Recently I saw something on YouTube I might have found quite amusing if it had not been so unsettling.
It featured our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a giant new shopping center in Salt Lake City. At a predetermined cue, as the ribbon was cut, all the dignitaries on hand, including our revered Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, chanted in unison, "One, two, three...LET'S GO SHOPPING!"
In his defense, President Monson seems less than enthusiastic with his part in this stunt. As you can see in this video at about the 18 second mark, his mouth is moving but he is barely audible compared to some of the others. But then, he isn't miked, so it's hard to tell. At any rate, it's clear that this part of the ceremony was planned in advance, and Monson played his part the best he could.
It's worth noting that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider Thomas Monson to be God's one true spokesman on the earth in these latter days, the spiritual heir of all the great prophets who came before. That list would include not only latter-day prophets such as Joseph Smith, but also the great biblical prophets such as Moses, Ezekial, and Isaiah; and the mighty prophets of the Book of Mormon such as Nephi, Alma, and Abinadi. Like our founding prophet Joseph Smith, these ancient prophets understood their responsibility was "to say nothing but repentance unto this generation."
But I guess that was for those earlier generations. Different prophets for different times. Apparently the role of the prophet of God today is to encourage us to grab our wallets and purses and head over to Macy's for some silks and scarlets and fine-twined linen.
And don't forget to do some banking. Two years ago Monson showed up in Provo to dedicate a newly opened branch of Zion's Bank. And yes, you read that right. The prophet of God dedicated a bank. You know, "dedicated" as in praying over it -like when he dedicates a temple to the Lord.
Church spokesmen claim the LDS Church no longer holds a controlling financial interest in Zion's Bank, so that's a relief. Last year Zion's Bancorporation was implicated in the laundering of billions in drug money, and before that was the recipient of 1.4 Billion in taxpayer bailouts. Being associated with such an unsavory institution could sully the Church's good name. Best to divest the Church of it's controlling ownership of that bank and instead just send the prophet of God over to handle the dedicatory prayer.
Salt Lake City Follies
The Church's association with the City Creek mall is a very big deal and a major topic of conversation all along the Wasatch front, but I have a friend who is a bishop in a southern state who tells me his congregation has heard absolutely nothing about it. So for those members in distant climes who are out of the loop on this, allow me to clue you in.
City Creek Center is a massive outdoor mall smack in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City, and as malls go, this one is a doozy. It's more of a cross between an outdoor shopping mall and a very large park, with waterfalls, fountains, and a creek running through the middle stocked with trout. Among its 100 stores are Macy's, Nordstrom's, Tiffany's, Brooks Brothers, and countless other high-dollar boutiques targeted at society's upper crust. There is no underestimating the beauty of this mall. As man-made wonders go, City Creek Center is as impressive a sight as you're likely to find this side of Las Vegas.
There is a reason President Monson felt it important to place his imprimatur on this expensive venture. The whole thing was financed with investments originally derived from Church tithing funds, and there is sure to be some anxiety about whether, in these slow economic times, any of those dollars will ever be recouped. So far the City Creek project has drained Church coffers of an estimated 1.5 Billion dollars, and when the additional condos and high rise buildings are completed, costs are expected to reach or exceed $5 Billion. Personally, I'm betting costs will exceed that. This is a veritable downtown neighborhood being built from the ground up, and it won't come cheap.
If I sound cynical, it's because I was raised to believe that Jesus Christ is the head of this Church and that he makes all the important decisions directing it. But I am inclined to believe the Lord was not consulted on this one. Why? Because development on the City Creek project (and a $100 Million hotel in Hawaii) began just before America fell into its greatest depression in eighty years. Had the prophet inquired of the Lord on the propriety of committing sacred funds into a shopping mall intended to cater to the upper middle class, the Almighty might have clued him in to the fact that most of that target demographic was about to have half their assets wiped out in the stock and housing markets. When the upper crusties can't afford to shop at Brooks Brothers and Tiffany's, no one else can either.
Not only did our prophet, seer, and revelator fail to warn the people about the economic calamity that was about to befall the nation, he himself appeared unaware of its imminent arrival, blithely pouring Church funds into an expensive debacle that could only expect to succeed in an upwardly rising economic environment. If one of the jobs of a prophet is to act as a watchman on the wall, Thomas Spencer Monson had fallen asleep at the parapet.
You hicks in the hinterlands weren't the only members of the church caught unaware about the corporate Church's involvement in this project. Many of those living in the shadow of temple square were themselves uninformed about who was fronting the money for it, almost up until the grand opening. No members heard about it through proper Church channels as they should have. It was never announced in general conference. Everyday ordinary run-of-the-mill latter-day Saints like you and me had to wait and read about it in the paper.
And now, thanks to this cover story in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the whole world knows that Mormons are the only ones dumb enough to pour their money into a giant shopping mall at a time when everyone else is getting out. We couldn't be more proud.
Whether the City Creek project was a good idea or a bad one is almost beside the point. What should be of concern to us is that we mere members of the church are constantly and deliberately kept in the dark about the corporate wing's financial dealings, even though as members we are essentially the holders for value. This kind of secrecy violates Church doctrine and goes against more than a century of long-standing tradition.
Staying Accountable To The Members
For the first 128 years of this Church's formal existence, it was an essential part of April conference for the leaders of the Church to report it's financial dealings in full to the general membership. This was usually among the first matters of business during the Saturday morning session. From the time of Joseph Smith on, it was understood that the members who provided the tithes were to be shown how their sacred tithing dollars had been disbursed so they could voice their consent. The leaders understood they had a sacred fiduciary trust and a responsibility to inform the members of a) how much money was collected in tithing, and b) how that money was being spent from one year to the next.
I have a collection of Conference Reports going back several decades, so I pulled a random sample to see what one of these financial reports looked like back in the day. I chose the 1951 conference report as that was the year of my birth, and to see how by the time I had reached the age of baptism, this important practice had been abruptly discontinued.
This 1951 report, which covered expenditures for the previous year, was read in full by Second Counselor J. Reuben Clark, under the direction of President David O. McKay. You can see that report here. It begins on page 11 and continues to page 18 where the Church Auditing Committee signed off on it. I hope you'll at least click on the link and take a look. I don't expect you to read the entire report, but just by paging through it for a moment or two you will see how seriously Church leadership once took its responsibility of informing the membership on how their money was being used.
At the end of 1950, as Church auditors reported, "The Church is in strong financial position and free from debt." In subsequent years things just kept getting better, and by 1957, the Church had $70 million in reserves sitting in Zion's First National Bank.
But the year after that, it all went south. Due to a poorly thought-out and unrestrained program of real estate acquisition, the Church suddenly found itself cash poor and $8 million in debt. Out of a sense of embarrassment, the leaders decided, for the first time in the history of the Church, not to include a financial report to the members at the next conference session. Deficits more than doubled the year after that, until by 1963 the Church was on the brink of bankruptcy. There has never been another financial report filed since.
After Eldon Tanner took over as Church Chief Financial Officer in 1963 and eventually brought the Church solvent, there was another reason to be embarrassed about the Church's finances. LDS, Inc. was becoming very, very rich, and not through investments normally considered appropriate for a church.
It's one thing for a church to invest its member's surplus tithes in ranches, farms, and orchards, since those kinds of investments can produce sustenance for the needy, which after all is the primary purpose of tithing in the first place. But Tanner was investing Church money into banks, insurance companies, public utilities, commercial real estate, money market funds, treasury bills, and oil companies like Standard Oil, Exxon, and Phillips Petroleum. He bought a million dollars worth of stock in the Los Angeles Times, and four years later it was worth four million. Eventually, under Tanner's guidance, the church found itself not just out of debt, but richer than it had ever been before. Billions of dollars richer.
And that was the sticky wicket. How do you report to the membership that the method their leaders chose to get the Church out of harm's way was by investing it in Babylon? Answer: you decide it's best to say nothing at all.
I am not suggesting that there are no enterprises to which surplus tithes can not be properly invested. In my opinion, a Church should strive to control its own press and publishing, along with its own newspapers and other mass communication organs to aid in promulgating its message. The University of Deseret was founded in 1850 using tithing funds with the purpose of providing Mormons with a chance for a higher education; and ten years later Brigham Young Academy was established in Provo. Such ventures strike me as consistent with the building of a Zion society where all contribute voluntarily toward the betterment of one another.
Another legitimate use for surplus funds in the Church used to be in providing capital to help deserving members launch viable business enterprises, as explained by Joseph F. Smith in an April 1912 article in the Church magazine, The Improvement Era. Here is a description of that article from Thomas Alexander's excellent history, Mormonism In Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints 1890-1930:
The Church, [President Smith] said, had always tried to "help establish home industries and to aid in setting certain business enterprises on their feet," in order to provide employment and "to develop the material resources to the country, that the people and the land may prosper." Those purposes accomplished, the Church had generally withdrawn, "holding in most cases only a very little financial interest in the enterprises." In his view, spiritual and temporal salvation complemented each other, and the Church promoted both.Such former practices where the Church could be found carefully nurturing incipient businesses for the benefit of individuals within the Mormon community is a far cry from the modern practice. Today, the institutional Church directs its investments toward building an economic empire for the benefit of the institution itself, while the members are kept entirely out of the loop.
They're Supposed To Have Your Approval
We are all familiar with Lord Acton's famous maxim, "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." I am not about to accuse Church leadership of either holding absolute power, or of being absolutely corrupt. But let's consider just the first half of that couplet, the one that says "power corrupts."
This is a well known tenet of LDS doctrine. The possibility that priesthood leaders are capable of coming to see themselves as somehow superior in knowledge and ability over those they are called to serve, and must ofttimes be held in check, is codified in Doctrine & Covenants section 121, verse 39. And those who insist we should completely trust our leaders to always do the right thing and never do wrong should try to explain why section 107 provides the method by which the president of the Church can be removed for transgression. Humans are prone to making errors, sometimes serious ones. No one is infallible.
But drastic measures are not necessary, in my opinion, in order to rein our leaders back in. All we need do is go back to doing things the way the Lord set it up, when he commanded that "all things shall be done by common consent in the church" (D&C 26). We deserve to get away from the dichotomized Church we have somehow turned into, where certain members have attained a status akin to royalty, and those below them in rank are expected not to question their actions or decrees.
To that end there is a petition currently circulating on the web. It can be found at bycommonconsent.org and this is its text:
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it is our desire to faithfully fulfill our obligation to our church by at least annually giving our “voice and Common Consent” as to the allocation of the funds that have been and are currently being donated by us to our Church.
We believe as President Hinckley stated that the financial information of our church “belongs to those that made the contribution”.
For most of our history our church provided full disclosure of its funds. Even in times of financial difficulties members could share in the joy of knowing that good works were being accomplished with their collective donations. We have confidence that a full annual financial disclosure will vindicate the virtue and integrity of our church’s financial affairs that are consistent with the principles taught by our Lord. Such open transparency will also dispel all mystery that often leads to unverifiable speculation both without and within our church: “And He doeth nothing, save it be plain.” (2 Ne. 26:33). We seek complete transparency in all our financial affairs by following the Lord’s counsel that monies placed into His treasury shall “not be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by voice and common consent” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:71).No sooner had this petition begun to circulate, than there began to be voices of opposition against it, most notably this plea entitled, "Please Don't Question Church Leadership On Finances."
Therefore, we the undersigned members formally request that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once again publish a full annual financial report that provides sufficient details so that we as members can once again give our “voice and Common Consent” as to the allocation of monies expended by our Church.
To which I respond, "Why not? Aren't we supposed to?"
You will notice from a reading of that piece and the comments that agree with it, all manner of opinions are expressed as to why members of the church should close their eyes and not be concerned with how their tithing money is being used. What is missing from these screeds however, is any scriptural justification for those positions. As I brought out in my previous entry, you can find no end to opinions in the church as to what some believe "Mormonism" is meant to entail, but many fail to provide scriptural citations to support those positions. Sadly, there are many within the church who care little about what their religion actually teaches. What matters is what they think it teaches.
Prominent among such beliefs is that once you pay your tithing, that money is the Lord's and no longer your concern. Yes, the money does belong to the Lord, but you didn't hand it over to the Lord himself, you placed it into the hands of mortal men. Men, even priesthood leaders, are quite capable of taking the Lord's money and spending it foolishly. It's a pretty safe bet that you can trust in the Lord, but the Lord himself commands us to "trust not in the arm of flesh." When you give your money over to be used for the Lord's purposes, the Lord does not expect you to be ambivalent about what becomes of it.
But not everyone agrees. Here is an excerpt from the blog of one Nathan Shumate, whose slug line aptly reads, "I make things up."
"My attachment to those funds, and any sense of oversight regarding their use, ends the moment I hand them to the Bishop. As far as I’m concerned, the Bishop could take all the tithing money out behind the meetinghouse every Sunday afternoon and light a fire with them. What is important for my spiritual welfare is that I make a sacrifice, that I couch my belief in active, inconvenient terms. I do not “buy in” to the Church as an earthly organization; I “buy in” to the Lord with my faithfulness, obedience, and sacrifice."In other words, God doesn't need your money; he just wants to test you. Allow me to respond by relating a true story involving my wife.
Some years ago when her health was better than it is now, Connie was visiting friends in Salt Lake City around Christmas time. I have written elsewhere about how Connie is spiritually intuitive. Since like attracts like, these friends of hers were similarly attuned. This was an exceptional group of people, yet really no different from the kind of folks we all should hope to aspire to. Anyway, these four friends decided they would go out and acquire enough food to provide a needy family with all the fixings to make up a traditional Christmas dinner, then simply ask God where he wanted it delivered.
So they pooled their money and went to a grocery store where they bought a ready-cooked turkey with stuffing, along with mashed potatoes, rolls, butter, gravy, a greenbean casserole, jello, a big bowl of ambrosia, a pumpkin pie and an apple pie -everything they could think of to make up a complete Norman Rockwell style holiday feast, right down to the cranberry sauce. Then they hauled those bags of food out to the car, said a prayer, and just started driving around a nearby neighborhood.
Before long, one of the women in the group said, "Here. Stop the car. Right here." They parked in front of a rundown apartment building and carried their bags of groceries up to one of the doors. A woman answered, with three children standing somewhat apprehensively behind her.
Connie said, "Hi. Can you use some dinner?"
After a moment of stunned silence while Connie and her friends excitedly showed the woman what they had brought in the sacks, the woman broke down and started weeping with gratitude. She invited them in to meet her children and told how she was down to no money, with not so much as a rotten old carrot left in the fridge. She had asked her children to stand in a circle with her to hold hands and pray that somehow God would find a way to help them get some supper that night. They were in the middle of that prayer when the doorbell rang and the food arrived.
This Is Not A Test
When Connie came home and told me of her experience, I gathered some important lessons from it that had not occurred to me before. Chief among these lessons was the realization that God is not all-powerful. By whatever name or set of reasoning you want to give it, be it The Laws of God or The Laws of Heaven, there are some things even God is restricted from doing. For instance, God cannot come down in person and leave a box of groceries on someone's porch. God depends on us to carry out his will. We are his hands, his eyes, his ears. We are His emissaries of goodwill. All of us are expected to be God's angels on earth, ministering to each other in kindness.
When God hears a young mother's prayer, the way he acts on that prayer is by inspiring others to perform in his stead. That's what it means to emulate Christ; we do the things Jesus would do himself if he were here to do them.
So here is something to ponder: what do you suppose would have become of that young mother and her children if Connie and her friends had ignored the promptings of the spirit that inspired them to go out and gather food to take to a stranger? The answer is simple: that young family would have gone hungry.
It happens every day all over the world; people pray for help and help never comes. I don't think this is because God ignores their prayers. I think it's because those who are in positions to lend a hand often ignore God when he is whispering in their ears.
We distort the gospel of Christ when we presume the law of tithing exists as a test of our willingness to be blindly obedient. We are commanded to give of our sustenance because those tithes and offerings are actually needed to sustain the lives of real, living human beings. How dare anyone blithely suggest that it doesn't really matter if those urgently needed funds are taken outside and set on fire! What a mockery that makes of the purposes of God. The Lord not only expects you to tithe, but also to be mindful that those tithes are put to good use.
Yes, God actually does need your money. He is not playing games with you or testing your loyalty or getting a kick out of watching you sacrifice. The law of tithing is a law for a reason. It is important. It is necessary. It is needed. It is not a trifle.
One, Two, Three...Let's Go Shopping For Excuses
Even before the City Creek development was completed, a large and growing contingent of latter-day saints were questioning the propriety of the Church involving itself in a commercial undertaking of that magnitude. In response, some True Believers who see themselves as defenders of the faith have sought to quell the criticism by offering a number of rationalizations and justifications for the mall. Most of these justifications are pretty lame. I'll address just two:
1. The Church made sure no tithing funds were used for the building of the mall. The funds for City Creek came from Church investments.
This seems a bit of a stretch. All funds at the Church's disposal are originally derived from tithing. The way it used to work is that tithing funds were collected, then immediately disbursed to where they were needed. The income kept pace with the outgo, as President Kimball once told a reporter. But what happens these days is that a certain amount of tithing is immediately parked into investments where it sits for three years earning interest. A billion dollars invested in a money market account can yield millions in interest. It is these millions that have then been reinvested in such things as real estate holdings. In any ordinary case, I would say this is wise stewardship of one's money. But has the Lord ever instructed his people to set aside tithing to be invested in gentile pursuits? Not according to history.
We Mormons tend to interpret Malachi chapter 3 as chastising the people for being slow in paying their tithing to the Church. But a reading of the Book of Malachi makes clear that the The Lord was rebuking not the people, but the priests. Old Testament scholars report that the ancient Jews by and large tended to be diligent tithe payers, but the Jewish priests who collected those tithes sometimes had a tendency to withhold a portion of those tithes to put to other uses.
I can understand this proclivity. I don't think the Levite priests were trying to hide or embezzle the tithes, any more than I think our modern Church fathers are motivated by evil intent. I think those Jewish priests may have just been nervous about having all that responsibility on their hands. When you are charged with overseeing the Lord's treasure, it's easy assume you have a sacred obligation to protect those funds to the utmost of your ability, and even to invest them so they can be multiplied. The problem is, trying to do things your way instead of God's way often results in an imbalance of priorities, as has happened on numerous times even here in The Lord's True Church.
