Sunday, February 25, 2018

Have You Voted For The New Church President Yet?

Previously: Who Died And Made Him President?


I'm just messing with you, of course -the title of this piece is a trick question. You can't vote for the Church president because it's already too late for that. You can vote for the new prophet if you want to, but the presidential slot has already been snapped up.

If we are to believe Jesus Christ (and I can't readily think of any reason why we shouldn't), you were supposed to vote for the president of the Church before he was ordained to the office.

You sadly missed your chance, because Russell Nelson jumped the gun and got his friends in the Quorum to ordain him behind closed doors before anyone in the church had a clue what those guys were up to. They didn't even announce their crime until two days later, and even then they couched it in terms they hoped would make it appear that everything was on the up-and-up.

I'm certain they'll be giving you another chance to "vote" at the upcoming general conference in April, but by that time your vote for the president will be meaningless. A sham. A mere formality.

Why? Because any vote taken after the ordination would be in violation of God's law.

Missed It By That Much
In my last post, we looked at several reasons why Apostle Russell M. Nelson is unqualified to be president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based on the teachings of Joseph Smith and the clear revelations from the Lord. If you haven't read that one yet, I hope you'll hie on over there right now because it will give you the groundwork you'll require to understand what follows.

What I failed to instantiate in that post was something that was pointed out the same day over at Radio Free Mormon in a podcast aptly titled Illegitimate First Presidency, and that is this: even if Russell Nelson was qualified to be president of the Church in every other way (and he would have had to have come from some place other than the Quorum of the Twelve for that to happen), he made one irreversible fubar: he was fool enough to get himself crowned King Of The Church without following the most important instruction Jesus Christ gave on the subject. He failed to get the approval of the members FIRST.

This is no trivial thing. Every one of those men who met in secret that weekend with the intent to circumvent God's law in this matter seem to have forgotten the Lord's warning about their fate for such a clear breach:
"Ye shall see that my law is kept. He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you.” (D&C  41:4-5)
According to Doctrine & Covenants section 20, before anyone can be ordained to an office in this Church -any office- he first has to be nominated and presented at a conference of the Church so the members have the opportunity to vote for or against him. Think back to the last time a new bishop was called in your ward, or when you got a new stake president. At your ward or stake conference, the nominee was presented for a sustaining vote, and then he or she was ordained to the office, assuming they got a majority of votes from the members (which these days always happens).

For the installation of a general authority, the appropriate conference would be the semi-annual General Conference, since those offices are general to the whole church, and not local to a particular stake or branch.  I can understand why Apostle Nelson didn't want to wait until April to be voted on. The guy was already ninety three years old at the time the last president shuffled off his mortal coil.  April was three months in the future; Nelson might have figured he could be dead by then, and there goes the big promotion.

Only one thing for Nelson to do: tell the Lord to "eat my dust," and go ahead without the vote.

And that's how it happened that Russell M. Nelson, already unqualified to be president of the Church because for the past thirty-four years he was in the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, was nominated anyway and then immediately ordained to that office before he could receive a sustaining vote from the members. That violated every procedure the Lord says he was required to follow, but he just ignored it all anyway and plunged ahead like a drunk Episcopalian.


Grab your scriptures and follow along with me while we look at why the Lord forbids this sort of thing.

Doctrine & Covenants section 20 consists of 81 verses primarily concerned with how the Church is to be governed, how meetings are to be conducted (Surprise! A lot differently than they are today), how people are called to offices, and the careful procedures that must be followed in the Church before a person can be installed into a particular office. Let's look at verse 63:
"The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders, by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences."
Okay, so what are "licenses," and why does someone in a church calling need one?

Remember what we learned from our reading of The Real Threat to Traditional Marriage? A license is defined as Permission. "Permission to do something which would otherwise be illegal or unlawful."

In the United States of America there is nothing illegal about preaching the gospel or holding office in a church. But it could be "unlawful" within a particular church -that is, against the established rules of that church- for a person to pretend to hold office in that church, or to represent that church, unless he has followed the lawful procedures instituted by that church that would certify he has been given permission ("license") by the members of that church to hold that office.

That's why section 20 is so precise in the matter of issuing licenses to those authorized to represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The procedure is further detailed in verse 64:
"Each priest, teacher, or deacon, who is ordained by a priest, may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate, when presented to an elder, shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling, or he may receive it from a conference."
If you've ever served a mission, you'll recall that you were instructed to carry your ministerial certificate in your pocket at all times to confirm you were properly licensed by your church to preach the gospel under your church's bylaws. But before you got your license or your certificate, there was one crucial step that could not be overlooked: you still had to be ordained. And before you could be ordained to go forth and preach the gospel, the members of your ward had to be given the opportunity to vote on whether they agreed you should represent them or not. Verse 65 applied to you the same as it applied to the one who ostensibly called you to your office, the presiding officer of the whole church.

In fact, this procedure is required before any person can obtain any office in the LDS church, from patriarch to president, from stake president, to high councilor, to bishop, bishop's councilors, Elder's quorum president, Elder's quorum councilors, primary president, primary president's councilors, young men's presidencies, young women's presidencies, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum, Simon says and Mother may I.

There's a reason you're asked to raise your right arm so frequently in this church, and it's not just so the person sitting next to you can smell your armpit. This procedure is absolutely essential to obtaining any office in the church. Without it, the person taking office is acting unlawfully:
"No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church." (Verse 65)
I'm going to take a wild guess here that maybe -just maybe- there's at least one branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. And since Fake President Russell M. Nelson admitted to the whole church on January 15th of this year that he had gotten himself and his two counselors ordained to their offices before the members were given the opportunity to vote them into that office, he has committed fraud, and stands in defiance of Church law and rebellion against the Lord.

There is nothing hyperbolic about this accusation. Let's recall again what the Lord said at the very end of the revelation on priesthood clear back in 1835: "He that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be found worthy to stand. Even so. Amen."

Boy howdy, "Amen" is right. This so-called "First Presidency" that was formed last month is illegitimate because the principals who engaged in that charade ignored the lawful procedure that had been carefully laid out in scripture and which must be followed. They are, by His word, unworthy to stand in the place they have presumed to put themselves.

                                                           
The new First Presidency, before and after they sold their souls in exchange for the honors of men.

Disobeying The Words Of The Lord
In last month's post, we showed how Nelson, Oaks, and Eyering claimed the right to take these offices in the First Presidency by dint of their having been ordained to those positions by other members of the Twelve. We also showed how the Lord makes it clear that anyone claiming to be His servant must be shown to have been appointed by Him. He repeats himself on that matter in several places, most notably section 124, verses 45 and 46. (Because of the importance of understanding this matter, it might do to review that post now just to allow it to really hit home to you the extent of the fraud and usurpation that is taking place right under the noses of the members.)

There's a lot of interesting stuff in section 124. Here we have a revelation from the Lord given in January of 1841 where the Lord himself nominated men to virtually every important office in the church, from the patriarch, to the prophet, to all the members of the high council; in short, every office that was given authority to govern within the church, and also all the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, who were specifically not given authority to govern within the church.

To me, there are a couple of things that stand out in this revelation. First, virtually every one of these appointees is referred to by the Lord Himself as "my servant." Isn't it odd that members of the Church Hierarchy today like to refer to themselves as "the Lord's servants," without ever having received a revelation where the Lord uses that term to describe any of them? For that matter, don't you think it's odd that no one can point to any revelation received by any president of the Church in your lifetime that has been conveyed to us in the words of the Lord Himself and by His voice?

No revelations. No prophecies. No instructions from the Lord indicating He has reversed Himself on the procedure He has commanded his leaders to follow. Yet on January 13th of this year, Fake President Russell M. Nelson went ahead and got himself ordained to the office of President of the Church in a manner that denied the members the opportunity to follow a commandment of God in this very instance.

Here is that commandment:
"And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned." 
Oh, wait a minute. I seem to have left out the best part:
And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference.
Don't you find that interesting? Here's a very long revelation where the Lord goes to substantial trouble to nominate a great number of people he would like to see fill the offices in the church, and yet at the very end he tells the people it's their choice whether they want these guys or not. Entirely up to them. They have the right to nullify His picks.

When some in the sectarian world accuse us of worshiping a different God than they do, I'm inclined to agree with them. Many of them worship a God who is a stern authoritarian who wants things done His way or he'll send them all straight to hell.

The God we worship is one who recognizes and honors our freedom to choose. We have a God who says, "These are my choices. But you're the ones who will have to live with them, so it's up to you who you want to fill these offices. Choose wisely."

And the most intriguing thing about it, in my view, is that this is a commandment, not a suggestion. "You can vote for them or against them, but you have to vote one way or the other. You can't be wishy-washy about this, or try to hide your opinions."

God's Word Does Not Change
I hear some say, "Oh, but we do things differently now." They are so hung up on "following the Brethren" that if the the guy who they are told is "the prophet" decides to act contrary to God's clear instructions, then that man has the right to do it because...well..."because he's the prophet, man, don't you get it?"

But that's the problem, isn't it? "We do it differently now" is just another way of saying "we don't care about the procedure the Lord established for us to follow; nowadays we have our idols of flesh, and those are the gods we follow today."

The fact of the matter is, we aren't allowed to do things differently. And happily, the doctrine has never changed, regardless of whether some in leadership have chosen to go rogue.  As Radio Free Mormon pointed out in his recent podcast, the Church website affirms that the Law of Common Consent remains in effect today same as it always has. This is from the current Church Manual for Sunday Schools, Seminaries, and Institutes of the Church:
"Church officers are selected by the spirit of revelation in those appointed to choose them, but before the officers may serve in their positions, they must receive a formal sustaining vote of the people over whom they are to preside. (D. & C. 20:60–67; 26:2; 28; 38:34–35; 41:9–11; 42:11; 102:9; 124:124–145.)” (See McConkie, Mormon Doctrine pp. 149–50.)
Nothing has changed about this procedure, despite any hopes Russell Nelson may have that he can attain the office of the presidency ahead of the clock just to satisfy his own sense of urgency. Church law is supreme here, and no amount of wishful thinking or secret works of darkness can alter it.

The manual also provides us with another little known fact: all of the policy changes, "improvements," and new ways of doing things the Brethren have introduced in recent decades (especially throughout the administrations of Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson), have clearly been unlawful because they did not follow the procedure outlined in scripture:
"Not only are Church officers sustained by common consent, but this same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints (see D&C 26:2)."
Do you recall being consulted when President Hinckley decided to commit billions of dollars in church funds to the building of a massive shopping center in downtown Salt Lake City? Do you recall being asked to give your consent for that expenditure, or were you instead just informed that the Church would be going ahead with that project without your approval?

How about the egregious November 5th "Exclusionary Policy," the shocking change that effectively reversed a key principle of the gospel and converted an essential ordinance into something the Magisterium could tinker with according to their whim? Was that shameful proposal ever brought up for a vote?

In case you need a reminder, Russell Nelson was the very person who tried to pass off that insidious  new policy change -a blatantly wicked new rule that prevented certain children from being baptized, as if it were a revelation he claimed to have "watched" President Monson receive. This was the notorious November 5th "Exclusionary Policy" the leaders had intended to be kept secret, but when the members got wind of it, the cover-up machine went into high gear. The stated purpose of this policy is to prevent anyone under the age of eighteen from being baptized if they happen to be living with a parent who is in a 'same-gender relationship." And even after they turn eighteen they can never be baptized until they have gone through a brutal series of "priesthood interviews" requiring them to completely denounce their wayward parent.

Your personal opinions regarding homosexuality are immaterial in this matter, as are mine. What matters is that this policy flies in the face of the foundational doctrine of Christ, which is that all are commanded to come unto Him, and repent and be baptized. Nelson has tried to turn the gospel of Christ on its head by holding children -not just young children, but fully capable teenagers- accountable for the sins of a parent. And mark my words, it will not be long before Russell stands before the Lord at the judgment bar and has to answer for his part in the creation of this web of lies.

Among all his many sins and iniquities, Russell Nelson is a blatant liar who tried to palm this controversial canard off as having been born of revelation. If Jesus ever did reverse Himself on this most essential principle of the gospel, He would not have told the leaders to sneak it into the secret operating manual without anyone noticing.

Such a reversal would have required a written revelation which, after having been received by the prophet in the voice of the Lord, was subsequently submitted to the church, then prayerfully considered by the members for a witness of the spirit so they can vote on whether or not they believe that revelation actually came from God. I'm sure I don't have to remind you that none of these required steps have been taken. There hasn't been a revelation; you've never been shown one, and you were never asked to vote on the matter.

The Case Of The Prepubescent Apostle
Speaking of the wrong-headed treatment of children, here's a pertinent digression. You may not have heard of the time Brigham Young ordained his favorite son to be an apostle when the child was only eleven years old. This story is not in the "approved" Church histories because the folks who control your church's history do not want you to know about it.  Charles Watson, who covered this strange episode in his PhD dissertation, noted that orthodox Church writers "gloss over or deliberately confuse the ordination date" dealing with this topic, and it's not hard to figure out why that is. This is another of those episodes in Church history that exposes Brigham Young for the conniving devil he was, and it completely undermines Russell Nelson's claim that his own succession to the presidency is the result of a smooth and unbroken pattern established from the beginning by the Lord.

Here is what happened: Brigham's favorite son, John Willard Young, received his endowment just a month after his eleventh birthday, after which his father ordained him an apostle. Why would Brigham Young do this? Because he hoped he could turn the Church into a family dynasty controlled for all time by his own descendants.

Brigham was the one who had established the rule that apostolic succession (and by extension, succession to the presidency) would attain according to seniority. That is, the person who had been an apostle longer than any other (provided he could outlive those ahead of him), would become the president of the church upon the death of the most recent president.

In those days it wasn't necessary to belong to the quorum of Twelve to be in the running; you only had to have been made an apostle. There were many men who were ordained apostles who never served in the quorum, so seniority in the quorum wasn't the issue then. Brigham figured that by making his son an apostle at a very early age, there was an excellent chance that not long after he himself passed on, John Willard would be able to succeed him. So Brigham Young schemed secretly to give his own kid a substantial head start.

And it almost worked. John Willard was only 55 years old when Lorenzo Snow's health began to fail, and that's when John Willard found himself next in line to run the Church.

The man who would be prez.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Brigham Young had changed the rules at least four times to reflect what he wanted to define as "seniority" in the quorum, and we can see he made these repeated refinements in order to nudge his own boy closer to the top of the ladder. In Joseph Smith's day, the only reason they ranked members of a quorum according to seniority (and this was true in the standing high council as well as the traveling high council) was so that each member of the quorum got his turn to conduct a meeting. It worked like this: the first meeting of a quorum would be conducted by the oldest member of that quorum. The next time they got together, the next oldest member was the one who conducted the meeting, and so on all the way down to the guy who was youngest in age. After that they started all over again with the guy who was the oldest.

It didn't matter when you came into the quorum, or how long you had been there, or how long ago you had been ordained; it was all simply according to age. This process of seniority had no special import under Joseph Smith. It was just an easy way to determine whose turn it was on any given week to hold the gavel.

After Joseph was dead and gone, Brigham Young decided to rank the apostles differently. Instead of seniority according to age, he announced seniority was attained by whichever guy could be shown to have been an apostle for the longest period of time.

Once Brigham made his own pre-teen bopper into a real live apostle with the intent of one day having him follow in his old man's footsteps and become the Grand Poobah of Deseret, Brigham still had that sticky problem of what to do with all those guys in line ahead of John Willard. Surely some of them would die off over time, but he still needed a way to nudge his own kid closer to the front. He did this by redefining the meaning of seniority once again. Seniority was now to be defined not simply by who was the longest serving apostle, but who had been the longest continuing apostle. That meant that if your apostleship had been interrupted for a time because, oh, maybe you left the church for awhile or had been excommunicated, then as part of that time out you stopped being an apostle. You could come back into the Church later, and you might even be able to resume your apostolic calling when you returned, but that line of service had been broken while you were on recess from the Church. As far as your ranking went, Brigham's new rule says you would have to start over.

That meant the Orson Twins, Hyde & Pratt, would have to move to the back of the line, because they had spent a short time out of the church some years before. This new definition of seniority bumped Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt down the ladder of seniority, and automatically moved Brigham's son up two spots and closer to the brass ring.

And by the way, under Brigham's rules it still didn't matter that his son, John Willard, had never served a day in the Quorum. A man didn't have to be a member of the quorum to have seniority. He just had to have been ordained an apostle longer than anybody else.

But as you can imagine, the members of the Quorum of the Twelve were not very keen on this business of Brigham's pre-teen offspring being groomed for the presidency. But they were careful not to voice their opposition. One of them said something about it to Brigham once and Brigham promptly sent him away on a five year mission to Europe. (That's how Brigham got troublesome apostles out of the way; he punished them by sending them on missions.)

The biggest problem the members of the quorum had with John Willard Young was that Brigham's favorite son was not exactly active in the Church. In fact, for most of his life he didn't even live in Utah, preferring the glamour of New York City to the dull life of a Mormon pioneer in the Utah desert. John Willard actually prospered in New York -at least for a time- by speculating on the railroads. Brigham's favorite son was addicted to the bright gaslights and posh attention he enjoyed as a high-living member of the city's upper class, and when he fell short of funds he was able to maintain that lofty lifestyle because his daddy funneled money to him that was "borrowed" from church member's tithes. As one account puts it:
Brigham Young’s dysfunctional relationship with John Willard was no mystery to church leaders. Apostle George Q. Cannon expressed his concerns regarding the misappropriation of church funds, particularly as they related to John Willard’s regular monetary allowance that came straight out of tithing funds. Apostle Joseph F. Smith was even more specific when he noted that John Willard’s “$16,000 per year [the equivalent of $100,000 today] from the tithing office for his support” was a blatant misuse of church funds. (Brad Hart, Child Prophet: The Curious Case of a Mormon Apostle.)
Brigham's favorite son was known to New Yorkers to be something of a rake and a philanderer. Four of his five wives formally divorced him, and the fifth just up and left.

In spite of John Willard's complete lack of interest in Church service, his father Brigham, who had been constantly coaxing him to return to Utah, eventually got John Willard to come home by appointing him first councilor in the presidency of the Church. By then another of Brigham's sons, Brigham Young, Jr, was ordained an apostle too, so now there were two sons in the running, and Brigham Junior was actually given a place within the quorum. There were two more sons ordained  apostles by this time whose names I don't recall; but anyway, Brigham Senior was hedging his bets in hopes of insuring that family dynasty. Brigham continued to pin his highest hopes on his favorite, John Willard, because due to his young age, this one had the clearest shot at the presidency before the other two did. With a little luck, and the statistical probability of a decent percentage of those above him dying off before John Willard even reached middle age, it looked as though young J.W would make it all the way to the top Church position in record time.

For now though, as first counselor in the presidency, John Willard held the second highest position in the Church after his father. But his heart remained in New York City. He grew restless stuck in Utah. And in truth, he wasn't really needed in the role of counselor to his father. The current president was, after all, "Iron Hand Brigham," who rarely felt the need to consult with either of his councilors anyway. So John Willard eventually returned to New York without ever having been released from his calling. He still held the titular position of First Councilor in the Church, but he did it from New York, where he had his fingers in several iffy financial endeavors. As historian Todd Compton wrote,
"In these he alternated between dazzling success and inability to fulfill his dreams and promises. One day he would be a millionaire (and he liked to live like a millionaire), the next he would be penniless. He quickly became chronically indebted and beset by creditors. He raised money with a golden tongue, but when his projects failed, many contributors felt betrayed." (Todd Compton, "John Willard Young, Brigham Young, and the Development of Presidential Succession in the LDS Church." Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 35, No. 4, pg 121)
After Brigham Young's passing in 1877, John Willard continued to bide his time in New York, waiting for his turn to take charge of the Church. In my last post I discussed that lengthy period  when the apostles decided the Church should have no president, but finally after three years, the members voted John Taylor in. When Taylor died there was another two year wait while the apostles bickered again over whether the Church should have a president, and if so, whether seniority should actually be the deciding factor because, after all, the Lord had never said anything about succession by seniority. (Or succession by apostle, for that matter.)

Eventually Lorenzo Snow took office. Now there was only one man ahead of John Willard Young, and that was Franklin Richards. And then -O happy day!- Richards up and died. Now all John Willard had to do was wait out the elderly Lorenzo Snow, and then John Willard Young, long inactive, completely unqualified, and virtually unknown to most members of the Church in Utah, would finally be in charge of the whole shebang. The job of president came with one of those proverbial "modest stipends," and by this time John Willard could use the money.

But unbeknownst to John Willard, the other apostles had been looking upon the possibility of Willard's ascension to the presidency with great apprehension. They foresaw a John Willard Young presidency as a disaster in the making. They were in a sweat over what to do about this ticking time bomb, and though Brigham Young was long dead, the Brethren were at first reluctant to tamper with the seniority rule Brigham had instituted years before. 

Now by this time, you're probably wondering why the apostles didn't simply ask for a revelation from God as to what they should do about this dilemma. Silly you. No one in the Quorum or the First Presidency had received any revelations since Joseph Smith's untimely exit fifty-seven years earlier. They were on their own and they knew it, just as they had been on their own trying to figure out the procedure they should follow after Brigham Young reached his sell-by date.

Eventually, common sense prevailed, and recognizing that a John Willard Young presidency would very likely drive the church into ruin, they changed the rules of succession once again so that "Seniority" now meant more than just having been an apostle. You had to be the longest serving apostle in the quorum.

When Lorenzo Snow's ailing body finally went bung in 1901, John Willard Young hopped a train from New York and was back in Utah five days later to take his rightful place as head of the church. Imagine his surprise to find he had lost his place to the apostle directly below him in seniority, Joseph F. Smith. No one had told him the rules had been changed, and daddy was no longer on the scene to throw his weight around. The Young family dynasty died right there along with Lorenzo Snow.

John Willard Young returned to New York and lived out the rest of his life as an elevator operator in one of New York's finest hotels -the very same hotel he had lived in back in his glory days when he was flush with cash. The sad postscript to this story is that the branch president of the church in New York had to constantly take members aside and caution them against lending John Willard Young any money if he approached them.

There's little doubt that it would have been disastrous for the church if John Willard Young had been seated anywhere at the table, let alone at the front. But this story illustrates how actually uninspired succession in the presidency has been throughout our history. The myth Russell Nelson repeated last month about the Lord having established the pattern by which succession in the presidency has "always" taken place, is just another in a long series of self-serving lies Russell Nelson is known for spewing; lies he tells to advance his personal ambition.

