Anyone bothering to spend twenty minutes on here should be readily able to grasp the gist of what drives me: I'm a devout believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through Joseph Smith. But since my religion relies for its claims to legitimacy upon divine revelation and nothing else, I am also skeptical of the many false doctrines that have accreted over the years like stubborn barnacles on a ship's hull.
Mormonism consists of a lot of wonderful teachings that come to us directly from God. But many of us have also come to embrace an assortment of "foolish traditions and vain assertions" that, over time and through constant repetition, have mingled with the divine until often we can't tell the true from the false. These traditions are like urban legends that refuse to die. I like to get in there and scrape those barnacles off so I can see the shiny surface underneath. That's kind of become my thing.
Since Nephi, Mormon, Moroni, and even Jesus Christ himself prophesied that this Church would stray from its mission and become polluted in our day, I would think it would be the desire of all good latter-day Saints to be on guard against the faith being diluted. But based on some of the feedback I sometimes get, perhaps not. In the comment section of my most recent piece, someone wrote, "you sound like a pure Mormon-Hater," and an angry woman who engaged me on Facebook recently insisted my blog is "driving people out of the church."
That latter accusation is news to me. I have yet to hear from one of these people who has been driven out of the church by something I've written.
On the other hand, I have received quite a few communications from members who have admitted they were considering abandoning the faith until something they read here persuaded them to stay. One particular email I treasure came from a young man from my old ward whom I knew since he was a child. Now a teenager, he had had his fill of the Mormon church and decided that atheism suited him better. But after following my blog for several months, he was persuaded that there were some things about the religion of his youth that still rang true for him, and he credited me with persuading him to let God have another chance at him.
Anyone giving my work here even a bit of a look would clearly see that I love the gospel of the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, the teachings of Joseph Smith, and the revelations God provided through him. Me? an apostate? You would have to redefine the word.
I have engaged in many fruitless discussions with these types who accuse me of being "out of harmony with the Church." They would never see it this way, but by my way of thinking, those guys are the real apostates.
Since the word "apostasy" has developed such a nasty stigma within the church, let's look at that word as it was understood at the time of the founding of our faith. According to Noah Webster's original 1828 dictionary, apostasy "in its original sense, applied to one who has abandoned his religion."
Well, that isn't me. I haven't abandoned my religion. I embrace it. I spend more time immersed in my religion now than at any time since my mission. I love the history, I love the theology; I love it all. I'm all in.
Apparently my dedication to the gospel isn't the issue with some people. Through my conversations with those who accuse me of apostasy, the thing that seems to frustrate them more than anything is that I don't appear to show what one commenter called "proper loyalty to the Church."
Well, he's got me there. I don't profess "loyalty to the Church." And for one very good reason: I don't really know what the heck "the Church" is anymore.
As LDS cultural anthropologist Damon Smith recently demonstrated, I am not alone in my confusion. This term "the Church," in modern Mormon parlance, has become virtually undefinable. Get a group of latter-day saints in a room together discussing the Church, and it's possible every one of them using that term will have in mind a vastly different meaning. One person may be referring to the local congregation, while another uses it to refer to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Another may have in mind the First Presidency and the quorum of the Twelve, and still another, when referencing "the Church," is actually thinking about the LDS religion as a whole with all its facets, tenets, teachings, and doctrines. Another may simply be thinking of Utah culture. Clearly we could use a better definition.
Well, it turns out we have one.
Almost never these days will you find a modern latter-day Saint using the term as it was originally defined by the Lord himself in D&C 10: 67. In that section He defined "my church" as simply all those who repent and come unto Him. That's right. The true church is little more than a group of people with shared religious values. Nothing much more complicated than that.
I love the church of Jesus Christ. Our paths through life are strewn with obstacles along the way, and the Lord in his wisdom knows the walk will be much more bearable when we are able to make the journey with others who share our values and beliefs. That's why "the church," this group of equals, this community of fellow believers, is such a blessing in my life. Having like-minded people share the journey with me has been an assurance during those times when God seemed distant, a reminder that I was not alone. The church exists so we can share each other's burdens.
But sadly, the Lord's definition of the Church is not what my critics usually have in mind when they use the term. They are usually referring to the entire mish-mash, especially the General Authorities headquartered in Salt Lake City. To them, "the Church" embodies the group of men who manage and administer the daily temporal affairs of the Church. And these critics usually demand -and I mean demand- that I cease my questioning and fall prostrate at the feet of these mortals.
Sorry, no can do, because I've read the rest of D&C 10. It turns out that just after Jesus defines the true meaning of his church -in the very next verse- He denounces those who would define his church or his gospel in the way some of my challengers have. Here it is:
Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church."If I'm reading this correctly, anyone who defines "the church" in any way other than the simple definition Jesus just gave it is, as He puts it, "against me."
You know, an apostate.
Don't Worry, There's Still Hope
In truth, we are all apostatizing. All the time. After all, we're only human.
Usually, being in apostasy simply means we've diverted slightly from our intended goal. That's why repentance is a daily process; it doesn't always have to be performed in sack cloth and ashes. If our foot inadvertently slips off the curb, it's usually no big problem to step back on the sidewalk and continue on our way We simply resolve to learn from our mistakes, make a slight course correction, and we're back on visual. Repentance doesn't always have to be that big a deal. It's often just a series of minor course corrections.
Lucky for us, the Book of Mormon provides a guide to help us recognize when we're headed into apostasy: the dream of Lehi. We all know the story, but some have misinterpreted a pertinent part of it: that part about the iron rod.
The short version goes like this: In his dream, Lehi saw a vast field. In the center of the field was a beautiful tree bearing some incredibly good tasting fruit. We learn that this fruit represents the love of God, and it tastes spectacular. It's like nothing else in the universe. Lehi sees other people in his dream walking toward that tree. That's where everyone was headed, to get a taste of some of that amazing fruit.
(I have heard some members assume the tree and its fruit represented heaven, or the celestial kingdom, or the reward at the end of our lives. But that does not appear to be the proper interpretation. The fruit represents the love of God, something within reach of all of us at any time while we're here, and which we can partake of daily if we want. We can take a break from life, be nourished and refreshed, then continue on. That tree is always there; all we have to do to experience that love is reach out and accept it. Neither is the tree described as being a great distance away. When Lehi saw it, he just went over and partook of the fruit. I take it that wherever we are or whatever we're doing, if we want to, we can take a moment and bask in the love of God at any time.)
To get to that tree, you have to stay on the path that leads to it, otherwise you could wander off, get lost, or simply overshoot the tree in the dark. Running parallel to the path, Lehi noticed a rod made of iron
-a handrail, if you will. Mists of darkness rose up around the people on the path, causing many to wander off, most not even realizing they were no longer even heading in the right direction. But those who clung to the rod were able to make it over to the tree and enjoy the sweet, delicious fruit.
Now, there is a lot more to that dream, but this much will suffice. We learn that the handrail, the rod of iron, has only one interpretation. Nephi tells us it stands for "the word of God." In order for us to experience the love of God, the safest way of reaching it is by grabbing hold and clinging to the word of God.
Note that the iron rod does not represent "the Church" (whatever meaning one might give to that term), nor Church leaders, general authorities, or any man or group of men. The only safe guide is the word of God.
Anyone letting go of that handrail and clinging instead to another person in hopes of being guided through the darkness is likely to end up in a ditch. The blind leading the blind, and all that.
Despite what any of us have been told, there is no place in the word of God that teaches there is safety in "following the leaders." Indeed, the scriptures specifically warn against depending upon what the Lord calls "the arm of flesh." God did not send you down here then assign leaders to be in charge of you. We must "work out our own salvation" by relying only on Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. This popular idea that the only true path to safety is in "following the Brethren" simply cannot be found anywhere in the revealed word of God.
For a group of people who claim a religion based solely on direct revelation, we Mormons sure seem ready to adopt a whole set of beliefs that can't be traced to any scripture or revelation. In my discussions with critics who insist I am in apostasy because my understanding of the gospel is not in alignment with their own, I find them often asserting the following points as if they were actual, revealed doctrines:
It is impossible for the president of the Church to ever lead the church astray.I can find no place in scripture to support any of these contentions; indeed, the standard works are replete with passages that would clearly refute them. Moroni lamented that we in the latter days would pollute the holy church of God, and Jesus himself assures us that the church in the latter days was indeed capable of failing.
This Church can never fall into apostasy.
The only sure safety is in following the leaders of the Church.
Whatever the Brethren speak over the pulpit at conference is the same as if it came from the mouth of God.
Whenever I ask to be provided a citation from the standard works that might support statements like those above, I am given instead endless quotes from general authorities; quotes that don't purport to be direct revelations from God, but are accepted by these people as such merely on the basis of their having been uttered by men with high callings and titles. Unless God said it, or the speaker claims to be relaying a direct revelation, such utterances do not constitute the word of God himself, no matter how much you may want to believe they do.
Joseph Smith taught that we need not heed the opinion of any professor of religion that contradicts scripture or previous revelation.
I have been asked by some of these challengers if I believe "the Church" is capable of apostasy. Allow me to defer here to a succinct reply given by my friend Mike Ellis to that same question. His feelings on the topic mirror my own, and he puts it better than I could have:
"I do not believe in a black and white apostasy as some do. I believe that there are varying degrees of apostasy and that all of us to some degree or another are in apostasy. That is the nature of the fallen man. I believe that the L-DS Sect of the church which was restored by Joseph Smith has rejected many of the principles restored by Joseph Smith. And in many cases prefers to live according to corporate policies and traditions rather than the previously given revelations. I do not believe that all light and truth is gone from the L-DS sect.
"I believe that the One Mighty and Strong will come to set in order the house of God and arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints, as prophesied by Joseph Smith. In order for this to occur it necessitates that the church must be out of order and we can clearly see that the 1844 secession crisis was a major cause of this.It's clear to me that Brother Ellis has not apostatized from his religion. He has not turned away from it. On the contrary, he desires more than anything to see his fellow believers return to those fundamental teachings that were evident in the church at the time of its founding and which appear to be missing today.
"I do not believe that God has withdrawn his previous revelations and that he still wants us (or me at least, since I cannot speak for others) to obey them. I believe we must cast off the past hundred or so years of traditions, dogma, and creeds, and return to the basic, simple, pure teachings of the restoration. After we do that, then we can move forward again and receive those things God has in store for this people, including the establishment of Zion."
In his view -and in mine- the real apostates in the church are those who have supplanted the foundational religion with a different one; a religion that insists that obedience to earthly authority is the greatest measure of one's faithfulness to God. That is what apostasy looks like to me: a turning away from the accepted word of God in favor of clinging to the arm of flesh.
Brother Ellis happens to be the proprietor of the blog Zomarah, where he recently posted a side-by-side comparison chart showing the similarities of the Great Apostasy of the early Christian church with the direction the modern LDS Church seems to be heading today. He is not alone. In recent weeks the bloggernacle has come alive with essays lamenting the onset of the Next Great Apostasy, and proving how the scriptures have been warning us of that probability.
In the movie V For Vendetta, the title character addresses the people of Great Britain, saying, "And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?" Something very similar could be said about the LDS Church, as growing numbers of members are awakening to a sense that something just doesn't feel kosher anymore in The Lord's True Church.
The internet is now overflowing with articles not only proving a modern apostasy is taking place right under our noses, but that our scriptures and teachings foretold it and warned us about it. You can see examples of this ongoing discussion here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And that is only a small sampling I gleaned off the top of my head. There are many, many more. Clearly, there is a growing sense of unease in the church, a feeling that all is not going so well in Zion after all.
You will note that these bloggers rarely concern themselves with those among us who, for various reasons, have simply decided to leave the church. Although they certainly fit the dictionary definition of apostasy, they are not a threat to those who remain. In my opinion, their departure is symptomatic of blowback; of the unintended consequences resulting from the institutional Church having drifted from its core fundamentals.
The real apostates, the ones who pose an immediate danger to the community, are those who are undermining the church from within by advocating positions that are doctrinally indefensible. They simply cannot be supported anywhere in scripture. These are the "True Believers;" they who have set themselves up as defenders of the faith, yet exert themselves not in defending Christ, but in angrily attacking those whose focus is on Christ. Rather than being watchmen on the wall, they prefer to expend their energies rebuking the watchmen.
"The church," which was widely understood in Joseph Smith's day to mean nothing more than a group of people with shared religious values, today represents, in the minds of many, something entirely separate from that body. Indeed, these days members of the Lord's "church" (lower case "c" as defined in D&C 10; i.e. the members) are now by and large considered subservient to "the Church" (which I differentiate here with a capital "C" in order to avoid confusing the two). The "church" and the "Church(TM)" have now separated into two separate classes, the leaders and the followers. As someone once explained the roles of this dichotomy (a leader -no surprise), "leaders lead, and followers are expected to follow."
The once egalitarian LDS Church is today manifested by a top-down hierarchy consisting of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, numerous Assistants to the Twelve, the First Quorum of the Seventy and the Second Quorum of the Seventy along with their armies of staff and assistants, all housed in a 28 story skyscraper that is also home to teams of corporate lawyers, scribes, and public relations experts. It is my detached indifference to this institutional, corporate body that for some reason most annoys my critics.
This idea that the Church's "leaders" exist to hold our hands and guide our every step is contrary to the purposes to which God ordained them, and unsuitable to a people whose doctrine teaches that within every one of us lies the potential for personal godhood. These Church officers are ordained to very specific purposes, none of which is to give you your marching orders or to embody "safety from the storm." That role is reserved to Christ alone. The Brethren, though often inspired, are not what Nephi was referring to when he told us the interpretation of the rod of iron. The Brethren are human, just like you and me, and just as fallible. As Joseph Smith declared, "a prophet is a prophet only when he speaks as a prophet."
Sadly, many members of the church today believe the prophet is a prophet every time he opens his mouth, and often even when he doesn't. This has led to a disconcerting cult of personality within the church that is equaled only by some Catholics with their pope, as typified by FollowTheProphet.net, whose webmaster encourages members to write in and report every time they happen to get a glimpse of President Monson in public. Typical of the kind of embarrassing idolatry presented on that website is this entry that breathlessly announced, "A family had the chance to go to the airport on Saturday to see President Monson’s jet fly in to Arizona."
The purpose of the institutional Church in our lives is similar to that of the role of our parents. It provides a certain kind of sustenance for us when we are in our spiritual infancy. But the idea is to quickly get to the point in our spiritual growth where we no longer need someone holding our hand when we cross the street.
In his famous conference talk "The Gospel and the Church" (the original, inspired version, not the one that was later changed and redacted), Elder Poelman reminds us that "as individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. Our lives become gospel centered."
The mantra we hear so often today to "follow the prophet-don't go astray" is a 20th century invention that was completely unknown in Joseph Smith's day. It would not have entered Brother Joseph's mind to have anyone "follow" him for their own safety, and none of his counselors ever took to the stand at conference and taught that principle. The very idea would have appalled the Saints who looked to Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.
In his new new book, The Most Dangerous Superstition, Larken Rose reminds us that one way to tell whether you are a child or an adult is to examine your dependency on authority figures:
"Though many imagine teaching obedience to "authority" to be synonymous with teaching right and wrong, the two are actually opposites...In fact, teaching obedience drastically hinders the social and mental development of children. After having grown up in a situation where they were controlled by others, rewarded for obedience and punished for disobedience, if they ever escape that situation they will have little or no training, and little or no experience or practice, in how to think or act from morals or principles.Certainly we should be willing to pay heed to the prophet of God when he is relaying a message directly from God. That is, after all, what a prophet is for. But when was the last time you remember that ever taking place? Where are the revelations?
"If their upbringings have been molded mainly by controlling "authority" figures, people become existentially lost if that control vanishes. In short, people trained to obey "authority" do not know how to be independent, sovereign, responsible human beings, because all their lives they have been intentionally and specifically trained to not use their own judgment.
"In a world without the "authority" myth, on the other hand, children could be taught to be moral instead of merely obedient."
How Long Will This House Remain Unoccupied?
Almost thirty years ago President Benson reminded us that early on in this church, the Lord placed the entire church under condemnation, and he told us why He did. President Benson further announced that this condemnation has not been lifted, nor will it be until we properly repent.
What exactly does it mean to be under condemnation? Well, what does it mean when a house is condemned? It means the house is not fit for the owner to live in.
We like to claim that Jesus Christ is the head of this Church, and that the Church is continually guided by Him through direct revelation. But is this still true? Where is the owner of this house, and why doesn't he seem to inhabit it anymore?
I would submit that Jesus loves what he calls "my house," but because of our collective sins he has been forced to become an absentee owner.
Certainly God still reveals himself to us as individuals. But isn't it curious that the very persons we are encouraged by our vain traditions to look to for collective guidance from the Lord never seem to offer any new communications from Him? Wouldn't the absence of continuous, regular institutional revelation be a clue that something is terribly wrong in the Church today? Shouldn't the very fact that the Lord has told us the Church as a whole is under condemnation be enough to give us pause and a reason to re-examine our collective assumptions?
And shouldn't it occur to us that perhaps, just maybe, one of the things God has told us to repent of when he said we are not taking seriously "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," might actually be to rely on Him rather than on our "leaders"?
We Mormons are very keen on saying we should rely on the word of God for inspiration and on saying we believe in seeking guidance from the spirit. But do we regularly "do according to what [God] has written"?
No. More often we take the easy way out and trust our leaders to tell us what we need to do. Rarely do we go home and take their words before the Lord, asking for confirmation through the Holy Ghost whether everything we just heard is true and valid for us. Instead we just trust them. They are the leaders, after all, while we are just the simple rank and file members.
Most of the time the counsel we receive from these men is sound, but sometimes it is not. Regardless, the word of God commands us to seek confirmation from the Holy Ghost regarding everything preached from the pulpit. If, however, we have been conditioned to believe that the "authorities" are always inspired and have got it all covered, why should we even bother checking in with heaven?
I believe this over-reliance on Church leaders has stunted our ability to be guided by the spirit. Nephi taught us that it is the role of the Holy Ghost to show us all that we should do. He didn't say it was the role of the prophet, or of his counselors, or the apostles, the seventies, or anyone else. Only the Holy Ghost.
I take my orders from the word of God, then seek confirmation through the Holy Ghost. That is how one maneuvers through the mists of darkness.
The Apostasy Trick
Of course, this kind of talk is blasphemy to the "Follow the Prophet" crowd. "How dare you," they demand, "ignore the Lord's anointed?"
Well, I don't ignore them. I simply take their pronouncements with a grain of salt until I have it confirmed whether those promulgations were sent forth from the mouth of God. If not, I may still find their opinions and teachings beneficial and worth considering, but so are many of the pronouncements of other religious leaders such as Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Alfred Edersham. I may abide by the suggestions of any of these men, but I'm not necessarily going to set my watch by them.