This is the trap some of the Brethren fell into back in the late 1880's as the Church began to amass its first fortune. it wasn't long before legitimate Church responsibilities took a back seat as the Brethren focused most of their attention on financial matters. As Brigham Young Jr wrote in his diary:
“There is too much time given to Corporations, stocks, bonds, policies, etc. by our leaders to please me...We are in all kinds of business interests. Even the members of the Twelve represent businesses which are jealous of each other and almost ready to fight each other.”In the old testament book of Malachi, God was telling the priests to stop relying on their own wisdom as to how the tithing should be used, and "bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse" where they belonged. Those tithes are intended, first and foremost, to provide "meat in mine house" for those who need it. If you priests are concerned about running out of funds, the Lord is saying, try doing it my way for a change and see "if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Do things my way, the Lord says, and you won't have to worry about there being any shortages.
2. The area around temple square was deteriorating economically; City Creek Mall is needed to revitalize downtown Salt Lake City.
Downtowns are deteriorating all across the country, but is it the role of the Church to rebuild them? If there is a valid reason to invest in a troubled area, business developers would be investing private funds. This has happened in New York's Soho and Greenwich village, along with San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district just to name a few examples. These neighborhoods were once decaying and are now vibrant. If Downtown Salt Lake is worth saving, there are more appropriate ways to rescue it than having the Church step in as savior of the city.
There was a reason stores and shops in downtown Salt lake were going out of business. A lot of people in the area could no longer afford to support them as in the past. The multi-story Crossroads Mall was demolished to make way for the City Creek. So was the ZCMI Center. But will the mere act of replacing old stores with new ones guarantee that people will start spending again? You can build an expensive new mausoleum on top of an old cemetery, but all you really end up with is a shiny new graveyard.
In the video clip posted above, I notice large crowds of visitors, but very few are carrying shopping bags. We see a woman with her daughter picking up a shoe from a display, looking at it, then putting it back. A lot of folks have turned out for this grand opening, and they seem to be having a pleasant enough time strolling the walkways. But very few of these people appear to be buying anything. If City Creek Center is going to revitalize downtown, a lot of people are going to have to start spending a lot of money there, and quick. Otherwise those shops will be leaving, too.
The number of Very Important Persons participating in the ribbon cutting at City Creek Center was impressive by any standard. How often do you see both the mayor and the governor of a state turn out for a mall opening? Clearly this was a very big deal. In addition to President Monson, both his counselors, Henry Eyring and Dieter Uchdorff, were on hand. That's the entire First Presidency of the Church, taking precious time away from their urgent ecclesiastical duties to take part in the kind of stunt normally handled by some guy from the local chamber of commerce and the first runner-up to Miss Provo.
Watching the man we latter-day Saints sustain as a living prophet reduced to the role of a cheap mall huckster is disconcerting, to say the least. I try to imagine Abinadi standing there in Monson's place as the countdown begins: "one, two, three...Let's Go Shopping!" and the picture just won't form. As a church and as a people, this was not our finest moment.
The enthusiasm with which Church representatives touted this project barely disguised the sense of desperation evident as the grand opening date approached. It's been reported that the entire project was originally budgeted at $500 million, but quickly became a money pit that is swallowing up billions of dollars at a time when regular tithing receipts have slowed considerably. Many Mormons who previously paid their tithing faithfully each month now find themselves out of work. With the decline of all those jobs also comes a decline in tithing receipts for the Church.
That means a lot less money to cover the day-to-day expenses of operating the Church, along with less money to care for our poor at a time when it is needed more than ever. This is an unanticipated squeeze. At the same time Church funds were endlessly funneled into a glitzy shopping center, bishops were being advised to persuade needy members to exhaust other available resources before relying on Church assistance.
It looks to me like there is a lot riding on this mall. I think the Brethren bet the farm on this one, and I'm guessing there's a lot of sweating going on in the corporate boardroom at the Church office building. You can almost smell the desperation: This thing has GOT to work out. It just HAS to.
But I don't see how it can. Anyone who thinks the Church can ever make good on this "investment" by collecting rents from mall merchants simply has no idea how much a billion dollars actually is, let alone five billion. The Church will never earn that money back. It's gone.
Then again, I may be entirely out of line here. It's quite possible that God revealed to the prophet His desire to see a multi-billion dollar mall constructed with Church funds for the sole reason that He was tired of looking down and seeing what an eyesore Salt Lake City had become. If any such revelation is produced, I will humbly stand corrected and forevermore keep silent on this matter.
But if there was not a revelation, it is entirely appropriate for faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ to expect an explanation as to why those entrusted with the Lord's money made such a foolishly extravagant move without first obtaining authorization from above.
Once again, that link to the petition is here:
Nicely written Alan!
Great research and clear as a bell written!
Great historical analysis of how LDS Inc got into the mall business.
However, I believe that even in the early fifties (and all the way back to the early 20th Century) the tithing INCOME was not disclosed, only EXPENSES until about 1958. After that year, as you so aptly write, "mum" became the word on both income and expenses. The whole balance sheet has been hidden from the average Mormon ever since!
Rock, I love the way you write; the way you think things through and do your research. I don't always agree with the results - different belief system - but if I were still a believing member this is 'exactly' how I would feel.
I remember my huge disappointment when GB Hinckley stated that he didn't know much about the couplet 'As Man is God Once Was. As God is Man May Become.' I knew what I was being taught at church, in fact what I had always learned from the day the missionaries knocked on my door. I couldn't quite put 'my prophet' in the correct light based on that statement, anymore than you could put Abinadi is the place of Pres. Monson at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Why don't we have common consent any longer? Real common consent I mean, not just raising your arm to the square to agree with any new person called to a church position.
Why did I, as a former believer find out about City Creek before most of the people who go to church? They should know where their donations are going - just handing over money to Church leaders because they are in positions of trust is not the way to do business. If the church is in business then so are its members and we must be businesslike.
The initial estimated cost is way lower than it is turning out to be. If you had a company build a house for you and the costs kept rising you would want to have a detailed accounting of why that was happening and where your money was going.
Stay out of debt was some of the last counsel I received before I took my leave of the Church; I think they need to heed their own advice.The information that Hinckley was unwilling to give on his TV interview about the church's wealth should be public but it is not even available to those who faithfully donate to it AND Hinckley said that this information belonged to those who pay it.
Thanks as always Rock - I like the way you think.
Great article! I have always wondered why the church needed to be involved in building a multi-billion dollar mall. And further, why the church members who pay tithing would allow it. Lucky for me, I'm not mormon!
Excellent! Really nice piece.
That's a good point Anonymous. Members don't really have a choice. There IS a token vote to "sustain" leaders but, in Mormon culture, the idea of voting in opposition is really not tolerated...one would become immediately ostracized.
Since the Church that was restored through Joseph Smith was dissolved, not much good has happened. Instead of a unique people seeking a "no poor among us" society....we have become a "follow the leader" capitalism-worshiping bunch of sheeple.
An important point when we say that we let others do what is needed and it is our job to follow; what we are saying is that we do not need spiritual liberty. Just as we need every day liberty for ourselves we also need spiritual liberty.
Only thing missing was the idea that "God not leading his leaders astray" is a microcosm of Satan's plan in the per-existance. Whether it's all or just one person we as latter-day saints rejected that idea but it's the one thing many members cling to as a tenant of their faith.
I don't understand why you're still a member of the church! You're so negative about the way it runs, if you have all these issues go join another church! I love that the church has investments and that with City Creek it created jobs for people. Jump ship or sit down and shut up!
At the Golden Temple "This sacred shrine in India feeds over 100,000 people a day regardless of race, religion and class."
Even though from what I've been told by bishops on several occasions that fast offering funds and local funds are supposed to be used for members of the ward, but there is some discretion left up to the bishop. When Jesus was around, he was feeding others.
Instead, the LDS temples sell food in their buildings. "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, it is written, my house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."
Rather than people comparing their religion as superior to others, how about seeking as Joseph Smith taught, "We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true 'Mormons'."
Great post. Thanks especially for the research on the LDS financial reports up to the 1950's.
Rock, first...two questions.
1. where is the information on what monies were used for the mall?
2. Usually I'm very good at locating things in the scriptures, but can you direct me to the scriptures that address how the leaders are supposed to show accountability to the members concerning tithing?
I'll have to admit I'm really struggling with this. Actually, I'm numb. I mentioned it to some people at church this past Sunday and they were oblivious. They read the church news I guess. I used to be like those who said after it leaves my hands, it's going to handled correctly and it's none of my business. I read where it said "The whole thing was financed with investments originally derived from Church tithing funds..." and then I read somewhere the funding came from investments on other real estate.
I don't know what to say. Like everyone else, I'd like the truth.
Great article. I was excited about this once you told me you were writing it. It made me wonder what will happen to the corporate Church once the Mall doesn't work out. I thought that perhaps the corporate church would have enough funds to continue operations basically immune to the economic collapse and falling membership. But they may have just spent that nest egg.
I love the Galaxy Quest ending.
To Anonymous @3:55 I'm curious as to what church you belong to. because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is just a trademark owned ultimately by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For me, and Rock might agree with me on this, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This church as revealed in the Doctrine and covenants consist of all people who come unto Christ and are baptized. The leadership of the Church(TM) have separated themselves into their own corporate entity which exits independent of the church. I would not leave the church(family of baptized believers in Christ) because I disagree with the action of the Church(TM). It would be like me leaving the church because of I disagree with the actions of JP Morgan.
I'm kind of thinking anonymous was being facetious because saying "Jump ship or sit down and shut up!" goes so completely against the teachings of Christ and Joseph Smith that it is hilarious. If it is meant as serious it is very sad.
Well, I signed the petition and I hope that when it is delivered my name will be sent to my old Bishop located where I used to live and he will begin proceedings to have me excommunicated. No more safety net if I go bankrupt, but then my membership has been a profitless investment for a long, long time and it might do me well to just rid myself of it, especially since the initial joining was based on nothing but lies.
Back in the old days, I got the idea to call up the COB and find out where my tithes went. I called, gave all the identifying data to the secretary and asked her to transfer me to whomever could answer my question. I was immediately transferred to the security department, a member of which told me that I should be ashamed for asking such a question. I never got past his voice. After that moment, I never paid another cent of tithing. I never will either.
Oh, one other thing: my friend who lives in SLC sent me the brochures that were handed out when the mall was first opened, during the VIP phase which took place a couple of nights before. Sparkling grape juice and all the rest of it. I looked them over quite completely and never found the Church mentioned anywhere, in any way. Instead, some company owned the mall and leased it out to some other company which ran it and rented it as a management group. The company that owned it was headquartered somewhere back East and had a name which had no Utah roots or designations in the least. So, I wonder what the corporate interlinks were and to just what or whom the Church gave its money to, and what power It might have left in any of this. It is all most mysterious.
I'm afraid I don't recall where I first read about what monies were used for the mall. It was a statement to a reporter, I think, that the mall was not financed by tithing funds, but from funds earned through investments.
As I pointed out, that's fudging a bit, since all investments are derived from tithing. According to the piece, the Church sets aside a portion of tithing receipts and parks it in an investment for 3 years. That tithing is the "source." The money that is earned from the source is the interest. At the end of the three years, the Church takes the interest and reinvests that in commercial ventures, ad infinitum. Eventually, these investments derived from other investments can really pile up, but it can then be said they do not invest tithing funds in these ventures, they are only investing money they earned FROM investing the tithing funds.
I assume eventually they pull the source money out of the market and use that for running the legitimate expenses of the Church.
The question is whether it was proper to tie up the Lord's money for those three years in order to multiply it. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. I suggest it is up to the members to give their consent to this practice, and right now those decisions are made without considering the wishes of the members. But at least they can then honestly say they didn't use tithing funds to build the mall. They used money derived FROM the tithing funds.
The scriptures you seek requiring accountability are contained within the wording of the petition, primarily D&C 26:2 and section 104 which require all things to be done "by common consent." Also, Joseph Smith established how the reporting was performed at conference.
As Ron Madson has pointed out elsewhere, our current practice of sustaining the leaders has the unfortunate effect of enabling them rather than holding them accountable; whereby a century ago before the call was made to sustain by raising the right hand, there was usually some time alloted for debate and discussion.
Some critics have accused the petitioners of thinking they are smarter or more able than the leaders and want to decide for themselves where every dollar goes. Not so. Those types of decisions are why we have leaders. All the petition requests is that the members be informed of the decisions that were made. The act of consent requires INFORMED consent, and the Lord is clear that his works are not done in darkness.
What a pathetic piece of drivel is this piece and many of the comments. What a complete piece of worldly rubbish absolute soaked with western-leftist cultural assumptions completely unexamined in a pure restoration light and entirely lacking in the true spirit of Zion.
It strikes me that the writer of this piece has no vision of Zion, or has decided that he knows better than prophets how to build Zion. He is stuck entirely in prideful comparative thinking, the very root of the downfall of societies and nations.
But still we venture to ask, dear author: how would you build Zion ? How would you build a city of perfect mercy and justice where there is no poor and all are unified? By criticizing and carping? Well, there goes the unity. By following your American/Western leftist instincts? Well, there goes your probability of success as the West has never come close to succeeding in building Zion? And how about a society of mercy? Do you think your heart and mind can possibly lend a hand there? You yourself can’t even have mercy on an undisputedly compassionate man who, through no doing of his own, has been called to lead a church. And how about abolishing poverty? Are you going to do that by pulling down the productive?
Let me point out a few crucial details you seem to have missed on your way to betraying your own church and people.
Joseph Smith built a temple that had fine china in the plaster. (It could have been sold and given to help the poor.) Joseph not only opened a branch of a bank, but actually opening the bank operation itself and it failed. Did this diminish his prophetic calling?
Joseph described his vision of a city in which the mere bells on the horses would say "Holiness to the Lord?" (What an extravagance! What a waste of productive cycles of the economy, to actually care what the bells on the horses say! )
Who was it who criticized the Lord for allowing the extravigent use of expensive oil because it could have been used to assist the poor? (And I note that the Lord had expressly given that person the bag of money to hold - that's how little the lord cares about the topic of money as money.)
Dear writer, I’m guessing you’ve never read the Bible in which John the revelator wrote that in heaven he saw streets made of gold. Imagine if we tried to recreate heaven here and build streets of gold. Your ilk in Utah would probably go insane with criticism – you can’t even abide a part of a city having a store that sells gold.
You intimate a love of and concern for your Mormon people and for Zion. Yet you have completely lost your understanding that in the term "building Zion" the word "building" stands prominently. This certainly entails building people, but it also entails building neighborhoods, building cities, yes even building shopping malls and factories and recreational and entertainment venues.
Let’s build and create, malls, banks, buildings, cities, and everything we need and want, and in so doing learn in a small measure how to mimic our creative Father and his Son of whom Brigham Young said their whole study was to organize and build. Our Father and His Son created a world filled with not just the necessary, but also the beautiful and even the extravagant, for all to enjoy and use and develop.
And let us also shun the spirit of the Devil, of whom Brigham Young said, he only knows how to tear down and destroy, he can never build anything. I leave it to sensible readers to judge which spirit this piece and many comments display.
Yes, Rock! Let's build mammon and great and spacious buildings up to the Lord!
The author did have some good points of concern but I believe they are incorrect. I'll let someone else refute them though. I gotta get to doing other things.
I appreciate this post and always enjoy reading your blog. I agree with the majority of what you said. However, I did want to point out that the members should have been aware. Gordon Hinckley did mention City Creek twice in General Conference.
"We are now working on a major undertaking in Salt Lake City. It is imperative that we preserve the environment around Temple Square. This makes necessary a very large construction project. Tithing funds will not be used for this construction. The income from Church businesses, rents on the property, and other such sources make this possible."
I also wish the church would go back to being completely transparent when it comes to financial matters. As you stated, ultimately, all church funds come from tithing.
A shopping mall is a far cry from a temple. I didn't see Rock criticizing the building of temples...
Wow. Really?! This Anonymous reads a bit different than the last so I assume s/he is different.
"It strikes me that the writer of this piece has no vision of Zion, or has decided that he knows better than prophets how to build Zion."
As I will explain below it seems you have not done much research into how Zion will be constructed/established. I think Rock agrees with all the prophets about building Zion which is why he wrote this article. As for Brigham Young and his successors down to Thomas Monson there has been very little expression of prophethood.
"Joseph Smith built a temple that had fine china in the plaster. (It could have been sold and given to help the poor.)"
You really want to go there? The china used in the Kirtland temple was junk china. There used to be piles where people would discard their broken china. It was from these piles that the saints drew to use in the plaster. It is possible that a few people donated some china to help, but MOST of the china was just junk. The idea that everyone sacrificed their best china is myth.
"Joseph not only opened a branch of a bank, but actually opening the bank operation itself and it failed. Did this diminish his prophetic calling?"
Well technically it was an anti-bank because they never go the charter from the government. But I ask you. Is an (anti-)bank, that is designed to help the saints, comparable to a shopping mall design to help big business owners(Macy's, Nordstrom's, Tiffany's, Brooks Brothers)?
"Joseph described his vision of a city in which the mere bells on the horses would say "Holiness to the Lord?" (What an extravagance! What a waste of productive cycles of the economy, to actually care what the bells on the horses say! )"
Ok, and how is making bells a for profit venture which helps elitist CEOs at an over inflated cost?
It is quite obvious that you clearly cannot draw a distinction between capitalism and consecration/United Order. In the United Order all money is redistributed within the Order. There is no such thing as capitalism. Everyone shares everything. People are appointed as stewards over certain properties and are to use that stewardship to bring an increase. A bell maker would bring an increase by turning sheet metal into bells. A painter would bring an increase by turning paints and canvas into a masterpiece. In a society where there are no poor an no rich is there such a thing as excess?
"you can’t even abide a part of a city having a store that sells gold."
A store that sells gold? Really? the point of what john was saying is that gold is so common it is used for the streets. It's not about richness or value anymore. It's about knowing how to use the resources for the benefit of all. And besides do you really think there will be streets paved with gold either here on the earth or while there are still poor people here?
"This certainly entails building people, but it also entails building neighborhoods, building cities, yes even building shopping malls and factories and recreational and entertainment venues."
Have you even researched Zion? The plat of Zion gives space for three things(aside from roads) farmland, lots for homes and gardens, and temples. There are no shopping malls, factories, recreational and entertainment venues. Any person who has done a smidgen of research could clearly see that. All manufacturing would be done at the homes of the people with those skills. Temples would be the place for gathering as a community. Your assumptions completely unexamined in a pure restoration light and entirely lacking in the true spirit of Zion.
I can't believe you spent all that time on this. A waste of time.