And Now For Something Completely Different
Having said all that, here is the reality: Russell M. Nelson is entirely within his rights to claim the presidency, and he doesn't need the vote of the members to do so. He became the legally recognized president of the church the very moment Thomas S. Monson breathed his last.

How is that? And why in the world would I seemingly reverse myself on everything I said in this piece so far?

The key word here is "legally." He is the legal president. But he is not the lawful president. For that to happen he would have had to follow the rules of direction laid down by the Lord. He would have had to follow lawful church procedure. He hasn't done that, and I harbor no expectations that he ever will. But he is on safe ground legally.

Confused? In part three of The Real Threat to Traditional Marriage. I went into some detail about the subtle differences in meaning between the words legal vs. lawful. You can also find a wealth of information on this topic in There Are Save Two Churches Only, Vol II. But for purposes of this discussion, think of it this way: In general terms, legal refers to rules of procedure enacted by the civil legislature; I use lawful in these instances to refer to the rules of direction laid out by God.


Those who have read the articles of incorporation for The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are acutely aware of this reality: Russell M. Nelson is the legal head of the Church, and under the corporate charter he is now the owner of all assets belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Note that I did not say he controls the assets of the Church; this charter makes him the owner of the Church. All the money, all the property, all the chapels and temples and schools and real estate and bank accounts. He personally owns it all outright. Upon the death of Thomas S. Monson, Russell Nelson became one of the richest multi-billionaires in the world.  Do you think he cares what you think of his violations of church protocol?

This was not the way the Lord intended His church to be structured. And indeed, it wasn't like this until relatively modern times. In the beginning, the church was understood to operate under the direction of Jesus Christ. That pretense is still given lip service, but ever since Heber J. Grant converted the church into a corporation subject to the civil laws of the United States government, the president is the actual head, and the only limitations placed on him are those written into the charter.

Which is to say there are no limitations.

If you were to try and sue the president for fraud, you would lose. Even if every single member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all over the world were to suddenly awake to their awful situation and filed a class action lawsuit against Russell Nelson for fraud and usurpation because he has failed to follow the laws laid out in the Lord's revelations regarding the way in which the church is to be governed, they would all lose. He can't be convicted of usurping the church if the governing document of the corporation recognizes he has all power and authority over the Church.

Understand this: the courts do not care about our doctrines, scriptures, or beliefs. They don't care that our scriptures show that Jesus Christ is the head of this church. They won't litigate those matters. Those things are irrelevant in any suit at law. They are internal matters we are all entitled to bicker over, but they would not be considered matters for the courts to decide. If suit was brought against the President of the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there would only be one question before the court: did the president violate the terms of the charter?

When they examine the corporate charter they will conclude that no, he did not. According to the bylaws of the corporation, the president can do pretty much whatever the hell he wants.

So, case dismissed.

Catholic Pope, Meet The Mormon Pope
Preventing church members from invoking their right to common consent was the very reason Heber J. Grant was persuaded to convert the Church into a corporation in the first place. This corporation provides the president the same protection that universal law gives to the catholic pope. The primitive Christian church, originally a body of believers with no hierarchy and no one to answer to except Jesus Christ, was hijacked by the Emperor Constantine and ultimately converted into a corporation sole with the Holy Pontiff holding all power and authority.

A hundred years after the gospel of Christ was restored through Joseph Smith, Church lawyers discovered that obscure form of incorporation under which the Catholic Church had been operating for the past several centuries, and found it to be a perfect fit for converting the LDS Church into an institution that would allow for more expedient management. President Grant was persuaded to convert the Restored Church of Christ into what is now a creature of the state. To do this, he just cut out the middle man (the members) and lopped off the head (Jesus).

Just as the Pope literally owns the entire wealth of the Catholic church, and cannot be told what he can or cannot do by any of the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, so it now is with the Mormon president. Everything is his. All of it. To do with as he pleases, no questions asked.

That's a lot of power in the hands of one man. And the Lord Jesus Christ was not the one who gave that power to him.

You think Jesus Christ is still head of this church? He was once. When the church was first organized in 1830 it was decidedly not organized as any kind of a corporation. Why? Because that would have placed Jesus Christ in a position subservient to man's law. Everything changed in December of 1923, though. Jesus Christ is not mentioned in the charter as having any controlling interest in the church. His name appears only in reference to the name of the corporation: "The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." He is never mentioned otherwise. Not once.

In fact, as LDS historian Daymon Smith points out in The Book of Mammon: A Book About A Book About The Corporation That Owns The Mormons, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints itself no longer even exists as a legal entity.

Don't believe it? Try to sue the LDS Church. That name, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" exists today only as a trademark belonging to Intellectual Reserve, Inc., one of many subsidiaries of the Corporation of the President.  Any lawsuits directed against the Church would have to be worded as "John Doe v. The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." If Brother Doe tried to file a cause of action against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the court would not be able to find that entity. In legal contemplation, it does not exist.

Someone once asked me what was the problem with the church being incorporated? Well, there are many reasons, as I've detailed elsewhere, but let's ask a better question: if it was alright to convert the church into a corporation, why not call it "The Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"? Why instead is it chartered as "The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"?

The answer to that question is in the bylaws of the charter itself. The very reason the corporation was established was to take control of the church away from the members to whom it rightfully belongs. Here is the wording:
"[T]his corporation shall have power, without any authority or authorization from the members of said Church or religious society, to grant, sell, convey, rent, mortgage, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any part or all of such property."
And when it says "this corporation shall have power" what it is really saying is "this one guy shall have power," because the president himself is the entire corporation. That's what is meant by "corporation sole." The entire corporation consists of one solitary human being holding all the power and all the authority.

So of course, the law of common consent is out the window. And this allows the president of the corporation to make an end run around pretty much all the decrees mandated by Jesus Christ in scripture. Again, the United States government is not concerned whether Russell Nelson adheres to anything Jesus Christ commands of him. The only question that would ever be before the court is whether he violated the charter. If he were to cash out all the property of the church; sell every temple, every chapel, every school, every bank account, every holding, all of its investments, and then take all the proceeds to buy his own private country where he could live out his life as king of all he surveys, he would still not be in violation of the charter.

He is, in law and in fact, the sole holder of title to everything in the LDS Church, including, of course, the title of president. It's all spelled out in that document. And he is protected in that claim. Not by God, mind you, but by the government of the United States. He is the President of the corporation, and no one can do anything about that.

However...

If He Wants To Be PROPHET, He Will Need Your Permission
Among the more fascinating things I've read as a member of the church is the testimony given by President Joseph F. Smith during the infamous Reed Smoot hearings before the United States Senate in Washington, D.C.

President Smith was a reluctant witness, and answered only the questions he was forced to answer. But because he was under oath, he was obliged to answer honestly, and he did. He provided answers to questions he would rather not have been asked. Most church members have never been told about this testimony because the truthful answers President Smith gave do not fit well into the official narrative most of us were taught growing up.

Somebody made a five minute animation around a part of this testimony, and it's quite revealing because it shows that even as far back as the turn of the 20th century, most of the president's time was occupied with other than ecclesiastical matters.



That's some interesting stuff, but there's lots more worth reading, including the incredible reveal where Joseph F. Smith, putative prophet, seer, and revelator for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comes out and flatly admits that "I have never pretended to nor do I profess to have received revelations."

But here's the part of his testimony that is pertinent to our discussion here:

Mr. TAYLER. Are you a prophet, seer, and revelator?
Mr. SMITH. I am so sustained and upheld by my people.
Mr. TAYLER. Do you get that title by reason of being president or by reason of having been an apostle?
Mr. SMITH. By reason of being president.
Mr. TAYLER. Are not all the apostles also prophets, seers, and revelators?
Mr. SMITH. They are sustained as such at our conferences.
Mr. TAYLER. They all have that title now, have they not?
Mr. SMITH. Well, they are so sustained at the conferences.
Mr. TAYLER. I want to know if they do not have that title now.
Mr. SMITH. I suppose if they are sustained they must have that title.
Mr. TAYLER. Are they sustained as such now ?
Mr. SMITH. I have said so twice, sir.
Mr. TAYLER. Who were your predecessors in office as president of the church?
Mr. SMITH. My immediate predecessor was Lorenzo Snow.
Mr. TAYLER. And his predecessor ?
Mr. SMITH. Wilford Woodruff.
Mr. TAYLER. And his?
Mr. SMITH. John Taylor.
Mr. TAYLER. Yes; go on back through the line.
Mr. SMITH. Brigham Young.
Mr. TAYLER. Yes.
Mr. SMITH. And Joseph Smith.
Mr. TAYLER. You are possessed of the same powers that they were possessed of ?
Mr. SMITH. Yes, I am supposed to be possessed of the same authority that they were.
Mr. TAYLER. You believe yourself to be, do you not?
Mr. SMITH. I think I do believe so.
Mr. TAYLER. I do not know that there is any significance in your use of the word "think," Mr. Smith, but one hardly thinks that he has a belief. He either knows or does not know that he has a belief.
Mr. SMITH. I think I do.

President Smith was clearly not happy to have these questions put to him, but it makes you wonder: if the man has the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator, wouldn't you expect him to declare it boldly? His uncle, Joseph Smith, Jr. certainly did.

Joseph F here exhibits none of the qualities of his divinely appointed uncle. Indeed, he hesitantly admits that he thinks he is possessed of the same authority as Joseph Smith. He knows he is "supposed to be," but when pressed a second time to assert whether he believes he does or merely thinks he does, he repeats "I think I do."

This is not the testimony of a prophet of God.

But what I want to get to is this: how are we to know whether the president of the Church is also a prophet, seer, and revelator? This is a vital question, because members of the Church the world over will soon be given the opportunity to vote on whether they know for a fact that Russell Nelson is that man. We can't really vote for or against Russell Nelson becoming president; that ship has sailed. But you will still be invited to cast that vote anyway, and more importantly you will be asked to vote to confirm your belief that this man has the gifts of a prophet, a seer, and a revelator. Therefore, you might want to carefully consider whether:

1.) You can state categorically that you know the Lord has appointed him to that office and,
2.) You can affirm that you know the Lord has given him those gifts.

The corporate charter is silent on these questions. It does not tell us whether the current president is also a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator. In fact, none of those words appear anywhere in the charter. The president of the corporation is never referred to in the charter as the prophet, as we Mormons are wont to do. For all legal intents and purposes, that title is invisible and has nothing to do with the man's authority to run the Church.

So if you intend to do your duty as required by Jesus Christ, before the next general conference session you are going to have to go to the Lord and ask Him for a witness and a testimony that Russell Nelson might be something other than simply the president of a corporation. You are going to need to find out if he is also the Lord's appointed prophet.

Here's a handy template given to you by Jesus Himself to help you in your search for the kind of man you should be looking for:
"The duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood [in case you didn't know, that means the president of the church], is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses...yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church." (D&C 107:91-92)
You'll note that the Lord doesn't tell us those gifts will magically appear in the guy you select after you sustain him. You're supposed to recognize whether he has the right stuff in him before you give him your sustaining vote.

Remember, even Joseph F. Smith admitted under oath that he didn't really have the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator. He reluctantly copped to owning the title, but we know from his testimony under oath that was only because the members affirmed he was a prophet. That was the only validation he was able to give: "I guess I'm a prophet, because the members of the church keep saying I am."
I have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason the members voted to sustain Smith as a prophet, seer, and revelator, was because they were allowed to assume God had already bestowed those gifts upon him as He had with Joseph Smith. But in Joseph F. Smith's case, they actually had no knowledge of whether any of it was true or not.

Many years later, Gordon B. Hinckley was asked this same question by the religion editor for the San Francisco Examiner, and he used the same response as Joseph F. Smith did those many years prior:
Q: You are the president, prophet, seer and revelator of the Mormon Church?
A: I am so sustained, yes.
Again, the answer is not the bold proclamation one would expect from a true prophet. Hinckley's answer is evasive at best: I carry the title of prophet because the congregation voted to give me that title.

Here is the lesson in all of this: Russell M. Nelson can cheat, and lie, and prevaricate his way into the presidency of the Church, and he can claim that title with or without your vote.

But he cannot claim the title of a prophet, seer, and revelator unless the members voice their agreement. 

Joseph Smith was a prophet, seer, and revelator. We can see the evidence he left behind in our Doctrine & Covenants. But every single "prophet" who came after him had to admit they were "prophets" only because the congregation said they were.

I tend to think it takes more than that. I think that before a man can claim he is a prophet, somewhere along the line God Himself is going to have to make that call.

So, What Are YOU Going To Do?
Three and a half years ago Russell Nelson had this to say: "Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us."

Can you honestly say that you have received a testimony that the calling of Russell Nelson is legitimate? Don't you think it's time you strove to find that out before you make any kind of oath in the presence of God that has the potential to be binding?

The Lord is waiting for you to ask Him. Angels are standing by to take your call. Not every member of the Church will have the opportunity to vote in general conference, but all will have a chance to raise their hands in their upcoming stake conference to show the Lord that they "approve of those names, or else disapprove of them."

The words of Joshua, one of those rare actual prophets, applies perfectly here. He told the Israelites --the bona fide people of God at the time-- that they could go ahead and worship their idols if they wanted to, "but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Don't forget: whether you vote in favor, or whether you oppose, one way or the other you are still commanded to raise your hand.

Scary, huh? You may not be able to wiggle out of this one. But I'm thinking it might be time to come out of the shadows anyway.

                                                      *****

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162 comments:

matt lohrke said...

What's unfortunate about this entire scenario is that 99.9% of active Mormons won't give this a second thought. Why should they? In the few conversations I've had with my TBM friends regarding the difficulties with church history, they've all said, "I'm comfortable with my religion." They like what they have and see no need to upset the apple cart.

What I find very interesting is that Dallin H. Oaks, a fellow so intent of procedure, is party to these shenanigans. He of all people should know better, but then again, he received a nice promotion, so procedure be damned.

This may just be a trivial or insignificant thing, but the verse in question--D&C 20:65--doesn't appear in the Book of Commandments. Verses 65 and 66 were added to the 1835 D&C. It makes me wonder if the additions were provoked by a specific event, or just further clarification.


If you love me, keep my commandments said...

And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things. (Alma 24:30)

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (2 Peter 2:21)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Amen to that, If You Love Me Keep My Commandments!
Glad you see you're beginning to recognize how far the Church has fallen into transgression. Let's pray they will soon repent and return to the one true God.

Dave P. said...

That assumes that "If You Love Me Keep My Commandments" was directing those citations towards the corporation.

Zebedee said...

Rock,

Great post as always. Man, how do you do it? It's a gift.

It is interesting to note that we had a "special" stake conference just two weeks after the new prez was announced. Of course, there was a sustaining "vote" for them. I admit I abstained from raising my hand (which I assume now I will rethink that position).

But even more interesting is this coming Sunday there will be another "special" multi-stake conference. I assume, there may be another sustaining event. I could be wrong. But I wouldn't be surprised if the powers-that-be are moving to get as much "voting" done as quickly as possible.

Has anyone else had any conferences, special or otherwise, happen since Jan 14th?

Do these guys really need to be sustained five times a year (if you count the two general conferences, two stake conference, and one ward conference)? Or is there something else going on here? Does "sustaining" really mean what we are taught it means? And where is the scripture that instructs us about such sustaining?

There is something smelly about all of this.

Jarodious Badger said...

“And all things shall be done by common consent in the church…”
(Doctrine and Covenants 26:2)

“For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 28:13)

“And now, I give unto the church in these parts a commandment, that certain men among them shall be appointed, and they shall be appointed by the voice of the church.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 38:34)


“No person is to be ordained to any office in this church… without the vote of that church.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 20:65)

“Every president of the high priesthood … is to be ordained by the direction of a high council or general conference.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 20:67)


“But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses… For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 28:2, 7)

“The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged in his administration by the voice of the church.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 102:9)

“Hearken, O ye elders of my church whom I have called, behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall assemble yourselves together to agree upon my word; And by the prayer of your faith ye shall receive my law, that ye may know how to govern my church and have all things right before me. And I will be your ruler when I come; and behold, I come quickly, and ye shall see that my law is kept. He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 41:2 - 5)
“…and I give a commandment, that he should be appointed by the voice of the church…”
(Doctrine and Covenants 41:9)
“These words are given unto you, and they are pure before me; wherefore, beware how you hold them, for they are to be answered upon your souls in the day of judgment. Even so. Amen.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 41:12)



Ryan Nickel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan Nickel said...

Why would DHO care? He’s next in line and will follow suit.

Zebedee said...

Yes there are plenty of common consent and voice of the church scriptures, but where are the ones that specifically use the word "sustain" or "sustaining vote" any variation of the type?

It's the word choice of "sustain," that I'm questioning. How and when did that replace the common consent voting procedures as outlined in the scriptures?

Eric Kuntz said...

Unless I missed them, I noticed no scriptures from the BOM cited in this post.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

A fair concern, Eric. I could have weighted the piece down further with plenty of ballast from the Book of Mormon to support the main point. But this post was concerned primarily with administrative and procedural matters promulgated by the Lord through revelation to His church in the latter days regarding the way He intended His church to operate. Hence it was top-heavy with cites from the Doctrine & Covenants.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jarodiuous Badger,
Thanks for collecting all of those citations in one place. I found this one particularly useful, and found a place I could insert it into the OP:

ye shall see that my law is kept. He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you.”

matt lohrke said...

Zeb - I've looked in the Conference Reports available on archive.org dating back to 1897, and from what I remember, "sustain" has been the terminology used in presenting church officers and leaders. Don't quote me on that because it's entirely possible I missed something.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm beginning to think that when the Lord rejected the church and the saints were expelled from Nauvoo, that should have been the end of "the church" as we currently know it. None of us were alive back then to make our voices known, or to vote on the policies and rules that we're expected (compelled) to follow. Those revelations seem directed to people of a certain time and place.

What I read in the BOM is the Gentile failure, the future marvelous work and wonder, the rise of Lehi's posterity, the restoration of Israel, and Christ's millennial reign. I don't read anything about LDS, Inc.

I don't pretend to know God's mind on the subject, but the decided lack of revelation leads me to believe this could be case. However, as always, I'm prepared to be wrong.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Zebedee, I agree there's something smelly about this scramble to get Nelson "Sustained" ahead of time. There was also something very smelly about his personal efforts to purge the church of any who might be suspected of voting against him once he took office. He was the director of the Strengthening The Members Committee, and is known to have been the architect of many expulsions, among them my own and Denver Snuffer's.

These actions tend to support my view that Nelson, a devil in a man's suit, feels he has to have a unanimous vote among the members in order to give his administration credibility. My spider sense tells me this is all going to fall back on him in a most unpleasant way.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dave P.:
How can there be any other reason "If You Love Me, etc" posted that scripture? It describes the modern LDS Church and its members to a T, and is consistent with other prophecies throuhout the Book of Mormon predicting the apostasy of the latter-day Saints. Take another look:

"And thus we can plainly discern, that AFTER A PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ONCE ENLIGHTENED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, and have had GREAT KNOWLEDGE OF THINGS PERTAINING TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, THEY BECOME MORE HARDENED, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things. (Alma 24:30)

How could our correspondent have intended it to be interpreted any other way? He may have aimed some unintelligible folderol toward me in the past, but I think he's experiencing an awakening to the truth. there is no other interpretation than to apply it to the modern LDS Church. Any alternate interpretation would be stupid.

You're not saying he's stupid, are you?

Zebedee said...

Thanks Matt for doing the research on the conference reports. You inspired me to check the Joseph Smith Papers. From what I could tell, nowhere could I find in the administrative documents any mention of the word "sustain" in regards to Church positions. In most of the instances it's used in regards to property or money, such as "sustained losses" or "sustain livelihood" or "sustain the temple committee in gathering funds", etc.

From the 1823 Websters "sustain" means to bear, to uphold, to support, to maintain, to keep alive, to subsist, etc.

Sustaining, appears then to be an after-the-fact acceptance of a decision already made. In other words, we really have no say, and raising our hand is purely ceremonial. Theocracy has replaced democracy.

Yes Rock, you're right. If every member of the Church opposed the new leadership, little would change (except perhaps more PR expenditures).

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dave P, contact me privately, will you? I've long since lost your phone number.

matt lohrke said...

Z - you bet. Many hands make light work, as they say.

Dave P. said...

I've seen many a comment thread where a TBM will simply drop Alma 24:30 or quote the Standard of Truth in response to any "apostate" comment that dares challenge their faith in the corporation and use that as an excuse to avoid further discussion.

The idea that IYLMKMC has started thinking differently is your assumption based on how applicable those two scriptures are to the modern LDS church. Mine is based on the assumption of the context of IYLMKMC's previous comments attacking the blog and currently providing zero indication of changing their mind.

Until IYLMKMC chimes in and clarifies, we won't know.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hold on a minute there, Dave P!

Are you suggesting that our esteemed correspondent, the one who goes by the awkward username "If you love me, keep my commandments" might be misapplying that scripture reference?

I'm sorry, but I can't accept that possibility. No one could be that stupid.

Julene Humes said...

Rock, This information is so important. I read this post with a pounding heart. I appreciate your invitation to share this with other members of the Church and "to come out of the shadows anyway." It's so frightening.

I have a request. It would be so much easier for me to share this with my TBM loved ones if you would remove and in the future leave out the kinds of pictures and rhetoric that equate these men with the pitiable characters you associated them with. You have a keen sense of humor and it makes the posts come alive. What I am talking about are the parts that take on a mocking tone. I don't think they are helpful to your very important message.

Julene Humes said...

Rock,

I did some research and discovered that, at least from the time of David O. McKay, they have ordained and set apart the incoming president before church members have a chance to sustain him. So President Nelson isn't doing anything his predecessors didn't do. This egregious breach of revealed protocol has been going on for a long time.

Do you know when this practice started?

Dave P. said...

Unless you're being sarcastic, Rock, let's see if IYLMKMC chimes in with clarification.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Julene, regarding what I know about when the practice started of ordaining presidents before they were approved by vote of the members, I simply don't know. As my collegue Radio Free Mormon put it in reference to Thomas Monson's ordination, "I was not attuned to the matter" in those days. So like me, he wasn't paying attention.

