resurrection? And while they are equal in likeness and Glory, Christ is still the mediator with the Supreme Father, the one who sent him?


Eric Kuntz said...

LOL ;) "Southern Baptist", sorry but no, I'm former Mormon. 40+ years, EQP, Gospel doctrine teacher, Scout Master, Bishopric, etc. The whole nine yards...

DeeLyn said...

When we try to understand God or truth from so called 'scripture', we can easily get deceived and led astray. For all scripture is just the opinions, beliefs and revelations of mortals, which are more often and likely false or wrong and from the Adversary than from God.

Only when we discern truth only by the Golden Rule or 'teachings of Christ' in the NT (with a huge grain of salt for even they are just quotes by men and can be and often probably are misquotes), can we determine what and who is true.

Christ made it very easy to tell truth from error and true prophets from false ones, by their actions. He taught us not to trust or follow their words or claims of revelations or visitations, or even their new and great knowledge, nor even trust the spirit. For most all false prophets usually claim great revelations, visitations, and teach mostly truth and wonderful new knowledge to sound good, so that doesn't prove anything, for the Adversary can easily teach that to them to woo the masses. And 'the spirit' can confirm that most anyone is a true prophet (as we see in any religion), for our revelation and warm fuzzies aren't necessarily and probably aren't usually coming from God.

It is the 'actions and way they live their life' of Joseph, Brigham, Nephi, Denver, Abraham, Moses, and leaders of the LDS and other Churches today that clearly reveal they are and were not true prophets or disciples of Christ, and were actually opposite from true prophets like John the Baptist, who even Christ said was a true prophet, even the greatest.

The more we only focus on and keep the commandments of Christ (like not trusting or following the writings, teachings or revelations of men), the more we can discern false prophets and false revelation and don't have to wonder if ideas like the endowment came from God, for we will know they didn't, for these men's actions don't prove to them true prophets, nor are teachings like the endowment in harmony with what Christ taught anyway.

Though I don't believe Joseph was a true prophet I tend to believe he didn't live polygamy or create the endowment, for he seemed too intelligent for that, for both go against his other teachings and writings in his BoM and D&C, not to mention against Christ's teachings. And though Joseph could have fallen for polygamy like most all so called prophets have throughout history, if Joseph really lived polygamy or created the endowment he would have lied one way or another and lived contrary to Christ and thus his endowment or other teachings couldn't be trusted anyway. So the endowment couldn't be a true teaching.

We don't have to wonder or even pray about or heed anyone's revelations or teachings or claims of visitations from God, we just have to see if they are keeping and teaching Christ's commandments or not, to know if they are true disciples of Christ. For Christ taught not to even trust or follow the teachings of 'true' disciples/prophets, if we could even find one, for he knew even they could easily still often be wrong or fall and most would not be able to tell and thus led astray.

But since hardly anyone in history as ever been able to keep Christ's commandments and prove they are a true prophet, it shouldn't be hard to tell that they aren't.

Bottom line is, Christ taught we should only follow and listen to him, and that we don't need and shouldn't follow prophets or mortals, who almost always teach an easier or opposite Gospel than what Christ did. We just need Christ's teachings or even just our own conscience, which teaches the same things as Christ. Everyone understands love and the Golden Rule deep down, which things like polygamy and the endowment clearly go against.

But like Joseph taught in his BoM, most people want to have kings and leaders instead of just following their own conscience, for leaders and prophets almost always teach easier things than their conscience does.

Underdog2 said...

Deelyn,

To each his own, and it looks like you've made up your mind about Joseph -- and I'll respect that, but may I ask you: How do you explain the BoM's origin?

Either it's proof of divine aid given to Joseph, or it's not.

Kinda hard to discount it.

There was a running back ejected from a college football bowl game a couple weeks ago. The ref said the player shoved him. There was video of the interaction. The player didn't do any such thing. In other words, the ref lied. But here's the thing...the ref has stuck to his story.

But the video shows otherwise. The video PROVES he was/is lying. But he arrogantly refuses to yield.

The BoM's very existence is problematic for those who reject Joseph as a true prophet. The only thing you could say is that in 1827 he was a true prophet (when the book was translated), and that he later "fell" or apostatized from Jesus Christ, by alleging he committed adultery, etc.

You said, "Christ's simple and few commandments are all we need to know and live to discern all truth from error." But, Deelyn, if it weren't for prophets, we'd have no "simple and few commandments" from Christ. We'd have NOTHING. We'd have no scriptures. By destroying the prophets, you destroy Christ. He's given parables about people who destroy the prophets, which foretells what will happen to those destroyers.


You said, "Bottom line is, we don't need prophets to follow, who almost always teach an easier or opposite Gospel than what Christ did..."

True, we don't need and shouldn't "follow" a prophet. True enough, technically, I suppose.