In short, I don't worship idols. Demi-gods may have their place in Greek literature, but they don't belong in the church of Jesus Christ.
Here is LDS theologian Denver Snuffer on the reason why Satan is able to successfully keep us from recognizing when we are slipping into apostasy:
"The trick to successfully pulling off an apostasy is to distract people into thinking there hasn't been one. The "believers" need to think everything remains intact.So, Is the Church In Apostasy?
"So the issue of "apostasy" becomes a discussion about individuals and individual conformity to the expectations of the group. The subject can then be a topic that polite, fellow-believers can discuss without ever searching into the overall condition of a fallen people.
"The Jews mocked efforts to tell them they were apostate. They thought it was humorous when Lehi preached the idea. (1 Ne. 1: 19.) Because they were so very religious, so devout, so unassailably active in following God, the idea was absolutely laughable that they were apostate.
"The Apostle Paul said the problem would begin at the top with the shepherds, who would teach them falsehoods as truth. (Acts 20: 29-30.) These new leaders would have only a form of godliness, without any real power to save. (2 Tim. 3: 5.)
"The Christian world adopted another, false replacement of the original church. It became so universal it was hailed as the Universal, or Catholic Church. It ruled from the rivers to the ends of the earth as the only official form of the faith established by Christ.
"To pull this off Satan must be concerned with the "macro" institutional failure, not just individuals falling away. It is the small, minor spirits who follow Lucifer who engage in petty tempting of individuals to sin. Success for the Adversary is not accomplished in petty enterprises. He wants failure for the whole, so none can be saved. For that, apostasy must be universal.
"He has never succeeded by admitting there has been a failure. The trick is always to have the apostasy come unnoticed, unacknowledged and from within. (See 3 Ne. 16: 10.)
"The topic is worth studying. When apostasy is noticed, acknowledged and exposed, then it is possible to repent and return. Until then, it progresses apace, discarding and rejecting what might have been given. All the while being happily ignored by "believers" whose devotion will not save.
"Since Christ predicted that at some point the latter-day gentiles would reject the fullness (Ibid.), we probably should consider what the Book of Mormon has to say about the subject.
"To finish the thought about the "trick to apostasy" the D&C has a remarkable statement. Lucifer succeeds when he manages to get us NOT to reject ordinances, but to change them. As soon as they are changed, they are broken. (D&C 1: 15.) That is an important step. Because then religious people can continue to claim they follow a true religion, while practicing one that has been broken. These practitioners become like the ancient Jews, who mocked Lehi because they knew they were still righteous. They knew Lehi was foolish, even fraudulent. They still had the truth, the ordinances, the temple, and the priesthood. Lehi was just a mistaken crank."
A better question to ask might be are you in apostasy, since you are the church. Are you seeking after the gifts of the spirit, or passively trusting in the arm of flesh? Have you sought the baptism of fire, that wonderful, glorious, ineffable experience that hits you like a rush and permeates you and surrounds you and infuses you with love and light and power?
Or have you bought into the modern fallacy that what the scriptures mean by "baptism of fire" is really nothing more than "a still, small voice" experienced over time?
If fleeting, whispering, tiny, occasional glimpses of the spirit are all you ever expect, that's all you'll ever get.
Seeing as how our scriptures warn us repeatedly that the church will indeed experience a falling away both individually and collectively, we would be foolish not to be checking ourselves on a daily basis and making those necessary corrections that keep us on course.
If Satan's trick is always to have the apostasy come unnoticed, perhaps we should put ourselves on notice to be ever watchful against it. The signs that we are well on the way seem pretty clear to me, but I also think the simple corrective is to first stop denying the possibility, and then repent and get back on track. In the words of The Spektator, proprietor of the website Just and True:
The scriptures warn us against being complacent; we should not be at ease in Zion. The scriptures warn us that we are under condemnation; we should individually and collectively seek to remove this burden. The scriptures warn us that, because of our pride and practices, we are to lose the fulness of the gospel and its covenant. If we are to regain that which is lost, we must take these warnings to heart, repent, and seek the Lord.If you love the church like I do, why not get serious and grab hold of that handrail? I return to that tree and taste of that fruit often, and believe me, it is amazing. You want some of this.
We must all cast off our sleepy rituals and awaken to the duty that must be ours. We must seek in the scriptures the true meaning of the fulness of the gospel. We must each be willing to approach the Father for the knowledge and confirmation of our path. We must, collectively, be willing to make the same covenants as did the people of King Benjamin. We must prepare ourselves to be a Zion people, individually then collectively.
250 comments:1 – 200 of 250 Newer› Newest»
Hey kids! Free bonus video!
I KNOW this hymn is supposed to be sung much more uptempo, majestically and enthusiastically. But here it's given the typical Sacrament meeting style funeral dirge treatment.
Oh well, that's Mormons for ya.
Funeral dirge! Thats quite the observation. But so is this, well done yet again but serving both as an answer to your critics and as a warning to choose the right path making the necssary daily course corrections. This is really what youre all about; calling the faithful to the ironrod and back to what it really means to be LDS.
I guess the arrangement is kind of pretty, but you're right about the "funeral dirge treatment." They're telling us that Nephi saw a vision, but they sure don't sound happy about it...
Anyway, excellent article as always, Rock. My comment was starting to turn into a relatively long rant, but you've already covered everything I might point out. A picture's worth 1000 words, they say, so this image macro must be worth 1022. And it sums up the situation nicely, I think:
Contrast this statement...
"We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them (even) if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions. When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves." -- Joseph Smith, Millennial Star, Vol. 14, Num. 38, pp.593-595
...with this one...
"...It is my province to teach to the Church what the doctrine is. It is your province to echo what I say or to remain silent. You do not have a divine commission to correct me or any of the Brethren. The Lord does not operate that way. If I lead the Church astray, that is my responsibility....If I err, that is my problem; but in your case if you single out some of these things and make them the center of your philosophy, and end up being wrong, you will lose your soul." -- Bruce R. McConkie in a letter to BYU professor Eugene England.
Oh, what the heck, one more...
"Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." -- Satan
Another great post. I think you pretty much covered the entire spectrum of the issue. And thanks for the links to those other entries. I really like Denver Snuffer's quote. That is really the key to the whole thing. Apostasy can only come when we let our guard down. And we let our guard down when we think we are on the right path.
It reminds me of my experiments with Lucid Dreaming. Lucid Dreaming is being aware and mentally awake in your dream, you know you are dreaming. In order to enter this state you have to do what is called a reality check. For me I would read some writing then look away and look back again. If the writing changed, like it does in a dream, then I can be pretty sure I'm dreaming. But in order for this to work you must get into the habit of doing reality checks. You must constantly be testing your reality in the waking world. That way you are in the habit of doing checks when you are in the dream world. The more you do reality checks the better chance of have of doing one while you are in a dream and becoming aware and having the much sought after, Lucid Dream.
It is the same thing with our lives. We must be constantly checking ourselves. The Word of God is the means we use to measure our lives. If we let our guard down and just become complacent, expecting that if apostasy comes we will be told about it, then the door has been thrown wide open for apostasy to sneak in.
Abnd there really is no difference between individual apostasy and institutional apostasy. That is because the institution is made up of individuals. If it is possible for people to enter into apostasy then it is possible for the entire group to do so. We must each individually remain on guard!
Earlier I thought of a reply I might give to someone who accuses me of not following the prophet. I'm going to tell them, I'm still working on obeying all the revelation that has previously been given.
you will recall that Lehi first followed a "man" became lost in mists then prayed to finally find his way to the tree. Following men=mists of darkness
The word "apostate" is nothing more than a tool used to keep the masses in a state of fear and compliance (along with many others). It is always used in an accusatory way, and we all know who the Accuser is. I wish we could remove it from our vocabulary. There is no good to be found in applying it to others or even ourselves. It is one of the flaxen chords used by the Great and Abominable Church to bind down members. Notice that the word is not mentioned once in the Book of Mormon. However, there are dozens of mentions of the word "unbelief" (which is usually associated with the Gentiles) and even more of "repent" (but unfortunately, the Church TM has corrupted that meaning to enslave members). Maybe we should pay more attention to those words, and discover what it really means to come to Christ.
The word, however, is in the D&C:
Doctrine and Covenants 86:3
And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.
Excellent! I couldn't have said it better myself! Winnie
Arthur Silber, "The essence of obedience is the demand without more: a reason may be provided, but a reason is unnecessary… Obedience is the opposite of voluntary, uncoerced agreement: the understanding and agreement of the person in the inferior position are not required, and are often not sought at all. The person in the inferior position may profoundly disagree with the reason(s) offered for the demand, if any. When the person in the inferior position obeys, he does so because of his certain knowledge that if he does not, he will be punished in some form: psychologically, legally, socially, or in some other way. Thus, the primary (although not the sole) motivation that ensures obedience is negative in nature: it is not the promise of a reward (even though certain rewards may be offered), but the assurance that he will not suffer consequences that are painful in varying degrees, i.e., that he will not be punished."
Thanks, Jeremiah. That Wonka meme is EVERYWHERE.
Rock said, "God did not send you down here then assign leaders to be in charge of you. We must "work out our own salvation" by relying only on Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. This popular idea that the only true path to safety is in following "the Brethren" simply cannot be found anywhere in the word of God."
The very first section of D&C says it very plainly:
19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
20 But that every man might aspeak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
Which isn't just good advice, but leads to something most think has probably already happened...
21 That faith also might increase in the earth;
22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
a MAN wearing a white robe says "follow ME" and this leads Lehi into darkness. Only crying for mercy gets him free. Moral: dont follow men saying follow me even if they have white robes?
Oh, that McConkie! What a character.
That was an awesome article. Thank you so much for writing and sharing it. I will surely be sharing it with others, for you explained it all much better than I could. And it's such a vital topic for us to grasp.
I believe though, that the Church is already in full-blown apostasy, and has been since the death of Joseph Smith. Just as ancient prophets in the scriptures describe our day, everyone, except a few, have become deceived by falsehoods and corrupted to support and do evil, while still feeling sure they are righteous.
I believe the original Church was broken up after Joseph's death and the majority of members were deceived to follow Brigham Young and embrace his polygamy and other false and vile doctrines, which of course mean't he and the men who followed and supported him lost all their Priesthood power, authority and keys.
I believe that if Joseph Smith returned today he would not recognize the Church he restored. He would think the current LDS Church is some extreme apostate religion that teaches and practices the vilest of evils, mingled with a some truth to make it look good on the surface.
I believe that Pres. Monson supports and teaches many evils, especially by his actions. But to hear that may shock some, just like when the little boy announced that the Emperor has no clothes, even though everyone knew deep down that it was true. It's just hard to face because then we have to take responsibility for our own salvation and that is worse than denial.
The good news is that Joseph and Christ will return soon to re-establish the true church upon the earth.
Well, Rock, all of this is too much for my small mind to comprehend. When the OMS does show up and you recognize him and the other one who is supposed to die because he was only trying to help, and then have the Spirit confirm all of this to you; would you let me know? All I know for sure right now is that because of what I am I could never successfully join the Mormon club, and perhaps that is a good thing ultimately. Your articles have shown me the true state of things and so I feel a lot better about my own inadequacies. I will never be a part of the big stuff about to happen, except as a victim of it, but perhaps with your help, I can know the right direction to walk. That's my main hope right now, unless I die first.
I read every word of your post and the comments. I've been attending the LDS church for four months now and maybe being baptized in July...so much to think about. I love reading the Book of Mormon and truly believe the teachings of Joseph Smith...but I can honestly say now that I'm having second thoughts...
Please keep in mind, Bear's Mom, that first, baptism is a special, necessary ordinance that is independent of your membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I would hate to see you change your mind about having that ordinance performed. Baptism, among other things, shows your commitment to Christ, not to any earthly religious association or set of doctrines.
That having been said, if as you say you love the Book of Mormon and truly believe the teachings of Joseph Smith, why would you not want to join with an association of like-minded individuals and "be numbered among the Saints"?
As you can see from just the examples of bloggers I linked to in my piece, and the comments on this page, there is an awakening that will lead to reform. You don't have to join in with those who are mistakenly trusting in the arm of flesh. You can, like many of us, become a Mormon and keep your eye single to the glory of God. I see no reason to have second thoughts. It is not the teachings and doctrines of Mormonism that are incorrect, it is the tendency some within the church have of adhering to false doctrines and distortions.
I love the Constitution of the United states and the principles upon which this country was founded, although I see apostasy in government all around me. That doesn't stop me from embracing and upholding those founding principles and admiring the founders, and holding out the hope that Americans will awaken and return to the fundamentals that made us great.
You are actually really lucky to be entering the church at this time. I've been a member all my life and have spent much of the last two years unlearning traditions.
You're lucky because you can begin with a fresh slate. You have no preconceived notions.
As you learn, rely on the spirit to teach you all truth. Find out why church teachers and leaders say what they are saying is doctrine. More than that, study the scriptures yourself. Seek your own understanding and don't rely on Sunday School to teach you what you will believe.
There are doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon and others that Joseph Smith revealed that will help you become closer to Christ that you will not find anywhere else.
Stay humble and teachable.
Mormons are a silly bunch, no worse, no better than anyone else. But they are a people to fellowship with and I enjoy them.
Good Luck, and I wish you the best.
Bear's Mom, I concur. Don't let the fact that some members idolize men's teachings keep you away. This is, indeed, Jesus' own church. He hasn't abandoned it. In fact, this awakening is (my opinion) largely His doing. The ordinances are still valid, just like the ordinances after Moses were still valid, even though the people rejected the fulness they had been offered.
We enter the church through personal revelation. We should stay in the church through personal revelation. Our testimony should always be in Jesus Christ. People whose testimonies falter because of some human behavior in the church (past or present) fall because their testimonies were based on the organization or on men.
This is Jesus' church, not a man's and He will clean it up in His own time (this has been prophesied in the Doctrine and Covenants). So, if the Spirit has enlightened your mind and told you to be baptized, do so. And keep as close to the Spirit as you can through prayer and scripture study (especially the Book of Mormon).
Bear's Mom, if you're in south-east Idaho and need someone to baptize you just drop me a line.
Rock, finally read this new post. Amen. 2 Nephi 9 (verse forgotten) it speaks of Jesus being the keeper of the gate and "he employeth no servant there." We really should have no mediator between us and Jesus. What an interesting twist in your post--those demanding allegiance to the "church" or mortal men are those that have as Josh suggested followed the "man" in "white robes" who leads us into a dark and dreary place and cannot point the way until we call upon God directly. Fascinating.
Your detractors are so wrong. You kept me in the church longer than I would have stayed without your blog. Especially after the infamous 2010 fall general conference when I was having panic attacks over Packer's talk. (Which you know since I emailed you a rather emotional email to which you generously responded and reached out to me.) Ultimately I left the church but it wasn't because of your blog. If your version of Mormonism (which I believe is more in line with what the early church was going for -- pre Brigham) were the common one, I probably would have stayed... even after deciding that I no longer believed it to be true.
I love your blog, Rock and I'm thankful to know you. :)
Thanks for the article. Just the other Sunday in Elder's quorum we had a lesson on personal revelation. The instructor told us that any personal revelation would never contradict Church policy or general authorities. I thought to myself, " wait a minute. The Holy Ghost is a higher authority than any Church leader. Surely I should listen to a member of the Godhead over any man." This and other issues have led me to ask one of the questions you address in your article: has the Church gone apostate? I feel like I am looking at things in a much more critical manner than I ever have in my life as I am passing through a faith crisis. I find myself praying about things that I took for granted before. Sometimes the answers I receive surprise me, but I am feeling closer to the Lord and more directed by Him than I have in a very long time. Articles like this help me feel less frightened about the questions that are presenting themselves to me as I try to work things out, so thank you!
The ancient, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
My wife attended the revelations lesson and they talked of modern "revelation." What is modern revelation you might ask? Colored garments for the military, only one earrings for women and none for men, .... I wish I could remember the other ones she told me about. It was pretty crazy. Can people not differentiate church policy and revelation?
Having said that, I believe I'm in a true state of apostasy, trying to find God again right now. But I think that is OK to question fundamental beliefs every once in a while as questioning leads to truth to the sincere heart.
Readers may find the following interesting. If you go to the website:
It allow one to do word searches for all the general conferences since the 1850. Do a word search on "Follow the Prophet". Here are the results of how many times and in which decade the term was said in general conference.
1850s through 1870s: 0
1880s: 1 - referring to Joseph Smith
1890s: 1 - referring to Brigham
1910s through 1930s: 0
1940s: 2 - one referring to Joseph the other to Joshua
1950s: 1 - referring to Joseph
1960s: 5 - This starts the era of referring to Church leaders
Notice in the past 10 year the term was used over twice as much as all the other previous decades combined. It's interesting that the Child's song, while probably written as a faith expression by a well meaning member, has become the basis for promoting a doctrine that is not found in scripture, and which is so much the mantra in the Church today.
Thanks Rock for being true to the gospel. The pure Gospel teachings are indeed precious jewels.
Young Joseph reached down into the earth and lifted up those golden plates!
Just wanted to bring everyone back to the basics. The man had golden plates.
From 1977 ( activation and mission ) until 2003 when "God's oracle" endorsed the blood and horror of aggressive war, I was the the very definition of a TBM in every respect. In all those years I felt I was on the Celestial track. My mission president praised my weekly report numbers and rewarded me with leadership positions. While raising a family I received recognition from ward and stake leadership for the magnification of my callings. I could not of felt more eternally secure than when our ward went through a bishopric change and many came to me afterwards and told me how shocked they were that I was not chosen to be Bishop.
Since 2003, in my efforts to rediscover TRUTH, I realized that I really did not know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he sent. I knew about them, but no real relationship or deep, meaningful knowledge. Without recognizing it, I had dangerously substituted outward performances and the praise of men for the true path of emulating and knowing the Master.
I'm with you on finding Him and His Son. Questioning ( which I had been taught was evil and the sure road to apostasy ) is vital in that search and in shaking off the deep sleep induced by the "traditions of the father's."
Isn't it amazing that we are told today to 'not question leadership', when that's exactly what an unrighteous 'apostate' leadership would tell their followers?
Prideful and controlling leaders never want their followers to question or disagree with them.
Whereas righteous leaders, like Moroni or Joseph Smith, actually teach the opposite, saying we must question and pray about everything that even they teach, as well as anyone else, and to never believe or follow even Prophets who teach contrary to the scriptures.
Once you see the difference between righteous and unrighteous leaders you begin to see their tactics very clearly.
Leaders today don't want you to question anything, just follow them, for only 'they' know the way, and they also know that if you start to question things you may find out how wrong they are and have been all along.
Enjoyed the post. Gave me a lot to think about. I want to live the gospel, not blindly follow leaders.
Brigham Young says it best. His analogy here best describes the LDS church's practice of "apostate-labeling".
