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

241 comments:

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Zebedee said...

DeeLyn,

I sense a deep emotional struggle within you. Perhaps you have been hurt or betrayed and that is the cause of you seeking to find answers that sooth your soul. Yes, Jesus preached love, but so did Buddha. But Buddha can’t save us from our sins, only our Savior of Redeemer appointed by God can do that.

You feel the prophets are misguided or dishonest men, but what if they aren’t? What if they are speaking the truth and that God has protected and preserved their words so that we can know of a surety of our Redeemer, so we can be not lost in ignorance? That would seem a very loving thing a God of love would do for his children, don’t you think?

You mentioned, “And though Joseph could have fallen for polygamy like most all so called prophets have throughout history…” and that is puzzling to me and I hope you can elaborate. With the exception of modern-day so-called prophets, which ancient prophets practiced polygamy?

I don't believe Abraham was a polygamist. Sarah, his wife, gave her slave to her husband so she could raise a foster child. Abraham did not marry Hagar, she was not a wife or a concubine, and he only had one child with her. Sarah owned Hagar as she was a gift from Pharaoh and could do what she wanted with her. (Such things are hard for us modern-day folks to deal with, but that was the reality). When Sarah died, Abraham married Keturah, his second wife. There was no polygamy there that I can see.

Isaac was only married to Rebekah.

Now Jacob was a polygamist it is true. Unfortunately, Jacob was deceived by his father-in-law. Thinking he had married Rachel he found out the next morning he had consummated with her older sister Leah. Jacob was livid and I bet Rachel spent the night in tears. Jacob didn’t choose that situation, but was gentleman enough to keep and support Leah even when he married his true love the following week (and working another 7 years to boot). Then there was bitter rivalry between the sisters, were they each sent their slaves to Jacob to have more children so they could better the other. Granted that was a mess, but it wasn’t so much Jacob’s fault as his prideful wives or his dishonest father-in-law who started the whole thing.

If you are including Kings David and Solomon as prophets, then that’s two examples I grant you, but the Lord tells us through true prophets their polygamy was an abomination.

Other than that, I can’t think of any other prophets who had fallen for polygamy. But I could be wrong and would like to know, as I don’t care much for the practice.

One man and one woman in the Lord. That's what I read from the prophets.

Eric Kuntz said...

UD2,

I appreciate your very thoughtful comments, I will try to add to the discussion.

My story briefly: Born & raised in the LDS church, mission, married in temple, held many callings (ym to bishopric). About 5 years ago I started to learn that something wasn't quite right with the current LDS Church. Many things had changed dramatically from the 'restoration' days. I was still a believing member but had questions that no one around me seemed to want to answer. This attitude raised even more red flags for me, nevertheless I stayed a active member thinking it was still God's true church and that He would set it in order in His own due time. I held with this thinking until I decided to read the scriptures for what they actually say instead of what I 'knew' they said. I dropped my agendas and was only looking for truth, regardless where it led me. Really it's very simple for me. I read Mosiah 15:1-5 with the eyes of a child and determined that either Abinadi was giving a accurate description of God or the Mormon concept of the Godhead was correct, but both couldn't be correct, they are 180 degrees out of phase. Then I compared the rest of the BOM and the Bible to the Mormon doctrine of the Godhead and found that the Godhead doctrine has no scriptural support at all. I resigned from the Church that same year.

What's your story?

matt lohrke said...

Zeb -

That's a very thoughtful response. It's refreshing considering sometimes things can get heated around here.

The fact that D&C 132 names Isaac and Moses as polygamists ought to inform us that it is a fraudulent document. It probably irks me more than it should, but from all we know Isaac was a righteous man. And we have a canonized scripture that accuses him of a gross crime. Shameful.


Dave P. said...

D&C 132 should be looked at with nothing less than suspicion. It contradicts other scriptures, has no second witnesses anywhere, Joseph Smith burned his copy and called it a false revelation, and it wasn't canonized until decades after Joseph's death.

And, as mentioned before, the corporation stakes pretty much its entire marketing gimmick of "families are forever" on that one section.

Zebedee said...

DaveP,

The whole story behind D&C 132 is murky at best. I've heard it was Emma who burned it after Hyrum presented to her. But Emma denied any of that. Fortunately for Brigham & Co. they made a word-for-word copy beforehand. They must have anticipated Emma's reaction, knowing somehow that she would destroy the original. And of course they kept the copy securely locked in a desk drawer for eight years or so (which crossed the plains intact). And if you believe that story, I've got some beach front property on Mars for sale.

There is so much fabrication, speculation, conjecture, story telling, fact twisting, and mental gymnastics surrounding the whole thing that it can't be from God, who after all is NOT an author of confusion.

David said...

Eric--how do you explain the events of 3 Nephi 19 if One God always and only means 1 individual? I'm genuinely curious when you compared all of the BOM and Bible, how did this chapter fit within those comparisons?

MC said...

Zebedee,

I agree that D&C 132 is a bit unsettling. It does contradict the BOM in regards to the wives and concubines of David and Solomon. On the other hand it fits perfectly with the Joseph Smith translation of the Old Testament. Joseph didn't alter the verses that state that David's wives were given to him by the Lord and that there was no sin in it, other than in the case of Urriah's wife.

There is also a contemporary account of Hyrum and Joseph presenting a revelation on polygamy before the Nauvoo high council. The council rejected it.

Also in regards to the BOM condemning polygamy, it does state that God may command his people to do it to raise up seed unto him.

Jacob and Abraham were polygamists. Isaac may have been too according to the apocrypha. The scriptures refer to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Clearly God at the very least allowed them to be polygamists.

I'm not an advocate for polygamy, but from my studies I don't see we can just write off polygamy and D&C 132 olas false and of Satan.

Perhaps D&C 132 is of Satan. If so that doesn't mean polygamy is always an abomination. Rather it would mean that it is not required for exaltation. Just some thoughts.

Underdog2 said...

Part 1 of 2

Eric,

My story: Adult convert of 30 years. Waited year, served full mission. Married in temple, lots of kids, held mostly leadership callings through years. Been attending PEC/Ward Council for most of the 30 years I've been a member. I'm a "BoM convert", having basically memorized the book I've studied and read it so many times and still read daily to this day.