But I must say, your distaste for prophets by your belief that they "almost always" teach opposite what Christ commands them is truly a dangerous position to take, don't you think? You better hope your judgment is correct for rejecting all those prophets you've mentioned above: Joseph, Brigham (agree with you on BY), Nephi, Denver, Abraham, Moses..."

Moses gave us the first two thousand years of sacred history, and you're publicly disavowing him as a true prophet. Wow! And to declare, it appears (correct me if I'm wrong) EVERY prophet to be false and fallen and a tool of Satan, appears to be dangerous ground to be walking on. I understand being a skeptic and all, but you've got to be the greatest skeptic of all time. Are you really that sure and confident in your belief that you got it right and all those prophets who've communed with God have got it wrong and need to be corrected by you?

Underdog2 said...

Eric, based on your comments, you sound like a conventional anti Mormon Trinitarian Protestant. You're making their very arguments here, and picking and choosing BoM quotes to make their points while omitting the parts that you should know and understand without help from people here.

Since you presumably know the BoM pretty well, why would you need fellow Mormons to point out the obvious parts of the BoM which rebut your pro-Trinity assertions? Mind explaining?

Eric Kuntz said...

Underdog2,

You make a lot of assumptions about me, that you can't possibly know. So I invite you to just ask me, if you want to know my position. Otherwise you are just setting up a straw man and debating the straw man.

I don't pick and choose anything from the BOM, I let it speak for itself. Mormons are the ones who wrest the scriptures, they say that the ONE GOD in scripture is 'one in purpose'. I say OK, show me the scriptures that support that idea? They can't, because there isn't any.

"Why would you need fellow Mormons to point out the obvious parts of the BoM which rebut your pro-Trinity assertions?" I am not 'pro-Trinity', but I'll let that pass. Please show me any parts of the BOM that you think describe anything other than ONE GOD.

DeeLyn said...

Underdog,

I wish Moses and others, especially today, had been or were true prophets, how wonderful it would be to have truly righteous men standing for right, past and present, who are examples of Christ's true teachings by truly living them. Perhaps some Bible prophets were true ones, but unfortunately such prophets are very rare, as Christ taught they would be.

It is to be expected that most people thru history have believed Moses and others to be a true prophets, but that doesn't mean they were. Look how easily so many people believe in and accept Brigham Young as a prophet, without even knowing much about him. False prophets are often very well accepted because they teach easier things and it's just easy to follow blindly, while true prophets teach hard things and ask people to think, question and decide for themselves and thus seem to never be accepted by many.

I don't believe that Christ considered Moses or Abraham to be true prophets, at least towards the end of their lives. How could Christ and still teach the things he did? Perhaps they were just fallen prophets, but so many of their actions and stories written in the Bible are contrary to the commandments of Christ, and things a true prophet would not do or write or condone.

Same with the BoM, many actions and teachings of it's 'prophets' were contrary to the teachings of Christ and not what a true prophet or righteous person would do or say, imo. But the BoM, like the Bible, teaches many if not mostly true ideals, like most religious writings by mortals and false prophets. But as Christ taught, it's not the 'true' things that reveal a book, but the things it teaches that are 'contrary' to Christ that reveal the book was not written by true prophets who would have known better. But the catch is, we must know what Christ taught to tell if prophets live it or not.

Also not to mention the many things in the BoM like how the same modern errors of the KJ Bible appear in the BoM or the likelihood that Lehi just happened to have basically the same 'Tree of Life' dream that Joseph's father did, that Joseph heard his Father relate over and over while growing up. And of course Joseph (or prophets) held up Abraham as righteous in the same book he (they) condemned all polygamy in every case.

The BoM is a wonderful book full of many great and even rare truths that were taught more in Joseph's day than today, that can inspire and uplift us and give us wonderful feelings as truth always does, wherever it's found, even in books of fiction or taught by even false prophets.

I credit the BoM's ability to inspire us, not to true prophets but to Christ's teachings when added and to Joseph's amazing talents, abilities to write and his knowledge (that history seems to downplay) and the truth he learned from good and inspiring people, pastors and authors while growing up and the help of others around him. I hope some was not inspired by the adversary, who often inspires people to write great and mostly true things but also adds in just enough falsehoods to lead people astray, as the BoM can in many respects.

DeeLyn said...

Continued -

But whether with the Bible or BoM and it's authors, Christ was very clear that the only way to discern true prophets is by the fact that they will always always teach and especially keep 'all' of his commandments, which are few but next to impossible, and thus it's very easy to see if someone keeps or kept them or not. And again, the more we keep and understand his commandments ourselves the more we will be able to discern if past or present people or prophet's do, and not be led astray by pretense.

The NT surely has Christ seemingly confirming some OT prophets, but again, Christ did not write the NT, men did, probably not even prophets wrote it, but scribes, etc. Whoever wrote the NT has Christ contradicting himself over and over. But it would have been a miracle for mortals to have quoted Christ correctly (ever played the telephone game?) and not have over the years innocently or intentionally errored or changed or added quotes or story because of agenda and what they wanted Christ to be, do, say or approve of.