“The world is before us, eternity is before us, and an inexhaustible foundation of intelligence for us to obtain. Every man, and more particularly immediate associates who are with me daily, know how I regret the ignorance of this people—how it floods my heart with sorrow to see so many Elders of Israel who wish everybody to come to their standard and be measured by their measure. Every man must be just so long, to fit their iron bedstead, or be cut off to the right length: if too short, he must be stretched, to fill the requirement.
If they see an erring brother or sister, whose course does not comport with their particular ideas of things, they conclude at once that he or she cannot be a Saint, and withdraw their fellowship, concluding that, if they are in the path of truth, others must have precisely their weight and dimensions.
The ignorance I see, in this particular, among this great people is lamentable. Let us not narrow ourselves up; for the world, with all its variety of useful information and its rich hoard of hidden treasure, is before us; and eternity, with all its sparkling intelligence, lofty aspirations, and unspeakable glories, is before us, and ready to aid us in the scale of advancement and every useful improvement.”
I sat here reading these comments and suddenly the Spirit just fell on me, welling up tears in my eyes as I saw how, EVEN though all of us here are agreeable the LDS (& other Mormon churches) are in deep apostasy, how much it mattered to everyone to have genuine tender care for Bear's Mom, and to encourage her to baptism! Even in said apostate church. And I am 100% with all of the others, and say, please don't stop...go ahead and get that marvellous baptism! I am sure I speak for everyone here in saying how we all wish we could be baptised again! But alas, this isn't Joseph's era...rebaptism is a distant, forgotten memory now. How wonderful it would be to start with that clean slate, as mentioned above, knowing what we all have been quickened in the spirit to learn as of late. With all my heart, I envy you bear's Mom, in the nicest possible way.
Come to think of it, I truly feel I know everyone here, though of course we have never met, and I have commented but once or twice ever. I really do look forward to the time when we shall all meet on our sojourn to Zion, the real one, not that mirage in the Utah desert. Yes, you too Brother Steven (Lester)- for all that you say you are/aren't, you are one very interesting child of of Heavenly Father. I have enjoyed and learned a lot from your observations :)
(side-note: funny how hungry, thirsty, we all are to read new articles from you, Rock, and of course others- Zomarah and so many more...this post is just new and yet you already have a bunch of comments. Hope this inspires you to write more, sooooner! It's just way too longer between posts!! I, for one, only found your site a few months back and have devoured every bit of existing text. And I thank you and others like you who have suddenly made me feel like I just discovered the Gospel for the first time, after 15 years).
Thank you,, Fusion, for saying what I would have said -- but so much better than I could have. I too look forward to meeting many of you as we gather to the "real" Zion.
Thank you, Fusion, for that remarkable letter. I too feel a sense of community with those who weigh in here with their thoughts and feelings. My favorite thing about this blog is reading the comments. (My other favorite part is JJ Dewey's series on Infallible Authority, which I like to re-read every now and then for inspiration.)
John, I really appreciate your making us aware of this resource. Thank you.
Fusion wrote, "But alas, this isn't Joseph's era...rebaptism is a distant, forgotten memory now."
I beg to differ... I was re-baptized and re-confirmed on 19 November 2010 (into my tribe.) You just have to find a priest or an elder that is willing to do it.
If you really want to be rebaptized, no power of hell can stop you. I don't even think you need to be baptized "into" anything (a church, a tribe, etc.). Do you have a desire to mourn with your fellow men, and offer comfort to them? Are you a peaceable follower of Christ and desire to witness that to Him?
I can tell you that He does not condemn those who wish to express themselves this way (in fact, He commands it). I can also tell you that following this comes the baptism of fire and the remission of sins. It really is possible, and it is happening much much more than you think. Seek and ye shall find, ask and the door will be open to you.
PS - If you think it is not appropriate, consider Mormon 8, where it explains that PARENTS are the ones who should be baptized to be like their children, because the baptism of little children is an abomination (and I don't know about you, but 8 years old still seems like a little child to me).
Kudos, Rock. Once again your clarity of thought and expression are revealing and inspiring. I'm proud to call you my friend.
I just wanted to let you know that your blog has changed my life (for the better I hope). For several years, I would have nothing to do with Joseph Smith after I learned how he ALLEGEDLY seduced a 14-year old girl under the promise of exaltation for her and her family (a claim semi-supported by the LDS Church[tm]). I never heard an alternative point (even though I served a 2-year mission for the Church[tm]) until I came across your polygamy article which directed me to Richard and Pamela Price's book. It changed everything as it brought Joseph Smith back into my life as a moral man. I have even written my own blog on the subject (I will forego the shameless plug though). Thank you for what you have done for me!
Thanks, Anthony. For those who do not know him, Anthony Larson is the author of the "...And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood" trilogy, very popular books on prophecy and the last days. In the future I'll be writing a piece about those books. Highly recommended!
Oh, by all means, give us a shameless plug for your blog, Benjamin! One of the purposes of this forum is for us all to exchange information and advance a dialogue. So I hope to see a reply right away with a link to your blog.
Since writing that piece on polygamy (and the followup, "Why Mormon History Is Not What They Say")I have attempted to remain open minded to the view that I could have been wrong. But since then I have found no historical evidence to persuade me that Joseph was a polygamist. Everything points to the fact that he fought it tooth and nail, and that those who practiced it attached his name to it through rumor and gossip to justify their own sins.
Of course, the Church(TM)leaders can't tell the truth about its origins (if any of them have even bothered to investigate) because it would call into question the line of authority leading back to them which the Church has taken great pains to establish.
I myself question the need for a "line of authority" among the leadership, since priesthood authority is retained and passed down through the priesthood held by the membership anyway. There is no need for latter-day Saints to contend with other factions of the Restoration movement for supremacy. Since continuous revelation (the institutional kind) does not seem to be present either in the Brighamites or the various Reorganized splinters, the question of who holds the "power" is a moot one, in my view. The power is in the Word.
Have you read Dennis Snuffers series he is currently doing on Polygamy? I have still not decided if I believe Joseph Practiced polygamy or not. It is a good series.
It started with this post.
Sorry Denver. I don't know why I put Dennis. typo.
I have all three of those books (I bought them many years ago). They are very readable and enlightening - and it was the first time I heard about Velikovsky.
Benjamin, I would be interested in your "shameless plug".
I've been reading Denver's posts. I am interested in what he has to say tomorrow and the next day.
He believes that polygamy is only to be practiced under very narrow circumstances and that the early saints got carried away (wildly enthusiastic, I think he called it in his interview on Mormon Stories).
Personally, I think D&C 132 is a real revelation, but it says in it that God would make a way for Joseph's escape like He did for Abraham. Abraham never ended up with a dead son. It seems to me that it would logically follow that Joseph never ended up with another wife.
Also, it is possible that parts of the revelation were tampered with (a word here or there) when it was brought to light (though I obviously don't know that, having been born far too late to have been a witness).
In any case I, too, am willing to accept whatever God/the Spirit tells me about this. I am not a hold-out on either side of the issue.
I agree with those above. We have become so conditioned to believe we are required to obtain permission of authority in order to perform a simple baptism has prevented many of us from experiencing many of the gifts that were common in the early 19th century LDS church.
Although I think it is a good idea to be formally baptized and made a member of record of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the act of re-baptizing (one reason for doing so is for healing, both physically and spiritually)is a personal event that could and should be performed privately by a priesthood member of the family.
You no more need institutional license to re-baptize than you do to bless your baby at home. (The blessing of children can be a private matter in the home also, and has become a Sacrament meeting "event" only through tradition.
As an example of how easy it is to fall into the view that we can't make a move without first running it past our leaders: When my wife first fell ill and was no longer able to attend church, our bishop at the time said he would send the Aaronic priesthood around to give her the sacrament. But you know how undependable teenagers can be, so after months and months of reminders and requests to the bishop, and numerous promises that it would be taken care of, it finally occurred to me that I had the authority to administer the sacrament to my own wife myself without waiting for any other persons to fulfill their assigned responsibilities.
Now sacraments Connie and I partake of at home together are some of our best experiences, and we do it according to the scriptures, "eating our fill," and engaging in rich theological discussions. Rather than relying on a snack size sliver of white bread, we usually use what we call "clump bread," a round loaf of sourdough or something similar. We drink red grape juice, as that is closest to a reminder of the blood of Christ. We would use red wine for our sacraments if either of us could stand the taste of it. (Some have said the bitterness of red wine is one reason it is suitable as a sacramental wine.)
My past assumptions that everything I do must be performed under some ecclesiastical supervision from ward "authorities" sadly kept us from having some our most fulfilling experiences.
For more on the joys and benefits of partaking of the sacrament at home with family, see here:
Velikovsky's research is finally beginning to gain acceptance in some corners of the mainstream, and it's about time. The electrical theory of the universe is the only way the puzzles of the pieces begin to fall into place. Here is Larson's website regarding ancient prophecy and the latter days:
Yes, I have just read that introduction and I'm looking forward to his future posts on the subject. (By the way, that's Denver Snuffer, not Dennis.)
All is forgiven, Anonymous. Now go and sin no more.
Oh, if only I could promise my fingers would obey.
You are too kind:
Thanks for the link. That looks like some very thorough research. I look forward to digging in.
I've added "Confessions of an Elder" to my blogroll, "Blogs I Think Are Worth a Look" at the right side of the page here.
In most cases in the scriptures a "rod" is referred to as a staff, not a handrail. It's interesting to think that we have to follow a staff, of the Good Sheppard? to get to the tree of life. Just a thought.
Anyone who cares to go to the LDS church history library archives will have access to original documents of the high council meetings during the 1930's. In these minutes are discussed in detail the revelation on plural marriage to Joseph Smith and other pertinent details. I don't know enough and cannot address allegations about Joseph Smith taking brides indiscriminently, but I do know these records exist because my son has handled and read them. Whether or not I would have the capacity to live that law were it to be implemented today is not the issue here. The Old and New Testaments are replete with examples of the practice of plural marriage and its requirement by God to the House of Israel. In light and understanding of the Plan of Salvation, it simply makes sense that God would provide a plan to multiply his seed and our seed through this means, as well as securing to every worthy woman the blessing of exaltation. There will be many differing views on this topic, and my hope is that in the coming day the Lord will reveal the truth in its purity to all who seek to know it. Winnie
I do not doubt that your son handled certain records related to high council meetings during the 1930's. The LDS Church[tm] has dozens of affidavits (all written long after Joseph's death) in support of its slanderous claim that Joseph Smith was a habitual liar, adulterer, and sexually exploited young teenagers under the promise of exaltation.
However, the evidence is overwhelming against the LDS Church's[tm] position. For example:
Not even one child has been discovered through DNA evidence to have originated from Joseph's purported polygamy (yet he had 34 wives to raise a righteous seed with?). Your argument is without merit. I guess Joseph somehow missed the commandment as you explained above.
Joseph repeatedly stated that polygamy was a sin and equated the practice with adultery (yet the LDS Church[tm] has not produced one document evincing Joseph's approval of polygamy).
Joseph publicly excommunicated several individuals for practicing polygamy and unequivocally condemended the doctrine in all forms.
According to the LDS Church, Joseph married at least ten women who were already married (i.e., the LDS Church officially considers Joseph an adulterer). It is also noteworthy that Brigham Young without question married a currently married woman and had sexual relations with her. Do you really think that God would command his "Prophet" to commit adultery? Did you read about Brigham's proven adultery in the Brigham Young manual?
Joseph sued (under oath) Chauncey Higbee for slander related to Higbee's claims that Joseph was a polygamist (Higbee was a lawyer). Joseph would have had to have been insane to sue a lawyer for defamation if Joseph were committing the alleged polygamous acts. Did you ever hear about Joseph's lawsuit against Higbee in your Gospel Doctrine class? Probably not.
Dozens of other church leaders (some under oath), including the entire Relief Society leadership, denied that Joseph ever taught polygamy, secretly or otherwise.
Section 101 (1835 edition) once stated that every man is to have only one wife - the verse was removed by Brigham Young. In addition, Brigham Young admittedly and repeatedly altered Joseph's history and other records to portray Joseph as a polygamist. Further, Section 132 was introduced 8 years after Joseph's death by Brigham Young (not in Joseph's handwriting).
Did you ever hear about the Cochranites - a long-time polygamous group that was brought into the Church and apparently converted Brigham Young (Brigham met with them alone and married one of the Cochranites), Dr. Bennett, et al. to their wicked practice?
And there is much more evidence.
In short, the LDS Church[tm] is not being honest about the origins of polygamy. It is a difficult pill to swallow, but it is the truth!!!
Anonymous / Winnie, Do you mean the Nauvoo High Council minutes from 1843? Yes, Hyrum is on record reading what we now call "D&C 132" to the Nauvoo High Council, and it caused quite a stir, including commentary from those for and against polygamy. People who ignore this are people who like to pick and choose historical evidence to suit their own beliefs, regardless of whether or not their beliefs are an accurate reflection of reality. There are TOO MANY affidavits from people, who were both FOR and AGAINST polygamy, to say he never practiced it. To say that Brigham Young made it up is preposterous, considering the fact that half of the affidavits were written by people who refused to follow Brigham Young, or who were his enemies. Both Brigham's followers and enemies knew by first-hand witness.
But who cares whether Joseph Smith practiced polygamy or not. I don't need to know whether he did or not to know whether or not it's a divine institution. Why don't I care?
Because Abraham practiced polygamy. Jacob/Israel practiced polygamy. Did you know the 12 tribes of Israel come from more than one mother? Israel had several wives by whom the 12 tribes were born, and he was married to them all at the same time, while they were all alive.
Brigham Young and his associates never won support for polygamy by convincing people that Joseph practiced it. They convinced people by showing them that it's an inseperable part of biblical christianity. Even the reformers acknowledged this, as pointed out by Orson Pratt in the Seer, in his article entitled "Christian Polygamy in the 16th Century."
I would add a few more words...
If Joseph Smith didn't practice polygamy, then he should have, if he was a true Christian.
Have you ever read any of the literature from the 1850s defending plural marriage? It's biblical. You can't argue with it. And it fits perfectly into the plan of salvation.
Oops! Did I say 1930's? I meant 1830's, but it really was from the 1840's. No wonder you questioned my statement above. sorry! Winnie
Another inspiring post. The ability to step back and see what is truly happening to and in the church is very difficult for most people. When one becomes accustomed to the rituals of the church, it brings with it a false sense of security and belonging - that is the ease felt in 'Zion.'
Let's consider how the Book of Mormon treats the 'word of God.' The index in the back of the Book of Mormon contains entries under that title; the first of which is a reference to Lehi in 1 Nephi, chapter 2. I think it is important to note that, in this case, the word of God came personally to Lehi in a dream. In other words, the 'word of God' is personal revelation. If one were to analyze the other references to the 'word of God/the Lord' contained in that index, they would find a pattern clearly related to revelation given directly to an individual.
It is interesting to note that in the same chapter, verse 13, Nephi references the 'words of the prophets' in his attempt to convince his brothers that there was trouble in paradise. Here in one chapter of First Nephi, we are able to draw a distinction between the 'word of God' as personal revelation and the 'words of the prophets' which was recorded in the scriptures (and general conference of that day, if they had such).
The symbolism contained in the iron rod, to me, is our ability to directly receive revelation. Lehi's dream should be seen as a strong testament of the need to seek our own knowledge and wisdom from the source and not rely on others.
You can take my word for it when I say that this debate on whether or not Joseph Smith sanctioned polygamy can go on forever without either side coming to an understanding, so please allow me to just state what I know so far about some of the points introduced above.
I have been constantly assured that Hyrum read what we know as section 132 into the minutes of the Nauvoo City Council, but I have never seen evidence of it. This does not mean it doesn't exist; it just means I have yet to see this evidence.
If it does exist, in order for me to be satisfied, I would have to know whose handwriting it is in, and when it was actually written into the record. If it is merely presented in the Documentary History of the Church, then it is suspect, as much of that history, as we know both from testimony and from comparisons of passages with original documents, much contained therein that pertains to plural marriage was doctored under instructions of Brigham Young.
Further, much of what we "know" today as having come from Joseph or Hyrum Smith has had pertinent parts redacted, such as the so-called letter to Sarah Ann Whitney, where Joseph seems to be asking her to come visit him, and which turns out, when you see the entire letter, to be actually addressed to Sarah's parents. So again, an original document would hold more weight than a partial quote in a book or website.
Further, I do not believe polygamy in the Church originated with Brigham Young, though he was instrumental in promoting it and I have no doubt he and the quorum strongly believed in its legitimacy. The practice and doctrine was introduced through converts from the Cochranite faith, of whom there were some 100 families practicing it in Nauvoo. Joseph's public pronouncements demonstrate that the practice had begun to spread to some of the highest officers in the Church and that he was resolved to stamp it out.
Again, it's possible he secretly approved and was making these declamations in order to throw off suspicion, but not likely in my mind, given the angry denunciations we have on record, and the almost certain rebellion that would have taken place if he subsequently reversed position.
The question in my mind is not whether polygamy existed in Nauvoo, because it most certainly did. What I seek is sufficient contemporary evidence to overcome the constant and repetitive declarations Joseph Smith made vowing to stamp it out.
Since Joseph Smith was quite vocal about making the eradication of polygamy an issue, it doesn't seem possible that he intended at some time in the future to publicly reverse himself. I just don't see how the members would accept such a turnaround. He would have appeared such a deceiver to those around him that all credibility would be out the window forever. Who would accept such a man as a prophet? He would have lost everyone.
I would ask those who have questions about the subject to first read the research of Richard and Pamela Price on the subject. Start there, and work backwards. If you are able to actually show me photo reproductions of contemporary documents that prove otherwise, I am very interested in seeing them. My mind is rarely made up about anything. But you have to show me.
You are correct, of course, Spektator. Personal revelation is the ultimate "word of God" to each of us individually. Some people, of course, claim personal revelations that would seem suspect (David Immanuel, the abductor of Elizabeth Smart comes immediately to mind), which is why we must always check one word of God against another. If our personal revelations contradict the word of God as available through scripture, we might want to seek further light. In my view, to make certain we are acting correctly, personal revelation should not contradict what we already know to be true, but should compliment it. That's why the gift of the Holy Ghost is so important.
Rock, you did not address LDS Apostasy's point on the history of polygamy throughout the ages, as practiced by the Lord's prophets (Old and New Testaments). You are correct when you say we may never know the true history of Joseph Smith and polygamy until a later time. What is your view on polygamy as practiced by our former patriarchs? Winnie
You have a wonderfully informative blog. Thanks for starting it, it will help many to come to a knowledge of the truth, as Rock's blog has.
And for most LDS women I've talked to about it all, learning the true origins of polygamy and that Joseph never lived or believed in it, is a most wonderful and sweet pill to swallow.
Polygamy itself is 'the bitter pill to swallow', that many never would, for it did't ever seem right to them or something that a true prophet would ever do.