But even setting aside the matter of the impropriety of ordaining a president before the church has had a chance to vote, in my mind the more important question is: on what date did was a particular president appointed to that office by the Lord? You can search high and low and still find nothing in the record where anyone is willing to state that on such-and-such a date, and in such-and-such a place, the Lord Himself called, appointed, ordained, anointed, or in any way made known his will about the person.

All that seems to be known about the process can be found in my blog post entitled "How We Know Thomas Monson Is A Prophet, Seer, and Revelator." We don't have any information about the Lord's appointments of these men, but we can see that the procedures changed and evolved over time. Here is an excerpt from that post:

We have allowed ourselves to assume, absent any evidence whatsoever, that God called and ordained the presidents of the Church to not only preside over the church, but to also have received the gifts of prophecy, of seeing, and of revealing the will of God. Yet when Brigham Young decided he would like to take Joseph Smith's place as president of the Church, he wasn't even set apart or ordained by his fellow apostles to that office, let alone to some office of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. Brigham maintained that the apostolic church president and counselors needed no setting apart or ordination. All that was necessary was a sustaining vote of the people. After all, it is the church of the latter-day Saints. What they say goes. (At least that's the pretense.)

Starting with Lorenzo Snow, presidents began to be set apart as president of the church, but they were deliberately not ordained to that office, and certainly never appointed prophets, seers, and revelators. In an 1899 meeting of the First Presidency and apostles, Joseph F. Smith explained that it was proper for the First Presidency to be set apart, but "not ordained." In 1916 Joseph F. Smith, the Quorum of Twelve's president, emphatically instructed the senior president of the Seventy that "the president was set apart and not ordained." (See Quinn, the Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, pg 252-253.)

"On 12 April 1951 David O. McKay became the first LDS church president to be "ordained" since the founding prophet. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith "ordained and set apart" President McKay. At seventy-four Apostle Smith may have forgotten his own father's restriction against ordaining presidents of the LDS church." (Quinn, ibid.)
Here's something to think about. The current crop of usurpers in the Church hierarchy will tell you their line of authority goes all the way back to Joseph Smith, because every one of the presidents was ordained of God same as Joseph Smith was. Okay, fine. We can actually trace the ordination of Joseph Smith, because he was personally called and ordained by God to the work in D&C 5:6. But after Joseph, the historical record shows us that line of ordinations abruptly stopped, and does not resume until 1951, at which time George Albert Smith did not pass on his authority to the next president, because he was already dead. Instead a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, who did not have the keys of a prophet, seer, and revelator, performed the ordination of David McKay.

Even if said apostle did somehow hold the keys and pass them on, wouldn't it be a stretch for the current leaders to claim they have a continuous, unbroken line of authority going back to Joseph Smith? If Brigham Young had no authority to act as prophet, seer, and revelator, where did Thomas Monson get his?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Julene, as for your request that I temper my humor a bit:
Yeah, I know. I know. Yesterday a friend told me that someone in his ward wouldn't even read it because the first little bit was, in his words,"Disgusting."

And that was BEFORE I included that impertinent picture of the new First Presidency.

I have re-read the entire piece, and though in places you might say I am iconoclastic toward false idols, I really couldn't see anything in there that could possibly rise to the threshold of "disgusting." I do not use vulgar language, there is no nudity, and I am not irreverent toward my Lord. I revere the Lord, and if the time ever comes when I speak or write about HIM irreverently, I SHOULD be called out on it. But I doubt I'll ever say a cheeky word about Him.

I realize I could present my information in a drier style, Julene, but then who would read it? Would you? I think there's a good chance you would not have even come across this blog if you hadn't heard it was both informative AND entertaining.

Still, I sympathize with your dilemma, Julene, and of course we both want this information to be seen by, shall we say, the more "stiffnecked" members in our sphere of influence.

So here is what I would say to them. I would recommend they read it over. Acknowledge that you realize the author can be a bit snarky at times. But ask them to overlook what they find disagreeable and ask them if they wouldn't mind helping you to see if there are any actual errors in the piece. Is the author twisting doctrine? Is he being dishonest? Did the author misquote scripture? Were the scripture verses he cited misapplied? Is he wrong in his assertions that the leaders of the Church have deliberately ignored the laws of God that they are required to follow? Are there any historical errors?

Anyone truly interested in refuting the charges in my blog posts should be able to research the Church's own doctrines and history and come up with a counter-argument that would put me in my place. Instead, the type of naysayers we get here are those like the commenter who goes by the username "If you love me keep my commandments," which is ironically humorous to me because he is critical of me for insisting his idols in corporation blatantly REFUSE to keep the commandments of the Lord. I'm still waiting for a coherent argument from that guy.

It's human nature for people to find some reason to dismiss a thing they don't like hearing with the excuse that the author is disrespectful. But I would ask why should we be respectful to usurpers who are acting in clear rebellion against God? Should we gently remonstrate against them for fear of offending their followers?

I'm pretty sure the Lord is offended by the things these men are doing and saying in His name. And he sure doesn't mince words when he goes after them for their iniquities. Here is only one example among the many offered by reader Jerodious Badger above:

"ye shall see that my law is kept. He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and HE THAT SAITH HE RECEIVETH IT AND DOETH IT NOT, the same is NOT MY DISCIPLE, and SHALL BE CAST OUT.” (Doctrine and Covenants 41:2 - 5)

It would seem the Lord is not being very accommodating to such people. Certainly he is being disrespectful toward them.

So, Julene, why do I feel I have to write in the manner I do? Because these are heavy subjects. We are watching the Church we love being destroyed before our eyes, and all because the men entrusted to its care have abandoned their role as watchmen on the wall. If I couldn't discuss these matters without a sprinkling of humor tossed in here and there, I would spiral down into depression.

Making light of those who would betray us keeps us from losing hope, and helps us to remember that no matter how dark the shadows for the time being, God Himself, the author of hope, will triumph in the end.

We just have to hang on until it's over. Humor helps us do that.


jjkram said...

Thank you, Rock. Well done and right on!

MC said...

Rock,

You bring up a lot of concerns in your post and I think overall you are more or less correct. The unbroken line of authority claims are on shaky ground.

The church is out of order, no question about it.

I love how honest Joseph F. Smith was. He knew he didn't have the authority of Joseph Smith, though he seems to have hoped that maybe somehow he did.

Quick question, have any of the presidents since Joseph Smith claimed to have the same authority and spiritual gifts that he had?

I don't know that any of them have made such a claim. Perhaps they have, but I doubt it.

I'm also not seeing how Alma 24:30 applies to the general church membership.

Do LDS deny Christ and follow after the order of the Nehors? Do they seek to kill or otherwise destroy the true believers?

Now I think this verse could definitely be applied to atheist anti-Mormons. Perhaps to all anti-Mormons. They are the ones who mock those who are trying to follow Christ and keep the commandments.

Robert Horning said...

I know that this has been brought up elsewhere and mentioned, but this process of having the "prophet" called and set apart prior to conference actually started with Lorenzo Snow. That doesn't excuse what has happened with Russell Nelson, but it has been an unfortunate precedent. Arguably, it can be said that the last real "President of the LDS Church" was Wilford Woodruff, so far as somebody properly "elected" their calling confirmed by the membership of the church as a whole prior to assuming the mantle of leadership.

Like many things attributed to Lorenzo Snow, it was supposedly a "revelation directly from Jesus" for why the 1st Presidency needed to be reorganized immediately rather than waiting for General Conference. Why that revelation was revealed after his death is beyond me along with other revelations and meetings with Christ he supposedly had but never talked about when he was alive is something that is a little odd.

It is also odd, as you point out, how nearly all other callings in the church are brought before the membership. The one substantial exception I can think of here is the calling of a full-time missionary which is not sustained in any meeting (at least I never had it happen). On the other hand, it was also the only calling I ever got where I basically signed a contract and had to return an "acceptance letter" too. Callings within an LDS mission also are sort of weird as you aren't ever "sustained" in your position as a district or zone leader, or even assistant to the president. For that matter, I don't ever recall anybody ever bringing up for a sustaining vote the position of a counselor to a mission president either (one of the most odd callings I know in the church too). I did raise my hand for a sustaining vote of a mission president a few times.... at district conference since he also served as the president of the mission district (not missionary district, as that is different and semantically confusing).

The one thing also not really talked about and you can't talk about though (I hope you do Rock!) is the "demotion" that happened to Dieter Uchtdorf. That is genuinely without precedent, and the pack of lies around that demotion are deafening to me. For that matter, it sort of surprises me that he hasn't been simply released from his apostleship, but I suppose that is a face saving move on the part of the Quorum of the Fifteen.... er Fourteen right now I suppose.

I am at a sort of impass right now in terms of how or even if I might raise my arm in April Conference for a sustaining vote of Russell Nelson or frankly at any other event like stake or ward conference that may happen between now and then when the names of the first presidency is brought up for a sustaining vote. I am still a member of the LDS Church, so in theory I have a "right" to cast a vote in opposition. I agree that his ordination is in error and contrary to scripture. April Conference is going to be a rather rough one for me this year. Essentially a vote against Russell Nelson is really a motion of resignation too, at least if you believe what some say about the act. I wonder when that change happened in the church?

Zebedee said...

Well I decided to dig into the Reed Smoot hearing minutes from the link provided in Rock's post. I'm sure this has been used before but it might be well to be reminded since we are on the topic.

This is an interesting exchanged between President Joseph F. Smith and members of the committee:

Senator BAILEY. I do not refer to the councilors. You have already said that the president chooses or designates them. Who chooses or elects the president? For instance, who elected you to your present position?

Mr. SMITH. I was nominated by the twelve apostles and submitted to the whole church and sustained by the whole church.

Mr. WORTHINGTON. Explain what you mean by the word “sustained" in that technical sense.

Mr. SMITH. That is, voted upon.

Senator BAILEY. I understand that. As a matter of fact, the apostles nominate the president and the church elects him. Do I understand that to be the case?

Mr. SMITH. Well, yes, sir; that has been the case. And then, again, the senior apostle, through custom of the church since the death of Joseph Smith, has been recognized on the death of the president as the legitimate successor to the president.

Senator BAILEY. It is a question of succession rather than of election?

Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.

Senator BAILEY. Has that the force of law?

Mr. SMITH. Still he is elected, just the same.

Senator BAILEY. Has that the force of law or has it merely the persuasion of custom?

Mr. SMITH. There is only one. There has been only one. There never has been more than one that I know of.

Senator DUBOIS. The name of the president is presented to the conference, and they are asked if they desire to sustain the selection to hold up their hands. I believe that is the custom?

Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.

Zebedee said...

There is no election. The deed is already signed, sealed and delivered. The members merely ratify (if that).

There is no agency in this process.

matt lohrke said...

The keyword there is "custom."

Roger V said...

Rock, your comment quoting Quinn on the ordination of President McKay got me wondering. I think I recall being taught that church presidents (prior to 1979) were ordained/set apart/whatever by the church patriarch, aka presiding patriarch. Was this not the case with President McKay? (Apparently there was trouble somewhere around that time when the line of patriarchal succession included one fellow of questionable lifestyle. Don't know if that caused an exception to the usual pattern.)

Anyway, I think the traditional method makes plenty of sense, given that Mormons view ordinations as 'from above', not 'from below'. For example, an elders quorum president is ordained not by his lowly fellow quorum members, but rather 'from above' by the stake president, who likewise received his ordination from some higher-level official. It's all about the line of authority, chain of command, hierarchical pyramid, etc. And by whom, then, should the top-level administrator, aka church president, be ordained? Well, obviously, by the holder of the very highest office, the one who is not a mere administrator at all but functions purely in the spiritual realm, the one who receives his position not from below but indeed from above by birthright and inheritance: the church patriarch. Notice how the first two church patriarchs were precisely the two men who could be viewed as having a natural precedence or superiority relative to Joseph Jr, namely, his dad and his big brother.

So, how does it make any sense that an apostle, or conceivably even a non-apostle, gets promoted by ordination-from-below up to a higher office? This is completely contrary to the manifest order in all other ordinations.

When Eldred G Smith was unceremoniously put out to pasture, there were clear efforts to downplay the importance of his office. He was described as a sort of general-purpose patriarch, not really any different from a stake patriarch, available to give blessings, I suppose, to itinerant members who had wandered far outside their stake boundaries but had the sudden urge to discover their tribal lineage. However, some of us (perhaps even some younger than myself) will recall raising our right arms and sustaining Patriarch Smith as a prophet, seer and revelator. I don't know if he actually had those gifts, but at least there was a clear recognition that this was not just some superfluous general position in the bureaucracy. His office was at least on equal footing with the first presidency and the quorum of the 12, whose members are similarly sustained as prophets seers and revelators; and, as I've suggested above, the most consistent view of things would actually put the office of church patriarch above those others. Of course, when you run out of patriarchs, whatcha gonna do?

I probably have some details wrong, but at least that's one way to look at it.

Zebedee said...

Excellent points Roger.

Even though Eldred Smith was "given" emeritus status in 1979 he was still the Patriarch and probably the only one who could claim the right to being called a prophet (per the D&C). You can't just take that away from someone by mortal decree. That was a promised blessing by the Lord to Hyrum and his descendants.

When Eldred Smith died in 2013 I believe that marked the beginning of the end of the gentile Church. We should probably keep a lookout for prophets of Jewish or Lehite ancestry as been foretold.

Jarodious Badger said...

I am going to play devil’s advocate (perhaps literally) and make the arguments which the leaders of the LDS church make in defense of how they administrate the church. Others on this blog may then make counter-arguments as they see fit.

1. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles consider themselves has holding the keys of the kingdom and the right of presidency by virtue of ordination and the continual sustaining vote of the members of the church, per the following revelations:

“The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 65:2)

“…hearken to the calling wherewith you are called, even to be a high priest in my church, and a counselor unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.; unto whom I have given the keys of the kingdom, which belong always unto the Presidency of the High Priesthood…”
(Doctrine and Covenants 81:1 - 2)

“The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things. The Presidency of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, have a right to officiate in all the offices in the church.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 107:8 - 9)

2. It is dogmatically accepted that the keys of the kingdom entitle the holders to administrate within the church (and kingdom of God) according to their best judgement and the inspiration given them; therefore it is maintained that whatever they do, acting in good faith, must be right.

3. In the absence of open or direct revelation, those who hold the keys of the kingdom are authorized to act in whatever ways seem prudent and justifiable according to the circumstances they are in, acting under the direction of those who preside over them. Within the LDS church, the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles reign supreme as those holding the keys to preside over the whole church.

4. Handbook 2: Administering the Church, states:
“In mortality, the priesthood is the power and authority that God gives to man to act in all things necessary for the salvation of God’s children… When a man receives the Melchizedek Priesthood, he covenants to be faithful, to magnify his callings, and to live by every word of God and His servants (see D&C 84:33–44)… Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to priesthood leaders to direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on earth. The exercise of priesthood authority is governed by those who hold its keys (see D&C 65:2; 81:2; 124:123). Those who hold priesthood keys have the right to preside over and direct the Church within a jurisdiction…Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood pertaining to His Church. He has conferred upon each of His Apostles all the keys that pertain to the kingdom of God on earth. The senior living Apostle, the President of the Church, is the only person on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys (see D&C 43:1–4; 81:2; 107:64–67, 91–92; 132:7).”

5. Note that God has given His power and authority to man. Those with priesthood keys have the right to direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on earth. They don’t need God, or the Spirit of God, to tell them what to do. They have the authority to independently direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on the earth.

6. God directs His church by somehow controlling who gets called to leadership positions and who lives longest among the apostles; if you are called it means that God agrees with whatever you are going to do. That’s how it works.

7. If you disagree with the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles then you must disagree with God, which means you are in open rebellion against God and must be excommunicated for heresy and apostasy.

Dave P. said...

Sounds like quite the fulfillment of these verses to me, Jarodious:

"And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;"

"Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work." (2 Nephi 28:5-6)

Adrian Larsen said...

Two things, Rock:

1. Excellent post! Very, very well done! Loved it!

2. Are you trying to get yourself killed?

Sayin' it like it is, is never welcome in the magisterium...

Zebedee said...

Well said Dave. Seems it's best to be spending time in the scriptures than in the Corporate Handbooks.

Troubling the hear the claim, "They don’t need God, or the Spirit of God, to tell them what to do." I suppose that's true if the Church is not of God.

Dave P. said...

Of course the ironic thing, Zebedee, is of course how they claim they don't need the Spirit of God to direct them and yet immediately fall back on "It was a revelation!" the moment there's backlash for the introduction of a stupid/contradictory/blasphemous policy.

They replace God with themselves and yet still try to use God as a safety net when they implement things He would never do.

The second irony in that is how much emphasis they put on the endowment and one of the statements in it is, "God will not be mocked."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
Of course Alma 24:30 doesn't litterally apply to the general membership of the Church. The general membership has not risen to performing the kinds of deeds described in that section. Alma does, however, use it as an example of the kind of deliberate resistance to God's word that tends to result among a people who were once enlightened, but have fallen away into sin and transgression to the point that they become so hardened they are unable to recognize truth when it stares them in the face.

That verse doesn't come close to describing me, either, yet as Dave P acknowledges, he has seen that verse dropped into many a conversation with someone putting Christ above the leaders in response to any "apostate" comment that dares challenge their faith in the corporation.

What I was illustrating in throwing that canard back at the accuser is that first, the verse describes a people, not a particular individual with whom one might disagree, and second, if one insists on bringing that excerpt to the table, it is clearly more descriptive of the stiffnececked among the Church in modern times than it is to me.

As for your other question: I have not been able to find a single instance where a president of the Church after Joseph Smith described himself as a prophet, seer, or revelator. The patter appears to be that he allows his underlings to come to the microphone and bestow those descriptors upon him while he sits quietly and takes it all in without a peep of correcting them. He also enjoys having the congregation sing his praises when he enters a room with a song that was written about and in tended to describe an actual prophet who was murdered.

The question becomes "why?" Why not admit to being a prophet?
I could speculate that an admission might hold the president of the Corporation up to legal liability. I may address that theory down the road in a future post.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Robert Horning,
I appreciate your bringing up the disparities between the ways modern presidents have been "set apart" today and the way it was done through Wilford Woodruff. I should have also mentioned in my reply to MC that I wrote about these different "theories" about how it should be done in my post "Evil Speaking of the Lord's Anointed." (It's somewhere in the subheading I titled "Identifying the Lord's Anointed.")

I agree with you, Robert, that the deomotion of Dieter Uchtdorf was a HUGE deal, and nearly unprecedented. We are expected to accept that it was the Lord's idea to toss aside the one member of the Twelve who exhibits any real compassion toward those members who are concerned about the direction the other leaders have been moving the Church. He was at least conciliatory, but anyone could see that someone with a loving attitude is out of place in the top leadership.

I didn't mention it because my piece was already too long, and Radio Free Mormon had already discussed that issue completely. There wasn't much more I could say about it.

You are also correct in my opinion, that anyone who expresses a negative vote against the new president will soon find themselves on their way out. On the plus side, the stir such a vote might cause among one's brothers and sisters represents a perfect missionary opportunity. When asked why the hell they would cast an opposing vote, the person could give any number of answers designed to get others to think about their own automatic approval. Here's a few off the top of my head:

The Twelve failed to follow the Lord's clear instructions when they ordained Nelson before allowing the members to voice their approval.

The Lord has not given me a testimony that Nelson has the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator.

We are COMMANDED to vote to either approve or disaprove; we are not commanded only to approve.

There is a reason the congregation is asked to cast a vote in opposition, otherwise why would we be asked?

A reader could review this post and the one before it and come up with any number of legitimate reasons for voting in the negative WITHOUT APPEARING TO BE DELIBERATELY OBSTREPEROUS. My advice, be calm, and respond with an attitude that says, "I just don't think this vote came at the proper time."

If you get a chance to share your concerns with enough of your fellow saints, you're sure to plant some seeds in their own minds that will be ready for harvest by the time Nelson pulls the expected number of boneheaded moves that will cause them to doubt their own sustaining vote.

But yes, I would get ready for the shoe to drop. Anyone who doesn't follow the rest of the sheep may soon find they no longer are welcome. But at least you will have a valid reason for taking a stand.


Alan Rock Waterman said...

By way of postscript to my response to Robert Horning above:
I highly recommend that anyone planning to cast an opposing vote have at hand and easily accessible the scripture verses cited in this post and the one that preceded it. You don't want to appear to be basing your decision on your own opinion; you want to show that you are relying wholly on the Lord.

Those objecting to your action can cry foul all they want, but if THEIR opinion is based on nothing more than tradition, you can remind them that the words of Jesus Christ remain the ONLY law by which we are authorized to perform our actions.

Dave P. said...

The frustrating part is, even citing those particular scriptures won't satisfy those who take offense to a vote of opposition as they're often the ones who believe that "the prophet's words" can overwrite the written word of God no matter how badly they contradict it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Roger V,
I hope I didn't give the impression that I thought leaders should be selected and elected from the bottom up. That isn't the way the system is designed, and I only have one criticism about the present method.

In the present method (at least this is the way they announce it), the Quorum of the Twelve nominate the next president, and the members are then given the opportunity to vote their approval. After that vote, the candidate is ordained.

My problem with that system, aside from the part where they don't let the members vote in a timely fashion, is that there is nothing in revelation authorizing the Twelve to do the nominating. In the case of Joseph Smith, he was the only person on the earth with the authority to to choose his successor.

As we know, he did choose his own successor, but that successor was killed at the same time he was. But that doesn't change the process, does it? Why didn't Thomas Monson choose his own successor before he died? He could have nominated anyone, or two or three backup candidates years before his dementia set in. Why wait until the only one who has the supposed authority is dead and gone, leaving no one truly authorized to ordain the next president?

Does it really make sense that members of the twelve, who admittedly DO NOT hold all the keys they are about to bestow on the next guy, will lay their hands on his head and bestow upon him gifts and authority they themselves do not have?

I have a second objection: no man or quorum of men have the power to appoint the next president. The Lord tells us HE will appoint his servant. It's interesting to me that in the press conference and announcements presenting Russell M. Nelson as next president of the Church, we were told two conflicting accounts: 1.) they selected President Nelson after much prayer and fasting, and 2.) The Lord had already set in place the manner in which the senior member of the quorum is automatically chosen.

So which is it? Did you guys pray and fast and beg and implore to receive an answer to which person you were going to "nominate" or did you simply follow the established pattern? As Radio Free Mormon pointed out in his podcast "Illegitimate Presidency," On the one hand they told us in effect that they didn't need the Lord's input on this, while on the other hand they went through all manner of sweaty acrobatics to try and get an answer.

