I have in mind the iconic story we all know of Wilford Woodruff's late night encounter with the spirits of George Washington and the rest of the founding fathers in the St. George temple. It is one of my favorite stories from church history, and one that I have long drawn inspiration from. So you can imagine how disappointed I was to learn that it could not possibly have occurred. Unless you believe George Washington is capable of telling a lie.
For those who may not be familiar with the story (and I can't imagine any member who is not), here is Wilford Woodruff's personal testimony as delivered in the Salt Lake City tabernacle in September of 1877:
"I will here say, before closing, that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.” These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them. The thought never entered my heart, from the fact, I suppose, that heretofore our minds were reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others. I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them." (Journal of Discourses Vol. XIX, pg 229)It's too bad Wilford hadn't bothered to check the records at the endowment house, because if he had, he would have seen that proxy baptisms for the founders had already been done. Sometimes repeatedly.
In the recently published collection of essays Dimensions of Faith: A Mormon Studies Reader,  Brian H. Stuy reveals that baptisms for the signers had already been performed by Haden Wells Church and John M. Bernhisel as recently as a year before Woodruff says those men appeared to him in the St. George temple. As Stuy rightly asks, if the founder's baptisms had already been performed, "why would they need to urge Wilford Woodruff to repeat the same ordinances? They could not have been referring to endowments since these were not performed for the dead in the endowment house."
I really want to give Woodruff the benefit of the doubt on this, because I honestly want to believe his story. If he had related that experience only once, we might be able to suppose George Gibbs, the scribe who recorded the talk, had misquoted him. But Woodruff must have felt the story was too good not to repeat, so he told it again and again. "In 1892," writes Stuy, "he described how these individuals 'came to me two nights in succession and pleaded with [me] as one man pleads with another to redeem them.' "
A few months before his death, Woodruff reinforced the testimony of that event from the stand at April conference 1898:
"General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord. Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it. Everyone of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence with General Washington called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the house of God for them."1876 was the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the celebrations taking place throughout America may have been the catalyst that prompted Haden Church and John Bernhisel to perform the baptisms of the men who signed that document. But even that wasn't the first time many of those prominent persons had the ordinance of baptism performed in their stead. After Joseph Smith revealed the doctrine of baptism for the dead in 1841, members of the church instantly began having themselves baptized for their immediate dead ancestors, and when they ran out of family names, they naturally took to coming up with names of famous people they wanted to be baptized for.
When Wilford Woodruff wondered aloud why it was the Saints had been concerned only with "reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives" while forgetting to consider the men who founded the country, he was clearly unaware of the great interest many of the Saints had taken to looking after the salvation of those eminent worthies.
As it turns out, zealous members had themselves baptized for George Washington at least three times while the Saints were still in Nauvoo, which makes sense since his name was probably the first to come to most people's minds when contemplating a list of prominent Americans. Charlotte Haven, a non-Mormon visitor to Nauvoo, wrote home about an account she witnessed of Mormons performing proxy baptisms in the Mississippi river:
"We followed the bank toward town, and rounding a little point covered with willows and cottonwoods, we spied quite a crowd of people, and soon perceived there was a baptism. Two elders stood knee-deep in the icy cold water, and immersed one after another as fast as they could come down the bank. We soon observed that some of them went in and were plunged several times. We were told that they were baptized for the dead who had not had an opportunity of adopting the doctrines of the Latter Day Saints. So these poor mortals in ice-cold water were releasing their ancestors and relatives from purgatory! We drew a little nearer and heard several names repeated by the elders as the victims were douched, and you can imagine our surprise when the name George Washington was called. So after these fifty years he is out of purgatory and on his way to the 'celestial' heaven!" ("A Girl's Letters From Nauvoo," The Overland Monthly December 1890, pg 630) As famous as George Washington was, Benjamin Franklin may hold the record for most baptisms performed for a Founding Father. He was dunked first in Nauvoo with John Harrington as proxy, then by Haden Church in the Salt Lake endowment house in 1871, and again by John Bernhisel in 1876. After Wilford Woodruff performed the ordinance for Franklin in the St George temple in 1877, records show the same Benjamin Franklin was baptized there again in 1880 and yet again in 1884. More recently Franklin was baptized in the London temple in 1972, then the Arizona temple in '75, and finally in Boise in 1992. (Dimensions of Faith, fn 6 pg 105)
Just as modern members of the church often express the desire to personally perform the work for dead celebrities,  it was not unusual for the early Saints to wish to stand in as proxies for the baptisms of famous American and European historical figures. Church records prove that the signers of the Declaration of Independence had already had their proxy baptisms done for them, some multiple times before the idea had ever occurred to Wilford Woodruff in 1877. So unless there was a group of mischievous ghosts who slipped into the St George temple dressed in colonial garb with the goal of playing a prank on poor Wilford Woodruff, we're going to have to assume Woodruff himself was fibbing about the whole thing.