The Bible does not command polygamy as a righteous principle. And it shows the destructive outcomes of many who lived it.
Abraham and Jacob only lived polygamy because of pressure from their wives,(and Jacob's FIL's deception). Abraham seemed to not believe in polygamy so much so, that he went til he was almost 100 yrs. old and his wife past child bearing age, and still never took on another wife, even though he greatly wanted posterity. It was only because of Sarah's lack of faith in the Lord's promise and her insistence that he took Hagar on. Otherwise he almost surely wouldn't have ever done it. Once Sarah had learned her lesson the hard way and wanted Hagar sent away, God then told Abraham to send her away and stop living polygamy.
Just because God can make positive outcomes of men's weaknesses and even sins, doesn't mean it was a good thing for the 12 Tribes of Israel to come from different mothers. I believe God wanted those tribes to all come from the same mother and a righteous monogamous marriage situation, but God knows before hand and allows and works with the weaknesses and failings of men, and thus he can still accomplish his great works despite that.
Even the polygamy that Moses had to put up with was because the people were so wicked and bent on living it. He couldn't stop them and could only try to limit how men abused women by polygamy by making at least some laws about it. But if the people had been willing to repent, I believe he would have outlaws polygamy entirely. But he couldn't, just like he couldn't outlaw divorce, for when people are so wicked as to become addicted to these kinds of male perks, worse will happen if you don't let the people do the evil they want to.
At such times God has his Prophet just step back and let the people destroy themselves, for they are past feeling and wouldn't listen to him anyway.
I do not believe that Joseph ever preached or practiced polygamy, publicly or privately. But if it turns out he did, it would only mean that he too fell from grace and committed adultery.
For even prophets cannot teach contrary to the Book of Mormon (which condemns polygamy in every single instance and age) or contrary to the words of Christ (Christ condemned polygamy as he condemned divorce) otherwise the prophet proves he is teaching falsehoods.
Christ's teachings trump all other voices upon the earth. All true prophets must teach in total harmony with what Christ taught. And polygamy goes completely contrary to the Golden Rule, and Christike unconditional love, and Christ's teachings against adultery in marriage.
Even Christ's Apostles taught that in order for men to be 'blameless' and righteous and hold positions like Bishop, Elder or Deacon, they can not be living polygamy. (Which was rampant in the early Church and society at that time, as in most ages, because the men were so wicked and abusive and thus craved that perk for multiple women, despite how it destroyed women and children.
If Joseph fell to abuse Emma and commit adultery by polygamy it still does not make it right. For even Joseph had to obey the scriptures and more especially Christ's teachings, before he could remain a true prophet.
Even Prophets can fall, as we have seen over and over.
But I do not believe Joseph ever fell, he knew too much and he understood how vile, evil and abusive polygamy was, especially to women.
No matter what our differing doctrinal points of view are, most of us recognize that "all is not well in Zion". The ancient religion of Jesus Christ as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith has been altered and/or diluted. Those in supposed authority have taken on the role of "shepherds" instead of "watchmen". The role of shepherd belongs to the only One qualified, and that is Jesus Christ. Because a "flock" readily follows their shepherd, it is essential that we know our shepherd and recognize his voice - "27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me..." (John 10:27) It's essential that we seek and follow the voice of the Holy Spirit. It behooves us to rely upon personal revelation and the words of past inspired prophets. Whatever our differences of opinion or belief in matters discussed on this and other blogs, we are bound together in brotherhood and sisterhood by our common faith in Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation. I enjoy reading others' views and benefitting from their expertise and research. Since "leaving" the LDS corporate church (although I'm still a member of record), I have become more open-minded and welcome the vast amount of knowledge provided by others in my search to know more than I know. It doesn't really matter to me that I don't fully understand Polygamy or any other doctrine at this time. I'm trying to focus on purifying my heart, so that when the time comes, I'll be prepared to receive and live any law the Lord will require of me. Winnie
Happy Canada day everyone!
So it comes to Mind that the "follow the prophet" pseudo-doctrine could be easily challenged by the institutional confusion on the polygamy doctrineishthing, by asking which of Josephs purported words we are supposed to follow-the pro or anti polygamy ones? More importantly though, I think that the follow the prophet thingy takes away our striving for understanding and our own personal effort, and particularly the relationship that we develop with God and Christ in the process.
Now that I post what I wrote (anon at 10:02) I have figured out what I want to say, and it comes Dow to knowing vs. learning. I find that the philosophy of learning (curiousity, open to being wrong, changing opinion etc) to be fundamental to growth in the Gospel. The whole line upon line idea. As I sit here in "testimony" meeting (I am not sure how telling a story about installing windows counts as a testimony) I am reflecting on the damage we do to ourselves and others when we take a knowing stance over a learning stance. We can box ourselves into spending more time defending what we "know" than continuing to learn while admitting that we are wrong (and human!)
The Bible does not portray polygamy as a weakness or sin, but quite the opposite. It was through polygamy that the Lord was able to help Abraham realize the blessings of the everlasting covenant.
Parley P. Pratt did an excellent job of speaking on this subject, and I recommend reading his "Marraige and Morals in Utah":
The Book of Mormon says if the Lord wishes to raise up seed, he can command polygamy; otherwise they shall hearken unto the one-wife rule. This is hardly a blanket-condemnation, as you would have it be. And the Lord only condemns the actions of David and Solomon, but never Abraham or Jacob.
As for Abraham, the Lord tells us, "Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Gen. 26:5.)
Jacob 2:23-30 states:
“23. But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.
24. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
25. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
26. Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
27. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
28. For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
29. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
30. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”
As correctly pointed out by Richard and Pamela Price, the LDS Church[tm] interprets Jacob 2:30 as follows: “For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up [righteous] seed [or people] unto me, I will command my people [to practice the whoredom and abomination of polygamy]: otherwise [if the Lord does not give the commandment to practice the whoredom and abomination of polygamy], they shall hearken unto these things [Jacob’s instruction to not practice it].”
“This interpretation makes this passage completely out of harmony with all the rest of Jacob’s revelation against polygamy. The better interpretation of the passage shows that it is definitely monogamous, and that it is in harmony with all the rest of the revelation which the Lord gave through Jacob. It is: “For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up [righteous] seed unto me, I will command my people [the Lord will be their commander—He will give them commandments to obey]: otherwise [if the Lord is not their commander; or they do not obey His commandments], they shall hearken unto these things [they shall practice the sins of polygamy].”
Richard and Pamela Price are absolutely correct (and I am ashamed that I didn’t see this earlier). Jacob identified polygamy and having concubines as some of the “grosser crimes,” i.e., worse than pride. He refers to polygamy as a “whoredom” and an abomination and reiterated: “I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms [i.e., polygamy and having concubines] are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.”
Ask yourself, would God state that polygamy and having concubines are “grosser crimes,” “whoredoms,” “abomination[s],” and a violation of the chastity of women and then state that God sometimes flips the rule on its face? Really? Further, would God put such an escape clause into his own commandments to be used by every wicked ruler at their discretion and “excuse themselves in committing whoredoms” to have many wives and concubines? It makes no sense. The language (I do have substantial experience in statutory interpretation) and the spirit of Jacob 2:30 do not condone polygamy. To say otherwise, if you believe in the Book of Mormon, is to call evil good and good evil.
See also: Mosiah 11:1-2 (“And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness.”); Jacob 1:15 (“And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son.”); and, Jacob 3:5 (“Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.”).
After reading Denver's posts, and thinking about the whole thing, it seems to me that the following is a likely scenario:
Joseph had the sealing power (the real kind, that can only be given by the voice of God, never from one man to another).
He had people sealed to him to increase their likelihood of being exalted. Some of these were sealed to him as children.
Since none of the "wives" had children, it would seem that he may have had women sealed to him to raise up spiritual seed to God.
In other words, they were sealed to him, therefor they and their families (being sealed to each other) would have a binding link to heaven. None of this entailed sexual relations, because that was not the purpose. Since they did not, they weren't "real" marriages as the world considers it, thus Joseph was telling the truth because he knew people were thinking of actual marital-relations-marriages, not simple sealings to get people closer to heaven.
As Denver pointed out: "If this were something for public display and advocacy, then Joseph would have done so."
(see today's post at denversnuffer.blogspot.com)
And if it were to raise up physical seed (giving spirits mortal bodies), there would have been many children from those unions. There were none.
As the book Rock references tells us, Eliza most likely was not pregnant with Joseph's baby. IF she was pregnant, it was possibly Bennett's. Even if they had a sealing.
But so much testimony of who was sealed to him can only be traced back to Utah in the 1800's. They "remembered" being sealed to Joseph. Did they also "remember" the five and ten kids they gave birth to since the purported reason for polygamy was to have lots of babies?
The lack of babies is what kicks the idea in the teeth (that Joseph was married, as in sexual relations, to more women than Emma).
In reading my post, some of it seems unclear.
"None of this entailed sexual relations" is referring to Joseph and the women, NOT to the women and their husbands.
"Even if they had a sealing" is referring to Joseph and Eliza.
I hope the rest makes sense.
Sensible point, but if you believe that Joseph engaged in "spiritual" polygamy, then you must also throw out the testmonies of many of those alleged polygamous wives (13 of which claimed to have sexual relations with Joseph). Why so many lies surrounding polygamy?
Second, Joseph (and many other leaders) always denounced polygamy without qualification. Like the Book of Mormon (see above), Joseph never condemned only the "form" of polygamy.
Further, why did the commandment switch from "spiritual" polygamy to "sexual" polygamy under Brigham Young et al.? Someone changed the alleged commandment and it wasn't Joseph. Was the change recorded? Why not?
Another possible scenario, Brigham (not Joseph) had those women sealed to Joseph so that their lies would seem much more palatable.
Jesus' teachings in 3 Nephi 12:1 provide scriptural justification for giving heed to the words of the 12 He chose; it's clear that by association current mormon culture grants the same legitimacy to the 12 (15) we have chosen (by common consent) to lead the Church (TM). So it all comes down to whether He has chosen them or if we have.
"...Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water..."
Abraham could have realized all the blessings of the Gospel without polygamy. There's no polygamy in the Cel. K. Unrepentant polygamy actually would have destroyed Abraham's salvation.
The Bible most likely doesn't portray polygamy as a sin or weakness because most all men throughout time believed it was ok or they liked the idea, for it appeals to their carnal desires & most men have had a tendency to abuse or commit adultery in some form, on their wife, by desiring more than one wife or woman.
So, the Bible was most likely written, translated, compiled & deleted & added to, by probably unrighteous men who had a bias for or desire for polygamy or at least didn't think it was evil, whatever religion they may have been.
So whatever the Bible says or whatever the story is, we have to take it with a huge grain of salt & remember that it may not be true or complete.
The Book of Mormon always trumps the Bible, so if the BoM teaches something more clearly then we go with it over the Bible.
The BoM proves that polygamy is condemned in every instance & age & thus proves the Bible doesn't teach the whole truth about polygamy for whatever reason.
For we know that even Prophets & apostles can have different opinions on doctrine or fall for evils like polygamy.
I don't trust or believe anything Parley P. wrote, I believe he was an abusive adulterer. I'm sure he taught all in favor of polygamy.
Joseph said to never believe anyone, even a prophet, who came preaching or practicing polygamy, but to consider them evil.
Continued, Part 2
Jacob 2:30 has been interpreted contrary to the way Joseph Smith, who translated it, believed it meant. The interpretation you use was started to be used many years later after Joseph died, by a polygamist in Utah.
Joseph believed that Jacob 2:30 said that 'unless the Lord commands his people, (to keep the commandments), they will hearken unto those whoredoms-polygamy, as they always have when the commandments weren't preached to them.
It's been a common thing for wicked men to abuse women by a desire for polygamy for 6000 years. Even Joseph warned that it is the natural inclination for nearly all men to abuse anyone they feel they have power over, especially wives. And abusive men usually commit adultery too, by either divorce, porn, by looking at, having feelings for, having a physical affair with or by desiring more than one woman or wife (polygamy).
And reading Jacob 2:30 as you do makes no sense, for polygamy is not an effective way to raise up a righteous seed. For polygamy has proven to slow down the birthrate of a society. The more wives a man has the less children each woman typically has.
And though most men don't want to admit it, polygamy is very abusive & destructive to women & children that they usually either go into denial & become abusive themselves, or they become unhappy, depressed, angry, rebellious & distrustful of fathers & leaders who would treat wives & women so abusively.
Monogamy is the fastest & only way to raise up a righteous happy, strong posterity.
Just because Jacob didn't take the time to list all the famous men in the scriptures who lived polygamy, he used the worst examples of it, David & Solomon who had such a huge number of wives & who went to such an extreme with it, to probably make his point better. But Abraham & Jacob's polygamy was just as abusive to their wives as any others in the Bible, even if some wives consented to or liked it.
For it's typical for most abused women to minimize their husband's abuse & adultery, for they often don't want to face it or they don't have the self-respect to believe they deserve respect & complete faithfulness & exclusive true love from their husband, because of what society or false doctrine has taught them.
Abraham was righteous or repentant at that time when the Lord said that, if it's a true statement, for again we must take it with a huge grain of salt. But Abraham was just as fallible as any man today, & according to Joseph Smith even Abraham & Jacob fell to adultery because of their wive's pressure, which I believed God told them to repent of & hopefully they did before they died.
AnonymousJuly 2, 2012 8:40 AM,
according to Joseph Smith even Abraham & Jacob fell to adultery because of their wive's pressure
Do you have a source for that?
The testimony of 13 witnesses is a tough one to overlook, but we know that Joseph had many enemies at the time of his death. My studies show that later in his life, he had removed himself from much, if not most of the institutional part of the church, which had been overrun by many conspiring men. The reason he came back to Carthage in the first place was because of them.
The bottom line is if these women had sexual relations with him, surely there would have been offspring. To date, none have been proven to have existed. That being the case, it seems likely that there is some dynamic we don't know about. Perhaps this is part of the "secret combinations" of the Gentiles spoken of in the Book of Mormon.
Benjamin, the testimonies of those women, as I understand it, were testimonies created while they lived in Salt Lake. No contemporary journal even hints, "I was married to Joseph today." "Lying for the Lord" was a concept that I understand was created in BY's time or soon thereafter.
My opinion of BY is not a good one.
He changed the temple ordinances to include killing those who killed Hyrum and Joseph, thus setting the stage for Mountain Meadows Massacre.
He turned a blind eye to actions of "blood atonement" and even preached it to an appalling degree (being willing to kill a whole family if they had committed the "crime" of one spouse being white and the other black).
He denied the temple ordinances and priesthood ordination within the church to a whole race, which is unscriptural as the Book of Mormon plainly states that the gospel is for all, black and white, bond and free.
He was very rude to Thomas (I believe it was) Marsh who returned repentant - and bragged about his own stud-ability in his public quasi-acceptance of Bro. Marsh even though he was an old man (as he said).
I would not put it past BY to make small changes in written history. I would not put it past him to convince others that they had, indeed, been married to Joseph as a sexual partner. As I understand it, the sealings were done in Salt Lake just to make sure they could say they were done. I've not seen documentation for that, so I cannot be sure on that point.
Rather off topic, I suppose, but if one is looking to point fingers at who was responsible for Joseph's death, it was the members of the church. They convinced his wife to write a letter to him begging him to return. They called him a coward. He returned because of pressure of those he called his friends. Whether they were part of the plan to have him killed or whether they simply did not believe he was a prophet (God told him to leave), I don't know - but the members of the church who convinced him to return to his death were just as liable for his death as those who actually pulled the triggers.
(Back to the topic) - I think Brigham changed the doctrine from a sealing to heaven through Joseph (and something to be done sparingly, with God's express approval) to a regular marriage, complete with dozens of children per man. That, also, was warned against in the Book of Mormon. It's as though Brigham was being warned against several of the things he did, but did not bother to notice that *he* was being warned.
As Inspire points out, there would have been offspring. Joseph was obviously not sterile. If the purpose was to have lots of children, as BY preached, then why weren't there dozens of children being born who resembled Joseph? Why were the "unmarried" women not pregnant? The lack of human flesh wandering around as physical offspring of Joseph is the biggest evidence against him having many wives in a sexual way.
Also, D&C 132 says, "50 Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac."
This shows me that either Joseph did not have to follow through with sexual relations - or with the marriages in general.
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 132:50)
It's not exactly clear to me at all how the account of Jesus calling twelve disciples from among those at Bountiful, his telling them what to teach, and the description of his blessing of those others who would give heed to their words; how any of this provides "scriptural justification" (whatever that means) for anything, or by what mysterious association any twelve recognized today have legitimacy in claiming the same status as those twelve.
You provide what appears to be an incomplete quote, meant to be read as though someone (Jesus, perhaps) were speaking to the reader, thus muddling the whole affair and confusing readers into thinking this quote is directed at them, simply because they read them. This is a typical example of how, from the beginning, the BoM has been cut up, divided, versified, quoted, and interpreted for us, in order that it might be "read" in such a way that breaks the narrative up, rendering it into not much more than a life manual, a book of morality stories and memory gems, one to be "applied" to our every day life, regardless of what is actually written in it.
But they did not do so in the public and showy way some are expecting. If you seek truth you will find it. The fulness of the priesthood and the Gospel are still available for all those who seek it. In our day the church is in apostacy but there are still latter-Day Saints who are keeping ALL of God's commandments and gathering preperatory to building Zion. If you think this is something you are willing to do, then join us! GospelFulness@Gmail.com
I comment only because I don't know much, but thirst for the truth. I want to know the truth and be free. I start with this only because I wouldn't want anyone to mistake my question as a strong opinion in the form of a question.
Helen Kimball's diary is not to be trusted, why? Because she and her family followed BY? If she was just advocating for the way things were practiced out west, why would she mention her observations of her own mother's suffering because of the practice? Why not be more clear about a physical relationship with Joseph, rather than a weak implication in writing that had she known it was going to be more than a "ceremony" she wouldn't have gone through with it. IMHO, that's poor advocacy.
Nancy Rigdon's letter from Joseph is not to be trusted because it wasn't in Joseph's hand nor signed by him. Yet his "First Vision" account (the third one) was similarly written by a scribe and not signed by JS, and is the foundation of all who believe.
Dare I ask why William and Jane Law are not credible. Is it because they were, APOSTATES? Is it impossible that they had legitimate objections with the direction of the late Nauvoo period?
And finally, I'm confused why we give absolute confidence and trust to Oliver Cowdery as a BofM witness, but discount his description of the Fanny Alger relationship as a dirty, filthy affair.
Again, not making a statement, just looking for help in reconciling seeming inconsistencies.
I think the evidence is clear, the above 13 women were vile liars of the worst kind. But why do you believe that Joseph engaged in "spiritual" polygamy? The BOM condemns polygamy (see above). Brigham Young forged Section 132, led a concerted effort to rewrite LDS Church history, and rewrote Section 101 (which originally stated: "Inasmuch as this church has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband.")