Of course, we know from reading the Lord's instructions that none of these decisions should have been in the hands of the Twelve in the first place. As you suggest, Roger, the only person actually authorized to institute the Lord's will would have been the patriarch, which Joseph Smith said was "the highest office in the church." Even if the patriarch did no longer have the gifts of prophet, seer, and revelator (which is a distinct possibility in our day), proper protocol would have dictated that he was the proper one to nominate the next president to be presented to the members for their sustaining vote. I'm guessing he would have chosen that man from among the church high council. And I'm absolutely positive that it would have been the Patriarch himself performing the ordination, and not the Quorum of the Twelve.

Telling then, isn't it, that both the high council AND the patriarch have been eliminated from the Church in our day. As Radio Free Mormon put it, the coup is now complete. The men specifically warned BY GOD that they were prohibited from governing the Church, have now taken control of everything.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Zebedee,
Speaking of being on the lookout for prophets of Jewish or Lehite descent, when was the last time anyone selected a bishop based on him being having been descended from Aaron? Answer: pretty much never, I'm betting, although the scriptures are quite clear that "No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant AND the firstborn of Aaron." (See D&C 68:14-20 and D&C 107:15-17, 71-76)

If they can't find a literal descendant of Aaron, they can substitute a high priest after the order of Melchezidek can sit in and substitute for the bishop's duties, but he does not have the legal right, and should only act as a fill-in until the proper descendant can be located.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jarodious Badger,
I appreciate your playing devil's advocate, and I would love to take the time to answer those propositions one by one, but alas, I don't have the steam to. Besides, most of those positions have been dispensed with elsewhere on my blog. But I will address the HUUUUUGE misapplication of doctrine we often find when those positions are advanced:

Most of them refer to keys of the "kingdom" and authority to govern in the "kingdom." This is where it all falls apart, because they are assuming the kingdom refers to the church. It does not. Take a look at every single instance where Joseph Smith refers to the kingdom of God, and every instance where the Lord uses that word in revelation, and we discern that the word "kingdom" has to do with something OTHER THAN the Church. It always did. As Charles Harrell writes about baptism in Jesus' day,

"Scholars note that baptism was initially performed by John the Baptist and Jesus's disciples as a cleansing rite to prepare them for the coming kingdom of God, which was perceptually distinct from the Church."

And LDS Scholar Kevin Barney says,
"[Baptism's] full significance as a rite marking formal initiation into the church is a later Christian innovation."

I explored this in greater detail in my post "Over-Ruling Jesus" and you can find quotes by Joseph Smith speaking about the kingdom in "Where Did The Oracles Go?"

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/05/over-ruling-jesus.html

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2015/06/where-did-oracles-go.html

Here is Joseph Smith explaining that The “kingdom of God” is not the LDS Church and the LDS Church is not the “kingdom of God.” They are separate:

'Joseph Smith stated that the 'literal kingdom of God [that is, the Council of Fifty], and the church of God are two distinct things' as 'the laws of the kingdom are not designed to affect our salvation hereafter.' (Joseph Smith Papers Administrative Records, p. xxiii.)

That's why there were separate councils in the church (the high council, the traveling council, the council of Seventy) and a completely separate body that had nothing to do with governing the church, but was charged with establishing a political kingdom where all (both LDS and non-LDS) would be left alone to worship as they pleased.

The Council of Fifty, which made up "The kingdom of God and His Laws," included both members and non-members, so it's kind of difficult to imagine how such a body would have the keys to "administrate within the church."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hi Adrian!
Connie is actually quite concerned that one day I will tell too much truth and someone will try to kill me for it.

Of course, Russell Nelson already tried to assassinate my character, having been the architect of my excommunication for some nebulous accusation of "apostasy," same as you and Tausha were. (Has anyone ever told either of you what actual sins you were supposed to have committed?) As we've both found, all Nelson succeeded in doing by expelling us was to free us both up to stop pulling our punches and tell ALL the truth, no matter who it might offend.

Connie sometimes worries that some rogue individual, thinking he is acting in the name of God, might some day hunt me down and shut me up forever. I've certainly gotten some definite threats of the "we know where you live" variety.

But like Abinadi, I don't think the Lord will let them put me to death until I've finished saying what I have to say. To that end, I keep coming up with a never-ending supply of topics to write about, just to hedge my bets.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dave P. Said,

"The frustrating part is, even citing those particular scriptures won't satisfy those who take offense to a vote of opposition as they're often the ones who believe that "the prophet's words" can overwrite the written word of God no matter how badly they contradict it."

True dat, Dave. You can't win an argument with someone who is 1.)incapable of reason, and 2.) Not fully converted to the Lord.

I'm beginning to understand why historically the Lord ultimately has to destroy the idolators. They don't seem capable of repenting.

matt lohrke said...

Well, it seems we have a church that doesn't bother to follow its own rules. But on the other hand, I don't believe the hierarchy even knows what the rules are. It reminds of what Hugh wrote in the intro to Gileadi's "Last Days": "All the answers are in the scriptures, but the LDS people do no read the scriptures." I'm so impressed by the preachers on Jesus Radio who actually preach from scriptures. They are true theologians. The word of God is the guiding force.

If the church doesn't follow the rules, and none of us alive were present in 1830 or 1835 to personally ratify those rules, what obligation do we have in following them? The sons of the Ammonites were not obliged to abide the terms of the covenants their fathers entered into. None of us alive were present when Brigham committed everyone to live by his version of the Word of Wisdom, so why are we compelled to obey it?

A recently awakened friend recently told me, "You don't realize just how much control the church wields over your life until you take a step back."

I'm acquainted with someone on the LDS, Inc payroll. This person told me that the BYU religion faculty was very concerned with the direction of the LDS church curriculum and its focus of warm fuzzies and burning bosoms, rather than intellectual, scriptural rigor. I need ask this person if there's been any discussion on the Qof12's subterfuge.

Eric Kuntz said...

Only TBMS's have the arrogance to think that Alma 24:30 is talking about former LDS folk.

Zebedee said...

The more I study, the more convinced I am that the restored Church of Jesus Christ has line upon line and precept upon precept been completely hijacked.

The inspired words of Thomas Jefferson come to mind (with slight additions by me):

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that [church] Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such [church] Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

That of course may seem radical, but the point is if the Lord did not intend us to have a system of checks and balances in Church government, why did he implement voting by the "voice of the people?" If we cannot vote any rascal out, why have a vote at all? It's meaningless.

Eric Kuntz said...

The Lord did not 'implement' anything. The Lord NEVERinstructed for a church to be organized in the first place. If you search the BOC (Book of Commandments) you won’t find a command from God anywhere to organize a church.

God gave Joseph ONE gift...to translate the BOM...and not to PRETEND to any other gifts. (He did a lot of pretending)

The BOM itself condemns the LDS church and it's members who 'follow the prophet'.

The creation of the LDS Church is one of the greatest frauds ever in this world. The church has taken billions of dollars out of the hands of its members to fill its bank accounts and promote its agenda...which is anything but God’s work.

10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14 )

Anyone of thinks the LDS or the Mormon church (of any time period) is the 'church of the Lamb of God' is being deceived.

matt lohrke said...

Been down the rabbit hole tonight.

I tend to agree with Eric. I don't think a "Church" was ever God's will. I think God was offering to reform a broken, corrupted Christianity. But it was contingent upon the saints following God's commandments. The saints, on the other hand, wanted a church. God gives according to our desires, unto life or unto death (Alma 29). What is the fruit of the church? Shopping malls, land development, billions in the bank, blind allegiance to men, a media department, the specter of polygamy (which continues to turn many people away from the Book of Mormon--see Alma 39:11), and most importantly, no measurable fruits of the spirit.

At any rate, I find this quote very interesting.

"The revelations…did not force themselves on the early saints, rather only as the Church leaders were ready and asking did they move into new periods of ecclesiastical development and understanding. So looking back we should expect that the development of Church government, as a process, was more rooted in human agency, more drawn out, and more dynamic then some of us imagine.” (Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Joseph Smith’s Prophetic Ministry: A Year-by-Year Look at His Life and Teachings, J. Spencer Fluhman, “1835: Priesthood and Church Government,” Deseret Book, 2009, CD 8, track 3)

Holzapfel is a highly respected LDS scholar. I think I have that CD set, but it's in storage if I do, so I can't verify this particular statement. But I don't have any reason not to believe it.

The only conclusion I can come to, at least for now, is that the LDS church was never supposed to be a thing. But they wanted it, so they got it and all the junk that comes with it.

I don't know that Joseph is necessarily the bad guy for this. He could be, but I'm inclined to believe he isn't. I think the Lord could have used him to deliver things that were hard for the saints to understand (Jacob 4:14).

Something else interesting, pointing to the possibility of false revelations:

"Joseph manifested an alarming disposition to get revelations to cover every exigency that would arise, and in this he was eagerly urged on by some of his associates, who would frequently come to him with the request that he “ask the Lord” about this thing or the other. The first striking instance of it, and one that gave rise to grave apprehensions in the minds of David Whitmer and others of his kind, occurred in connection with the publishing of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. Martin Harris was a well-to-do farmer, and he was expected to mortgage his property for the purpose of raising the necessary funds for the printing of the book. His seeming reluctance to act in the matter, which Mr. Whitmer attributes to the cautious business-like manner in which he did everything, offended some of the brethren, and Hyrum Smith, the “Patriarch,” proposed that some of them take the manuscript to Canada, and there sell the copyright for sufficient money to enable them to get out the publication. A revelation was procured “to order” and “warranted to fit,” a thing which occurred with remarkable frequency afterwards and which caused it to be a matter of foregone conclusion that whatever the desires of the favored few expressed, or the pressing emergency of the hour demanded, it would be admirably embodied in the “message from heaven.” Thus “the word of the Lord came,” directing that two of the brethren go to Canada as suggested. They went. They also returned, but they brought no money with them, and no promise of any. (The Omaha Herald, October 10, 1886).

This is my struggle: Discerning revelations from God from those of man and the devil. This is why I'm very skeptical of Testimony of John (and the so-called Scripture Project) and am curious about the provenance. To me the provenance matters a great deal.

I'm talking too much, so I'm going to shut up for awhile.

Dave P. said...

Matt,

David Whitmer recalls that same account in his Address and basically says, "Joseph already knew what the answer was from the Lord: Martin Harris was to mortgage his property. Why would the Lord suddenly change His mind?"

One of the first signs that Joseph didn't learn his lesson from the 116 pages incident.

Dave P. said...

"This is my struggle: Discerning revelations from God from those of man and the devil."

The two main things to watch out for are a second witness and that the revelation you receive does not contradict what the Lord (not "the church") has already established. Because He is Unchanging and a God of Truth, that is why we can trust Him to never lie to us. That's a key step in developing faith even unto the level of the Brother of Jared.

matt lohrke said...

Thanks, Dave. You all have been at this far longer than I have and have much more wisdom, knowledge and insight. I've only been at this about 2.5 years and I'm still separating the wheat from the chaff so my faith can built on a foundation of Truth. It's an arduous process, but I do love it. Thanks to everyone for the comments and insights that help me work through this.

Now I'm really going to shut up. ;)

Zebedee said...

Hey Rock,

I went back to re-read this post and noticed your lead photograph is a pic of Nelson in his best impression of Mr. Spock contemplating something "fascinating."

However, I recall that originally there was another pic there, a caricature of Nelson in a suit standing at a microphone. Am I imagining things? Or is this an example of the Mandela Effect? LOL.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Yes Indeedy, Zebedee, I did replace the original photo. The night before, Connie and I we were at the home of some friends who did not recognize that the picture at the top of the post was that of the head of Walter, the cantankerous dummy friend of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, superimposed onto the body of Russell Nelson.

That brought the count to three friends who didn't get it. The first was David, a friend from our days in California who assumed it was a blurred picture of Elder Nelson. This indicates to me that not everyone was getting the joke. (The joke being that Nelson, both in the way he looks, and in his personality, strongly resembles Walter the Dummy.)

So I felt it better to replace the picture of Nelson with one in which he resembles another of his famous dopplegangers: Mr. Burns from the Simpsons.

It's also far less likely to offend some of our Brethrenite brothers and sisters, who have been conditioned to idolize Church leaders. 'Tis better not to give them reason to reject the essay right from the start. A photo that seems on the surface to portray Russell Nelson as pensive and reserved might encourage some to read further. (Until they get to the picture in the middle, where Nelson is again compared unfavorably with Our Beloved Walter.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcO64eMMhkU

Zebedee said...

Thanks Rock. I'm not up to speed on today's entertainment culture and was clueless about Walter until you enlightened me. With that said, I thought the original photo was rather funny (even without knowing the character).

I suppose my question was merely a sanity check on my part, just to make sure I'm still somewhat cognizant.

Keep up the good work my friend.

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

Ok, I lied.

For you kicks and giggles:

I found an interesting comment by SkyBird over at defendingjoseph.com regarding Jacob 3:5, and the word "father/s" in relation to polygamy.

The current LDS edition reads: "the lamanites...have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.

But the 1830, 1837, and 1840 versions of the BOM show it "fathers." I checked the scans of the originals at the Joseph Smith Papers website.

What a difference an "s" makes. The plural makes the commandment cross-generational, while the singular "father" makes reference to Lehi.

So, I compared the various editions:

1830, 1837, 1840, 1879, 1920 - fathers
1908 RLDS - fathers
2017 Restoration Edition - fathers

Zarahemla Research Foundation - father

1981, 2013, lds.org - father

It was the 1981 BOM where the change was made. The committee in charge included of members of the Quorum of the 12.

Skousen's Earliest Text renders it "Father," as it appears on the original printer's manuscript. But it's interesting that "fathers" made it to print. Divine intervention, perhaps? Maybe they caught in on the fly. Who knows.

I believe it should be "fathers." That's what appears in the three editions published during Joseph's lifetime and is consistent with Jacob's previous statement.

To me its another dagger in D&C 132 and the so-called loophole of Jacob 2:30.

Zebedee said...

Interesting Matt,

Funny, I've always read it as fathers for some reason. Maybe because my first readings of the BoM were previous to 1981 edition and it was stamped on my mind that way. Either that or the Spirit was inserting the correct word in there while I read. But I agree, fathers is the correct usage and consistent with Jacob's sermon.

MC said...

Matt,

The printer's manuscript says father, which makes sense, because Jacob told us earlier that the command to have only one wife was given specifically to Lehi. The command to not have more than wife was specific to Lehi and his posterity, not the entire human family.

You'll notice that Jacob 2 does not in any way denounce the polygamy of Abraham and Jacob. Only that of Solomon and David. Interestingly enough we know that both of them were originally righteous but then became wicked. Is it not possible that the abomination God was referring to was the wives they took after they had fallen from grace? Solomon had hundreds of pagan wives and David had a man murdered to take his wife.

Jacob 2:30 is not a loophole. It is the Lord clearly stating that he can command or authorize polygamy to raise up seed unto himself and that men should not have more than one wife unless he commands or authorizes it.

I know polygamy is uncomfortable and goes against our current societal norms, but it was authorized in the Old Testament. That's an absolute fact. The law of Moses, which was given by God set forth laws governing polygamy. Abraham and Jacob were both polygamists and they are both in the kingdom of heaven according to Christ.

Even if D&C 132 turns out to be false, everything else above is still true.

matt lohrke said...

Hi, MC -

I respectfully disagree. ;) I understand your perspective, however.

MC said...

Matt,

What do you disagree with? Is there some place in the scriptures that denounces Abraham and Jacob for their polygamy? Did Christ not say they are both in the kingdom of heaven? Did Jacob not say that the command to only have one wife was given to his father Lehi? Does the Law of Moses set forth laws governing polygamy?

Everything I said above is true. Of course you are free to disagree all the same. Like I said polygamy is a tough pill for us to swallow these days. I don't think it is currently authorized so I guess it doesn't really matter too much.

I've noticed that you seem to be leaning heavily towards accepting the beliefs of Dave and Eric. I would be very careful in doing this. They have to ignore a great deal of scripture in order to justify their position. You say you're searching for the truth. You won't find it by rejecting scripture or changing certain words to fit what you want to believe. Just my two cents. Take it for what it's worth. Best of luck in your continued search.

Greg Jackson said...

The Book of Mormon and D&C 132 contradict each other in regards to polygamy. So pick one. They both can't be right. Knowing the dubious history of section 132 I'll choose the Book of Mormon. Instead of just picking out a single verse that the Church interprets as sometimes justifying polygamy, read the entire chapter in context discarding your current understanding and ask yourself is God really telling me on one hand that polygamy is such an awful thing but on the other hand sometimes it's okay? Maybe, just maybe what God is really saying in Jacob 2:30 is “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people and they will do as I say and obey my voice; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things which are an abomination and a grosser crime.” Notice throughout the chapter how Jacob uses the words thing, and things and how that ties in to the use of "things" in Jacob 2:30. There is no loop hole for practicing polygamy. We have fallen into the same trap as the Nephites. It's time to discard this abomination and all the baggage that comes with it and let the chips fall where they may.

MC said...

Greg,

Let's take your little scenario and let the chips fall were they may for a second.

1) I guess Abraham and Jacob were committing abomination in their practice of polygamy yet the scriptures do not even once suggest that they were sinning in this practice. In fact God tested Abraham by having him sacrifice his son in similitude of the sacrifice of Christ. I guess a vile polygamist was the best he could find. The vile polygamist Jacob also wrestled with God and obtained a choice blessing and promised land from him. Maybe God let his most abominable practice slide?

2) Or perhaps the Bible has all of this wrong, including Christ having nothing but good things to say about both of them in the NT.

3) I guess Abraham and Jacob are both the fathers of the Lord's covenant people through a practice that is most abominable

4) God would have set forth rules authorizing and governing a most abominable practice in the law of Moses.

5) I guess Joseph Smith was a false or fallen prophet, because he personally practiced and taught plural marriage.

6) If Joseph was a false prophet then the BOM is false anyways so we're back to square

7) If Joseph was a fallen prophet then we had better determine when he fell, because everything he taught after that would be false. He married his first plural wife no later than 1836, so EVERYTHING after that is false. God is not going to speak through a man committing extremely abominable sins.

Or we can believe the scriptures and all of these problems go away.

DeeLyn said...

The BoM and NT Gospels contradict each other too, so they can't both be completely true either.

But how can we think the BoM/Joseph Smith condemns all polygamy if they also uphold ancient polygamous prophets?

Fortunately Christ (and the Golden Rule) settles the matter by trumping both the BoM and the Bible, by teaching polygamy is always wrong no matter who claims otherwise.

MC said...

DeeLyn Christ never once taught that polygamy is always wrong. There isn't one statement of his in the scriptures that can even remotely be twisted to suggest that all forms of polygamy are always wrong. Please feel free to produce a statement of his to prove me wrong.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

1. Yes they were according to Christ. Why assume Abraham's claims or inspirations were true and from God? Since when does God and Satan desire the same things? Can good things not happen to those who sin? Why assume good things are necessarily from God just because someone says they are?

2. Definitely. Christ would not have upheld Abraham on one hand and condemn his deeds on the other. For that creates utter confusion and makes it impossible to know truth from error or trust the Golden Rule. Why would we think the NT was above human error or agenda?

3. What if there aren't really any 'covenant people'? And people are all equal and God is no respecter of persons?

4. Who said the law of Moses was from God, or that Moses was even a true prophet? Was he perfect and kept all Christ's commandments like Christ said true prophets have to be & do?

5.Whether JS practiced polygamy or not is not the only thing that shows him to be a false prophet, but if he did, it would only further prove that he didn't keep Christ's commandments and thus it would be impossible for him to be a true prophet, no matter how many warm fuzzies we get about him.

6. Exactly. And we should start at square 1, no matter what religion we are born or led into, and 1st determine what is right and wrong by our own conscience and the Golden Rule, so we can determine which NT quotes from Christ's are in fact truth and which are error or men's agenda to change or add them in.

7. Go back to Christ's NT teachings to 1st determine the qualifications of a 'true prophet', to realize JS couldn't have been one to even start with. But why think God would speak thru any mortal at all, for all are sinful, where's the line? Thus why Christ taught to only follow him and his few commandments, and not follow or trust in even any prophet, for only He is perfect.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

Why were Christ's Apostles so astounded at his teachings on marriage and why did they then determine that it was best not to marry at all? (Matt. 19:10)

And how does polygamy harmonize with the Golden Rule that Christ taught, which is the basis of all truth, laws and commandments? What man would want to live polygamy the other way around? Would BY have put up with being the 1 husband of a wife with 60 husbands?

MC said...

DeeLyn,

There's no point in debating the issue any further. I accept the scriptures, you don't. Any argument I make based on the scriptures is apparently of no worth to you. So I won't waste my time. You have yet to produce a single reference to Christ condemning all polygamy. Or any polygamy for that matter. All you do is call the scriptures into question to justify your beliefs. I can't reason with someone who won t listen to reason. Take care.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

I agree debating issues is often fruitless, since it rarely changes anyone's mind, for it's natural for us to think we are correct in our thinking, beliefs and actions.

But everyone has to cherry pick and believe in the verses and so called prophets and scriptures that support what they want to do or believe in, while disregarding other prophets and scriptures that contradict. That seems to be one of the tests of life, to see who and what we will believe in among all the books of scripture and opinions out there.

For all books of scriptures contradict each other frequently. Thus why we have different religions, churches and even LDS members, leaders and prophets with countless different personal gospels and beliefs, that can differ according to their own personal beliefs and interpretations. And we naturally usually feel we are right and inspired in our beliefs no matter what other scriptures or prophets might say.

For we can find support for almost any belief, right or wrong, among LDS prophets and the scriptures.

For the OT often contradicts the NT, including Christ. The BoM & D&C often contradicts not only the OT & NT, but also often the NT Christ. The NT even has Christ often contradicting himself, assuming the NT quotes were really his. And we won't even mention how so called prophets contradict each other, even in the church.

But I think it's good to remember that all so called scripture was written by fallible men, not God or Christ. So why would we put faith in the writings and interpretations of fallible men? Didn't Christ warn about doing that, even though it's easier and enticing to do than going by the Golden Rule?

So why would we accept any so called scripture or idea, from any source, that doesn't square with the Golden Rule?

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

"If Joseph was a false prophet then the BOM is false..."

This is a false dichotomy. The LDS Church likes to promote this idea, so that you can't separate the two, it's a take it or leave it scenario. It's BS. Joseph Smith can be...(and is)...a false prophet, while the BOM is indeed true. They are not mutually exclusive.

