Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Most Important Mission Of The Modern Mormon Church

Previously: A Plea Unto Every Latter-day Saint

On the shelf directly behind me is a hefty Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, which I like to browse now and then for a taste of how Christianity was practiced in the years immediately following the deaths of the original twelve apostles. One of the things I find fascinating about some of these entries is that one can track the almost imperceptible decline of "pure" Christianity by noticing how, by the second century AD, the independent Christian churches were on their way to being swallowed up whole by the centralized Catholic takeover following the council at Nicea in 325 AD.

The writings of Ignatius and Polycarp, both of whom lived in the first century and were personally acquainted with some of the original apostles, show little departure from the original practices taught by Jesus Christ. But little more than a century later we begin to detect a substantial shift. For one thing, the egalitarian view that God was no respecter of persons went by the wayside as priests and bishops began to see themselves as holding rank above their fellow believers. By the year 250 AD, Cyprian of Carthage was reporting that some of these self-appointed leaders had forgotten their charge was to serve without reward, and were instead pushing toward a religion of acquisition:
"Each one was desirous of increasing his estate. Forgetting what believers had either done back in the times of the apostles, or always should do, they devoted themselves to the increase of their property with the insatiable ardor of covetousness.  Among the priests, there was no devotion of religion. Among the ministers, there was no sound faith. In their works, there was no mercy. In their manners, there was no discipline. Their eyes were falsified from what God made them. 
"They would swear not only rashly, but worse, would swear falsely. They forsook their chair, deserted their people, and hunted the markets for profitable merchandise. 
"In the meantime, brethren were starving in the church. We deserve to suffer for sins of this kind."                                                                        
I was taught growing up that my church was patterned after the original first century church, but today the LDS Church more closely resembles that later incarnation Cyprian describes. The primary resemblance between the primitive church and the LDS church today is that we also have apostles. But they are "apostles" in name only. None of the current crop can claim to having been appointed by God as required in both ancient and modern scripture. Further, these modern "apostles"
long ago abandoned the role given the Twelve in the primitive church, as well as the role the apostles were commanded to fill by the mouth of the Lord at the time of the Restoration. They instead spend the great majority of their time overseeing the business interests of the Church -an oxymoron if ever there was one, because the Lord never authorized His church to engage in business interests.

It was not always so. Just as with the independently formed first-century churches, no one was "in charge" of the church founded through the prophet Joseph Smith -not even Joseph Smith himself. In both the first century and the 19th century, believers would gather together in small groups, often in each other's homes, to worship and partake of the sacrament. There were no chapels in Missouri or Nauvoo, and no plans to construct any. Even in pioneer Utah it was some forty years before anyone thought it might be a good idea to construct buildings that could house an entire ward for weekly sacrament meetings. Having formal meetings in chapels with an authority figure at the front and everyone else sitting in rows of seats paying rapt attention to him had been a practice the protestants had copied from the Catholics. It was not the Mormon mode of worship.

By that time, however, the entire LDS church structure had already been stood on its head.  Our early apostles, just as the ones in the primitive church, had been charged with going out into the world to preach the gospel, and were specifically forbidden to have any administrative or governing role within the church.  That all changed after Joseph Smith was gone. Suddenly the apostles were in charge of everything.

The Three-Fold Mission Of The Church
In April conference 1981, President Spencer W. Kimball announced that he and the First Presidency had come up with a mission statement they were calling The Three-Fold Mission of the Church. It consisted of the following three directives:
1. To proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; 
2. To perfect the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel and by instruction and discipline to gain exaltation; 
3. To redeem the dead by performing vicarious ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth.

No Wait, Back Up! We Forgot One.
Twenty-eight years after that announcement, a Church a press release announced the mission of the Church was actually four-fold. As it happens, we're also interested in helping the poor and needy. Yes, it's true! We just forgot.

This announcement came on the heels of criticism the Church was receiving for investing three billion dollars into a shopping mall and some snazzy condos in downtown Salt Lake City, one purpose of which was to clear out the homeless who were hanging out in front of the temple and making the whole town look shabby.

You would have thought that helping the poor and needy would have been at or near the top when the First Presidency came up with that first list three decades previous, seeing as how "helping the poor and needy" is usually considered a top priority for any church or religious society. Scott Trotter of the Church Public Relations Department tried to pretend this was not an oversight. "Caring for the poor and needy," Trotter said, "has always been a basic tenet of the Church."

Which is clearly the reason they forgot to include it in that original list of basic tenets.

Whatever the Church hoped to accomplish by rejiggering the Church's formal excuse for existing, the list never really caught on among the members. You can ask any latter-day saint today to enumerate all four of them for you and it's like watching a replay of Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition sketch.

Saving Face: The Only Thing That Matters  
There's one thing I notice about the early Christian church that differs markedly from the one that claims to be it's authorized descendant: aside from the annoying persecutions, back then members of Christ's church were not at all concerned about whether they were being portrayed properly in the media. None of them were preoccupied with how they were coming off in the public eye. Those authentic Christians were too busy proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the saints, redeeming the dead, and helping the poor, to waste time worrying about their public images.

For one thing, there was no organized, structured, institutional church back then that would have a reputation to worry about. There were churches -plural- but no central governing authority among or between them.

But once a church evolves into a monolithic, corporate institution with something to lose -money and property, for instance- well, now you'll be needing a public relations department. So today we have a fifth, unofficial "mission" of the church nobody really talks about these days, and that mission is first and foremost to protect the image of the Church. At all costs. No matter what.

Photo by Rick Bowmer, St George News
We're watching that modern imperative playing out right now over the McKenna Denson controversy. In case you've missed the story -and the story is still ongoing- McKenna Denson, now a woman in her fifties, recorded an interview with the man she claims raped her in 1984 when she was a newly called sister missionary and he was president of the Church's Missionary Training Center.

McKenna recorded certain admissions and confessions from the now elderly and sheepishly apologetic former president, but that's only the beginning. The real story is that Church leaders at the top have been attempting to cover up for Joseph Bishop's sins ever since he was a mission president -even before he became president of the MTC. General authorities even now are frantically scrambling behind the scenes in an attempt to discourage other victims from coming forward and making things worse. From all indications, they thought they had this thing contained years ago. But then McKenna Denson showed up.

That led to the discovery that Joseph Bishop had confessed to the BYU police department regarding separate instances of sexual abuse with other young women, as well as admitting that he had formerly confessed (to a member of the First Quorum of Seventy) that he was a sex addict while president of the Argentine mission. He said that that General Authority, Robert Wells, had told him his sins were forgiven.

Sometime after that unusual absolution, according to Bishop, he was promoted to director of the Missionary Training Center in Provo where he seems to have deliberately zeroed in on young sister missionaries whose files from home showed they had, shall we say, something in their pasts they might wish to confess one more time. In detail.

I'm not going to rework that story here, because there's a better place you can go to have it all clearly laid out.  All the facts of this case are carefully presented on the Radio Free Mormon Podcast, which now takes up three separate episodes as more information emerges detailing how leaders of the Church were very likely aware of Joseph Bishop's predilections, but chose to look the other way rather than risk negative publicity surrounding a high ranking Church official.

Because of Bishop's high standing in a trusted position, it would have been devastating to the image of the Church if word got out that the man thousands of parents had entrusted their children to was a known sexual predator.  All indications are that those in the hierarchy felt the matter was contained --until the tape was released with Joseph Bishop confessing to one of his victims. That revelation has been followed by the discovery that there is another audio recording of an interview with Joseph Bishop conducted by the BYU Police Department where Brother Bishop admits to additional improprieties.

The reason I recommend the podcasts presented by Radio Free Mormon is that he is an attorney with eight years experience as a prosecutor, and twice that many years as a criminal defense attorney. He has a rare facility for laying this complicated case out in a way that makes it perfectly understandable, as if he were presenting it to a jury. If you have tried to follow the ins-and-outs of who knew what and when they knew it, then this podcast will help it all make sense. He will carefully and deliberately walk you through the maze.

But be prepared to pick your jaw up off the floor.

You can find part one here, part two here, and the latest update here. There will very likely be an explosive part four soon, because information will be coming out that the Church PR department simply will not be able to wave away.

Why The Constant Cover-ups?
We expect honesty from our Church leaders. After all, isn't that what they constantly teach us lowly members? That we must be honest in all our dealings?

The problem for the Church -and the reason the Church PR department has such a difficult time cleaning things up- is that for years Church leaders have preached a two pronged doctrine, neither of which is strictly doctrinal. The Lord has never issued a revelation affirming these teachings, and Joseph Smith never taught them. In fact, both Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith repeatedly taught the opposite of what these false doctrines assert. Here are those false doctrines:
Church leaders cannot lead the church astray. 
Leaders at all levels in the Church today are blessed by God with the gift of discernment. 
Regarding the first, it should be self evident that Church leaders have been leading the church astray ever since Brigham Young usurped authority from the Church High Council following the death of Joseph Smith.

Here is how the LDS Church defines the gift of discernment: 
"To understand or know something through the power of the Spirit. The gift of discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit. It includes perceiving the true character of people and the source and meaning of spiritual manifestations."
Besides his interview with Elder Robert Wells, before Joseph Bishop was called and ordained to his important offices of trust he is known to have been interviewed by Thomas S. Monson and Spencer W. Kimball. Both passed him with flying colors without having the slightest clue they were in close proximity to a sexual deviant who was even then struggling to restrain his demons. Neither apostle exhibited the gifts of discernment they are said to posses.

This should come as no surprise, because when Spencer Kimball was president of the Church, he posed for a photo-op with several other general authorities for a story about Mark Hoffman, who was sucking the GA's in with a tale of having located rare documents written by early Mormon apostle William Mclellin.

None of the men in the photograph had any clue that Hoffman was not really a rare documents dealer, but in fact a criminal forger whose plan was to first get Church leaders to trust him, then later "get even with the Church" by producing fake documents that would seriously disrupt the Church's historical narrative. Of course, the real scandal in this episode was that none of these men, the very top leaders in the Church hierarchy, had the gift to discern that very soon Mark Hoffman would commit two brutal murders just to cover up his fraudulent activity.
Left to right: Mark Hofmann, 1st Counselor N. Eldon Tanner, LDS President Spencer W. Kimball, 2nd Counselor Marion G. Romney, Apostle Boyd K. Packer and Apostle Gordon B. Hinckley. (Photo by Jed A. Clark)

There is another side to this whole "gifts of discernment" thing that a lot of people overlook. In addition to Church leaders lacking the true power of discernment when it really matters, many ecclesiastical leaders in the Church are not above destroying people's reputations because of a hunch that they mistake for the gift of discernment they fully believe they possess. Please watch Jonathan Streeter's 13 minute video and you'll see the danger this presents:




When "The Gift Of Discernment" Goes Horribly Wrong
Here's a quite recent example I've learned about first-hand that illustrates Jonathan's assertion above:

A pair of identical letters were hand-delivered to a church member here in Sandpoint, Idaho informing her that she and her husband were to be tried for apostasy five days later, and letting them both know they were welcome to attend the trial if they wished to.

The letters did not state a specific accusation or cause of action of any sort. The letters simply accused them both of being in apostasy. This woman and her husband, both devout believers in the gospel of the restoration, did not have a clue why they were being tried for apostasy. The husband had attended the local ward for some two years, but because his wife worked on Sundays, she had only been to Sunday meetings a couple of times. She had never been interviewed by the bishop nor met this stake president who was now threatening to excommunicate her. Yet apparently "somehow" the stake president knew something about her that she didn't know, and was moving forward with the trial. The gravest sin the husband could imagine he might be guilty of was not wearing a suit and tie to church.

So the husband contacted the stake president, with whom he'd only had a brief pleasant chat the year before, to ask what sins he and his wife were being charged with. The stake president, whose name is Rick Ballard, told the husband that he and the high council just wanted to get to know them, ask them a few questions, scope out their belief systems, and then make a decision.

That's a strange stance to take when the time and place of the hearing for apostasy has already been set, and the outcome -excommunication- a forgone conclusion. The husband told President Ballard that he is no apostate, that he believes pretty much the same things Ballard does regarding the Restored gospel of Christ, the Book of Mormon, the divine calling of Joseph Smith, and so on. He and his wife certainly weren't fundamentalists or sympathetic to polygamists, if that was the assumption.

After an act of God literally forced President Ballard to delay the proceedings, he prodded the husband and wife into meeting with him to discuss their beliefs. This was beginning to look like a "good cop" fishing expedition. I have heard the recordings of these interviews, and it's clear Rick Ballard didn't actually have anything to pin on either the husband or the wife. He had simply somehow "discerned" that these two were guilty of apostasy, and he was hoping they might tell him something he could use against them.

When the husband learned they would be absolutely forbidden from attending the proceedings unless they signed a legal agreement promising not to record them (which they would not do), he and his wife opted instead to only come into the room long enough to provide verbal and written statements declaring their testimonies.  They asked to be furnished any notes taken by the clerk while they were out of the room. Ballard made clear they were not entitled to copies of the record.

You would think those testimonies they provided would have been enough to show their innocence. But you would be wrong, because you are not a stake president and you have not been blessed with the gift of discernment

The Church Handbook of Instruction's definition of apostasy doesn't even contain anything related to actual apostasy, which everyone knows means turning away from the principles of the gospel. But here is what the CHI does say:

[A]postasy refers to members who:
  1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.
  2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
  3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
  4. Are in a same-gender marriage.
  5. Formally join another church and advocate its teachings.
So here is what happened a few days after that ex parte hearing: the woman was informed by letter that her church membership would not be taken from her (after all, no one had ever met her so they could not claim to know anything about her). But the husband...well, the husband was notified that he had been excommunicated for apostasy because, the stake president concluded, he had joined a "sect" which he named in the letter of notification. That, dear reader, apparently constituted the husband's "formally joining another church and advocating its teachings."

Except this guy had never joined any sect, or church, or even The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. This man had not joined any organization of any kind, either formally or informally. He had never advocated the teachings of any other church or sect. The only "sect" he had ever been a part of was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he actually had advocated the teachings of that society on a great number of occasions, even serving a mission to a foreign country. He has the papers to prove it.

Yet now he was getting kicked out of the only church he ever loved, and labeled a filthy apostate.

The husband had never even heard of the sect he was accused of having joined until he was told about it in the letter. I've never heard of it either. He and I both performed independent searches for information about that sect online, and you'll never guess: neither of us could find any sect, church, or other organization that goes by that name.

Rick Ballard, President Extraordinaire of the Sandpoint, Idaho Stake, had obviously made the whole thing up. I've seen that letter of notification, and one day, after the victim's appeal process has been completed, I'll share the full story on this blog, along with all the letters, documents, and audio recordings of President Ballard trying to weasel a confession out of these members who had nothing to confess. When you finally get a chance to read the parts of the record that are available, you freaking won't believe it. But until then I'm keeping this couple's names confidential.

Now, I happen to know this stake president, Rick Ballard. I had asked to meet with him last year because before I moved here from Sacramento I was unable to get my stake president there to tell me precisely what sin I had committed that resulted in my own excommunication for apostasy.  So once I  had relocated, I asked to meet with President Ballard in hopes he might be able to contact either my old stake president, whose name is Douglas Hansen, or someone at Church headquarters who would give me a straight answer.

Nothing came of my request for information, but Rick Ballard and I had a long, enjoyable chat, and at the time Rick did not strike me as a complete moron. He is a local orthodontist here in Sandpoint, which would indicate he has at least completed his high school education, so I've got to believe he is capable of critical thinking when he wants to.

Yet here he has gone and banished a believing latter-day saint from the church the man grew up in and loved all his life, and he did it based on absolutely nothing but his own hunch; a hunch that this man had left the church and adopted the creed of some imaginary sect that doesn't exist anywhere other than in Rick Ballard's head.

Uh-oh. Busted.

This is a perfect case study of the kind of damage Jonathan Streeter refers to in the video above. Men who think God has given them special gifts to discern the sins of others aren't likely to think twice about convicting another person of wrongdoing because, well, the guy must have been guilty of something, or else God wouldn't have planted those thoughts in the local leader's brain. "Look at how this guy shows up to church," Ballard must have been thinking, "Dressed like a flippin' potato farmer."

"He has to be guilty of  something, right?"

How Low Will Church Leaders Stoop? 
Pretty low, as it turns out. Not as far as murder, so far as we know. But many of them are not above committing spiritual murder, as that is essentially what they believe they are doing when they excommunicate someone. They believe they are literally cutting that person off from God. You would think they would be more cautious about such things. But caution goes out the window when the hierarchy in Salt Lake City starts to feel their power being threatened.

That's why gospel scholar Denver Snuffer was so rudely treated by the Brethren he once declared fealty toward. Denver Snuffer was a member of the high council in his Salt Lake City stake, as well as a gospel doctrine teacher for over twenty-five years. He remains singularly devoted to the gospel to this day.

Denver was also an obscure author of Mormon-themed books. Almost no one bought his books, and truthfully, he never expected anyone to. He did have one volume, "Come Let Us Adore Him" that I understand was sold at the BYU Bookstore and through Deseret Book; and eventually "The Second Comforter" got noticed. But the handful of others, mostly detailed analyses of the Book of Mormon, went largely unheralded by the masses.

The thing that finally raised hackles at Church headquarters was a book Denver came out with demonstrating how the Book of Mormon's prophecies were being fulfilled in our day by the unscriptural actions of the top leaders in the LDS Church. That book's title was Passing The Heavenly Gift.

Most damning to those in the Church hierarchy was the solid proof contained in the book, which cited early Church documents proving that none of the leaders of the Church after Joseph Smith had ever been appointed by God to hold the offices and authority they say they do. They simply do not have the "keys" or authority to govern the Church that they claim to have.

There is no getting around that fact. But it does explain the lack of miracles, manifestations, and revelations in our day that were common in the Church in Joseph Smith's time.

But we are not supposed to think about that.

A couple of years ago apostle Russell Nelson, next in line to hold the office of president of the Church, decided he could not have an expose like that on the open market. So he informed Denver's stake president to do something about it, namely this: unless Denver Snuffer ceased publication of his book, denounced the book as riddled with errors, and recalled all copies sold thus far, he would be excommunicated from the Church and labeled an apostate.

And that's how Russell M. Nelson guaranteed Denver Snuffer would become a best-selling Mormon author.

I've not read all of Denver's books yet, but I can tell you something about what I have read so far: Denver Snuffer carries the mantle of some of the greatest church scholars we have ever had. He is every bit as knowledgeable on church history and the Book of Mormon as were Hugh Nibley, Truman Madsen, and  Hyrum L. Andrus. Denver Snuffer and I have become pretty good friends and I have yet to stump him with a question he does not know the answer to. He knows virtually everything about Mormonism; scriptural, historical, theological, and doctrinal.

That, of course, is what makes Denver Snuffer such a danger to the status quo. You should know that at no time was Denver told his book was not accurate. It was. But accuracy was not the issue. The issue was that if that book were to receive general acceptance among church members, the truths contained in that book would undermine the faith the members have in their leaders.

And the member's faith in their leaders is more important to those leaders than the member's faith in Jesus Christ. If you think that's an exaggeration, you have not seen and heard the things I have seen and heard these past few years.

Excommunication is, in the eyes of those doing the excommunicating, akin to an execution. While it is true these executioners do not have the power to kill the body, they very much believe they are killing their victim's spirit, and casting those spirit corpses into outer darkness.

The fact that so many of them are so readily willing to pull God's condemnation down upon their own heads, to persecute the innocent in order to assure they remain in their chosen seats of power, makes them, in my opinion, little different from Annas and Caiaphas, the high priests of the ancient church who were willing to murder their own God because he posed a threat to their power base.

The first century Saints were persecuted for their beliefs. Many of the Saints today are also persecuted for their beliefs. Only now the persecution is coming from the Church itself.

                                                                     *****   
Update, Sunday April 29, 2018:
There is yet another update on the Joseph Bishop coverup, with even more yet to come as police records are released. It will be clear from this report that someone or some group of someones really does not want the public to have all the information. Here is that update:

BYU Police Report Bombshells: MTC Sex Scandal Update

187 comments:

Rick Mutzelburg said...

Alan I have a question. While I very much admire your articles and mostly agree with your points, I am puzzled whenever I read your comparisons of the present day (LDS) church to the original church of old.

Specifically I know you have a problem with today’s corporate church. And I do too. But to say Jesus never setup an organized religion nor had meeting houses etc etc, is a little naive methinks.

1. Jesus didn’t exactly have the time before his demise to do much formal organizing.
2. The social and legal systems of old are probably quite different to now and not much was required back then. Apparently you could lead a herd of followers to a nearby hill and have sacrament. That might not work these days or at least there’s better ways to do it.
3. There weren’t a heck of a lot of members before his death. Most growth happened after he died. Therefore buildings and bank accounts were as yet unnecessary, if not unheard of.

My point being, is it so wrong for a church nowadays to have buildings and a bank account? You’ll be tempted into a sidetrack about giving to the poor and expensive shopping malls. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m suggesting it would be impossible for any large organization to run without buildings to meet in and an accounting devision to manage and distribute the donations. You speak as if Jesus would disapprove of any such improvement upon the ancient church. It was rudimentary and unfinished at best. Don’t you think?

Rick Mutzelburg said...

Another question I have is, in your article you said:

“it should be self evident that Church leaders have been leading the church astray ever since Brigham Young usurped authority from the Church High Council following the death of Joseph Smith”.