If those 13 women were liars, along with all of the other lies surrounding polygamy originating from the Brighamites, why do you still believe that Joseph was a "spiritual" polygamist? Why not believe Joseph and his repeated proclamations that he was entirely innocent of the polygamy charge (whether spiritual or sexual)? What evidence do you have that Joseph was a "spiritual" polygamist in violation of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine & Covenants (prior to Brigham Young's forgery and editing)? I am very curious.
Although I am open to new evidence, I am quite confident that Joseph was innocent of polygamy, whether sexual, spiritual, or otherwise. If I am wrong, please tell me why.
'The Bible' tells how their wives pressured Abraham and Jacob to live polygamy, and even Jacob's Father in law tricked and pressured him into living polygamy 1st off.
And since Joseph Smith taught that polygamy was adultery, in every instance on the face of the earth, Thus according to him, Abraham and Jacob committed adultery by living polygamy and hopefully they repented of it before they died.
We know that Abraham sent Hagar away because Sarah and God both asked him to do that. So it looks like Abraham repented of at least that polygamy with her.
Anonymous at 5:35 PM,
The main problem I have with Helen Kimball's statement is that it is nearly always presented as the diary entry of a reluctant fourteen year old girl when in reality she wrote it decades later in middle age when she was the polygamous wife of Orson Whitney. She was one of many women now married to prominent men in the Church who suddenly came out of nowhere to claim a long ago marriage to Joseph Smith.
The conclusion Helen draws, and the point she makes to the reader, is that we should always follow the priesthood leaders without question (in this case, her father, who she tells us wanted her to become the bride of a Joseph Smith). Why no mention of this in her diary when she was 14? Why no mention of it ever from her or these other wives before Joseph Smith's son arrived in Utah to try and clear his father's name? All of a sudden all these women come forward making these outlandish claims.
One major difference between the Nancy Rigdon letter and the First Vision is that not only did Nancy and Sidney Rigdon (among many others) not believe the letter was from Joseph Smith, but Joseph himself made out a legal affidavit denying authorship. He did not deny authorship of the Wentworth letter (which contained the account of the first vision).
When Oliver Cowdery wrote a testimony of the gold plates, he was testifying of something he had seen with his own eyes. He never pretended to have been present at the alleged Fanny Alger event.
Further, we don't really know what Cowdery was referring to when he spoke of the "affair." That word became a euphemism for sexual relationship late in the 20th century; it was rarely used in the to mean what we think of it to mean today. Could Cowdery have been denouncing the alleged affair, or the dirty filthy gossip about it? That brief statement was a small part of a longer three page letter that discussed many things. Compounding the mystery, the Cowdery letter was not even written by Oliver Cowdery, but by a reverend who stated he was copying it word for word from a letter of Cowdery's I have seen photocopies of all three pages (it is in the Huntington Library), and I find it very inconclusive.
Even assuming Cowdery WAS making reference to a sexual "affair" with Fanny Alger, what makes his words any valid than someone else repeating gossip he had heard? Is it because he is Oliver Cowdery? Why? He wasn't present, so how is Oliver Cowdery's testimony regarding something he heard about any more valid than something Oliver Cowdery claimed to have seen with his own eyes?
One can accept or reject Oliver Cowdery's testimony regarding the gold plates, but I fail to understand how anything Cowdery might have to say about a rumor going around gives that rumor any more validity than if it came from someone else.
I don't know enough about William Law to comment, but I am aware that the Prices discuss Law and the Expositor incident at length in volume II of their book (available online for free). I have not read past the first two chapters of that volume yet because I find reading books online to be tedious and I'm waiting for it to come out in hard copy. For those interested, it can all be found here:
I was working on putting it in epub format if you are interested let me know and I'll work on it some more and probably give it to the authors. I stopped working on it because of time constraints but if there is someone else interested it might incentivize me to get it done and read it.
By all means, Jon, I'm interested also.
This quote from denversnuffer(dot)blogspot(dot)com:
"The following information persuades me Section 132 came through Joseph Smith and was reduced to writing on July 12, 1843:
"The Nauvoo Diaries of William Clayton were written chronologically and have the following entries (exactly as in original):
"July 11, 1843: At noon rode out to farm with Margt. P.M. J & family rode out in the carriage.
July 12, 1843: This A.M. I wrote a Revelation consisting of 10 pages on the order of the priesthood, showing the designs in Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon having many wives & concubines. After it was wrote Prests. Joseph and Hyrum presented it and read it to E. who said she did not believe a word of it and appeared very rebellious."
... and a few other things said in that post.
If this contemporary journal entry can be explained, I would appreciate it.
Also, section 132 "feels" like scripture for the most part - except for the confusing part where it totally goes against what was said in Jacob. I would suspect it was originally true, but was possibly tampered with.
But, yes, I'm open to evidence that JS did not even have anyone sealed in name only to him.
Thanks for responding, Rock. Good points all.
I never would have believed that I would be struggling to find truth in my mid 50s. It started 10 years ago when I felt the need to re-examine the "Fruits" of the Tree", as you do here, and ended up learning of "Roots" that I had never before considered. Even a year ago I had never heard of Fanny Alger or a Masonry connection to the Temple or dozens of other disconcerting issues.
I always considered golden plates out of the ground a real good test of faith, but this is crisis time for me as nothing is clear and convincing on it's face.
Rock said, "If our personal revelations contradict the word of God as available through scripture," -
This is the thing I wonder about D&C 132 in the parts that commend Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for taking the plural wives God gave to them. For one thing, only Isaac seemed to have a wife God gave to him - and he was monogamous. And David and Solomon were the ones condemned in the Book of Mormon. I could never understand how they could be commended in the D&C, as if the only sin was in the case of Uriah's wife. The Book of Mormon seems to say, "I beg to differ."
Could an epub book be downloaded and/or printed? Hard copy really is much easier to read.
Yes, if you go to a printer to do it you might get into trouble for it (copy right issues). But if you do it at home it shouldn't be a problem. You could even do it with the html files now, except that would be much more difficult and time consuming than doing it with an epub.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Let's assume that there are going to be more women than men who deserve a Celestial kingdom reward. What happens to all those women who have no husband and, therefore, no claim to an exaltation? Winnie
And to address all of you who have the idea that all of the Lord's former prophets throughout time, those to whom the Lord entrusted his covenant and Priesthood, have been sinful and weak and lustful men who couldn't live their lives without resorting to polygamy. If they were that bad, why didn't they just do what people have done outside of the covenant - simply fornicate?!! Do you honestly think that a man who lives in adultery and fornication would have the Lord's blessings as a prophet and be deserving of the gifts of the spirit? It seems, in my view, that you are saying that YOU are more worthy than these chosen prophets, foreordained from the before the foundations of the world, because you reject the law of Plurality of Wives and they couldn't keep their pants on! How ludicrous! Winnie
When I was a kid and heard about David Koresh having all those "wives" I said to myself, "That's a sure sign of a false religion!" Then I got older and found out about BY, doh!
Yes, I truly think that it is a true sign of a false religion.
Let's assume that there are going to be more women than men who deserve a Celestial kingdom reward. What happens to all those women who have no husband and, therefore, no claim to an exaltation? Winnie
And to address all of you who have the idea that all of the Lord's former prophets throughout time, those to whom the Lord entrusted his covenant and Priesthood, have been sinful and weak and lustful men who couldn't live their lives without resorting to polygamy. If they were that bad, why didn't they just do what people have done outside of the covenant - simply fornicate?!! Do you honestly think that a man who lives in adultery and fornication would have the Lord's blessings as a prophet and be deserving of the gifts of the spirit? It seems, in my view, that you are saying that YOU are more worthy than these chosen prophets, foreordained from the before the foundations of the world, because you reject the law of Plurality of Wives and they couldn't keep their pants on! How ludicrous! Winnie
As Ayn Rand would say, "Check your premises."
Here is a great podcast about masonry:
Masonry had a huge influence on Joseph Smith's understanding of events that happened to him. This podcast even though it is long, explains a lot of these things. It explains why the Nauvoo Endowment and the Masonic ceremonies are so similar.
I did some training at work on how to ensure that documents we create will stand up to potential, future scrutiny and/or audits by federal agents. In other words, what makes a document "legitimate" when it's examined in the future, and the original authors are no longer available to support the document’s authenticity. Here are some important things to consider:
1. Accurate – Documents should not contain errors or inconsistencies.
2. Legible – Documents should be easily read and not contain any whiteouts, obliterations (i.e., words scribbled out), or missing pieces. This also encompasses the “Best Evidence Rule” in law, which is that the best document is an original document. Obviously, a copy made by hand may have errors and could be altered.
3. Contemporaneous – Documents created at the time of an event are much more convincing than documents created afterwards.
4. Original – Documents that contain first-hand accounts are much more credible than second or third-hand accounts, which amount to little more than hearsay or rumor.
5. Attributable – Documents that can be shown as belonging to, produced by, or resulting from a specific individual.
6. Motivation – Documents created by someone without a vested interest in the events being described are more reliable than documents created by someone with something to gain or lose by the outcome.
To continue my thoughts...
This made me think about the ostensible "overwhelming documental proof" that most people (including so-called historians) refer to when discussing the "known fact" that the Prophet Joseph supported and practiced polygamy. Consequently, I have been applying the guidelines above to the documents for or against the claim that the Prophet Joseph taught, supported and practiced polygamy. In general, this is what I have found Documents supporting the idea that the Prophet Joseph fought against polygamy:
1. Accurate – They are consistent both with each other (i.e., different documents don’t contradict each other), with the scriptures and over time (i.e., the story doesn’t change over time).
2. Legible – Some of the supporting documents were not written by the primary author and could have been altered.
3. Contemporaneous – Most, including those of greatest significance, were written while the Prophet Joseph was alive and during the time the events reportedly occurred.
4. Original – They are largely first-hand accounts. Many of the most important documents were written by the Prophet Joseph himself.
5. Attributable – They are directly attributable to the Prophet Joseph.
6. Motivation – They appear to be sincere efforts to warn and exhort the saints against the evils of polygamy.
In contrast, documents supporting the claim that the Prophet Joseph secretly taught and practiced polygamy:
1. Accurate – They frequently contain errors and inconsistencies in the dates, participants and circumstances of critical events (e.g., when an alleged marriage took place, who was supposedly present and what purportedly happened).
2. Legible – Section 132 is a copy, which fails the best evidence rule.
3. Contemporaneous – Most were created 30-50 years after the events allegedly took place. In addition, many of the key authors (e.g., Eliza Snow, Phoebe Woodruff, etc.) completely changed their accounts over time. Importantly, and without a single exception, their contemporaneous accounts consistently deny the claim that the Prophet Joseph had ever secretly taught or practiced polygamy.
4. Original – Many are second or third-hand accounts written in reaction to something they heard from someone who heard that the Prophet had said or done this or that. In fact, if the chain of events is followed, one often finds a subsequent document from the same person who wrote a scathing accusation against the Prophet Joseph that exonerates the Prophet after they either had the chance to speak directly with him or were able to chase down the source of the rumor and learn the truth.
5. Attributable – Even the most rabid anti-Mormon admits that none of the documents supporting that the Prophet Joseph secretly taught and practiced polygamy are directly attributable to the Prophet. Many documents are more likely attributable to John C. Bennett or Chauncey Higbee.
6. Motivation – Nearly all of the accounts written by the “plural wives” of Joseph Smith were not only created decades after the events, but also in an environment with basically an irresistible pressure to support the current social system, which at the time was under assault. These accounts were written by individuals who, without exception, had a significant, personal investment in supporting polygamy.
In summary, the body of evidence supporting the idea that the Prophet Joseph secretly promoted and practiced polygamy contains significant, demonstrable inaccuracies; is neither contemporaneous nor original; and is often not even attributable to the alleged author. In contrast, the body of evidence supporting the idea that the Prophet Joseph fought against polygamy is composed of accurate, contemporaneous, original accounts mostly attributable to the purported authors. IMHO
I believe the Prophet Joseph and his faithful wife Emma. What they said about polygamy (not what others have said they said) never changed throughout their lives.
Nicely written. "Best evidence rule?" - you must be an attorney or someone with legal experience.
the best irony is that all the comments from the people reading this to the writer are a similar type of butt kissing as is mocked in the article and most of the other articles on this blog. people are just eating it up. its the same mentality of following, just a different person preaching. follow the blog-writer, he knows the way...
You are at a 4th of July picnic using your iPad where there is lots of beer being served, aren't you? I hope the fireworks were great!
Oh, but unlike our "prophets" and other church leaders of today who preach to ONLY listen to them and noone else, Rock consistently tells people to read and study ANYTHING they can get their hands on and to pray and learn for themselves. He just offers a different point of view than most people in the church are used to and it scares you.
Thank you, Adam, for that concise analysis of the evidence (and lack of evidence).
I was getting ready to start singing "Follow Rock Waterman . . . Follow Rock Waterman . . . Follow Rock Waterman . . . Don't go astray. . . Follow Rock Waterman . . . Follow Rock Waterman . . . Follow Rock Waterman . . . He knows the way" while marching holding up the Nazi salute.
I also thought that a few of us should start the website of "followrockwaterman.net" where we can all share sightings of Rock Waterman. I swear I saw his private airplane fly over me once - it was so special!
Rock, zomorah and Adam T., thank you. This is the reason I bring my questions here.
Converted and Confused,
On behalf of Zomarah, Adam T., and myself, you're very welcome. Now bow down and follow us, your new leaders! Bwaah ha ha ha ha!
I call First Councilor! That way when Rock gets too old I'll be the one really in control! Bwahaha.
Butt kissing? Have you read many comments on these posts?
I mean, really read them?
Benjamin, love it.
And don't forget the framed picture of Rock over the mantle, and the solemn agreement to mindlessly sustain ALL that he says or does (right or wrong), and to obey his every hint of saying what a person ought to do to be saved.
I was wondering about that picture over the mantle. It seemed a bit naked with only one person in it, but I couldn't think of two others to put in it. I guess, by default, it must be Zomarah and Adam T.
Seriously, I must say thank you to Anonymous of July 4. That was fun. We should do it again some day.
I found a really funny cartoon about a butt kisser, but I don't know how to insert it. Probably not appropriate anyway...
Thank you Anonymous of July 4. I don't know if you were being sarcastic or not, but it made me smile, which is something I rarely do.
You see, I told my wife that I had been described as a "butt kisser" and she laughed so hard she nearly wet herself (hence, my smile). The reason for her response (not that you care, but I'm going to tell you anyway) is that I've gotten into much trouble over the years at school (rightly accused of being flippant), work (not a team player), church (oldest elder in the Ward), and by my family (I'm that "crazy uncle who doesn't live in Zion/Utah) because I'm a(n) (choose your favorite descriptor) anarchist, libertarian, heretic, conspiracy nut, prepper, etc.
No wait. I take that all back. I was called those things because I keep telling people I don't see any difference between Obama and Brother Mitt. But that's a different topic for a different blog...
That D&C 132 contradicts the Book of Mormon and the D&C of Joseph's day, is one of our strongest proofs that it is false revelation from Brigham Young, meant to justify the whoredom of polygamy.
True revelation will never contradict the Book of Mormon or Christ, and D&C 132 contradicts both.
It's very simple 2+2 = false
I'll have to give that idea of a mantle photo some serious thought. I could sell autographed pictures for twenty five bucks a pop, and all those loyal "followers" I'm reported to have out there would be required to purchase one.
There's an odd thought process I see in people like our anonymous friend. They themselves are so conditioned that it's right and necessary and important to follow and obey SOMEONE, that they assume when others let go of one authority figure they must replace that authority figure with another. It doesn't occur to these types that God created us to claim our OWN power, that we are to look to only Him, and that God did not mean for us to have others constantly supervising us and telling us what to do.
And so, inveterate followers like our friend Anonymous can only assume that anyone cautioning against sheeplike behavior must be harboring some secret desire to acquire followers of his own. I have even been accused of wanting to gather disgruntled members with the intention of starting my own church.
I find it unfortunate that a religion born of liberty could produce so many members who don't even understand the idea.
So just in case there is any question on anyone's mind: No, I don't ever plan to start my own church.
I do, however, think everyone reading this should buy a picture of me to frame and place on their mantles. It's the only true way to prove your devotion.
(I'm talkin' to you, Adam. And tell your wife she'd better fall in line too, if she ever expects you to be my second counselor.)
I follow the blog Mormanity to keep balance between blogs like this. But after today's post I don't think I will anymore. The attitude of just follow your leaders is seriously taking people down the rabbit hole of the police state.
Just remember, the invasion of privacy is totally for your own good, so be grateful.
Wow is the only response I could have to that. I'm still having a hard time believing it, it seems so far off the wall. Do people truly love statism that much? Wow.
Great post as usual Rock
One of the most persuasive reasons I have found for there to be no doubt that the church would fall into apostasy at some stage is 3 Nephi onwards. Here the Resurrected Savior comes down personally and spends day s with his people performing miracles and setting apart apostles to lead his church. All of this after prophecy was given for many years leading up to this by the likes of Samuel the laminate and then all the prophecy comes true exactly as stated. With the destruction and darkness that occurs. Imagine how powerful all this is in the minds and hearts these people that survive and see the savior. Even after all this they were only able to keep 4 generations before apostasy set in. How naïve are we then as a church if we think that after one boy of 14 has a vision that we can survive countless generations without Apostasy.
It is okay to question! The Church just said so! Here is a short article that tells all of us (at least the "World") that it is better not to fear truth, wherever you might find it: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormon-and-modern
But ya gotta pray...and never question the Church Itself...
@ Alfred Shelver (just to follow-up on your point).
Jacob 2:27-28 explicitly identifies polygamy and having concubines as "whoredoms" and an "abomination" it reads:
"Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts."
Now compare Jacob 2:27-28 to 3 Nephi 16:10:
"And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them."
Christ warned that in the latter days should the people "sin against" and "reject the fulness of [His] gospel" and be "filled with" "all manner of lyings" "whoredoms" and "secret abominations," that Christ would take the "fulness of [His] gospel from among them." Why did Christ use some of the same verbiage found in Jacob 2?
Interestingly, B.H. Roberts (along with the LDS Church[tm]) referred to polygamy as a "secret" doctrine. "Secret abomination" would have been a better choice of words under Jacob 2.
Combined with the many "manner of lyings" associated with polygamy (e.g., the Section 101 redaction, Section 132 dubious origins, changing of Joseph's journal and other histories, death of Joseph resulting from the polygamous lie, false affidavits, etc.) - I believe that Christ was likely referring in major part to polygamy.
Anyone agree or disagree?
"Do people truly love statism that much?"
A people raised to love and obey "authority" certainly seem to.
Anaheim Ward Girl,
I agree with you when you say that it has been in full-blown apostasy since the death of Joseph Smith.