I've had doubts about the top brass of the Church being deceived since the early 1990's. With the lone exception of Ezra Taft Benson, a true patriot, I never could put to rest the concern that the other Brethren were so obtuse when it came to the secret combination (Ether 8) that was so obvious to people who took a little time to read books like None Dare Call It a Conspiracy or The Naked Capitalist. Anybody who's studied the BoM knows the impact that secret combinations had on the Nephites and Jaredites, and were prophesied to have on us today. It's unavoidable and very important to our day, and yet the Brethren spoke nothing of Liberty and nothing of the Constitution and nothing of Communism and were on the other hand anti Cleon Skousen and pro United Nations and deaf when it came to the Federal Reserve System.

I brushed their silence aside and forced myself to not doubt my leaders' wisdom and intelligence. But inside my heart and mind, those concerns about the institution remained, until I read (about 2 years ago) http://twochurchesonly.com, Volumes 1 and 2. In Volume 2: http://www.twochurchesonly.com/downloads/there_are_save_two_churches_only_-_volume_II_e-book.pdf, in Part 7, beginning on page 440, there was a chapter on Denver Snuffer. That caught my attention.

The author's (D. Christian Markham) testimony of Denver (like my missionaries' testimonies of Joseph Smith's testimony 30 years ago) sparked a curiosity, and reinvigorated my faith in Christ, and ultimately all my suspicions were confirmed about the sandy foundation the Church was on. I realized the Church was in full-blown apostasy. It was somewhat expected, but still crushing news nonetheless. A real bummer, for all the obvious reasons. And yet, exciting at the same time. The prospect for establishing Zion is very, very thrilling to my soul. The testimony that the heavens are open is the great news of the day. Somebody had parted the veil. Great news.

Most of us here are aware of how confirmation bias forms our views. This can be very dangerous if the accepted tradition or "truth" is not true, but false. To not be deceived, I stripped down all that I "knew" to just one thing or two. And then I reverse engineer things accordingly. What I know (from supernatural spiritual experiences that I know happened to me, and which I believe came from God) is that the BoM is true (ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith). My faith was tried. I received my witness. Let's leave it at that. Because of that, what do I know? That Joseph was a true prophet. And mainly that God lives! That Jesus is my Savior. That the First Vision was a true testimony, a true message for all the world to know and understand.

That's my story.

(continued)

Underdog2 said...

Part 2 of 3 (to Eric):

To hear you say that you "determined that either Abinadi was giving a accurate description of God or the Mormon concept of the Godhead was correct, but both couldn't be correct," to me, is incongruous. Abinadi's words are subject to interpretation, and there are interpretations that don't violate the concept of a two-personage Godhead. Joseph truly translated the book (incl Abinadi's testimony), so it makes no sense for there to exist a contradiction. The 1921 committee of famous apostles decided to yank the LoF from our canon (in the dark of night, mind you). Assuming no evil intent, they probably thought there was a contradiction to what THEY thought was correct Mormon doctrine. Same as you. But I suggest to not make that assumption.

The truth is this: God the Father and Jesus did appear to Joseph. Joseph was allowed to translate the plates. So that makes Abinadi's testimony true, assuming the publisher/ printer didn't mess things up.

Therefore there SHOULD be no contradiction. Here are Abinadi's words from Mos 15:

"I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men and shall redeem his people."

Good so far.

"And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God,"

Fair enough. No contradiction to the Sacred Grove experience.

"...and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son"

If both their will is the same, then they are the same. If A = B, then B = A. Thus, Christ, as far as will is concerned, is the Father, and yet He's the Son too.

"— the Father because he was conceived by the power of God..."

I see no contradiction to the two-personage Godhead here. But Christ is also the Father of heaven and earth, as the Creator.

"...and the Son because of the flesh,"

No contradiction here. Fine, if Abinadi wants to say he's the Son because he has a mortal tabernacle of clay, so to speak, then fine.

"...thus becoming the Father and Son, and they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of Heaven and of Earth."

As discussed above, their will is the same, so they are one God (as John 17 teaches we all SHOULD be). Christ is the Creator of heaven and earth, so therefore it makes sense to call him the "very Eternal Father" here.

(continued...)

Underdog2 said...

Part 3 of 3 (to Eric):

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

No contradiction to the two-personage Godhead. In fact, BOTH are mentioned. And mind you, it's very important according to the 10 commandments that there is just ONE God, because there can be no confusion of what is truth or what is His will. Christ is the Savior. He's the One we must worship, and yet he's separate and distinct from His Father.

I find none of what Abinadi teaches to contradict in the least bit what Joseph Smith taught of the Godhead.

In other words, Abinadi's testimony can be viewed as TOTALLY BACKING UP the Mormon (Joseph's) teaching on the Godhead.

And yet, you have lost your testimony that God worked a great and marvelous work through the Prophet Joseph Smith because you are interpreting words differently.

By comparison, it's close to impossible for me to lose my testimony because of the power of the witness I had. I honestly cannot fathom how I could deny the manifestation of God's power that I personally experienced. I know what I know, and I know God knows what I know. I cannot deny it. Therefore, my confirmation bias, so to speak, compels me to "see" there is no contradiction. The difference is that I know the BoM is true and Joseph translated it by the gift and power of God.

You said, you "found that the Godhead doctrine has no scriptural support at all."

I believe I've addressed this before. The evidence is abundant FOR the Godhead. But your confirmation bias causes you to discard said evidence. Are you sure that what you now believe to be true is true? What do you "know" for sure to be true, may I ask? From what "north star" do you reckon from?

Dave P. said...

@MC,

"Also in regards to the BOM condemning polygamy, it does state that God may command his people to do it to raise up seed unto him."

That is not the case in the original BoM and has been the single biggest justification for the church's practice of it when Jacob clearly outlines that the practice as a whole (and not the "unauthorized" practice) is one of the reasons why Jerusalem was destroyed and why the Nephites were ripe for destruction more than once.

The context of the passage is this: If the Lord is going to raise up a righteous seed, He will give them commandments to obey and they will be His if they keep those commandments, otherwise they'll hearken to their own natural lusts and desires (such as polygamy as they were doing when Jacob said so).

If the idea of authorized polygamy was about raising up a bunch of children, then why were the Nephites never commanded to do so when they were always outnumbered by the Lamanites?


Going back to what I said about what it means to treat lightly the Book of Mormon is to try to justify doing the things it warns against, and polygamy is the most clear-cut example of this in church history.