Why were there only errors since Brother Brigham? Are you sure Joseph wasn’t capable of deception and false revelation? A mere flyby investigation shows unmistakable contradictions and changes by Joseph.

It’s my opinion you may be losing readership when you make statements like this.

Just my 2c

Dave P. said...

One of the greatest threats to the minds of the average church member today is the belief that the leaders do hold power and authority over their lives. Despite having co-authored a book on how the LDS church fulfills the prophecy of being the great and abominable church, I've been left alone and my name is still on the books- since I never officially resigned- because I have told multiple bishops and stake presidents, "You think you have authority over me because I live within these borders. No. I have never sustained you. I have never accepted you. You have no power over me!"

Another, more detailed example comes from when I was wintering in Arizona a few years ago and visited the local ward. They moved my records into there without permission and ended up receiving a very angry email letting them know I had not authorized them to do that and to put my records back where they were at the time. They did.

To think that any church official has authority to pridefully "discern" that one is a sinner is-
1. Trusting in the arm of flesh.
2. Violates the Law of Witnesses.

What does it mean to "kick against the pricks" in D&C 121? My personal view is that it means they continue to believe they are some kind of big shot while those around them come to realize, "You know what? You aren't important. You aren't needed!" and hopefully turn directly to God. The climax of the TV series Merlin starring Sam Neill from the late 90s is a perfect example of this. Rather than some climactic magical showdown between Merlin and the pagan goddess Maab, he just turns his back, says, "We don't need you anymore," and everyone leaves while she screams and shouts, "Look at me! Worship me!" before fading away entirely.

doug said...

As Dan Rogers is fond of pointing out, the church as an organization would not pass its own temple recommend interview.

Ed Francom said...

Gosh Rock. How do I know if I have joined this little known sect --unknowingly. Can you name it for me, or perhaps send me it's name in the messenger part of facebook? If I have joined it unknowingly, perhaps I can unjoin it in time not to be taken off the roles of eternity... That would really upset members of my close family. Again.

Ryan Nickel said...

Let us not forget this little beauty.

https://youtu.be/TpyiYiLwQWw

This poor sister lost her recommend for talking about her husband’s “emotional affair” and he wasn’t punish at all.

I’m sorry but this is just garbage. Emotional or not, the Savior gave us a higher law.

Matt. 5:28

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Not in this church under that stake president’s watch. But if you disagree with him he’ll snatch away your temple recommend.

Priestcraft is so blatantly obvious.

dx said...

"The first century Saints were persecuted for their beliefs. Many of the Saints today are also persecuted for their beliefs. Only now the persecution is coming from the Church itself."

What a disgusting insult to the first century saints. Their persecution included being murdered and beaten and raped. There is no parallel here. Withdraw that statement.

matt lohrke said...

While the church was still buying Mark Hofmann's documents and there was some intrigue surround them, Dallin H. Oaks stated in a talk at BYU that those with the spirit could not be deceived. When the fraud was discovered, Oaks stated it was normal practice for organizations to buy documents and manuscripts before having them authenticated, so don't worry about it. He then said that was what some no-name public library in Pasadena, California did, so clearly the Lord's church should that, too. (For this reason I pray Russell outlives Dallin.)

The entire hierarchy was deceived--repeatedly. They don't have spirit of discernment.

Rick - interesting statement that Christ met his "demise."

Until the lay membership realizes that LDS, Inc. hold absolutely ZERO salvific power, they'll stay in this abusive relationship.

I had one of those "a ha!" moments the other day when reading Benjamin's discourse:

I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body—I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world. And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.

The masonic temple endowment, "celestial marriage," following the prophet and other "saving ordinances" have no bearing on salvation. Think about that phrase--how can an ordinance save anyone? Nor is there any "exaltation." (11 of the 12 mentions of "exaltation" in the D&C are found in the phony 132. It does not appear in New Testament, Old Testament, Book of Mormon or PoGP). The only salvation is outlined by Benjamin:

1) Know the goodness of God and His atonement
2) Trust the Lord in keeping His commandments (the ones He personally gives you)
3) Endure in the faith until the end of your mortal life

It's plain and simple.

Daren said...

Rock,

I would be careful about focusing on a lack of spiritual discernment among religious leaders. The same could be said about Joseph Smith, who allowed John C. Bennett to become a counselor in the First Presidency, the mayor of Nauvoo, the General of the Nauvoo Legion, etc. without Joseph ever discerning Bennett's sexual deviancies.

DeeLyn said...

Great article. I agree with that guy's short video you shared, that just because the Bible claims someone is a true prophet receiving commands from God, doesn't mean they really are, especially when they claim God commands things opposite or contrary to Christ's commandments and the Golden Rule, as many Bible prophets did, including Abraham.

Right and wrong never change. Truth is natural eternal law. Why would anyone think men who did such evil things were true prophets? False prophets always claim to be true prophets with revelation from God. And as Christ taught, true prophets don't break the commandments for any reason.

And I agree with Daren, Joseph Smith didn't seem to have spiritual discernment either and thus couldn't have been a true prophet himself, for calling and trusting Bennett, BY, and many other leaders who clearly did not follow Christ's commandments. A true prophet would not have called such men, let alone started a formal church, or asked for money for anything.

True prophets would echo Christ, and tell the people to search out the countless needy around them and give 'all' their donations, money and offerings to them directly, so they can personally learn and grow from the experience themselves and not trust in men or leaders to take care of the poor for them, for few actually do.

And as long as there are any poor among us there wouldn't be any money left over to build a church or temple or support a church leader. No church cost comes before reliving suffering, thus why Christ taught the people on a hillside, it's free. True prophets would not take 1 dime for their support as long as there were single mothers and others who needed support.

God would rather have no poor among us then 1000 temples. And He would rather people use all their extra time visiting and serving the needy in their families and neighborhoods on Sunday or during the week, rather than spend precious time in a church just talking about it or doing some church program or function. Imagine how strong, wise and happy youth would be if they served and visited the needy weekly rather than do most of their other church get togethers.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I don't think the scriptures mention the gift of discernment pertaining to the discernment of living people. It specifically mentions the "discerning of spirits." So if you have this gift and you encounter a spirit you should be able to discern if they are a good or evil spirit. The other meaning I found was being able to discern if God is behind the gifts that other members manifest.

So not only are these gifts not given to any Tom, Dick, or Harry that gets a calling. But they don't even say that those who have the Gift should be able to discern the sins of another person.

matt lohrke said...

Zomarah: Good point. Do you--or anyone else--think there's a difference between the power/gift of discernment and knowing the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Spirit? Are they synonymous ideas or different?

I know a first-hand account where a bishop called out the specific sin of a person, so it can happen.

MC said...

If my memory serves me there are quite a few accounts in early church history of the Holy Ghost revealing the sins of individuals to the elders of the church and others.

Wilford Woodruff experienced this while serving his first mission in the southern states.

In the BOM Nephi was blessed to know that the chief judge had been murdered by his brother through the Holy Ghost.

I think there is no question that the Holy Ghost can manifest the sins of a person to another.

From what I have observed in the church, this certainly is not a gift that church leaders are blessed with based on their callings. It would be great if this were true, but it isn't. Anyone who has served in a leadership position knows that the decisions on who to call to certain callings and other matters are made based on the information available and not revelation in most cases.

Many callings do not pan out and there are many members who appear righteous on the surface but are not. In many cases the leaders are just as fooled by unworthy individuals as everyone else. This is because the true gifts of the spirit are largely (if not completely) absent from the church today.

MC said...

Rock,

You made some great points in your article about the church's determination to save face in the eyes of the world at almost any cost. Sadly this is the truth. I wish it wasn't.

Can you clarify one point in your article? You mentioned your acquaintance who was exed for allegedly belonging to a sect that doesn't exist and he isn't a part of.

Is there any chance that this particular "sect" was an attempted reference to a fellowship or the fact that your friend sympathizes with the teachings of Denver Snuffer?

I know you don't consider that grounds for excommunication or that the remnant is a new sect, but is it possible that this man's stake president viewed the remnant as an apostate sect?

Perhaps this is a matter of differing definitions of what constitutes as being "church" or "sect" under the church's apostasy category in the handbook. Just a thought.

I also think it may be a bit of a stretch to compare excommunication to murder or even spiritual death. My understanding is that the church believes that excommunication for certain offences is neccesary for the protection of its members or as part of the repentence process and not a banishment to outer darkness. I'm not aware of excommunication ever being interpreted as spiritually killing someone. Do you have a reference in church history where excommunication was referred to in this manner?

David said...

If we're going to cast aspersions because someone called an unrighteous, sinful person to a specific position within the church, then what does that say about Jesus? Didn't he call Judas to the apostleship? Is there anyone here that needs to cast aspersions that is going to let that slide? Are you going to tell me that Judas was a good man who made a mistake?

Underdog2 said...

If that's true, that Joseph did call a sexually deviant man to high office, then what does that prove?

That Joseph was imperfect.
That Joseph was not omniscient.
That Joseph could be deceived.
That we should not place our faith in man/ arm of flesh.


Shouldn't we ALREADY believe such things?

matt lohrke said...

Underdog2 - 100%. After reading "Salamander," the impression came to me that the Lord allowed Mark Hofmann to deceive the hierarchy to show the members that we should not put our faith in the arm of flesh. From what I recall, there was never a mention in the book about church leaders asking the Lord about the documents. They seemed to rely on historians. It's disappointing that Hugh Nibley got tied up in it a bit, but I suppose we're all weak and easily misled.

In that same book, I read about Steve Christiansen, on of Hofmann's victims. He was a bishop (who drank caffeinated soda and watched R-rated movies) and once confessed from the pulpit that only about 30% of callings were "inspired." The rest of the time they just needed a body to fill an opening. I imagine this is fairly standard across the church. We should stop telling people that every calling every time is direct inspiration from the Lord.

David - The record is silent on whether or not Judas was wicked from the beginning, so far as I know. I suspect Jesus knew Judas would betray him, but didn't name him so that Judas could exercise his free agency. Judas had a choice. If I understand the Joseph Bishop situation, he was a known quantity. And as they always say, the cover-up is worse than the crime.

David said...

Matt - I understand the MTC issue and it's disgusting that something like that was allowed to happen. However, others have mentioned Joseph Smith and others for not having the spirit of discernment based on them having called people who had wicked tendencies. My point is nothing less than Jesus encountered the same thing. I don't doubt that Jesus knew beforehand what would happen and how Judas would be involved. If he did know, it didn't change his mind nor the outcome. Perhaps part of the reason it happened was for us to learn lessons of not trusting men like Underdog2 mentioned or perhaps lessons that mistakes happen.

matt lohrke said...

David - good points. I agree with your viewpoint.

I was recently talking with an active LDS friend. Amazing human being. Has no idea about all the issues. All I said to her was "pray for discernment. Lots of wolves about"

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Rick Mutzelburg,
Your questions presume that Jesus would have set up a church that was structured and organized as modern churches are had he only remained on the earth long enough to set such an institution in motion.

But we can see from the three centuries of Christian worship, as well as the incipient history of the LDS church, that no such institutionalized church was ever contemplated by Christ. It wasn't until Constantine's takeover that lavish cathedrals were built to combine the varied Christian churches into one legitimized universal, or catholic church.

It's easy to look back through the lens of our own warped experience and presume that an organized church with a central headquarters was the way it would have been had there only been more members early on. But we can see by the way the LDS church was organized in 1830 that "organized" as we think of it today did not mean anything remotely resembling the corporate institution the Church has become. "agreeable to the laws of our country" per D&C 20 merely indicated something akin to a common law announcement that a new denomination had appeared on the scene. The first six members of this new church were not required to apply for a license in order to exist. They merely stated the obvious: this church exists, and it is to be known as the Church of Christ.

By 1844 there were an estimated 20,000 members of the church living in and around Nauvoo. Certainly if the Lord had commanded Joseph Smith to build chapels to house large numbers, he would have. But it was always preferable for small groups of neighbors to gather for fellowship and worship. After half the saints headed for the Rocky Mountains, small branches of the church continued to gather in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconisn, and Texas as if there had been no interruption.

The Lord defined his church in D&C 10:67 as all who repent and come unto him. There is no mention of a owning property. Members were always meant to meet anywhere they cared to: hilsides, each other's homes, or in borrowed facilities. Members could and should own their own homes and use them as a place of worship, but the minute the community that calls itself a "church" purchases property, then all kinds of liability begins to incur.

How, for example, do you sue a "Church" that is an invisible entity? You can't. You can sue individual members of a church who have caused injury, but you can't sue an entity that does not exist as a permanent institution.

What occurred with McKenna Denson was that members of an organized corporation conspired to cover-up evil acts performed by a man they considered "one of their own" and proceeded to try to smear the victim to protect the reputation of the institution. That resulted in a cause of action against the entire institution, where had there been no monolithic corporation, only those involved in the cover-up could have been found liable.

The LDS Church retains a legal department precisely because the leaders have chosen to hide behind a corporate entity rather than to take personal responsibility for their actions. When this case is finally all tied up and settled, and reparations have been paid to the victims, you can bet no one in authority will be deprived of one dime from his salary, because the "Church" will be held liable, not any individual members of the hierarchy.

The Lord intends us all to be held accountable for our actions. The formation of a corporate Church such as we have today allows the leaders to avoid personal accountability.

At least in this life.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Rick Mutzelburg,

You ask "Why were there only errors since Brother Brigham? Are you sure Joseph wasn’t capable of deception and false revelation? A mere flyby investigation shows unmistakable contradictions and changes by Joseph."

It's certainly apparent Joseph made mistakes, and he owned up to them. The tragedy of the failure of the Kirtland Bank is often held up as evidence that he was a false prophet. But how can you blame him for being a false prophet when God never commanded him to get involved in that project? Joseph was not possessed of magical abilities. We can certainly understand his desire to create a method by which the fledgling church could get its hands on some operating capital, and certainly from the successes of other banks all over the country, it seemed like it couldn't fail.

Had he first inquired of the Lord, he might have been forwarned that every financial institution in the entire country was about to experience a devastating collapse:

"On March 17, 1837, I.and L. Joseph of New York, one of the largest dealer in domestic exchanges, went bankrupt. What brought this about was the failure of the New Orleans cotton market, triggered by a reduction in purchases by British buyers, and since the I.and L. Joseph Company had extensive dealings with a variety of commercial and mercantile enterprises, as well as banks, its bankruptcy set off a chain reaction that pulled down dozens of other companies. The price of specie rose and created a run on the banks, forcing a suspension of specie payments by the banks. Over the next several months hundreds of bankruptcies occurred. The nation seemed on the verge of total financial disaster" -Robert V. Remini, The Jacksonian Era, pg 41.

The Kirtland Safety Society was a victim of the crash of 1857, a devastating disaster that was overshadowed 20 years later by the bigger panic of 1857. This may have been one of the lessons Joseph Smith had in mind when he said that a prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as a prophet. "Acting as a prophet" consisted mainly of relating the words of Jesus Christ he was given through revelation. Every mistake he made was the result of forgetting the role the Lord had laid out of him, even when those efforts were motivated by good intentions.

It's worth remembering that the Lord called Joseph Smith to be His prophet. The people elected him their president. Any mistakes he made, he made as the president.

I've long felt it was a mistake for him to allow himself to preside over the church. That office could have been held by Sidney Rigdon or his brother, Hyrum, as I espoused in my blog post, "Joseph Smith's Big Mistake."

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2017/06/joseph-smiths-big-mistake.html

As for your assertions of "contradictions and changes" made by Joseph Smith, I would refer you to Ronald Kerran's newly published book, which proves conclusively that many of the historical statements and writings attributed to Joseph Smith were inserted into the record long after Joseph was gone.

https://theexonerationofemmajosephandhyrum.com/


Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ed Francom,
I can assure you that you have not joined this invisible sect, but you will get a chuckle when you find out the name Rick Ballard gave to it. I will tell all in a future post, but for now, the couple involved have asked me to say no more than I already have, as their families have not yet been notified that their family tree now contains two new filthy apostates in it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ryan Nickel, thanks for providing that link. I had forgotten all about that incident, and we all deserve to be reminded of the kind of things that happen when church leaders forget that D&C 121 was written as a warning to THEM.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Gee Whiz, dx, let up on me a little, will ya?

I was not comparing the torturous persecutions of the early saints with anything going on today. I was merely stating what I thought was the obvious: LDS Church leaders at all levels are attempting everything in their power to punish those they believe are under their charge. If this were the dark ages, I have no doubt they would torture and kill their critics just as King Noah killed that pesky Abinadi for pointing out the obvious. IF they could. But of course they can't so they have to be satisfied with branding us "apostates," which is no more effective as name-calling. They think it stings, but of course it doesn't.

I read Fox's Book of Martyrs when I was still in my teens, so I am well aware that Christians in those days were ACTUALLY persecuted in ways we can barely imagine. The fact that the LDS Church compares the criticism they receive today using that same word, "persecution" is more a reflection on their lack of awareness than it is on me for borrowing their feeble usage.

Although being excommunicated from the LDS Church is in no way comparable to the physical tortures that accompanies the excommunications performed by, say, the spanish inquisition, for the record I want it known that I have not for one moment felt persecuted as the result of my excommunication. I recognize it as a meaningless gesture at the hands of feckless men with no authority. Although I received countless expressions of sympathy from readers following that action, the truth is it didn't hurt a bit.

So, also for the record, allow me state my feelings about real persecution. The early Saints were persecuted at the hands of the Romans in the vilest of ways, as were the sincere saints at the hands of the Catholic Church for centuries. Many Mormons during the Missouri period were persecuted also, and though being beaten, tarred and feathered, and having their homes burned down were devastating persecutions, even those evils pale in comparison to the torturous persecutions endured by the early Christians.

It has not escaped my notice that Polycarp, Ignatius, and Cyprian, whom I mention in my essay, were brutally murdered by the authorities for their beliefs.

While it's true McKenna Denson has been persecuted by Church leaders who fed information about her past to their "outside counsel," I very much doubt she feels she has suffered persecution comparable to the early saints, and I did not intend to suggest she had.

So you're right, dx. There is no comparable parallel between the persecutions of the early Christians and the feeble name-calling the LDS Church engages in today. But I didn't think I was suggesting that there was.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Darren,
Right you are that Joseph Smith seems to have been a poor judge of character. The difference, however, is that he did not boast of having the magical ability to discern the character of a man the way the Church leaders today claim to have. John C. Bennett arrived on the scene on the banks of Commerce carrying bottles of healing quinine at a time when the early saints were sick with fever after having been driven from Missouri. He must have seemed like a gift from heaven, especially once Joseph learned Bennett was a doctor, as well as the dean of one university and president of another.

Of course, Bennett was a fraud, but before Joseph discovered that he had nominated Bennett the city's first mayor, made him first counselor in the First Presidency, and gave him the lucrative position of postmaster. Joseph learned Bennett's character not through ESP, but through sad experience.

As I was writing this blog post I was desperately searching for a quotation -I think it was from Joseph Fielding Smith- that I had seen to the effect that leaders at all levels in the Church today possess that remarkable skill. Alas, I could not recall the wording, and an internet search failed to provide it. Perhaps someone here can recall the exact words. It might be readily available to me if I were to listen again to Radio Free Mormon's podcasts, but I did not have the time to go through them before finishing the piece.

I think we tend to attribute gifts to Joseph Smith that he did not have access to at all times. We are lied to when we are taught modern leaders have this power. I think we ought to remember that Joseph was just a man with weaknesses, unlike our perfect Church leaders today. To my knowledge, Joseph Smith never claimed to be able to look in a man's eyes and see right through him to tell if he was lying, but I can tell you I was taught all the years of my youth that my bishop had that ability.

Had I known then what I know now, I would not have ratted myself out during some of those interviews.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

To my readers:

As I have been sitting at my desk responding to some of your comments, my seven-year-old grandson Nate has come into the room to sit on my lap. He wants to know if I am writing about him, so okay, I'm mentioning him now.

Nate wants me to tell you all he says "hi."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Nate: "Oh, by the way, tell them that there are some great people in this world."

I concur. And I think Nate is one of them.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Deelyn, writing in agreement with Darren above, wrote, "Joseph Smith didn't seem to have spiritual discernment either and thus couldn't have been a true prophet himself, for calling and trusting Bennett, BY, and many other leaders who clearly did not follow Christ's commandments. A true prophet would not have called such men, let alone started a formal church, or asked for money for anything."

As far as I can tell, Joseph's role as a prophet was best encapsulated in D&C 21, where he is presented as one who's job it is to repeat the words of the Lord verbatim "as he receives them" which he did on numerous occasions in the D&C. I see no place where the Lord gave him the ability to see into the future actions of the men you name, although He did chew Joseph out several times for being a knucklehead.

In short, a "true prohet" has nothing to do with discerning the character of those around him. A prophet repeats the words the Lord gives him to speak. That's pretty what a prophet is supposed to do. He isn't supposed to preside over others, or second-guess what they're going to do. The reason I criticize modern leaders for failing to discern is because, as I pointed out in my response to Darren above, they claim to have powers Joseph never did, and we can easily see they do not.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Zomarah, thanks for that input on the spirit of discernment. Certainly food for thought.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
You, too, make some good points regarding events in scripture where discernment has been displayed. I suppose there are more examples if anyone cared to compile a list. That of course does not mean that any prophet has some psychic aura around him at all times that enables him to "read" the character of everyone he comes into contact with.