Alan, your analysis is insightful and instructive. However, the assumptions you make about the business case and viability of the development are speculative. You may be proven right, but at the moment you don't have any data to back up your assumptions.
Your statement "Chief among these lessons was the realization that God is not all-powerful. There are some things even God is unable to do. For instance, God cannot come down in person and leave a box of groceries on someone's porch." bothers me.
If that's true then how is it possible that God produced Mana for the Israelites? If He CANNOT do such things, then where'd the Mana in the wilderness come from? Or how did Christ feed thousands on more than one occasion with barely enough food to feed a single person?
If He did produce the Mana in the wilderness (and I believe He did) then why did He even ask for the teeny tiny amounts of food when feeding thousands? He could have just made it happen. As evident by the mere fact that he actually fed thousands of people until they could eat no more and had baskets and baskets of food left over afterwords.
I think the conclusion to your wife's experience is not that God CAN'T - that He isn't all-powerful. If He weren't what hope do we have that Christ could possibly atone for each and every one of our sins?
If we're the ones that are supposed to emulate Christ, how do we do that if God's always stepping in front of us? We wouldn't learn to act as Christ did if we're not doing anything. I don't think the question should be can or can't God do something. If He can heal the blind, raise men from the dead, feed thousands, part seas or calm and still them, and most importantly save us from our sins - I would think it's evident that there ISN'T anything He CAN'T do!
One other question, was it God or your wife and her friends that fed that women and her children???
Wasn't it God that blessed your families to have the means to do such a thing? Didn't He stir them to take action and buy the food? Did He guide them where it was they should go? Wasn't it He who answer that women's and her children's prayer?
"God cannot come down in person and leave a box of groceries on someone's porch?" I would say He did! And chose to use people in the process instead of coming "down in person" to accomplish it. But since He DID do it all (gave you the money to buy the food, the car to get it there, and the guidance as to where) He might as well have.
My friend God IS all-powerful. It's part of the reason we can put our trust in Him. Because only an all-powerful God would be able save men from their sins!
You may be unaware of the state of today's church in the sight of the Lord. He explains our state very well in 3 Nephi 16:10. Christ is speaking directly to us as Latter Day Saints and no other. Moroni also spoke directly to Latter Day Saints in Mormon 8:35-41.
Your understanding of Zion is wrong. You have not understood the scriptures nor the prophets.
Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think. That greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies--because of the praise of the world?
We are the members of the holy church of God which Moroni is speaking to in these verses. We have great need for repentance. Our wards, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of our hearts.
Thank you for your post! Brilliant! I don't live in the states at this time, so I'm definitely out-of-the loop. But as an outsider looking in, it breaks my heart to see the video you posted. I'm in my late 50's and could care less about glitzy shops and fancy expensive apartments. This is pure commercialism. What's the church thinking/doing? Is this what Christ would build if he was here? Is this what Christ would do with the money? Also, I loved the story of Connie and the Christmas dinner. Inspiring!
You said at the very end, "And let us also shun the spirit of the Devil, of whom Brigham Young said, he only knows how to tear down and destroy"
Anonymous, I'd say that you are partaking yourself of the spirit of the Devil because it sounds as though you are lashing out in anger. Believe me, I know something of anger as the Lord has charged me to control my emotions in my patriarchal blessing and when I'm under that influence, I definitely do not feel the Spirit of the Lord.
You said, "Joseph Smith built a temple that had fine china in the plaster."
You may want to take this into consideration as you read the following from Artemus Millet: Builder of the Kingdom by Josh E. Probert and Craig K. Manscill, pg. 64
Much has been said concerning the exterior stucco of the Kirtland
Temple. The common story is that the women of Kirtland donated their fine
china to be crushed and mixed in with the stucco, thereby adding a shimmering surface. That glass was put into the plaster is true, yet there are no
records that tell of any fine china. Artemus’s journal and other contemporary accounts use the phrase “old glass and crockery.” His son recalled,
“Artemus sent men and boys to the different towns and places to gather old
crockery and glass to put in the cement.”70
Stories about fine china being mixed in the Kirtland Temple stucco do not appear on the historical record until 1940—over a hundred years after the dedication of the temple.71
REFERENCES 70 & 71
70. Millet, “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island, ‘A Brief History of Artemus Millet, Son of Ebeneazer Millet.’”
71. Jennifer Lund, Curator of Education at the LDS Museum of Church History and
Art, has compiled a chronological history of the glassware stories, which is in the possession of the authors.
Keep in mind that many stories that have been circulated in the church were inaccurate, yet people held on to them because they were "faith promoting". You know kind of along the lines of Paul H. Dunn. My fault when I joined the church at 21 years of age is that I loved the Lord (no, I did not get religion by virtue of joining the church) and wanted to serve him. I found more being taught from members from sources such as My Turn On Earth or Saturdays Warriors or other folklore. Much of what I've experienced
Now, I understand that you feel very strong about your position, but one thing I've noticed about people who do not know how to distinguish between the doctrine of Christ and the "business" of the church is that they berate those who express their thoughts on how business is conducted. I could just as easily say, "as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion." in that suppression of thought and expression of thought fall right under that.
Rather than attempting a scathing rebuke, find out where many of us are coming from. We have testimonies of Jesus Christ and His gospel. We love Him and want to serve him. I guess what I am seeing as a member of 31 years is pretty much clear. I've noticed intolerance of any genuine thoughts of disagreement about things in the church. No discussion or discourse, because if you feel or think you know everything, whats the purpose.
Great article, Rock!
That link you provided is disturbing:
This (the url above) is the most disgusting thing I've ever read in my life. I don't know what's worse: the article, or the comments. These members of the Church are of the worst kind. They literally make me sick.
Maybe they should take a break from reading the Ensign for a while, and try giving the D&C a perusal. But then again, why would they want to? The D&C, according to the modern faithful Monsonite, is full of apostate teachings, like accountability and discipline of Church leaders, the principles of transparency and common consent, not trusting in the arm of flesh, etc.
D&C 104:71: "And there shall not any part of it be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent."
It is our RIGHT to question Church leadership on finances. If you don't like what the Lord has to say on the subject, then stop pretending to be the Church of Christ, and admit you're just the Church of Monson, acting in open opposition to the word of God.
Not only is this a bit rude, it is a sinful behavior. We are to follow our great exemplar, Jesus Christ, who pointed out that He never told us to go away. Instead, He says to all, "Come unto me." We are following Satan if we tell people to leave the church of Jesus Christ.
Just because it has flaws and just because the leaders may have flaws does not suddenly make the church not Jesus' own. He will clean it up someday, but with an attitude of "shut up or leave," I fear you may be one of the ones the Lord teaches in a direct manner during the painful cleansing process.
And for any who would try to start a fight with me, accusing me of thinking I am better than others, I assure you that is not the case. I am a vile sinner who has turned to Christ to change my heart away from anger and other unrighteous thoughts and behavior. For all I know, I will also be one of the people cleansed through nightmare when the Lord cleans His church.
ke da wei, I would say that ultimately all church funds come from donations, because some people have the church written in their wills, some give donations that are not filed under tithing (even donations of buildings and such), and so forth. Still, the principle is the same: if the donations come from the members, according to the D&C they have a right to know where it goes (actually, I think the scripture may say they have a right to SAY where it goes, but I don't feel well enough today to look it up).
Oops. I accidentally clicked "Anonymous" - That post above to ke da wei was from me.
THAT is the scripture I was thinking of - the one Anonymous posted in D&C 104.
Right, tithing and other offerings.
I can't believe you spent all that time on this comment or reading this post.
Most of my adult life I have been labeled a right-wing extremist, but this is the first time anyone has ever accused me of being a leftist.
Ke Da Wei,
Thank you for that correction.
Ski Bike Junkie,
You are correct that my analysis of the viability of the mall is speculative. I did not intend it to be taken as anything but my opinion, but I base my opinion on what I believe to be the current economic outlook in Utah and the country.
I do not wish the mall to fail, but I believe that it will not succeed. I believe this depression will continue to get worse for at least the next ten years as there is no avoiding the coming hyperinflation and/or devaluation of the dollar. I believe the middle class will have less disposable income to spend in the near future, not more.
As I stated early in the piece, whether the mall was a good idea or a bad one is almost beside the point. What is salient is that the members were kept in the dark and had no opportunity to give their consent to this major undertaking which was built with Church funds.
Rock, I've often wondered about that. In 2004 I was working full time for a bank and going to school full time. After 7 years of working for the bank I and my department were kicked out on the street without a severance package. I was unemployed or very under-employed. Now understand that I'm a Approaching Zion/Hugh Nibley fan and understand about trusting in the arm of the flesh. I was convinced somewhere in my church life against my better judgement that if I finished school and went further in to debt that all would be well. It was a lesson for me. Lets just say that be things not being fine, in one sense, I brought me back to my spiritual senses and proved to me that I was not just imagining things when it came to the attitude that all is well in Zion. I took the hit early, while others have felt a pinch here and there, but I get the feeling that they are going to eventually feel it. My wife is the stake food storage specialist and like you have, I have a fine example of a wife who is down to earth, people love her and I'll just say if it wasn't for her, I'm not sure how I or my kids would have made it through these past 8 years. Rock, we have little money, but we try to prepare.
Yeah, I get the same thing in my ward. I had a guy in front of a bunch of people one Sunday say I was a liberal and when I asked him why he thought that, he said "well I figured you were because you're a musician and play the guitar and music and all that stuff". It's typical of people who's only identity is being a member of the church. Take that away from them and they would be devastated. I'm glad I know who and what I am, regardless.
I'm glad you're doing something, Bryan. As I show on my other blog, it's possible for someone as dirt poor as me to accumulate a good store of food even a little bit at a time:
You seem to have missed my point, Anonymous, since you insist on the same point I made. It was indeed God working THROUGH Connie and her friends, as you state, that demonstrated his power.
I did not say God can't do anything, just that he cannot perform certain actions in person due to the laws that he lives by. The examples you gave of God feeding the multitudes and healing the sick took place when he was here in the flesh. For the sick to be healed and the hungry fed today, he must inspire others to act in his stead. God does not lay his own hands on the sick, he has mortals do it for him while he acts through them.
And yes, God provided Manna in the wilderness, but he did not come down in person and deliver pancakes. He had plants and insects already in place prior to the arrival of the Israelite
s trek from which manna was probably derived. Such provisions must have seemed like miracles to the Israelites who had never been in the desert before and seen that stuff.
Wikipedia gives several examples of foods that fit the description of a food that had to be gathered in the morning before it spoiled in the desert heat. One is a substance known today in the middle east as "man hu" which "fits one widespread modern identification of manna, the crystallized honeydew of certain scale insects. In the environment of a desert, such honeydew rapidly dries due to evaporation of its water content, becoming a sticky solid, and later turning whitish, yellowish, or brownish; honeydew of this form is considered a delicacy in the Middle East, and is a good source of carbohydrates."
There are several other suggestions as to what manna might also have been, but the point to remember is I was relating an incident that occurred because God was able to draw upon the assistance of other human beings to help that woman. There was no one living in the wilderness who God could whisper promptings to so they would go and feed the Israelites. For that miracle, God had to provide something that grew or was manufactured by nature ahead of time. I have no doubt that God placed manna in the desert, but there is no indication in scripture to suggest that he came down and placed it there in person.
The point of the story is that we deserve to be in tune with God's spirit so we can be ready when He calls with an assignment. Connie was.
And of course it goes without saying that God can atone for our sins. But I was not referring to that.
Thanks for that clarification, Kay. I wonder when it was exactly that the Church stopped declaring tithing receipts.
For those unfamiliar with him, Weston Krogstadt, valiant defender of the faith, will slap you down hard and fast if you get out of line:
Three examples come to mind: the Zoramites, the people of King Noah, and the Pharisees. Certainly none of these examples apply to the present day Latter-day Saints. I’m sure these examples are to show us, the chosen people, how different and special we are. These particular scriptures are not talking about us, the faithful, true-believing Latter-day Saints, since we know that the Church will never be taken from us and the prophet will never lead us astray.
So, although the following examples could not possibly be applied to the current Church or its members, it’s interesting how money affected some people (not us) in ages past.
27 Behold, O God, they acry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are bpuffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the cworld.
28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their abracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.
8 And it came to pass that king Noah [the leader of the Church] built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of aprecious things…
9 And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things.
10 And he also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the atemple, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass.
11 And the seats which were set apart for the ahigh priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people.
12 And it came to pass that he built a atower near the temple; … and he could even look over all the land round about.
13 And it came to pass that he caused many buildings to be built in the land… and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation [tithing] of his people.
Noah and his kingdom sought not “the welfare of Zion,” but rather to further the cause of Babylon, that they “may get gain and praise of the world” (2 Ne. 26:29). Their practice of priestcraft was to them priesthood and authority. But it was to the Lord nothing more than men who sought to gratify their pride, and who exercised “control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men” (D&C 121:37).
Like the Pharisees’ reaction to the Lord, Noah and his people were surprised “that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man (Mosiah 12:13). They were surprised that somebody would challenge their righteousness. The wicked priestly class of Christ’s day was surprised at His message of admonition and repentance. In their view, they were the only people actually keeping all of the commandments. To them, even Christ and his disciples transgressed “the tradition of the elders” (Matt.15:1-3). Christ taught them that it was precisely by way of their tradition that they “transgressed the commandment of God” (http://www.inmountzion.blogspot.com/2012/07/king-noah-and-his-kingdom-part-3.html).
You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matt. 6:24).
How dare you cite scripture to demonstrate the folly of our people, Adam. Didn't you get the memo? Our religion stands for whatever the prevailing opinion of the day happens to be. Bringing foundational Mormon scripture into a discussion of how Mormons should conduct themselves seems a bit unseemly.
Next time try and limit your comments to what you THINK the gospel teaches, rather than what it actually stands for, you zealot, you.
Adam, Nice analysis. I do think the taxes were actual taxes, something that both King Benjamin & Mosiah condemned. Tithes may have been used too, but I don't know if the scriptures around that would be detailed enough to tell. I would have to look it up, but don't have time right now :\ . Thanks for the time in putting your analysis together!
Alan, your opinion about what's to come aside, I was only pointing out that I think the speculation detracts from the credibility of what is an otherwise very good article.
Anonymous, are you one of the sons of thunder. Please read the following, "Ye know not what manner of aspirit ye are of."
51 ¶And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command bfire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of aspirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to bdestroy men’s clives, but to dsave them. And they went to another village.
Sorry about getting nasty yesterday. I just want you to know and I'm not boasting, that my family and I have been tithe payers all of my church life. I pay my tithes to the Lord and realize that nothing is mine, not the money I make working at my job, my family...nothing. I am nothing without Christ. That is why my nickname is Zero. I just understand the questions and do not believe in "my way or the highway" mentality. The Savoir was never ever like that. I feel His patience everyday with me.
LOL! Thanks Alan. I really did laugh out loud at that one. I think much more of you now.
In fact, if you don't mind, I'm going to use those exact words in my profile description: "valiant defender of the faith, will slap you down hard and fast if you get out of line"
Alan, years we had a very focused stake presidency concerning food storage. My wife and I were called (actually they made it look like that but I was more of her lackey) as the ward food storage specialist. The stake presidency wanted to get across just that point. We showed people how to get food storage together, no matter what the income. People may think I'm the touchy-feely type but we developed a food storage class in our ward, piloted it and then the stake presidency wanted to move it out to the other wards. The message was, just get started and the Lord will bless you. The only thing I didn't like and I'm not sure who's idea it was, but our Bishop at the time added another question on to the temple recommend interview about food storage. This last time, I didn't hear it being asked by the current bishopric. Serving in that position opened my eyes and my wife is now the food storage prophetess. Ow! Did I just give the sycophants some more ammunition with that last comment?
Anonymous @ 7:35 AM.... You said:
"It strikes me that the writer of this piece has no vision of Zion, or has decided that he knows better than prophets how to build Zion"
"...how would you build Zion ?
"Yet you have completely lost your understanding that in the term "building Zion" the word "building" stands prominently."
You have hit upon the crux of the matter. If you believe the Book of Mormon, then you will realize that your argument is moot. Nowhere are we (being "Gentiles") commanded, commissioned or instructed to build Zion. That is not our birthright (although we are happy to claim it is, and steal from the "Remnant of Jacob").
Our lot is pretty straight-forward. We are to not harden our hearts, repent, come unto Him, be baptized in His name, and come to know the true points of doctrine. That's it. If we can do those things, then we have this promise:
But if they will repent and hearken unto my words...they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem. And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
Why are we so focused on "building Zion" when it isn't even ours to build? Pretty presumptuous. It's no wonder, as you said, "the West has never come close to succeeding in building Zion." The "West" (or the Gentiles) have never been told to build it, at least in the Book of Mormon. We are instructed to repent, come unto Him, and know His true points of doctrine. What are these points? What is it we are repenting of, anyway? Once we can start answering these questions, we'll cast aside this dog and pony show (the big Distraction) and realize what we're REALLY supposed to be doing at this juncture. Then, someday, if we're lucky, we can "assist" in building Zion, but the blueprints of how that will be laid out won't be in our hands, so why bother arguing about it right now?
Actually we're not saying the same thing. You're saying (and I'm para-phrasing) God has to have a mortal to be able to do His work when He's not personally here. I'm saying He does NOT have to have a mortal, though, He often choose to.
In Exodus 16:4 it says "...I will rain bread from heaven..." So no "He did not come down in person," but scripture doesn't indicate He sent a bunch of insects or some other logical method to make sure it was there. It says He was going to literally send it down from Heaven.
Then Christ in John 6 (namely 6:31-33,41,50-51,58) repeatedly makes reference back to this to declare the truth of who He is, God from Heaven. Jesus wasn't conceived by some logical, reasonable method, because He literally came from Heaven (thence why He could be born of a virgin). If Manna wasn't supposed to represent Christ and that He was the real bread from Heaven, why would He go to such lengths to drive home that point?
I've read enough of your articles to see you value getting exact quotes, so what was actually said can be discussed. In both the Old and New Testaments it says the Manna came down from Heaven. Why not take God at His words?
Be my guest, Weston. Happy to be of service.
Well, we don't really know what manna was, but scholars have made what I think are some pretty good guesses as to what it could have been. We do know that the bible often speaks metaphorically, so we need not accept literally that he rained manna down from heaven. That would be a pretty hard landing for the manna if it was literally dropped from that distance. Seems to me the Israelites would be waking up to a scattering of some very smushed vittles.