Joseph had one gift, he went his own way after that.

MC said...

"Joseph Smith can be...(and is)...a false prophet, while the BOM is indeed true. They are not mutually exclusive.

Joseph had one gift, he went his own way after that."

That's BS. When has the Lord ever brought forth scripture through a false prophet?

Joseph Smith was a true prophet. His prophecies came true about the Civil War and many other things. He wasn't perfect. The Lord rebuked him on several occasions and warned that he could fall. I'm sure a false prophet would make up false rebukes just to pull the wool over people's eyes?

I'm sure all those people who saw angels at the Kirtland Temple dedication were either liars or deceived? I'm sure those who saw the Father and the Son in the school of the prophets with Joseph were lying or deceived, too? Oh and the people Joseph and other early brethren healed were healed by the power of Satan, too right?

Come on man. You've lost your way. Because of the apostasy of the church you've turned to Evangelical Christianity mixed with the BOM. The great and marvelous work bloggers have it wrong. Sure it looks good on the surface. I found it appealing when I first woke up too, but it doesn't hold up to careful scrutiny. There are too many logical fallacies. A big one being why the Lord would want the BOM spread by a false prophet and later a false Satanic religion. That's complete nonsense. The Lord doesn't work like that. He calls true prophets to do his work and preach repentance. He gives them authority and they establish his church on the earth. That's been the pattern since the days of Adam. God didn't change the plan. You of all people should get that with your insistance that God can't change.

Look I get it. You don't like that I'm attacking your false beliefs. It's up to you what you do now. You can dig in and double down on the great and marvelous work bloggers views and get all pissed off that someone online has the gaul to attack your sacred cow or you can reevaluate and look for the truth. Like I told Matt, you won't find the truth by rejecting scripture such as the D&C, Pearl of Great Price, or JST. You have to embrace the truth even if it's not what you want to believe. You'll have to decide for yourself what you want. The truth or an easy answer that allows you to not have to deal with doctrines and facts that are uncomfortable today.

Eric Kuntz said...

MC,

Your seem really triggered. I am sorry about that.

I am not "pissed-off", upset or anything of the sort. I have no agenda but the truth. The truth doesn't need defending it just is.

The problem with the D&C is that is completely contrary to the BOM & the Holy Bible. A person has to have cognitive dissonance to believe both the D&C and the BOM are from the same God. I choose the BOM.

btw, I was wrong when I said JS was a false prophet. He never was a prophet to begin with, so he couldn't be a false prophet.

MC said...

Eric,

The truth does require defending when it is under attack by people who twist the words of God and add in their own ideas.

It is human nature to twist the truth to fit what one believes or wants to believe.

Christ said that we are to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. He is the one who gave Joseph the revelations in the D&C. You reject that. That's too bad.

The D&C certainly contains different information and certainly more information in many cases than is contained in the BOM, but it does not contradict the BOM as you say.

One does not have to reject the BOM to accept the D&C as you imply.

Also Joseph Smith produced revelations that state he is like Moses and that God was speaking through him. He had many prophecies and worked mighty miracles. That's a prophet my friend. Sorry you feel the need to try reject that. He was either a true prophet of God or a false prophet working for Satan period.

David said...

DeeLynn,

There are some major flaws with your argument against scripture. If all scripture is written by fallible men (which point I will concede is true) and cannot be trusted because it does not mesh with the teachings of Christ, then where do you get your source for the teachings of Christ? We don't have anything the He wrote, and even if we did, where do you expect you would find it? Would it be in scripture that you reject?

All of Christ's teachings in the New testament and BOM were written by men. How can you presume to believe any of it based on your viewpoint that scriptures cannot be trusted. How do you know what Christ taught outside of things written by men? Does He speak to you directly? If so, then boldly make that claim and concisely state what it is He has taught you so others can study and ponder those messages? How can you accept the teachings attributed to Christ in the New Testament when they were written by men some 30+ years after He lived? How can you even trust that He lived when all you have is records written by men?

Eric Kuntz said...

Here is just one but also the most fundamental contradiction between the D&C and the BOM.

1 And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

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–

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–

4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God (Msh 15:1-5)

The words of Abinadi are so clear that no further explanation is needed. A child could read them and tell you exactly what they mean.

If you don't have the humility of a child and are still blinded by the precepts of men, here is the truth: The Son’s flesh is subject to the Father’s Spirit and they are ONE GOD.

This is what the D&C says about the nature of God:

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

Cast aside Abinadi words at your own peril.

MC said...

Interesting that you should pick a verse from the current D&C to scrutinize that wasn't in any edition of the D&C printed in Joseph's lifetime. In fact that verse wasn't a revelation. It is an excerpt from the minutes of a meeting in Nauvoo in which Joseph Smith was correcting some errors in doctrine taught by Orson Pratt. It wasn't canonized until years later by Brigham Young. Even if you could prove this verse false (which you can't) it would do nothing to discredit the revelations in the D&C which the Lord gave to Joseph Smith.

Now let's address Abinadi's teachings just for the heck of it.

First off, Abinadi's statement about Christ being both the father and the son etc is not so plain that a child could tell you exactly what it means. It is very complex and gets into some deep theology.

I will try to explain it, since you are obviously confused as to what it means. You've stated in earlier comments that the Father and the Son are the same being. (Please correct me if I misunderstood your beliefs)

This is not correct and not what Abinadi is saying here.

Abinadi is speaking only about Christ here. Christ is the God who created heaven and earth. He did so under the direction of His Father. Even though the Father gets the glory for the work the Son did, the Son (Christ) is still the Father of heaven and earth in the sense that He is the one who literally created them. The earth and everything on it is the workmanship of Christ's hands. At the same time since the Father gets the glory and created these things through the power of the His only begotten Son he is also the Father of Heaven and Earth.

So when Abinadi says that God Himself will come down and atone for the sins of the world and take on flesh and that this is the very Eternal Father, he is only referring to Christ. He is not saying that there is only one God who plays the part of both Father and Son.

Now this is simple enough for a child to understand since it has been properly explained.

There is still more to it. I don't completely understand everything about the natures of the Father and the Son and their relationship, power, and glory. Hopefully some day I will be found worthy to gain this knowledge.

However one thing I do know is that the Son is a clone of the Father. He is exactly like the Father in every way. In fact he is the Father. He has the exact same DNA. This why he said that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him and that if one has seen Him one has seen the Father. Abinadi is referring to this in the rest of those verses you quoted.

Ponder on that for a while.

matt lohrke said...

MC -

Been thinking and pondering the "father/fathers" conundrum. I take back what I said before. "Father" does, in fact, appear to be the correct rendering. Taking Jacob 2/3 together has one whole, "father" is the appropriate word. Thanks for correcting me on that.

However, why was Lehi given that commandment?

Polygamy is still always bad. For this reason ("Wherefore," v. 25), the Lord led Lehi out of Jerusalem to raise up a righteous to Him. He had to isolate the Nephites from the evil practices in Jerusalem and "all the land of [my] people" which caused to daughters of Israel to cry to God. And remember, it was the Lamanite monogamy alone that stayed the Lord's hand from destroying them, despite their wickedness. It's that serious.

I think the reason Abraham and Jacob aren't mentioned is because there are extenuating circumstances in their cases. Not excuses--it was still wrong--but other people were involved. Sarai gave Hagar to Abraham and Abraham went along with it, so they were both at fault. They had agency and didn't wait on the Lord to fulfill his promises. Laban deceived Jacob by sending Leah instead of Rachel. Jacob had two wives and two concubines at the time of his wrestle with God, repentance, conversion, and new name. So on and so forth.

Isaac was never a polygamist, despite 132 charging him so. That should our first clue that 132 is, at the very least, uninspired or edited. While studying this I've found my LDS "scholars" referring to "Isaac's polygamy." Not so. Isaac is Christ-type. To my knowledge there's no biblical support for Moses practicing polygamy, either.

David and Solomon are an entirely different scenario. They were motivated by lust and carnal desire. The Nephites sought to "excuse themselves" because of David of Solomon.

The difference, I think, is the intents of the hearts of Abraham/Jacob vs. David/Solomon.

Lastly, I don't think provision for polygamy in the Law of Moses equates God's endorsement of the practice. The same way I don't think provision for slavery equates endorsement. As I understand it, those provisions were made to protect those people the Israelites abused because of their hard-heartedness and wickedness.

But as always, I could be wrong.

matt lohrke said...

A couple of interesting things I came across this weekend.

***

"It has often been pointed out, however, that those beliefs most commonly associated with Mormonism are nowhere to be found in that text (BOM). Those expecting an exposition of peculiarly Mormon doctrine will be disappointed." (Terryl L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon, Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 186)

"Despite the effort that went into the translation, Joseph Smith did not make the book the foundation of the church." (Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 1984, p. 142)

In his book The Great Apostasy, James E. Talmage wrote: "The ridicule heaped upon the early Church by the pagans on account of the simplicity of Christian worship has already received mention. The cause of reproach was none the less emphasized by Judaistic critics, to whom ritual and ceremony, formalism and prescribed rites, figured as essentials of religion. Very early in its history, the Church manifested a tendency to supplant the pristine simplicity of its worship by elaborate ceremonies, patterned after Judaistic ritual and heathen idolatries (and Masonic symbolism?)." (James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, Deseret Book, 1968, p. 113)

Is this what the Lord meant when referring the Gentiles rejecting the fullness of Gospel? Seems like we've turned "pristine simplicity" on its head, supplanting faith/repentance/baptism of water and fire with ritual, ceremony, and prescribed rites.

As the wise man said, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. Mormonism is not."

MC said...

Matt,

Thanks for the well thought out response.

Here's a few more thoughts.

I think if Jacob 2 were all that we had on the subject of polygamy I think you would potentially be right that it is always wrong. However there is a good amount of evidence to suggest that polygamy is not always wrong.

You make a good point about the difference in motivation for polygamy between David/Solomon and Abraham/Jacob.

You are right that polygamy out of lust and carnal desire is wrong. This is essentially committing whoredoms as Jacob points out in the BOM. The problem I see is that the Nephites were taking on wives and concubines to satisfy their carnal sexual lusts and not because of a command of the Lord or some righteous reason.

I would suspect that the people at Jerusalem Jacob was condemning for their polygamy were doing it out of lust as well. Which essentially means that even though God had authorized polygamy in the law of Moses, that things had gotten way out of hand and it was being used to commit whoredoms and not for a righteous purpose.

Now to address the polygamy of David and Solomon real quick. If Jacob 2 and D&C 132 are both true and from God then there is only one explanation. David and Solomon originally did not practice polygamy to fulfill their carnal sexual lusts. Originally their polygamy was for a righteous purpose. Then at some point this changed and they did do it out of sexual lust. In the case of David this was with Bathsheba and in the case of Solomon this was when he took pagan wives (or some time before that).

To me this is the only explanation that harmonizes all the scriptures. This also explains why Jacob condemns the Nephites for justifying their lustful polygamy by referring to the polygamy of David and Solomon. This also explains why God called the polygamy of David and Solomon an abomination and equated it with whoredoms in Jacob 2, while stating in 2 Samuel 12 and D&C 132 that he had given David his many wives and that this wasn't a sin, except for in the case of Bathsheba.

David said...

If you set aside D&C 132, do you have any other instance in which God appears to approve of polygamy? God never gave Hagar to Abraham. God never gave Jacob multiple wives. I think God often lets us have what we want to our own destruction.

Even if D&C 132 is inspired, do verses 58 - 65 sound like the same God speaking through Jacob? If Jacob leaves that small window open to explain why the Lord would command polygamy, then do these verses fall within that window?

matt lohrke said...

I was going to mention the language of 132. It's atrocious. I know people who have left the church because of 132 and I don't blame them.

I don't find anywhere in the record that God commanded David or Solomon to engage in polygamy, in righteousness or otherwise.

There's also a difference between prescriptive and descriptive scripture. I don't think God needs to spell everything out in black and white terms. The narrative itself shows us the ills of polygamy. This isn't my summation, as I'm not smart enough to figure this out:

Solomon: Solomon’s multiple marriages proved to be both his downfall and the downfall of Israel, which was split up as a direct consequence of Saul’s polygamy. It is therefore amazing that neither his son nor his grandson learned anything from this, but each went on to become polygamists in their own right. In fact 2 Chronicles 11:23 tells us that Solomon’s son and successor Rehoboam sought many wives for his 28 sons.

Abraham, Sarah and Hagar: Abraham’s bearing a son by Hagar brought nothing but trouble for everyone involved. From the time Hagar became pregnant there was tension and jealousy between her and Sarah. She despised Sarah (Genesis 16:4) who then treated Hagar so harshly that Hagar fled (v. 6). Later, because Hagar’s son Ishmael began to mock Isaac (Genesis 21:9), Sarah asked Abraham to drive them away (V. 10). This caused great anguish for Abraham, who cared for his son Ishmael (V. 11). All this ended only which ended only when God ordered Abraham to send Hagar and her son away. One can only imagine the depth of bitterness and resentment that this must have caused Hagar.

Jacob, Rachel and Leah: Because Jacob loved Leah less than Rachel (Genesis 29:30), God opened her womb, with the result that she bore four sons consecutively. Rachel who remained barren got very jealous of her sister and following in the footsteps of Sarah, got Jacob to give her children through her handmaid Bilhah, At this Leah, who apparently was not getting pregnant again, gave her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob to have even more children. There seemed to be no end to the strife and bitterness between the two sisters, with Leah obviously very unhappy because she thought herself “hated” and wanted sons to win the affections of her husband. This sad state of affairs came to a climax many years later when, because of the favoritism Jacob showed his favorite wife Rachel’s son Joseph, (Genesis 37:3), Joseph’s brothers took their revenge on him (V. 4) and sold him into slavery (V. 28).

Elkanah, Peninnah and Hannah: Elkanah loved his wife Hannah more than his wife Peninnah even though Peninnah had given him children and Hannah had not (1 Samuel 1:1–5). Hannah was severely provoked by Peninnah (1 Samueluel 1:6-7), which caused her no end of distress (v. 7).

David: The story of David, a man “after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; cf. 1 Kings 11:4) overflows with conflict and turmoil that stemmed from the affair with Bathsheba and the relationships and rivalry among David’s children by various wives. For example David’s firstborn Amnon raped his half sister Tamar, sister of Absalom [2 Samuel 13:1–20]. Absalom’s response is pure hatred (2 Samuel 13: 21–22), which leads him to kill Amnon in a complicated plot [2 Samuel 13: 28–29]. Later, Absalom revolts against his father David [2 Samuel 15:1–12] and publicly disgraces David by committing adultery with David’s concubines on the roof of the King’s palace in full view of Israel [2 Samuel 16:21–22]. Absalom is eventually murdered by David’s nephew Joab [2 Samuel 18:32-33]. At the end of David’s life Adonijah, another son by yet another wife, aspires to be king, causing more problems for David until Solomon (his son by Bathsheba) is finally crowned king of Israel [1 Kings 1:5–53].

Even after David's repentance, he dealt with war and death the rest of his days.

***

In our day we have our own history, FLDS, Warren Jeffs, UAB, Allreds, Kingstons, LeBarons, etc.

Nothing good ever comes from it.

MC said...

David,

Yes. Even without D&C 132 there is scriptural support for God at times approving of polygamy. In fact Martin Luther who knew the bible better than almost anyone reached the conclusion that polygamy was an acceptable form of marriage in the eyes of God. I think he thought it was better than monogamy, but I'd have to double check that.

The Bible says that God gave David his wives and that God would have given him more, but he decided to take Urriah's wife and have him killed.

2 Samuel 12

7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

As far as Abraham goes, the bible does not say whether or not God gave him Hagar to wife or commanded him to take her. Abraham could have prayed and asked if he should marry Hagar when Sara offered her to him, at which point the Lord could have commanded him to marry her. The bible does not tell us everything. It's a very brief and condensed history with most information missing. We only have a tiny tiny part of what happened available to us.

If not for the matter of Bathsheba, we probably wouldn't know that God had given David his other wives.

Now there is no place in the bible were God gives an authoritative rubber stamp of approval for the polygamy of Abraham and Jacob, but there is never a hint of condemnation for it either. The scriptures have nothing but good things to say about both of these men.

God gave rules governing polygamy in the law of Moses, which means he approved of it doesn't it? At the very least he allowed it and did not forbid it.

Moses also appears to have been a polygamist when he married an Ethopian women. Aaron and Miriam were chastised by God for denouncing Moses marriage to this woman.

It's important to remember that D&C 132 was received because Joseph Smith asked God why he justified the polygamy of Abraham, Jacob, and the ancient patriarchs.

Now as far as the message and tone of Jacob 2 and D&C 132 appearing to be very different almost as if from a different God, I would ask you this:

Does Christ sound the same in the Old Testament as in the New Testament? On the one hand he commanded the Israelites to massacre every living soul in certain wicked cities including little children and on the other he says to turn the other cheek and to never harm a child.

God can command whatever he wants to. He commanded Abraham to kill Isaac and sacrifice him in a similar manner as Abraham's father had tried to wickedly sacrifice him. Tell me how that made sense. It was a test for Abraham. Similarly polygamy was a test for Joseph Smith and the early saints as well.

Eric Kuntz said...

"I don't completely understand everything about the natures of the Father and the Son and their relationship, power, and glory. "

lol

my point exactly, you reject Abinadi's plain and simple teachings. Good luck with that.

MC said...

Eric,

I guess I should have expected that you'd reject the truth.

Abinadi's words are not plain and simple in those verses. No child would be able to understand and explain them. Please read those verses to a child and have them tell you what they mean. They won't be able to do it. You can't even do it.

I guess in the world you live in someone is rejecting scripture when they explain the meaning to you.

The relationship between the Father and the Son is complex. I think I understand it pretty good, but because I'm humble enough to admit that there is more about it that I still have to learn you mock me.

I guess I should learn not to cast my pearls before swine, because they will turn around and rend me.

You obviously are so entrenched in the false conclusions and doctrines of the great and marvelous work bloggers that you are not open to the truth. You'd rather misinterpret a few pet scriptures and use them to attack the truth. Too bad.

I get it though. You've walked a long way down the great and marvelous work bloggers' rabbit hole and may not be able to see anything else anymore.

When you decide you want to discuss truth and what the scriptures actually say and mean let me know. I'd be happy to openly discuss any and all scripture with a sincere and honest soul.

Eric Kuntz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric Kuntz said...

MC,

You are actually starting to sound reasonable now. You still make many assumptions about me, but I don't care about that. My only agenda is the truth.

Nothing you have said can be justified as true according to scripture. If you think it can, please provide some back-up from the BOM or Bible and then we would have something to discuss, until then it's just one man's opinion.

Also, Abinidi's concept of the nature of God, isn't a outlier. ALL scripture and all true prophets teach ONE GOD.

Eric Kuntz said...

Even JS taught ONE GOD until he changed his mind.

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

MC -

2 Samuel 12 is an interesting scripture to study.

I've read many commentaries on these verses and almost every single one of them states that Saul, so far as we know, had 1 wife and 1 concubine. There's no record that David married an of Saul's wives. David simply inherited Saul's kingdom.

Here's one of the commentaries:

"I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives—The phraseology means nothing more than that God in His providence had given David, as king of Israel, everything that was Saul's. The history furnishes conclusive evidence that he never actually married any of the wives of Saul. But the harem of the preceding king belongs, according to Oriental notions, as a part of the regalia to his successor."

Here's another commentary:

"At face value, this seems to suggest that God gave David multiple wives, and then stood ready to add to his harem with divine sanction. Of course, that’s precisely the problem with pressing Scripture into a wooden literal labyrinth, because—in truth—if Nathan’s words are anything at all, they are ironic. David had just murdered a man in order to have another woman appended to his harem. Despite the generosity of the very God who had made him sovereign ruler of the land, the king had stolen the wife of a servant and that to satisfy his carnal lust. Thus, in language that dripped with irony, Nathan the prophet pronounces judgment against Israel’s king. As such, 2 Samuel 12 hardly constitutes divine approval for the practice of polygamy."

What we have here in the Lord rebuking David through Nathan, saying, "Look, I've given you everything and would have given you more. But you're a chucklehead and messed up."

The interesting thing is that LDS.org has removed 2 Samuel 12:8 from their list of scriptural references under "Plural Marriage in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." (Well, I'm 99% sure it used to be there)

Think about it. :)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I don't believe there is any need to reconcile section 132 with other scriptures because it seems obvious that those parts in 132 that promote plural marriage are fraudulent -added sometime after the death of Joseph Smith. They don't fit with the rest. For some time the revelation refers to a man's wife (singular) then all of a sudden we hear about them in the plural.

I used to buy into D&C as a true revelation, but I don't anymore. Everything in those verses is completely contrary to Joseph's teachings that "spiritual wifery" as it was known then was a vile abomination.

MC said...

Eric,

Okay, you want scriptures, you got it.

However, first it is important to point out that I am not disputing that all true prophets have taught that there is ONE true God. There is ONE true God. So what does this mean? What does it mean to be one?

Here are two applicable definitions of one from the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary:

1. Single in number; individual; as one man; one book. There is one sun only in our system of planets.
2. Single by union; undivided; the same. The church is therefore one though the members may be many.

Either of these definitions or both could reasonably apply to the phrase ONE God.

So let’s look at some scriptures to determine which of these definitions fit.

3 Nephi 11

27 …verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

Okay, so not only are the Father and the Son one as Abinadi taught, the Holy Ghost is also one with the Father and the Son and all three make up ONE God.
Also Christ is in the Father and the Father is in Him. And they are one. What does that mean?

If they are one being how does this work? If the spirit of the Father is in the Son, how is the Son also in the Father and vice versa? Here’s where the clone thing is the only reasonable answer.

Whoever believes on the Son also believes on the Father. The Father will send the Holy Ghost to bear record of the Son, and he will also bear record of the Father.

This certainly sounds like three different beings working together as ONE God. They bear record of each other. The Father sends forth the Son and the Holy Ghost. How is He (the Father) going to do that if they are a single being? What would be the purpose?

3 Nephi 28

10 And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even AS the Father; and the Father and I are one;

Okay, so when we get to the kingdom of the Father (heaven) we will be as Christ is, who is AS the Father is. So here we have Christ saying that He is AS the Father and NOT THE Father. He also says that we will be like Him. So are we going to be like the Father in that we have a glorified resurrected body of flesh and bones as Christ has and as we will have after we are resurrected, or does Christ mean something else here? If it’s something else what is it?