To your question, I read the letter of excommunication from Rick Ballard, and the sect he named did not say anything about a "remnant sect" to my knowledge. I will leave out the name for now for a couple of reasons, one being the request of my new apostate friend, the other because we both think it's hilarious and we intend to engage in some mockery about it. The accusation was ridiculously funny, but I wanted to tell this one part of the story as succinctly as I was able to illustrate the point I was trying to illustrate.

Ballard did express his opinion that the couple were followers of Denver Snuffer (that appears to be the sin of the week these days), but in his appeal the man clarifies that they are not and never were Denver Snuffer's followers. I think once the appeal is made available, it will bring joy to all who read it. These particular accusations are so ridiculous and without merit that it wouldn't surprise me if this becomes the first excommunication overturned in decades.

I agree with you that excommunication is not actual spiritual execution, but I have spoken to enough victims of this purge who have assured me they were told this by those who excommunicated them as a warning of the seriousness of their situation. That is what I think I was conveying in my piece: many of those who are conducting these excommunications for apostasy believe an apostate is the worst thing one can be, and from it there is very little chance of forgiveness. This is why they offer the candidate a chance to renounce his evil ways and kiss the ring of the pope before they find themselves cast into the fiery pit to burn forever.

What you describe as being necessary for the protection of the Church's other members or as part of the repentance process would more properly be accomplished by removing the hand of fellowship for a period of time from persons found guilty of actual offenses. But that doesn't seem to be a strong enough punishment these days for someone who refuses to acknowledge the leaders as being infallible.

And let's remember that the Church rarely excommunicates those who have actually turned from the faith, denounced the entire religion, and become atheists. According to scripture this is a valid reason for excommunication. Sadly most of those who are excommunicated these days (examples being myself, Denver Snuffer, and countless others), actually PROFESS Christ and insist He should be held above everything, including the Church. The fact that these professing Christians are being expelled from the Church in record numbers is evidence that something has gone very wrong in the LDS Church today.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Underdog2,
You managed to convey in very few words the thoughts it took me many paragraphs to state.

I should have simply referred my questioners to your comment and saved myself some long explanations!

MC said...

Rock,

Thanks for the clarification.

I agree that it is very telling and hypocritical for the church to target individuals for excomuncation who are the die hard faithful Mormons who have discovered serious problems in the church and have chosen to do something about it without renouncing the restoration or a belief in the gospel of Christ, while leaving the inactive or semi-active atheist Mormons alone.

In fact the church has a duty to remove the inactive atheists apostates and serious sinners from the roles of the church, but of course they don't do this. They can't have the membership numbers drop by at least 50%.

You are absolutely right that something is very wrong in the church today.

Dave P. said...

The Book of Mormon is quite clear about the burden of leadership and why it's not a smart idea for people to aspire to such a position. The leader is often held up as an example of how to act and even what is appropriate to do or not (despite all the implications of trusting in the arm of flesh that result). If a leader does not properly warn those he leads of when they're committing sin, the sins are visited upon the head of the leader.

Look again at the example of King Noah. In less than a generation he destroyed the legacy of his father and led the people to think he (and they themselves by extension) could do no wrong and that they were invincible. When Abinadi stepped forward and said all was not well, they initially ignored him, slandered him, then finally killed him. The pattern continues with the John Bishop case as, rather than accept responsibility for the actions of one of their "priests," the corporate leaders ("kings") and a great deal of the membership try to paint the victim as the one in the wrong despite their own duplicitous (and downright illegal) actions.

How many people remember the focus and teachings of the church prior to 1960 when the "Every member a missionary" program began? How many before the implementation of "correlation" in the 70s? How many before the changes to ward budget allocation in the early 90s? Remember that such things were instituted by men who are regarded as "leaders" and every change has departed further and further from what was originally restored, but it doesn't take long before the lay membership fully embraces the changes, forgets the foundation, and thinks that's how it's always been. Within 10 years, "Home Teaching" will be a completely forgotten term.

Robin Hood said...

Rock,
I believe you would have been wise to wait until the Joseph Bishop controversy fully unfolds before commenting. That is the big difference between the US and the UK system. It seems in the US a trial can be conducted in the media before a court date has even been set!

But, given that you have commented, indeed speculated, I think it would be appropriate for me to say something. Last year the church excommunicated a General Authority; back in the '90's they excommunicated George P Lee (another GA); and back in the 1950's they excommunicated a serving Apostle. And yet you accuse the church of cover-up! How do you square your speculation (until any legal case, that is all it is Rock) with the actual bone fide recorded behaviour of the church in these cases?
As Judge Judy often says, "if it doesn't make sense it isn't true".

You wouldn't have written an article like this a few years ago. Says a lot.

So my advice to you is to quit getting involved in this speculative frenzy and demonstrate a more statesman-like demeanor until all of the facts are known through due process and properly administered interrogation.

Perish the thought Rock, but could it be that you may have rushed to judgment?

Dave P. said...

One thought that hit me is how the corporation put itself into this position with John Bishop and any other cover-ups by the wrong-doing of high-profile members because of its top-down hierarchy. If someone is called by God and falls away, that person's sins are answered on his own head. With the corporate leaders "calling" these people left and right, of course people are going to blame them just as much as the wrongdoers for pretty much lying about constantly having a spirit of discernment.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Rushed to judgment? My focus is not over the guilt or innocence of Joseph Bishop, but in the frantic scramble by those in the hierarchy to both distance themselves from Bishop, and their clear attempts to smear McKenna Denson in an effort to make her decide it is in her best interest to shut up and go away. Had you bothered to listen to the podcasts by Radio Free Mormon you would readily see the parallels between this situation and the way top leaders in the Church went to extraordinary lengths to destroy the good name of George P. Lee, which for some reason you cite to support your position that there is nothing to see here.

Sitting apostle George P. Lee was branded an apostate and excommunicated after criticizing the actions of his fellow apostles. The rumor mill went into high gear immediately after, and George Lee's reputation was effectively destroyed. Dave P's comparison to the corruption of King Noah and his court are quite apt when recalling the force exerted against George P. Lee for speaking truth to power.

Here are the letters Lee presented to his brethren in the quorum that got them angry enough to seek revenge:

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/072-50-55.pdf

Several years later rumors were put into circulation that Lee had once touched the breasts of a thirteen year-old girl. Though he vigorously denied those rumors, he later tearfully admitted guilt when the case -with almost nothing in the way of evidence- went to trial.

Many people close to Lee and aware of the persecution he was being constantly bombarded with believe wholeheartedly that he had been put under a tremendous amount of pressure, including threats against Lee's family if he refused to buckle, and that resulted in Lee admitting to something he did not do in order to spare his family. They believe he was framed in order to distract attention from the fact that a sitting apostle had called out those in authority as liars and hypocrites.

Read Lee's charges against the church, and you'll see his disgust with the actions of the modern church hierarchy are pretty much in line with my own.


matt lohrke said...

Wow. Whatever failings he may or may not have had, he nails it in those letters. He's one of the few who seems to understand what it's actually about.

I've wondered why the literal Restoration of Israel has become a forgotten idea in the church. It's kind of the whole point of the Father's work, after all.

Meanwhile today on lds.org, we have four photos of general authorities, one image of Jesus (two of Russell) and zero mention of the Book of Mormon.

MC said...

Rock,

George P. Lee was a seventy not an apostle.

It's too bad that he ended up confessing to touching that girl's breasts.

It really hurt his credibility, regardless of whether or not he actually did what he was accused of.

My own opinion is that he did it, but who knows.

His critism of the brethren should be taken seriously regardless.

There's a Youtube video out there by Kevin Kraut claiming that Bruce R Mcconkie confessed to George Lee on his deathbed that he was afraid to meet Christ because the apostles had not been completely honest with the church membership.

It's a third hand account, so I wonder if it's true or not. It wouldn't surprise me. The brethren have got to know that they are hiding things and that something is seriously wrong within the church. I still think they mean well, but a scriptorian like Mcconkie would have to know that he is accountable to God for his part in keeping the members in the dark and changing the ordinances.

Robin Hood said...

Rock,
George P Lee was convicted of sexual abuse. The church always remained tight-lipped concerning the reasons for his excommunication. There was a statement issued at the time regarding "apostasy" but no detail. Any further comments circulated in the media were from speculative commentators (like you with this current controversy) or Lee himself.

He did confess to the abuse and signed the sexual offenders register. He turned to traditional native American tribal religion before his death.

My concern regarding your conduct is that you guys inherited from us the principle of "innocent until proved guilty"; but it seems this doesn't apply (for you at least) if the potential guilty party is the church.
Very poor form Rock. It seems that principled conduct is abandoned when the prize is so tantalizing.

I have very rarely agreed with you concerning your religious views, but I had always worked under the assumption that you were a principled man.
Now, I'm not so sure.
Certainly your behaviour regarding this issue raises a question.
To say I am disappointed is an understatement.

Why don't you just wait until all the facts are known and the guilt of the church apparent? Perhaps you don't want the facts to get in the way of an opportunity to have a jolly good dig at the church, suspecting that when the truth does eventually emerge the story won't be quite so juicy and it will be too late.
Shame on you.

Dave P. said...

Whether George Lee was guilty of sexual abuse or not is irrelevant. The problem is people trying to use that to discount what he had to say to the corporate leadership.
Truth is truth, no matter the source and facts do not care about feelings. So the focus of course is if his grievances are true and correct.

Same with the John Bishop case. People are trying to defame the accuser by bringing up dredges from her past that are unrelated to the actual issue at hand. Why bring such things up? Because it is a distraction and meant to defame, not part of seeking out the truth of the matter at hand.

Eric Kuntz said...

So few people love the truth

Mc Kay said...

The idea was suggested that Joseph Smith lacked discernment because he called John C. Bennett as councellor, “without Joseph ever discerning Bennett's sexual deviancies.” Perhaps we should level that same criticism on God.

D&C 124:16 Again, let my servant John C. Bennett help you in your labor in sending my word to the kings and people of the earth, and stand by you, even you my servant Joseph Smith, in the hour of affliction; and his reward shall not fail if he receive counsel. 17 And for his love he shall be great, for he shall be mine if he do this, saith the Lord. I have seen the work which he hath done, which I accept if he continue, and will crown him with blessings and great glory.

So either Bennett’s work was acceptable to God (if he continue) in which case Joseph’s gifts are intact or Section 124 is a bogus revelation.

I’m on Joseph’s side on this argument, on the side of D&C 124 being legit. As for Bennett, I’ve heard the rumors of what he was before Nauvoo (an abusive and philandering husband) and know what he later became but in January 1841, it wasn’t just Joseph who accepted Bennett’s work but Jesus as well if the revelation is legit. If the rumors of Bennett’s past are true, he wasn’t the first caught in adultery that Jesus refused to condemn.

McKay

Rick Mutzelburg said...

The Kirtland Bank fiasco hadn’t crossed my mind as a mistake by Joseph. If I’m honest it hasn’t really caught my interest as yet. But it’s a good example, (though I know you’re saying he wasn’t acting as a Prophet).

I’m thinking of the many other problems which would preclude his claim to being a Prophet. I can’t think of much that actually does qualify him as a Prophet. Can you name some prophecies that did come to pass? I’m drawing a blank.

I’m thinking about his failed prophecy to sell the copywrite of the BoM in Canada. I’m thinking about the prophecy the Saviour would come very soon - a minute to midnight, as it were. I’m thinking of the church becoming so big it will encompass the whole earth, like a stone rolling down the mountain. I’m thinking the multitude of problems in the BoM. Etc etc.

The best prophecy that can be claimed to date was about the civil unrest in South Carolina. That doesn’t a Prophet make. It would be like me saying, a nuclear war will be had, and it will have something to do with North Korea.

I’d be impressed though, if the WoW mentioned something about the saints boiling their water. That would have been simple but remarkable. We’d have about 50M members right now if the Lord just revealed that one thing. Joseph was good at mimicking other’s ideas. I’ll give him that.

Rick Mutzelburg said...

“I would refer you to Ronald Kerran's newly published book, which proves conclusively that many of the historical statements and writings attributed to Joseph Smith were inserted into the record long after Joseph was gone”.

Thank you for this recommendation. Sounds good though I haven’t read it. I hope it includes the insertions into the historical record such as the First Vision, Temple Ceremony, Priesthood Restoration and most other pillars of the LDS doctrine. All seem to have evolved into something which wasn’t at all the original doctrine. We don’t even have a date for the Priesthood restoration.

Mc Kay said...

Here’s a couple of prophecies of Joseph’s for you Rick.

“If Zion (referring to the Mormon efforts in Missouri in 1833) will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they whom will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness”.

But he was just reflecting the prophecy of Jesus through Him.

D&C 84: 57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written--
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.

Or this one

“Perhaps we have said enough on this subject, (the need to build the Nauvoo temple on the Lords timetable) but we feel the importance of it and therefore speak plainly. It is for you, brethren, to say whether the work shall stand or progress; one thing is certain, that unless that is done all our efforts to aggrandize or enrich ourselves will be vain and futile. We may build splendid houses but we shall not inhabit them; we may cultivate farms but we shall not enjoy them; we may plant orchards, or vineyards, but we shall not eat the fruit of them. The word of the Lord is build my house and until that command is fulfilled we stand responsible to the great Jehovah for the fulfilment of it, and if not done in due time we may have to share the same fate that we have done in Missouri.

But here too he was just reflecting the prophecy of Jesus through Him.

D&C 124:45
And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord.

If you can’t see that Joseph was a prophet don’t bother looking elsewhere for one. He is as good a prophet as you are likely to find.

McKay

Robin Hood said...

Those who find fault with Joseph because he recruited John C Bennett should, in the interests of consistency, consider the case of Jesus and Judas Iscariot.

DeeLyn said...

If the narrative about Judas and Jesus is completely true, and that's a big 'if', being perfect, Jesus would have knowingly picked Judas, obviously needing someone to fulfill that role.


People don't fall in a day, they fall slowly over time and a true prophet would see they aren't keeping the commandments or have the right understandings. Brigham Young and others likely had most of their same opinions and behaviors long before Joseph chose them, the same as they did in their later years. Thus Joseph was deceived over and over, whereas true prophets would not be.

Christ taught that true prophets or righteous people wouldn't be deceived by false prophets, false disciples or unrighteous people, for a true prophet/disciple would be keeping all the commandments and thus it would be easy for them to tell who else was or not.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

Can you perhaps provide a list of individuals who you believe met or meet the qualifications of having been or currently being true prophets or even just legitimately called by God to perform his work in some capacity?

I believe you may have mentioned John the Baptist as one before, but I don't recall you mentioning anyone else.

If I understand your position correctly you believe that in order for someone to be a prophet or even called of God for any purpose they must be keeping all of God's commandments perfectly. Am I correct that this is your position?

If it is in fact a requirement for an individual to be keeping every commandment perfectly to be called by God, then I don't see how anyone could ever been called by God at any point, since only Jesus is perfect.

Was it not Peter who told the Lord to depart from him because he was a "wicked man" when the Lord called him?

I think the idea that Joseph Smith was a false prophet because the men the Lord revealed to him should be called to the work were flawed mortals and a good number of them apostasized is completely without merit.

Underdog2 said...

Part 1 of 2

Ryan,

I listened to https://youtu.be/TpyiYiLwQWw. Thank you for sharing. A very fascinating listen! My wife suggested ALL such meetings should be recorded and posted online. It would have the effect that police filming has on corrupt police -- the police tend to show their best face. The ecclesiastical leaders would be compelled to be on their best behavior and might even attempt to conform their words to the gospel or might think to follow the principles laid out in DC 121, despite the false teachings of the Handbook.

The issue from the sister's perspective: she is incredulous that she's being disciplined, for a tangential issue, while her cheating husband gets off scot-free.

The issue from the stake president's perspective: he sincerely laments that he 'has to' discipline her because she won't obey him.

Analyzing this, you can see two priorities clashing. The woman's priority is that the Church (her bishop) should intervene and correct her husband for the non-physical, romantic "emotional" affair he's engaged in, as she has had no luck getting through to him. It appears the bishop and SP agree that the husband's actions are out of line, but the point of contention is the woman disagrees with the bishop for declaring her husband worthy to perform an ordinance. She found that judgment preposterous, and her subsequent actions of expressing her outrage to her friends in the ward about the bishop's poor judgment has put her into a pissing contest with church leadership.

The real issue now, in the minds of the leaders (as articulated by the SP) is the unfolding "apostasy" of this sister, who refuses to keep her mouth shut. He doesn't want her situation to escalate to excommunication of her, so he "pleads" with her (his word) to stop talking. They want this kept under wraps, to cover up the bad judgment of the bishop. The SP says he respects the keys of the bishop. But come on! Any bishop who has a problem with putting the brakes on a seasoned, active Melchizedek Priesthood holder who's going around flirting with another woman, buying her gifts, and causing distress to his wife and family, clearly demonstrates he lacks gospel understanding and is worthy of correction by the stake president. No member of the church would criticize the bishop for counseling the cheating husband, "Whoa, Brother, you're playing with fire and already have traveled well down the path that leads to misery and you need to straighten yourself out with the Lord and your wife before you exercise your priesthood..." This type of conversation truly is what SHOULD have occurred.

Underdog2 said...

Part 2 of 2

I mean, there's really no excuse for that bishop to have gone yellow-belly. Emblazoned in that bishop's mind are these worthiness questions:

5) Do you live the law of chastity?
6) Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
8) Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
9) Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen (wife)?
14) Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord's house and participate in temple ordinances?

The husband would have to stretch things mightily to answer those questions appropriately. And the bishop, knowing what he knows about the ongoing, unresolved emotional affair, would have to look the other way as the husband more or less lied to his face.

The bishop is without excuse. The wife is correct that the bishops's judgment was wrong and even preposterous. The bishop cannot justify saying he's worthy to perform an ordinance. The bishop didn't do his job, going by the book, as the LDS Church teaches. Interestingly, by contrast, as I understand it, in the so-called Remnant movement, there would be no authority to stop him from administering in his own family. But his wife would have veto power over him administering priesthood ordinances outside his family.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
Thanks for that correction on George P. Lee being a Seventy and not an apostle. I'm going to have to stop relying so much on my memory because it's proving to be faulty more and more.

Underdog2 said...

Part 1

This audio recording (https://youtu.be/TpyiYiLwQWw) reveals much about the psychosis of LDS leadership today. I discovered five takeaways from the sister's recorded conversation with the stake president:

1) A Satanic lie:

First, the stake president says to the sister (I paraphrase): "Right, wrong, or indifferent, you must obey your priesthood leader if you say you sustain him." That actually came out of his mouth! Hear it for yourself at the 4 min mark to 4:35. He just stated a Satanic lie as a principle to follow. He said that if a member refuses to follow WRONG (his word) counsel from your priesthood leader, the member (not the leader) is nevertheless "apostate". Dream up and hold in your mind for a moment any incorrect, immoral, apostate, Satanic counsel you can think. Now, imagine the leader giving this counsel to a member and ordering him to comply. If the member recoils in horror and disbelief and tries to correct the leader, and refuses to comply, it's the MEMBER who is considered apostate, according to the stake president. Whereas in reality it's the LEADER who is apostate. This is prima facie evidence that the thought and emotions of LDS leaders are so impaired that their contact is lost with external reality, the very definition of psychosis. Granted, most "wrong" decisions won't be blatant falsehoods or conspicuously devilish. Much of the time the wrong decisions or counsel will be administrative in nature, such as in this case, where there is an order to stop talking about the issue because it's causing the divisiveness.


This truly is troubling on so many levels. Troubling that many or perhaps most LDS leaders may have this psychosis, and double troubling that the vast majority of Stockholm-Syndrome members willingly GRANT this authority (carte blanche permission to abuse members) to their leaders, because they must do so in order to "sustain" them.


The documented source behind the leaders' confusion and brainwashing is Section 6.7.3 of CHI 1 where "apostasy" is erroneously defined as disobeying priesthood leaders.


The fruits of this Satanic teaching in the Handbook are found at the 10:25 and 13:50 marks, where the SP conflates "obeying" priesthood leaders with "sustaining" leaders. In his brainwashed mind, he sincerely believes obedience equals sustaining. This is the intended result of Section 6.7.3.

The SP means well at 14:35 and 20:35 when he begs her to give her "absolute commitment that [she] won't talk about this with anyone." You can tell he really wants to save her from apostasy.


She testifies at 16:00 to his face that the SP has added exponentially to her burden. He can't comprehend what she's saying. How is he so out of touch? He's a good man, isn't he? It's because of his beliefs, or his unbeliefs. It's because he believes the wicked (the sister) take the truth to be hard. He believes SHE is wicked for not obeying his order. While he is protecting the flock, as God's authorized servant, from a wolf seeking to divide the ward, even unwittingly.

Underdog2 said...

Part 2 of 3

2) Unity over Truth/ Jesus

It's clear the stake president wants unity in the ward/stake. He says the sister is creating a "poisonous and divisive" ward. There are camps forming in the ward, he says. Frustrated with her, he says, "I don't know how to convince you there is division in the ward." He elevates UNITY in the ward over truth. This is the second key takeaway from this recording. I see the "principle of unity" in quorums (esp the Quorum of the Twelve) taught with increasing frequency. It's slick. "Be of one mind and one heart." What is omitted in these teachings is the Lord. What is focused on is unity among MEN! The men being united with the Lord is PRESUMED. The devil is clever!