@Underdog,

Here is a scary thought: The surgeon that may well have lobotomized Ezra Taft Benson after his famous pride talk in the late 80s is now the president of the corporation.

Underdog2 said...

@Dave P.,

Scary thought indeed. I didn't realize we had had that conversation about the lobotomy on this blog, or that the lobotomy was "widely" known. I'm expecting Nelson to come out with a pretty good counterfeit "revelation" during his tenure. He's talked about spirits visiting him recently and asking for temple work to be done. I do expect Nelson to reward F. Whitney Clayton with a seat at the table, for his loyal service in casting out DS. It makes sense Oaks is in the First Presidency now since he did the Boise Rescue in 2015 and since he knows DS intimately well from the legal society they've been in together through the years.

Eyring sure seems to give the appearance of a sweet man who has a soft heart and means well, but his last General Conference talk really sought to build a protective wall around the Brethren, by warning members about being critical of (lip service) infallible leaders. The devil most always surrounds himself with genuinely good, Christian, family-oriented people, so as to give the appearance of purity and wholesome living. Eyring may be fulfilling that role, unwittingly.

The Church is facing dwindling numbers in the U.S., I'm quite sure, and dramatically lower tithing revenue, so it'll be interesting how they decide to deal with that corporate revenue catastrophe that's staring them in the face.

Quick Note: We just has a regional conference where they piped in Mr. Smugness himself, Elder Bednar, via the Internet. I kid you not, but at the tail end of his speech on repentance and "turning to God," this past Sunday, he actually quoted DC 10:67 where the Lord defines members of His Church as being those who "come unto Him." He said there may be 15 million members on the roster, but the real members are those who come unto Christ. He said he was quoting Pres. Benson who quoted DC 10, but I'm guessing his speech writers are plagiarizing DS or the Remnant movement. LOL.

Dave P. said...

As a follow up to the above, remember that history has shown that those who seek to find loopholes in the words of an Unchanging God are those who are attempting to jusitfy their own sins while seeking to exercise power over others by convincing them of the same. This leading the people to commit those same sins themselves. Jacob told the Nephites, “I tell you this so you won’t commit these sins or they would be on my head for failing to do my job as a leader.”

The fact that the practice of polygamy only created more problems than solutions for the early church is seen in the Brighamite history: Leaders we’re constantly in hiding, they used it as a means of unrighteousness dominion, and the web of lies created to justify the practice only resulted in a negative reputation that still affects Mormons today and created the false doctrine of “The prophet will never lead the church astray.”

The natural man will look for the easy way out, and thinking that God will grant exceptions to something He expressly forbade is not only the temptation of the natural man, but would also cause God to cease to be God. Using that as the basis of logic when reading Jacob 2 is what explains why the Nephites were commanded not to practice polygamy then or ever. As said, the original BoM is clearer in context since it basically says, “To raise up a righteous seed, God has commanded you to live in a manner other than the natural man, and these things/commandments are what you should obey.”

Dave P. said...

@Underdog,

What Bednar failed to mention (and the corporate board is afraid that people will figure out) is that one can very well come to Christ without being on that roster of 15 million.

Eric Kuntz said...

David,

To understand what is happening in 3 Nephi 19 we need to get a clear understanding of the true nature of God. We have to remember not to put our human limits on God. That is what the Mormon doctrine of the Godhead does, it confines God to a physical body, but the scriptures clearly show God is spirit.

I refer back to Abinadi...

2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son.

When God is born in the flesh as a baby and lives on earth as a man, He is called the Son of God. And He is both the Father and the Son. In order to be both the Father and the Son, part of the Father’s Spirit must be born into the body of a child so God can come down to earth as the Son.

3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son

He is the Father because he is self-existent as God, and He is the Son because a part of God’s Spirit was born on earth.

Turing back to 3 Nephi 19, it's my understanding that Jesus is in the flesh as the Son and has a portion of the Father's spirit in Him. The flesh (Jesus) is praying to the spirit Father. The Father's spirit can and is in more than one flesh.

David said...

Eric,

3 Nephi 22: "Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them."

If this is one individual praying to part of himself, then why even both to point out that the people prayed to him while he prayed to his Father? That's not putting human limits on the process. That's an all knowing God adding what seems to be a completely unnecessary step in the prayer process. They were praying to Jesus, and he then in turn prayed to the Father for them.

In regards to God is Spirit. D&C 84:45 "For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ." The Word (John 1)= truth; truth = light; light = Spirit. Every single one of those words are descriptive terms of God. God is truth; God is light; God is Spirit. John 3:6 is kind of interesting.

Based on all of your reckoning, how do you explain the resurrection? Why does Jesus even both doing what he did in Luke 24:36-43?

Dave P. said...

Another scary realization I had:

My mother's best friend required open heart surgery in the late 80s and her surgeon was one Dr. Russell Nelson. This was also right after he'd been called to be an Apostle and her description of his face that she told us later was like "that of a cat that had just eaten the canary."

It hit me earlier today: That's the kind of expression someone who had successfully gotten away with something makes.

MC said...

Dave P,

Jacob 2:30 is identical in the first edition as it is in our current edition. The only difference is that the first edition had a colon instead of the current semicolon. Punctuation is a moot point anyway because the printer's manuscript had no punctuation. The printer's manuscript of Jacob 2:30 is identical too by the way.

I agree with you about the danger of wresting the scriptures. People generally do that to justify wrong behavior or false beliefs.

I admit that Jacob 2:30 is a bit unclear. I don't see it the way you do. To me it sounds like polygamy is generally an abomination, but is allowable if God commands it to raise seed unto himself. The ancient patriarchs would seem to fit this category.

What do you think about the fact that the way D&C 132 talks about the wives of David fits perfectly with the Old Testament in the JST?

Joseph began translating (revising) the bible the under the Lord's command the same year the BOM was published. I would think if polygamy was always evil and David did not receive his many wives from God, that Joseph would have been inspired to change those passages in the bible that say that God gave David his wives and would have given him more had he not taken Bathsheba and killed her husband.

You commented recently that you believe that Joseph had 7 good years and 7 bad years. I'm assuming you believe that Joseph was a fallen prophet when he began practicing polygamy and received D&C 132. Please correct me if my assumption is false.

My question to you is what do make of Joseph's marriage to Fanny Alger sometime between 1835 and 1836? This would be within the 7 good years wouldn't it?