MC said...

Remember what the scriptures say about the resurrection?

Alma 11

43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame…
45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.

What type of body does Christ have now that he is resurrected?

Luke 24

39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

So if we make it to the Kingdom of the Father we will be AS Christ is who is AS the Father is. We will have a resurrected body made of flesh and bones with our spirit dwelling inside of it, just as Christ does. And according to Christ this is AS the Father is. So what type of being is Father? He is like Christ is now and like how we will be after we are resurrected and enter His kingdom (if we are so privileged). Of course as Alma 11:44 states even the wicked shall have this same body after they are resurrected.

Okay so we have clarified that Christ is AS the Father is and is not THE Father. We have also clarified that if we enter the Father’s Kingdom we shall be AS BOTH of them are.

Now let’s look at what Christ means when he says that he and the Father are ONE and that He is in the Father and the Father in Him.
John 17
1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

MC said...

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Ponder on John 17 for a while. Read through that prayer. Is Christ praying to himself? Is one being praying to a by polar schizophrenic version of Himself? Was Christ with the Father in the beginning because He was the Father, but now He’s asking Himself to give Himself His glory back? Why is Christ looking up to heaven to pray to the Father if the Father is inside of Him and they are the same being? This doesn’t make any sense.

This is so simple a child could understand. The Father and the Son are separate beings. It is crystal clear. That’s not to say that a child we be able to understand all of the references to being one. It’s quite complex as you can see.

Those whom the Father has given Christ are to be one with Him and the Father even as He and the Father are one. Think about that for a while.

And yet even all of this does not fully explain the depth and complexity of the oneness between Christ and the Father. Christ is a clone of the Father. They are ONE God. They are the very same God. The Holy Ghost is also a clone of the Father, though he is as of yet only in Spirit form and does not have a physical body of flesh and bone. All of them are also one in purpose making them one God.

Also Adam is a clone of the Father, too. This is where the Adam God doctrine comes in. Eve is a clone of Adam (a female version) as she was taken from Adam’s rib. The Father, the Son, or both (not sure) took Adam’s rib to create Eve with his DNA, their DNA. We are literally God’s children and are destined to become like him in body. We also have the potential to become like him in spirit and be one with both the Father and the Son.

I know this is a lot of information, so you take your time pondering on it and thinking it over. I hope you will sincerely reevaluate your understanding of what it means that the Father Himself will come down and atone for the sins of the world and that the Father and the Son are ONE God. You say you don’t have an agenda and that the truth is all that matters to you. Well here it is. What are you going to do with it?

MC said...

Matt,

I guess polygamy is a hot button issue for you. I get it.

It is a very emotionally laden topic. It took me years of study to come to grips with it. On the one hand it does seem very evil to our 21st century minds. We are constantly exposed to sensuality on the radio, on TV, on billboards, in conversation, on the internet, it's everywhere.

Also, even though the world would have us believe that all manner of sexual perversion and vice is okay, it also tells us that polygamy is evil. Go figure. Two flaming homos wearing buttless chaps can grope each other in public and it's all good, but a man faithfully taking care of more than one wife is evil always evil. Never mind a men and women sleeping around and having abortions. This is all fine. But polygamy, that is always evil!

For this reason it is very hard for us to grasp the idea of a man having more than one wife for wholesome righteous reasons and not out of a carnal desire for more sexual partners to satisfy his lusts upon.

Read 2 Samuel 12 again. The parable that Nathan gives to David is comparing sheep to wives. David had many wives(sheep), but took the and only wife (sheep) of Urriah.

I also want to address some concerns you expressed about Joseph not building the church on the foundation of what is taught in the BOM.

This is simply not true. The church was established exactly as outlined in the BOM.

1. True faith in Christ
2. True and sincere repentance 3. Baptism by Immersion
4. Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost
5. The ordinance of the sacrament
6. The sending forth of apostles, elders and
seventy to preach the gospel without purse or script
7. The working of mighty miracles such as healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out devils through faith and priesthood authority from God
8. Having all things common to care for the poor and the needy
9. The ordaining of priests and teachers
10. Emphasis on the 10 commandments
11. Emphasis on the words of Christ taught in 3 Nephi
12. Emphasis on searching Isaiah as commanded by Christ in the BOM

There's more, but that should suffice.

Your concerned about similarities between the endowment and free masonry. Fine. The church was not built on this as a foundation. It has become a central part of Mormonism today, but it was not so originally. And like I said before. There is nothing inherently evil about it. It may very well be contained on the sealed portion of the BOM.

Plural marriage was also not the foundation of the church. This came later. Joseph Smith married in Fanny Alger in 1835 or 1836. Not much is known about their marriage. There is no evidence that Joseph married another wife until the end of 1841. It wasn't announced as official church doctrine until 1852. Even then only about 10% of the men were polygamists. Though it was hard many saints testified to the blessings that came from the sacrifice to live this principle.

You're right the FLDS groups today are a mess. The Allred group was relatively fine until recently. I don't know that any of the FLDS groups ever had God's authority to continue plural marriage. Perhaps they did for a time. I don't know. If anyone is authorized to practice plural marriage today it would almost certainly have to be outside of one of those groups because they are all messed up.

MC said...

I understand Rock. This is what Denver teaches these days. He used to teach that D&C 132 was a legit revelation received in stages. What he used to teach about it was very profound and right on target from what I remember. Haven't read his old blog in a while.

Spiritual wivery is an abomination. Plural marriage is not. Spiritually wivery is what John C. Bennett and the Higbee boys were doing in Nauvoo. It was essentially seducing women, usually younger naive women, but sometimes men's wives who were away such as Sara Pratt.

The sneaky man would tell the naive woman that Joseph had given him permission to secretly marry the woman. They would then have sex like an affair. In the case of Bennett he also promised the women that should they become pregnant he would perform an abortion using his skills as a doctor.

The wicked practice of spiritual wivery is nothing like plural marriage. Don't let the Prices pull the wool over your eyes.

matt lohrke said...

MC -

Polygamy actually isn't a hot button issue for me, only in so far as false beliefs prevent true faith. I don't care what people do, so long as they don't hurt anyone else (polygamy definitely hurts children, however). There's just zero biblical evidence God commanded Abraham, Jacob, David or Solomon to engage in polygamy, or that he condoned their works. But, of course, you're free to believe whatever want. I don't believe in a God who gives ownership of women to men like cattle and refers to them as "virgins." That's gross and offensive beyond measure.

Again, you're free to believe what you want. We'll just have to agree to disagree. That's fine with me. I don't have a dog in the fight. However, I'd willing to bet a significant sum of money it's never, ever re-introduced. God won't rob a woman of her agency--or virtue--by commanding her to marry a man she doesn't love. Repulsive through and through.

It's never coming back, at least not as authorized by God.

MC said...

Matt,

Yes we'll have to agree to disagree I guess. It's all good.

My understanding is that polygamy is coming back prior to and during the millennium based on Isaiah 4:1

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. God is not going to force you or any women to enter into plural marriage. He may command you to one day, who knows, but the choice will always be yours. Good does not force us to do anything.

I'll leave you with one last thought.

In the scriptures Christ compares his relationship to the church as being like the relationship of husband and wife. Christ being the husband and the church the wife.

In this relationship Christ can love all the members of the church and care for each one without being unfaithful to any one single member.

The apostle Paul taught that God put husbands before their wives and that husbands should love their wives even as Christ loved the church. Thus implying a similar relationship here. A truly righteous man can love and care for more than one wife. There are probably few men who can do it. I'm certainly not one of them.

Something to think about anyway.

Just remember if polygamy is always evil then Joseph Smith was a false or fallen prophet. You can put this on the shelf for the time being, which is not a bad idea since coming to grips with polygamy is not going to impact your eternal salvation in the here and now. Eventually you'll have to deal with it, but maybe you'll look at things differently down the road. Figuring out the answers to the tough questions is a work in progress. It is for me anyway. You don't have to understand everything right now. I sure don't. Take care.



matt lohrke said...

MC -

I've come to grips with it. I've dealt with it. I'm perfectly fine with where I stand on the issue. Whether or not Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet is ultimately irrelevant as Joseph Smith has no bearing my salvation. I have the Book of Mormon, which contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I have received multiple witnesses of its truthfulness. It's all I need.

But I appreciate your concern for the welfare of my soul.

Best.

P.S. Isaiah 4:1 rightfully belongs at the end of Isaiah 3, which foretells the destruction of Judah. The fulfillment has already long since come and gone. Isaiah 4:2 starts a new prophecy of Christ's time.

Skousen's Earliest Text groups 2 Nephi 13:25-26 and 2 Nephi 14:1 into one complete stanza (The corresponding scripture Nephi cites--Isaiah 3 and 4) the same way:

"Thy men shall fall by the sword an the mighty in the war
And her gates shall lament and mourn,
and she shall be desolate and shall sit upon the ground.
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying:
We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel,
only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach."

The NIV Bible also notes that Isaiah 4:2 begins a new prophecy.

This applies to Judah and Jerusalem's destruction during Isaiah's lifetime. It's got nothing to do with polygamy or plural marriage whatsoever. So don't worry about it, it's never coming back. I guarantee it.

MC said...

Matt,

You are correct that this particular verse in Isaiah fits better at the end of chapter 3. That's were Joseph Smith put it in the JST.

Having said that, the ancient prophets did not break their books into chapters and verses. It all flows together. Isaiah is certainly not in chronological order. His prophecies have multiple fulfillments as well. Christ said in the BOM that he spoke about everything touching on the house of Israel and that everything he wrote "has been and shall be." Thus the destruction he prophesied in Isaiah 3 will be fulfilled again in the future. Modern day Israel will be destroyed and led captive. This is the LDS church.

The destruction of Judah and Jerusalem is a type and shadow of things to come.

The abomination of desolation happens twice. Go read Joseph Smith Matthew (JST of Matthew 24), it's all explained in there.

Neither of us should stressing out over future polygamy. We'll cross that bridge when (or if) it comes.

As far as you not believing in a God that gives men multiple wives and refers to pure and virtuous wives as virgins, I understand.

What God do you believe in? Do you believe in a God that comands his people to massacre women and children? Do you believe in a God that kills a man for trying to steady the arc or for retaining property they were supposed to concecrate? Do you believe in a God that commands a man to kill a helpless man lying in the street and then obtain scripture through dishonest means? Do you believe in a God that is coming to destroy the wicked and come with garments colored red to symbolize that he has killed the wicked?

The true nature and character of God is not just the warm loving God that we learn about in primary. He is complex and abides by laws that seem strange to us. His ways are not our ways.

matt lohrke said...

MC -

Even if Isaiah 3 is a type and shadow of things to come, it still has nothing to do God-sanctioned plural wives or polygamy.

I don't believe God is complex. The Gospel of Christ is given in plain simplicity. He made it so that we may easily follow it. We make it needlessly complex. He doesn't work in secret. He doesn't require or give secret codes/handshakes to come into his presence. He gives freely and openly to all those who diligently seek after Him (this includes scripture study, of course). I believe that he laid down His life for us and took it up again that we may be redeemed. I believe in His matchless power, grace, mercy and glory. I believe in a God of miracles. Above all, I believe He loves us. All He asks of us is that we turn to him, be baptized with water and fire, keep his commandment and love God and our fellow man the rest of our days. In His own words, "the same shall be saved." It's that simple.

If you believe in a mysterious God who difficult to understand or who deals in esoteric knowledge, I sincerely wish you well on that path.

I'll relate an experience told me by the person who participated in it. My friend had a close friend who was near death. My friend drove out to see her friend. When my friend arrived at the hospital, her friend was in and out of consciousness, slipping in and out from behind the veil. When my friend's friend regained consciousness, this conversation happened:

"Have you talked with Jesus?"
"Oh yes."
"What did he say to you?"
"He said, 'People try to make up a bunch of rules about me, but it's really all about love.'"

On this hangs all the laws and the prophets.

MC said...

Matt,

I don't think our views are as different as you think. The gospel is simple. It's hard, but it's simple.

I laid it out pretty good. We must have the poor love of Christ. Without that we are nothing.

We must be baptized by immersion by proper authority and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We must also keep all the commandments. It is about love. If we love Christ we will keep the commandments. If we don't keep the commandments we don't truly love him.

Sometimes God asks really hard things of people as a test to see if they truly love him and will do what he says no matter what.

This was the case with Abraham being asked to offer up Isaac. This command of God would have gone against everything Abraham would have understood as right. He new darn well that sacrificing his son was not part of the simple gospel of Christ and that it was more like the Satanic ritual of sacrificing virtuous men, women, and children to idols.

Yet what did Abraham do? He did it any way because he knew it came from God and he would do whatever God told him no matter what it was. And guess what it was counted unto him for righteousness. He passed the test. Had he refused he would have failed.

You can believe that is all nonsense. That's up to you. You can believe in any God you want. I believe in the God of the scriptures and I make excuses for it.

MC said...

I meant pure love and that I make no excuses for believing in the God described in the scriptures.

MC said...

I also meant to say that you laid it out pretty good. Sorry I should have proof read before I hit publish

matt lohrke said...

I caught your drift. ;) I'm glad we agree on the important things.

Eric Kuntz said...

"the clone thing" Seriously man, stick to the scriptures.

You do the shotgun approach, this approach if for those who just throw up everything at once and hope something will stick. It's not a serious approach to determining truth. But I will answer a few of your questions.

Q-" The Father sends forth the Son and the Holy Ghost .How is He (the Father) going to do that if they are a single being?"

A- Let's go back to Abinadi's words, it's really simple to understand actually. "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"–(Mosiah 5:2)

When God (singular) is born in the flesh as a baby and lives on earth as a man, He is CALLED the Son of God. This simply means that a part of the Father’s Spirit is born into the body of a child so God can come down to earth AS the Son. When this happens God is only called the Son of God. It's like any of us, we are called son, father, uncle, nephew, cousin, etc. we all have different roles. It doesn't mean there is a different person for each of those roles, they are all the same person.

Q-"So are we going to be like the Father in that we have a glorified resurrected body of flesh and bones as Christ has and as we will have after we are resurrected, or does Christ mean something else here? If it’s something else what is it?"

A- First off, The Father has a spiritual body, and not a body of flesh & bone. The corrupt Mormon idea of The Father having a physical body is completely un-scriptural. Second, yes it's something very different. Without a true understanding of the resurrection as taught by the scriptures and not by the precepts of men, there is little chance to understanding this doctrine.

MC said...

Eric,

I guess I can't do right by you. You accuse me of not providing scriptures to support my explanation of Abinadi's words, but then when I provide scriptures that verify what I said, that doesn't cut it for you either.

I was not using the "shotgun approach" hoping something will stick. I was being thorough so there would be no misunderstanding. I guess I overwhelmed you. I thought you were well read in the scriptures and would appreciate a lot of support especially from the BOM. I guess not. I'll try to dumb it down.

Let's set the clone thing aside for a moment and just look at those scriptures I quoted.

Christ said in 3 Nephi 28:10 that he is AS the Father. He said we shall be AS he is, and he is even AS the Father is.

It is completely clear that he is not THE Father. He is AS the father and we can be AS he is, and in turn AS the Father is.

Go on explain that one and make it fit your idea that they are one being.

You said "When God (singular) is born in the flesh as a baby and lives on earth as a man, He is CALLED the Son of God. This simply means that a part of the Father’s Spirit is born into the body of a child so God can come down to earth AS the Son. When this happens God is only called the Son of God. It's like any of us, we are called son, father, uncle, nephew, cousin, etc. we all have different roles. It doesn't mean there is a different person for each of those roles, they are all the same person."

You lost me here.

First off, please provide a scripture that says that a portion of the Father's spirit took on flesh and became the Son? I'm quite curious how you plan to support that one.

Your little family role thing doesn't stick either. Sure I can be a father and son at the same time, but not to myself. I'm not my own father or my own son. I don't carry on a conversation with myself and play both parts. I don't tell people to talk to one of my roles in the name of the other role.

Now I suppose that if I talk to my one of my sons, in a sense I'm talking to myself because he has my DNA.

Christ has a body of flesh and bones according to Luke 24:39 and we will one day be AS he is, and he is AS the Father is. I don't see how it's not clear from this that the Father must also have a body of flesh and bones. It is quite logical. Care to venture another explanation to what Christ said in 3 Nephi 28:10?

You accuse me of being blinded by the precepts of men and not understanding the scriptures so please enlighten me.

Tell me why Christ is praying to himself in John 17.

Tell me why Christ instructs us to pray to the Father in his name if they are the same being.

Tell me what Christ is really saying in John 17:21-23 as he's apparently praying to himself.

"That they all may be one; as thou art in me, and I in thee, that they may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou lovest me."

Is Christ saying that each of us will be literally inside of his body or he will be inside our bodies and all of us will become one being with his split personality of Father and Son?

When he says that the Father loves him, does that mean that part of the Father's spirit in Heaven loves the part that's in the temporal body of Christ? Did one part of the Father's spirit send the other part?

Also since you accuse me of making assumptions about you, lets set the record straight. I don't want to have false assumptions about you. Have you seriously studied the great and marvelous work blog or are you one of their bloggers?

You seem to believe just as they do, so I assume you are connected to them somehow. If I assume falsely please set the record straight.

matt lohrke said...

MC - I don't know if this is correct, but here's how I understand it:

Pre-mortal Christ = God, Very Eternal Father (very = to a high degree, but not the highest)
Mortal Christ = Son

"Very Eternal Father" and "Son" are titles or designations for the same person: Christ.

Like Eric said, when I'm with my mother, I'm her son. With I'm with my nieces and nephews, I'm their uncle. But I'm always Matt.

Christ is the Creator (Father). There is nothing that wasn't created by Him. He gave the Law of Moses. He condescended from the Heavens and was born of Mary (Became the Son). He laid down His life and took it up again. He effectuated the atonement and the resurrection. We will stand before Him to be judged.

Everything is Christ's domain and doing. It's all His show.

His Father (which may be a title, I don't know) only testifies of the Son vocally, as was done in Bountiful. (Again, I don't know if this correct). This is why I put the most trust in Joseph's first and only hand-written account of the First Vision. There he only mentions "The Lord," not two personages. The appearance of the Lord (singular) is consistent with other scriptural accounts (Brother of Jared, Mormon, Nephi, Jacob, etc). I'm not aware of any instance in which two personages appear, but I could be wrong.

It definitely takes some careful reading...


Eric Kuntz said...

MC,

10 And for this cause ye shall have a fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one; (3 Nephi 28)

Did you keep reading to the end of of this verse? Where Christ says "... the Father and I are one." What more do you need? Do you not believe Christ?

And it's not the "one in purpose" Mormon BS. That 'doctrine' is completely un-scriptural. (and btw, I was Mormon for 40 years, so you don't need to explain this 'doctrine' to me, I was blinded by the precepts of men also.)

"First off, please provide a scripture that says that a portion of the Father's spirit took on flesh and became the Son?" I already did, at least twice. I'll try again, step by step:

1 And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

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–

I'll try to explain... God himself (The Father, The Creator of all things in Heaven and in Earth, The God of the Universe, The Almighty God,etc.) comes down to earth. How does He come down to Earth? By taking on flesh (see verse 2) (he dwells in flesh) Who's flesh? A baby's flesh. How does he do this? A portion of God's spirit (only a portion, the balance stays as God the Father in the universe) When this happens, this man (baby grows into a man) is called "the Son of God" At his point, this man, this flesh, is both the Father & the Son. How? He is the Son because of the flesh of the man and he is the Father because of the portion of God's spirit is in this man. (see verse 3, it's right there)

"Tell me why Christ is praying to himself in John 17. Tell me why Christ instructs us to pray to the Father in his name if they are the same being. Tell me what Christ is really saying in John 17:21-23 as he's apparently praying to himself."

Let's not limit God. First your have to understand that God is a spirit.

Here is just a few examples from the scriptures, it would take pages and pages to list them all.

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:1)

2 The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. (2 Sam 23:2)

26 And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit? 27 And he said, Yea. 28 And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth? (Alma 18)

Notice these scriptures say "God is a spirit" not "God has a spirit" Because I know you would say "Of course God has a spirit" That is not what this being stated, what is being stated is that God IS a spirit.

I am just a simple student of the scriptures. That's all.

Eric Kuntz said...

More from the Word of God about the true nature of God.

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

27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. (3Nep 11:27)

36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one. (3Nep 11:36)

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

MC said...

Eric,

I appreciate that you are using multiple scriptures this time and not just repeating Abinadi's words over and over.

I understand why you interpret the scriptures the way you do, but your missing the point.

You didn't produce a scripture which says that a PORTION of the Father's spirit entered into a baby and the REST stayed in heaven. Obviously this would have to be the case in order for your ideas to work, but not a single scripture supports this.

You insist that when Christ says that he and the Father are one, this means literally the same being. This could be true except for the other scriptures I shared that show that this is not what Christ means by he and the Father being one. Did you even read 3 Nephi 28:10 and John 17?

Christ is AS the Father is. Why would he say that he is AS the Father if he is the Father? Why would he say that when we get to the Father's kingdom we will be AS Christ is, who is AS the Father is?

You haven't answered this yet. Frankly I don't see how you can explain this one away.

Then in John 17 Christ is asking the Father to make the true believers one as he and the Father are one. You honestly don't see that Christ clearly defines he and the Father being one differently than you are? Christ is not saying that all the true believers are going to become one being?

If Christ had just said that the believers are to be one and left it at that, you might be able to say that he meant they should be united while he and the Father could still be one being. However when he says that the believers are to be one as he and the Father are one, that option goes away.

Christ and the Father are one, they are one united God. The Holy Ghost is one with them, too. Together they are one God. However it is crystal clear that they are not one being.

Even though you are wrong about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be only one being, you are correct that they are one to a greater degree than just being one in purpose.

You mock me for saying that Christ is a clone of the Father. That's fine. It goes against your beliefs so you reject it. I get it. I'm sure there's more to it than him being a clone, but that's just the simplest way to explain it.

Here's another scripture that is quite problematic for your interpretation about there being only one being that is God, and that this single being created the earth.

Genesis 1

26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness

Did you get that? OUR image and OUR likeness. Our means more than one.

If God is a single being, who the heck is he talking to here?