In Woodruff's defense, practically everyone was inventing faith promoting stories back then, and not just us Mormons. Even George Bancroft, probably the most respected historian of the 19th century, whose ten volume History of the United States was considered the ultimate resource, had no problem making stuff up if he thought it would assist the narrative. As journalist Jeff Riggenbach reports:
Why American History Is Not What They Say, Pg 27)I own a reprint of a history textbook first published in 1879, The Story of Liberty, by Charles Carleton Coffin. It chronicles "the struggles of men in England and Europe against the tyranny of emperors, kings, popes, archbishops, bishops and inquisitors." I love this book; I even used it while home schooling my kids. Every chapter is an inspired read. But here's the thing: even though most of the stories are based on historical events, they are stories. Coffin invented whole conversations, made undocumented leaps of fancy, and otherwise just made stuff up to get his points across. But Coffin's work was not an anomaly. That's just the way historians handled things prior to the early 20th century, when historical objectivity as we know it today began to replace the less disciplined methods.
Mormon chroniclers in the early 1800s were no different than non-Mormon chroniclers. Anyone who has read History of Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith certainly realizes that there is something artificial sounding about the Victorian language and affected dialogue Lucy employs in her retelling of the life of the Prophet. Joseph's mother was as adept at embellishing events as any other biographer of her day. It's not likely, for instance, that the episode of Joseph's leg surgery took place exactly as Lucy reports it.
We deserve to come to grips with the fact that some of our history actually did happen the way we heard it, and some of it did not. But whether particular episodes are true or not, many false ones have been accepted as gospel in the minds of many members, since most of us never bother to avail ourselves of the facts regarding our own history. Since we hear repeated so often that "the Church is true," some members tend to believe nothing about our history could possibly be false. But as Jessie Embry and William Wilson observed on the 150th anniversary of Pioneer Day, "Much of what average Mormons know about the church's past was not learned from reading scholarly books. It comes from listening to stories at home and in a variety of church settings." ("Folk Ideas of Mormon Pioneers," Dialogue, Volume 31, No 3)
In the same book wherein Brian Stuy discusses the Wilford Woodruff account, Matthew Bowman provides an extensive discussion on the subject of what Bowman titles "The Mormon Bigfoot." This is the tale told by Apostle David W. Patten of an experience he had in 1836 while serving a mission in the backwoods of Tennessee. Here is the story as Patten related it to Abraham Smoot:
"I met with a very remarkable personage who had represented himself as Cain who had murdered his brother Abel...As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me. He walked along beside me for about two miles. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight."There's no denying this is a good story, and it was wholeheartedly accepted by most of the early pioneers. I first heard it from my mother, and later in seminary it was taught to us as factual.
Now, I don't know if this incident really happened to Patten or not. I can tell you for certain that I used to believe it, but today the tale strikes me as a bit silly and not very credible. It's more likely Patten had a lot of time on that boring mule ride to concoct a tall tale to relate to his friends when he got home. This was, after all, Tennessee, home to such famous tale spinners as Davy Crockett. Perhaps there was something in the air in those parts that encouraged such hyperbole.