Also if Joseph married Fanny after having received the keys to the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham in the Kirtland temple in 1836, then it would seem to fit that his marriage was authorized just as Abraham was justified in taking Hagar.

Any thoughts?

MC said...

Dave P,

I forgot to answer your question about why the Lord never commanded the Nephites to practice polygamy so they could catch up to the Lamanites.

First off, I don't think polygamy is about having a bigger population. I think if anything it has to do with having more genealogical lines through a righteous patriarch, such as Abraham or Jacob.

Secondly, the Book of Mormon is not a complete history of the people. Women and marriage are almost never mentioned. It's quite possible that if authorized polygamy is a higher law that at some point the Nephites were commanded to practice it. It could all be on the sealed portion. We just don't know.

matt lohrke said...

I like this comment someone left at defendingjoseph.com:

***

Jacob 2:30 is not a loophole for polygamy—far from it. While I don’t believe in the Book of Mormon, I do believe in grammar. Note that the verse begins with “For.” This is a conjunction that means “because.” It is “The word by which a reason is introduced of something before advanced” (Webster’s 1828 dictionary).

However, “Because” won’t fit the Mormon apologists’ interpretation—v. 30 doesn’t answer why the Nephites must obey God’s commandment to stop polygamy (expressed in the previous verse). Mormons must pretend “For” means “but” or “however” or “nevertheless” in order to completely switch horses in the middle of the stream, so to speak.

So what does v. 30 really mean? Let’s break it down:
“For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me.” V. 25 has already said God “led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.” That’s the SEED referred to later in v. 30. A companion verse is 1 Nephi 7:12--“. . . [Lehi’s] sons should take daughters to wife, that they might RAISE UP SEED UNTO THE LORD in the land of promise.”

“. . . I will command my people.” This clause does not mean or say, “I will command my people to commit polygamy” as Mormon apologists try to influence people into believing. It refers back to the previous verse regarding the people keeping Gods commandments AGAINST polygamy. “Command” here simply means “govern” or “rule.” It’s similar to a general saying, “I will command the army.” Obviously, if the people disobey His COMMANDments, then God is not in command of the people, and their seed will not be righteous.

“. . . otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.” Mormons would claim “things” here refers to God’s commandments, but these “things” were identified already in v. 23--“for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the THINGS which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.”

Putting it all together in a paraphrase, Jacob 30 actually means: “Because if I will raise up a righteous branch here in the Promised Land, I will govern my people; otherwise they shall listen to the things written about David and Solomon and continue committing whoredoms.”

***

What's interesting about that discourse is that Jacob prefaces it by saying the Nephites had wrested the scriptures in their justification of polygamy, just as the LDS church did. If that act weren't so dangerous it'd be hysterical. The early saints did exactly what the Nephites did.

And despite the wickedness of the Lamanites, it was their monogamy that ultimately stayed the Lord's hand from destroying them. It's that big of a deal.

David Whitmer, for all his flaws, pulled no punches when condemning the LDS church for the practice in his "Address to All Believers in Christ." He, too, correctly cites Jacob 2 and condemns those practicing polygamy. One need only look at the fruits: Jeffs, Kingstons, Lebarons, the UAB, and thousands of abused women and children.

To make matters worse, the Church cites Jacob 2 on it's official website as justification for polygamy, once again wresting the scriptures to its damnation.

Zebedee said...

Well said Matt.

Looking at history, the "righteous seed" argument seems like it could only be applied to Jacob. But look at what Jacob's "righteous seed" did to their brother Joseph--attempted murder, selling him into slavery, and lying to their father. And then look at Judah's behavior with his daughter-in-law who he thought was a prostitute. And later, God told Moses he was going to eliminate all of Jacob's seed, and start over with Moses, even though he only had one wife.

In Jacob's case: seed yes, righteous not so much.

There was no need for David and Solomon to add to the "righteous seed" of the great nation of Israel. David was an adulterer and Solomon led the whole nation into idolatry, thanks to his many wives.

And even among Brigham & Co. taking extra wives meant that there was a disproportionate number of unmarried men kicking around. How does that increase a righteous seed? Brigham averaged one kid per wife, while a monogamous couple could have six or more easily.

Nope, I'm not buying it. If that was the loop hole to God's commandment then it sure hasn't worked out very well.

By the way, how many wives did Adam have? He and Eve seemed to have raised a bunch of kids just fine without any extra help.

Dave P. said...

Joseph Smith's primary problem throughout his life was heeding his own carnal lusts and desires and the will of men over the will of God, something he was reprimanded for time after time in the D&C.

I did mention Joseph's parallel to Joseph of Egypt in having seven good years followed by seven bad years, but that doesn't mean they were seven perfect years. The church fell under condemnation for its treating lightly the Book of Mormon during those seven good years too. The seven good years lasted until around the time of the dedication of the Kirtland temple, when Joseph fell into the mindset of getting rich and received far less revelation from God and failed to repent far more often.

Liberty Jail humbled him for a while, but he didn't break out of it until he realized the mistake of the destruction of the Nauvoo printing press and began to repent. The Lord told him and Hyrum to flee to the Rockies for their protection to avoid a succession crisis until he could complete his repentance, then return and clean up the church. But, he once again heeded the words of men over God and was led like a lamb to the slaughter and the rest is history. In the end, Joseph was as fallible as you and I.

Matt and Zebedee also added great points regarding polygamy: The fruits of it for those who practiced it have been nothing short of outright disaster. And it was Christ who taught "By their fruits you shall know them." The statement applies to practices and organizations as much as individual people.

Dave P. said...

More thoughts while on the train this morning:

The Lord raises up His covenant people to be a peculiar people; unique in that they think and act differently from the rest of the world. The primary way the covenant people will distinguish themselves is to put off the natural man and heed the laws of God while allowing other people their own agency so long as they leave God's people alone. Remember the sons of Mosiah were told it was a waste of time to try and preach to the Lamanites and it was "smarter" to go and annihilate them instead. That would not have ended well.

As mentioned earlier, the natural man is inclined to take the easy way out. Be it through justifying sin rather than repenting, or to abdicate responsibility to a false god. One of the biggest pieces of idiot legislation in Utah in recent years was the "Zion's curtain" where restaurant owners had to foot the bill to erect walls in their restaurants so children couldn't see alcoholic drinks being prepared. That has since been removed but also replaced with "Zion's moat" where every eating establishment in Utah must display a clear sign indicating they're licensed as a restaurant or bar.