If your theory of a portion of God's spirit seperating and entering a baby at time of the birth of Christ were true, you would now have to say that God's spirit was already separated at the creation. So what roles are these two split personalities of God playing here? Christ wasn't born for at least 4 thousand years so it couldn't be Father talking to Son if your explanation of God playing different roles and praying to himself while part of him is mortality is true.

Do have an answer to explain this?

As far as the Father being a spirit is concerned, only one of the scriptures you quoted says that God is a spirit, and Joseph Smith revised that one in his inspired revision of the bible. The others are referring to the Holy Ghost or the premortal Christ.

Christ said that he only does what he has seen the Father do. Thus when Christ laid down his life and took it up again, he was following what the Father had done previously.

I know all of these is considered blasphemy or at least heresy to orthodox Christians, but it's what the scriptures say.

MC said...

Matt,

Yes you are always you even though you may be a son, father, uncle, grandfather etc all at the same time. The point I made to Eric is that you are not your own father or son. You don't talk refer to yourself as Father and carry on a conversation with yourself do you?

Yes Joseph Smith only mentions talking to the Lord in his first attempted rendering of his vision as a youth. That's no big deal to me. Who did he talk to and who gave him instructions? It was the Lord. The different accounts of the first vision don't bother me one bit.

You are correct that Father and Son are titles. Christ is the Father of Heaven and Earth because he created them. This is what I explained to Eric as well.

Christ was already referred to as the only begotten of the Father or the son of God before he was born. So yes he can have multiple titles at once. He has many titles, Lord, master, savior, redeemer, Holy One of Israel, etc.

Having said that, Christ is not his own Father. He was not praying to himself.

This a heresy that became entrenched at the time of the Nicean council.

matt lohrke said...

MC - I agree. I don't believe he was praying to himself or thanking himself for giving him the righteous Nephites. I don't know how His father fits into all of this, only that we're supposed to pray to Him in the name of Christ.

I'm still trying to figure it all out...

David said...

Matt,

Acts 7:55-56 are one instance in which two beings are seen. How can Jesus stand on the right hand of God, or immediately to God's right, if He is there by Himself?

matt lohrke said...

David, good point. What is meant by "the right hand of God?" Could it be, pethaps, metaphorical or or otherwise representative of something else?

David said...

I believe what it says is what it is. He saw more than one individual.

matt lohrke said...

Here are a few things I've found. Take it or leave it at your pleasure. ;) (Disclaimer: I don't claim these are correct. In weighing the evidence and bouncing it off the BOM, it makes the most sense, but I reserve the right to change my mind.)

http://altupc.com/altupc/articles/rh.htm

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2015/06/13/what-does-the-right-hand-symbolize-or-mean-in-the-bible/

http://www.biblemeanings.info/Words/Body/Right_hand.htm

http://www.letusreason.org/onenes10.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_hand_of_God

There are many more if you decide to dig deeper...




MC said...

Excellent reference David. That's a perfect example of Christ and the Father being seperate beings. I was going to use that one with Eric, but I hadn't gotten to it yet.

Matt, it's good to dig deeply into the scriptures and search out the mysteries, but I would be really careful with some of those commentaries. There are so many opinions out there and people have all sorts of agendas in trying to wrest the scriptures to fit what they want to believe.

Christ being on the right have God is both literal and symbolic. Of course Christ not constantly just hanging out sitting next to the Father at his right side.

Nevertheless when the two appear to someone in a vision, Christ is at the Father's right side. This symbolizes among other things that the Father is well pleased with him and that he has been exalted.

Certainly one can get pretty deep into what it means to be at the right hand of God, but under no circumstances is a single being sitting at the right hand of himself, whether literally or symbolically.

matt lohrke said...

MC -

Yes, there are so many opinions, including LDS Inc., yours, and a million others. Your opinion is no more valid than mine or anyone else's because in the end they're all just opinions. And be careful of LDS commentaries/interpretations, as their track record leaves a lot to be desired.

Like I said, take it or leave it. I'll continue to dig into the mysteries.

I'll leave it with this: what is the scriptural pattern set forth in the Book of Mormon, the most correct book on earth and foundation of our religion regarding visions of Deity?

Eric Kuntz said...

I just want to second what Matt said about the mysteries.

LDS Inc. brainwashes its members to avoid the mysteries found in scripture. This ideas is in open rebellion to the BOM itself.

The mysteries are vitally important, we can't even understand the true nature of God without understanding the mysteries contained in the scriptures.

Nephi's view of the mysteries:

...yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record... (1 Nephi 1:1)

...and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore...(1 Nephi 2:16)

I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things... if it so be that they repent and come unto him. For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost...(1 Nephi 10:17-19)

And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction. (1 Nephi 15:24)

Now compare Nephi's instruction with good old Bruce McConkie: "Leave the Mysteries Alone"

MC said...

Matt,

Of course my opinions are no more valid than than the opinions of others, unless of course mine agree with the scriptures and the opinions of others do not. The scriptures are what every man's doctrines should be measured against.

I try my best to avoid dealing in opinions as much as possible and strive to deal only in verifiable truth.

I accept the BOM, Bible, Pearl of Great Price, and D&C as scripture. I also accept Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God.

That's not to say that I'm blind to the fact we have received the scriptures through imperfect men and that there are faults or flaws in the scriptures because of this. The bible has the most shortcomings, though most of these can be overcome by comparing the bible to the other scriptures and looking at the original Hebrew and Greek for help. We are also blessed to have the Joseph Smith translation, which is an invaluable resource.

You're right that LDS commentaries should not be trusted as authoritative. All commentaries are from men, not God, unless they were written through the power of the Holy Ghost.

One can certainly learn a lot from studying commentaries, if one carefully compares every claim to the scriptures and verifiable history. I have learned a lot from false ideas that people peddle in commentaries, because I compare them to the scriptures. It helps me grow in understanding, when I can disprove the philosophies of men with the scriptures. Other times I learn new truths from commentaries that can be verified in the scriptures.

I'm not really sure what you're referring to when ask "what is the scriptural pattern set forth in the Book of Mormon...regarding visions of Deity?"

I'm assuming that you're questioning the notion that the Father and Son have ever appeared to mortal man together. (If this is incorrect please correct me)

In first Nephi 1 Lehi sees both the Father on his throne and the Son descending.

Also it's important to keep in mind that the Old Testament prophets primarily dealt with the premortal Christ, not the Father. All of the visions that are explained in detail in the BOM are from the Old Testament period.

To my knowledge Christ was not referred to as being on the right hand of God until after his atonement and resurrection. This is when people saw Him and the Father together in visions with Christ at the right hand of the Father. As I said before Christ being on the right hand of God is largely symbolic, yet when the two appear to someone in a vision Christ is literally on the right hand of the Father. When holy men have had visions, they relay exactly what the have seen to the best of their ability. Thus when Stephen related that he saw the heaven's opened with the son of man standing on the right hand of God, that's exactly what he saw.

MC said...

Eric,

Yes Bruce R. Mcconkie was completely wrong in what he said. He knew a lot about the scriptures and doctrine, but he got a lot wrong, too.

Yes we should seek out the mysteries, though we have to grasp the milk before we can handle the meat, lest we choke on it.

I notice you still haven't attempted to explain 3 Nephi 28:10, John 17, or Genesis 1:26.

You also haven't set the record state regarding any connection you may have to the great and marvelous work bloggers.

Have you given up and decided since you can't explain these things you'll attack the LDS using a false statement by Mcconkie?

Why not explain the problems the scriptures bring out in your views about the nature of God?

That's a more pressing issue.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
Although you and I often differ in our interpretation of scripture and history, I have always appreciated that you choose your words carefully. That's why I'm calling you out for this slip: "Joseph Smith married Fanny Alger in 1835 or 1836. Not much is known about their marriage.

Not much is known about it because there was no "marriage." Hell, we don't even have an idea about what YEAR the sketchy transaction is said to have occurred. As you admit, not much is known about it -whatever it was- but it's clear even Emma did not consider it a marriage. If anything took place that day, it was a priesthood sealing, not a marriage.

Brigham Young, Heber Kimball, et.al. are the ones who confused "sealings" with "marriage" even as we still do in the temple today when two people who haven't even been married yet are "sealed" for time and all eternity.

Joseph was killed before even he was able to explain the purpose or meaning of priesthood sealings, but it is clear from what we do know that Joseph never proposed to insert himself sexually between a man and his wife when he performed a sealing ordinance on their behalf. What the ordinance was intended to do was to connect BOTH husband and wife to him and to each other in a long line intended to connect all the faithful in some kind of priesthood chain going all the way back to Adam.

That's the part we don't fully understand: the purpose of that chain of connections. What we CAN say without fear of contradiction was that Joseph Smith preached vigorously against all manner of adultery, whether it was called by some "Spiritual Wifery," "Plural Marriage," or any other form of what he called an abomination. He denounced all such practices with every fiber of his being.

Whether you believe Joseph practiced plural marriage or not, I think it's important to base our statements only on what contemporary accounts prove Joseph did and what he taught, and not on the rumors and hearsay that circulated about him forty or more years after he was gone.

MC said...

Rock,

I respect your passionate defense of Joseph Smith and your belief that he never taught or practiced plural marriage, I really do.

I absolutely agree with you that "Joseph never proposed to insert himself sexually between a man and his wife when he performed a sealing ordinance on their behalf."

He did on at least one occasion test a man by asking him if he would give his wife to Joseph. This was the case with Heber C Kimball. It was only a test however. I would suspect that Joseph was similarly testing William Law with his wife, but instead of passing the test William flipped out, started what he believed to be a reformed version of Mormonism, and wrote the Nauvoo Expositor. The rest is history.

I'm not going to attempt to tackle the things you said about the law of adoption, sealings, marriage, etc.

I know that comes from Denver's lecture on polygamy. I read it several years ago. I would have to read it again and refresh myself with all of the things Denver said and then dissect each one, one at a time. I don't have the time nor the desire to do that.

So I'll just share a few quick thoughts.

Yes Joseph did vigorously preach against adultery till the end of his life. He also denounced spiritual wivery and called it either adultery or fornication I believe.

Scripturaly it would be fornication for a married man to have sex with an unmarried woman besides his wife. If he has sex with another man's wife then it would be adultery.

As I stated before adultery and spiritual wivery are not the same thing as plural marriage. I'm sure you'll continue to dispute this.

Abraham and Jacob were not adulterers. The Lord was also not authorizing adultery when he set forth laws governing polygamy in the law of Moses. The law of Moses forbid adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, etc, but allowed for polygamy. We need to keep things straight and not just throw plural marriage in the same pot with spiritual wivery and adultery. They are not the same thing.

You said that you "think it's important to base our statements only on what contemporary accounts prove Joseph did and what he taught, and not on the rumors and hearsay that circulated about him forty or more years after he was gone."

I think your taking a hardline stance that is unreasonable here. First of all it is hard to definitively "prove" a lot of things using both primary and secondary sources. Then if we limit the primary sources to only contemporary accounts, it's even harder. I mean shoot contemporary journals and letters regarding eye witness accounts of the same event will contradict each other often times.

Now as it happens we do have a few contemporary accounts of Joseph's relationship with Fanny. Oliver Cowdery was convinced Joseph had had an affair with her and wrote a letter to his brother Warren stating as much. There are a couple of other contemporary evidences as well.

So if we use only contemporary accounts here, it would appear likely that Joseph had an affair with Fanny. Is that what you want to believe? Or should we look at ALL of the available evidence to determine as best as we can what really happened.

Mosiah Hancock stated that his father had married Joseph and Fanny in the barn, and that this was the "transaction" Emma witnessed between the two of them. This was obviously in response to statements by William McClellan, which he claimed he got from Emma in 1847.

So right here we have to decide a few things. Are William McClellan and Mosiah Hancock both full of it and liars? Are they both honest men relaying what the know to the best of their abilitiesm or is one of them a liar or mistaken?

Since we can more or less harmonize the two accounts, it's pretty safe to assume that both men are telling the truth. Especially since they are from two different camps.

MC said...

Of course there is other evidence available as well to give us a pretty clear idea of what likely happened between Joseph and Fanny. You can read all about it here:

http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/plural-wives-overview/fanny-alger/

You can also read all about it at mormomthink, though that site takes the stance that Joseph had an affair and impregnated Fanny, who was then sent away by Emma.

The evidence really only leads to these two conclusions, an affair or a marriage.

I chose marriage. So did Denver Snuffer in his second lecture. He boldly defended Joseph's relationship with Fanny, calling it a marriage.

Denver declared that Christ told him what to say in the 10 lectures, so it is very strange that he would defend Joseph and Fanny and say they were married if this is not true.

Of course as you know I think Denver is deceived and not what he claims. The point is that even he said it was a marriage originally. That should mean something to you.

I doubt we'll get anywhere in our on again off again debate over whether or not Joseph taught and practiced plural marriage.

I'm still holding out a sliver of hope, that you'll come to realize that authorized plural marriage is not adultery or spiritual wivery and that you don't have to dig in your heals and "defend" Joseph's honor in regards to this practice.

He did nothing wrong. The Lord commanded him to take on more wives, so he reluctantly did it. He passed his Abrahamic test. He was a mighty prophet of God, one of the greatest who ever lived.

He was also a polygamist. The evidence for this is overwhelming. There are many, many primary sources that confirm this. Some of them are contemporary. Many are reminisces. The fact that they come from both sources friendly to Joseph and those hostile to him really cements it.

It has been proven that he had wives besides Emma. These women were sealed to him as wives and not as daughters. In order for Denver's law of adoption theory to work, they would have had to have been sealed to him as daughters. These women all understood themselves to be Joseph's wives.

Sorry Rock, I know this is something you feel very strongly about, but you're mistaken. Joseph Smith introduced plural marriage and practiced it. The case for this was closed along time ago.

Eric Kuntz said...

MC,

I have not given up, you crack me up! The truth does not need me to defend it, but I'll get back to you sometime.

I do want to say that you are absolutely correct about JS and his adulterous life. He was a polygamist and a adulterous. He makes Warren Jeffs look like Russel M. Nelson.

MC said...

Eric,

More unsubstantiated attacks as always.

I just showed how authorized plural marriage is not adultery from the scriptures.

Then you accuse Joseph Smith of adultery based on his practice of plural marriage. Unbelievable.

Your little anti-Mormon tactics don't work on me. I actually read the scriptures and study out the deeper doctrines so good luck trying to peddle your nonsense on me.

I'll be right here ready to destroy any weak evidence you try to present for your case. I seriously doubt you'll even try to use the scriptures to back your claims. You haven't got a leg to stand on.

Eric Kuntz said...

Only One God...(because the scriptures say so):

Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. (Isa 44:6)

...Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. (Isa 44:8)

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: (Mark 12:32)

I and my Father are one. (John 10:30)

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph 4:6)

...I am the Lord; and there is none else. (Isa 45:18)

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)

...And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (2Nep 31:21)

MC said...

Eric,

If those were the only scriptures we had about God, I would say that a strong case could be made that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are a single being. It wouldn't be definitive, but I certainly would have a hard time disproving it.

However, we have many more scriptures on the matter and quite a few of those make it clear that though the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, they are not single being.

Once again I will refer you to John 17 and 3 Nephi 28:10. These clearly show that Christ defines he and the Father being one differently than being a single being. According to Christ's own words we can be one with him and one with the Father in the same way that they are one with each other.

Do you deny Christ's words?

I could quote you many, many more scriptures that show that Christ is literally the son of the Father and not just a part of the Father who took on flesh.

There's no point in me doing this. You haven't been able to address the handful of scriptures I have already shared with you.

I will wait for you to explain 3 Nephi 28:10, John 17, Genesis 1:26, and Acts 7:55-56. Once you explain how those scriptures can be reconciled with idea of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost being a single being we can discuss the mounds of other evidence in the scriptures.

MC said...

Eric,

You know what else is interesting?

You haven't set the record straight regarding your connection to the great and marvelous work bloggers.

I'm pretty sure I know why. If you admit that you got your beliefs from them you lose a lot of credibility. You would basically be admitting that you have exchanged your blind trust in LDS inc for blind trust in a handful of online bloggers. Either way you're still blinded by the precepts of men.

I just double checked at the great and marvelous work website, and your statements align with there's to a T.

They even use the Joseph Smith-Warren Jeffs comparison just like you did. Coincidence?

MC said...

I'll tell you what, the great and marvelous work website is the work of the devil. It is so crafty and so cunning.

The devil knows that the LDS church is in apostasy and that because of this an honest member who is searching for the truth will see that something is wrong.

The devil also knows that the LDS church has for many years taught a whitewashed version of our history in an attempt to become a mainstream church.

The devil also knows that he has a whole army of anti-Mormon atheists and well meaning evangelical Christians that are very good at destroying the faith of naive Mormons who aren't well versed in the scriptures and true church history.

The devil also knows that there are Mormons out there who won't take the bait of the anti-Mormon atheists and Evangelical Christians, because they have a firm testimony in the BOM.

The devil knows that converts to Mormonism and most active faithful members in general have prayed about the BOM and received the witness from God that it is true. Because of this many will not renounce their faith in God or the truths he restored through Joseph Smith, in spite of the poisonous tactics of the anti-Mormons.

So how does he ensnare and deceive this group? The answer is the great and marvelous work website and other groups who profess a belief in the BOM and other aspects of Mormonism while destroying the faith in the real God and in the truth.

There truly are many forbidden paths that a person can follow. The road to hell truly is broad, while the road to eternal life is narrow and few find it, let alone stay on it.

Eric Kuntz said...

I already addressed 3 Nephi 28:10, did you not see it? Christ says " ...the Father and I are one." What don't you understand about that statement?

"These clearly show that Christ defines he and the Father being one differently than being a single being." Really?? Only if you wrest scripture I guess.

"According to Christ's own words we can be one with him and one with the Father in the same way that they are one with each other." Yes and your point here is what? We all can have a portion of God's spirit in us. That is the way the (3) Nephites can be AS Christ and Christ can be AS the Father.

John 17, what's your issue here? You can't conceive of a way of the Son of God would be praying to the Father? I would say study all the verses in scriptures that talk about the nature of God, that would be a good starting place.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
I had to chuckle a bit when I saw your declarative statement that "Joseph Smith introduced plural marriage and practiced it. The case for this was closed a long time ago" because until a few years ago I held that same unyielding position. It was partly because I discovered how wrong I was (the case has decidedly NOT been closed on this matter) that today I am very careful about stating absolutes. Historical truth is slippery; what we THINK we know can turn out to be demonstrably false. Demonstrably.

I appreciate your supplying me with source material to support your view, but I presume you did so because you thought I might not have been aware of them. On the contrary, I've read everything available on both sides of this issue. In fact, my friend Brian Hale's three volume work on Joseph Smith's Polygamy likely did more to get me to question the narrative than anything else, because when you follow the footnotes, the fraudulent provenance of these stories is quite revealing.

The problem with one-sided sources such as these is that on the surface they can appear quite convincing. But they do not tell the complete story. So much is left out regarding motivation and more. While it's true that for many decades the conventional narrative was all but the de facto reality, the so-called "evidence" that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy crumbles upon a more thorough examination of each individual case.

I can point you in the direction where you can investigate further, and I can assure you that when the tools of forensic historians are used to investigate all facets of the conventional story, the kind of absolutism you expressed simply does not hold up.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people who once firmly held testimonies identical to yours of the prophet's participation in the practice are now openly questioning themselves. Even many fundamentalists living in plural marriages are now doubting the essential doctrine of "the principle" which, as you can imagine, makes for some awkward relationships. I personally know some independent fundamentalists, and have been close friends with several for decades. Some remain in their marriages out of devotion to each other and their families, while others have agreed to amicable divorces, all because their closer investigation into the historical record has convinced them that the principle not only was not introduced by God, but also not practiced by Joseph Smith.

I wish you could read Ronald Kerran's forthcoming book, "The Exoneration of Emma, Joseph, and Hyrum." I have an advance copy, but the book will not be ready for purchase on Amazon for a few weeks yet. I hope you'll watch for it, because as certain as you are of your position today, that is how certain I am that you will question your views by the time you are halfway through it.

Our history has been tampered with. Dates don't line up. Locations don't line up. Journals have been doctored, motivations have been hidden. And the proof all of it is readily available for discovery by honest seekers.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC, (Continued)

You point out that Denver defended Joseph Smith's polygamy early on. Yes he did. And he also encouraged fealty to the Brethren early on. But further study convinced him he was in error on both counts. You seem to have brought up his name as though Denver Snuffer is magical and obtained all his knowledge all at once. The reality is that just like anyone else, things he once accepted as "a given," he later found, after much study, simply are not true.

For anyone interested in challenging their own closely held beliefs, I would suggest, in addition to "The Exoneration of Emma, Joseph, and Hyrum" the following links:

http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Plural-Marriage.pdf

http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm

The latter books take a step-by-step approach in breaking down, examining, and refuting specific events and allegations based on the historical records available to us. Unless one decides to buy the books, read them, and come up with valid counter-arguments, he or she is only demonstrating how much they don't really know about a subject upon which they have chosen to adamantly propound.

My unsolicited advice: Never state an absolute knowledge of anything you have not personally experienced or witnessed. There are too many unseen variables that can trip you up and make you look foolish.

MC said...

Eric,

I guess you think if you keep saying the phrase "The Father and I are one" over and over again, maybe somehow it will magically turn into "the Father and I are a single being and I am only a portion of the Father's spirit broken off from the Father and dwelling in a mortal body. I also pray to myself and am at the right hand of myself. I also talked to myself as if I was two beings at the time of the creation and all three versions of myself were present at my baptism so everyone would think I was three separate beings, but I'm really not. I also said that my faithful followers can be one with me and the Father (both me) in the same way that I am one with the Father (myself). I also sent myself, and love myself, and only do what I have seen myself do."

Yeah that's what Christ meant when he said that He and the Father are one. Right...

What part of these words of Christ do you not understand or reject outright:

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

What part of this statement by Christ do you not understand or reject:

10 And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

Apparently all you can see is "the Father and I are one." I guess Christ's other words don't mean anything.

And you accuse me of wresting the scriptures. Wow.

You still won't come clean about your connection to the great and marvelous work website. I guess since you won't deny it, your admitting that you are essentially peddling what you got from them and can't think for yourself.

You obviously have put your trust in them, because you refuse to see that they are wrong and interpret the scriptures incorrectly. Nephi was right when he said that people who put their trust in the arm of flesh are cursed.

You say that the truth is all that matters to you, but clearly this is not true. The doctrines of the great and marvelous work bloggers is what matters to you. Good luck with that.