I don't know if the Patten story still circulates much in the church today, but I don't think it has the traction the Woodruff vision has enjoyed. Unlike Woodruff's vision, which serves to encourage people to get fired up about temple work, I don't think Patten's Bigfoot sighting serves any purpose other than as a ripping yarn to tell around the campfire.
Or maybe the reason Patten's story doesn't have the cachet of Woodruff's vision is because Patten died two years after his experience and didn't have the opportunities Woodruff did to reinforce it through repeated tellings.  Wilford Woodruff also had the good fortune to live long enough to become President of the Church, and nothing gives a story legs and added prestige so much as being able to relate it from a position of authority. (Ask Thomas Monson about the time he found five dollars in his pants.)
When In Doubt, Check The Source
Wilford Woodruff was a prodigious journal keeper who wrote in his diary almost daily. He was thoughtful enough to leave us 31 separate volumes describing his life and experiences. That makes it a simple task for interested scholars to simply go back and read what Woodruff wrote at the time he claimed to have had that miraculous visitation from the founders. Oddly, Woodruff's journal entry for August 19, 1877 contains no mention of the miraculous event he would later relate in public:
“I spent the evening in preparing a list of the noted men of the 17 century and 18th, including the signers of the Declaration of Independence and presidents of the United States, for baptism on Tuesday the 21 Aug 1877.”And his entry for Tuesday, August 21st:
“I, Wilford Woodruff, went to the temple of the Lord this morning and was baptized for 100 persons who were dead, including the signers of the Declaration of Independence.… I was baptized for the following names.”He then listed the names of 100 men. The baptisms were performed by J.D.T. McCallister, who was a counselor in the temple presidency. Woodruff's journal entry for the 21st continues:
Woodruff's journal entry for that period makes no mention of the miraculous visitation, only that he spent the evening of the 19th compiling a list of the noted men, then showed up at the temple on the morning of the 21st to meet with Brother McCallister and perform baptisms for the men on that list. He calmly records in his diary that it was an "interesting" day."When Br. McAllister had baptized me for the 100 names, I baptized him for 21, including Gen. Washington and his forefathers and all the presidents of the United States that were not on my list except Buchanan, Van Buren, and Grant.  It was a very interesting day. I felt thankful that we had the privilege and the power to administer for the worthy dead, especially for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, that inasmuch as they had laid the foundation of our Government, that we could do as much for them as they had done for us."
Yet the way Woodruff told the story publicly a month later, the founders appeared to him as a group and berated him for not seeing to their baptisms whereupon he "straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers." No mention of waiting until Tuesday. Of course, Woodruff was unaware that Brothers Church and Bernhisel had already performed those baptisms in the endowment house, and for some reason the founders didn't bother to mention that little detail.
And here's the kicker: After Haden Wells Church had systematically been baptized for the founding fathers in 1872, J.D.T McCallister was the guy who performed the confirmations. This was the same J.D.T McCallister who would later assist Wilford Woodruff in performing baptisms for those very same signers all over again. I guess McCallister felt it wise to just keep his mouth shut and not say anything to Elder Woodruff, since Woodruff was the temple president at the time and must have had his reasons.
This penchant Wilford Woodruff had for exaggeration after the fact was almost a trademark of his. As I discussed in my piece Why Mormon History Is Not What They Say, the well-worn story of Brigham Young transforming into Joseph Smith before the crowd that had gathered to decide Joseph Smith's successor is an event that clearly never happened either. In this instance, Woodruff didn't start the rumors, but once they were fully launched by others years after the event, Woodruff jumped on board and even managed to top some of the other member's stories about it. Throughout the remainder of his life, every time Woodruff told that story, he added something new and more marvelous to it.
But as Reid Harper documents in his well researched article "The Mantle of Joseph," Wilford Woodruff gave at least four detailed reports of what happened that day, none of which mentioned or alluded in any way to anything out of the ordinary; no mention whatsoever of Brigham Young transforming into the voice or visage of Joseph Smith. These reports were consistent with the bland accounts given by the two Nauvoo newspapers, the scribes recording the speeches, and those in the crowd who mentioned the debates in their personal diaries. "Only much later," writes Harper, "speaking extempore in 1872 and 1892, does Woodruff term the events miraculous."