This goes into the mindset of, "We must legislate the church's definition of morality and use the power of the state to make others comply to our way of thinking by force." Not only is this an abuse of power, but also an abdication of responsibility. To say, "It's against the law!" is not a valid argument when the majority of laws on the books are unjust, but it's also the first thought of many when they say, "There should be a law!" for some things primarily so they don't have to teach their kids about why things like excessive alcohol and hardcore drugs should be avoided whether or not they're "illegal."

I once got chewed out by a cop for crossing against a red light even though he was the only one coming while I and the guy with me clearly saw him coming and waited on the median for him to pass. All he could say was, "It was against the law." The security guards at the Courthouse saw this and told us they had more reason to ticket him than us because he was the one who had stopped in the middle of the road and presented a hazard to any traffic that would have been behind him if there was any.

So too do we see such a mindset in both the natural man and the church today: "Do not think for yourselves. Simply obey what we say/write even if it contradicts the will and nature of the Unchanging God and all will be well in Zion." Again this is despite the fact that the corporate church today has tangled itself in a web of lies so tight that it cannot be unraveled without great pain. It can come clean, repent, and lose the trust of those who are unwilling to forgive it, or it can continue as it's been doing in its deceit and lose the trust of more and more people who awake to their awful situation until it is burned away entirely in the long run.

David said...

It's interesting, if you follow the footnote in Jacob 2:30, one of the scriptures you are led to is D&C 132:61-66. Even if we allow ourselves to believe that God may give a command that varies from that given to Jacob, we have to admit that there are problems with section 132.

God apparently goes from condemning polygamy using words like "grosser crimes" "committing whoredoms" "which thing was abominable before me" and warning that he had "seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of (his) people...because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands" and outright condemning the attitude and actions of the perverse men, to allowing a man who has entered into this "law of the priesthood" to simply only need to "desire to espouse" another virgin for her to be given. Oh, he does throw in the caveat that the first wife has to "give her consent" except that if the man taught the principle to his wife that she has to "believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed."

Wow, what a change in tone! What a change in position regarding the feelings of women and children! On one hand, we have a God that is deeply concerned for the women and children, who cannot stand to hear the cries and mourning of the "fair daughters of (his) people" to a god who will destroy any woman who violates this law of the priesthood or fails to give her consent.

Can anyone defend the difference in tone or level of respect for the thoughts, feelings and well being of women and children?

Dave P. said...

@matt,

I found and am reading a copy of Whitmer's address at http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/address1.htm

I love how right after he reminds the reader that the BoM outright condemns polygamy, he brings up the fact that the restored church falling away is also according to prophecy: "They have departed in a great measure from the faith of the CHURCH OF CHRIST as it was first established, by heeding revelations given through Joseph Smith, who, after being called of God to translate his sacred word — the Book of Mormon — drifted into many errors and gave many revelations to introduce doctrines, ordinances and offices in the church, which are in conflict with Christ's teachings. They also changed the name of the church. Their departure from the faith is also according to prophecy."

MrHFMetz said...

This polygamy thing keeps coming up. I found an interesting essay on the topic. You'll find it here: www.eldenwatson.net then go to Different Thoughts, then to
#3 - John Taylor's 1886 Revelation
I found the conclusion remarkable.

Dave P. said...

Another great statement from David Whitmer on Page 34 of the pamphlet:

"After Sydney Rigdon came into the church — or in the spring of 1831 — we began to make proselytes faster; but great numbers coming into the church does not always signify great spiritual prosperity."

Of course one of the biggest lies the corporation loves to tout is how it has ~16 million members every time it's brought up in the news. It boasts in those numbers so much that it refuses to acknowledge how less than half of them are active, again because it would hurt the outward image.

(I'm actually reading snippets of David Whitmer's address during downtime at work, otherwise I'd likely be putting everything into one larger comment.)

DeeLyn said...

The teachings, writings and so called 'revelations' of mortals will never settle the polygamy question, for some will claim God can be for it and some will say he's against it.

But if we test polygamy against the teachings of Christ it's very easy to see it's impossible for it to ever be ok in the sight of God in any circumstance. No one has to wonder if it was ok for Joseph or Abraham or anyone to live it, in any of it's forms, serial or concurrent. For Christ clearly condemned all forms of polygamy in multiple ways.

His many teachings on love, marriage, equality and especially the Golden Rule totally destroy the man made idea of polygamy. What man would put up with polygamy the other way around and want done to him what he does to his wife in polygamy? What man would want to stay faithful or even be willing to stay faithful to his 1 wife he hardly ever sees cause she is always living with her other husbands, or out being wined and dined by new prospective ones? While he lives alone with and cares for all the kids, house and earns a living. The Golden Rule, as always, reveals the truth.

Christ also clearly taught that once married no one can ever marry anyone else their whole life, no matter what. Lifelong unconditional faithfulness to one person. His teachings astounded his disciples who then determined that it's best to never marry at all. And Christ agreed with them and taught that it's not good to marry.

But as for Joseph, it appears he did not write or even read any loop holes for polygamy in Jacob 2:30. There are 2 ways to read that verse, for or against polygamy. It seems it was not read the pro polygamy way in Joseph's day, but appears to have started reading it with loop holes much later by polygamists in Utah, who surely needed more scriptural backing for their actions.

But just common sense can reveal the truth about Jacob 2:30, for if the Lord wants to raise up a righteous people, history and science has shown that polygamy is the last way to do it and the slowest, not to mention that it quickly destroys society. Christ's idea of righteous lifelong monogamy proves to be the best and only way to raise up a righteous people.

But why would we assume any of Joseph's revelations, visitations, writings and teachings came from God, for mere claims don't prove anything, even if we get warm fuzzies about them. Billions of people in every religion are just as sure as Mormons that God confirmed to them that their religion, leaders or scriptures are true. Feelings, revelations and visitations are some of the easiest ways to be deceived. Christ taught we should even assume our own revelation and inspiration is wrong, until we test it against his.

Even Joseph understood that anyone's revelations or teachings, including his, has to be the same as Christ's teachings or they prove to be false, no matter what kind of person, spirit, angel or God relayed the message. Joseph just didn't always heed his own advice on that though, and thus didn't test some of his beliefs, teachings and practices against Christ's. But at least he understood how wrong polygamy was, whether he secretly fell for it or not. But he did not fully understand it or Christ's teachings enough.