We see certain patterns which repeat when the Lord's people go into apostasy.
When the Jews apostatized, they had the Law of Moses and they had the Old Testament. They were given the chance to receive a higher law and more truths. They rejected Jesus Christ by killing Him.
The early Christians of the church received additional truths (New Testament). They had a chance to continue receiving more truths. They rejected the prophets and killed them.
The Mormon church also received additional truths and higher laws (priesthood authority, temple ordinances) and additional scriptures (Book of Mormon, D&C, pearl of great price). This church also rejected the prophet (Joseph Smith) through killing him.
There is a scripture that sums up this pattern.
1 Ne 13: 42
42 And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.
The Jews had the gospel. They rejected Christ. It went to the Gentiles (early Christians). They rejected the gospel and that was the great apostasy. It was restored in the latter days (LDS Church). They apostatized (if you want to argue that they have not, then they WILL apostatize). The gospel will go back to the Jews / House of Israel at the end.
Unfortunately, it will be that the vast majority of Gentiles (LDS Church) will not accept the additional truths and scriptures when the gospel goes back to the Jews (just as the vast majority of Jews did not and have not converted to Christianity either anciently or in the latter-days to the LDS Church).
Thanks for a well-written 'essay' again, Rock.
I admit to the weakness of not wanting to be 'alone' in this LDS adventure--
I had shelved "the church" in my mind and heart while investing heavily in the Book of Mormon; sadly and illogically, I had also shelved Joseph Smith because of polygamy--
I was still 'active' through all of this, participating in temple work, holding down a calling, etc., etc.--
along with my spouse who had similar misgivings--
but we were fearful of losing one of our children, a bright-spirited, questioning soul--
It was 'nice' to have others feel the same way--
I discovered these blogs just a few months ago--
and it was 'nice' for spouse and me not to feel so alone--
but I've been rethinking, re-reading, restudying, repraying the Mormon post-Nauvoo saga and "what really happened"--
Yes, *I* need to be careful not to rely too much on other LDS who inhabit blog spaces--LOL!
Even if I agree with you/them--*wink*
But the fact is that there does seem to be a 'movement' in the church, and I find it highly encouraging . . . of people questioning--
and that is, well, it's encouraging; it's hopeful--
So, back to my Book of Mormon; I've enjoyed the reading of this blog today and many of the comments--
and . . .
oh, by the way, God bless you all--
Wholeheartedly agree. I have many issues with the apostatizing leaders and general members of this church, but I still would encourage and do my utmost to support baptism. It is a wonderful experience and the way to be cleansed of your sins.
LDSDPer forgot the most important thing--
It was one thing for us to tell our single adult how we felt--
it was another when we used the words of 'other Mormons who had similar questions'--
and that really has helped a lot--
hopefully . . . now our child is leaning towards not giving up on Jesus Christ, and that is what matters most--
the church stuff (and it's HARD for single adults!) can come along as it may--
as long as the belief in God is still a hope--
For this . . . I thank all of you--
but no following; no following--
the humor about that is a relief--
"Certainly we should be willing to pay heed to the prophet of God when he is relaying a message directly from God. That is, after all, what a prophet is for. But when was the last time you remember that ever taking place? Where are the revelations?"
Good question indeed! Perhaps the most relevant question you have posted on this blog.
Those who take this question seriously might want to look to the right hand side of your blog here: from the desk of Denver Snuffer
Just my humble opinion. Results may vary according to individual application.
Thank you for the GREAT post.
Great post again, as usual.
I read the comments about polygamy with great interest. I would like to see some researcher itemize the supposed wives of Joseph Smith with the source reference for each. I suspect that most would be from women who, being married to polygamist leaders in Utah, had strong incentive to lie.
Are there any good sources for any of the supposed wives? If even one source is credible, then the question of whether Joseph was a polygamist is much harder to deal with. I suspect that none will be found, but I'd like to see the research.
Anyone know if this research has been done?
There you go!
I believe the Prophet Joseph was referring to polygamy (among other things) in this excerpt from DHC (also found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith):
“Joseph the Seer arose in the power of God; reproved and rebuked wickedness before the people, in the name of the Lord God. He wished to say a few words to suit the condition of the general mass, and then said: I shall speak with authority of the Priesthood in the name of the Lord God, which shall prove a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. Notwithstanding this congregation profess to be Saints, yet I stand in the midst of all [kinds of] characters and classes of men...
“We have thieves among us, adulterers, liars, hypocrites. If God should speak from heaven, he would command you not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to covet, nor deceive, but be faithful over a few things...
“The Church must be cleansed, and I proclaim against all iniquity.”
Joseph Smith, April 10, 1842, DHC 4:588.
I recommend reading the entire account.
Regarding the topic of apostasy, I find two talks given by the Prophet Joseph to be very powerful and meaningful, especially if they are read from the perspective that Joseph knew the practice of polygamy had corrupted the highest levels of the Church, and that he might not be with the saints much longer. I urge you to read the entire sermons, since I’ve chopped it up, to see if I’ve taken things out of context and/or misrepresented the Prophet’s intent.
“Woe, woe be to that man or set of men who lift up their hands against God and His witness in these last days: for they shall deceive almost the very chosen ones!” [I believe the Prophet Joseph is “His witness.” What “man or set of men” is Joseph referring to?]
“… False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones.” [What false prophets is Joseph referring to? Is this just a general statement, or does he have some very specific false prophets in mind that he wishes to warn the saints about?]
“In relation to the kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God... It is the testimony that I want that I am God's servant, and this people His people.” [This is a powerful warning. I also find it interesting that Joseph refers to himself as “God’s servant.” Isaiah also has something to say about a servant, which refers to Christ’s mortal ministry, but I also believe Isaiah is referring to the Prophet Joseph.]
“…if any man preach any other Gospel than that which I have preached, he shall be cursed; and some of you who now hear me shall see it, and know that I testify the truth concerning them.” [Joseph knows there is a polygamous cabal using his name to support the abomination of polygamy by telling saints that Joseph is secretly teaching polygamy as a doctrine of the Gospel. I believe Joseph is referring to his public sermons the he has preached, because he is plainly telling the saints to only follow the things they have heard him preach publically.]
“All the lies that are now hatched up against me are of the devil, and the influence of the devil and his servants will be used against the kingdom of God...” [Again, Joseph is telling the saints and the polygamy conspirators that he knows about the lies (i.e., that he is secretly teaching polygamy)]
“I feel, in the name of the Lord, to rebuke all such bad principles, liars, &c., and I warn all of you to look out whom you are going after. I exhort you to give heed to all the virtue and the teachings which I have given you.” [I find it very interesting that the Prophet Joseph should exhort the saints to heed “virtue”. Clearly, polygamy was not considered a virtue by the saints.]
“I testify that no man has power to reveal it but myself--things in heaven, in earth, and hell; and all shut your mouths for the future.” [It’s interesting that in this quote as well as the one previous, the Prophet would testify that “no man has power to reveal it but myself” as well as to exhort the saints to heed the teachings that he had given them. Weren’t there 12 apostles at the time? Perhaps I am making too much of this, but if there was a polygamy conspiracy that included members of the twelve apostles, then this is an unfortunate, but wise admonition. In other words, the Prophet, perhaps not know at the time the extent of the conspiracy, is telling the saints to only listen to him.]
The reference for the above sermon is: Joseph Smith, May 2, 1844, DHC 6:363-367.
Eleven days prior to his martyrdom on June 27, 1844, knowing, I believe, that he would soon be killed, Joseph Smith said the following.
“I have reason to think that the Church is being purged. I saw Satan fall from heaven, and the way they ran was a caution. All these are wonders and marvels in our eyes in these last days...”
“I testify again, as the Lord lives, God never will acknowledge any traitors or apostates. Any man who will betray…will betray you; and if he will betray me, he will betray you. All men are liars who say they are of the true Church without the revelations of Jesus Christ and the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which is after the order of the Son of God.” [The Prophet says he has reason to think the Church is being purged and then refers to “traitors” and “apostates.” Who is the Prophet referring to? It’s obvious that he’s referring to individuals who have betrayed him and implies that they have or will act “without the revelations of Jesus Christ.” Did leaders of the Church act without revelation following the Prophet Joseph’s murder by establishing polygamy and other practices as part of the Gospel?]
“It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send a new dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood, but when men come out and build upon other men's foundations, they do it on their own responsibility, without authority from God; and when the floods come and the winds blow, their foundations will be found to be sand, and their whole fabric will crumble to dust. [What men is the Prophet referring to who “come out and build upon other men’s foundations?”]
“Did I build on any other man's foundation? I have got all the truth which the Christian world possessed, and an independent revelation in the bargain, and God will bear me off triumphant.” Joseph Smith, June 16, 1844, DHC 6:473-479. [Certainly the Prophet Joseph did not build on any other man’s foundation, and God has and will continue to bear the Prophet Joseph off triumphant.]
The significant role of the Prophet Joseph in laying the foundation of truth in these latter days is clear. Joseph Smith is responsible for 135 of the 138 sections in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants (setting aside the potential issues with Section 132); translation of the Book of Mormon; bringing forth the Books of Abraham and Moses; the inspired versions of the Old and New Testaments; the temple ceremony; as well as every fundamental doctrine taught in the Church. Since the Prophet Joseph’s murder in 1844, his foundation has been rearranged and reduced, but not added upon in any significant way. Perhaps, as has been suggested by some, the Prophet Joseph did such a good job in restoring that there’s no longer anything significant to add? Well, what about the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon? What about scriptures from Enoch or the Lost Ten Tribes? What about Zenos and Zenock?
Keep in mind that this source assumes Joseph practiced polygamy/polyandry. The research that comes closest to examining each of the supposed wives from the point of view that Joseph did not practice polygamy is the Price's work that has been referenced elsewhere by Rock. I am not aware of anything else, but I haven't searched exhaustively.
Keep in mind that most of these women actually were sealed to Joseph Smith by proxy years after his death. That made it all official, and enabled the hierarchy to point to these sealings as proof of...something. Too bad the groom wasn't present at any of these sealings.
Thanks for the link, Jon. Unfortunately, like the other similar lists, the references listed are simply quotes from books such as Compton or Van Wagoner. I am hoping to find a list with references that go back to the original sources. I would like to see how many are credible and were not recorded by polygamists living in Utah years after the fact.
Almost every book written on the subject assumes that Joseph's polygamy is a fact. Both sides in the “Mormonism” debate accept it as such. The apologists support the claim that Joseph was a polygamist because to do otherwise leaves them with a huge problem of admitting that Brigham Young was a liar. The “anti-Mormons” love to see Joseph painted as a lecherous, sex crazed pedophile. Neither side is motivated in any way to consider the possibility the maybe Joseph was telling the truth. Therefor they all simply accept any “testimony” they come across as fact.
What I hope to find is a study that lists all the supposed wives along with a list of witnesses for each marriage and when and under what circumstances the claim was recorded. The Prices come close to this but the information is spotty and scattered throughout their book and some are conveniently missing. I suspect that they simply left out the ones that didn’t support their case.
I know I’m asking a lot here. I wish I had the time and research skills to do it myself. Hopefully someone has already compiled this list.
Well, that's just the problem, Lee. There are no sources. Follow any footnote in Compton, Van Wagoner, Brodie, etc., and they all lead in circles. Rumor, hearsay, someone remembers someone else telling them this or that. No valid attribution.
The problem is that the idea of polygamy originating with Joseph Smith was so universally accepted and repeated, that the historians accepted it as true without bothering to check on the inconsistencies. Fawn Brodie admitted to being baffled whenever she worked with the polygamy materials, because none of it seemed to add up. But she was so convinced that Joseph practiced it on the sly that the thought that he may not have does not seem to have entered her field of vision.
Ever since I wrote "Why I'm Abandoning Polygamy" and Why Mormon History Is Not What They Say," I have been asking those who accept the conventional wisdom to provide me with bona fide source documents. Invariably they refer me to places in the DHC that we know were doctored because they don't match the originals. Or it will be some redacted quote, without providing me a photocopy of document where the original is purported to be.
So good luck with your search for source documents. This is what I've been searching for for two years now, and so far I've gotten bupkus.
Thanks, Rock. I kinda figured that that would be the case. It seems safe to say that there is, in fact, no evidence for Joseph Smith practicing polygamy.
If I'm going to hold to that position, I need to have a fairly high level of confidence in it. If there is anyone out there who is aware of any sources that can stand up to scrutiny, I would appreciate knowing about it.
For an interesting report on how readily most members are to accept that there are now two separate classes of "Mormons," see here:
Thanks for those quotes and explanations, I have read some before and I agree that he was talking about and trying to warn the Saints about leaders and members who were apostatizing with polygamy and other such false doctrines.
Joseph was very plain in my estimation, when you believe all his words against polygamy and then read things like you pointed out. He saw the apostasy happening and did his best to try to stop it, but he saw that the Saints were so gullible and easily mislead and did not want to live the true Gospel of Christ, except for a few.
If we put ourselves in Nauvoo at that time, I just cannot understand how anyone could refuse to trust and take seriously Joseph's warnings about polygamy, yet most of the Saints accepted Brigham Young and his polygamy so easily it is astounding, give the fact that Joseph warned them so strongly about ever doing such.
Joseph even said they would be damned if they ever accepted polygamy, yet most just ignored that and believed Brigham Young that they would be damned if they didn't accept it. Brigham Young seems like he was a very forceful leader, easily leading astray the weak and gullible Saints, for most did not have a strong enough Spirit to discern truth vs. error or to stand for right on their own.
It must have been such a shock and scary feeling to have lost their prophet, and most must not have had the Spirit to guide them and so they easily fell for the false prophets that Joseph warned 'always' come right after true prophets (him) to deceive them from off the right path.
The whole thing is amazing and yet so wonderful to understand now. It all makes perfect sense when you read it according to Joseph telling the truth his whole life. Nothing makes sense if you believe he was lying about polygamy.
Even today the Church is still allowing and encouraging the vilest of evils to happen, which stem from Brigham Young's days and what he allowed and taught. Thus you know something huge is wrong in the Church, from top to bottom and this polygamy thing show where the Church got off track and why it teaches so many false and vile doctrines.
Thanks again Adam for that link and explaining those quotes from your perspective, which I so agree with.
The bigger issue for me is over coming the root problem that cause people to view Joseph as a "lecherous, sex crazed pedophile". Simply acknowledging that Joseph didn't practice polygamy doesn't do this. Rather it allows people an out while still letting them continue in their cultural biases.
Whenever I talk to people about this issue I try to address their hatred of polygamy.
Also the fact is that throughout human history adulthood has been accepted as occurring at puberty. People call Joseph a pedophile because they claim he married a 14 year old girl. The real issue isn't if he married a 14 year old or not. It is that marrying someone who had traditionally been considered an adult should not be considered wrong. Why do we have so many problems with "teenagers" because they are adults yet we still treat them as children. In other cultures the idea of troubled teens doesn't even exist.
I am not advocating Pedophilia. I am advocating removing the restrictions we have placed upon a certain segment of our adult population.
If we can get to the root of this hatred toward Joseph, the hatred of polygamy, and the hatred of traditional adulthood, then the polygamy or non-polygamy of Joseph Smith boils down to him contradicting himself or not. There will no longer be this claim of him being a "lecherous, sex crazed pedophile".
In regard to your last paragraph. I find it interesting that when talking with most Mormons they accuse me of wanting to live in the past. They tell me that I want to stick with Joseph Smith and not accept anything else. They tell me I have rejected the concept of living prophets.
But in reality it is just the opposite. I do believe that those who possess the gift of prophecy are very important. But, I do not believe that a true revelation will contradict a previous one. I believe that prophets will add upon what we have already received, not destroy it, or rearrange it.
Mormons await General Conference to hear the next revised version of the gospel. While I await for true prophets to add upon what I have already received.
If you are ever in Salt lake City go to the waterfall on the front of the conference center. In the lowest pool there is a small sign that reads, "Recirculated Water". I think that aptly describes the contents of that entire building.
Amen brother! It's awesome to hear the truth. Some take the truth to be hard, I loved it.
The book of Mormon clearly shows that the true church can be lead astray. Isn't that one of the main focuses of the book? We have stories of the Jardites that started out with a man that sees God and is redeemed from the fall, but eventually his people kill each other off until there is one man standing. Then we have the Nephites that had Jesus himself minister to them, move forward a couple hundred years and we have the same Nephites torturing and eating people. Then of course we have other groups like Noah's people and the Zoramites, all examples that groups of people can be lead astray.
Besides I have asked God about these things and have received an answer for each.
It is impossible for the president of the Church to ever lead the church astray. (This is a false tradition of men)
This Church can never fall into apostasy. (God gave me many examples from the Book of Mormon, each of which shows that this almost always happens. Do we think we are exempt from the cycle of pride that is so evident in the Book of Mormon?)
The only sure safety is in following the leaders of the Church. (The only safety is following Christ. If a leader, any leader, speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost they are saying what God would say. If they are not speaking by the power of Holy Ghost they are only the precepts of men or the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.)
Whatever the Brethren speak over the pulpit at conference is the same as if it came from the mouth of God. (Again, If they are not speaking by the power of Holy Ghost they are only the precepts of men or the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.)
Yes, again I agree, the BoM warns us of a latter day apostasy of the Holy Church of God, where everyone today will become deceived & corrupted to do evil, except a few. Yet they will not realize it.
I believe this apostasy happened after Joseph's death and the Church is in a deep dark apostasy today, dwindling in unbelief and falsehoods, except for a few who can gain light & knowledge directly from God & the holy scriptures.
And yes, we have seen this scenario happen time & again, & if we don't learn from the mistakes of history, even church history, we are doomed to repeat them.
I agree that it is a myth and false doctrine that the 'Pres. of the Ch. can't lead the church astray'. It was even proven false with just Joseph & Brigham, for one of them had to have lied & led the Church astray to believe errors. Joseph (rightly) led the people to 'not accept' polygamy, even if most ignored him, & Brigham (wrongly) led the people to 'accept' polygamy. Thus, one if those Presidents clearly led the Church astray to believe a false doctrine, even if people want to believe Joseph was lying, he still led them astray (but actually led them right).
The only way we know 'true' prophets, disciples & doctrine is by if they teach in harmony with & the same things that Christ taught, which is what the Holy Ghost would teach also.
The Church today is teaching, encouraging & allowing many whoredoms & falsehoods (serial polygamy after the death or divorce of a wife, adultery by divorce & remarriage, not a sin now for a spouse to abandon their spouse & children, ok for people now to be sealed to the 'adulterous affair person' that helped caused the divorce, etc.) which all ignore & are contrary to what Christ taught.
No one who ever walked the earth has the authority to teach contrary to Christ or change or invalidate his laws & teachings. Anyone or any leader who says we aren't expected to live Christ's high laws today just proves they are teaching false doctrine.