"If the transfiguration occurred in the morning meeting, Woodruff, who was not present, could not have been an eyewitness as he later claims. If the transformation took place in the afternoon meeting, Woodruff's silence about the event until 1872 and 1892 seems very curious." (Journal of Mormon History, pg 45) Woodruff seemed to have a way of embellishing ordinary events in order to make them appear extraordinary. For instance, shortly before Joseph Smith's death, the prophet met with the twelve apostles. No one present had any idea it would be their last meeting with the prophet, of course, but later in life Woodruff just couldn't resist making more of that meeting than it was. In 1893 he said "Joseph Smith spoke to [the twelve] for more than three hours" and "his face shown like amber."
The next year Woodruff said Joseph "called the twelve together the last time he spoke to us, and his face shown like amber." And the year after that Woodruff claimed "shortly before his death, he was transfigured before them, his face shown like amber, and he gave us all the keys to the kingdom." (Quoted in Denver Snuffer, Passing The Heavenly Gift, fn pg 76)
None of the other members of the quorum of the twelve mentioned anything about Joseph being transfigured, or his face shining like amber; nor did they claim they were given the keys to succession at that time. This is revisionist history on Woodruff's part, because at the time of Joseph Smith's death there was much confusion as to who had what keys and what they were for. We have been taught the succession went smoothly, and that the twelve were in control and knew what they were doing all along. But this is a version of history that Wilford Woodruff did his best to help promote. As Denver Snuffer reminds us, "Even today there is no full description of what keys were involved or what rights were included.
(Ibid, pg 74)
So why am I making a big deal out of all this? After all, if everybody back in the day fudged the truth a little in order to strengthen the testimonies of others, what's the harm? Why single out Wilford Woodruff?
Well, in the first place, it's never a good idea to allow anyone's testimony to be based on a falsehood, because eventually the lie is uncovered and those whose testimonies had been buttressed by that lie are often devastated when the facts come out -as eventually they always do.
There are people in this church who have had actual contact with heavenly visitors and angelic beings. False stories like those imagined by Wilford Woodruff serve only to cheapen these real experiences and instill doubt in the less faithful.
Secondly, As much as I want to believe Woodruff's story, finding out it was a fabrication bothers me on a personal level. I have been an avid student of the lives and words of the founders for more than thirty years. My bookshelves are filled with their biographies and many volumes of their writings. I realize these men were not demi-gods, but in my opinion they were mighty close. I believe the Lord when he said that he raised these men up for the purpose of founding a nation built on the principles of freedom. (D&C 101:80) I also agree with Wilford Woodruff when he said "those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth." (Conference Report, April 1898, pg 89)
So I find it a bit unsettling and...I'm searching for the right word here; I want to say sacrilegious...for Woodruff to manipulate the memories of those great men in order to make himself appear somehow privileged to have had a special encounter with them.
Finally, I'm harping on Wilford Woodruff not just because he tended to gild the lily now and then, but because he is the single individual responsible for setting in motion what has become the biggest lie in Mormonism, a lie that has slowly been festering for the past hundred years until today it threatens to destroy the church of Jesus Christ from within.
You may think I am overstating the threat, but I am not. That falsehood is the one that asserts the prophet can never lead the church astray. This offhand remark Woodruff once uttered to silence criticism has now become, in the minds of many, the first principle of the gospel. It is repeated endlessly, preached from the pulpit, and taught to our children in Primary. Yet God never revealed such a doctrine, and our scriptures consistently warn against anything resembling it. This false teaching has become so pervasive that recently a general authority upped the ante by declaring "We have the Lord’s personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray."
I can guarantee you the Lord never gave his "personal promise" about any such thing. You can search the scriptures and the general conference archives until your eyes swim and never find one instance of a recorded revelation from God declaring the prophets will never lead us astray, or that God wants us to "follow" them. We didn't get that doctrine from God. We have it because one fine day in 1889 Wilford Woodruff just pulled it out of his butt.