Whether It's more likely that God had his method of delivering the goods where they were needed whatever means he did it by; whatever it was, it was miraculous and very much need. Nevertheless you continue to misinterpret my words and distort my meaning to assume I don't believe in miracles. I do.
I do believe, as I said, that God is not permitted, either by his own laws or the laws of the universe, to personally come down and drop off a box of groceries to everyone who prays for help. Otherwise that is what he would do, and everyone would be well taken care of simply by asking God for help. He has put us here to be his hands and to do his will. If we ignore the promptings of the spirit, he may choose some other person or people, but ultimately if enough people ignore God's influence, people suffer due to our inaction.
You have extrapolated my words to presume I believe God's power is limited, and that I must believe he is incapable of performing miracles. I would prefer it if you limited your criticism to what I actually said, not what you imagine I meant by it.
Thank you for appreciating the story that Rock wrote about me- to most all of Rock's readers.
Truly there is more to this story, and the miracle of it was that I and my 3 friends had NO money. We prayed and felt someone needed food, not knowing how we could accomplish His will. We went into a store, where the Manager almost was yelling at us that "We have already given too much charity this entire year!" We told him that a family was in desperate need. Suddenly his whole demeanor changed, and he simply went with us and gathered all that food. This was a great miracle in and of itself!
To find this family felt like looking for a needle in a haystack. Then something happened. The car seemed to be driving itself. How we found this starving little family was truly humbling. We felt Angels all around us and The Christ above us. It still brings me to tears thinking that we were chosen to be vessels of His will that night.
Over the years, when we had no money for Christmas, we found boxes of anonymous gifts and food. When we had the means we gave anonymous Christmas and boxes to others. It has been Rock and I's great honor to buy meals for starving homeless people. I really don't like speaking of this to anyone...but when anyone puts down my husband, the man who taught me to be open to the Spirit, and listen to these promptings. Well I just had to say to anonymous who is arguing with Rock over this very subject right now, take this matter up in serious prayer and humble yourself sir.
There are millions of good people in this world who ARE God's vessels. Paid or not. The coast guard who won't give up searching for lost sailors. Firemen who bring children out of burning homes, to their parents arms, risking their own lives. So many teach children and offer food to 3rd world countries.There is NOTHING in it for them anonymous.
There are so many more examples. We ARE Gods hands, eyes and ears. What we really are, is His children with great hearts to do some good in this world. Open your heart and eyes, then perhaps you will be inspired to be the vessel to help those around you. God IS GREAT!!
Rock, maybe you should have pointed out to this guy that the idea that God is not all-powerful is a central tenet of mormon doctrine. Unlike the Catholic and protestant churches, we don't believe God created the heavens and the earth from nothing. He had to use the existing matter. Other churches think God created it all out of nothing, and they think we blaspheme when we say that would not have been possible.
Neither can he violate the principles of free agency by performing the acts of charity that we are supposed to be doing.
I think Anonymous got hung up on a minor issue. He or she read that line about God not being all powerful, and was unable to process your explanation that came after. Could it be this person has never known the blessings that come from assisting the needy personally? Perhaps he is one of these people who think their duty to God ends once they've handed their tithing check over to the bishop. I know plenty of members who feel that by paying their tithing, they have done their part and when a homeless person asks for change they are annoyed.
I found it interesting that one of my facebook friends, Leon Berg, recently posted that video about the Golden Temple also. There is no reason why we shouldn't be doing something like that in every stake of Zion.
That link again:
My point was never to suggest we can't or aren't used by God. That caring for the poor ends with tithing or what not. My whole point was on God IS all-powerful and that ONLY an all-powerful God would have the ability to save people from their sins.
The scriptures show again and again that God is all-powerful and that's why we can believe in Him. That His atonement actually has the power to cleanse us from our sins. That He can and will answer prayers, with or without mortals as His aids.
You said "God does not lay his own hands on the sick, he has mortals do it for him while he acts through them." The suggestion is that He can only work miracles through using mortals (if he is not there in person). That he can only work if we listen and act. I wasn't saying that He doesn't do that. He certainly does! I'm saying God has the ability to act without any mortal laying on hands or physically doing anything. Though, yes, He certainly does do that too.
GayBob, hit the nail on the head. Only I don't believe it's a minor issue. An all-power God can create something out of nothing and thus has the power to save from sin - that's the one I believe in. Though, no I don't think that just because God can act without us that means I do nothing. That's not what scripture teaches. I have personally helped and do help and think ALL should help! God does work through us and uses us as His vessels. But, He doesn't NEED to use us, He WANTS to use us and hence does use those that are willing. It's apparent that view is a very different way of looking at things than Mormon doctrine seems to suggest.
It seems I've fail in explaining myself clearly and I apologize for the misunderstandings. I wasn't trying to take anyone out of context. My point from the beginning was God IS all-powerful, not just an organizer of what already existed and not someone who can only work through others if he is absent.
The conversation seems pointless. The God's we serve are very different in character and ability. Seems we won't convince each other, it's pointless to continue. Again I apologize for the appearance of seeming to demean the experience of your wife. That was never my intent!
Weston, If I were your Bishop (and I am a Bishop), then I would tell you that the scriptures are clear that we face strong condemnation in our day due to wickedness. Someone mentioned 3 Nephi 16:10 in another comment. Christ is speaking in that scripture and He is speaking to us as members of His church. Compare 3 Nephi 16:15 with D&C 101:39-40 if you are unsure that Christ was speaking to us as Latter Day Saints. If what Christ says is accurate, we must be able to identify how those sins are manifest today. This does not change that this church is Christ's church. Christ does lead and guide this church and He visits those who come to Him. We are very much like the Israelites shortly before Christ was born in Jerusalem.
The Nephites rebelled knowingly. Look at 3 Nephi 6: 10-18. We have enough warning and we should be able to recognize how these sins are manifest today. If we do not, we risk condemnation. President Taylor once said that Matthew 7 was also speaking specifically about Latter Day Saints. Talk about strong words. It pains me to think that anyone could receive such a terrible condemnation.
Recognizing sinful behavior is not criticizing the church. We must be able to recognize when we have gone astray. The scriptures certainly prophecy that we will.
I am sure that you are sincere in your desire to defend the faith, but please be open to revelation. Read the scriptures carefully. I know Brother Waterman is sincere in his desire to hold fast to the Gospel of Christ. None of us are perfect, but as long as we are able to seek truth and be open to our own imperfections, we can be led by the Spirit to further light and knowledge.
12 And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.
13 Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
21 Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly angry because of those who testified of these things;
Excellent piece again Rock. I for one, wish you WERE more of a lefty, take that anonymous crankster.
@ Anonymous on August 2, 2012 8:08 PM
While I appreciate your words above, your proposed reading places events incorrectly in time, as I shall show.
In 3 Nephi 16, Jesus speaks (as part of a communication started in chapter 15) to the twelve he had chosen, of other sheep he must visit. He instructs them to write down the things he's said to them after he leaves, against a day when, perhaps, those who knew him at Jerusalem would be too unconcerned to inquire of the Father about others whom they didn't even know existed--others also visited by him. The disciples were obedient to this request, having written all that transpired of Jesus' visit onto the Plates of Nephi (referred to as "these sayings" in verse 4, which would one day--a "latter day" (verse 7)--be made known to the Gentiles). An abridged account of Jesus' visit, taken from the Plates of Nephi and identified as the "lesser part", was written into the gold plates by Mormon, which we now read as part of the Book of Mormon today (see 3 Nephi 26). In this, Mormon's glimpse, we read of *that* day, when the "greater things" (Mormon's words) will be made manifest to the Gentiles, contingent on their belief, and when the events spoken of in 3 Nephi 16 will subsequently take place (the fullness, Gentile acceptance/rejection, covenants remembered, savorless salt, etc). This establishes the who, and the when. What wickedness, then, to echo your question? Gentile pride, lyings, deceits, mischiefs, hypocrisy, murders, priestcrafts, whoredoms, secret abominations, all in the face of this greater revealed text (and others, I suspect) shown them; in spite of what they will know about it and what is says about this Jesus. This unbelief, among those to whom these greater things will come, will mark a new chapter; when the fullness of the Gentiles will come; their day of grace being ended, God will then reverse the tables, so to speak, and will again remember Israel and will establish his gospel among them (bringing along any Gentiles as are able to shed their tendencies).
I'll admit this is a rarefied reading of the Book of Mormon, but one easily supported by the text itself.
Well, they didn't use or invest or convert any of my tithes. I stopped when i left in the early 1990's. ha-ha-ha
also, I detect a bit of God, said it, I believe, and that ends any debate, for a rew church zealots. This of course ignores the; as far as it is translated correctly quote from a true and righteous prophet of God.
P.S. love ya bro!
Yes, brothers and sisters, it's true. My own brother is a heretic.
No that isn't what ended the debate, it's not going anywhere productive. Though, I would have to ask why would the Church have an incorrect translation on their site?? A "true and righteous prophet of God" would want to insure the world has the correct translation available to them.
Or would they? If they like to hide their money ventures, what else might they not want the world or it's members to know?
I feel your interpretation is in error and has the potential to lead one to feel all is well in Zion. D&C 20:9 states that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the Gospel. D&C 84 states that we have fallen under condemnation for failing to do according to what is written in the Book of Mormon. D&C 124 states that the fulness of the priesthood was taken from us and we failed to get it back because we failed to finish building the Nauvoo temple. As a result, we received cursings, wrath, indignation and judgements. The fullness acceptance/rejection which you state is yet to come has already happened.
You can choose to interpret the scriptures how you please. You might think that Alma was not speaking to us today in Alma 5, but was addressing his people. When I read Alma chapter 5, I feel Alma's words pierce me to my heart. They apply to us today as much as they ever applied to his people.
53 And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings; yea, can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your riches?
54 Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another; yea, will ye persist in the persecution of your brethren, who humble themselves and do walk after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they do bring forth works which are meet for repentance—
55 Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them?
56 And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.
Great article. And thank you for sharing with us that beautiful experience that your wife had.
Just want to throw in my two cents for whatever it is worth (or not worth).
I do agree with anonymous.
God does not need us. We need Him. He is all powerful. The fact that he does not come down Himself is to respect our agency. He wants us to love and serve our brothers and sisters and grow in our compassion and love of those around us. He also wants us to believe in Him and call on Him. The fact that we do not have angels ministering among us and the miracles that we saw in the early part of the church and in the bible is due to our lack of faith (Mormon 9:15-20, Moroni 7:27-38, Mormon 1:13).
Amen to this! Exactly my thoughts.
What you are conveying is what I was trying to say in my clumsy way, Commander. Of course God is all-powerful, but he is not "permitted" to do certain things precisely because, under His law, as you aptly point out, the performance of those acts would interfere with our free agency to perform them. And so, in a manner of speaking, he "can't" do certain things.
So while I agree that "with God all things are possible," not everything God CAN do, is he allowed to do under the laws of heaven. I certainly see why it might be jarring to hear someone say God is not all-powerful, but I used that phrase as a way of illustrating my own shocking realization that, unlike how some in the sectarian religions perceive him, our religion teaches that God's miracles are manifest according to certain laws, and not arbitrarily. God understands the workings of the universe, and he performs his mighty works according to those laws, where to us it is all a great mystery as to how and why.
Another way of putting it is that God does not operate through some sort of cosmic "magic," (such as creating the universe ex nihilo), but he does it by organizing matter in a way that to us may seem like magic, but to him is orderly and perfectly logical.
My choice of the phrase "God is not all-powerful" may seem a poor choice of words, but I used it precisely to illustrate what was a jarring realization (to me) that God does not operate arbitrarily, as traditional protestantism and Catholicism have long presumed.
That having been said, I believe that not only do we need God, but he "needs" us in order for Him to evolve eternally and fulfill his purpose, as evidenced by his statement, "this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
But now I'm getting into deep theological waters that are certainly open to vigorous debate and interpretation. My use of the words "God is not all-powerful" was a way of saying our God is a god of order, who operates under certain laws "established before the foundation of the world." How and why those laws were originally established is often a matter of varied speculation.
And now having said all that, I fear I'm no clearer now in explaining my meaning than I was before.
I already knew all of this, and I've been feeling awkward about what to do about it temporally.
I know in one corner of my mind and heart that this is all prophesied, because I spend a lot of time in the Book of Mormon, so in that respect, I am not shaken. I am just not sure what to do. My spouse and I discuss it and get nowhere.
For now we plan to continue to pay our tithing to the church, come what may. I'm not saying that that is the right decision for everyone, just for us.
I do believe that anyone who has misused the tithing will be held accountable--
and we've lived such a 'outside the box' church life and had our recommends threatened for so many silly things (never anything to do with commandments or personal worthiness) that I don't think either of us feel strong enough physically and mentally to sign a petition--
though, again, I believe that is a choice each person must make.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to be thrown into the fire (*no sarcasm intended*) as a martyr and be done with it.
As for God not being all powerful, yes, I acknowledge that that is a semantics quagmire.
He IS all powerful, but He is not the one being tested here on earth; *we* are. I do believe that He could accomplish feeding people, but it's more important that we be tested than that people get fed; otherwise, He wouldn't allow wars and atrocities, etc., etc., ad infinitum.
When people say, "where is God?" over acts of war and brutality and other heinous things--
God is there, watching us be tested and hoping we'll pass the test--
so--yes; He is all powerful, but the point of our being down here is for *us*, not for Him (I already said that), except that He experiences intense joy when one of *us* does something selfless--
As for President Monson down to Brigham Young, I do thing that these presidents of the corporation/heads of the quorum of the 12 have keys; I believe that; I think things remain running--
as for malls and banks--
I'm really, really glad I'm not either an apostle of the wife of an apostle at this time in the church's journey--
I do believe these men have been good men, as good men go--as righteous men go; I believe they have lived virtuous lives and done their best according to their understanding, to keep things going--
but I remain saddened as Zion seems to be farther and farther away--
we are getting poorer and poorer; it seems that we have less and less to share, and we have heavy burdens in our family--
certainly could not shop in a place like that--
I suppose we could walk through the building--
that would be the extent of it--
but it's thousands of miles away from where we live, our car is ancient, and we don't have enough $$$ for gas to get to SLC--
so it's another world--
a world that seems to be tottering on some kind of brink, however--
I've said enough.
I have perhaps chosen the cowardly route; I have given this dilemma up to God--
I'll let Him deal with it--
anonymous 7:35 a.m. August 1--
I'm the person who found this site from the DailyPaul; I'm a Mormon who is deeply concerned about liberty and individual rights--
and not collectivism.
As one of those I really do appreciate that the leaders of the church have unique stewardships that are separate from mine. I'm willing, well, no, I must let them make mistakes, because they are agents.
I believe so powerfully in individual agency that I won't interfere with them--
I'll make my own decisions based upon personal revelation that I receive, and I'm very choosy about sharing that personal revelation with anyone (beyond my spouse)--
So, I'm willing, after much prayer, to continue to pay my tithing to the church and let those who handle it account for it--
but . . .
there comes a point at which each person must decide for him/herself whether or not he/she is living a truly righteous life.
Sometimes something happens to a loved one or to ourselves or in the world that shakes us up and makes us feel that we have to be ready YESTERDAY, because we aren't spiritually prepared--
and we know we have to repent.
It doesn't matter what happened to me, but I reached that point a while back. Before that time I was quite content that malls be built in the name of the Lord, because, well, after all, we must shop, correct?
We do not have to shop. We aren't sent down to earth to shop; we are sent down here to repent and to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Some use the word cognitive dissonance. Others use the word "insanity" to state what happens when you have to balance two standards.
While I don't condemn the 'brethren' for what they are doing, I can't feel good about being admonished to 'shop' by the prophet, when I am struggling to overcome my own materialism, no, not struggling to overcome it, working HARD to repent of it--
I won't tell the prophet/president of the church that what he is doing is wrong. But in my own heart I must tell myself that I simply can't associate with those kinds of ideas and values, or I am in peril, spiritually.
Hard to do when you've believed your entire life (and I've crossed off all the requirements on the list for being a worthy LDS)
that you would be 'safe' watching the prophet.
We are to follow Jesus Christ and heed the apostles/prophets--
and repent. I will heed the prophet; I will listen to his conference talks and see if there is anything there I can use.
But I refuse to shop, because he tells me to shop--
because I am responsible for my own salvation, and nobody else is. Nobody. I can't blame the prophet if I don't repent.
I do pray for them; I do. Maybe we are all in captivity, and they are like the righteous kings in Ether who 'ruled' in captivity--
If God has to evolve, than how can He have "no shadow of changing?" Evolution of any way, shape or kind is change, no matter how minutely small. It's still a change. How can anything be unchanging and evolving at the same time?
I live in Idaho and last year found myself in financial need. I had recently moved, and even though I had not been to church in a while I decided to contact my new bishop and set an appointment with him to try to get some financial assistance. I called his wife and left a message. I never did hear back from the man. I went to the Salvation Army offices that were modest and clean. They have full time staff that help people with heating, food, and jobs. Every penny that is collected goes right out to help people. The Salvation Army is far more Christ-like and compassionate than the Mormon church will ever be. Whats more is they do not build costly edifices(to God?) that divert funds from really helping people. They do not have a permanent staff of corporate fat-cats that have lived high on the hog at church expense for decades while admonishing the rank and file to pony up with the tithing money. Mormonism has become nothing but a bad joke to me and certainly not the safe harbor from the tempest that the savior offered.
Year by year the church gets farther off the mark. There is simply no righting this ship. No where in history has there been an instance where the church has returned from the brink of disaster without first being subjected to a great deal of adversity and suffering.
Well certainly latter-day Saints would agree that God's CHARACTER does not fluctuate, but it is pretty well understood that we differ with the sectarian world in our understanding that God progresses and continues to progress in knowledge and truth. Traditional Christians tend to believe God has always existed in a state of omniscience, while Mormon theology posits that he got to where he is by progressing to that state.
To what extent, and in what manner, that progression is manifest is of course a matter of continuous speculation in Mormon theology, as evidenced by the vigorous public disagreements on the subject between Orson Pratt and Brigham Young. But I think it's safe to say that Mormonism does not presume that God is static and unchanging the way other Christian faiths do.
As Blake Ostler demonstrates in "Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God," Mormon ideas about how and in what manner God's progression occurs has itself been an evolving doctrine over the years. Apparently not only does God evolve, but our ideas about how he does it are continuing to evolve also. It all remains an open question.
I was so inspired by that video about the Golden Temple--
I felt as though I were seeing a little bit of Zion--
and the food sounds a lot more wholesome than . . .