For, despite the fact that Joseph fought and condemned polygamy all his life, even teaching that if any prophet ever taught or lived it, even him, they would be wrong and a false prophet and anyone who followed them would lose their salvation, he still held up Abraham as righteous and didn't seem to make the connection, that not even Abraham can live any form of polygamy either, let alone the other wrong things he did.

Righteous men and prophets teach and act the same yesterday, today and forever.

Dave P. said...

DeeLyn,

I can see your point of view on the basis that every man who has been considered a prophet was also a fallen human just like the rest of us, but it honestly feels to me like you're saying that, as prophets, they're denied the process of repentace if they ever make mistakes. A prophet can fall, but can also be corrected and return.

Per the polygamy issue, David Whitmer in his address cites testimony of people who state that Joseph received a revelation on and practiced it, but also how he repented of it prior to his death. Polygamy gets the most focus in Whitmer's address, but he also brings up a lot of times Joseph proved to be fallible both during and after the translation of the Book of Mormon and how he constantly had to repent just to finish the translation. He also urges people to not discount the things that fallible prophets have done right because of things they did wrong at other times, but also to always measure their words against the words of Christ in the BoM and NT.

David Whitmer himself admits to having been deceived in the early days of the church but gave everyone the counsel of "Don't make these same mistakes!" Per the topic of the original post I would consider it prophetic counsel because of the urging of a man who testified of Christ and even considered himself a prophet (as mentioned in the pamphlet himself) and said "I erred and fell away because of deception, then had to repent," while constantly reminding all of the church branches to focus solely on what Christ taught.

Whether or not David W. was a prophet, it's been a great read as he recounts the early history of the church that "approved" materials never touch upon and provides a great answer as to why the early church fell into condemnation and how they treated lightly the Book of Mormon: Heeding the words of fallible men over the written Word of God when the two contradicted each other. And he is merciless in ripping the D&C a new one because of how many "revelations" just happened to align with the carnal desires of the people at the time despite contradicting what the BoM taught.

Zebedee said...

DeeLyn's point is well taken. I would absolutely hate to have my wife being with any other man or men, regardless if some dude claims it's OK 'cause God said it was. My heart aches for all those women who were suckered into that false doctrine. Because it is false. My great-great-grandfather had six wives. I descend from number six. The first one refused to give her consent and was excommunicated and divorced. Very sad.

Section 132 has a lot of problems. As mentioned the consent of the first wife was required upon pain of death. But according to Emma she never gave any consent whatsoever as she didn't know anything about this "revelation" before 1852. So if Joseph was doing things behind her back then he was violating his own law. (I for one doubt Joseph did anything of the sort).

There is a lot of talk about virgins in that section. Well, that wasn't followed either, if we believe Joseph married other men's wives. Or how about Brigham marrying other men's wives and even marrying some of Joseph's so-called other wives including Eliza Snow? Brigham stated that a man with higher priesthood could take the wife of a man with lower priesthood. I think that's called adultery. What a scoundrel!

I wonder if Brigham would have tried to make the moves on Emma. That certainly would have solidified his regal position no doubt. It's funny to think about because it was completely unlikely. She saw Brigham as the fraud he was and he knew she knew it. Emma was no dummy. Remember the Lord called her an "elect lady."

This "doctrine" has proven to be the thorn in the side of the Church for over 160 years and will likely be its undoing, unless the higher-ups confess and repent. (I'm not holding my breath though, as any such thing would destroy the Mormon financial empire.)

Dave P. said...

Trying to remember where I read it (and it may have even been linked from a comment in an earlier thread), but someone made a blog post of a "what if" scenario wherein the roles of men and women in the corporation had been swapped, and it hammered the point home about how women are viewed as basically nothing more than breeding stock even today.

MC said...

Obviously you are all very anti polygamy. I totally get it. I'm not a fan of it either.

However, I believe in finding the truth and following it.

Jacob 2 is could be opening the door for polygamy or it could be shutting it completely. It depends on private interpretation.

Yes D&C 132 is problematic. Parts of it just don't seem to add up.

There's still no way around the fact that Jacob was a polygamist. Through that polygamist the Lord's chosen people Israel were born. And yes his seed was righteous. Not always, but certainly more righteous than there neighbors. They are and were the Lord's covenant people.

Polygamy is allowed under the law of Moses. If it is truly evil and an abomination why would God have allowed it under the law that he set up to point the people towards the Messiah?

Moses may very well have been a polygamist when married an Ethiopian woman. According to an apocryphal book Adam was a polygamist too.

I think it's complicated.

It seems natural to me that marriage will continue in the eternities. My reading of the scriptures leads me to believe that many more women will be exalted than men. That would polygamy a necessity in the next life.

If marriage continues in the eternities at the very least polygamy would exist there in the cases of remarriage.

Anyone have an explanation why Joseph did change the verses in the Old Testament which say that God gave David his wives and would have given him more had he not taken Bathsheba? Joseph Smith changed quite a few verses about David to show that his heart had not been perfect before God, but he did not in anyway condemn David's polygamy.

I don't have an agenda. The truth is all that matters to me.

matt lohrke said...

Dave P -

Regarding David Whitmer's address, a few things really stuck out to me. David states that prior to 1830, the manifestations of the spirit were plentiful and manifestly obvious. After 1830, the gradually declined. Pentecostal meetings were gradually replaced with "Fast and Testimony Meeting" and we now have an LDS apostle deny the gift of healing by stating that we need to have faith not to be healed. David's account is anecdotal, to be sure, but it's an interesting observation.

Secondly, David believes that some of Joseph's revelations weren't of God. He states that some revelations are from God, some from the devil, and some from man (allegedly quoting Joseph). I believe the majority of revelations are TRUE revelations that came from God. The question is whether the Lord gave the saints what He wanted or what they wanted. (See Jacob 4:14). The Lord will never compel. He offered the saints a new covenant, not dissimilar from Abraham's (including land), but the saints wanted a New Testament church. Well, we got a New Testament church with endless strata of bureaucracy. I see similarities between Moses/Israelites, Joseph/Saints. Both were trying to bring the people into God's presence, just as they individually had. The parallels are endless.