Make no mistake; when Woodruff came up with that whopper, he didn't say the Lord told him to declare it. Woodruff's exact words were, "I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty."
Did you catch that? "I say." Wilford Woodruff is the one who said it. The Lord never made any such statement, either through Woodruff or through any other man.
It's the perfect lie, because it contains its own circular reasoning as to why the lie must be believed:
Can the Prophet ever lead the church astray?
Because he's the Prophet.
How do we know that to be true?
Because the Lord will never let that happen.
Who Says so?
The Prophet says so.
Why should we believe him?
Because the Prophet will never lead the church astray.
Because he's the Prophet.
Still Waiting For The Message
I was born during the first year of the administration of President David O. Mckay. Since that time I have seen six more men attain to the presidency of the church, and through most of my life I listened intently when they spoke. Much of that counsel was useful and much of it was uplifting. But although each of these men held the keys as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, not once in all that time did any of them ever record a revelation from God or issue a prophecy in God's name. Why, then, am I admonished to follow them? If they had something in particular God wanted them to reveal, why have they never announced it to the world?
Joseph Smith taught us that a prophet is only a prophet when he is speaking as a prophet -in other words, when he has been instructed by God to deliver a specific message directly from God. By the time Heber J. Grant ascended to the office, the definition of "prophet" had evolved to merely someone with a particular title and station in the Church. On several occasions Grant affirmed that he had never had an audience with the Lord; in fact he was leary of anyone who claimed they had. Near the end of his life, in October of 1942, he expressed his distrust of such epiphanies:
"I have never prayed to see the Savior. I know of men -Apostles- who have seen the Savior more than once. I have prayed to the Lord for the inspiration of His spirit to guide me, and I have told him that I have seen so many men fall because of some great manifestation to them, they felt their importance, their greatness."On many occasions, Heber J. Grant made it clear that he believed loyalty to the Church was more important than having a personal relationship with Christ. And this was the titular prophet of God.
Wilford Woodruff's most lasting accomplishment was in converting the church from a belief in divine revelation to belief in a group of divinely appointed leaders. The effective result is the tacit assumption that we have our own Mormon Pope to lead and guide us. Just as with the Catholics, if we can't have God himself living among us yet, we'll settle for men we can treat like gods.
According to the Woodruff Doctrine, as long as the Lord has not interfered by killing off the prophets, the operating assumption is that the prophets are continuing to do just fine. (I have to wonder what awful statement Howard W. Hunter was about to utter, because that guy didn't last five minutes.)
Let's Eliminate The Middle Man
In addition to the blatant prevarications Wilford Woodruff foisted on the membership of the church, he made his share of prophetic blunders, too, such as when he told the people, "I believe there are many children now living in the mountains of Israel [Utah] who will never taste death; that is, they will dwell on the earth at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."
That was in 1875. To my knowledge all those children are long gone, and the Second Coming is yet to occur. I hope nobody bet the farm on that prediction. So much for not leading the church astray.
In the clear absence of any revelatory guidance from Church leaders, a growing number of devout latter-day Saints are finding it quite possible to embrace the teachings of the Restoration without also having to pledge their loyalty to men who insist on placing themselves between them and the Christ. The religion the Lord restored through Joseph Smith contains some amazing insights, but you may miss a lot of them if you're too busy playing follow the leader. We deserve to stop being followers and instead look up with an eye single to the glory of God. Isn't it past time for the drunkards of Ephraim to awake and arise, and shake off their slumber?
The salient and most heavily promoted "doctrine" in the Church today, the one that says the president of the church will never lead the church astray, was never taught by Joseph Smith, and never revealed by God. Even Wiford Woodruff did not pretend he got it through revelation. Since Wilford Woodruff's word has been shown to be less than reliable on multiple occasions, maybe we shouldn't take so much stock in everything he said.
(Don't bother clicking on the numbered links; I can't get them to work on this platform.)
1. Brian Stuy is something of an expert on Wilford Woodruff, having compiled the five volume Collected Discourses,a sequel of sorts to the Journal of Discourses. Stuy's Collection contains the so-called "lost speeches," many written while Church leaders were in prison.