Chick-filet . . . :)
(couldn't resist that)
The food in the large LDS temples (our temple is tiny; people bring lunches)--
is not very good either--
but lentils and rice?
Please, Bishop Anonymous, call me Chuck.
I don't see how references to gospel fullness, condemnations, or priesthood in the D & C mean Jesus didn't say what he said, or that Mormon didn't say what he said about his abridgment of what Jesus said during his three day visit. In other words, please show from the text of the Book of Mormon where I have perhaps misread 3 Nephi 16, or how some imagined someone somewhere might potentially be lead to think all is well in Zion as a result of it.
"Hey, the Sikhs have this place that feeds millions of people a year. What do you Mormons do?"
"Well, once in a while we send some people down to a hurricane zone and we clean up some stuff. And we wear Mormon Helping Hands shirts. It's really good PR."
So why don't the Sikhs have Sikh Helping Hands shirts? It might do them some good.
I'm not seeing where Chuck is saying that "all is well in Zion." Just because we may have rejected the opportunity for the "fullness" before, doesn't mean that we won't get the opportunity again, if we repent with all our heart, might mind and strength (see D&C 98:47).
Besides, we have yet to, as you say, come out of condemnation, or do the things written in the Book of Mormon. (Repent, come to Christ, know the "true points of doctrine") We have not received the "greater things" (the sealed portion of the B of M or the Book of the Lamb in its purity).
What happens if you were to define "captivity" as spoken by Nephi in his vision with an angel, the way that he does? (Desire for "gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots... And also for the praise of the world") We can surely say that the we as a church and a nation still struggle with these things, in which case... we are STILL in captivity... not to England or the King, but to that Great and Abominable Church. If we look as the whore of the earth, who "sits on many waters" (her dominion) in a figurative sense (how else is there to look at it?), then we can realize that the group of Gentiles who come "upon many waters" and "out of captivity" is something that has not happened yet.
Which leads to the "fullness of the Gentiles." It is at this point that some will choose to come out of captivity, and some will harden their hearts in unbelief. But all we have now is "much of my Gospel" which was given to "try the faith of my people."
The Gentiles will not be wiped out (if that's how you want to put it) until we have the further records. Everything that has transpired from Nauvoo until now is just a comma in the Book of Mormon. We have been wandering in the wilderness until we can "have the faith of the Brother of Jared" so the the Lord can bring us the "greater things which have been hid up because of unbelief."
While you are spot on about Alma 5, that only shows that we are STILL in captivity and have yet to receive the fullness and the words of Christ (lilke Chuck said) as described in the Book of Mormon.
How do Mormon's explain John 16:13 where it says. "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into ALL truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (caps added). I understand from other comments that translation is an issue. So, instead of going to any translation go back to the Greek itself.
The Greek word that, that ALL is translated from is pas (http://concordances.org/greek/3956.htm). It's meaning "each, every; each "part(s) of a totality"
Or you can go with e-sword (a downloadable reference)
So, my question is if the Holy Spirit is supposed to be able to guide us into ALL truth (every last speck of truth), then does not God have to have, possess or be ALL truth?
http://concordances.org/greek/pan_3956.htm I give you this link only to show where else in the bible that Greek word is used, so that the true meaning of that word is understood. I don't know if it'll make a difference to you, but I hope, at the very least, it'll show I too try and do my "homework."
im sorry for my wording im not meaning to be rude or sinful, my question is serious. I dont understand how someone who so clearly has many issues with the church and the way it is lead would stay? Im not ignorant i know that the leaders of the church aren't perfect but im just so tired of blogs and posts hating on the church and its leadership, especially when this comes from within. I love the church and am more than happy to sit back and let the Lord deal with His church and His leaders in His own way.
When i say sit down or shut up perhaps i should refrase and say i personally would rather one person left the church than stay and make others doubt and question. If the writer of this blog is solid in their testimony then that is great but maybe others who are not as strong will read all this and leave.
I guess i don't understand how it helps the church to pubilcly point out what you see as flaws or problems?
Perhaps it would help if you explained what you mean by "the church."
I prefer to think of the church in the way the Lord defines it in D&C 10:67:
"Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church."
If you can point out the place on this blog where I have "hated on" the Lord's church or his doctrine, I hope you will point it out to me so I can correct my errors.
I stay in the Lord's church because I am a part of the Lord's church, and I love His doctrine.
I would also be interested in seeing any scripture that instructs or permits the members of Christ's church to happily "sit back and let the Lord deal with His church and His leaders in His own way."
Everything I see in the scriptures tells me that as members of The Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12), we have a responsibility to each other to "beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Collossians 2:8)
Are you asking what sort of additional things could there possibly be that God could get to learn or experience since he already knows everything?
Then why even make the suggestion He even does? If He knows everything from the beginning, why suggest He has anymore knowledge/truth to gain or progress to?
Why did I make the suggestion that God is ever learning and progressing? Because you seem to have forgotten that is one of the tenets of our religion.
The how, and why, and whether of it all has been a topic of vigorous debate among Mormon theologians since the early days of the church. Brigham Young and Orson Pratt went back and forth on the topic almost until they made each other's heads explode, and to my knowledge never satisfactorily explained anything, so don't ask me to settle the question.
This idea that we Mormons are expected to know everything about God is something we don't claim. No one understands the attributes of God. That's why they're called "the mysteries of Godliness."
My question was were does this idea come from? What in the Mormon religion gives credence to this idea?
Biblical Christians don't claim to have all the answers either. But, Mormon's do claim that they have more of the truth or answers than do all other Christian faiths.
Case and point: I have noticed through the articles I have read that you go back to what Joseph Smith said whether it's a part of official statements/revelations or unofficial journals and such (when I say unofficial - I mean not in the "Churches" official teachings, as is the D&C). Though he isn't living now you have at least enough of what he said, along with an understanding of what was taking place in history at the time, to feel/be confident in your analyse of where the current leaders/members are off.
Biblical Christians have in the New Testament at least enough of the apostles words and prophets of the Old Testament along with(again at least enough of) an understanding of what was going on at the time, to be confident in their position that much of Mormon doctrine does not line up with what the bible teaches.
It wouldn't matter, except for the claim that only the members of the Mormon church are the true body of Christ and thence the only true church.
*where - the question I meant to ask is where does the idea/doctrine come from?
I have been assuming that you were LDS, so I was addressing my comments from the position of one believing member to another. I am now coming to the understanding that you are not of my faith, so forgive me for my assumptions.
I did not create this forum for the purpose of proselytizing and recruiting new members. The topics addressed here presume the reader to already be familiar with the teachings of the Restoration. I assume those who read my pieces are the already converted, so I don't expend my efforts in trying to convert the unconverted. My blog, "Pure Mormonism" then is not the place to debate whether Mormonism is or is not the "true" religion.
That having been said, our scriptures quote Christ in D&C 10:67 saying that all who repent and come unto Him are his church. I take that to include all people from all denominations, as well as all the Restorationist churches. I don't think He sees any particular denomination as possessing all truth.
As far as where this teaching comes from regarding God progressing eternally (as is the privilege of all mankind), that teaching originated with Joseph Smith in a lecture known as The King Follett Discourse. (Greg Kofford Books has recently published an interesting biography of the man behind the discourse, by the way, available at http://www.gregkofford.com/products/the-man-behind-the-discourse )
This teaching of the eternal progression of God is something Joseph Smith only touched on, and not something deemed by many to be "essential to our salvation." So members have, over time, been free to speculate about it.
Whether or not, or even how God continues increasing in knowledge is considered by most of us a side issue to the gospel, so forgive me if I don't get as worked up about defending it as you might wish me to. I'm simply not interested in bible bashing about it. Not to mention, as I've said before, God is a mystery to me. I don't pretend to understand Him or all his great works.
I am familiar with many Mormon teachings, though much of what I know or think I know is markedly different than what you're saying here (though from what I see does seem to be in line with what most Mormons do believe).
For the record (per se) I would personally classify myself as merely another member of the body of Christ, unaffiliated with any denomination including those that claim to be non-denominational (Word of Faith or Calvary Chapel for example).
I have to admit I'm shocked by your view to include all people from all denominations being included in Christ's church. This is the first I've ever heard of any Mormon saying such a thing.
My intent never was to bible bash, though I get I can be confrontational or antagonistic without intending to be. It's one of my frustrating rough edges God's still smoothing out. I tend to be passionate and as it did here, it can get me into trouble.
Bible bashing in my view is an unseemly pointless battle of who can better prove their right. Facts, and scriptures for that matter, don't convert a person the Holy Spirit does.
That all being said my intent is to sort out what I understand mainstream (for lack of a better word) Mormonism claims verses what you claim here. So much of what I read sounds like it's in line or close to being in line with what many Christians believe. At the same there's a great deal that's completely upside down from what I and most other Christian faiths believe.
I would ask you answer me one other question and if you so wish I refrain from further comment, I will.
My question is, by your understanding of what "pure Mormonism" is (no pun intended), does one have to/need to go through the ordinances inside the Mormon temple to live in the constant presence of God (celestial kingdom)? (I only ask it that way, because by my understanding the middle kingdom of heaven is for "good people" and they get visits from Jesus, but not the Father - something like that).
I think you are really onto something with your point about the Great and Abominable church. What one might ask is, did we as a church receive the fullness and then reject it already. A careful study of our early church history suggests exactly that. A book or books could be written on this subject, so this is not the forum to get into the details here. We must ask ourselves, is it the Lord that rejects us, or is it we that reject the Lord by our actions. According to D&C 124, the Lord stated that if we did not finish the Nauvoo temple in the appointed time, "ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God."
Well, we never finished the Nauvoo temple. We were moved out of our place and received cursings instead of blessings. The fullness came forth out of captivity, was rejected and taken away.
Great point Inspire.
There is no need to refrain from further comment; one reason I began this forum was so that I could learn from others. I am not annoyed or offended by your input.
This blog was also begun out of a realization that a lot of what I believed about Mormonism was actually vain tradition, and the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. I'm motivated here by a desire to separate actual doctrine from Mormon urban legend. There is so much dross and detritus that has glommed onto this religion that it's often not an easy task to glean the real from the unreal. I certainly hope no one looks to me for answers. All I'm doing here is sharing some of the things that I've found interesting, and repenting for those beliefs I held that were never taught by the prophets.
So, I start with the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, then add the teachings of Joseph Smith. Even when his teachings are not actual revelations, I think statements he made are worth considering since he was the founder of the faith. Of course, I also accept the bible, but I have found I have to consult Strong's and numerous commentaries along with the spirit to determine whether some teachings are valid or not. (I reject Paul's admonition that women should keep silent in the church, for example.)
Any teaching in the church that contradicts an early revelation is suspect, so it must, to be valid, come by revelation. That's what we Mormons believe sets us apart from other religions; the fact that the things we believe have been revealed by God. So it should go without saying that if a teaching did not come by revelation, it is not a valid teaching.
Almost everything modern Mormons have come to believe about the Word of Wisdom after it was initially revealed, for instance, has come to us without any claim of revelation. Such as that it was made a commandment. God never amended his original words in section 89. (See my piece titled "Too Bad I Don't Like Beer" for a history of how we went off course.
Now to answer your question about temple ordinances: I just don't know anymore. When you compare the use of the temple today with the uses the Kirtland temple was put to, there's not a lot that matches up. Brigham Young claimed to have received the temple ordinances word for word from Joseph Smith, but a study should be done regarding how much time Brigham Young actually spent in the presence of Joseph Smith, since Brigham was almost always far away on missions. When exactly did these teaching events take place? Having attended the temple countless times, I can tell you that memorizing the endowment would require some really impressive memorization skills and a LOT of repetition. Maybe Brigham was just that good, who knows?
Add to all that the fact that after Joseph Smith's death, Brigham Young altered the construction of the Nauvoo temple from the original sketches Joseph laid out, and didn't claim revelation for it, and it's difficult to know what's valid about the modern temples and what is not. I think a lot of it probably is, but some of it might not be.
I do believe there are some ordinances that are important (baptism, no question), but I really am not in a position to make any definitive declarations as to what I "know to be true" and what I merely I believe to be true. Then there are those things I accept as probably being true without yet being certain.
I am still in "seeker mode," and, like Pilate, I'm still asking "what is truth?" I don't see this as a flaw. I think we all should be less certain about our fixed beliefs and more willing to keep looking for better answers.
It is a rather strange thing that every year we celebrate being cast out into the wilderness. Four generations later, here we are. But whether or not we were rejected as a church, we know that the Lord is merciful, and His arms are ever extended to the Gentiles. The promises to us have yet to be fulfilled, so it is pretty easy to see where we are in the timeline. As Chuck implied, there has yet to be the fullness of the Gentiles, though. This isn't to say that all is well in Zion, but I do think there are some wonderful things coming, if we can but shake off the scales of unbelief.
There is a book written about the subject, it's called the Book of Mormon.
Many of those who have died and then returned to our existential realm from a wholly different place, have reported that there came a moment for them when quite suddenly they knew everything that could be known, with it all making perfect sense. This included the history of the Universe from its beginning until its ending eons from now, a knowledge of everything within that Universe across time all at once, and an understanding of The Plan from Father God Himself, with each of us having a role in the fulfilling of it in some way large or small. In short, everything that Father God knows, all of His children also know, either because together they make up His persona, or because some kind of Cosmic Consciousness is immediately tappable at will, by our minds which on the other side are capable of comprehending it all because they are free of the diminishment which our bodies and brains grant to those minds while we are mortal.
This attainment is automatic. It does not have to be earned nor is it given. It just happens to all of us after we die and return to where we came from. Such a reward without cost goes against all of the teaching that Churches love to foist on their members, but remember that such teaching is meant to attain power over those same members when it is said that only "I" or "We" can grant these blessings to you...for a price. Remember that Peter, James, and John came down to give Adam further light and knowledge without price, but Satan didn't. It is sad that this is no longer a part of Mormon theology, but of course it shouldn't be surprising that it is no longer, because people were beginning to ask why the Tithing requirement for Temple Endowments. So, they took it out, like the third or fourth time they changed what was advertised as being eternal, and people never questioned it.
It must be very boring to be God, except when You are surrounded by the loving children You love so completely Yourself, that you have known literally forever. And so it is.
Perhaps it is because most LDS (Gentiles) of northern European extraction who live in the U.S. (especially) are filled with hubris--
I just pray for Jesus Christ to come and bring Zion--
I do know that the "remnant" will build, but I'm sure Jesus Christ knows the details better than any of *us*--
I certainly don't want to see it 'put off'; I don't know very many LDS who honestly want Jesus to come--
and as a result several of my family members and I are alone in our desire for Him to come soon.
There is a dynamic post at The Mormon Worker by Paul Toscano that should be of interest to those concerned about Church leaders expending their energies toward mammon. It is derived from an address Toscano recently delivered at the Sunstone Symposium:
inspire, *I* don't celebrate the 24th!
My family left Utah LONG, long ago--
for 'parts unknown'--
bad things happened to family members on both sides of the family (especially as a result of polygamy) as a result of leaving the midwest--
those who didn't die in Illinois and Missouri or in Winter Quarters found that there was no paradise in Utah.
Some did a little better in other western states, but many of the descendants have left and are no longer in the area--
some have returned, of course, and think that living in Utah is a wonderful thing--
I have never understood why the celebration over going to a desert--
I really had a fondness for President Hinckley, but I never did understand his deep attachment to SLC and Utah--
it seemed incongruous when so many LDS live outside Utah--
I don't know everything or pretend to know very much. But I steadily ignore the 24th of July every year.
My spouse is a convert who is descended from a long line of protestant ministers--
the 24th has never meant very much to him--
our children are from 'all over the world', and they merely blink when the 24th is mentioned--
We're curmudgeons, I suppose--
stuck in the mud--
I completely agree with you about celebrating being cast out, when I think we hardly understand the reasons we received those punishments. You are also correct that we are fully capable of receiving Christ's mercy as long as we repent. D&C 93:1 contains a profound promise to each of us.
Often we as Latter Day Saints have a strong tendency to apply the warnings in the Book of Mormon to other people. For instance, we often think Laman and Lemuel were so hard headed, why couldn't they just have been more like Nephi. Thank goodness we're like Nephi and not them, etc... Actually, I think we share far more in common with Laman and Lemuel then we do with Nephi.
That the Lord was speaking directly to Latter Day Saints in 3 Nephi 16 is not questioned. However if we apply those warnings to some future group of Latter Day Saints and not to us, we fail to understand what is written. Do the warnings in verse 10 apply to us at all today? I can testify that the sins listed in verse 10 are a very accurate description of the sins we are guilty of today. If we cannot or refuse to see that these warnings contained in 3 Nephi 16:10 apply to us now, or if we apply them to some future group of Latter Day Saints, we walk in darkness. Those who read the Book of Mormon and tell themselves how grateful they are that they are like Nephi and not Laman and Lemuel are those who say, "all is well in Zion."
Even though we are guilty of what is described in 3 Nephi 16:10, Christ clearly tells us that we can repent and return to Him, and be numbered among His people. This is the glorious and miraculous nature of the atonement. The promise contained in D&C 93:1 can be obtained by anyone in this life who follows that counsel.
While 3 Ne 16:10 is an apt description of us Gentiles, including and especially members of the church, we know that this particular event (taking the fullness from among them) is a future event because of verse 11. The Remnant of Lehi's seed is still oppressed. The fullness (in the form of the Book of the Lamb) has not been delivered to them by those Gentiles who have come out of captivity.
My personal opinion is that there will be an opportunity again for the Gentiles to receive the fullness in the form of the "greater things" that were hid up because of unbelief. If we're going to become salt that has lost its savor, then we should be judged based on whether we accept or reject what has been offered... ie, the fullness, not just "much of my Gospel."
I agree with you again the the events in verse 11 describe things which are yet to come to pass. It is also clear that verse 10 describes very accurately the Latter Day Saints today. Can you be sure how closely in time the events of verses 10 and 11 are related? Are you also certain exactly what was restored to Joseph Smith and what was rejected?
We know what WASN'T restored to Joseph, and that is the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. That is to come in the due time of the Lord, after our faith has been tried and we demonstrate the faith of the Bro of Jared to receive the greater things (the fullness). Once that is received (which I believe will be what separates the wheat and the tares) the repentant Gentiles will be adopted into the seed of Lehi and receive the Book of the Lamb. And their commission is to take this Book to the Remnant.