We read in the BOM that there are "save two churches." Those who believe, repent, are baptized an come to Christ and those who don't. Joseph did ask what church he should join, he asked which sect of Christianity he should join. The answer was none because their creeds--shared beliefs of a religious community--were incorrect. Baptism of children, sacrament, etc. It had all been contaminated.

If you read the original 1833 Book of Commandments, Chapter 4, it reads:

"And thus, if the people of this generation (all of them) harden not their hearts, I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, and deceivings, and priestcrafts, and envyings, and strifes, and idolatries, and sorceries, and all manner of iniquities, and I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old. And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto satan, for he reigneth and hath much power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation: and not far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah, do they come at this time: and behold the sword of justice hangeth over their heads, and if they persist in the hardness of their hearts, the time cometh that it must fall upon them."

That entire passage was memory-holed in the 1835 D&C. I can't find any reference to a "restoration of the church" or "restoration of the Gospel" anywhere in the BOM, D&C or Joseph's writings. The only "restorations" in scriptures are the Abrahamic covenant, land and the soul/body. (How often do you hear about the Restoration of Israel in General Conference?) How would human history have changed if they hadn't hardened their hearts?

It's not accidental that the BOM shows up in 1830, not long after the "gentiles (Ephraim) were established in this land as a free people." The Lord brought forth the BOM to reform Christianity (correct the ordinances, the correct view of the atonement, etc) and unite the various sects under its banner. In other words, the New Covenant. That's why the Lord put the church under condemnation for taking the BOM lightly. It literally was a New Covenant--a reset of Christianity using the fullness of the Gospel found in the BOM. The polluted "holy church of God" in Mormon 8 is the people, the body of Christ, of which Mormons are a part.

I think the very last thing the Lord wanted was a church with a massive HQ, vast land holdings, billions of dollars in "temples."

The Lord, above all, desires the heart. Anything less is ultimately worthless.

Con't...

matt lohrke said...

The other part is his reference to 2 Nephi 3. I believe he's absolutely correct that the "Choice Seer" mentioned in during Little Joseph's blessing is not Joseph Smith. The choice seer is a descendant of Lehi through his son Joseph, whose posterity was not utterly destroyed.

2 Nephi 3 tells us a lot. There are multiple prophecies therein, but we tend to tie them all together when we shouldn't.

Try this and see if you like it. (I don't claim this is 100% accurate. I'm still trying to work it out)

First, we read of the Lord's covenant with Joseph of Egypt, that out of his loins the Lord would raise up a righteous branch. This branch is coming in the latter-days, through Little Joseph (the name Joseph means "to add to" or "to do again.")

Verse 6 - 15 discusses the end-time prophet, latter-day prophet, Davidic Servant (?), who will restore Israel. He must be a descendant of Lehi. Joseph Smith is an Ephraimite.
Verse 18 - 21 identifies Mormon (scribe) and Moroni (spokesman)
Verse 22 - 24 Lehi also prophesies that this prophet will work mighty wonders through faith and restore Israel and the Lamanites (Joseph Smith did neither)

The Lamanites and surviving Josephites are the descendants of Manasseh/Joseph. The Mulekites are the blood heirs to the throne of David/Judah. Joseph and Judah eventually merged in Zarahemla and undoubtedly mixed. (Ishmael soon joined by way of Lamoni and the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's). There is a direct blood descendant of David somewhere on the earth (he probably has no idea who he is) because of the Davidic Covenant. The Lord accomplished two promises by leading Lehi and Mulek out of Jerusalem, thereby preserving their seed, perhaps in the same person--the end-time prophet. (D&C 113:6?) Whether this person is what we call a "Native American" or not, I don't know. But I don't believe the remnant of Lehi has yet been identified. They most definitely aren't Guatemalans. The first missionaries Joseph ever sent out went among the Indians of the Iroquois nation. Unfortunately, those missionaries got side-tracked when they encountered the Rigdonites.

We read in Parley P. Pratt's autobiography:

"We trust that at some future day, when the servants of God go forth in power to the remnant of Joseph, some precious seed will be found growing in their hearts, which was sown by us in that early day." ("In power" is correct description of that event)

Some people, at least, knew what was going on and understood the work of the Lord.

So, all things being a type or shadow, Joseph of Egypt serves as a type for the end-time prophet, who is also a descendant of Joseph (and may very well be named Joseph, or given the title of Joseph?) This prophet and the righteous branch of Joseph of Egypt will gather and "save/restore" Israel just as their progenitor did. This all has yet to happen. Our role as Gentiles, as I understand it, is to take the Book of Mormon to the remnant of Joseph/Lehi to begin this process. That's why the BOM is so important and so central the Marvelous Work and Wonder, which too, has yet to begin.

Now, instead of "having a concern for the House of Israel," the cause of physical Zion (Gordon declared the gathering to Zion "complete," being sanctified and coming into God's presence so we Ephraimites receiving an inheritance, thus becoming "King and Queens of the Gentiles" to serve as "nursing fathers and nursing mothers" to Israel, we (the church) are more concerned with drinking beer, R-rated movies, women and the priesthood, and bending the knee to the LDS seat of power.

What a time.

DeeLyn said...

Dave,

Though prophets are practically perfect, that doesn't mean they can't still fall and thus why Christ taught us to not even trust or follow 'true' prophets, for they aren't infallible like him. Christ didn't want us led astray by a true prophet who might unknowingly fall and start preaching falsehoods. And if we refuse to even follow true prophets then he knew we wouldn't be led astray by false ones either.

But if a true prophet falls then he isn't a prophet anymore, but of course he can still repent, but most never do, at least few if any in history seem to have repented after falling, assuming they were true to being with. They almost always still go on thinking and claiming they are prophets, and most people believe them. Fallen or false prophets almost never realize they are false or fallen.

And about Joseph, I don't believe it was possible for Joseph to fall for a 'pro polygamy' revelation or inspiration, for he was too wise for that, he understood very well how wrong it was and that God could never command it. He also knew to watch for any revelation or angels inspiring false things like polygamy, that are contrary to Christ's teachings. So if he had received any such revelation or thoughts he would have known they were from false spirits.

Joseph seemed to understand that revelation can come from the Adversary too and that it must always be tested.

Though I wouldn't put it past Joseph to have fallen for polygamy because of weakness despite knowing it was wrong, while also still preaching against it, (for it appears he did many other things that were contrary to Christ's commandments too) but I rather doubt he did fall for polygamy. He would have known people would find out eventually, and then most of the church wouldn't have supported or trusted him anymore and he would have lost everything he worked to build up. For he told the people to reject him if he was ever found living polygamy. He may not have been perfect but he was very smart.