2. Charlotte Haven had arrived in Nauvoo to visit her brother, and her take on the city is as interesting a travelogue as the one later written by Mark Twain when he visited Salt Lake City. Haven had the opportunity of dining with Joseph and Emma Smith, and was quite taken with Emma; not so much with Joseph. "Mrs. Smith was pleasant and social, more so than we had ever seen her before, and we were quite pleased with her; while her husband is the greatest egotist I ever met." Charlotte also had little positive to say about Joseph's appearance: "He has a large head and phrenologists would unhesitatingly pronounce it a bad one, for the organs situated in the back part are decidedly the most prominent." In addition to the link provided above, Miss Haven's account is one of several fascinating narratives contained in the collection Among The Mormons: Historic Accounts by Contemporary Observers.
3. Elvis Presley was baptized at least seven times before Church authorities got wise and started putting a cap on things. You can see his baptismal slips here
4. Patten, the first Apostle of the Restoration to taste death, was felled from his horse while charging a group of armed Missourians at what later became known as the Battle of Crooked River. I maintain Patten's death would not have occurred had the Mormons not been so convinced of their invulnerability, and not acted in violation of D&C 98: 32. The Mormons acted without Joseph Smith's knowledge or authorization. I presented my view of this tragic incident in part 2 of When Mormons Take The Lord's Name In Vain.
5. Woodruff chose not to baptize Presidents Van Buren, Buchanan, and Grant for obvious reasons. Van Buren had snubbed Joseph Smith when he traveled to Washington to seek redress of grievance, and Buchanan had sent the U.S. Army to Utah to deal with the "Mormon problem." Ulysses S. Grant would not have been baptized for the dead because in 1877 he was not yet dead.
6. You may not be able to access Harper's piece in the Journal of Mormon History unless you are a member of the Mormon History Association. (I recommend you join, because not only do you receive the quarterly journal, you also get unlimited access to all the back issues.) You can read Thomas Alexander's scholarly account "The Making of a Mormon Myth" here, and also my analysis here.
[About Comments: Please, people, try to stop commenting as "Anonymous." So many people use that option that it's become impossible to know one commenter from another. The simplest option is to put a username in the dropdown box that says "Username/URL." You can usually leave the URL box blank, but if the system insists, just type in a random name, such as Amazon.com or LDS.org. I am informed that some browsers don't allow the use of any option other than "Anonymous." If that is the problem in your case, and you MUST use the anonymous option, please put a username of your choice at the end of your comment so that others can be clear about who they are responding to. -Rock]
217 comments:1 – 200 of 217 Newer› Newest»
Wow! I have heard or read a lot of things about church history and thought I had heard about everything. But "the rest of the story" about Wilford Woodruff lying about the visit of the founding fathers is new to me.
Thank you for all the study and detail you provide for us. We all need to do more study to uncover the truth.
I love the "pants on fire" graphic.
The flames on Elder Woodruff's pants are courtesy the inimitable Brian Jolley.
Very interesting and insightful. Thanks again for a well-written piece. It is good food for thought. A few weeks ago in Sunday school someone asked what they should do when they felt the counsel they had received from a previous bishop was wrong (but hey, he's the bishop, so he can't be wrong, right?) I suggested that the only person who can be in-between us and God is Christ, and some people had a hard time with that, going back to the prophets.
After bringing up the whole beer-is-ok-according-to-89:17 thingy, my bishop encouraged us to make sure we are being clear with our opinions, citing McConkie as an example. I have taken to referring to all words of GA's as their opinion or their perspective, unless of course it is preceded by "thus sayeth the Lord" which as you indicated, they haven't done so recently.
Anywho, thanks again.
Thank you, Rock! That was the piece I needed. We have the warning that our baptisms for the dead would be invalid if the saints didn't build the Nauvoo temple. The only piece I couldn't fit was that vision of Wilford Woodruff. If our baptisms for the dead are rejected why would the founding fathers appear to Wilford? Answer: They didn't.
Amazing. Just amazing!