Perhaps these things could have been received generations ago, but we rejected them. The bottom line is that we still have the chance to repent and come out of bondage... at least individually. The time is ambiguous because our agency is a factor.
If your only definition of the fulness of the Gospel includes the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, then your interpretation can be understood. Are you stating that you can say with absolute certainty that is what what is being stated here with regards to the fulness of the Gospel?
Let's see here D&C 20:9 says:
"Which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also;"
Is that not then fair to say that the Gentiles have already received the "fulness of the gospel?"
Seeker mode is great place to be!! I personally believe that's where He really wants us to be. Our relationship with God should be like falling in love! Praying not because we should pray, but because if even for a few minutes we get to talk to this amazing person we just can't learn enough about.
It's kind of like dating in that respect. As any person who is really falling in love would likely say, you just can't get enough of the other person: can't spend enough time with them, can't hear their voice enough, can't reread their letters enough times. Then add to that everything you find out, just makes you that much hungrier to get to know Him more! It's just so exciting!!!
One of my new absolutely favorite stories in the New Testament is the adulterous women. She was publicly dragged in front of this large crowd to the feet of Jesus. Can you (and I say “you” as a general term) imagine your deepest darkest secret being "shouted" out for everyone to see? How humiliating? Add to that you know you're guilty, so there’s no defending yourself; they caught you in the very act (which must have been humiliating enough for her as it is). On top of that you’re at the feet of the ONLY person who can actually condemn you and you’re guilt! There’s no way out! You’re going to die and you deserve it!
I’m sure you know the story, Christ makes a comment trying to show all those ready to stone the woman they belong on the floor right next to her. They’re all just as deserving of death and burning in hell, because they sin too. Then we come to the amazing love of God. After they all leave, it’s just Him and her. Can you imagine how she still must feel? Yeah, everyone else left, but she knows she’s guilty, deserving of death, and is at the feet of Jesus, God. I highly doubt she felt any better, even if it was no longer a public display.
Sorry, I’m sure you know the story, but I love diving into the stories and living them as much as possible. So, there she is with this huge weight of her guilt on her shoulders and Christ says “Neither do I condemn you.” She didn’t ask for forgiveness, didn’t have to go through any repentance process, didn’t say any kind or number of prayers or anything else. She was there without doing anything more than simply staying at the Saviors feet not denying that she was guilty. She didn’t do what the others that were ready to stone her did and walk away. What the others missed was they too needed to fall down at the Saviors feet. They didn’t deny they had sin, but they wouldn’t sit at his feet waiting for His judgment knowing they too were guilty.
And Christ just forgave her! And all she really did was admit she sucked! Christ knew just how much she sucked and didn’t care! Of course He tells her to sin no more, but after that could anyone imagine her wanting to?? She committed what most would say is one of the absolutely worst possible sins any person on the planet can commit and she was forgiven just like that! Without having to first change anything! He wanted her to change her life, but He didn’t ask her to do that before hand. He knew all too well she couldn’t even begin to change her life without Him! That her very best would be as Isaiah put it “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
Sorry my reply is so long! This is part 2 of what I was saying...
God taught me when I was about seventeen, just how much I suck. I was a good person, could list off or check off a good number of things I was doing right. I was working hard and worthy of something, right? I was doing my part and would even get complements that I’m dependable or sweet, etc. Then I realized there were a number of things or times I was taking at least particle credit for having done something I asked God to help me with. Well, there went my credit in that thing or time. If I asked God to help me then He ought to get all the credit, no matter what part I played in it. After that the realization came that even if I hadn’t realized it at the time, anything good I did or was, all credit went to God. The only thing left was my sin, my evil filthy self, despite the fact of how good I tried to be and desperately did tried to be. Though I didn’t make the connection until recently, all of the sudden I could identify with the adulterous. I sucked and I mean really, really sucked! Just as Isaiah puts it, my very, very best was (is) filthy rags and what good is in me the credit goes to God.
It wasn’t until recently that I finally realized that like the adulterous women, He knows how much I suck! He’s always known, even when I thought I was hiding or unaware of it and He doesn’t care!! He loves me, because He is love, not because of anything I do or am. My very best is slop! Slop is nothing to boast about, nothing to give to my creator, my God and He doesn’t care! He just wants a relationship with me! For me to run to Him when I’m hurt or angry or in danger, or having a really good day or a lousy one! When I’m crushed with just how much I can’t get it right and act or be as He would, though with all my heart I want to! Like I said I SUCK!! And He’s always there arms wide open on the edge of His seat as excited as can be that I’m looking/coming to Him again. It makes no logical rational sense, but it’s true! God is incomprehensibly amazing!!!
I know my reply is really long (sorry about that), but let me touch on Paul saying women should be silent. It a misunderstanding many people have. I, myself, was livid quite honestly when I read it and again in Timothy. In Corinthians the problem he was addressing (in that moment) with that was a cultural one. In Jewish churches (at least than, though I think many still do). The men and women sat on opposite sides of the aisle and the women were whispering questions to their husbands form across the aisle. In a modern setting it would be like 6 or 8 people setting in a row and the two on either end talking to each other. It’s distracting and disruptive.
If the women started passing notes across the aisle instead of whispering, Paul might have said no writing in church. He wouldn’t have been saying don’t take notes or stop writing your questions down. Just that there’s a time and place. The women were asking the questions, so he addressed them. If it had been the other way around, Paul would have said it the other way.
As for Timothy, he was going to teach in a culture that was very much entrenched in worshipping a pagan god. A whole month was set aside to dedicate everything to the worship of this god. In this one the women domineered over the men and likely may have been in the practice of abortion (like many other pagan religions do). Timothy had a lot to do in reversing the horrible state of this twisted culture as he tried to preach the gospel.
Anyway, thanks for your view and insight. It’s helpful.
Rock, great post as usual. I just signed the petition asking for accountability from the church about how the money is spent and I encourage all to do so. The whole issue for me boils down to a very simple query: "What would Christ do with $5 billion?"
I dont think he would build a mall. In fact I'm comfortable saying that I'm sure he wouldn't. In fact, when he came upon the money changers in the temple Christ got very angry and kicked them all out. He didn't like people polluting the lord's temples with commercial enterprises and greed. We have a billion dollar mall surrounding Temple Square selling all sorts of wares. Seems a lot like those money changers to me...
But I do have one question. I have been following this story carefully for some time and think you are correct about the Church using interest on the tithing money to purchase investments. This is not a big secret. But very little is actually known about this, so i was surprised by this concrete statement: "a certain amount of tithing is immediately parked into investments where it sits for three years earning interest." Are you just speculating here? If not, what is the source for that statement?
No, he would just take the $5 billion and have his feet washed with it. :) JK
No tithing is different, the oil was someone's personal oil, not tithes, if I understand correctly.
I think it is a futile exercise to argue over what the "fullness" is and whether or not we have received it if we don't understand why it is so important and what our commission is as Gentiles.
I will admit that the Gentile who comes out of captivity could be Columbus and that we did have the fullness for a short while. Even so, the description in the B of M about the Gentiles also fits us today. We ARE in captivity to the Great and Abominable Church. We desire fine-twined linen and gold and silver and to be popular with the world. The question is, now what? Do we wait for Christ to come dressed in blood-red to wipe out all those who are asleep, since WE are awake and "chosen"?
The B of M doesn't tell that story. The repentant Gentiles are to know the "true points of doctrine" that they may be numbered among His people (3 Ne 21:6). All the while, the kingdom of the devil must shake. We are among the churches that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil, and we are the ones who will be... indeed ARE BEING disturbed and shaken to the center. (See D&C 20:56)
So, my interpretation is that the state we are in now is that of exile, but the opportunity exists to come to Him and receive the fullness. The Book of Mormon currently is "much of my gospel," or in other words, there is more than what we have (the sealed portion, the lost manuscript, the words of Christ at Bountiful, the Book of the Lamb, the Brass Plates, etc.)
As Christ said, through Moroni:
Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief. Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief. [the Lord is waiting for to show us all things, from the foundation of the world].
Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, [the captivity of the devil] then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, [not through rites of the Law of Moses] then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel.
And then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John [the Book of the Lamb in its purity] be unfolded in the eyes of all the people. Remember, when ye see these things, ye shall know that the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed.
As to whether or not I can say it with certainty, it's right there in the text. We can choose to believe or not.
When I think of fullness of the gospel I think the core of the gospel, i.e., believe in Christ, repent, be baptized, and follow Christ. What is more or less than this cometh of evil (paraphrased). That's the core which we should do. The rest is interesting and important, but not the core or fullness. There is more to be revealed, but our main goal in life is to come to Christ.
Actually Steven it wasn't just sparkling grape juice that was served at the VIP opening - they served a LOT of alcohol that night. I know, I was there! And I did enjoy it a lot!
I wish I could recall. I seem to remember it from an early article. I think a church spokesman was explaining the process. Can anyone else here nail down that source?
That's very well and good, but it must mean something more specific than we think, or else we would have reached Zion long ago. What is believing in Christ? You've got over 2 billion people in the world who claim to do that in one way or another. "Repentance" has been around since the Dark Ages, and people get baptized in pretty much all Christian sects. What is following Christ? Being nice? Being good? There are plenty of Mormons and non-Mormons alike who do this. Yet, here we are, still in captivity. There must be something more to these words which have become so cliche.
My personal opinion is that it has very much to do with this passage:
Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery:
For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts. Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine."
and this one:
...whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life; Yea, that it [the gospel] might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be.
and this one:
...and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.
and a bajillion others.
Well, I don't think most people believe in Christ, they draw near with their lips but their hearts are far from them (I could include myself in that statement). How many people do you know that say they believe in Christ but still support the violence of the state, wars and hurting people for doing benign things. How many people do you know who still yell at their children and spank them? How many people do you know who don't visit the sick and afflicted, who don't turn the other cheek, who don't care for the poor. I don't, sure, I pay fast offerings, but I don't do the rest. That is believing in Christ, a belief that will bring a person to action, if there is no action then does a person really believe? I don't think so, my faith is weak. Most people's faith is weak.
You are making the assumption that visiting the sick and afflicted, caring for the poor, etc. leads to Christ. These are all dead works, my friend. The most vile, wretched person can put on a show and proclaim they know Christ. But these actions are invisible to the Lord, because as you implied, He only sees our heart. Sure, believing in Christ will lead to all sorts of charitable acts and creative works, but they come because we desire it with all our hearts, we don't deny Christ and we can sing the redeeming song of love. Indeed, relying on our own merits in any way at all will damn us. We must put our trust WHOLLY on the merits of the Lord.
Look at the works of Alma I (wicked priest), Alma II (vilest of sinners), King Lamoni and his people (murderers). Even Nephi said he was a wretched man. Yet every one of these people or groups had a remission of their sins, and their guilt was swept away. This didn't come over time or out of good works. It came as a direct correlation to their belief in Christ. Not merely in His existence or the "atonement," but that He really WOULD have mercy on them. Mercy is something completely unmerited. It's not a trade of my good works for His redemption. That is justice.
If you say that your faith is weak, it is because you choose it to be so. That can change in an instant. I for one believe Christ. I will not deny Him what He is offering: the everlasting waters of life, but I will receive it with joy. THIS is the doctrine of Christ... for us to believe and accept His grace and mercy. If we Gentiles can get this through our thick heads, then we'll REALLY see the marvelous work and a wonder kick in!
I once approached the church and suggested that for a few million dollars they could revolutionize the education systems in the world. They could use BYU students by having them give 10% of their time dedicated to building an interactive website of learning. Using their language department they could translate it many different languages. This would allow every church in the world to become a school. It would eliminate Satan's control of education. First they could start with K-12 then on to college degrees. On every handout at the bottom they would have their logo. Great for missionary work. I was told by the head of the Perpetual education fund that we do not want to put any educational institution out of business. This statement sucked my mormom mojo right out of me. I am just glad that they have billions to throw into a mall. I no longer give money to the perpetual education fund and now I have a hard time paying tithing. I do not go to the temple because I cannot honestly say I sustain them as prophets seers and revelators. I know with 1.5 billion dollars I could rock the foundations of hell, but I guess a fancy mall is close to that.
Take care Alan
They didn't want to put any educational institution out of business, hmm? I recall reading how other businesses in the Salt Lake City area are concerned about City Creek threatening their continued existence since many members may see patronizing City Creek as a divine responsibility.
I guess competing with lackluster schools is off limits, but driving other stores out of business is just fine.
Inspire, I think we are saying the same thing here. What I am saying, if one truly has faith it will lead them to good works, that is, they will produce good fruit from their faith. Just as Alma I, Alma II, and King Lamoni. Once they were converted their actions changed. If ones actions have not changed I question if they truly have experienced a change in heart. Once again, people can proclaim Christ all they want, but if their actions don't change then their faith is weak, assuming it is existent at all. For their lips draw close to him but their hearts are far from him.
Jon, I agree with this statement: "Once they were converted their actions changed.
However, I am not the judge of what the Holy Spirit guides a person to do once they have "entered in by the way." For some it may be doing lots of works, like you suggest. Some I know have been told to not go to church anymore. Some have been told to bear with it. Some are in studying mode and some are in teaching. The Church has taught us that there is one way it will look, but taking the Holy Spirit as a guide is not a "program." So, in your questioning of others and their states, you become their judge of sorts.... not a spot I care to take.
The other thing is that you say your faith is weak. Is this because you think you aren't "doing enough"? Is there a tie-in between you saying "most people" have weak faith and that you do? Why not just believe Christ? Why does your faith have to be "weak"? Isn't this a choice? Why not choose for it to be "strong" and see where the Spirit takes you? Maybe it will be to a place of bounteous works, or maybe not. There are "divers ways" that the Spirit manifests itself.
...do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
The scriptures tell us we can judge the fruits, eternal judgment is God's, temporal judgment is ours (but we need to be careful when we do). I can judge the fruit of a person if they are not nice. Rock judges the leaders of the church. We can believe people are good, but misguided. But, the scriptures, I'm pretty sure, say misguidedness is akin to not having faith (like in Corinthians where having no belief in the resurrection makes one an unbeliever of Christ).
I'm not saying church interaction is necessary to be a Christian. That wasn't on my list. The things that are on my list are the same things that made the Earth/God destroy Sodom & Gomorrah.
As for my faith. I'm doing a lot of questioning right now and evaluating. I'll let you know in a few years when I've worked it out.
Godspeed on your journey.
I feel like my greatest strength is imagination and problem solving. In LDS lingo trouble maker or apostate.
Rock, since you dont live here in SLC you may not be as aware of this but the church has a history of being quite aggressive in its business dealings. When the Crossroads Mall came down several years ago Nordstrom planned on moving to the Gateway. The Church made all sorts of crazy promises to them to convince them not to go, and of course now they are the primary anchor tenant in the City Creek Mall.
At the time there were several news stories about the dispute, and the Church always insisted that they were not trying to hurt Gateway, and that the malls could coexist in peace. They hired one of the top law firms in SLC and lobbied the city council to deny a zoning change that would have facilitated the move. Nordstom never moved, and many employees lost their jobs.
During all this the Church repeatedly insisted that they would coexist with Gateway and that there would be good synergy between the two malls, which are very close to each other. They also promised not to cannibalize Gateway. Fast forward several years and that is exactly what they have been doing. Gateway has lost a bunch of major tenants (the Gap, Anthropolgie, Old Navy and the Apple Store to name a few) as has Trolley Square which lost Restoration Hardware to the City Creek Mall. The loss of the Apple Store was a major blow to Gateway, and that just happened. Here is a great article about all of this here: http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-15640-city-creek-center-th.html
The interesting thing is the Boyer family that owns Gateway has really been furious at the church during this whole saga. At some point they basically had to decide that they for-profit portion of the (lower c) church was not the same as the "Church" and they got more aggressive, but it was too late by then.
The reality is that the City Creek mall has been good for the part of downtown where it is located and kept a lot of construction workers employed for a while, but it has been devastating to the other retail malls in the area. The rising tide theory just doesnt work.
All of this supports one of your main themes; it isnt a church anymore, its a corporation. No question about it. And it isnt just any corporation -- it is a ruthless one that only cares about profits and goes back on its promises.
I've been reading, and I just read what Porter had to say--
I started reading Mormon blogs, because I was feeling that I (and I include my husband who has less time to read blogs and lets me filter them for him)--
was the ONLY MORMON who had some of these heavy concerns.
So, *we* read that only the 'remnant of Israel' will build Zion.
And we (husband and I) aren't the remnant of Israel (though one of our children would certainly qualify)--
how do 'little people' build Zion?
The 'church' or "Church" or "corporation of the president" has, basically, abandoned us.
Though we struggle to pay our bills and have managed, while, yes, continuing to pay our 10% of gross to the church corporation--
and while we at least give a lip service to general conference, we certainly don't stand up when they walk in--*managed resentment*
and yet we would never, ever, ever ask for church help, ever--
not here, not in this ward. I realize that these might be 'famous last words', but the truth of the fact is that in our area of the church (FAR away from the center of the church) the 'lie' about the 'wealthy are more righteous' has been accepted as truth--
and it's been hard enough to survive socially in our church community--
without adding to it the feeling that we have, likewise, had to get help from more worthy members--
so we struggle, and we sacrifice, and we go without--many things that many LDS would consider necessities. This computer upon which I am operating is ancient, for example--
no laptop, to ipods, no smartphones, no CELL phones at all--
we heat our home with wood in the winter, and we garden extensively and provide as much food as possible. We cook from our bulk stores--
and we drive ancient, dilapidated autos (one we keep just to haul wood; it is over 20 years old)--
I'm getting too personal, I realize, and I'm too long--
but how do little, poor people build Zion? We don't, honestly have extra anything, and we've already used it up over and over again, and we DO pay generous fast offerings--
and we HAVE donated to the local soup kitchen, and we are exhausted--
anyone else? Anyone else on here who admits to being poor and is beginning to get worried and beginning to feel that poor LDS are dispensable--
don't know how to edit; the above is the person from DP--
I can't find the talk that was given by one apostle (I think Ballard) that made one of my adult children (single and at home) determined never to listen to conference again--
something about how those with more wealth and education tended to be more active in the church--
it was the 'last straw'--
I'm looking for it, but I don't navigate lds.org well--
anyone else see it?
Sorry to be so computer ignorant--
but I am!