3) Darkness being exposed

This sister's case is a microcosm of the Church as a whole. Denver Snuffer's case was a microcosm too, but was uniquely historical and the facts of his case HAD to be brought to light by Denver because Jesus at that time required LDS hierarchy to be on public trial where they would have to choose Christ or reject Him, because Denver had been commissioned by Jesus Christ to write the books and deliver the authorized message. In my view, Denver was sent, as Abinadi was, as John the Baptist was, as Jesus was. This sister wasn't. But, both cases have exact parallels, namely, that the Church rebuked the innocent member, the leaders were wrong and apostate and completely unrepentant and prideful, the leaders required silence, cooperation was attempted, but ultimately silence wasn't an option, so the leaders used force against the member. Appeals were made. Appeals were denied.

We will keep seeing the same thing played out until members have to choose a side. The purge then will be complete, and the wicked will be destroyed. The sifting is well underway. What is being played out is the third takeaway: darkness is being exposed. More and more people are feeling like the only way to fight back against the tyranny of mind is to expose the tyranny (DC 123:13). I believe the sister in this case would say she was left with no recourse but exposure. She tried to bring to light the "apostasy" of the leaders. They then turned around and charged her with apostasy based on the Handbook's definition, ignoring what true apostasy from Christ is.

4) The TEMPLE itself has been appropriated for evil purposes.

A 4th takeaway is that the temple recommend has been weaponized. It's a tool of suppression. Leaders use it and the promises of the temple, to control members. It's truly a brilliant stratagem of the adversary. This woman spotted it very quickly and scornfully told the stake president in no uncertain terms she was wise to the fact the SP president WAS ATTEMPTING TO ABUSE HER, and she not only didn't appreciate it, but she wasn't going to take the abuse anymore! She was not going to be controlled by the stake president's attempted unrighteous dominion (abuse) of her. He tried to control her, to take away something that he thought she valued, and she said back to him essentially "Take it, I don't want it anymore. You've corrupted it (Matt 21:13). Take your abusive, ugly spirit with you and go home."

Underdog2 said...

Part 3 of 3

5) Conclusion and 5th Takeaway: A spirit of deep-rooted pride has ensnared LDS leadership (Mos 23:9)

What I have learned from analyzing this sister's case, and Denver's case too, is that there is an evil spirit moving upon the leaders of the Church which is encouraging them to not back down on unwise, unrighteous, wrong, and even wicked decisions. Even when it would be quite simple (for a humble man) and in fact endearing to say, "You know, I was wrong. You're right. I apologize. I'm imperfect. Forgive me. I'll try to make this right," most leaders won't do this. As prophesied in Jacob 5:48, it's the pride and arrogance of the branches of the olive trees. Equality has vanished. Iniquity and inequity reigns. Priestcraft rules. "Now is the day of my power!"

It doesn't appear LDS leaders are able to repent of their pride. They don't even see it. They're going down the same path the Sanhedrin did, believing they are righteous and on God's errand.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

So Robin Hood is disappointed in me.

I don't know how I'm going to sleep at night with that weighing on me.

"Why don't you just wait until all the facts are known and the guilt of the church apparent?" he asks.

I have only been commenting on the facts known so far, and although the guilt or innocence of Joseph Bishop has yet to be adjudicated fully, we do know certain things about the Corporate Church's involvement that does not reflect well upon those in the seats of power. This is the area of the case that interests me, because it gives the lie to many of the claims Church leaders make today.

Among the facts we know are that several top Church administrators interviewed Bishop prior to giving him those callings, and the primary reason for those interviews is to ascertain the candidate's character. So we now have proof they did not have the gifts of discernment they claimed to have, in his case, and in the example I provided about Mark Hoffman.

Two top apostles, Spencer Kimball and Thomas Monson, approved a man for a high office of trust without any awareness of his inner character and the harm he was capable of doing to innocents under his charge. Bishop sdmitted that even after confessing to Robert Wells of the Seventy, he was absolved of all sin and THEN promoted to a higher position, that of President over ALL incoming missionaries, male and female.

Had you listened to the podcasts I linked to, you would understand that there will be no criminal prosecution of Joseph Bishop, because while Church leaders were content to sit on the information they had been given regarding his crimes, the statute of limitations ran out. So we may never know how far and to whom he violated the trust given him, because although he admitted to asking one sister missionary to show him her breasts and that she complied, this would appear to have been someone else other than McKenna Denson, who reminded him that he virtually tore her clothes off and penetrated her about two inches before she was able to kick free from him.

If I were to speculate, I'd say this COULD indicate Bishop had already had his "Calling and Election Made Sure," the salient and most disturbing result of which, as we have learned from Tom Phillips, means the inductee is absolved from all future sins, save the sin of denying the Holy Ghost. In the warped vision of those who are misusing this "blessing" in modern times, the recipient is considered to be, from that point forward, all but incapable of committing sin. They are effectively on a level plane with God Himself, no longer subject to temptation.

But I did not engage in that kind of speculation because I don't have that information. We members are not privy to knowing the names of those who have gone through this special ritual. But it sure would shed light on why, rather than disciplining Joseph Bishop when the facts of his improprieties was first emerging, certain leaders preferred to sweep the entire thing under the rug and hope it would go away. I have information I am not yet at liberty to share that would indicate that other victims were paid off by lawyers representing the Church, and the agreements they would have signed to buy their silence are so tightly written that they dare not speak out, ever.

So if you want unsubstantiated rumor, there's some for you right there, because due to the typical non-disclosure agreements the Church has been known to promote, we may never know all their names. But I can tell you right now there are some leaks that may prove difficult to contain. If I know about them, others will find out soon enough.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Still, rather than engage in speculating in my blog post above, I focused on what we do know. We know that the Church hired outside counsel rather than use their own lawyers, and that outside counsel leaked information that made it to the news media revealing that when McKenna Denson was younger, she had a child out of wedlock which she put up for adoption through the LDS Social Services adoption agency. That leaked information even revealed the name the adopted parents had given to the baby. That child, now a grown woman, was shocked to see her name in the papers in connection with this case, as we all know how difficult it is to acquire such information.

This is HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL information the attorneys would not have had access to unless they received it directly from someone high in the Church who was able to obtain that information, and the information was provided for no other reason than to smear and embarrass the plaintiff; to paint a picture of her as a promiscuous teenager. Rather than discipline the abuser, the Church seemed to be attempting to impeach the credibility of the accuser.

Information has now been released by the Church PR department revealing that the improbably named Philander Smartt, who had been called to preside over the Puerto Rico Mission, was released once it was discovered he had been a philanderer alright, but not a very smart one. Only ten months after taking the job, he was quickly released for improper conduct with several sister missionaries under his charge. Although the Church properly kept his sins confidential at the time, I would suggest it was improper to encourage the young women never to speak about what happened to them.

Further, I am told that in modern times when a member is excommunicated for sexual sin, his own congregation is rarely informed about the excommunication. While it is proper to keep some sins confidential, such as a sin that may have taken place between two penitent individuals, it is a violation of trust not to make certain other widespread improprieties known, as D&C 42:90 directs that "if thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastened before many. And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or she may be ashamed."

If what I am hearing is true, that the typical member who is excommunicated these days is not even subject to having the fact of that excommunication announced before the congregation as it always used to be, then what purpose does excommunication serve? Isn't the entire purpose of excommunication to publicly cut one off from the society of one's fellow saints until he sufficiently repents to be allowed to return?

Here is a letter from Bruce Baxter in the letters column of the East Idaho News under the Headline "Mission President 'Deceived and Victimized' Young Female Missionaries, Says LDS Church"

"This is only part of the story. In 2014, the mission president announced President Eyring had designated Puerto Rico a walking mission. Ordered them to park their cars and diverted the fuel budget to his account at the airport where he kept an airplane and private jet. It’s claimed that he took sister missionaries on jet rides. Elder Craig Zwick of the 1st Counsel of 70 took over the mission. He released all the mission leaders telling them they cared more about leadership positions than doing missionary work. The missionaries were instructed to keep it quiet. They kept their mouths shut but numerous local leaders told me what happened. You only had to be around Smartt a few minutes to tell he had no business being a mission president. I related this story to a local area authority in Grant in the summer of 2014. He was in denial. Of course, he also doesn’t think Jefferson County is corrupt. It must have been the lawsuit and ensuing media coverage that triggered the excommunication—a lot late in my opinion. But in these latter days it’s mostly about the coverup."

MC said...

Rock,

My sister served in the Puerto Rico mission under that creep. As far as I know he never did anything to her accept for a long awkward hug, but she said he was really creepy and had a dark spirit about him. She thought for sure that he was a porn or sex addict preying on the sister missionaries.

With the amount of porn and sex addicts in the world today (and sadly all throughout the church) you have to wonder how many more of these creeps are in leadership positions were they have the power to abuse women and children.

There's bound to be a lot. I fear we're becoming more and more like the Catholic church all the time. It's so sad. I don't know what we can do besides mourn for the apostasy in the church and long for the Lord to set the church in order again.

matt lohrke said...

I agree with Underdog 2. The correct path is to apologize.

But when this kind of statement comes from the No. 2 man in the church, I have no hope:

"I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them," Oaks said in an interview Tuesday. "We sometimes look back on issues and say, 'Maybe that was counterproductive for what we wish to achieve,' but we look forward and not backward." (this was in reference to the church's previous comments on LGBTQ issues).

He hasn't the foggiest clue what the Gospel is about, which is why I hope Russell outlives Dallin.

MC said...

Underdog2,

I just finished listening to the YouTube video recording of that sister's interview with her SP.

I think your analysis is pretty good. Not so sure about the Denver Snuffer connection, but otherwise I think you make some excellent points.

I'll just add a few of my thoughts real quick.

It seems to me that this SP is very young and likely relatively inexperienced. One has to wonder why he was even called to be an SP at such a young age. This has become a major trend in the church in recent decades. It seems that the church often prefers a young inexperienced yes man, than a seasoned man who relies on the scriptures and the Holy Ghost as his guide for leadership positions.

I do believe he has good intentions and believes everything he is saying, so I wouldn't say he was lying.

He is certainly brainwashed and some of the things he said are a little disturbing.

However, I think one point is being missed here.

The scriptures tell us that we are to forgive those who trespass against us even if they do not repent or even continue to wrong us.

While I completely understand the hurt this sister is feeling, she is clearly not trying to forgive her husband or this other sister in the ward.

She keeps lamenting that neither of them were punished, while she lost her temple recommend for continuing to air her dirty laundry with ward members against the request of the ward bishop.

Her feelings are perfectly natural and understandable, but the Lord wants her to forgive and turn the other cheek. This is how she will find peace.

Continuing to hold on to this and talking to people in the ward about it what he and this other sister did, is in fact making things worse for everyone, including her.

She should cast her burden on the Lord and seek His comfort, not seek sympathy from ward members.

I think the council she received from her bishop to let it go and not tell everyone about it was sound. Perhaps she could confide in a few dear friends for support, but dragging more people into it only makes it worse.

Just my two cents.

Underdog2 said...

MC,

I definitely concur with you.

She wanted to use the Church to compel her husband to straighten up.

She wanted him held accountable.

I agree with you the Church wants yes-men. They got to be company guys who look the part, pay their corporate fees to earn the upward track, and stay mainstream.

They can't be the avuncular type who know their Scriptures too well. Can't have men knowing the Scriptures too well or they might see clearly to notice the Church has veered off course.

Thanks for your comments, MC!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Underdog2,
Those three contributions today are AMAZING!
Astute and concise. I desire all to read them.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I neglected to mention in my comment above that the Bruce Baxter, author of the letter in the East Idaho News, has a second home in Puerto Rico, and says the missionaries and members are well aware of the full story there.

MC said...

Matt,

The problem is that the church's age old anti-homosexual stance comes straight from the scriptures.

Go read Romans 1 or the epistle of Jude.

Homosexuality is unnatural and an abomination. The church isn't doing anyone any favors by slowly adopting the world's softened stance towards the sin of homosexual sexual relationships.

The church's problem today is that they are going soft, not that they were too hard before and need to soften up.

I'll give you an example. The church is now backing away from the previous position that people can be converted from being homosexual to heterosexual. They no longer encourage homosexuals to undergo conversion therapy and now claim that homosexuals can't help it. This is what all the learned psychologists of the world have been pushing for a while, that homosexuality is innate and can't be changed.

But the scriptures call it unnatural and an abomination. Clealry if it is unnatural and an abomination it can be changed or at least overcome with God's help.

I have a brother-in-law who struggled with an addiction to gay porn in high school. In addition to mighty prayer and fasting, he underwent a lot of counseling and overcame it. He is now happily married with several kids and works as a porn addiction therapist.

He has told me a number of times how frustrated he is that it is now against the law of our country (and church policy) for him to encourage young men who struggle with homosexual tendencies and related sins to undergo homosexual conversion therapy.

His hands are tied. He knows that homosexuality can be overcome and even changed, because he is a living witness that homosexuality is not natural and can be overcome. He overcame it, so he knows it can be done.

Robin Hood said...

Rock,
"Only commenting on the facts known so far".... what a load of crap! Sorry Rock, but even by your admittedly questionable standards these days, this is clearly nonsense. Very few facts are "known", especially by the likes of you and I.
You are simply getting involved in the frenzy of speculation and rumour, like hyenas slavering around the scattered remains of a recent big cat kill. They don't know what the animal was or any other details, but they smell blood and that's enough.
This is a new low, but I'm sure there'll be more.

Robin Hood said...

MC,
Well said mate. The church is going soft on this issue and will reap the whirlwind as a result. Romans 1 is absolutely clear on this matter. I fear that some in the church who are accomodating the Sodomite agenda have been given over to a "reprobate mind". If so, there is worse, much worse, to come.

matt lohrke said...

MC -

I appreciate your comments. I'm glad for your cousin. Truly. The issue isn't homosexuality, however. The issue is that Dallin believes the church's official policy, based on its history, is that it doesn't apologize. Dallin is a lawyer. He speaks and deals in legalese. Whenever a large corporation gets busted and settlements are paid, the guilty party never, ever admits to wrong doing as part of that settlement. They make big payments to the wronged, but require NDAs in return. That's Dallin's world.

However, it's Christ's commandment that we be quick to apologize when we're wrong and quick to forgive when wronged, so that both parties may heal.

The problem with the modern church is that those who have been wronged have zero recourse. They have no power or right to redress. Pleas fall on deaf ears. How many high-ranking church officials will actually listen? How many will say, "You're right. What happened to you was wrong. It shouldn't have happened. I apologize to you. How can I make amends?" They won't, or can't, admit wrongdoing.

Dieter made a half-hearted attempt, but ultimately whiffed when he said in the past some church leaders "may" have said some dumb things. What he should've said was, "Church leaders have said dumb things in the past. They were wrong to do so. We apologize. Please forgive us. We'll do better." But as RFM said, even suggesting church leaders have made mistakes in the past was enough to get him demoted back to the 12.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

On the topic of the Corporate Church flip-flopping on homosexuality, what it comes down to is the capital 'C' Church is no longer a church since it converted to a corporation subject to the laws of the United States government.

An independent, unincorporated church exists in a sphere separate from the influences of the world. A corporation chartered under the laws of the United States does not.

With the Supreme Court's decision in the Obergefell case, LDS leaders found themselves over a barrel, facing the possibility of future litigation from some of its own members if some future homosexual members of the church who otherwise happened to be members in good standing were to decide they wished to be sealed to each other in the temple. Under the political doctrine of "fundamental public policy" the Church would not be permitted to discriminate against them. Why? Because if the Church provided priesthood sealings to heterosexual couples, by law it would be required to provide the same "service" for its homosexual members as it does for all others.

The solution to this dilemma that Church leaders came up with is this: the Church does not discriminate against homosexuality. If a person has same-sex tendencies, he is still lovingly accepted into the church like anyone else. However, it has now been established via internal policies (and codified in the Church Operating Manual known as the Church Handbook of Instruction) that the moment that person becomes involved in a same-sex RELATIONSHIP, that person has fundamentally and voluntarily altered his standing in the Church. Becoming involved in a same sex relationship with another person instantly becomes grounds for "apostasy" and that person is excommunicated. He is not excommunicated for immoral conduct, mind you, but for apostasy. That makes him automatically an unbeliever, and unbelievers have no place in a church that requires one holds to certain beliefs.

What this does is it removes said individual from the category of being a member of the church, and into the category of "non-member." No church -not even a corporate church- has an obligation to provide priesthood ordinances to any person who is not a member of that denomination.

This is all very clever, but it has nothing to do with any tenets of religious morality. It's just a cynical ploy to get around the requirements of "fundamental public policy," which officially changed after the Obergefell ruling.

Anyone with a brain can see there would be no need to comply with the dictates of the world if the LDS church were still an actual "church" in the sense it was when founded by Joseph Smith. But because Heber J. Grant converted it from a "religious society" to a corporation sole in 1925, the "Church" is no longer directed by Jesus Christ, but is subject to the rules of Babylon.

I presented this information three years ago in my blog post titled "The Hidden Meaning for the Policy Change on Baptisms" which you can find here:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-hidden-reason-for-policy-change-on.html

Those interested in a deeper understanding of how the rules of Babylon have come to apply in the LDS Church are encouraged to look for my extensive three-part series, "The Real Threat To Traditional Marriage" which begins here and goes on seemingly forever:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-real-threat-to-traditional-marriage.html

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Those who are legitimately interested in what top leaders of the LDS Church actually knew about the illicit activities of Joseph Bishop before and after he was called to be president of the MTC, will be interested in recently released information that certain parties have understandably tried to keep from becoming public. This Sunday, the Radio Free Mormon podcast will provide some rather disturbing updates gleaned from documents that have come to light through the Freedom of Information Act, the contents of which should put to rest allegations that this story is based largely on unfounded speculation and rumor.

Dave P. said...

MC,

It’s a perfect example of the classic satanic belief of, “I can’t help it. I have no choice.” Thus absolving the responsibility in the eyes of the sinner and rejecting the gift of free agency in the eyes of reality.

Underdog2 said...

Robin Hood,

What is the basis for your indignation at Rock?

Have you not listened to the tape?

For the objective, commonsense man or woman, that tape alone of self confession convicts Brother Bishop of enough sexual improprieties to condemn the man in the court of public opinion.

There are third party witnesses corroborating key details too, like the secret bedroom in the basement and more.

Why are you virtue signaling by throwing shade at Rock? Due to the known public facts, what you are doing is very disturbing and actually impugns your character and motives.

MC said...

Well said Rock. The church's corporate status since the Heber J Grant days pretty much forces them to bow to the Babylonian scepter of the US government.

This is major reason why the church has softened it's stance or flat out reversed it's position on key doctrines.

This is why they gave blacks the priesthood contrary to the scriptures. They really had no choice.

This is why they have tried very hard in recent to make it appear that women have the same responsibilities and duties as men in the church.

This is a major reason for the change from home and visiting teaching to ministering and why they conveniently are having 14 year old girls join the ministering program. The recent changes also organize the men in the ward exactly the same as the relief society. This is not a coincidence, it is caving in to feminism out of fear of being accused of discrimination.

It's all a big fiasco. In the eyes of God women have always been just as important and valued as men, but their roles and purposes are very different. Ever wonder why women can multitask and men can't? It's not so they can become CEOs, it's so they can care for lots of kids and run the household all at the same time. That is a very important job and crucial for the survival of a moral society. The women leaving the home to go to work is at the root of many of societies problems.

MC said...

Matt,

Yeah the brethren are in a tough place. In order to maintain the position that they are the Lord's spokesmen and virtually infallible, they really can't ever apologize for past mistakes. If they admit that past church leaders made serious mistakes then why should they be blindly followed.

I think for the most part they believe what they are doing is right, but they really need to just come clean about some of these issues. Like I said they can't do it, or the whole house of cards will come crashing down. The church is unraveling and they are desperately trying to keep it together by maintaining the status quo for the older faithful members while becoming more progressive for the younger generation.

They should take a follow the scriptures and the rest of the world be damned approach, but it's too late for that. Too much has already been compromised. All they can do is hold fast to the sinking old ship zion until the bitter end.

MC said...

Amen Dave P

Robin Hood said...

Underdog2
I have listened to the tape, and read the transcript.
The 85 year old Joseph Bishop certainly doesn't come out of it very well. However, there are clearly inconsistencies, leading questions, equivocations, contradictions etc throughout the exchange and in the information that has emerged since... on all sides.

Maybe it's just that I'm an Englishman and not used to this kind of intense media frenzy. We tend to wait for the courts to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, things like blame, conspiracy, and guilt... you know, those annoying little things called facts. Trial by media doesn't just not happen here, but in the interests of justice it isn't allowed to happen.

Rock shouldn't have touched this subject until all the facts were known. That is just what civilized, reasonable, and truth loving people do in my opinion. He has consistently claimed throughout his internet presence that he is interested in truth and nothing but the truth.
However, I discovered for myself some time ago now that he isn't so interested in the truth if it makes him look like he's wrong, or impedes the effectiveness (as he perceives it) of his criticism of the church and it's leaders. It became clearly apparent that he doesn't let the truth get in the way of a good story!

Let's just say for a moment that the whole thing turns out to be nothing like has been reported or speculated upon. Rock and others are going to feel, and indeed look, very foolish. But I suspect that won't bother Rock too much, so long as he promotes his agenda.

Christ instructs us not to judge unrighteously. But how can that be avoided when we rush to judgment of Joseph Bishop or of the church leadership, or even of the accuser, without knowing all of the relevant facts?

Frankly, Rock's behaviour regarding this issue is indefensible, and he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.

Underdog2 said...

Robin Hood,

Brother Bishop ADMITS his "crimes" (or whatever term you wish to use) ON TAPE! He even apologizes, very sincerely, directly to his victim.