They had waited for Christ, for a Savior, for a long time and would have of course wanted him to fulfill the Bible scriptures they held up or at least make it sound like he did. We have to read everything with a huge grain of sand, especially what people say Christ said. We can't know or trust even what Joseph Smith really taught or wrote 200 years ago, let alone what Christ did 2000 years ago.

Bottom line is, God only gave us our conscience (our link to heavenly concepts, and it is enough) to discern who Christ was and if and what quotes and story in the NT are true or not. We ourselves alone have to determine what is truth and error, even in the NT Gospels, no one can do that for us. We have to 1st understand the Gospel of truth ourselves, before we can know if even Christ taught it.

We actually don't even need to have ever heard of Christ to know right from wrong. Most people throughout history have never heard of or studied him, yet everyone understands the Golden Rule and love (which is basically what Christ taught), so most anyone could still be as righteous as anyone else if they wanted to, by just following their conscience, the light of God or Christ, which all are born with, but which can quickly and easily be lost or dimmed by unrighteousness, so that wrong seems right to us and right seems wrong.

David said...

MC,

It's Jehovah speaking to Moses in Moses 1.

Eric,


You have a valid point about the One God issue. We are like parrots and repeat what we hear without really considering it. The Father and the Son in the BOM are literally One God, one individual. Jesus Christ is almost always the one speaking in the ancient scriptures. He is the one they refer to as God. Everything they teach about Him is true. There are instances where God, the Father of Jesus Christ does speak. Christ is not saying he is His own Father. He does not pull a ventriloquist act to throw His voice to make it sound as if He is speaking from heaven.

Underdog2 said...

I remember about 12 years ago I had an invigorating, very lengthy gospel conversation specifically about the Trinity with an anti-Mormon Protestant minister. Our emails were probably 40 pages each over the course of 6 weeks.

We actually became friends and ended up having lunch together with our families one Saturday afternoon.

He alleged what you are alleging: that the BoM doesn't teach the definition Joseph taught of the Godhead. And that was therefore one evidence Joseph was a fraud.

From him I learned in an academic way what 'modalism' is. Seemed like he charged that the BoM teaches modalism which is distinct and antagonistic toward the Trinity.

In answer to your question, I can only think of only one verse in the BoM which spells out plainly polytheism: Alma 12:31. He acknowledged it.

However there are plenty of verses which use the term "father" and "son". There are also many occasions where the Son prays to His Father. Meaning, polytheism is clearly revealed in the BoM.

This minister didn't accept that "son" means you have a father and "father" of course means you have a child. That plainness he rejected. That plainness indicates two gods. He looked at those terms metaphorically.

I do think the BoM fails to clearly teach the Mormon concept of the Godhead. Abinadi's testimony, for example, is open to all kinds of interpretations. But, as I mentioned, if you accept the meaning of the word 'son' and 'father', and also accept the various times Jesus prays to the Father or the Father speaks to the Son, then you have DOZENS of references to the two-member Godhead as the Lectures on Faith teach and as Joseph and Denver have testified, as eye-witnesses.

I'll accept your invitation. What is your story? What are your beliefs now and why did they change? Why do you believe what you believe?

David said...

Matt,

That's an interesting point of reference. I've never really considered the difference between the Very Eternal Father and the Most High God. This is absolutely complete speculation, but many societies had multitudes of gods in that day. Many cultures worshiped the sun, the moon and the planets. Perhaps the reference to Most High God is distinguishing Him above all else. Unfortunately we still have many gods in our lives today without recognizing them as such. Perhaps it's a reminder to us that He is the Most High God and deserves our utmost respect and attention.

It's something I will have to consider for a while. Thanks for pointing it out. Perhaps someone who has considered it has more light to shed on the topic.

matt lohrke said...

David - I hadn't either, to be honest. Just kind of popped in my head last night while I was thinking about Abinidi's discourse. I don't know if there's anything to it. Maybe, maybe not.

My 100% speculation is that there was a council of the Gods. Christ was at this point the Very Eternal Father, having not condescending to mortality. In volunteering to act as the Lamb of God and Redeemer, he became the titular "Son" (the Very Eternal Father) of the Most High God. Through his creation of the earth, condescension, birth, life, atonement, death and resurrection, he, too, became the Most High God and achieved equality with the existing Most High God. As has been mentioned, Christ's titular "Father," the Supreme God, only rarely makes an appearance--usually to testify of the Son. Almost all references to God in our scriptures refer to Christ. This is his show as he volunteered for it.

But I'm probably very wrong.

This is the very reason that we Gentiles need to exercise faith of the Brother of Jared (rend the veil) so we may receive the sealed portion of the BOM. I believe all these answers are found within.


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