And Heavenly Father taught & confirmed all this to me too, which he will to anyone who wants to know. He can't wait to set our minds straight if we will just be open to the truth and believe the teachings of Christ & Joseph Smith & the scriptures they left us with.
personal question that you can abstain from answering (or you can blog about about it - that would be awesome) maybe you already have, but I am abandoning my motherly duties as it is on your great blog trying to catch up:
do you pay tithing?
what is a believer to do that doesn't want to tithe to COB?
I know your not asking me, but I would just do what Christ has asked and use the money to financially support & try to relieve the suffering of the endless widows and the fatherless (single mothers that you know of, so they don't have to leave their families and further hurt them by going to work.
I try not to look at it as whether the church has fallen into apostasy or not. The Book of Mormon tells us that the only way the records could come forth in the first place was within the bowels of the Great and Abominable Church. When the two personages visited Joseph, they said that NONE of the churches were correct. Yet, a new church was established in that environment. The only way that knowledge of the truth could grow was to use something that the people could relate to, and all they knew was the G&A church.
The LDS Church was not meant to and never can break free from the EVERLASTING chains of the devil. Why? Because it was born and established in bondage. The "good branches" were grafted onto an "evil tree," so that they could take hold and grow. But now, after 4 generations, there is very little good fruit being produced. And even what good fruit we have is erring because they are lead astray by the precepts of men. I mean take a look at "our fruits." We have lots of buildings, lots of money, lots of business ventures (a 3-5 BILLION dollar mall), influence and power in the world but also an ever-increasing inactivity rate, more and more questioning the COB, an emphasis on carnal commandments (obeying the rules), a lack of the ministering of angels and the gifts of the Spirit, etc. This is the best we can do in 170 years? Really? This is Zion? The fruits are becoming more and more evident, as the church adapts a Babylonian corporate growth structure. We tout 14 million-ish members, but how many of them have been born again? How many have received Christ's image in their countenances? How many can sing the redeeming song of love? How many have received a remission of sins and remember their guilt no longer?
So what is to be done? As the Book of Mormon says, "the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance..." How is going to shake if not from within?
The reason the sealed portion was kept from us in the first place was because had it come out in Joseph's time, it would have been corrupted by the Great and Abominable Church. We would have chopped it up into little nuggets, added our heading and footnote commentary (the precepts of men), mixed it in with the corrupted teachings of the Bible (which had the plain and precious truths and covenants removed long ago) and packaged it as a consumable product for the purpose of growing the corporation. (Sound familiar?)
Don't you see, we are in an exciting time! We now have the opportunity to witness our fruit and judge for ourselves. And if it is found lacking, what does the Book of Mormon admonish us to do? Repent. Turn away from what we think we know. Clear the table of the garbage. Become as a child, born again, willing and eager to learn what we are REALLY being taught, without the precepts of men mingled in. What is that? Belief in Christ. Belief in His mercy. Belief that there is no merit of our own required to settle some phantom debt.
When we can do this, using the "lesser portion" we have been given, then we will have the faith of the Brother of Jared and receive more. Exciting times indeed.
You know, it has never occurred to me that some people are ignorant of the fact that in centuries past it was absolutely normal for a girl to marry at 14. (Boys usually were required to learn a trade and establish their ability to support a wife, so they often married older. But when they did marry, their wives were usually in their young teens.
I assumed everyone knew and understood that. But perhaps this ignorance explains how horrified some critics are at the idea of Joseph being what they call a pedophile. Of course, all the evidence is that he was not, but your reminder makes it clear that some folks are lacking an understanding of basic American and European social history.
yes I did read them, and yes, butt kissing. smooch.
Benjamin, thank you for your detailed replies. That really helps me understand things clearer.
Winnie, I've read so much about polygamy here and on another site that I'm not sure if it was pointed out here or there - but -
Sarah convinced Abraham to take a concubine because Sarah didn't trust that God could make it possible for her to get pregnant. That marriage didn't last very long.
Isaac only had one wife - and his union was brought about by God.
Jacob was tricked into marrying someone he didn't want to marry, but the laws of the society allowed for him to have who he did want, also. And his wives, in their wars for children, insisted on Jacob having two concubines.
David and Solomon had far too many wives. They become objects instead of partners and people when you get that many. David may not have lusted after Bathsheba if he had one wife, because marriage might have seemed sacred to him instead of just another penny to collect. Solomon's pagan wives led him into idolatry.
Moses' Ethiopian wife may have been the only wife he had, if "Ethiopian" is another word meaning Midianite. (Maybe I got that from Benjamin's site.)
There was a law set in place that if a man's brother died without children, the man was to take his brother's wife as his own and if they had children, the children were considered the children of the original husband. And there are rare occasions God commands it - but BY, et al were preaching that one would not, indeed could not, get to heaven without it - the exact opposite of the teaching in the Book of Mormon.
I believe we still have authority to perform ordinances. I believe we have the fulness in the Book of Mormon, though we may have lost something of value (see D&C 124). I believe that the leaders who have not seen Jesus face to face still have the right to lead because of the law of common consent (even though we are taught the opposite of that when we are asked to raise our arms to sustain the leaders).
It's late. I hope I made sense.
Its been a long time since I have read anything here and I was pleasantly surprised by this post (not for its content which is always stellar but for its timing in relation to what is going on in my life - just to clarify). My experiences being viewed as, and called an apostate have only been with the most over zealous, legalistic, and hero worshiping nut jobs that seem to yearn for Orwellian Oceania as if it were the very picture of celestial glory. It has disturbed me to no end to see their numbers multiply in the church as I get older. Perhaps with more and more members seeing that all is not well in Zion, and participating in the new mormon enlightenment or maybe more aptly called a neo-reformation of sorts, these bleary eyed zealots will come to their senses? Time will tell.
At this point the general membership seems satisfied straining at gnats when there are quite a few camels in the room, and they are angry camels, stampeding angry camels. Those of us that do not share the same focus are viewed with suspicion and are leaving.
I no longer believe in the church. What was once a delicious, varied and quirky meal has become a slick, streamlined and cheap fast food combo meal. I can get that anywhere, why travel all the way to the mormon church for that? There is a Lutheran one a lot closer to my house. So I guess I'm an apostate after all, those zealots were right. Damn!
A believer should take that 10 percent and give it directly to those that need it. Of course you'll get no temple recommend if you do. Malls need building in Zion!
I will post an essay on the subject of tithing one of these days. More than one, I expect, because there is much to say about the lack of modern accountability since the Church(TM) stopped providing an accounting during conference. (A detailed account of how tithing funds are spent was originally one of the essential purposes for holding a conference.)
To answer your question: Yes, I tithe, but since the Corporate Church(TM) refuses to be accountable for the funds it receives from its members, I now give my tithes directly to the Lord.
How does one tithe directly to the Lord, you may ask?
"As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me."
I have a friend who lives in Payson, Utah. One day while I was visiting him we took a drive up to the canyon road of Mt. Timpenogas (I know the spelling is wrong). While traveling up the road that led from the Provo Canyon side we passed a guarded grand building in the trees somewhat below the road and I asked my friend what it was. "Oh," he said, just a little bitterly, "that's the Church country club, but you have to be a leader to belong to it." I understood what he meant immediately, but he doesn't like to talk about the implications of that. He says it doesn't matter to him. I ask him the why of it. He said that The Savior was all that mattered. Nothing else concerned him. Well, good for him.
that is what I am seriously considering. - thanks for your insight.
But Joseph would have been thirty-seven when he ALLEGEDLY married the fourteen-year old. Of course, I don't believe he did, but I also don't think that American and European social history once considered such an arrangement acceptable.
Been a little while. This is good stuff. I am in the process of praying for an answer of what to do with my tithing. I believe in the principle, but feel pretty strongly that it should not be paid to a corporation who builds malls.
Regardless, the last time I (was allowed) to speak in church, I was given the whole time, (about 35 minutes) being the only speaker, at my request. The topic I chose was personal revelation as one of the most important aspects and tools we have. In the process of this talk, I tried to dispel some of the false traditions we have in mormon culture. Focusing a lot on focusing on correct doctrine, and that church leaders can in fact very easily lead you astray. Basically what happened is after I brought that up, no one could really hear anything else. The witch hunt began.
2 Weeks later, in F&T meeting, the Bishop gets up and tries to, long story short, throw me under the bus. He had NEVER spoke to me beforehand. Says I had taught false doctrine and that the church leaders could never lead us astray because they had said so. Sounds a little cultish huh? Then at the end of the meeting, the SP gets up to have the last word and basically says the same thing along with saying if we are not following the leaders ABOVE our own inspiration, then we are most likely wrong.
That's not the whole story, but for brevity's sake, I will stop there.
The ONLY thing that kept me from taking my family and resigning all of our memberships right then and there, was the hope that I cling to that some goodness and people can still be salvaged. Myself included.
Bishop tried to apologize and asked me what I wanted him to do? I told him to do the same thing, get up and acknowledge your error, IN SACRAMENT, and fix the situation. He would not. He said he would and then didn't. I called him a coward and we haven't really spoken much since.
Now, according to the Savior, it is my responsibility to forgive him. I want to, but I have not got there entirely yet. But the teaching of forgiveness in a situation like that is why this Gospel is so great to me. That is very hard, but very worth it as it teaches me to think and see and be more like Him who I worship. That is all that matters.
I'm thinking some of the things I have read here may very well be part of the answer I am looking for.
Good to hear from you again, Head of Shiz. You say you no longer believe in the Church. I'm curious as to whether you still embrace the restored gospel?
I've been looking for several months now on how to make my 10% do the most good for those most in need. Anyone aware of any organizations that really make a difference in the world? Especially for those who are hungry and/or are victims of the US war machine?
i have learned from bitter experience that following wrong-headed counsel from church leaders above your own inspiration and direction of the Holy Ghost can lead to much grief and heartache - grief and heartache that is difficult to heal, and has repercussions that can go on for generations. I see results of this every day, in people who are very close to me. Sometimes you have to step back, and only be involved where you can give service that is meaningful to yourself. This is all I can say for now.
If we assume the following:
1. the Church represents Christ's church on the earth, but
2. the LDS Church is actually in some state of apostasy, and
3. the Church will never again be destroyed (see D&C 138:44; see also Daniel 2:44)
What do we do? What should our relationship with the Church and its leaders be?
I have been taking this scripture in Matthew as a guide:
Matthew 23:3 (KJV)
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
If you read any of the work by Denver Snuffer, he uses this scripture frequently to encourage people to sustain and obey Church authority. However, below is the Joseph Smith translation of this verse:
Matthew 23:2 (JST)
2 All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, they will make you observe and do; for they are ministers of the law, and they make themselves your judges. But do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.
The Prophet Joseph's version puts a very different "spin" on how to interact with those occupying the "chief seats."
The Savior answered my question when He said in John 13:15:
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
However, I still don't know how to interact with the Church (presumably still His Church) in its current state. Do I pay a full tithing, as the Church currently defines it? Do I feign acceptance of false/altered doctrine during Sunday School?
Perhaps I am just too weak and/or unsure to boldly take a stand and accept the consequences that will likely follow (e.g., loss of my temple recommend, loss of official fellowship, etc.). I don't know. My wife begs me not to do anything because she wants us to be able to be with our children for their temple weddings. That means many years of "laying low."
Are there any examples in the scriptures that help us to know how to behave in this far from unique circumstance (i.e., faithful members of the Lord's Church that is in a state of apostasy)?
fine way to look at it, truly. I've thought similar things, but you've worded it well--
Here's are a few questions for anyone who'd care to answer them. Regarding polygamy, why would Brigham Young, or any of the subsequent leaders of the church, who had been reared in Puritanism-type religions, who lived in and honored the monogomous marriage relations, come up with the idea of plural marriage on their own? It was so far-fetched from anything they had believe in or embraced. It was a principle that would cause more heart-ache, destruction and persecution than any other. Why would a people wilfully practice a doctrine that would cause such suffering in the extreme, of their own volition? It is obvious that this doctrine HAD to be introduced by the prophet, Joseph Smith, through direct revelation from God himself. It is unfathomable to conceive that men and women would have initiated such a practice to fulfill their lustful desires, when all they had to do to fulfill those desires would be what people had done throughout history --- commit adultery and fornication! That's a far more accepted practice, and one that does not bring any negative repercussions from the government! To bring upon themselves destruction and prison and being driven from their homes time and again for the sake of living it to fulfill a carnal need is unthinkable! Only a people who had received a witness from God himself, that He was requiring it of them, makes any sense. So far, nobody has addressed the concern that in order to receive an exaltation one must be sealed to another in marriage by the authority of the Priesthood of God. What will happen to those who don't have a spouse? There is a far bigger picture than most people are willing to look at. We are all victims of the victorian or puritan-based religious culture of this country that marrying more than one person is wickedness and abomination. This is why the Saints struggled so desperately with it when the revelation was given. I don't know what my reaction to it would have been had I lived back then. However, I HOPE that after praying about it and receiving a witness that it was from God, I would have done it with all my heart.
That's a addressed in the first chapter of "Joseph Fought Polygamy"
They suggest it came from the Cochranites.
How is the marriage thing going to work out? I don't know. What if there are more men than women? Will a woman need more than one spouse? What if, what if, what if.
If you read some of the posts of LDSAnarchy they explain some of the more difficult things about Plural Marriage. It is demonstrated there that we will all be sealed together as part of God family. What this means is that all the men will be sealed to all the women. So it is irrelevant if there are more men than women or vice versa. They explain it in a way that makes much more sense than I can. And after grasping the concept they are demonstrating it actually makes the most sense out of anything.
For more research you can start here: http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/category/polygamy/
A simple answer from a simple person:
If polygamy was so difficult, and if so much suffering was endured to live it, why, then, did those same descendants of Puritans resist the law of consecration? The law of consecration would have been easier, in many ways, to fulfill, and yet it was impossible. Would it have brought even more persecution upon the 'saints' than polygamy did? Not sure about that--
Why didn't the 'saints' suffer for the law of consecration? Why, even now, do those people who call themselves FLDS take advantage of Babylon; NObody is willing to live the law of consecration, and yet people live polygamy quite easily, it would seem--
As for more women than men, that's simply not true; it's pretty much equal--
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ REQUIRED consecration, but it was impossible to fulfill; Babylon reared its ugly head, and consecration was lived possibly one minute, if that long--
whereas polygamy endured for another 50 years within the church and has continued to be practiced by those who have left the church in order to do it--
No, I wish there were. My husband and I (and our children) have had some truly sacred experiences doing temple work for our ancestors--
we wouldn't sacrifice that--
It takes a lot of faith, perhaps, to pay tithing both to the church and to look for those around us who are suffering and try to meet their needs--
faith most of us don't have most of the time (including us)--
but I feel your pain. I won't give up my temple recommend. I believe in the sealing powers of the priesthood, that happen in the temple, and I have had too many sacred experiences to refute them--
As I see it, those of us who choose to continue to pay tithes to the corporation will not be held accountable for the evil done with it--
any more than I will be held accountable for the wars that continue to be billed to my tax account--
I refuse to sit in prison because I refuse to pay taxes, but I know that those funds that I pay are used for evil purposes--
same thing; let my tithes and my taxes be a witness against the evil people--
that's where some of *us* (this is LDSDPer) keep our mouths closed--
not that I don't admire people who speak up; perhaps you were told by the Spirit to speak up--
But I put a lot of credence (I think Denver Snuffer does, too, though I don't follow Denver anymore than I follow anyone else, except Jesus)--
in the biblical admonition by the Savior to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves"; that tells me that He knew that it would be imperative for us to keep ourselves quiet at times, in order not to bring undue trouble upon ourselves--
It is different, though, to teach our children; teach your/our children that leaders can err; we talk about it ALL the time; teach your children to receive personal revelation, and then leave the people at church alone--
just my advice; I'm a senior citizen, and I have seen a few things--
but so you won't feel alone; a few years ago in church a very inspired woman got up and spoke about personal revelation and its importance; the Spirit was so very powerful during her talk--
right after her talk another man (in no authority, just a brother in the ward) got up and shot her talk down entirely; the Spirit also fell; it was so palpable--
You're not alone; it happens to others--
Thanks, everyone, for your answers. Here's another question. If polygamy was not commanded by God to our ancient patriarchs, namely, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jeremiah, etc. etc. etc., does that not leave them as awful excuses for men, even the chosen ones through whom the blessing of the covenant would be perpetuated. These were men foreordained from before the foundations of the world. And please---don't use the tired excuse that they were all fallen and corrupt individuals. I'm very perplexed as to why so many of you will deny that the law of plural wives is doctrinal when there is so much evidence to support it. What is there about it that is so abhorrent to you that you would try to disprove its validity against all sound reason, in order to support your personal aversions to it. When taking into consideration our relationships throughout eternity, as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of God, is it really so abominable a practice? I agree that many who practiced it did it without proper Godly sanction and it became a vice to them. But the wickedness of the practicer does not make the practice wicked. @ZOMORAH: If, as you say, all men and all women will be sealed together in the next life, which means that all men and all women will be able to have intercourse and pro-create, how is that any more pallitable than the doctrine of plural marriage?
Winne, I think you are correct. There seems to be so much hatred toward the principle of Plural Marriage, yet this largely comes from western culture. People cite a passage in the Book of Mormon, some quotes from Joseph Smith. But there is hardly a revealed universal condemnation of Plural Marriage. Could Joseph Smith have simply been subject to the biases of his time in condemning Plural Marriage? Polygamy was not banned in Christianity until well into the apostasy. polygamy was never condemned from Adam-Moses. And polygamy was sometimes required in the law that God revealed to Moses. Abraham and Jacob were never condemned by God for their polygamy.
It just seems to me that most of the time God doesn't condemn polygamy.
All of these things stand independent of whether Joseph approved of polygamy or not. I take the stand of live and let live. If somebody only wants to live monogamy then I have no problem. If somebody wants to live polygamy that is fine too. People shouldn't be required to live polygamy for exaltation.
Now having said that I think that the subject I mentioned about all being sealed together as one family in heaven IS the fullest extent of the polygamy principle.
Is polygamy required in this life to obtain exaltation? I don't believe so. Is polygamy required in heaven? I wouldn't say so much required as I would call it the natural order of things.
I've seen 34 year old women married to 64 year old men. Apparently the only things that matters is that they are both adults.
Historically puberty is considered adulthood. So a 37 year old marrying a 14 year old may be culturally disturbing, but is nothing more than two adults marrying each other.
According to Joseph Smith, Christ, and ancient BoM prophets (who trump all other prophets or people), polygamy is a vile abusive whoredom in every instance, even when Abraham and others fell for it, (sorry but it's true) because of their weakness and lack of faith. Yes, even prophets can and have fallen. Jacob too was tricked & pressured into polygamy, but hopefully he too repented before he died.
LDS tend to put prophets on such a high level that they don't believe they could fall as easily as anyone else and many have.