Equally worrisome is the ever-growing gap between the rich and poor and between those who strive to preserve family values and commitments and those who have given up on doing so. Statistically, those who have less education and consequently lower incomes are less likely to marry and to go to church and much more likely to be involved in crime and to have children outside of marriage. And these trends are also troubling in much of the rest of the world. (See W. Bradford Wilcox and others, “No Money, No Honey, No Church: The Deinstitutionalization of Religious Life among the White Working Class,” available at www.virginia.edu/marriageproject/pdfs/Religion_WorkingPaper.pdf.)
Opposite of what many had thought, prosperity and education seem to be connected to a higher likelihood of having traditional families and values.
The real question, of course, is about cause and effect. Do some sectors of our society have stronger values and families because they are more educated and prosperous, or are they more educated and prosperous because they have values and strong families? In this worldwide Church we know that it is the latter. When people make family and religious commitments to gospel principles, they begin to do better spiritually and often temporally as well.
This was "Elder M. Russell Ballard"--
it sounds very scientific and value-neutral, but those words caused one of my children to leave the room during the broadcast, in anger and hurt--
oh well; I'm talking too much, but does anyone else understand?
all the same person above (DPer), and sorry to make so many posts about one "issue"--
I am 8:00 a.m., 8:05 a.m. and 8:10 a.m.--
thank you for reading, if you did--
Rock (hello) is going to begin to wonder why one of his readers has gone berserk with this, but I see this blog entry (about the mall), and then I get on lds.org and see the big thing about the birthday "bash" for Thomas S. Monson--
and then I read this:
I know that is the 'world', not the 'church'--
but there are plenty of those sorts of stories in the church, too. I know of several.
My husband and I were never 'riding the wave', but we were much more secure financially than we are now.
Is anyone else wondering about all of this? Is there anyone 'close' to President Monson who can tell him that it's beginning to look a lot like the pre-French revolution--
saints are struggling to provide for themselves and get enough to eat and find time to sleep--
and he is having a huge birthday party. I don't mean to complain, but . . . has any of *us* tried to tell these men--
do any of *us* have the courage to say, "hey, wait a minute"--
Maybe I've said too much; I promise to read only for a few days--
Thank you, Rock.
DPer, if you haven't seen it yet there is a website that you should look at called mormonthink.com. There is a section on tithing on the left side. There are millions of members of the church just like you who make huge sacrifices to pay tithing in anticipation of the blessing that will flow. Unfortunately you will never know how those monies you sacrificed so hard to give were used. Were they used to pay for the Toyota Avalon's that are given to the GAs? For first class travel by GAs? Will they go to subsidize tuition for the privileged few students who can get admitted to BYU? Will they go to Africa to build chapels? You will never know.
The church is run by wealthy, educated lawyers, doctors and businessmen. There are not many construction workers, janitors, factory workers or blue collar workers of any type among the ranks of general authorities. In fact, I think its safe to say that there aren't any. So they are going to cater their talks and programs to benefit the folks like them. The rest of us just have to get along.
actually, I read that, Rock. And it was good--
I have a family member who had the LDS 'good life' and is now living in poverty, but is 'all right' (roof over head, enough food, finally, even though they had to put their food storage in a storage unit for which they couldn't pay the monthly rent--and for a while they had little access to fresh produce)--
this person went from high end autos and world travel and a VERY "high" church position and CEO status and a home in a very nice part of the city in which he/they lived--
to living in 'free' housing in exchange for work--at an age when most of their peers are serving missions--
don't have room for all their possessions; sold most of them--
now do temple work all the time and report that 'old friends' avoid them in church hallways/foyers.
This is scarier to me, for some reason, than the obvious depression that is happening around us--
this avoidance by old friends of those who are the 'new poor'--
I told this family member, "well, they obviously were not real friends"--and he laughed.
oops, this DPer wasn't going to comment again! LOL!
thank you; I'll look at it--
it's that way in the wards and stakes, too; wards and stakes are run by professionals--
we've watched this happen over a period of several decades--
Alan Rickman is my honey! ;)
If you recall, the impoverished Zoramites were upset because they had helped build their synagogues and Rameupmton, but since they didn't have nice threads they were kicked out. Alma and Amulek told them that they didn't need a synagogue to worship. Your tithing and service has helped build the temples and churches, but also to pay for birthday bashes and malls and movie sets and who knows what else.
You can still worship God. You can cry for mercy from "your fields" or from the midst of your "congregation." Whether you want to pay your "temple tax" is up to you, but don't think that doing that is the only way that God will hear you.
You're welcome to comment as many times as you wish, DPer. You have some very interesting things to add.
By Grabthar's hammer, by the sons of Worvan, I share your admiration of the Great One.
O.K. (DPer here), I will then--
I went onto mormonthink as suggested by Porter? (getting old, hope I got the right name)--
and looked under tithing--
and as I read I could see how easily this has 'crept in', how gradually--
At first there is a feeling of betrayal (and yes I really knew all this before, but seeing it all written down there made it a bit more jarring; my husband said the same thing; we both knew it, but seeing it 'in print' was hard)--
and then afterwards I realized that these men have become so insulated by their position that they probably don't realize how insulated they are!
and I began to feel that I should pray for them, not in the sappy way that most of *us* are admonished to pray for leaders, but in the real, intent way of "help them, God"--
I don't think any of them suspect, or if they do, not many of them, that things are not right--
I have a friend who was poor as a child (use the word friend loosely, used to be a friend) who has become quite wealthy and is very disconnected from his 'roots' and very ashamed of them and doesn't like to hang out with anyone who doesn't have a lot and is really oblivious about the suffering in the world)--
so . . .
and continue on, enduring to the end. I'm focusing on looking inward to see what sorts of things *I* am blind to; that is the challenge--
I'll let God take care of others' problems and see to my own--
One of my special needs children is very vulnerable and has picked up on the 'coolness' of President Monson, to my chagrin. I keep pointing this child towards Jesus, and she keeps going back to Monson--
*going to have to take that Friend away from her*
I think she is getting it; I do, but frankly she will NOT be hearing anything about that birthday bash--
To DPer, it was refreshing to read all your comments. It is always nice to know others are of like minds and situations. To know that we are not alone and singular in our thoughts.
We (my husband & I) are in the construction business and do not live in Utah. (although their are many who call where we live "Little Utah") We do not hold any upper end callings and do not have an educated, wealthy standing in the church. There are many "educated professionals" here who work for the government. (paid sick leaves, vacations, family problem days, etc) They do hold all the high offices, mainly, because they have the time and of course the status for those potions. Which is fine because my favorite place is teaching in Primary.
My husband knew exactly which talk you were referencing from last conference. But as he noted every conference for years now there is always a similar talk. He is very sensitive to it because of the work he has chosen to do for a living. He has done well for us. We have raised a family of 10 children the last 40 years and sometimes things have been 'tight' ( owners of older vehicles as well). We are both still working, in construction, with no sign of retirement in sight. And that's fine, what else is there to do anyways,play golf? yuck!
Anonymous Mom of 10
Talks like these do not inspire people, they only divide people into classes. The wealthier listeners come away from that kind of talk and continue to preach it til everyone gets the picture... If you have material wealth you are blessed and your wealth is a sure sign of your righteousness. Those who do not have an education thus wealth are obviously doing somethings wrong and are thus not blessed.
What is wrong with being a 'humble follower of Christ? Does one have to be a 'wealthy' humble follower of Christ to be righteous? I say NO. But they sure make it hard at times.
We were in a difficult situation a few years back concerning my mother-in-law's care and the local leaders did not support us in the task we had ahead of us even though his father asked him to do so. They ended up working against us, as if we were thieves. The only reason we can attribute this problem to was because we were the "construction type", so obviously not worthy for the task. In the end after months of struggling we achieved permission of the courts to care for his mother. The situation is now behind us, but not without much monetary cost and pain.
So the other point of your writings, are wealth and worldly success signs of blessings as some think and preach? Do we as followers of Christ have to have the likes of Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, and others 'teaching' at BYU and pay for it? What does that say to our youth... that we aspire to these thing? Would not the best person to talk and teach our kids at BYU be, if not Christ himself, then His representative here on earth the Prophet, and at no charge?
Then there is the birthday "surprise party"... I think some PR guy in the Church office building came up with this as a PR stunt and sold the idea to someone. I read about it also on the church web site and did leave a comment at the end of the notice. I told them exactly what I thought. I realize that did not have any impact on that event. But I said my piece. But Really? Would the Savior allow that to happen and would he accept that kind of worldly adoration? NO! Preach the gospel and feed the poor is what he would do on His birthday, not party with the whose who of Utah. Shouldn't we be able to say that and be heard? The prophet would agree I'm sure if someone told him those kinds of things. I think the church needs to get rid of the poll takers, they are just feeding the g.a.s flowery tales.
About 13 years ago I did say my piece and it did make a change. Our 3 sons went on missions. when the second one went they were required to purchase their packs at the BYU bookstore while at the MTC. They were all required to have the same colored and styled shoulder bags. No more back packs. So 2 years pass and he came home 1 month before his next brother was to leave and as before the 3rd son was to bring the money to purchase the same kind of shoulder bag. I thought to myself, hey lets save some money and use your brother's bag. Well I started to hear many stories about these inferior, poorly designed and made shoulder bags. His fell apart only a few months into his mission. It got rained on which got his scriptures wet, straps ripped, zippers failed, got grabbed off their shoulders while riding their bikes, knocked people in the head while standing on buses, (because they hung from the side, not on their back) he hated his bag and had left it in a garbage can over a year before he came home. So I thought heck I'm not paying for another one of those. So I called the MTC to enquirer about this purchase. They referred me to the BYU bookstore, who then referred me to the manager. So when I explained all this to him he said he never heard anyone complain or return the bags. I was to send the bag with my new missionary and they would just give him a new one, no charge, I said the bag had long ago been put in the garbage. So then he gave me the phone # of the person who could help me Elder Haight. I was not thinking, obviously, because I called the number and a lady answered and what did I need and I said this # had been given to me to talk to someone who could help me with my missionary needs. She said just one moment please. Then this elderly man answered and I still didn't put 2 and 2 together. I proceeded to explain to him the problem with these shoulder bags. I went through the whole story and other missionary friends of my son's who had served many different parts of the world had similar problems with their bags. He replied that no one had made any complaints before about these bags. I said of course not, what 19 - 21 year old boy is going to complain to their leaders about these dumb bags, so they just would replace them. He said well thank you for calling and making him aware of the problem and he would see what he could do to fix the problem. Well later that day I was talking to a friend and relayed to her about my experience and who I called. She was the one who informed me that I was speaking to "Elder Haight". I was dead silent... I was thinking back to what I actually had said and hoped I hadn't said something rude. (like these bags were pieces of crap and who was getting the benefit from supplying the whole church with inferior bags) So those were the days when you could call and talk to the GA and get help and they the needed info to pass on to correct problems, even simple ones like shoulder bags. A short time later missionaries returned to self purchased back packs again.
A little info in the right hands can change a lot.
Thanks again for your writings,
Anonymous Mom of 10
Are we really so desperate to cling to the religion we’ve grown up in (or converted to) that when the fruits of that religion stare us in the face, we’ll find some way of rationalizing it??? We’ll go back to its roots and try and make some sort of sense out of it? Then claim it’s just these men? Their positions have just gone to their heads?
3 Nephi 14 quotes Matthew 7. In verses 15-20 it talks about trees and the kind of fruits they produce. I think this most recent event goes to additional proof. We’re not plugged into (or following) an apple or banana tree here, it’s not producing apples and bananas…it’s producing corporatism and materialism. Yeah, they may look like really good guys doing God’s work, but no one of us would say Mother Teresa was the devil either. She was just in the wrong religion – really good person, wrong religion.
Has the thought crossed anyone’s mind, we’ve dedicated our lives to the wrong religion? That maybe even more radical thought than that, the answers aren’t even in religion? That maybe we ought to forget everything we think we know and ask God to show us what it is we’re missing?
Maybe we ought to skip what the prophet, stake president, or bishop told us this year about reading the Book of Mormon yet again. And go back to the New Testament, asking/begging God to open our eyes to see if their anything we’re missing. We all believe Christ came and that the New Testament holds the account of His life and atonement. Maybe the truth is far simpler than the religion we believe in has put it. Maybe we ought to surrender to the idea that we don’t know what we think we know and put our lives completely in the hands of God. Be willing to let every part of this religion go and promise ourselves and God we’ll follow Him wherever He leads us! Even if it leads us out of Mormonism.
Anonymous, your last sentence is what "pure mormonism" is in fact. My father used to say that Mormonism is the pursuit of truth wherever it leads us and that if truth leads us "out of Mormonism"--or what it has become, ie, church idolatry and/or personality cult, then so be it. It is in our spiritual DNA to pursue light and truth wherever it takes us. In the BOM it states the pure doctrine of Christ and then it says "anything more or less than this cometh of evil"---we have layers and layers of "more." So pray, read, watch, and observe. You are not alone. My baptismal covenants is with my faith community and rooted in faith in Christ, and Rock, you and all of us who seek truth and light are a faith community. No need to go anywhere, just have faith, repent (change as needed) and seek the spirit and it is all good. anyway, I agree no need to rationalize anything. On a positive vein the life and teachings of Jesus are our guide as you mentioned as found in the NT, but the BOM also prophesies that we gentiles would "sin against the gospel" and "pollute the holy church of God' in the last days, so kudos to the BOM for seeing our time also.
this is a personal decision and not a thing in which I am willing to lead anyone else.
Personal; private. Why would anyone have to let go of the Book of Mormon? Why not the New Testament then? Where do you stop?
And how do you know that some of us haven't gone to "the Lord" and asked this very thing and been told, "stay in the church, but don't be deceived; be aware and watchful"?
I won't take it upon myself to lead anyone into our out of the church. I've served my missions (stake and ward after the full-time mission)--
and that part of my life is over. I bear a pure witness of Jesus Christ to anyone who cares or wants to know, whatever his/her religion--
but when you say "maybe we ought to skip . . .---"
then maybe that is what YOU should do; taking it upon yourself to teach someone else that they should do that is "maybe" not your stewardship--
Yes, everyone wants community and company, but all of these choices are highly personal--
there is some family accountability/responsibility; parents have a responsibility to teach by the spirit--
beyond that, it is imperative that each man/woman looks to himself.
How do you build Zion? Let me count the ways...
1. You can build through Gordon B Hinckley's example. That is, look at a portrait of Brigham Young, and ask yourself "What would Bro. Brigham do?"
2. Or you can ask "What would Jesus do?" You have four books in the New Testament to look for examples there. And if that's not enough, you can add 3 Nephi. Personally, I think the NT is sufficient. Actions speak louder than words. Compare what Jesus did in the NT and the BoM, there are more actions by earthly Jesus in the NT than in the BoM.
For example, when Jesus was asked what he thought of the magnificent material being used to reconstruct the Jerusalem temple:
" And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Mark 13:1-2)
Jesus had no grand illusions about vast real estate projects, unlike Herod who whipped his frenzies on the backs of the poor Jewish people.
In the only true church that claims his name, Jesus is a forgotten example...:-(
Good post. Good points.
Just to let you know that I gave this blog article to my wife and she was very impressed with it. Over the years I’ve been showing her other aspects of Mormonism that you don’t readily see just being an ‘ordinary’ member. Now she just says, “Wow.” in a ‘who would have thought’ tone of voice in reaction to a lot of things (such as this article).
However, it’s nothing new, really. I grew up with the uderstanding that the church would one day rule over the earth under Jesus’ reign after His second coming. All this ‘mall stuff’ and other money venturing is just preparatory to this eventuality. The Mormon church is a ‘full spectrum’ organization not just a pious one predominantly concerned with feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. In essence, Jesus isn’t coming back on a donkey, but in the clouds of power and glory to receive His glorious and ship-shape, well appointed and established church. Then He will say to the faithful, “Well done ye faithful servants,” (assuming He speaks in the Old English vernacular), “but cursed are those who jeered, derided and mocked with there non-sacrifices.”
When you’ve been brainwashed (a euphemism for ‘mind f@#$ed’) your whole life and are still a victim of this type of ‘rape’, it’s hard to really be at ease or at peace with these types of realizations (what this blog article postulates). It’s just like a pimp who tells his ‘family’ of dependent prostitutes, “I’m the only person who will ever look after you. Without me you’re nothing. Abandon me and you will end up destitute or dead.”
"...with *their* non-sacrifices.”
Here's an interesting thought.... What if the Bible was "unreliable" at best like the Book of Mormon says it is? (Well, the B of M actually uses much stronger language than that). What if the Book of Revelation, which talks about Christ coming down in blood red apparel to wipe all the sinners off the earth and put his middle management into positions of even higher "authority" was just a tale made up by "the other guy" so that that guy could fill the shoes of that prophecy and rule with blood and horror on this earth, his minions already having done the ground work?
What if the real Christ is the one spoken of in the Book of Mormon... long-suffering, merciful, loving of His children (not eager to destroy them). Ready and willing to accept any who repent (turn to Him) and accept that no "merits" are required on our part, just belief? What if instead of preparing for the end of the world, we prepared for the beginning of heaven? Would there be malls? Huge churches? Money set aside for a rainy day? If we believed Him, wouldn't we also believe that He would provide for us in all ways that were required?
Don't forget the part where Joseph Smith reaches into the ground and pulls out those golden plates. Surely you haven't forgotten that part? He reached into the ground and pulled out golden plates. He showed them to 11 witnesses. None of the witnesses ever denied what they saw and hefted. Two of the witnesses even had the testimony of the golden plates placed on their tombstones. What, you haven't heard that part? You only heard the part about the "spiritual eyes"? Wow are you in for a treat. Check out the June and July section of my blog if you want to know the real scoop. (mormon-hatershow dt blogspot dt cm)
Who else in history has ever produced scripture from a real concrete source?
Thank you for your time and effort in putting together these posts...I enjoy your sense of humor as well. I have never commented on a blog; this may be my 1st and last. However, this issue has been bothering me for quite a while and I felt I could no longer hold back.
What is most disturbing to me in all of this is the way in which this "investment" transforms us, as a people striving to be/become disciples of Christ, into hypocrites so completely (if it wasn't hard enough already)...from the lavish accoutrements of the mall itself to the types of Babylonian enterprises peddling their wares therein, from the unfathomable expense of the entire project to the complete disregard of those suffering from the economic realities of the present day, many due to no fault of their own. The maintenance of the shiny veneer of "all is well", despite underlying pain and unmet needs, has gone too far, I fear it will cost us dearly as a people. We are so far from Zion. I pray for Zion's return nearly every day, but only feel it slipping farther and farther from reach - this mall is not a part of Zion, it is a distraction, or worse.