When Woodruff really started pushing and reiterating this vision on the members I have wondered what was the real rhetorical reason behind it since all those names had been repeatedly baptized before. I wonder if it had to do more with reconciling the members of the church to the United States by making them think they were the truest Americans since all the founders wanted in to the small sect. The rhetoric worked. It worked so well that Mormons since then have been so attached to their patriotism that often times, especially in Utah, political ideals trump the gospel. It worked so well, Rock, that you still see the founding fathers as next to demi gods. I bet you think America is amiss with things now, but was highly inspired then with the founders. You can thank Elder Woodruff for that ideal. I don't doubt, though, for a New York minute had you lived among the signers and founders you would have seen them overly flawed. It sure is a tough thing to separate the enlightenment and inspiration from such imperfect vessels such as men we deem prophets. By all accounts Joseph Smith was more a false prophet than Wilford Woodruff using your same occam's razor. I just think you haven't allowed yourself to go there yet. -Josh M
There are also things that Joseph published as revelation that said " thus sayeth the Lord" that we can prove to be definitively false. What are we to do with those? Like said on Tommy Boy, I can take a crap in a box and mark it guaranteed, but what difference does it make? I'm not so sure now that God has ever meant for a system that he'd relay his messages through one or few imperfect vessels. As a human race we can come to the truth through a diverse collective input. Usually the truth is in the mean of opinions. Listen to radiolab's podcast on emergence to get what I'm talking about. -Josh M
I read the article, and when I started doing my own fact checking, found that the author is reporting half truths, and leaving out information.
It is true that the founding fathers were baptized by proxy many times, but their other temple ordinance work was not done until after Heber's vision.
Sadly I have come to the understanding that the author is the one who's pants are on fire.
I've read that names are circulated in the temples at least three times. If our vicarious ordinances are effectual why do we need to do this? Isn't once enough?
You did not read the piece carefully, James.
For one thing, you refer to Heber's vision, when the piece is concerned with a vision claimed by Wilford Woodruff.
Secondly, you seem to have failed to notice that the ordinance the founders were complaining about could only have referred to their baptisms, not their other temple ordinance work, because up until that time there had been no temple in Utah.
Woodruff claimed the founders appeared to him on two consecutive nights on or about August 19th, 1877, saying, “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us."
Stuy was careful to point out, and I quoted him, that the founders could not have been referring to their endowments because the endowment house was not used for endowments for the dead -only baptisms for the dead were performed in the endowment house. So that would have been the only ordinances the founders would have been referring to.
Of course, their endowments and sealings were done subsequently over time, and Stuy lists names and dates in the book for those ordinances. But that would not have been able to occur until AFTER Woodruff performed their proxy baptisms, which we know he did in August.
The St. George Temple was dedicated in January of 1877; the founders allegedly appeared to Wilford Woodruff in August. Woodruff and McCallister performed the baptisms on Tuesday, August 21st. That is the only thing about Woodruff's statement that is verifiable.
Awesome piece! And so absolutely vital to understand because you are right, that is the greatest lie in the Church, that prophets can't lead us astray.
It is the single most thing that keeps everyone so blind and unthinking today. Everyone believes that the thinking, studying and praying has been done for us. How lucky we are that we don't have to prove all things anymore!
But this is exactly what Satan wants us to believe and the philosophy he instills in most major religions, thus it's no surprise he slipped it into the LDS Church too. For he knows almost everyone will fall for it, for we all like the easy way.
Satan definitely doesn't want anyone to question and prove all things.
I believe Willy knew that he was lying when he said 'prophets can't lead us astray', for he knew very well from personal experience that Joseph Smith preached sure hell for all those who ever fell for polygamy, even prophets. And Willy of course knew that Brigham Young preached the opposite of JS, so one of them surely led the Church astray, for Willy knew that many, if not most, of the Saints in Nauvoo refused to follow BY because of Joseph's warnings against polygamy and other things that Brigham Young clearly ignored.
Thus Willy knew that there is solid proof that Presidents of the Church can and have lead us astray, for either Joseph or Brigham did, and they couldn't both be right.