Child (Rock): "Look mommy, the bear is pooping over there in the forest."

Mom (Robin Hood): "Son, we need to wait for the facts to come out. Let's say for a moment that the whole thing you're speculating about turns out to be nothing like you're reporting or speculating upon. You're gonna look very foolish, my son."




Are you for real, Robin? It's like you're trying to gaslight (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting) the folks here or Rock with your presentation of an alternate reality.

Are facts optional?

Do facts care about your feelings?

Facts are what they are. You don't seem to appreciate the problem-solving principle of Occam's razor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor).

You would rewrite the chapter in Helaman with the murderer of his brother with his brother's blood on his garments as follows, in the killer's words:

"I know there was my blood on my cloak, and that I looked and acted guilty. I know I even confessed to killing my brother. But we have to wait for all the "relevant facts" to come out. That is just what civilized, reasonable, and truth loving people do in my opinion. We need to wait for the courts to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, things like blame, conspiracy, and guilt."

Underdog2 said...

Robin Hood,

You said this: "The 85 year old Joseph Bishop certainly doesn't come out of it very well. However, there are clearly inconsistencies, leading questions, equivocations, contradictions etc throughout the exchange and in the information that has emerged since... on all sides."

Let me tell you how I would have responded if I was completely innocent of the woman's allegations and questioning of me:

"Sister, no I don't remember doing that because I never did that. What you're saying is a lie. No, there was no secret basement room. No I didn't rape you. No I didn't touch you. I don't know what you're up to, but this conversation is over. If you continue to harass me, I'll call the police. I think you're crazy or have me confused with somebody else. Get lost." And I wouldn't be soft about anything I said.

I'm sure ANYBODY who was innocent would respond similarly of such outrageous, false claims (if they were false).

And as you well know, he didn't react or respond that way at all. He largely CORROBORATED what she was saying, and VOLUNTEERED heaps of condemning information all on his own. Occam's razor, my friend.

Stop the silly attempt at gaslighting. It does make you look like you're working for the Church or just plain off your rocker.

jjkram said...

Robin Hood...Enough already.

PNW_DPer said...

"Dream up and hold in your mind for a moment any incorrect, immoral, apostate, Satanic counsel you can think. Now, imagine the leader giving this counsel to a member and ordering him to comply."

This quote from Underdog2's entry brings to mind two words: "Mountain Meadows"

Nunn said...

This excerpt, from an additional, more recent comment by Bruce Baxter (among a few more by him), from the same source as that earlier comment:

"Church leaders cover this stuff up. This happened in 2014, we were there. The missionaries were told to say nothing. Island church leaders told us what happened. Four years later, the only reason the rest of the world knows about it is because one of the sister missionaries sued."

Robin Hood said...

Underdog2,
I don't really care how you would have responded. What on earth has that got to do with anything!
The fact is, the principle of innocent until proved guilty is a principle of law.
But to address what you said, have you listened to the tape or read the transcript? If so, you will have clearly seen that he is quite confused about who she is, and is unable to recall the details of her accusation.
I'm not defending him, but you really must listen to everything that is said instead of just the parts that appeal to the position of your already made up mind.

Underdog2 said...

Of course, in a court of law, you're correct.

But...wait for this Sunday, with popcorn in hand, Robin Hood. RFM will strike again.

Meanwhile, watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY7ZX6ngOSs

Your version would end, "Nope it's not dog sh!t".

Robin Hood said...

Underdog2,
By RFM I assume you mean the Radio Free Mormon nonsense.
I wouldn't lower myself.

MC said...

The biggest problem with RFM is that he is essentially a liberal progressive Mormon. He thinks the church needs to soften up on issues like homosexuality and other doctrines that are in conflict with what the mainstream world thinks today. Because of this attitude no matter what good points RFM might make, he can't be taken seriously by those who actually study the scriptures and use them as their guide.

RFM is preaching a different gospel than the one from the scriptures. He's preaching the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. No matter what the church does, good or bad, RFM will be able to find fault with it to no end, because he's using the wrong measuring stick to compare it to.

Christ said that he had not come to bring peace, but rather the sword. The gospel was not designed to bring everyone together to hold hands and sing kumbaya. Rather the gospel was designed to seperate the wheat from the tares, the wicked from the righteous, the true believers from the hypocrites. The commandments are tough and look like foolishness to the world. The true believers in all ages have been hated by the world.

Underdog2 said...

MC,

You may be right. But RFM's contribution has been in the effective way he presents.

Very organized and methodical and lucid.

His expose of Brigham's coup d'etat was masterful.

On historical and factual things he's a breath of fresh air and gets the Pulitzer.

Scripture knowledge wise, or how he interprets Scripture, you may have a valid point.

MC said...

Underdog2,

I have only looked at a few of RFM's pieces, but from what I have listened/read I agree that his stuff is well put together and pretty thorough.

The problem is that his information is very one sided, almost anti-Mormon at times. He clearly cares more about the philosophies of men and current worldly attitudes on morality, tolerance, etc than on the word of God. This is the exact same problem a lot of the atheist and agnostic anti-Mormons have.

RFM has a predetermined bone to pick with the church and then sets out to prove his point in lawyer-like fashion. There is little to no objectivity and discussion of positions counter to his.

I just can't take someone seriously who chooses worldly wisdom as his measuring stick instead of the word of God. Sure he uses scriptures to support some of his points, but he blatantly ignores scriptures that contradict what he is saying, choosing instead the values and teachings of the world.

Admittedly I haven't looked at the bulk of his stuff, so this based solely on the few pieces I have examined.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

It seems everyone espouses part truth and part error and believes partly in 'worldly wisdom' and partly in what might be 'God's word'. All scriptures known to man were just written by men, not God or even Christ, so it is all just opinion, hearsay and part truth and part error. Thus we can find support in the Bible or BoM, etc, for almost anything, for it all contradicts itself, just like church leaders do.

But in answer to your earlier reply and questions, I don't believe that Peter was called to do anything other than teach Christ's commandments, not to start a church or to receive further revelation for others, for I don't believe true prophets do that. For you are right, no mortal is perfect, and thus how could they be trustworthy enough to always receive correct revelation from God and ask others to believe or follow it, for all can be wrong or deceived unknowingly and then would lead people astray.

Clearly not all, if any, of Christ's disciples were 'true prophets',(ie Judas). Christ seemed to teach that a true prophet must meet a near impossible bar (keep all his commandments), so we could easily tell them apart from false ones. Christ taught us to only trust/follow 'him' and his teachings and not trust or follow any mortal or even true prophet, for he surely knew how fallible even the best are and how easily even a true prophet can receive false revelation, inspiration or visitations and think it's true and from God.

John the Baptist was perhaps a true prophet (we can't know for sure) since he supposedly had Christ's endorsement and he seemed to prove he was by his actions, but there seems to be few if any others in the scriptures or in any church that seems to prove they were a true prophet by passing Christ's test of keeping his commandments. Most like Moses or Abraham seem to have done just the opposite, so why would we think them true prophets?

Many men claim to be true prophets and to have authority or revelation from God, but I don't believe a true and wise prophet would ever claim such things, for he'd realize how often he too is wrong or deceived, so he'd never ask anyone to trust or follow his revelation or him as a leader or call other fallible mortals (Bennett, BY, etc) as leaders, for he would not want people to be deceived when those leaders were wrong about things, as all are at times. True prophets teach to only trust/follow Christ and his commandments, not them or their commandments or revelation.

If Christ did give authority to his disciples, which is a big 'if', since the NT was written by men long after the fact, then I believe it was just that they were authorized to teach his message since they were actually taught by him personally, but not to add their own new revelation or ideas or start a church or following.

Bottom line, why would we trust someone else to receive revelation for us or think they are authorized by God just because they claim to be? If they seemed to be near perfect in some way then we might want to learn from them, but not make them a leader or a middle man for God/Christ, for they could still be wrong about many things or easily receive false revelation. True prophets seem very rare in history, if there were any.

False prophets teach people to trust their feelings, confirmations and revelation, but even our own impressions are not always reliable, for we can be wrong too or get false revelation or false feelings and not realize it. Countless people in the Church or other religions are just as sure their 'opposite' revelation is true or their warm fuzzies, confirmations and visitations are from God and their religion or doctrine is the real truth.

We can't even know if Christ really lived, or if he was who the writers claimed he was. But all we really have is our own conscience and reasoning to know right from wrong and truth from error, and hope we are right, while staying teachable with an open mind.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

I think your position and statements are a perfect example of why we must hold fast to the word of God in the scriptures. That's not to say that there aren't some human errors contained in the scriptures, but collectively the scriptures ought to be our guiding light, that and the Holy Ghost.

Without that we are as a wave tossed in the ocean, leaning on our own understanding and the doctrines of men.

You continue to try and discredit God's past prophets and now even question the existence of Christ. Don't you see that you are very shaky, ever-changing ground. What's next Buddhism and the eight step path? That is a code that tell you to use reason and chose right from wrong, without those pesky uncomfortable teachings in the scriptures.

In discounting the scriptures and the Holy Ghost you have thrown out the only measuring stick whereby you can accurately judge truth from error.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

On the topic of being able to tell real prophets from false ones, I find it interesting to reflect on Ezra Taft Benson. Years before he became president of the Church, he gave that completely heretical talk "Fourteen Fundamentals of Following the Prophet." At the time, I believed every one of those fundamentals to be true (as he clearly did), so I expected him to be one of the greatest prophets to come along in a long time.

But once he held that office, he issued no revelations, and in fact became somewhat quiet. Looking back, I wonder if he was surprised to learn, upon attaining to that office, that God did not speak to him one-on-one as he had expected, but rather that nothing about him had changed.

I think it may have surprised him to learn he did not actually have the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator as he expected. But he had the integrity not to pretend, either. If I'm not mistaken, the last talk he gave was a warning against allowing ourselves to succumb to pride.

In spite of that one glitch where he taught the members to follow the prophet, Benson remains my favorite. He had incredible insight as to the dangers of the infiltration of statism into America's body politic; his experience in Eisenhower's cabinet enabled him to see up close how secret combinations had been infiltrating all areas of society. He also understood the Book of Mormon better than most.

Ryan Nickel said...

Also he didn’t write the much acclaimed “Pride Talk” nor did he deliver it. It was read by President Hinckley, his counselor at the time.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

But that's my point, the scriptures aren't the word of God, but the words of men, written totally by unrighteous men it seems, who only claimed they were the words of God. Why should we just blindly believe anyone's claims that they speak for or have authority from God, anciently or today? Why would we follow or believe someone to be a prophet who is not even living the commandments themselves, but just the opposite? Do you believe in every religion's so called prophets?

Why not just follow Christ's teachings or your own conscience on your own, and you decide right and wrong for yourself? You would probably do a better job than almost any OT or LDS prophet.

Some things in the Bible are true ideals but much is false and is actually contrary to what Christ taught. For everyone, especially false prophets, teaches or believes some truth and some errors.

I agree it'd be nice to have true prophets in this world to guide us, as we taught as missionaries it would be, and I used to believe we did, but then I finally studied their words and deeds and realized they did not match Christ's words nor were they righteous or respectful men, let alone prophets, but were just like the false prophets Christ warned about.

It's enticing to believe in false prophets over Christ because false prophets teach easier more pleasing doctrines and commandments then Christ did, (like polygamy, tithing, temple sealings, priesthood power, etc.) and they teach things like basing our beliefs on our feelings/emotions/revelation instead of reason, proof or the Golden Rule like Christ taught.

But again, if our warm fuzzies or inspiration tell us the church or scriptures are true what about the warm fuzzies/revelations of the Catholics or Hindu's etc? Do warm fuzzies mean every world religion and leader is true then? Or just LDS warm fuzzies?

I agree that the spirit can 'teach' us truth, but it can't 'prove' truth to us, for even Christ taught we have to 'test' what the spirit inspires, to see if it's really teaching us truth or not, by again comparing what it's implying to what Christ or the Golden Rule teaches. For we can easily feel really good and peaceful, even full of love about very wrong things and really bad about good things or truth.

So feelings are not a reliable way to discern right from wrong or truth from error and are why we have so many religions filled with people who are sure God confirmed to them that their religion or leaders or scriptures were right, righteous and true.

I believe the more we study the words of Christ (Golden Rule) and live them, the more we see that most prophets didn't, even LDS prophets.

Following and believing in imperfect unrighteous prophets has always been much more preferable than believing in true ones who teach Christ's much higher standard. And the adversary gives us lots of warm fuzzies about his false prophets to convince us God approves of them. And false prophets teach mostly truth amid their occasional falsehoods, to look and sound good, it's just they don't practice the truth they preach, and that's the clue Christ taught us to look for.

Christ taught us to not discern by what prophets say or claim, but by what they actually do (if they keep his commandment or not), to know if they are his true disciples or not. And thus we won't be lead us astray be our feelings or revelation that often supports false prophets.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ryan Nickel, you're destroying my childhood.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

Where do you find the words of Christ? Do you not turn to the scriptures? Or do you have access to another source of Christ's words that were not passed down to us by "wicked" men as you say?

When I said we need to follow the Holy Ghost I was not referring to "warm fuzzies." I was referring to the spirit of revelation which testifies of the truth.

When one studies the scriptures through the power of the Holy Ghost one learns truth after truth. The spirit enlightens the mind like a ray of light, not a warm fuzzy feeling reafirming what one already thinks one knows.

Of course there are many false spirits abroad throughout the earth, attempting to copy the Holy Ghost and leading people astray with false doctrines.

The scriptures are the word of God. God spoke to his prophets and commanded them to write down certain things for future generations. Were these holy men who received God's word perfect? Of course not, but calling them wicked and their words completely unreliable is completely unfounded and quite frankly mocks God.

God has given us His word through His prophets in the scriptures. Cast God's word aside at your own peril. If you let go of the iron road you'll end up down a forbidden path.

DeeLyn said...

MC,

People in all religions, including the LDS and their leaders, receive opposite revelation from each other or you on countless subjects but they are also sure their revelation is from the Holy Ghost. How do you tell true revelation from false, especially when LDS or ancient prophets get opposite revelation from each other?

MC said...

DeeLyn,

That's a great question.

First of all, I don't see any evidence that LDS church leaders are currently receiving revelation. They may use the term revelation in conjunction with changes in the church, but when was the last time they claimed a vision or the voice of God commanding them to say or do anything?

This was a frequent occurrence in the early days of the church.

Of course there are a lot of groups and people out there these days who claim to have had visions and revelation. How do we determine if what they say is true or false?

Well we compare what they teach and do to the word of God in the scriptures. If it squares with the scriptures then it's probably right. If it doesn't then it's false. This puts it on us to study things out. If their teachings and fruits appear to square with the scriptures then we should pray for confirmation from the Holy Ghost.

I will say that from what I can tell there are no true prophets on earth today. I know of no man who receives true revelation or prophecies, but I do know of plenty of men who received such things in the past, the prophets in the scriptures. That's why I keep saying that we need to follow the scriptures and not lean on our own understanding or the wisdom of the world.

MC said...

DeeLyn,

As for your claim that the prophecies and revelations of the ancient prophets contradicted each other, I don't see that at all. Overall I see great consistency throughout the scriptures. I think when we come across something contradictory we can chalk it up to errors in translation or human weakness.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

As promised, Radio Free Mormon has uncovered more bombshell information on the Joseph Bishop coverup. I think we can safely assume there's a lot more here than mere rumor and speculation, seeing as how the admissions and confessions contained in the newly redacted police report have come from the mouth of Brother Bishop himself

Again, I would note that it is not the crimes that have my attention, it's the lengths that some parties have gone to cover up those crimes.

https://radiofreemormon.org/2018/04/radio-free-mormon-031-byu-police-report-bombshells-mtc-sex-scandal-update/

Robin Hood said...

Rock,
Re. your comments concerning Ezra Taft Benson. I agree with you about him.

Awkward silence.....

I know, it's weird.... this has never happened before.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Wow, Robin Hood!
Is it possible you and I have finally found an area of agreement?

Rhone said...

MC said: "As for your claim that the prophecies and revelations of the ancient prophets contradicted each other, I don't see that at all. Overall I see great consistency throughout the scriptures. I think when we come across something contradictory we can chalk it up to errors in translation or human weakness."

It's reasoning like this that caused me to lose my faith in the church. At this point no one yet can really prove what is inspired and what is 'errors in translation or human weakness'. The easiest conclusion is 'whatever I agree with must be correct and any apparent error or contradiction is the weakness of men'. This is how believing members justify contradictions between current and past teachings of LDS general authorities. When the contradictions are pointed out the common responses include: "That's not essential to your salvation.", "That will be answered in the afterlife.", or "Stop asking questions and just follow $(CURRENT_CHURCH_PRESIDENT)".

To condem an entire group of people (gays) you cling to a few scriptures in Romans. Yet the entire BoM is silent on the matter. You cite the Bible notwithstanding the fact that the BoM unabashedly denounces the Bible as a reliable source of information. How sure are you that Paul wasn't just giving his opinion on the matter (human weakness) or that the words are accurate (translation error/deliberate modification)?

When considering the words of Christ, He commands that we love one another and not judge others because of their weakness. Judgement is his. Christ's heaviest condemnations went to those who thought themselves above others and who cast judgement from their lofty pride. Yet he was glad to gently guide along those sinners who were easy to be entreated to help lift them out of their weakness. Should we not strive to be no more and no less than He is?

DeeLyn said...

MC,

As Joseph Smith saw in his youth, the problem with comparing ideas with what the scriptures say, is that everyone interprets the scriptures differently, depending on the desires of their hearts and what they are willing to see.

And everyone thinks their interpretation is correct and confirmed by the Holy Ghost.

Just take Jacob 2:30 for example, some see it condemning all polygamy in every case, others see a loop hole for it, depending on if they believe in polygamy or not.

And scriptures do often contradict each other, depending on the kind of person who wrote it. One example is Christ and Joseph Smith condemned all polygamy in their teachings and scriptures, while other scriptures written by polygamists teach the opposite, that God approves of polygamy.

Interpreting or writing scripture changes depending on whether we or the author lives the Golden Rule. Same with seeing the contradictions in scripture, if we believe in the Golden Rule then we will see the Prophets who also did and those who didn't and taught against it.

Underdog2 said...

The most frequent argument for the pro homosexual lobby seems to be the lack of clear rebukes in the Scriptures, esp the BoM.

But what is far more convincing to me that homosexual sexual relations are not of God is the fact that Satanic secret societies require the homosexual act as a rite of passage, and as the way for a brother TO BOND with a fellow conspirator.

Satan doesn't create, he imitates. And what he cannot destroy, he adulterates and perverts. The BoM (Mosiah 12) defines "perverting" as understanding the truth but choosing to not teach it. Thus teaching teaching something different. To me, sex between a man and a woman and that relationship known as marriage makes total sense, it's natural, and it's how Adam and Eve were created. It's how Christ was created. Two male Gods did not copulate and then one get pregnant and give birth. Do I know this for certain? No, but it's as true as 2+2=4, to me. The true, heavenly order of things is a male-female (husband/wife) relationship. The sacredness is so off the charts that knowledgeable men for thousands of years have been forbidden to reveal these sacred truths. Until now.

It wasn't until a few weeks ago, that sacred knowledge on this topic was authorized by Christ and His Parents to be shared with the world. See http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Our-Divine-Parents-FINAL.pdf. There's enough light and truth in this one revelation (Yes, MC, there is a true prophet on earth today!) to keep one occupied in years of careful, sublime thought. I don't comprehend it all.

Now, I'm a true Libertarian, and I hold to Libertarian principle, and won't dare stand in the way of the choices of two consenting adults. I can somewhat understand the interpretations of scripture (or the lack of Scriptures on the topic of homosexual relations) made by defenders of homosexuality.

But at the end of the day, the fact that the occult / modern worshippers of Lucifer use the homosexual act as an ordinance of initiation into their order, to mock God, and to pollute the act, to corrupt the institution of heavenly marriage, to pervert it, if you will, is strong evidence, to me, it's not sanctioned by God. Indeed, the very fact that homosexuality is now commonplace and even MAINSTREAM is evidence that the secret combination that seeks to destroy us has overtaken us and gotten "above" us (v.23), has spread over our nation (v.22) and is in our very midst, ensuring our destruction by the sword of God (Ether 8).

The glorious truths revealed in that link I shared above testify to me what is truly holy and pleasing in the sight of our Divine Parents.

If you want to know the truth of something, it helps to look at the opposite, and to look at who teaches and promotes the opposite. An awareness of the opposites can lead to greater understanding of the real thing.

MC said...

Rhone,

The Book of Mormon is not as silent on homosexuality as you seem to think. The BOM repeatedly reaffirmed the necessity of the Nephites to keep the law of Moses prior to Christ's mortal life and subsequent visit to the Americas.

The law of Moses is not contained in the BOM except for the 10 commandments, but it is clear that the BOM prophets considered it to be a legitimate law from God and binding on the people.

The Old Testament contains the law of Moses in great clarity, which 100% condemns homosexuality.

That homosexuality was still against the laws of God after Christ's mortal ministry is proven in Romans and Jude.

When Christ came he gave a higher law to the people, not a lower one. Sure a few things were eliminated, such as sacrifice and the many outward ordinances, but the moral code of conduct was made stricter not more relaxed.

The people who claim that homosexuality is natural or in any way justified before God don't have a leg to stand on.

The scriptures say that the stick of Joseph and the stick of Judah will together put down false doctrine. When used together the BOM and Bible 100% condem homosexual sexual relationships as an abomination.