For it is the disposition of almost all men to exercise unrighteous dominion, especially upon women.
So it is easy to see why polygamy sounds right or good to most men and why so many so easily fall for it or believe the hearsay that Joseph lived it, for they deep down like the thought of it too and want it to be true.
For men can satisfy the carnal desires that most all men have, to desire multiple women or wives during their life and yet still look righteous to some. Just look at the % of even LDS men looking at porn or who have divorced & dated or remarried, instead of staying true to their 1st wife and waited until she repented. Divorce & remarriage were just another false & vile doctrine that Brigham Young taught & allowed that went against Christ's teachings.
But polygamy is chosen instead of plain adultery, because even the wicked usually still want to think they are righteous and appear so, even if to only those in their small religion.
If we can't understand and see how vile and abusive polygamy is, especially to women, then we don't understand the true equality and station of women and men's obligation to love, respect and serve them and be totally faithful to just one wife for all eternity, even if she divorces him or dies. That's what unconditional true Christlike love is all about and the main purpose of marriage is to learn to develop that kind of exclusive true love, no matter what our spouse is like or does in this life. Because, our true love and valiancy to our covenants to them, will earn us the power to save them in the next life, if they didn't make it to the Cel. Kingdom and we did. That's why men & women are asked to be totally true & faithful to just one spouse, so they can gain the power to save their spouse's soul (and also errant children's souls), if they need it, & most will need that help to heaven.
But it is so rare to find someone with such Charity (true love) in this life for their spouse, that we may never know someone with it, but there are a few souls that possess such love. And those with such love for a spouse are always totally repulsed at the thought of polygamy and would never do such a thing to their spouse. They know that God forbids it and even if an angel came teaching such doctrine they would know, as Joseph taught, that that was a 'bad' angel, trying to make them commit sin.
Maintaining exclusive true love forever between just 1 man & 1 woman has always been about the hardest test in life, in order to prove worthy of exaltation, especially for men.
While polygamy is what even the most wicked of men throughout history desire & easily do in almost all cultures throughout history.
Brigham Young and those who followed him and supported his evils like polygamy & those today who believe in it, lost all their Priesthood keys, power & authority.
For LDS to have followed BY out west in the mid 1800's, would be the same as any LDS following any polygamous leader today.
The true Church went into near complete apostasy after Joseph's death and only a few righteous men remained to do the best they could until Christ re-establishes his Church again when he returns to earth.
I believe that the Priesthood has been handed down & maintained by a few righteous men since Joseph's day. Even Joseph said that the Kingdom of God is still on the earth as long as there is one righteous man with the Priesthood who can receive personal revelation.
We can do like Alma did, and just worship on our own, in our homes, with our family and maybe friends, when Alma realized that the Church in his day had become corrupted and that King Noah and all those around him & in the Church had become evil by practicing polygamy and other whoredoms, the same as what happened with Brigham Young and those he chose to surround himself with and taught them to do the same vile whoredoms.
Joseph warned us that we should expect such evil things, like polygamy, in these last days. And he warned us that we would be damned if we fell for polygamy or for the rumors that he ever sanctioned it or lived it. Those are pretty strong words and he even put it in the scriptures as his proven testimony, which Brigham Young & most of the Saints completely ignored and taught contrary to.
Joseph left his testimony for all future generations and those who reject & deny his testimony & accuse him of doing the very evils that he fought & warned so strongly against his whole life, will stand accountable for such evil speaking of God's Prophet at the last day.
Anonymous 12:02PM I have some some issues with your comment. Can you please show a direct quote from Christ himself where he condemns polygamy. As far as the words of Joseph Smith and BoM prophets trumping others I reject this. The word of one prophet never trump the words of another. Can one part of the Gospel trump another? No the gospel is harmonious. The Book of Mormon states that we can know the truth of things when the Book of Mormon AND the Bible are in harmony. The Book of Mormon does not trump anything by itself. But the harmonious word of God trump everything else.
Can you demonstrate where God disapproved of Abraham and Jacob's polygamy? You state they fell when practicing this yet there is no indication the Lord was displeased with this. You would also think that there would be some condemnation included in the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible. Yet as we read the accounts of Abraham and Jacob no such condemnation appears.
I would ask you, how might one repent of polygamy? What's the answer? Divorce? You yourself states that divorce goes against Christ's teachings.
I agree that it is the disposition of almost all men to exercise unrighteous dominion, especially upon women. This is clearly demonstration in the millions of monogamous marriages around the world. You can no more state that all polygamous marriages involve unrighteous dominion than you can say all monogamous marriages are pure, holy, and undefiled. It depends on the people involved. So while it is the disposition of almost all men to exercise unrighteous dominion we can conclude that ALMOST all polygamous marriages involve unrighteous dominion. We can also conclude that ALMOST ALL monogamous marriages involve unrighteous dominion.
You keep talking about how evil polygamy is to women yet polygamy is the marriage of a person to multiple spouses. Polygyny is one man and multiple women. Polyandry is the marriage of one woman to more than one husband. Polygyny can be extremely abusive to women in some cases. Yet polyandry may be less so.
Yet the egalitarian principle of polygamy allows for both men and women to have more than one spouse.
This unconditional true love you talk about sounds like the fairy tales propagated by Disney. Christ-like love to me doesn't sound like the Roman female worship that people call "Romantic" love. Rather it seems more about giving yourself for the benefit of others. I'm glad Christ didn't only give his atonement for the one person he truly loved. But that he loved all of us.
Is it charitable to forbid a spouse who is capable of loving other person for marrying that person? What about someone who is polygamous and converts? Is it charitable to demand they divorce those women they have married?
The Words of Joseph Smith are not preeminent. But the words of Joseph Smith in harmony with the Word of God is preeminent.
The Comment from Mormanity was actually sarcasm as was made clear a few posts later.
Rock, for some reason the "reply" link is not working for me, so I have to keep opening up a new comment.
@ZOMORAH: You expressed beautifully everything I wanted to say to Anonymous. Thanks!
Christ said the following (see Jacob 2):
"23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.
24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord . . .
26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any aman among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts."
How much more of direct quote by Christ condemning polygamy do you need?
Please name one respectable man in history that married a fourteen-year old girl when he was thirty-seven.
Benjamin Horton - None of the scriptures you cited condemn the doctrine of polygamy. The Lord condemns the wickedness of David and Solomon for taking wives which were not given them of the Lord. I'd cite D&C, Section 132 as proof in favor of polygamy, but you folks who condemn the practice have carefully declared all revelations revealing this practice as man-made or from the devil. How convenient. If you don't like a doctrine, simply declare it as false. Pick and choose, according to your own personal tastes.
Regarding your above-mentioned scripture in Jacob 2, you omitted verse 30, further down the page, which says, "30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." In other words, there is a time and circumstance in which the Lord commands the practice of plural marriage, when it is for the purpose of raising up seed to him. Otherwise, it is forbidden. This is how it has always been. The Lord commands and the Lord revokes. I have to agree with Zomorah, that never has polygamy been condemned by the Lord, only the unlawful practice of it.
How about these scriptures:
D&C 19:25: "And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife; nor seek thy neighbor’s life."
D&C 42:22: "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."
D&C 49:16: "Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;"
D&C 101: "Inasmuch as this church has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband.” (1835 edition)
"1 And now it came to pass that Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father.
2 For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness."
Jacob 1:15: "And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son."
Jacob 3:5: "Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them."
Benjamin, the verses you quoted are Joseph Smith translating the words of Mormon; who was compiling the writings of who ever recorded the words of Jacob. Jacob was speaking what he believed the Lord want to reveal to the Nephites.
That is hardly a direct Quote from the Lord universally condemning Plural Marriage.
First, it is proven that Brigham Young repeatedly altered Church history (including changing Joseph's journal) to support the polygamy claim.
Second, Section 132 was provided eight years after Joseph's death and not in Joseph's handwriting - you really don't see a problem with that? I know a court would have a problem with that. (When Section 132 was added, the Section 101 scripture above was also redacted to fit Brigham's story.)
Third, your analysis of Jacob 2:30 (although repeated ad nauseum in LDS litereature) is simply not correct. See my post on July 1, 2012 at 4:35 p.m.
Really, "thus saith the Lord of Hosts" is not enough of a direct quote for you? Amazing!!!
For your first claim I acknowledge that Brigham Young modified many things.
For your second claim Section 132 is not be basis for my belief in Plural Marriage. There are some things within that I find interesting but I acknowledge that it cannot be directly traced to Joseph Smith.
Third, a direct quote would be a record written by Christ wherein he records his words about polygamy. Everything else is second hand. As I pointed out Jacob's words have traveled through many other people before arriving here today. The point I'm making is that people keep claiming the Lord has universally condemned Plural Marriage. Yet no one can point to any direct quote of him doing so. It is all second or third hand.
Now having said that, I do believe that the Lord spoke the words in Jacob. But I believe that they were given specifically to their intended audience, the Nephites. Whether Jacob 2:30 condemns or approves polygamy is irrelevant. The simple fact is the we are not Nephites so we are not the intended audience of that condemnation. But we can learn a great many things about the words spoken to the Nephites which is why they were included in the Book of Mormon.
to Winnie and Zomorah--
Nobody answered me about how people with Puritan ancestors found polygamy difficult but managed it and were not able to manage consecration--
I have never roundly condemned polygamy, just as it was practiced by LDS in the 1800s (and later)--
Also, I saw nothing very inspired about Jacob's plural marriage; he was trapped by his father in law into taking Leah and then he wanted Rachel; plural marriage was a common cultural practice during that very 'fallen' time-
Abraham gave in to Sariah, because she wanted a child, and look at the heartache that caused--
where is there evidence that Isaac was married to more than one woman at a time? He married Rebekah--
As for Jeremiah? Show me the verses--
Now, I believe there are SOME people in SOME cultures who have been successful with polygamy; I don't think that Muslims and Hmong (to show two very different groups of people) who have been successful with it need to stop it in order to please *us*; I don't think we can claim to have a culture THAT superior.
But, as one descendant of plural marriage who has several instances of abuse, including murder and other violent death and divorce, that can be accounted for by the unsuccessful living of plural marriage by otherwise good people (returned missionaries and people who endured very difficult plains-crossings, etc.)--
I can't look back on my family's experience with plural marriage and feel sentimental about it--
I can, however, see that there were several, more than among the plural marriages, very good and happy marriages that produced good and happy children and more children than the plural marriages did--
This is purely anecdotal--this is strictly my family's experience and what I have read from my ancestors' journals; this is not about Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or Jacob or Abraham; this is people whose journals are in my possession, people who begat me--
Plural marriage was an unhappy experience for them, filled with heartache and misery and regrets--
So, let the Hmong and the Muslims have plural wives; I don't believe; I never have believed that those who find it workable should be persecuted for it--
I didn't believe that the LDS church treated the FLDS very well when their compound was broken up, though I have very little personal sympathy for their living it, since they are 'related' to the LDS--
I find the serial monogamy among LDS to be abhorrent--
But in MY family plural marriage not only didn't produce more births, it produced more death--more untimely death--
the happy, large families came from one husband and one wife only--
The Book of Mormon is the record of a family, really. I have my family records, and I read them and learn from them--
I will not persecute polygamists. I won't claim to make a decision for others as to how they should live--
but for me and my house . . .
let one man and one woman suffice--
and I will no longer take seriously those in and out of the church who claim higher spiritual honors for marrying more than one person--
Anonymous and other anti-polygamy folks,
Rock was totally right about this debate never coming
to a good conclusion. It could go on forever. As a woman
Who not only believes in plural marriage but intends to(hopefully soon)
live it one day, I wanted to share my thoughts....
I had heard and read so much anti-Mormon propaganda in my younger days
That I had serious doubts about the whole religion. I decided to avoid such
Material and just seek the Lord for understanding. I actually received an unshakable testimony of the fact that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet and a godly man. After that when any anti-Mormon stuff was thrown at me, whether I understood it or not I could honestly say, "well I don't know about all of that. But I do know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet." I realized that I didn't need to come up with a counter argument or evidence for my position. I had gained sure testimony and it brought so much peace to my mind. I feel the same way about plural marriage. I have been taught through the spirit about this principle and the beauty of it. I see it lived by friends and family so beautifully that it makes me desire it that much more. I have seen it lived not so beautifully as well but that doesn't shake my testimony because my belief in and understanding of this principle comes directly from the Lord. I would encourage everyone to stop trying to find evidence for or against polygamy and instead study it out in your own mind, then ask God. My experience has been that He loves to answer us and give us light when we are genuinely(and humbly) seeking for it. -Kim
anonymous, I was born into a monogamous lineage with a history of abuse to both women and children. I won't use that as an argument against monogamy though;)
I disagree with the idea that we shouldn't study these things. The scriptures (and sound reason) say we should read material about things, then think about it, then pray. So that is an important step. I question also that we need only pray once and go off that feeling forever more without needing more evidence to our conclusions. Even Joseph got things wrong when he thought it was the spirit. Joseph said after being proven wrong about one of his edicts that sometimes we get inspiration from the spirit, sometimes from ourselves, and sometimes from the devil. So we need to be careful about concluding something and never have an open and critical mind on the subject in the future.
I hope you don't think I was suggesting that we shouldn't study things. What I was saying is that compiling evidence to try and prove each other wrong is futile. I think it was Joseph Smith who said it's the Holy Ghost and not men that convinces people of the truth. So if you know something is true by the Holy Ghost then just bare your testimony. The spirit will convince a lot better that any "proof" will.
I disagree emphatically with the idea that the Lord would reveal something to you an then later take it back. Once you have a truth confirmed by the Holy Ghost you cling to it. Now if the spirit directs you to live somewhere, you shouldn't drive your stakes in as if you'll never be guided to move. But when talking about principles of the gospel like the truthfulness of the BoM or that Joseph Smith was a prophet, you don't leave your mind open to the possibility that you may be wrong. If the Holy Ghost has confirmed a truth to you, you just believe it. Forever. Also, we are given keys to detect true from false spirits. I can't imagine how the devil could confirm things(deceptively)the way the Holy Ghost can. Its just not possible. I don't think you have enough faith in your ability to receive revelation. If you truly question everything you receive as to whether or not it came from you or God or the devil then you are too filled with doubt to ever receive greater light IMO. If whatever you receive inviteth and enticeth to do good and love God and serve Him then you can know of a SURETY that it is from God. Peace.-Kim
OK, that makes more sense now what you were trying to say.
I suppose that is why I'm becoming more of an agnostic Mormon (if there is such a thing) because I do believe you need to question everything. Even Joseph couldn't trust the spirit since he mixed it up with himself sometimes (like I paraphrased the quote from him that sometimes it's just yourself and not God), how then, can I trust my feelings when I can't even claim that I've seen God. People do have lot's of feelings about different things, it is natural, we attribute it to the Spirit, but is it really the Spirit or just ourselves? I don't know.
Agnostic Mormon? Lol. You could probably start a site with that name and get a lot of members:)
The quote about revelation from God, man and the devil was attributed to Joseph Smith by David Whitmer more than 50 years after he supposedly said it. From fairmormon:
"In Whitmer’s 1887 account we learn for the first time of the supposed post-mission revelation where Joseph Smith is told that some revelations are from God, some from devils, some from men. This account is in all likelihood a fabrication. Unlike his consistent, life-long statements concerning the witness of the Gold Plates, this account, which is probably a second-hand retelling of events 57 years after their occurrence, suddenly appears and is wrong on several of the documentable facts, as well as being inconsistent with the first-hand testimony of Hiram Page, given 40 years earlier than Whitmer and by comparison much closer to the actual event."
I think you should start putting more confidence in what the Lord gives you. Joseph Smith did say that men aren't damned for believing too much but they are damned for unbelief. Also, that those who don't seek new light out of fear of being deceived have been deceived already. I thought you might appreciate this quote:)
“A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.”
Christ himself referred to polygamy as a "grosser crime," an "abomination," a "whoredom," and as a violation of a woman's chastity (as written in the Book of Mormon you claim to have a testimony of - see Jacob 2).
You claim to believe in Joseph Smith, yet deny his repeated teachings and revelations that polygamy was equal to adultery and a major moral sin.
But the Lord has somehow directly revealed to you that it is a beautiful doctrine? Yeah, right. I guess that Brigham Young's falsified claims and stamp of approval have somehow changed Christ's explicit commandments.
I really don't care one iota if someone beleives in polygamy or wants to live in a polygamous relationship (with consenting adults), but to claim that the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith somehow support your immoral belief is outright slanderous. Joseph was murdered because of the polygamy lie you are so willing to proselyte.
Benjamin, Christ condemned the Nephites' practice of whoredoms. The term polygamy, polygyny, polyandry, or Plural Marriage is NEVER used in Jacob 2. The Nephites where committing whoredoms because of what was written about David and Solomon. What was written of them? That they had many wives and concubines. He then points out that David and Solomon having many wives and concubines was abominable. The Lord says that he will not have "this people" (the Nephites) do like those of old. The term them of old is a very generic statement and a lot can be implied here. He then commandos that "not any man among you"(the Nephites) should have more than one wife and they should not have any concubines.
I think it is interesting that the people are trying to excuse their whoredoms because of David and Solomon, not Abraham and Jacob. Surely Abraham and Jacob would have been the preeminent inspiration for polygamy. Yet this doesn't seem to be the case. It was David and Solomon. So what did David and Solomon do that condemned them but not Abraham and Jacob?
I think therein lies the key to this entire situation. Abraham and Jacob were never condemned for polygamy. If you can find a scriptures where such is the case then please tell me.
Again, I find no universal condemnation of polygamy in the Book of Mormon. It just doesn't exist.
As far as Joseph Smith is concerned, he is certainly entitled to his opinion about polygamy. If he truly hated and condemned polygamy as he said he did, then good for him. But for me. I have studied the topic and prayed about it. And the Spirit has taught me that for me Plural Marriage is a correct principle.
Now, I have no problem if God has told you polygamy is wrong. That is fine. Don't practice it.
I feel compelled to point out the Joseph Smith was not killed because of his alleged polygamy. Rather he was in all likelihood killed because of his political ambitions. Rock can fill you in more on that subject.
There is also reference in the Doctrine and Covenants to the idea that revelation can come from God, man, or Satan. It was not simply a fabrication.
Regardless, if it weren't true then there would be a lot of true religions out there that people have prayed about and have confirmed that their religion is true.
God used reason and logic with Joseph per D&C. I think it should stand then that the Mormon God is a God of logic and reason and that, relying on correct axioms the truths of God should be able to derived from logic and reason. I would think that would need to be more than just feelings that would lead us there. I'm not trying to say your experiences are invalid, I'm just saying that we can get results but the interpretations of those results are just as important as the results themselves and so we should be careful what are conclusions are and be willing to change our conclusions when we receive "further light and knowledge."
Post a Comment