MC said...

Well Rock I guess we're still at an impasse in regards to plural marriage and Joseph's involvement in it.

Of course I knew you had likely read all of Hale's work. Yes is work is one sided and apologetic to the church. I don't buy into everything he says. I merely refer to his work, because it is very thorough and he provides a lot of primary sources that shed light on the issue.

I've weighed the evidence over Joseph's involvement in plural marriage very carefully as you apparently have as well. At this point one of us is blind to the truth or in denial.

I refuse to believe that there were dozens if not hundreds of liars and conspirators who all said more or less the same thing about Joseph Smith introducing and practicing plural marriage. If they were all from those who followed Brigham to Utah I MIGHT be able to believe that, but when many of these so called liars or conspirators had very different agendas I can't accept that. I also can't accept that women would lie about being married to Joseph Smith and having had sex with him.

I guarantee you that if the polygamy thing was all made up by Brigham Young and the rest of the rogue apostles someone would have spilled the beans.

Nevermind the fact the scriptures are clear that God has previously allowed polygamy. I guess this fact doesn't matter. Joseph could not have possibly practiced polygamy. This is unthinkable. He must be "innocent" of the wicked crimes of Abraham, Jacob, and Moses.

If somehow it was all a conspiracy to commit adultery, I guess they sure did one heck of a job pulling it off. They even got their bitter enemies to go along with it. Brigham Young must have been jumping for joy when William Law published the Nauvoo Expositor. He struck gold on that one.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
You are, of course, entitled to hold whatever opinions you wish on the matter, but that was not what I called you out on. I remind you that my argument was not directed at your view that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. I took issue with your statement that "the case for this was closed long ago."

I think what you meant to say was "my own mind was made up about this long ago."

The questions you pose to me above have been addressed and answered in depth by scholars who have invested more effort at getting to the truth of the matter than you have. The very fact that you ask them is evidence that you are unaware of the debate taking place outside your own orbit. Believe it or not, many seeming contradictions are vigorously discussed and debated by people who are not satisfied to merely accept those contradictions with a shrug and assume the history has somehow been "settled."

Neither are they motivated by ideology. Ronald Kerran, author of "The Exoneration of Emma, Joseph, and Hyrum" is certainly not motivated by a desire to defend Joseph Smith, since he admits to not believing Smith was a prophet, nor in the validity of the Book of Mormon. Yet by weighing the evidence and examining documents often overlooked by those who DID have motive, he manages to show that there was indeed a "secret priesthood" (their words) operating in opposition to the legitimate one, and that these men, who alternately referred to themselves in their journals as the "secret priesthood" or "secret chamber" did indeed conspire to pin polygamy on Joseph Smith in order to validate their own secret works. After reading only that one book, it would be hard to come away with the conclusion that the case for Joseph's participation in plural marriage is in any way "closed" and not open to further examination.

As long as the historical record continues to provide evidence that openly contradicts the conclusions you embrace, and as long as intelligent people continue to examine, debate, and challenge the conventional story, the history is far from settled. I stand by my allegation that it is folly on your part to imply that the many intelligent people who have troubled themselves to investigate the matter more than you have, are somehow more closed-minded and less informed than a person who has chosen to shut herself off from further inquiry.

Zebedee said...

Just one small nit-picky thing to point out: Abraham and Moses were not polygamists. Jacob, yes, but not by his choice.

And another thing: Emma has been accused of being rather cruel to Joseph's "other" wives, including allegedly pushing Eliza R. Snow down the stairs causing her to lose Joseph's baby. Tsk. Tsk.

Only trouble with those "stories" is Emma fiercely denied that Joseph had any other wives period. Including any so-called sealed ones. She defended Joseph's monogamous character until the day she died.

So which is it: Was she was kept in the dark about her husband's hanky-panky, or was she a mean-spirited participant? She can't be both.

Sensationalism not only sells newspapers, but fake history too.

MC said...

Rock,

With all due respect, you don't know how much I have researched and studied the origins of plural marriage in the LDS church.

You accuse me of being close minded, because I accept the traditional narrative of how plural marriage was introduced into the church.

It's all good. You've become convinced that Joseph didn't practice and introduce plural marriage. You think that those who have reached a different conclusion haven't done their research or weren't opened minded enough.

This is not true. I actually have studied the RLDS argument that Joseph didn't practice let alone introduce plural marriage extensively.

I'm well aware that there is some evidence and inconsistencies that can be used to present a case that Joseph wasn't a polygamist but fought it instead.

However, having weighed the evidence carefully I have concluded that Joseph did in fact practice and introduce plural marriage.

In addition to the overwhelming evidence in favor of Joseph having practiced polygamy, the scriptures clearly show that in the past the Lord has authorized plural marriage for his chosen people. At the end of the day this is good enough for me. I guess it's not good enough for you.

I say we move on. Both of us think the other is close minded and in denial. We're getting nowhere.

MC said...

"Abraham and Moses were not polygamists. Jacob, yes, but not by his choice."

Well Zebedee I guess the scriptures have it wrong then. The bible says Abraham had concubines. What's a concubine? It's a plural wife of a lower standing.

Jacob was deceived into marrying Leah so in a sense one could argue that he wasn't a willing participant. I'm not convinced that he couldn't tell Leah and Rachel apart on his wedding night, but I suppose it's possible.

He was however a willing participant in taking Leah and Rachel's handmades as concubines.

Moses polygamy is not definitive in the bible. Based on the bible he could have been a polygamist or he could have remarried after his first wife died. The law given from God to Moses for the people of Israel authorized polygamy so there wouldn't have been an issue with him having a second wife.

As for Emma, I don't know exactly what her attitude was towards Joseph's plural marriage. The evidence suggests that she went back and forth about it. At times she accepted it and other times she was jealous and lashed out at Joseph and his other wives about it.

I'm not convinced she pushed Eliza R. Snow down the stairs, causing her to miscarry. It could have happened.

I'm sure the whole thing was very hard on Emma. I don't blame her for being jealous and going back and forth about it.

As for her denial of Joseph's practice of polygamy after his death, there could be a number of reasons. One could be that she went a little crazy after Joseph died. She had been through an awful lot. This is my personal belief. The fact that she married an unbelieving drunkard right after Joseph died, leads me to believe that she was mentally unstable. Like I said, she had been through a lot. I don't condemn her for contradictory and sometimes irrational behavior. She was an imperfect human who was asked to endure a lot more than most for the glory of God.

Zebedee said...

MC,

Could you point me to the scripture that says Abraham had concubines? I'd love to read that.

I don't believe Emma went crazy. But you can believe that she did if you want to ignore or dismiss her testimony. According to the contemporary accounts of Emma by those who knew her first hand, she was a women of integrity and charity. Marrying another man in her widowhood was/is an acceptable practice, especially since she needed to support herself and her children. Plus she was no longer in her youth and her options may have been limited for her. I had not heard her second husband was a drunkard. I would be interested in seeing the source for that accusation as well.

MC said...

Zebedee,

Here you go:

Genesis 25

5 ¶ And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.

6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

I don't feel like digging up the source for Emma's second husband Lewis Bidamon being a drunkard. He was an adulterer and a fornicator, too. He was previously divorced and ended up fathering a child with another woman while he was married to Emma. In his defense he did marry this woman after Emma died.

I'm not trying to attack Lewis here. He appears to have been a honorable and honest man in many respects. Emma could of course marry whoever she wanted. It's just interesting that she chose an unbeliever who was in many ways a polar opposite to Joseph. I'm sure she could have married a righteous man, who had been baptized and ordained to the priesthood.

For the record, I'm not dismissing her testimony. There are sources that state she acknowledged Joseph's polygamy during his lifetime and I believe twice afterwards.

I don't know if she went crazy or not. I'd like to believe she went crazy to a certain extent rather than being a liar. The Lord will judge her, not me.

Zebedee said...

In Gen 25 Abraham's concubines refer to the mothers of Abraham's other sons beside Issac, namely Hagar (which was Sarah's slave and property) and Ketura (whom he married AFTER Sarah died). If you want to include Hagar as Abraham's plural wife I guess you can, even though she wasn't his wife in any legal sense. But you can't include Ketura. So I stand by the fact that Abraham was not a polygamist.

Moses was married to an Ethiopian princess after his conquest in that country. She was given to him by Pharaoh as the spoils of war. When Moses left Egypt he forfeited all his property including his Ethiopian wife (considered property anciently). We don't know what happened to her. She might have been executed in place of her husband. Moses later married Zipporah, a Midianite. (Midian was a son of Abraham from Ketura). There is no record of Moses having any other wives, therefore, according to the records we have, he was not polygamist.

Was polygamy allowed in ancient Israel? Probably, but so was divorce. Both things however are frowned upon by the Lord.

Zebedee said...

I can't speak to Lewis Bidamon. I don't know much about him, but the marriage could have been more of a business relationship. At the time of the marriage, Bidamon was the father of two daughters and Emma was the mother of five surviving children. They did not have any children together. He appears to have been a successful businessman, and she owned some property in Nauvoo. Perhaps that kind of stability was what Emma needed. And maybe she didn't really care if he slept around as long as he didn't sleep with her and provided for her and her children.

We don't know her story, so we can only give her the benefit of doubt that she told the truth, and that others merely repeated hearsay and gossip about her.

I for one believe her as a prime eyewitness to the facts of her first husband.

MC said...

Zebedee you are free to believe what you want.

There's no clear evidence that Abraham married Ketura after Sarah died. Genesis has it in that order, but Genesis also has an angel saving Isaac from Abraham's knife where the New Testament and other writings have him Abraham killing Isaac and the Lord bringing him back to life.

Ketura and Hagar are referred to as concubines. The definition of concubine is a lower status wife, usually as part of a polygamist union.

If Hagar was not Abraham's wife, then Abraham fornicated with her. That would certainly have drawn a rebuke from the Lord, but it didn't.

If what you say is true of Moses' Ethopian wife being merely a spoil of war, why did the Lord curse Miriam for speaking out against this marriage?

There is no question that polygamy was allowed under the law of Moses. We have no record of the Lord ever condemning polygamy during his mortal ministry. All we have is a specific commandment against it for Lehi's family.

Underdog2 said...

Rock,

In response to your 9:05 am Feb 26th comment, I have a few questions if you don't mind.

You quote Quinn's history, which says on April 12, 1951 apostle Joseph Fielding Smith set apart as president and ordained David O. McKay a prophet, seer, and revelator.

Easter was on March 25th back in 1951, but the miraculous resurrection of dead keys occurred on April 12th!

Is there a record of the words uttered during that ordination? I'm fascinated by this.

Who boldly decided Joseph Fielding Smith should ordain David O. McKay, when such ordinations hadn't been done since Joseph Smith was alive?

Since McKay was ordained as a prophet, seer, and revelator, did Church members begin to call him "prophet", or were presidents called "prophet" before McKay? Seems like I've read on your blog where this practice began with McKay.

If that's the case, then it seems like the decision to ordain McKay was coupled with the new PR campaign to have him regarded as a prophet. Perhaps the idea to have him revered as a prophet and to have church members refer to him as prophet was the impetus to having Joseph Fielding Smith ordain him as such. The genesis of modern ordaining to office a prophet, seer, and revelator was, in other words: priestcraft.

So my question becomes, whose idea was it to brand the president of the Church as a prophet, seer, and revelator? Interesting. At the very least Joseph Fielding Smith and David O. McKay would have been supporters of the idea. As you note Joseph Fielding Smith's father in 1916 was emphatic in his direction that the president of the Church (I assume he was referring to president of the Church) was NOT to be ordained, only set apart. Such a strong stance was probably rooted in the 1829 revelation in DC 5:6 which says God is the One who ordains.

Priestcraft is men setting themselves up as a light. Alma told Nehor, I think it was, that enforcing priestcraft "by the sword" would lead to the destruction of the people. Setting oneself up as a light is to compete with God and violate the First of the 10 commandments. God forbids competition. So it seems that the introduction of serious priestcraft into the Church happened post 1916.

The pen is more powerful than the sword, so the modern-day "sword" was the "pen" of the Church PR Dept.

Interesting that Heber J. Grant made the Church a Corporation Sole in 1923, and that two years prior in 1921 a committee of apostles demoted the Lectures on Faith, which served to de-emphasize faith and remove key doctrines of our Church -- namely HOW TO BE SAVED. Both of these actions were major blows to the Restoration and in very close proximity to each other. Then fast forward about 30 years later to 1951 when priestcraft, you could say, was institutionalized!

A regular man - David O. McKay, who didn't have any appreciation whatsoever for the BoM, was overnight made a "prophet, seer, and revelator". Despite treating lightly the BoM, he was made a light unto the Church, and his successors likewise imbued with stature unearned.

In summary, I wanted to ask you what led to the re-establishment in 1951 of ordination to prophet, seer, and revelator, well after 100 years of history where that wasn't happening or thought appropriate? Were there no protestations from anybody? The apostles just did it?

The coup d'etat of the apostles happened in Brigham's day, but this 1951 "trick" that created a prophet, seer, an revelator out of thin air turbo-charged the apostles' efforts to gain adherents. When did the Primary song "Follow the Prophet" come along I wonder? If they wanted a boost in credibility, ordaining one of their own to the level of Joseph was an ingenious move!

What are your thoughts?

Brother Mike said...

Moses saw a glorious burning bush, revealed stone tablets inscribed by the hand of God himself, worked inexplicable miracles for the salvation of his people—and spoke of these things plainly. Isaiah prophesied with great clarity details in the life of the promised Messiah—declaring this openly among commoners and kings. The poor and uneducated Joseph Smith, Jr. speedily dictated an immense, fully cohesive translation of an historical text from a dead language, relying only on volunteer scribes and a seer stone—he published this work to the world as new scripture. Today the Saints get butterflies over our occasional lawyer-approved PR statements, internal policy memoranda, grand openings of real estate developments, and self-promoting documentaries.

Where's the prophetic fruit? “But we now live in a complicated, cynical time.” “The world is too wicked.” “The Saints aren’t ready.” “The media would ridicule us if high-visibility leadership professed miraculous gifts.” “That’s sign-seeking.” “We’re growing, isn't that fruit enough?” “It’s too sacred to talk about, anyway.” Really? Those sustained as prophets, seers, revelators, and translators to the Saints are not at liberty to fully exercise prophetic gifts among the Saints? Joseph was tarred and feathered for his unapologetic deployment of powerful gifts from God, and in the end took up his cross to follow Christ. That’s how true prophets roll, and have always rolled.

But a title does not a prophet make, nor does a well-intentioned, even inspired, administrative pronouncement by a beloved leader constitute a "prophecy" without a declaration in the name of the Lord of some verifiable outcome. The meanings of old words still matter. Divine attribution matters. Correctly predicted outcomes matter. God’s prophets prophesy of forthcoming events by divine means which otherwise could not have been known to them. In God’s name they speak (and not figuratively).

Does a man’s elected status in the Church grant his people license to conflate his every procedural recommendation as a "revelation" when convenient, and an opinion when inconvenient? If some heretofore undisclosed principle is made manifest in the name of the Lord by one claiming the gift of revelation, the truth of it must be ratified by the Holy Ghost in the hearts and minds of the Saints to be confirmed in the Church as a doctrine binding upon them through covenant. There is a precedent in all of this called, “The Doctrine and Covenants.” The Church Handbook of Instructions is not an acceptable substitution for bona-fide revelations from above and common consent acceptance below. Revelators reveal new truths, the unfolding doctrines of Heaven which build squarely upon the foundation of earlier (correct) revelations received by the Church, without contradiction.

A man sustained as a seer, whether by six or six million, must be gifted to receive divine “visions that roll like an overflowing surge, before [his] mind” or be the benefactor of some Heavenly visitation. Joseph the Seer never warranted the honorable title until he first “saw” and spoke of what he saw. Nor does anyone else. Regardless of how vaguely such privileges are alluded to by those so sustained (or permitted to be believed among those who sustain them), a seer's faith must precede the miracle of divine sight, the miracle must bear fruit, and the fruit must be shared with those it is appointed to feed. Seers see visions of glory through the veil, receive angelic ministry, and encounter the face of God. They publish their visions and visitations for the edification of those who will receive and believe their report.

God bestows spiritual gifts according to his own will and pleasure, and may readily choose the weak and humble servant with no hierarchical pedigree to reprove nations. Prophets prophesy, revelators reveal, seers see, translators translate, and signs follow them that believe.

springof1820.blogspot.com

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Underdog2
I actually don't know how or why McKay began to be referred to as the prophet; I only recall reading somewhere that was where this modern tradition began. I doubt it was his idea. This is about the time missionary lessons really began to stress Joseph's First vision (the flannel board lessons) and the investigator was told "ever since that day we have had a prophet on the earth to teach us God's will." Church growth was exploding and it wouldn't take much for the apostles to begin lavishing praise on "our beloved prophet." That's the era when congregations would burst out singing "We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet" Whenever McKay entered a room.

Quinn's coverage on the ordaining is found on pages 252-253 in "Origins of Power." His footnote cites three or four books and articles about Smith, but he states none give any explanation as to why he instituted the practice of ordaining presidents.

At the bottom of pg 252 is where we find Lorenzo Snow deciding presidents should be at least set apart, as prior to that Brigham Young's assertion that an election by the people was all that was needed, not an appointment by God or a setting apart by the apostles:

"On 10 October 1898 Lorenzo Snow requested George Q. Cannon to set him apart as church president. In support of this, second counselor Joseph F. Smith remarked that in previous organizations of the First Presidency 'we had failed to do something which he felt should have been done.' Apostle Francis M. Lyman said that setting apart the First Presidency established a 'rule never before having been observed since the counselors were set apart to Pres. Jos. Smith' "

Brigham was right, of course, and his successors were wrong. Since the Lord had not appointed Brigham nor any of the others, an election by the people would have been sufficient to have any of them preside over the church. But Snow's desire to be "set apart" gave the office an air of legitimacy above and beyond what it was, so it was only a matter of time before that setting apart would evolve into an ordination, providing credibility to the Saints that the president was God's own anointed.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I should add that the answer to your question about when McKay began to be considered a prophet by the Saints is probably contained somewhere in Greg Prince's biography on Mckay. It happens to be on a shelf behind me as I write this, but I haven't read the whole thing cover to cover, and I see nothing in the index under "prophet." Perhaps someone more familiar with that book can steer me in the right direction.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Brother Mike,
That's a well written essay; I hope you'll transfer it wholly onto your blog. It deserves a wider reading than here at the tail end of this comment section. (Maybe you did put it there and I happened to overlook it.)

Anyone who has not yet discovered Mike's blog, "Spring of 1820" deserves to know it's well worth your time.

Brett Reynolds said...

Im doing a quick poll: Please go to this tweet and vote about whether or not God has told you that Russell Nelson is a true prophet https://twitter.com/aLoafOfBrett/status/977969186881265664

Brother Mike said...

Rock, thank you. That sentiment means more than you know. It is a hard thing to feel alone in a vision, and an immeasurable blessing to find a willing co-laborer in a divine mission. 1 Cor. 3:7-9.

Bro. B said...

It seems like this "tradition" started much earlier than McKay.

At the dedication of the Kirtland temple Joseph notes:

I then made a short address, and called upon the several quorums, and all the congregation of Saints, to acknowledge the Presidency as Prophets and Seers, and uphold them by their prayers. They all covenanted to do so, by rising.

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

(History of the Church 2:417)

Granted we know how accurate church history is, so take it with a grain of salt.

It does seem that since McKay the top brass have taken to self-referencing as "Prophets, Seers, and Revelators".

Am I missing something?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Bro. B,
You're not missing anything, and you're right that we deserve to be skeptical of what we read in the DHC, but if you read that statement closely, you'll see it doesn't mean what most of us have assumed it means. We tend to read statements like that through the lens of our upbringing, which teaches us that the Twelve have authority in the Church. But Joseph is not saying that. He's recognizing they have the gifts necessary to carry out their mission as special witnesses "to all the nations of the earth."

By way of background: Joseph had already asked the church to recognize Sidney Rigdon as having the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator; which he did, concurrent to his office as co-president, as did Hyrum Smith. (Hyrum would later be appointed to the highest office in the church, higher than anyone in the First Presidency, upon the death of his father when HE became the patriarch.)

Anyway, Joseph knew of the jealousy of the Twelve toward Rigdon. So in an effort to mollify them, he asked the congregation to recognize that the Twelve had authority in THEIR assigned tasks equal to the authority Sidney Rigdon had in his.

We have been so conditioned about the authority the Twelve have exercised WITHIN the Church in our lifetimes, that it's easy to read into Joseph's statement something that clearly isn't there: that they had VERY WIDE latitude in exercising their charge to take the gospel to all the world. In this blog post and the one that precedes it, I was very harsh regarding the way the Twelve took on responsibilities within the church that the Lord had not given them. But make no mistake: the role of the Twelve traveling elders was of paramount importance to the Lord's plan. The job called for superhuman sacrifice, endurance, and dedication, and they absolutely were given gifts of the spirit and an endless amount of authority with which to accomplish the task the Lord had given them, which was to preach the gospel to ALL THE WORLD. They did not have their hands tied. They were given all the tools necessary to accomplish that task.

You will recall that the High Council was strongly cautioned that they did not have authority outside the boundaries of the church where the Twelve were given free rein. But within their limited sphere they had ALL the authority, and the Twelve had none. Likewise OUTSIDE church headquarters the Twelve had all authority and the High Council had none.

So the Twelve had the gifts of prophets, seers and revelators when they went out into the world, but those gifts were not operational in Kirtland or Nauvoo. Only out "in all the world." That gave them a wider reach than the High Council, but only when they were out in the mission field. It didn't give them authority to manage church affairs, only the affairs in the branches under their jurisdiction.

By the way, it WAS their responsibility to build up and establish the Kingdom of God, which was NOT the church, but was intended as a civil organization that operated independent of the church. They dropped the ball on that one, preferring instead to be Grand Poobahs in the church, which, compared with what the Kingdom could have become, is really small potatoes. So they blew it. They could have been part of something much bigger than a small religious denomination.

Bro. B said...

Yes, what could have been was never accomplished. We still look forward to such days. Collectively we look pass the mark as it is hidden in plainness.

My previous note was simple to note that the 12 were referred to during the Kirtland era as "Prophet's, Seer's, and Revelator's". As you state, they had no business inside any organized stakes of Zion.

Really we practice social proverication when it comes to the role of the 12 and church history.

May you have a wonder filled Easter!

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