Reject God's words in the scriptures at your own peril.

Eric Kuntz said...

The living prophet is more vital to us than the Standard Works. - Ezra Taft Benson

Satan couldn't have said it any better himself.

Eric Kuntz said...

13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, EVERY JOT & TITTLE, and none shall have passed away. (Alma 34)

24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, UNTIL the law shall be fulfilled. (2 Nephi 25)

The law of Moses has been fulfilled.

12 And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord. (4 Nephi 1)

MC said...

Eric,

Verse 12 is the key.

"They did not walk any more after the performance and ordinances of the law of Moses"

That's my point exactly. The sacrifices and outward ordinances of the law of Moses were 100% fulfilled through the sacrifice of Christ.

However the law Christ gave to replace it was a higher law. Hence his teachings that it is a sin to lust after a woman and not just to commit actual adultery with her. Or that being angry towards ones brother is in and of itself a sin, not just murder.

There is not one shred of support for the idea that after Christ's death and resurrection that homosexual sexual relations were no longer an abomination and even approved.

Do you disagree? Do you think homosexual sex has been approved of God since the mortal ministry of Christ?

MC said...

DeeLyn,

We've been over this ground before. There is zero record that Christ ever condemned polygamy.

Please produce a quote of his condemning it.

Many people claimed that Joseph Smith taught polygamy secretly while denying it publicly. The evidence for this is overwhelming.

You are of course free to believe that polygamy is always evil and that Christ would have preached against it, but the physical evidence available does support this.

Bart Burk said...

It should be remembered that while Cyprian was critical of some of the leaders of the early Church that he is now a canonized Saint of the Catholic Church. The idea of a total apostasy is a complete stretch and Cyprian is an example of one of those who carried the torch in spite of the failings of others.

Eric Kuntz said...

MC,

I can't say I disagree with you. I do know that the Ten Commandments are done, and should never me taught again. They were part of the Law of Moses and as you correctly stated they have been "100% fulfilled through the sacrifice of Christ." Agree.

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matt 22)

Can a case be made that homosexual behavior could fit into this higher law? IDK

MC said...

Eric,

Perhaps this is a minor point, but it seems to me that those verses in Matthew 22 you quoted are not Christ giving a higher law, but rather a reminder that the law of Moses, which was still completely in effect until Christ's death according to the BOM, was all based on loving God and one's neighbor.

The purpose of the law of Moses was not all of the rules (many of which were added by the Pharisees), but really the law was there so people would love God and their neighbors.

I'll have to respectfully disagree with your belief that the 10 commandments are done away.

In the BOM Christ commands us to study the words of Isaiah. Isaiah condemns Israel for breaking the 10 commandments over and over again. This is a warning and condemnation on the LDS church today (modern Israel).

The 10 commandments are also reaffirmed in the D&C, which I accept as scripture.

It appears to me that the laws of God do not change all that much from generation to generation. Really the only thing that changed after Christ's sacrifice was the end of the outward ordinances and sacrifices, not the age old moral code. Christ didn't give us free range to worship idols, covet, break the Sabbath, steal, engage in immoral sexual behavior, etc.

Isaiah and many other prophets from the past saw our day and condemned all of these things in the world (and LDS church) today.

Eric Kuntz said...

MC,

"Reject God's words in the scriptures at your own peril."

I agree with your words here. I would challenge you to review Jesus's own words.

15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. 16 I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled. 17 And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled. (3 Nephi 9)

Are not the 10 Commandments included in the law of Moses? I submit that they most certainly are. Christ did not say "in me is the law of Moses fulfilled, except for the 10 Commandments".

I quote your own words again:

"Reject God's words in the scriptures at your own peril."

PS. Most of the D&C is not congruent with the the Bible and the BOM, so I have set aside that book as fiction. I suggest you reexamine it also.

Eric Kuntz said...

a few more words from Jesus about the Law of Moses:


"Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses."

"...the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end."

"...but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me."

MC said...

Okay Eric,

So let's clear things up real quick.

So you're saying that since the death of Christ it is now okay to do all of the following things:

1. Put false gods before the true and living God

2. Make graven images and bow down to and serve them

3. Take the name of God in vain

4. Profane the Sabbath and compell others to work for you on the Sabbath

5. Dishonor parents

6. Murder people

7. Commit adultary and fornicate

8. Steal from others

9. Bear false witness and be dishonest

10. Covet your neighbors possessions and his wife

Are all these things approved by God since the death of Christ 2,000 years ago?

I don't think so, but what do you think?

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

It all comes back to:

1."...love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

2. "...love thy neighbor as thyself."

If you do any of these things you mention, you are not obeying these (2) great commandments.

Is this not simple to understand? (I ask sincerely, not sarcastically)

MC said...

Eric,

No of course one is not really loving God or one's fellow man if one breaks any of the 10 commandments. That's the point.

Those 10 commandments are still in effect and hence should still be taught. What would happen if people no longer know about these commandments or consider them null and void?

If those commandments (as well as others) are cast aside as being fulfilled and no longer binding, then people will begin to break them. This is the pattern in the scriptures.

Christ came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it. The outward ordinances were fulfilled, the moral code of conduct (10 commandments, etc) were not. Those are eternal laws that God does not change.

Log said...

D&C 22:2 Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.

This was said on 4/16/1830 through Joseph Smith. Those to whom it was said had no temple, nor any of the other rites of the Mosaic law, and, presumably, weren't stoning adulterers nor practicing Levirate marriages - so what was the Lord referring to?

He was referring to the 10 commandments, which were delivered through Moses, and are thus part of the Law of Moses. Merely keeping the 10 commandments will not bring the visitation of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

The 10 commandments are not reaffirmed in the D&C. New commandments mirroring some of the 10 commandments were given to those who followed Joseph Smith instead of the Lord. This would be unnecessary if the Law of Moses, which includes the 10 commandments, was not ended.

The Sermon on the Mount is the law and commandments unto all mankind, as the Book of Mormon makes plain (1 Nephi 13:39-41).

The Law of Moses is ended and the Sermon on the Mount is in effect (3 Nephi 15:5, 8, 10).

Notably missing from the Sermon is sabbath observance. We don't see sabbath observance among the Nephites after the Savior's manifestation to them in the flesh. However, sabbath observance was commanded of the LDS Church through Joseph Smith.

Abinadi's recitation of the 10 commandments in the Book of Mormon gives us information as to what commandment 2 means.

Commandment 2 means you shall not make for your own purposes any representational object, nor shall you make for your own purposes any picture, painting, drawing, or anything like unto these, of anything which exists. This ends most visual media, marketing, film, TV, photography, selfies, and so on.

Not only that but it also says you shall not bow yourself down before such things, nor shall you serve - maintain, obey, advance the interests of - such things. This means no responding to visual advertisements or marketing. No taking care of such things. No marketing such things. No selling such things. And, of course, literally not bowing before such things.

Commandment 10 ends all business transactions for money - for business transactions occur because at least one of the two parties covets the other's possessions, in particular, their money. It ends bartering as well for the same reason. The word used for "neighbor" also can mean "person," and the Lord's explanation of who one's neighbor is - those who have mercy upon you - ought to make clear that everyone is neighbor to those who purport to be the Lord's people.

But commandment 10 seems to allow for someone to covet their own property and keep it away from others; "love thy neighbor as thyself" isn't one of the 10 commandments, either, and isn't taken literally.

The Lord clarified this in the Sermon by commanding all who believe in him to give to every man that asks, lend to all comers without asking for repayment, take no thought for the morrow, and to not lay up for ourselves treasure upon earth - that is, no retirement funds, savings, Roth IRAs, 401Ks, year's supply of food, and so on. Take only what you need immediately and give the excess away.

For, as the Lord says, "Wo unto you, you rich people! For you have received your comforter!" The rich, as Benjamin taught, are those who have more than they need immediately and do not impart of their substance upon request.

D&C 49:20 But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.

JL

Log said...
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Log said...

Forgot to mention that Christus statues constitute graven images - ie, representational objects.

The Lord consistently told everyone to sell what they possessed and to distribute the proceeds of the sale as alms to the poor, as well.

1. He told it to the rich young man / ruler (Matt 19:21).
2. He told it to the Pharisees (Luke 11:41).
3. He told it to all who followed him (Luke 12:33).

3 Nephi 13:24 No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.

Mammon is "wealth;" etymologically, it means "confidence," ie, the stores of substance or other earthly things in which one places one's confidence, or trusts in, to weather the challenges of the temporal future. A years' supply of food is mammon, as is a 3-month supply of money, or one's insurance, retirement funds, and so on.

D&C 56:16 Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!

JL

Log said...

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

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

42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise [those who prepare for the future], and the learned [educated, degreed, credentialled], and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

43 But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.

Or, as the Lord put it:

Mark 10
17 ¶ And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

23 ¶ And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

It seems nobody can escape the requirement of casting all wisdom, learning, and riches away if they hope to enter the kingdom of God.

JL

MC said...

I would be careful in making the assumption that the Nephites no longer honored the Sabbath after Christ visited them, on the grounds that it isn't mentioned in the BOM. 4th Nephi is very short and doesn't give us a lot of details as to what everyday life and worship looked like during the 200 years after Christ.

The commandment to honor the Sabbath is contained in the D&C and Isaiah 66 says that the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem will honor the Sabbath. That's good enough for me.

I would also like to point out that I am in no way suggesting that all one has to do to be saved is keep the 10 commandments. That certainly would not cut it. Christ gave higher laws during his mortal ministry and visit to the Nephites. There are also many more commandments contained throughout the scriptures. We must keep all of God's commandments, including faith, repentance, baptism, tithing, etc.

Here's another thought. Why would Mormon have included Abinadi's teachings on the 10 commandments if they were null and void by the time of his abridgement? He had limited space and was writing for future generations.

Seems to me that what is contained in the BOM prior to 3 Nephi 11 is just as binding on us today as what is contained there after.

Michael said...
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dx said...

You are ascribing motive. Show me a single statement by any official of the church that they their actions are motivated by "saving face." Otherwise, it's just pure speculation on your part.

Kay said...

Animal sacrifice?

MC said...

Nope. No animal sacrifice. The BOM never mentions that as a commandment. It only mentions that they did it prior to Christ's death, even though it was dead to them.

Plus 3 Nephi 9 clearly states that animal sacrifice was to be discontinued.

Having said that a careful reading of Isaiah, the other Old Testament prophets, and the D&C suggests that it is possible, if not likely, that animal sacrifice or something similar will be reinstated at the time of the restoration of all things, which hasn't happened yet.

Eric Kuntz said...

Log mentioned the Christus statue. Temple Square is full of occult and graven images. The exterior of the Temple contains numerous symbols which are not simply remnants of ancient paganism but directly associated with evil. The most blatant symbol is the inverted pentagram. This symbol is found all around Temple Square, in multiple forms.

The Christus figure is actually casting a shadow on planet Earth. Jesus is the “Light of World” yet the LDS show Him casting a shadow on it. Meaning casting darkness and ignorance. The rotunda that faces the Christus statue has a special kind of inverted pentagram. The bottom point of the pentagram is elongated. This detail which goes unnoticed by most visitors carries heavy occult meaning. First, the irregular length of the bottom point represents a perversion of the power of Good. Second, this particular pentagram, with the bottom point falling down carries a precise esoteric meaning: the fall of Lucifer, the Fallen Angel, the Morning Star.

Proof all of temple square that the LDS worship Satan. Plain and simple.

MC said...

I agree that the Christus statue is a graven image, as are many of the other statues around temple square. The paintings of Christ are graven images as well.

The church did not have any images of Christ until the 1880s. It started with stained glass depictions of the first vision and has evolved from there.

The Christus statue came in the 1960s.

The church is has followed a very similar pattern as the early Christian church followed as it evolved into apostate Catholicism.

MC said...

I strongly disagree that the LDS worship Satan. I don't believe that the Catholics worship Satan either. Sadly both groups unwittingly serve him in many ways.

Both were once the Lord's true and living church, but are currently in a state of apostasy. The Catholics have almost 2,000 more years of apostasy under their belts.

Give the LDS church a few more hundred years and I think we'd be shocked just how much like the Catholics we would have become.

Satan uses the same tactics he always has. The pattern of apostasy is always more or less the same.

I doubt we will make more than a few more decades before the tribulation, destruction, and millennium, so I doubt we'll see things get that bad in the church. The church is changing rapidly though, so who knows.

Eric Kuntz said...

There is no middle ground. The Catholic Church was founded by the devil, wake-up man. You are sound asleep, cast off the chains of hell before it's everlasting to late. You haven't done a lick of research.

Google:
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
The Black Pope
The Roman Catholic religious order which is also known as the Jesuits.

Go watch the movie Eyes Wide Shut, do something. Educated yourself.

18 But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.

19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;

20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.

21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

MC said...

Well Eric,

We'll have to agree to disagree I guess. I don't see it all as black and white with no middle ground.

To me it's all varying shades of grey. The Catholic church has done and continues to do many terrible things, no question about it.

However I still see great good done by members of the Catholic church over the years, work that can only be attributed to God and not the devil.

A few examples:

1. Johannes Gutenberg printing the bible
2. Christopher Columbus being inspired to discover the Americas
3. Joan of arc being inspired to lead the French to freedom from the British
4. Martin Luther translating the bible into German and sparking the reformation

If Catholics worship Satan, then so do most, if not all Protestants, because they came from the Catholic church.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find what you would consider to be true Christians living the gospel perfectly in almost any age of the world. With a few exceptions, there's never been a group of believers who were able to maintain the perfect model of Christianity for very long. That does not mean that 99.9% of all the people who have professed to believe in Christ in the world's history worshipped Satan and not God.

You are oversimplifying and in my opinion should be more careful, lest you judge billions of people unrightously.

For the record I have done a lot of research. The secret combinations of the Catholic church are definitely bad, but that doesn't make all Catholics in the world devil worshippers.

Most of the world is severely deceived by Satan, it's always been that way, but that doesn't mean most people worship Satan.

God can still worked with deceived people to the degree that they let him. Heck we're all deceived or blind to one degree or another, or do you really think you have it all figured out?

MC said...

Eric,

If by chance you actually do believe that you have it figured out and that I am just a blind worshipper of Satan, perhaps you could tell me where I can go to be properly baptized by one who has authority from God? Or perhaps where I can go to find fellowship with the true believers in Christ who are actually worshipping the true and living God and not Satan?

I suppose I could get in contact with the guys who run the greatandmarvelouswork website. Is that where I should go to find the truth or somewhere else?

You seem to think you have the answers, so please enlighten me.

In all seriousness. If you think you have the answers, please share. I haven't found anything better than the LDS church with all its warts. I'm always happy to explore any avenue as I believe in proving all things.

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

MC,

Good comments. No, I don't think I have it all figured out. In fact I am continually learning new things and when I discover new information that is different than what I previously believed I try to understand this perspective. My bottom line is the bible and the BOM, if it doesn't correlate with those books I set it aside.

For example you said "To me it's all varying shades of grey." I currently don't believe this is a principle that harmonizes with the bible and BOM so I do not believe it to be true. But if you provided some scriptures that supported this idea I would at least consider it.

BTW, I don't think I said the general members of the Catholic Church are evil, but the leadership of the Catholic Church are absolutely evil. (Same goes for the LDS)

Oh...Christopher Columbus didn't discover anything and he was a mass murdering psychopath, but lets not get into debate about this.

MC said...

Eric,

Perhaps we are not so different after all. I too do not profess to have it all figured and am continually learning and searching.

I am still curious though, what you believe someone should do or where they should go to find true peace in Christ and qualify to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

In the scriptures the Lord has always sent a prophet or multiple prophets through which He speaks to the people. Of course there are times when there have not been prophets on earth, too.

Do you believe the earth has not had a single prophet since Moroni or have there been other more recent prophets?

I know you don't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, yet you believe that the Lord used him to give us the BOM. The BOM says we must be baptized, so besides the LDS church, where should people have been going to be properly baptized since 1830 when the BOM was published?

Any thoughts?

You say we need to follow the teaching in the BOM and repent. I completely agree with you. But will we not fall short of the glory of God if we are not baptized and enter the straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life?

MC said...

Eric,

I agree that Columbus is not worth contending over, but I am curious who you think 1 Nephi 13:12 is referring to of not Columbus? He's the only one that makes any sense to me as a fulfillment of that scripture, but I'm open to consider that I'm wrong.

As for your request for a scripture regarding things not being black and white with no middle ground, but varying shades of grey, I think 1 Nephi 13 may be of some help here.

I won't the verses, but when one reads the whole chapter, it becomes clear (at least to me) that the gentiles who came to America, inhabited this content, and drove out most of the natives were both under the influence of God and the influence of the devil at the same time.

It says the spirit rested upon them and that the Lord preserved them against all those who fought against them. It says that they would have the bible in corrupted form, which would both bless them with the spirit of God while also keeping them captive by the devil.

That seems like varying shades of grey to me anyway.

Additionally in the book of Revelation chapters 2 through 3, the Lord both commends and chastizes the seven churches who are still faithful amidst the growing apostasy that was rapidly overtaking the early Christians. Somethings they are doing are good and somethings they are doing are bad.

That again seems like varying shades of grey to me.

Any thoughts?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX demands of me, "Show me a single statement by any official of the church that they their actions are motivated by "saving face."

I don't think we're going to find any such statements. People don't tend to admit that their actions are motivated by a desire to save face. What we can do is examine their actions that clearly show intent to coverup, dismiss, or downplay their behavior (or, in Joseph Bishop's case, one of their own) and deduce from that an overall desire to save face, or more accurately, protect the image of the institution.

This sort of thing happens all the time in corporations, where the boards of directors combine together to strategize in order to protect the image of the body. If the LDS Church were still a church and not a corporation, there would be no motive to circle the wagons to protect the good name of the church. Members who have done wrong would be called out for their crimes and the hand of fellowship would be withdrawn.

Perhaps a more inclusive "fifth mission," rather than be "to protect the image of the Church" I should have proposed it to read "to protect and promote the image of the Church."

There is more than enough evidence to show that a salient mission of the Church today is to promote the Church. Not so much the gospel; just the church, as evidenced by attempts at public relations such as advertising buys, the theatrical feature film "Meet The Mormons," And the "I'm a Mormon" campaign, all of which promoted not the Jesus Christ, and certainly not his gospel, but the Church and its members.

I covered these issues in some depth here:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2014/12/

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Regarding the controversy over the mention of Columbus in 1 Nephi 13, we would do well to recall that Nephi never mentioned Christopher Columbus. Verse 12 describes a man among the gentiles whom the spirit of God came down and rested upon, and that man crossed the waters and arrived, clearly by the hand of God, "unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

That doesn't accurately describe Christopher Columbus. Columbus was not motivated by any kind of religious passion, and his actions upon arriving at Hispaniola -immediately enslaving the locals, for example- would seem to instantly eliminate him from consideration as having been sent by God. And let's not forget that Columbus never came anywhere near North America, where the descendants of Nephi had long ago settled and expanded.

Nephi's description seems a better fit for Captain John Smith, the able explorer who settled Virginia and the entire upper coast of North America. Smith's motivation was indeed to spread Christianity to the natives. The good news is that the Church of England, from which John Smith sprang, had by then separated from the Catholic church and was quite adamant that England was now free from "the tyranny of the bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities." (That means they completely rejected the pope and his minions.)

John Smith arrived in the New World with these words in the charter, indicating a spiritual reason as a salient purpose for the expedition:

"Wee, greately commending and graciously accepting of theire desires to the furtherance of soe noble a worke which may, by the providence of Almightie God, hereafter tende to the glorie of His Divine Maiestie in propogating of Christian religion to suche people as yet live in darkeness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worshippe of God and may in tyme
bring the infidels and salvages living in those parts to humane civilitie and to a settled and quiet governmente..."

Smith interacted favorably with the natives for some time, until others eventually caused strife between the natives and the settlers. But Smith was completely committed to the success of the New England colonies all his life, and to peaceful interaction between settlers and natives. Of these colonies he wrote, “I may call them my children for they have bin my wife, my hawks, my hounds, my cards, my dice and in total my best content.” If any man had been sent on a mission to America by God, John Smith fits the bill.

The unsupportable myth that God guided Columbus here needs to be put to rest. It is just one of many false tradition the LDS Church continues to teach its members. Columbus didn't discover America. He never set foot on the continent.

Columbus discovered some islands in the Carribbean. John Smith discovered America.

MC said...

Rock,

You might want to google "Christopher Columbus' Book of Prophecies". He claims to have been 100% led by the spirit of God in his voyage. He also freely admits to being a sinner.

Also, Columbus did set foot on the American continent. He set foot in present day Venezuela.
It's also worth noting that at the time of Joseph Smith most people referred to both North and South America as a single continent.

Additionally, Columbus poor treatment of the natives actually fulfills the prophecies in 1 Nephi 13 perfectly, in which the gentiles who are both under the influence of God and the devil act as a curse to the Lamanites.

John Smith didn't discover much of anything. By the early 1600s everyone knew were America was. Smith wasn't even the captain of the expedition to the Virginia colony.

I'll have to respectfully disagree with you.

Eric Kuntz said...

The prophecy in 1 Nephi 13 is still future to us. None of it has happened yet. One big clue is in verse 20, here Nephi is taking about 'a book'. This book is a new book of scripture that will come forth just before God comes back to earth for the last time to finish his work.

Eric Kuntz said...

In the every next chapter we read this:

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)

No middle ground. No shades of grey

Eric Kuntz said...