It seems what he was repenting of during his last year or so was for not trying harder to stop all the secret polygamy going on in the Church.

And yes, David Whitmer does sound much wiser and a better man than Joseph. It seems David taught more of what Christ taught, to beware of deception by only focusing on Christ's teachings, not man's or prophet's words.

DeeLyn said...

Zebedee,

Thank you for your last comment. It seems to me though, that the Church still very much likes polygamy, serial and concurrent, and I believe it will bring back concurrent polygamy once it's legal. And it seems most members would accept it, for they already are ok supporting past leaders who lived it, like BY, etc. and most seem very supportive of serial polygamy, which is even more accepted and rampant in the church today than concurrent polygamy ever was in the 1800's. And there isn't much difference between the two.

And in reference to your earlier post, I don't believe Christ can save us 'from our sins', but that he is our Savior in that he taught/reminded us how to save ourselves by repenting. He taught that only those who keep all of his commandments (basically the Golden Rule & unconditional love) will gain Eternal Life. He can't do that for us.

And if most prophets throughout history were true prophets, speaking Gods' words, than one could only conclude that it's impossible to know truth from error, for God would be always changing his mind and preaching different doctrines from one prophet to another. It would be chaos.

So I believe it's impossible for both Christ to be teaching truth and also most past Bible prophets be true also. For their teachings contradict each other. For example, it doesn't seem like Moses even really believed in, let alone lived, his own 10 commandments, nor did most other Bible prophets seem to either. But I believe Christ did.

So I have to side with Christ, for his teachings prove to me to be merely eternal 'natural law', things like the Golden Rule, equality and unconditional love. And it doesn't seem like most Bible or LDS prophets even believed in those things.

I don't believe God intended, nor did anyone need, past prophets to tell people to watch for Christ, in fact, it seems the actions and teachings of most past Bible prophets actually did more to help people reject Christ and his teachings rather than recognize and follow him once he did come.

DeeLyn said...

Continued -

Polygamy can be considered as having an intimate relationship with more than 1 person. Man has given marriage and relationships many names, according to man's changing customs. So whether a woman is called a concubine, slave, one night stand, wife or girlfriend, etc, it's not the name that counts but the relationship that makes it polygamy, at least in God's eyes I believe.

So I believe Abraham lived polygamy, he had more than 1 intimate relationship. And also, the effects of polygamy on the 1st wife (or society) don't change just because the other woman/women isn't/aren't called a 'wife'. The Bible also says he remarried after Sarah died, so that's a 3rd woman and then it goes on to suggest he had concubines also. So whatever we call multiple relationships, it's the same thing, with the same effects, spiritually and eternally, on all involved.

But polygamy was not the only thing those prophets did contrary to Christ, just one thing of many things. What did they do to prove they were really prophets? Claiming so doesn't make it so. In fact, a true prophet would probably never claim to be a prophet, but tend to doubt he was one.

Issac may have been a righteous man and never lived polygamy.

Jacob didn't have to live polygamy, he could have returned Leah to her father as soon as he learned of the deception. A righteous man doesn't go along with false customs in any age, he tries to make things right, just like Christ and John the Baptist did, when confronted with false customs. Jacob had not given his consent to marrying Leah, so without consent he would not have been bound by God to honor the false marriage to her. And it was not good for Leah to be married to a man who didn't love or want her, or who even took another wife he loved more. It's better to never marry than have to live polygamy.

As far as other Bible prophets living polygamy, it seems most Bible prophets either lived it or supported it or went along with polygamy, serial or concurrent. And whether they lived it or just supported it, it's the same. Like with Moses, whether he lived polygamy or not, he supported it.

A true prophet would never live, support or willingly go along with any form of polygamy or multiple relationships, they would have naturally understood and followed Christ's teachings. For everyone is born with a knowledge of right and wrong, of the Golden Rule, equality and love. No one had to teach those ancient prophets that all forms of polygamy were wrong.

Lena Hansen said...

Wise words DeeLyn. Thank you for sharing your wisdom

Dave P. said...

So I finished reading David Whitmer's pamphlet and it contained the second witness to what I was saying about handing authority over to someone is an excuse people use to abdicate responsibility.

With the corporate president replacing Christ as the head of the church, the members are convinced they do not have to inquire of the Lord directly, because they can just have the leaders do it for them. This happened at the time of Moses and applies just as much to temporal as well as spiritual affairs.

It is one of Satan's greatest and most effective tools because of how much it entices the natural man to take the easy way out.

Zebedee said...

DeeLyn,

I agree, any form of adultery or fornication is abominable to God. Whether Abraham, Jacob, and others were justified in what they did is up to God to judge, not us. And if they made mistakes or sinned, then I believe it’s between them and God. If their actions harm me, than I suppose I need to forgive them and move on. But I don’t have to participate in it.

However, do I understand correctly that you consider widows and widowers to be also guilty of such crimes if they remarry after their spouse dies? I honestly don’t know how God views that. I do know how he views divorce, which he says is adultery.

But be that as it may, I am a little more curious about other comments you made and hope you can offer more explanation.

You said: “I believe it's impossible for both Christ to be teaching truth and also most past Bible prophets be true also. For their teachings contradict each other.”

You used the word “most” here as well as in other places. That seems like a lot. I would like to know more about these prophets who went contrary to Christ’s teachings and against each other, as I don’t want to follow false ones.

And can you let me know specifically which ones didn’t go contrary to God? In other words, who are the few good guys?

You did mention that Moses didn’t live the Ten Commandments. Could you elaborate on how and when he did that? I’m curious about that.

You also wrote: “it seems most Bible prophets either lived it or supported it or went along with polygamy, serial or concurrent. And whether they lived it or just supported it, it's the same.”

Could you offer some background information on that? Other than Abraham, and Jacob (which we discussed), who are the “most”? With the exception of a few that I can think of, ancient prophets didn’t mention anything about their wives or marriage, so how can we know what they supported or not? Perhaps I’ve missed something.

I’m not trying to claim any position here. I am just looking for truth, as the world seems to be covered in falsehoods. I, like most, prefer some evidence of facts, if possible.

MrHFMetz said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_4LpZgm2nw

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