Satan rejoices when we are hypocrites, and loves to deceive us into being hypocritical..."see", says he, "you promised, even covenanted, that you would do this or that in following your supposed Savior Christ Jesus, but look, you did just the opposite, you turned your backs to the poor, you spent your sustenance on things of no worth (from an eternal view), many became exceedingly rich from this 'investment' and only a few benefited, you helped to build up MY (the god of this world or Satan's) kingdom, when you covenanted to build up the Kingdom of God at all costs...you did not keep your promises to the full". Our adversary loves to find ways in which to accuse us and to make us look like fools. Has he succeeded here?
When the Israelites were on their way to the promised land, they experienced hardships, which tested them as a people. We similarly, have had ours and will continue to have many trials, both individually and as a people, has it ever been different when a dispensation has been established? Many Israelites remained true to their God, but many failed these tests and deeply lamented..."Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger" (Exodus 16:3).
Have we given up the fight for what is right, thrown in the towel, "cried uncle", and returned to Egypt? To the flesh-pots? Note the horrible image on the shopping bag the woman is carrying who is looking at shoes right after the ribbon cutting ceremony in the youtube clip linked to in this post (only briefly, please, for your own sake). What have we embraced here? How have the themes, values, and beliefs that underlie so much of what this mall and all its associated variables represent come to be acceptable to the Lord or His people? We are commanded to overcome the world, not to embrace it nor build it up.
James, I think the image on the bag is supposed to be Adam and Eve...Right?....
Yes, Inspire, I like that--
Yeah, Wayn Gretzky is pretty awesome. Didn't k ow he went by the pseudonym Alan Rickman, though.
This one is probably going to hit way out in left field, but I was meeting with a group of my Isaiah loving friends and we were talking about this amazing World Trade Center, which is part of the development which includes City Creek Shopping Center.
One of the women in the group recounted a dream she had the night before the christining event found its way to the internet. In the dream she saw a building and knew it was the Great and Spacious Building described in Nephi's dream (that's scary. Could we, the Mormons actually be the guilty party to build such an edifice?)
She met a woman at a table next to her, all dressed in white, and was invited to follow her up a white stairway which she and her family were to follow. She was given information that the building would fall and they needed to leave.
In the morning my friend saw this building on the net (which is City Creek). Everything looked just like it did in her dream. I had the same feeling about this place as I have with other things that just don't sit right. Another girlfriend had driven down State Street that same day and took pictures of tattoo parlors, pawn shops, and bars all the way up to 4th South. Shocking to think that high rises and expensive shops will do away with the riffraff in the downtown area.
I distinctly remember hearing President Benson tell us that God takes the slums out of the people and they take themselves out of the slums. What happened to helping those who are living in spiritual slums? Have we stopped working with them? Are we to believe that now that we believe the living prophet is the most important prophet, that we disregard the old ones? Do we throw out the wisdom of a great and powerful man who invited us to the blessings of the Book of Mormon and join in the shopping frenzy? I, for one, and not going to City Creek, even for curiosity. I can spend my dollars on my grandchildren, or someone who needs it more than Godiva Chocolates, or Nordstrum or Macy's.
"If the gospel is the Good News, then its counterpart (in truth) or counterfeit (viewed separately) would be the Bad News. When we are approached by someone bearing both we usually opt to hear the bad news first. There is an eternal principle in that......False prophets and false christs signal the coming of the true. The thing we need to realize about the Anti-Christ is not just that he fights against the Lamb but that he comes before and literally clears the way for Him......If we want to hear the ‘Good News’ so Badly that we reject the ‘Hard Sayings’ of Jesus, then we will remain in denial, saying, “All is well in Zion, Yea, Zion prospereth” when in reality, Zion is not to be found anywhere on the face of the earth. But, “the earth travails, like a woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; the Day of Deliverance. But when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” - John 16:21. Isaiah 62:1 – “Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch!” May this be our gathering freedom cry. Give us the bad news then. BRING IT ON!"
We are the only people who could be the guilty party, since we know better. We have the records and the warnings of this great and spacious building as a sign of the pride of the world. And we are now leading the world in wickedness. This has been gradual and from this point (Oct. Conference of this year) on the LDS people will start to come out of obscurity....but not in a good way...rather bringing their brand of blindness to the world.
“Ye are swift to do iniquity, to perpetuate inequity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, but now ye only will see things from your angle, which is not even your own vantage-point in truth, but is one fed to you by mass media. False traditions handed down to you by liars/lawyers, legislators, reporters/repeaters and wizards which peep with Googley eyes and mutter by way of NSA NaySAyers. Your presidents and duly elected officers are soothsayers and truth forsakers, every one. Forked-tongue fakers have replaced the voice of God within you. He spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he WILL now speak unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which doth CAUSE THE EARTH TO SHAKE as if it were to divide asunder.”
– 1 Nephi 17:45
Anonymous says that
“the writer of this piece has no vision of Zion,”
Anonymous’ masters have 5 year, 10 year and even 100 year plans for implementing their Secret Combination version of Zion.
Anon. accuses Rock of being
“stuck entirely in prideful ***comparative thinking,*** the very root of the ***downfall*** of societies and nations.
Listen carefully to Anon’s double speak. He is a Master Mason/Mormon plant which our Father hath not planted. He or those who are feeding his mind with ideas of the false zion which is to come, probably know much more clearly than the average LDS that comparative thinking or a separate This vs That view is precisely what Lucifer used to bring about the Fall of Man…not just the Fall of Rome or the Fall of the World Trade Center. Anon. wants us to put the pieces back together. But not to undo the damn-age brought about by the Devil. He wants to further it. By putting the LDS Church together with the idea of the Kingdom of Zion, Anon. and his masters hope to confuse us in preparation for the more conflation and an eventual merger of Church and State so as to continue with the Saltican City rising like a Phoenix similar to the Vatican City carrying on the Light Bearer’s torch while Rome appeared to crumble before the eyes of the nations.
Anon. snidely asks “how would you build Zion ? ….By criticizing and carping? Well, there goes the unity.”
The cry of the prophets always is characterized as criticism and complaint by the wicked who believe only in their own schemes and plans.
What Anon. or the Handler’s speaking through Anon. really mean is ….there goes our group-think, bee-hive mentality, Coven-ANT, blind following of arm of flesh that our Sweet Lucifer and we have worked so hard for.
Observe ants in their colonies and you will see that if one does not follow the rules the others will decapitate their fellow. Were the oaths and penalties associated with the Coven-Ants of the LDS Temp-pulls the strong cords of love which we ought to use to bind our loved ones to us as sealed, Forever-Families? As LDS we have got to shake the beehive mentality of the Insect-In-Us lest we become insensuous –not pertaining to, affecting, or addressing, the senses– in other words insensitive or “past feeling.”
Anon. cleverly accuses Rock and any other saints who might find themselves “in agreement as touching this thing” (biblical definition of feeling the unifying effect of the Holy Spirit)…he accuses us of following something which Rock found very strange…but I will show that the wording is specific and calculating…We are supposedly guilty of following “American/Western leftist instincts?” Anon. says, “Well, there goes your probability of success as the West has never come close to succeeding in building Zion?”
Its not the ancient eastern traditions of Zen Buddhism or Taoism etc. established by Christ Himself, known to those other sheep in Asia as Krishna or Buddha etc. No, Anon. is talking about modern corrupt communist China as the blueprint. Besides if the west is so far from Zion then why would building more of the what the west builds (Shopping Malls, Banks etc.) bring us closer to Zion? Gotta watch the forked tongue of this Anon. guy and other plants like him. I am not being sarcastic. I am talking about what Ezra Taft Benson talked about, what Moroni and John and anyone can know, who asks of God directly with real intent to GET UP OFF YOUR @$$ AND WORK IN THE REAL VINEYARD. No joke people this is spiritual warfare and the secret combinations are winning at this phase. Choose sides now or get swept away in those forces that GBH talked about.
But anyhow, the key reason Rock Waterman, of all people, is accused of being a Leftist (which as he said is a first for him) is because they are priming the people to accept someone like ROMNEY. So they can appeal to the Christ-Shuns who over run this land currently to bully us all to the RIGHT just a bit in their horrible vision of IMBALANCE.
Anonymous continues to try and appeal to some sense of loyalty to the Church…but the problem for him and his superiors is that…we the saints are waking up to our conscience and remembering our covenants to Christ. Nonetheless Anon. thinks it worth a shot and whines, “Do you think your HEART and MIND can possibly lend a HAND there?
This is what they want…the power of your heart and mind, channeled into arm of flesh programmes like Mormon Helping Hands…which are not pure evil (Nothing can be otherwise God is not Almighty but a liar) but the way in which the Enemy uses such Church programs is by having us slave away making thought bricks which the master builders place in prison walls to contain the real Priesthood Power.
Now he is going to try and appeal to people out there with a testimony of Joseph’s calling as Prophet of the Restoration. See how he moves on in…knowing that he is dealing with deep roots and that Monson and Malls alone are not going to FOOL THE ELECT. Anonymous says…
“Joseph not only opened a branch of a bank, but actually opening the bank operation itself and it failed. Did this diminish his prophetic calling?
Note that he is careful not to include these actions in with Joseph’s prophetic calling. In this way Anon. hopes to ensnare us in our thinking. It’s a trick question. Let me point out in a spirit of perfect faith in not only Joseph’s divine calling but the divine calling of each of us….that for some reason Joseph, and all subsequent LDS Leaders who have tried their hand at Mammon have never been “successful”. Is it not clear to us that God’s message is “I and THOSE WHO TRUST IN ME DO NOT NEED YOUR FILTHY LUCRE, YOUR BANKS AND YOUR SHOPPING MALLS!”
Anonymous’ comments dwell on J.S. for a while and he says:
“Joseph described his vision of a city in which the mere bells on the horses would say "Holiness to the Lord?" What an extravagance!”
I would point out that it took GBH to take that very extravagance he claimed to abhor, from ‘imagined’ to levels ‘unimaginable’ with the building of the world’s largest religious structure….our “beloved” conference center which is THE GREAT AND SPACIOUS BUILDING spoken of in Lehi’s Dream….and will FALL.
But even more importantly, let me point out to you, Anon., IN CASE YOU HAVENT NOTICED….PROPHETS MAKE MANY MISTAKES…AND THEY LIVE AND LEARN….Or even DIE AND LEARN….Who are you to bring up Joseph’s past transgressions and paint them in a positive light …that is a form of judging too…I ask who are you to act as if Joseph has not repented…which means to rethink…it is time travel….THE LORD GOD REMEMBERS OUR SINS NO MORE…so who the *%$# are you buddy?”
What your talking about no longer matters nor does it exist…it is an illusion a mirage glaring before you in your eyes on the horizon, beckoning you to continue misguided visions…but it shall be with you as a hungry man who dreams and awakes and is still starving…you spiritually malnourished piece of vomit. …Just as we have evidence and knowledge of the truth …that prophets are not infallible…I HAVE REAL EVIDENCE OF THE FACT THAT PROPHETS DO IN FACT REPENT. The spirits of Spencer Kimball and Brigham Young are at this time being purified and brooding …mingling with Joseph and other Gods plus God’s children still in this side of the vei. Between both sides….the FATHERS AND THE CHILDREN…YOU CAN NOT PREVAIL AGAINST US!
I said that repentance is time travel…so the false zion you zionists are headed towards is a mirage on the horizon…which has already been disassembled….As REAL FORWARD THINKERS like Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Opening of this Last Dispensation have discovered that we have the ability to not only move forward buy BACKWARD in our thinking….and through FULL ACCEPTANCE OF THE ATONEMENT IN THIS FULLNESS OF TIMES we have undone that False zion you are laboring for. The future only looks to be undetermined…the HOR-I-ZON is a place where the wHORe (of Babylon) and the ZION of GOD appear to coincide in a struggle….but the ((I)) of individual choice and agency stand between the two….between the concept and the CONcept…with the HOR on His left hand and the ZONe of truth and righteousness on His right.
In a classic case of projection, Anon. attempts to associate us with Judas who said in a line eerily similar to the official church defenders and apologists in regards to City Creek Center…that the money generated from sales “COULD be” used to help the poor. Note brothers and sisters, this is the exact wording you will find from official church sources today who defend the literal building up of Babylon in the Downtown Rising project. We all know that Judas never did want that money for helping the poor. And when Anonymous says that the Lord cares so little about money…then why so much money changing? The Lord answered, “The poor ye have always with you.” Because YOUR DISTORTED, PERVERTED VERSION OF ZION IS ONE WHERE THERE WILL BE PERPETUAL POOR….EATING OUT OF THE HAND OF THE RICH.
I can not stress enough how serious this is. It is highly probable that most of the commenters and readers on this post will witness in their lifetimes, the establishment of a BANK by factions of the LDS FAITH which will come to oppress the poor on a scale never before witnessed…yet experimented with in subtle proto-types like GBH’s PERPETUAL DEBT-U-CATION FUND.
We must REMEMBER to FORGET THIS PLACE WE’RE IN…blood like a river…we drink from the WAGE of SIN.
I won’t even address your brief little reference to John the Revelator…it has been picked up on by someone else on this thread (Inspire) but I will say in regards to your comments that…..
“You intimate a love of and concern for your Mormon people and for Zion and yet you have completely lost your understanding that in the term "building Zion"
First off the evil one speaking through you gets more and more desperate as your comments progress or rather DIGRESS towards your worldly view of “Progress”…and the awake among us did catch how you do not include the speaker in the group of “Mormon people and Zion”
But you know….Just cause we read The Book of Mormon….does not mean we worship Moroni…even though some have made gold laden statues which supposedly represent him in angelic form, the ancient prophet who compiled those records. We ARE NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO FALL FOR YOUR LIES FOR WE KNOW we are free to learn from Moroni, Mormon, Nephi and all the leading characters of the Nephite history…both their good and BAD example. And while it is not our right to condemn anyone to hell…they do that themselves…but we know we are free to choose…be INSPIRED BY their righteousness…But being FREE to produce art INSPIRED BY DOES NOT MEAN MAKING A CARBON COPY DEVOID OF OUR OWN AGENCY AND CHOICE….I for one am not going down with the so-called “fair ones” who are actually “unfair”…NOPE, I am with God.
Now you say that “in the term "building Zion" the word "building" stands prominently.”
That’s funny that your own typing betrays you because as I look I see the word “Zion” with a capital Z figure more prominently. But just to humor you…you say that “This certainly entails building people, but it also entails building neighborhoods, building cities, yes even building shopping malls and factories and recreational and entertainment venues.”
WHOAH ….slow down….oh…I can see you are really excited about this BULL$#!+…
So go ahead.
“Let’s build and create, malls, banks, buildings, cities, and everything we need and want, and in so doing learn in a small measure how to mimic our creative Father and his Son of whom Brigham Young said their whole study was to organize and build. Our Father and His Son created a world filled with not just the necessary, but also the beautiful and even the extravagant, for all to enjoy and use and develop.”
Once again your apron is showing you Freemason little pipsqueak.
WHEN GOD CREATES IT ALL SERVES A PURPOSE…AND YES BEAUTY ITSELF IS A HOLY PURPOSE….but as soon as you see GOD THE FATHER and HIS SON (of whom Brigham Young said their whole study was to organize and build) BUILDING AFTER THE MANNER OF MEN…THEN…THEN WE WILL LISTEN TO YOUR HIGH AND MIGHTY TALK…Until then…SHUT YOUR GAPING JAWS OF HELL UP!!
And here’s something for your Superiors …they ought to enjoy and understand this….Destroy&Rebuild …is an eternal precept. Though not one addressed in your typical Gospel Doctrine Class…but you prideful fools know what Im talking about….GENERATOR OPERATOR DESTROYER…He lives IN US…so make sure YOU stay on OUR good side…STAY OUT OF OUR WAY WE WILL STAY OUT OF YOURS…but know this that every man is free…if you want YOUR version of zion…don’t worry you will have it…not that it will last more than a season…but then again you already are aware of this…GO AHEAD (literally) have joy in your works for a short season….but do not deny others their right to kingship just because you are not ready to accept yours yet. I trust you entities will know what I am talking about.
Now, to really put my point across and into your vampiric hearts…I BEAR TESTIMONY of these things in the NAME of JESUS CHRIST, AMEN!
FYI, Denver Snuffer said yesterday that an Apostle has told some folks that Monson has a revelatory announcement (I can't bring myself to say "revelation") that will be made in the upcoming October Conf. Please Rock, if this happens, post it on your blog as I will be traveling all day Saturday, and I'm sorta banned from watching Conference with family, because my exasperation is sometimes evident, as much as I try to hide it!
I guess Joseph Smith's involvement with the failed Kirtland Anti Banking Sociery brands him a non revelator/false prophet also. Or, do past prophets "get a pass"? Where was Joseph's prophetic insight on that piece of history...
Yes, lets build banks. They are such great institutions of good and good works. Are you serious? All banks which presently exist are operated on fractional reserve banking laws. Do you know what that means? If you don't I will tell you. It means banks create money out of thin air and then loan it out. It is theft and fraud combined and you want God to engage in that through his church? Why would God want to break his own commandments in order to make a few extra bucks and enslave his children to debt in the process?
If God needed more money to do His work he could easily tell his servants where to find oil, gold, diamonds, etc or what options to buy which could turn profits of thousands of percent overnight.
Why would God tell His people not to steal and then set up one of the biggest tools of institutional theft(other than government) Himself?
If His servants are losing money on investments I see that as pretty good proof they are operating without His or even against His input. Why would God direct His servants to try to profit from people buying useless over-priced designer crap at expensive malls likely using credit and going into debt in the process?
What scriptures do you know which would support that course of action?
I love City Creek, when we come over to Utah from the UK, it was visionary… If you hate the idea of City Creek, then you'll surely love this one instead: http://www.thebunyion.com/2013/12/09/church-to-build-theme-park-to-accelerate-missionary-work/
I posted your link and got this response: Oh that's what you are talking about. My Sister, newly baptized into the Church got all freaked out when some misinformed members told her that her Tithing money was going to wards the Mall. I told her that the Church has a very healthy investment portfolio that has nothing to do with the funds that it collects from the membership. The mall money came from these business investments. It is also right next to Temple Square and is a huge improvement on what was there before. There is wild fish, trout that swim in that stream that flows through the mall. The Church has also paid for renovations to the local Catholic Church, historical building, again from profits on it's investments rather then from collection taken from the membership.
One question. Where did the Church get the funds to make the investmenrts in the first place?
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