"The BOM says we must be baptized, so besides the LDS church, where should people have been going to be properly baptized since 1830 when the BOM was published?"

Patiently wait on the Lord.

MC said...

Okay Eric,

So you're saying that the Lord gave us the BOM through Joseph Smith in 1830 commanding us to be baptized, but hasn't provided those who have received the BOM in the last 200 years with the means to keep his command. What's the point of even giving us the BOM then? So we can sit and wait and dream that maybe in our lifetime we will be privileged to have the ordinance restored once again, while all the while the wicked Joseph Smith and those who accepted the BOM and that he was a prophet, have been deceiving everyone into a false baptism and following the devil?

I know you don't believe in vicarious baptisms for the dead, so has everyone been damned to hell since Christ's ancient church went into apostasy roughly 2,000 years ago? After all this life is the life to prepare to meet God, and God said that a man must be born of water and the spirit or he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.

I can't accept your views. I'm sorry, but they are illogical to me. I believe in a merciful God, who is also just. I believe in a God who wants mankind to come unto Him and freely partake of eternal life. In my opinion the narrative you are suggesting flies in the face of that.

Here's another question for you.

The BOM says that there are save two churches only. The church of the lamb of God and the church of the devil. So where is the church of the lamb of God?

It sounds to me that you only believe in the church of the devil. The church of the lamb of God must be somewhere. Why on earth would the Lord give us the BOM through the church of the devil and expect as all to be damned because there was never a way to follow the precepts of the BOM? God might as well have retained the BOM and let us eat drink and be merry before he thrusts us down to hell.

There must be a way for us to actually keep the commandments in the BOM now.

MC said...

If there truly is no middle ground we're all going to hell. It's as simple as that. Without baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost we will be damned. In the last 2,000 years every single person who has lived on this earth will be damned to eternal fire in hell unless they are properly baptized. That would only leave the early Christians if the Lord didn't restore didn't restore the church in 1830 and restore His authority to baptize, give the gift of the Holy Ghost, and perform the other ordinances. If baptisms for the dead are a doctrine of Satan, yet God commands all mankind to be baptized, while not providing a way for them to be baptized in this life, God is not just and would cease to be God. I cannot accept this.

How grateful I am that God did call Joseph Smith to be His spokesman and prophet for a season to cast aside the darkness of unbelief and despair and provide the answers to so many of these apparent contradictions. The gospel of Christ and the plan of God truly are marvelous.

Eric Kuntz said...

2 And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken ahard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the bguilty taketh the ctruth to be hard, for it dcutteth them to the very center.
3 And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might awalk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.
4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord.

MC said...

And what does the Lord command?

Faith, repentance, BAPTISM, etc.

7 And it came to pass that I Nephi said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Did you read that? God gives no commandment save he prepares a way for that commandment to be kept. Since 1830 God has renewed his commandment to be baptized, to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, adminster the sacrament, preach the gospel to all the world, etc. If the BOM is true then God will have provided a way for the faithful who receive the BOM to keep His commands.

I'm afraid you er greatly.

According to your logic God does not love his children. He does not offer them salvation, only damnation. This is an anti-Christ doctrine. A doctrine of the devil.

I'm not trying to be contentious here, but rather I am trying to be very clear. The doctrines of the greatandmarvelouswork bloggers are of the devil.

Clearly the truth is not to be found there. If it was you would be able to point me to where the church of the lamn of God is and where I can go to be baptized and find fellowship with the saints of God. As it stands all you can say is wait. Wait for what? Wait until I die without a proper baptism and without the other ordinances of salvation and am thrust down to hell.

You er my friend. You er greatly. I'm sorry for you. I don't know how you can find peace in Christ with the erroneous views you espouse. All you have to offer is condemnation of those striving to follow Christ. You cannot offer them them the true path.

Have you considered that you might be in error and that you have been blinded by the precepts of men mingled with scripture?

Eric Kuntz said...

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

MC said...

Amen

Liberty Ghost said...

Rock
Thanks for another entertaining and enlightening read. Also, I want to thank the commenters because I think that there have been some really interesting things said, which are worth pondering, even from some that I rarely, if ever, agree with.

For my part, after listening to RFMs coverage of the MTC Rape case, I sat down and wrote my Stake Pres expressing my displeasure with the way the church handled the whole affair and trying to lay out my reasoning. I asked him to bring it before the High Council and if they can agree, to send a letter to the Twelve requesting a Common Council to correct their unChristian choices. I provided scriptures for each thing that I thought was out of harmony with the scriptures regarding the handling of this case, as well as scriptures to back up my reasoning that the High Council has the authority to call a Common Council.

I doubt much will come of my effort, but it is an attempt to work through the church as provided for in scripture. At the worst, I may be disciplined for having spoken up, but there it is.

Dale B.

Robin Hood said...

Liberty Ghost,
Do you not think your actions are a little premature?
Nothing is known for sure just yet. Some facts may be true, but the circumstances of those facts may not have come to light, at least for the likes of you and I.

I have learned over the years that those who rush to judgment armed with a portion of the information often look extremely foolish when everything is settled. Often, it's been me that's been the fool.

When all is said and done, there is usually a lot more said than done.

Anonymous said...

Gee Mr. Waterman, I know I'm living in a glass house when I offer you this advice, but so be it.

First, try to focus on one topic in any given post. You obviously have plenty to bitch about but just air one bitch at a time please. For instance, I had to force myself through the early blather about a million things wrong with LDS Church leadership just to see if you came to some sort of point, and almost gave up, until yes at the end you did have an interesting case study to relate about a specific topic regarding excommunication and dumb-assed stake presidents.

Everyone's had an idiot bishop or sanctimonious, delusional stake president at one time using their personal revelation of "gospel hobby" research, or even "inside contacts" to play the role of all-knowing pontiff of discernment. Having said that, what you're accomplishing here however, is legally called "libel," and actionable in court. You've outlined a very nebulous claim of unrighteous dominion in two cases, your own and that of your poster-boy-girl for ecclesiastical abuse. You name two stake presidents and give their physical location.

What you HAVEN'T done is offer any actual evidences, your entire case is anecdotal at best and hearsay in general. This, you do, while claiming to have the tapes and official letters that would prove your claims, and yet you do not reveal said "proof." Had you an ounce of basic honor about you, you would have either shut up about these two cases until you the cosmic forces were right for exposing these evidences, or published transcripts, audio files, and .jpg shots or scans of all such materials. And you would have removed your arguments from peripheral, sweeping complaints about church leadership in general, lectures on Ignatius, Polycarp, and a blatant implication, nay, open charge, that like 2nd century apologists, today's LDS ecclesiastical order has gone apostate and functions merely as a fiscal operation of great stature, and confine your presentation to these two stake presidents and associated bishops, and your specific documents proving your claims about your own excommunication and that of your mysterious male member in Sandpoint, who you have NOT identified and so is unavailable for verification or correction, or even assuring us all he really exists. (And you know of course that the bishops and stake presidents identified are bound by oath not to discuss any such matter, particularly concerning what would be a general question about who've they've kick out of the church lately, and would you please tell us who this Waterman apostate guy is talking about?)

But let's be honest former "brother." You're simply being disingenuous, as an obviously bright, well-studied man, when you pretend you have no idea why you got your apostate butt kicked out of Mormonism. Or did you not read the NY Times?

[quote]Last month, Mr. Waterman posted a combative challenge addressed to one of the Mormon Church’s top leaders: “Stop making up your own rules and try preaching the Gospel of Christ for a change.”

Two days later, he said, he was summoned to a meeting with his bishop and told to either stop blogging or resign his church membership. If he did not resign he would face excommunication, he said the bishop told him, on orders from another official higher up — one of the church’s leaders known as an Area Seventy.[/quote]

Furthermore, in the above article, you perfectly quote the LDS policy on defining heresy, and this article alone, precedes this quote with a lengthy diatribe against the uninspired, ungodly, undiscerning nature of modern LDS leadership. Seriously. You don't have a clue? How's your own discernment working out then? You don't need much to figure out why you're considered a heretic.

Yeah, you may fairly consider yourself a "Christian" all you want. Doesn't mean you're a Latter-day Saint.

Aw shucks. That's so unfair!

Anonymous said...

PS: I'd fix the typos in that response but I apparently missed the opportunity to edit before I posted, because having previewed it, I was locked out when I went back into edit mode so I posted, thinking I could edit afterward, but I do not see an edit icon having done so now. But I've got it figured now and I promise it will never happen agaip. (Just to blunt the spellcheck/grammar/typo/punctuation NAZI blitzkrieg.)

Anonymous said...

OK. One more and I have to get back to work.

I appreciate the cheap sarcasm in your analysis of the church's fairly recent publications of a "mission statement." "Enter to Learn Go Fort to Earn" as most of us know is the BYU motto. But the Kingdom of God on Earth is an organization. We are an organized people. We are now a massively humungus organization, and as such, we must be organized. And funded. And incorporated. Your allegedly pure "Christian" model of church oganization was really just about 13 guys wandering around begging for food and attention. Not a practical model for a major world religion. Once more you take an element of truth and turn it into a truly petty, banal bit of sophomoric whining. And more to the point unfortunately, you either expose your own ignorance or deception, or perhaps even fail to understand basic English, because a "mission statement" is not synonymous with a "basic tenet."

A mission statement is in fact, a way of encapsulating or condensing a much broader set of specific tenets and policies and doctrines into what we'd now call a "sound bite" that can be easily expressed. Furthermore, it was explained at great length when the fourth component of the LDS mission statement was produced, that it had always been essentially expressed in the second bullet point, "Improve the Saints," but recent national, regional, and world LDS outreaches into disaster relief and the projection of the Utah experience into real world environments, was deemed to have shown the Brethren that a basic charity statement needed to be broken off as a separate, clearly denoted mission element. And for that matter, the original 3 point mission statement was a rather recent invention in any case historically speaking.

Following your own legalistic, but fallacious logic, the church really should have ended its entire liturgy with the 13 articles of faith, because all that crap Joseph Smith forgot to include in them couldn't really have been all that important. Undiscerning crap like, the combined 4 standard works and stuff. And all those priesthood manuals, general handbooks, policy statements, the entire church publishing system, and the LDS presence on the internet. Oh yeah, and that library in SLC.

And of course, in LDS culture the notion of charity is most often expressed as the teaching of and lifting up, expanding, or gaining of the Saint's personal self-sufficiency, rather than lining the poor up outside the temple with little begging bowls. As you well know, within the Mormon Corridor, Deseret Industries, the Church Employment system, the Relief Society, have long been entire programs/organizations dedicated specifically to dealing with the "poor" and "needy." This includes again, the Bishop's Storehouse, and everything from ranches in Cedar Fort and Payson, fruit farms all over the intermountain west, to pineapples in Hawaii, being grown by volunteer labor and paid LDS employees alike. The church welfare system was a model for the nation during the depression era among other things. The Relief Society clothed and fed tens of thousands of immigrants as they arrived in Salt Lake and regions during pioneer days.

So really. Cheap shots backfire so easily, why bother with them?

Robin Hood said...

Roycelerwick,
Thank you.
You are a breath of fresh air my friend.
One thing I have learned about Rock over the years is that he is very good at dishing it out, but isn't so good at taking it.
Also, he will never, ever, admit that he is wrong, even when it can be proved beyond any doubt. He will twist and squirm and flail about while constructing a great strawman argument in an attempt to deflect attention from the evidence and smother the facts.

I have first hand experience of this; so his reply to your comments, if he is brave enough to attempt one, will make entertaining reading.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC,
Well, of course neither of us have any way of knowing who precisely is the man prophesied of by Nephi, but my money's on John Cook rather than Christopher Columbus. We can quibble over whether Christopher Columbus set foot on the American continent, but I don't think the South American continent was the one intended in the 10th article of faith where it says "we believe that Zion will be built on THIS continent," seeing as how Joseph frequently claimed the Book of Mormon lands could be found in the Great Lakes and surrounding areas such as Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio; and those lands are prophesied to be where the New Jerusalem would be located.

It was John Taylor who first got excited about the new discoveries of lost cities found in South America (wrongly attributed to Joseph) but most DNA test of South Americans seem to pinpoint them as Japanese in origin, while some North American tribes such as the Ojibwe point to Middle Eastern origins.

So while it may be true that Christopher Columbus got the ball rolling by "discovering" one of the two large landmasses in this hemisphere, I still think one has to really force his life and behavior to fit the prophecies when right under our noses was a man who devoted his life not only to settling North America, but to bringing religion to the natives.

But again, since we have no way of knowing WHO that verse refers to, all this remains in the realm of speculation. So I will accept your invitation to agree to disagree. I don't feel strongly about any of this either way; I just see it as an interesting exercise in speculation.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Liberty Ghost,
What you did is EXACTLY the way things are supposed to be done in the church, at least according to scripture. Alas, you will be criticized for acting out of turn, as if only those in leadership are entitled to bring an action against their own.

All actions are supposed to originate with an accusation from one or two members. Of course the reaction you'll get is "who do you think YOU are, telling us what to do?"

Regardless, my hat is off to you for working according to scripture.

Eric Kuntz said...

The diatribe by roycelerwick just shows how soulless and irrelevant the LDS Church (tm) has become.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Roycelerwick,

You sure aren't going to get an argument from me by chiding me for blathering on and on. Sometimes (more likely MOST times) I start out with the intent to write about one topic, but then wander aimlessly before returning to the intended point. This was one of those times when the thing got away from me. I actually had to change the title from what I had originally titled it, because where I ended up was so far from where I started.

I don't know if you're new here, but I'm neither a scholar nor a scriptorian, and I'm certainly not a trained writer, so you'll have to excuse me for not living up to your expectations. I'm aware of the crappy job I often do here, but hey, it's free! You didn't pay me to write any of it, and I won't blame you for deciding it's not worth your time from here on.

One friend admits he looks forward to my blog posts, but at the same time is thankful they only come out once a month. "I know I'm going to get a very long piece on the order of an article in Harpers or the New Yorker," he says, "But I also know it's going to be a thorough examination of the issue.

This piece, I admit, was neither thorough nor confined to one issue. So you got me there, Roycey. I could have done better by sticking to one topic. Waaaaaaay Better.

At any rate...

Although I'll admit to having no formal training as a writer, I am a trained legal researcher and analyst, so I can put your mind at ease that I am in no jeopardy of being on the wrong end of a cause of action for libel. As to why I have withheld further evidence at this time in the matter of stake president Rick Ballard's foolish ploy, I think I made that clear in the post above. Perhaps you would like to review what I wrote.

There is a bigger story forthcoming, one that may extend into two or three posts for the reason that 1.) it's a long story, and 2.)it makes an excellent case study as the kinds of abuses going on throughout the Church in the past two or three years as the Church is getting more desperate to shut the mouths of those who love the gospel but see the Church taking some increasingly frequent wrong turns.

So yes, there are MANY documents, transcripts, and recordings that will be presented at a later date, and which will make poor Rick Ballard look even more foolish than he already does. Why am I willing to name names? Because I think we are past the point where it's advisable to give guys like this -those who would abuse the office they are entrusted to- a free pass. Any time a man in high office in the Church uses his office as a vendetta against others in the flock, I think it's time we held such persons accountable in the court of public opinion.

As I said in the body of the piece, the evidences do exist, and the victims of this ecclesiastical crime look forward to my telling their story. For the time being they wish to wait until the results of the appeal, which may take several months.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Roycelewick, (Continued)

Moving on: In your haste to find further fault with me, you appear to have misread my post when you say I am disingenuous "when you pretend you have no idea why you got your apostate butt kicked out of Mormonism. Or did you not read the NY Times?"

Oh, I KNOW why I got kicked out. It was for stepping on the sensitive toes of some very powerful people in the Church. But that is not the issue I raised in my blog post above. If you'll take the time to go back and read what I wrote, you'll see I reported having asked the stake president in Sacramento who excommunicated me (and then my new stake president in Idaho)this question: what was the precise SIN I committed that resulted in my being excommunicated for apostasy?

If you'll read my account of the affair, ("Who Is Changing The Doctrine?" http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2014/06/who-is-changing-doctrine.html) you'll see I provided ample quotes from Church spokesmen affirming that members are encouraged to express themselves online in blogs and other forums, and that criticism of the Church was not grounds for removal.

At my court of excommunication, I asked to be shown any example from any blog post written by me where I had erred in doctrine or taught something that was not true. I offered to correct any errors, which would have made further action unnecessary, but no one has EVER attempted to produce any examples of false teaching on my part. I can only conclude, then, that I was excommunicated for committing some sin that I had not been made aware of during the hearing.

Before I left that hearing, I was invited by stake president Hansen to meet with him so he could help me repent and return to full fellowship, an invitation I accepted on the spot. But for the better part of a year thereafter, every time I asked President Hansen what sin I had committed so that I could repent of it, he put me off and refused to discuss it. Eventually I left California and moved to Idaho. That's when I inquired of President Ballard in hopes he would be able to find out for me the specific sin I had committed so that I could begin the process of repenting of that sin.

So yes, I do know WHY I was labeled an apostate and tossed out of the Church. It was so those in positions of power who don't like having THEIR sins publicly exposed can point at me and say, "don't listen to him; he's just a filthy apostate."

I'm still waiting to be told what actual, scripturally defined SIN I committed that makes me an apostate. If you have any REAL insight on this, Roycelewerck, I hope you'll tell me.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Roycelewerck, (Continued)

Regarding your assertion that "Deseret Industries, the Church Employment system, the Relief Society, have long been entire programs/organizations dedicated specifically to dealing with the 'poor' and 'needy.'" You do not seem to be aware that those programs are something less than they were back in the days when I was growing up in the Church. In those days, this church was very much known for "taking care of its own."

But that was before N. Eldon Tanner was leapfrogged into the First Presidency to become the de facto Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation of the President, where he remained throughout the lifetimes of four long presidential administrations.

Yes, there are still good members of the church volunteering for the assistance of others, and there are ranches and fruit farms and storehouses in place. But the Church Welfare System has been eviscerated, a mere shadow of what it once was and what it still could be, replaced in recent decades with an anemic version of its former self, as is well documented.

While countless hospitals run by Catholics and Methodists remain tied to the religious orders that founded them, the LDS Church divested itself of the Primary Children's Hospital years ago, and for one simple reason: it was a money loser. Not in the plus column in the corporation's investment portfolio.

In my post entitled "City Creek: How Did We Come To This?" I quoted at length from an interview with LDS cultural anthropologist Damon Smith, some of which I'll reproduce here. Mind you, this is just a tiny part of the explanation of why and how the LDS Church betrayed its claim to one of the Church's basic tenets. Here is Brother Smith:

"When you monetize tithing, you change the dynamics dramatically. So what you have here is a kind of, at the turn of the century, sort of move from a sort of spiritual economy of tithing and fast offerings, which was very minimal as to what they could actually bring in, but it was also clearly tied to our physical bodies and to the natural cycles of the earth..."

"The main impulse to monetize it was that Lorenzo Snow tried to pass bonds to Eastern bankers in order to get the Church out of its debt that it created with the Salt Lake temple -literally selling the Church into bondage. This strategy wasn't terribly successful, but what they could get done [was] they could get the members to sort of pour in liquid capital. And that's exactly what they did. They changed what tithing was and said well, it's gotta be money. This is what we need in order to pay off our debts. And the windows of heaven indeed opened and massive amounts of capital poured in so that the Church was out of debt very quickly.

"But then the question is, now we've got a kind of problem of having too much money; what are we going to do with all this money? And you know, back then they started sugar companies, and railroad companies, and electric companies -sort of social services you might say with the money to modernize the west and to really increase the quality of life among everybody out here, Mormons or non-Mormons.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

(Continued)

"Now in the 1960s they had a real struggle and eventually one side won which was they decided they could indeed INVEST tithing money. And once you begin to invest tithing money, you create an entirely different dynamic with respect to what decisions are going to be made at the Church headquarters."

"What this does is it changes the dynamic in terms of what the Church is up to. And rather than sort of continually fund things like a sugar operation so that we can get sugar here, and even though we have to continually subsidize the sugar operation, which is what happened in the early 1900s and prior to that, what you have going on now is decisions being made of 'how can we get the expenses down that are tied to the corporation and always keep the revenue up?' Which is to say, we're not going to invest in operations that are losing money. We're not going to fund a hospital that is going to be a continual loser in terms of its money.

"Now of course they fund things like welfare farms and other operations that are designed to be charitable works. But you can see the transition just if you go into Deseret Industries where of course they receive all their merchandise as a donation. But as a part of this transition in the 1980s and 1990s toward more of a 'finance sensitive' corporation, Deseret Industries is a real moneymaker as I understand it; and of course it's justified because the profits that accrue from Deseret Industries are to be put toward funding other good works.

"But what we have here is actually a division between the charitable side of things, which, if you actually look at the amount of capital that is donated to humanitarian aid with respect to the amount of money that is brought in through the donation streams of fast offerings and tithings, you see that it's really a surprisingly small amount of money that actually goes towards humanitarian aid; and that increasingly, the day-to-day operations of the corporation are being funded by volunteers. Which makes sense, of course, if you have a corporation. Why put all your money into payroll when you could just have "missionaries" doing data entry?

"So again, in the 1980s they began to move toward a volunteer based model of running the operations of the corporate side of things and of course this is drawing on the church side to make it so the corporate side doesn't have the expenses that it used to have. Now the problem is of course they're not doing this because they don't have any money. They're doing it because it makes sense financially to free up more and more capital.

(Continued)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

(Continued)

"And so the question now is,'what is going on with all this money?' If the expenses of the day-to-day operation are continually being driven down, then what is really going on with the rest of the money?

"It is being invested. For the most part, in real estate throughout the 1990s and the previous decade which was part of the building spree of the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop. But also in Wells Fargo mortgage backed securities and CitiBank and many other major funds which I document in the book. You're talking about a lot of money that is being invested in things which, again, it makes sense if you're a business to do this kind of thing, of course. And it makes sense maybe for an individual to invest in these funds that are going to be bringing back a lot of money.

"But the question that I really want to put forward in the book is, does it make sense for a religion to be doing this kind of stuff? And of course a lot of the listeners will say, 'yeah, of course,' and a lot of the listeners maybe will say, 'well, maybe it doesn't make a lot of sense.'
"In the book, I try to sort of put forward an argument as to why it doesn't necessarily make sense from a metaphysical perspective, from a cultural perspective, and even from an economic perspective."

"This is a difficult dilemma; it's one of these Faustian bargains....It's a question of a sort of means to an end. Is it acceptable for the Kingdom of God to do this dance with people who are not necessarily -who may not seem like they're directly opposed to us. Of course they're not bringing in the cannons like they did in 1857 and rolling them into Salt Lake City and keeping them pointed at the city...The exercises of power in the modern world are much gentler than they used to be. The way that Mammon works is to make it seem like it makes perfect sense to play along, and that we can do it to our advantage; that we can make a deal with, as it were, the devil.

"And I'm not saying that rich people are the devil or that Citibank is the devil. But the things that are not -that don't have an interest in building up the Kingdom of God, I believe are, of course, building up another kind of kingdom. And so the question for me is whether we can actually make these kinds of deals, and in fact whether we need to be making these kinds of deals.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

(Continued)

"If Jesus tells us to consider the Lilies of the field, maybe we ought to be considering the lilies of the field rather than investing our funds in a sort of lily-gilding operation that is going to yield an 8% profit for the next fifty years.

"In other words, is it right to build a foundation of security that is tied to the global economy? Or should we be trying to do something which is a little more in line with what I read Joseph Smith was trying to do, which is create an order of people who are independent as much as possible from the operations of the world because the world is fallen? It's in a state of sin, and for us to try to profit from the sin is a very dangerous proposition from my perspective."

"If there is sort of a run on sand, I guess you could build your house on sand and hope that you can flip it to the next guy before the sand really falls out from under you. But if 2008 is any kind of indicator, [the Church] didn't move from the sand quite fast enough and I think they lost a pile of cash in the stock market as apparently a lot of people did.

"So again, if we were to invest strictly in things like humans, and provide for the needs of the poor rather than, say, building a high-end retail establishment in downtown Salt Lake City, is that a bad financial decision? Well, who can say one way or the other? Is [providing for the needs of the poor] a good spiritual decision? I'd say yes.

"Is it a good spiritual decision to build a multi-billion dollar mall? I'd sort of leave that up to the readers to try to see where Jesus raised that kind of capital in order to build a mall in downtown Jerusalem so that he could have a foundation for building up his church."


End.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

For those who may be confused by what Damon Smith is referring to at the beginning of the interview I excerpted above when he speaks about "monetizing tithing," perhaps I should have included a bit of context.

Prior to the 20th century, tithing was routinely donated to the bishop in the form of usable commodities such as wheat, corn, apples, eggs, milk, chickens, livestock and other items; the purpose of which is to sustain life. It was the bishop's job to disburse these commodities to the poor and needy so that none would go without.

By the beginning of the 1900's Church leaders decreed that henceforth tithes would no longer be paid "in kind" but in money, and that is what is meant by the monetization of the people's tithes. The funds collected would no longer be restricted only to sustaining the lives of the poor; some of that money could be put to other uses. Hence the point Damon Smith makes early on in the interview when he states that "When you monetize tithing, you change the dynamics dramatically."

MC said...

Great quotes Rock, thanks for sharing.

It breaks my heart how far the church has drifted of course.

The truth really does hurt.

Eric Kuntz said...

It was never on course. The truth hurts only if you have agenda you are protecting, otherwise:

...the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, Eric, I kinda have to disagree with you when you say the church was never on course. At the same time, you're not entirely wrong, since some of the first converts, late of the Campbellite persuasion, ended up folding some of their own beliefs and expectations into what came to be known as "Mormonism."

These were the members of the religious commune living at Morley's farm, and included Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt. The Campbellites were seeking a church resembling the New Testament Church with apostles, priests, teachers, etc. and when they saw the word "restoration" in the Book of Mormon, they gave it their own interpretation. They interpreted it to mean a restoration of the "church" organization. Problem was, the primitive church was not organized, those "offices" were duties and responsibilities, not rankings and offices.

So rather than "Mormonism" being patterned after the ways of the Book of Mormon, it came to be patterned after the New Testament and later. So yes, in a way, the church never was perfectly on course, at least not after the Campbellite converts came on board. The ramifications of those false teachings are carried on even today. The Campbellite method of determining "which church is true" has little to do with doctrine and much to do with what it looks like.

MC said...

According to Christ's words in the D&C the church was on course at one point.

But you are of course free to reject the word of God and promote the agenda of the greatandmarvelouswork bloggers if you want.

What does the BOM say will happen to those who reject God's word and instead put their trust in the arm of flesh?

Michael Burke said...

"Not only that but it also says you shall not bow yourself down before such things, nor shall you serve - maintain, obey, advance the interests of - such things. This means no responding to visual advertisements or marketing. No taking care of such things. No marketing such things. No selling such things. And, of course, literally not bowing before such things.

Commandment 10 ends all business transactions for money - for business transactions occur because at least one of the two parties covets the other's possessions, in particular, their money. It ends bartering as well for the same reason."

Hello Jared.

So are you saying it's wrong to work for wages or commissions?

Would it be wrong to sell insurance or security systems?

Would it be wrong to work as a salesman for ADT?

And isn't that what you do for a living Jared?

Don't you work as a salesman for ADT?

Is that wrong?

And is it wrong for a licenses attorney with a law degree to accept fees for his legal services?

Eric Kuntz said...

If your referring to D&C 1:30 in which the Lord says ".. the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually— ".

The 'church' He is referring to has nothing to do with any organized religion. The 'church' here, He is talking about his people, the baptized people of the Lord.

The 'church' that the Lord is speaking to is something that can repent, that can be forgiven, that the Spirit can strive with. A dead CORPSEoration can't do any of those things. Only people can repent.

Janeen said...

Is the referred to book by Damon Smith in print?

Robin Hood said...

Roycelerwick,
I did warn you mate!
Six wordy posts without properly addressing any of your points, and most of those posts were someone elses work!
This is very typical.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Janeen,
It's titled "The Book of Mammon: A Book About A Book About The Corporation That Owns The Mormons"

https://www.amazon.com/Book-Mammon-About-Corporation-Mormons/dp/1451553706/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358661841&sr=1-1&keywords=the+book+of+mammon

The blog post from which that interview is excerpted is "City Creek: How Did We Come To This?"

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2013/01/city-creek-how-did-we-come-to-this.html

And the full interview is available here:

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/9/1/f/91f320f4aa900df5/MormonStories-152-DaymonSmithPt4.mp3?c_id=7384578&expiration=1526492095&hwt=245bd0fdd0a766eb44fadba061a82e33

Robin Hood said...

Eric Kuntz,

It's "you're" not "your".
Sorry, but it really bugs me when people get this very simple English wrong.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Uh-oh, Eric. Looks like your on the radar now.

Brace you'reself.

MC said...

Eric,

Of course the Christ's church was never intended to be a corporation. That didn't happen until the days of Heber J. Grant. That is one of the many things that are currently out of order or of course in the church.

In order for the church to be of course, out of order, or to use your words "dead" it had to have at some point been on course, in order, or alive.

The D&C is very clear that at one point the church was on course, in order, alive, etc.

Yes the Lord's church is an organization. This is also clear from the scriptures. The D&C clearly outlines the organization of the church. You'll have to study the D&C. It's all there. Here's a few verses showing very clearly that the Lord's church is to be organized.

D&C 21 (Which was a revelation to Joseph Smith April 6. 1830, the day the church was organized)

1 Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ,

2 Being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith.

3 Which church was ORGANIZED and established in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April.

4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

D&C 44 (Revelation to Joseph Smith February 1831)

4 And many shall be converted, insomuch that ye shall obtain power to ORGANIZE yourselves according to the laws of man;

5 That your enemies may not have power over you; that you may be preserved in all things; that you may be enabled to keep my laws; that every bond may be broken wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy my people.

D&C 1 (Revelation to Joseph Smith November 1831)

29 And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon.

30 And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—

31 For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;

D&C 1 was given after many commandments had already been given outlining the organization of the church. It was to be a preface to the Book of Commandments. So who is right here, you or the Lord when he defines what his church is?

MC said...

Once again Eric, you are being led astray by the greatandmarvelouswork bloggers, which again goes to show that cursed is he who puts his trust in the arm of flesh.

I'm sure you'll likely reply that Joseph Smith made the entire D&C up or that he received it from Satan. Or you'll try to say that these revelations are revisionist history or something. Isn't that the greatandmarvelouswork blogger argument? Joseph was never commanded to organize a church. There is no record of him receiving such a commandment prior to the organization of the church right?

To which I'll have to remind you that the first book of Nephi was written many years after the events happened as well, and Mormon could have easily made revisions to the BOM when he made his abridgment of events that transpired hundreds of years earlier. We have no contemporary evidence that Lehi was actually commanded by God to lead his family into the desert, or that Nephi was commanded to build a ship. Heck we have no contemporary evidence that Alma was sent by God to set in order the church throughout the lands of the Nephites, or let alone that the Nephites even existed.

Oh that greatandmarvelouswork website sure has a lot of garbage arguments. All they do is cry foul, attack Joseph Smith, attack the LDS church and its members, but cannot point anyone to where the truth is to be found. Where are the true saints of God? Where is Christ's true church?

...crickets...Joseph Smith was a liar, a fraud, an evil man...he did give us the BOM...but otherwise he's a scoundrel working for Satan...the LDS church is a dead corpse...oh wait it was never alive...there is no church of Christ...there is no hope...there is no baptism...there is no authority from God...but yeah we're not working for Satan...listen to us we have the answers...

Janeen said...

Thanks much!!

MrHFMetz said...

Dear brother Rock, at May 16, 8.42 AM you refer to the interview with Daymon Smith. By clicking on the link we only get part 2 of the interview (mormon stories 152). If I am not mistaken we find the whole interview on mormon stories 149 - 152 (that is four parts) by clicking on https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/daymon-smith-on-correlation-the-corporate-lds-church-and-mammon/
About the corporation that owns the mormons; indeed we are the propery of this one man corporation, it seems. It was clever financial man President Heber J Grant who came up with that idea (among many other not very good ideas, but that's another story).
I suppose he was the right man in the right place on the right time. The financial schemes were carefully hidden from the people back then. Anyway,we have to assume that the people get the leadership they deserve, according to their faith. That principle still applies today.

Underdog2 said...

Part 1 of 2

Rock said, "[The Campbellites] interpreted it to mean a restoration of the "church" organization. Problem was, the primitive church was not organized, those "offices" were duties and responsibilities, not rankings and offices. So rather than "Mormonism" being patterned after the ways of the Book of Mormon, it came to be patterned after the New Testament and later."

I can see that the Campbellite way of thinking has permeated my perspectives quite deeply. The distinction you make between what a priesthood "office" means is critical.

I have always believed a priesthood office had more to do with rank and stature than duties and responsibilities, and I might add 'gifts of the spirit'. I must state this more accurately...I have believed priesthood offices were hierarchical in nature, and the higher office was based on spiritual maturity or possessing more divine gifts. I had blindly PRESUMED the spiritual gifts were obviously bestowed upon those of higher rank, esp with reference to apostle or patriarch. This Campbellite mindset naturally creates an inequality among members, thus creating the prideful sin of iniquity, which the BoM warns about over and over. In summary, I had assumed offices were synonymous with those duties and gifts of the spirit.

For example, if one is ordained a "prophet, seer, revelator," then I had falsely assumed those spiritual gifts were automatic. What an incredible unfounded and illogical conclusion to have jumped to. But yes, I had naively and blindly assumed that very thing when I had no business making such blanket assumptions.


DC 107:91-92 (also see http://scriptures.info/scriptures/tc/section/59) says it well about the relationship between somebody ordained to a certain office, and their duties. Referring to the president of the Church, an "office" (though not an office in the priesthood): his "duty...is..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," the Head of course being Jesus Himself.

So man may possess a so-called "high" office like president or be "ordained" to the office of apostle, but that doesn't automatically grant any spiritual gifts. However, it is the president's job or his duty to "BE" a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet." To me, now it seems obvious that first you "are" (a form of the verb, "to be"), and then you obtain the office.

The Campbellite way of thinking is insidiously dangerous, as it creates fertile ground for idolatry to start, to be nurtured, and even to flourish. It creates inequality and therefore iniquity in the Church by dividing members into classes, again, something the BoM repeatedly points out as a characteristic of developing apostasy.

Underdog2 said...

Part 2 of 2

The question for any mainstream LDS reading this is: should there be a hierarchy among men? Ever? Should one man be esteemed more than another?

When the people of Alma (the repentant priest of Noah) tried to make him Noah's replacement -- a king -- Alma strongly rebuked the notion: "...it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king."

Alma did, however, say hypothetically that a having a king isn't a bad idea IF you ALWAYS could have just men to be kings. Alma was a just man, but he refused. Mosiah, a seer, was inspired by Alma's-stated truth as well, and agreed to end of the reign of the kings with his death. You'll recall the Brother of Jared and Jared and all their kids (but the last) wisely refused to be king, because as the Br. of Jared warned (Ether 6:23), having a king would create a political class, unequalness, iniquity, corruption, and inevitably lead "into captivity" where the tradition of liberty was stripped from the people.

Rock, I'm not sure if I'm articulating this right, but do you think it's accurate to say Joseph Smith screwed up on allowing this Trojan Horse idea of "offices" into the Church? Seems that ANY office could be construed as a hierarchy. The whole idea of someone "presiding" seems to be a bad idea in light of the fact "that it is the disposition of almost all men" to try to control others. Or did Joseph understand the dangers, but proceed because the people wanted it?

We know Jesus didn't screw up, and he DID set up what appears to be a hierarchy with the calling of 12 and 70. It seems that a hierarchy is kryptonite to establishing Zion. In other words, Jesus intentionally placed kryptonite in the Church, as well did Joseph. The result was the same: no Zion.

Now, with the foundation of Zion being laid, we see EQUALITY being heavily preached and practiced, and all signs of kryptonite hierarchy being done away with.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MrHFMetz,
Thanks for that correction on the link to the Damon Smith interview. I was going by what I had already posted in that blog post, directing the reader to the part of the interview from which I had excerpted. I had totally forgotten there were previous segments.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Underdog2,
To answer your question, I think the problem is not the offices, but our skewed interpretation of what an office is supposed to convey.

The term "president," for instance, should be taken to mean "one who presides," and that doesn't mean he is any kind of ruler. To preside means merely to be something like a chairman, a kind of referree.

Look at how Americans today have a skewed view of what the president is; they think whoever is the president is the virtual king, which of course he is not. He is only charged with implementing and executing the laws that have been passed by the legislature, which are presumed to originate with the will of the people. He can exercise no will of his own.

This idea that the president is somehow the ruler of America is the reason there is so much hostility against Trump from the left. They are afraid the king will impose his will upon them, not recognizing he has no authority over any single American.

So, back to the president of the church. I would use the example of a judge in a courtroom, but even in that example, most Americans don't understand the duty of a judge (neither do most judges.)

In a typical jury trial, the judge acts only as a referee. He sees that each party, prosecutor and defense, gets their proper turn at bat so to speak, and that the rules already established are properly adhered to.

The sovereign in that courtroom is not the judge. It's the jury. He can't make any decision, all he can do is see to it that the Jury gets the opportunity to rule on the case.

The difference between offices in the church in Joseph's day and today, is they had responsibilities, but none of those responsibilities had anything to do with dictating policy over the lives of the members. Joseph Smith certainly didn't feel he had any authority over any member.

Today, your Church leader thinks he has the right to prohibit you from taking the sacrament, or guilting you into a calling you may not feel right for. Headquarters even dictates the form of our meetings and in which order the hymns, prayers, and talks take place, though both the D&c and BofM teach that worship is to take place as the spirit directs.

And let's not forget that section 107 lays out the various offices in such a way as to prevent a hierarchy from forming. (Brigham Young ignored those instructions once he took power). First Presidency, Apostles, Seventy, High Council, were all equal in authority; none was ascendant. I was told by a member of the Quorum of the Seventy that the job of the Seventy is to act under the direction of the Twelve. That sort of corruption brought us the catastrophe carried out by Malcolm Jeppson who believed it his duty to ruin lives by following the orders of Boyd K. Packer

https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/christine-jeppsen-clark-daughter-of-general-authority-malcolm-jeppsen/

In short, an "office" means nothing more than a specific job or responsibility, such as the office of an apostle to go abroad and preach the gospel. That office bestows no power over another person or group of persons. In Joseph's day "officer" didn't hold the meaning it does today.

Mc Kay said...

To take it back to the Greek
A president sits before- pre-before and side-sit
A bishop (episcopal) watches over. Epi-over, scopus-watch like microscope or telescope
An apostle is one sent- an apostle of the Lord is sent by the Lord
McKay Paltt

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for the etymology, McKay. For new readers, McKay Platt was the author of this important blog post on this forum which fully explained what God meant when he spoke of "the only true and living church on face of the earth" in D&C 1:30:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2017/02/misquoting-god.html

(Hey McKay, I couldn't help notice that with all your perfect grasp of English nuance, you still mis-spelled your own last name above.)

Shibboleth said...

Log wrote: "Commandment 2 means you shall not make for your own purposes any representational object, nor shall you make for your own purposes any picture, painting, drawing, or anything like unto these, of anything which exists. This ends most visual media, marketing, film, TV, photography, selfies, and so on.

Not only that but it also says you shall not bow yourself down before such things, nor shall you serve - maintain, obey, advance the interests of - such things. This means no responding to visual advertisements or marketing. No taking care of such things. No marketing such things. No selling such things. And, of course, literally not bowing before such things."

But what of this?

"...You can refuse to believe, but you will see in me a sign and remember this saying: When Moses nailed a brass serpent upon a pole in the wilderness, he prophesied of me. And I shall also be nailed upon a tree, and those who believe on me will receive deliverance through my sacrifice, even as Israel was delivered by looking with faith at Moses’ serpent."
(Testimony of John 2:3, RE.)

"...And the Lord said unto Moses, Make a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole. And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looks upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass and put it upon a pole. And it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."
(Exodus 10:7, RE.)

"And the Lord spoke unto Moses saying...And you shall make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shall you make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end and the other cherub on the other end. Even of the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on the two ends thereof. And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another..." (Exodus 14:1, RE.)

"Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet; with cherubim of skillful work shall you make them." (Exodus 14:4, RE.)

"And you shall make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of skillful work; with cherubim shall it be made..." (Exodus 14:7.)

Was God telling Moses and the Children of Israel to break the law He just gave them at Sinai, or is this old commentary right here?

" Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.—The two main clauses of the second commandment are to be read together, so as to form one sentence: “Thou shalt not make to thee any graven image, &c., so as to worship it.” (See the explanation of Josephus, Ant. Jud., iii. 5, § 5: ‘Ο δεύτερος λóγος κελεύει μηδένος εἰκόνα ζώον ποιήσαντας προσκυνεῖν.)"

Shibboleth said...

Log wrote: "Commandment 2 means you shall not make for your own purposes any representational object, nor shall you make for your own purposes any picture, painting, drawing, or anything like unto these, of anything which exists. This ends most visual media, marketing, film, TV, photography, selfies, and so on.

Not only that but it also says you shall not bow yourself down before such things, nor shall you serve - maintain, obey, advance the interests of - such things. This means no responding to visual advertisements or marketing. No taking care of such things. No marketing such things. No selling such things. And, of course, literally not bowing before such things."

But what of this?

"...You can refuse to believe, but you will see in me a sign and remember this saying: When Moses nailed a brass serpent upon a pole in the wilderness, he prophesied of me. And I shall also be nailed upon a tree, and those who believe on me will receive deliverance through my sacrifice, even as Israel was delivered by looking with faith at Moses’ serpent."
(Testimony of John 2:3, RE.)

"...And the Lord said unto Moses, Make a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole. And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looks upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass and put it upon a pole. And it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."
(Exodus 10:7, RE.)

"And the Lord spoke unto Moses saying...And you shall make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shall you make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end and the other cherub on the other end. Even of the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on the two ends thereof. And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another..." (Exodus 14:1, RE.)

"Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet; with cherubim of skillful work shall you make them." (Exodus 14:4, RE.)

"And you shall make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of skillful work; with cherubim shall it be made..." (Exodus 14:7.)

Was God telling Moses and the Children of Israel to break the law He just gave them at Sinai, or is this old commentary right here?

" Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.—The two main clauses of the second commandment are to be read together, so as to form one sentence: “Thou shalt not make to thee any graven image, &c., so as to worship it.” (See the explanation of Josephus, Ant. Jud., iii. 5, § 5: ‘Ο δεύτερος λóγος κελεύει μηδένος εἰκόνα ζώον ποιήσαντας προσκυνεῖν.)"

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