It's the natural lazy man in all of us that want's to have a guarantee that all is well and that we don't have to do our own homework, but instead just play 'follow the leader' and all will be well with us. But Christ, Joseph Smith and the Holy Scriptures constantly teach and warn us to do just the opposite.
Once people awake from such a satanic lie as that, then they have to realize the huge personal responsibility we all have to question and 'prove all things' and persons, to make sure if what they say and do are right and true or not, and if they are true prophets or not.
It has always been the grand test of this life to see who can be deceived by false prophets, for there are no guarantees in this life about prophets.
History and the scriptures are full proof that the best of men and prophets have fallen and led many astray with them throughout history and still do as people today still read and fall for their falsehoods preached long ago. It is proven that even prophets can and often do fall.
There is no passing the buck, we are all responsible to find and discern truth and error for ourselves in this life, mo matter how much we may wish we didn't have to do that. That is the test. And few there be that can or are willing to do this.
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
Well, now, this is interesting, just as I have been trying to understand what happened to Wilford Woodruff in San Francisco the day or two before he died.
It's hard, though, to be rough on an old, dead man--
and yet what is the other option, to be deceived?
I feel the same way about Brigham Young. He pounded so many nails into so many coffins that it is hard to feel badly for him, even if you begin to wonder how/why he died. And yet. As much as I personally dislike Brigham Young, as much as I believe he vilified Emma Smith without cause, as much as I resent the fact the he built mansions for himself and his "wives" off the tithing proceeds from my impoverished ancestors who probably followed him to Utah more, because they were tired of being burned out of their homes in Missouri and Illinois (which happened to several of my ancestors) than, because they thought he was any kind of revelator or prophet--
I wonder what would happen to the cause of truth if scholars heeded the old admonition to "speak no ill of the dead"--
The fact is that Wilford Woodruff and Brigham Young both died under very suspicious circumstances.
And the fact is that, while I never thought very seriously of the story about the founding fathers coming to Woodruff--
in fact, I always shrugged it off for some reason--
I think that realizing that he was embellishing or even fictionalizing or even ranting . . . helps me to come to grips with someone even more important.
When Wilford Woodruff issued the manifesto--
it wasn't a revelation at all. It was a course correction. Yes, I hate to use that word; Elder Packer uses it, and I find him almost as questionable as Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff.
But it WAS an apology. To the Lord and to the foolish people who had been taken in by Brigham Young and plural marriage.
Not a revelation, but a correction.
And the same thing is true of President Kimball's so-called revelation about the blacks receiving the priesthood. It, too, was an apology to the Lord and to all of the black saints who had patiently suffered and waited, because of the ignorance and unrighteousness of . . .
So Woodruff had to undo plural marriage (the disaster perpetuated mostly by Brigham Young, whether or not Joseph Smith had anything to do with it, and I don't want to believe he did, but my wanting to believe something is true or not doesn't make it true or not)--
because of Brigham Young--and it was called revelation. As though the God of Heaven and Earth was not strong enough for the government of the U.S., as though He "changed His Mind"--
and that is what I was raised to belief. Piffle!
When what it really was, was an apology, a process of repentance and turning around, heading back in the right direction--
Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to black men, freed slaves; that should have been good enough. But Brigham knew better and had to take it away--and push the knife in and turn it around really well while he did it, a dastardly deed, in my opinion--because I have studied what happened to the black members who had their priesthood taken away. It's hard to get really mad at Brigham when I think of what he has had to face, already.
It was a simple reinstatement, a simple restoration of something that had already been restored and taken away unrighteously, and most of the quorum of the 12 who were behind President Kimball knew that--
So, what you have written in your latest "get to the truth, even if it hurts" is enlightening and hopeful on other levels.
The light does shine forth, and after it hurts a little, the wound can heal.
oh, a little correction--
in the above long comment, I wrote, "someone" when I should have written "something"--
it's in paragraph 7, line 22; not that anyone wants to count. It will just make more sense that way.
Not sure how to go back and correct a post.
Excellent article! For the record, I always go into reading your articles hoping that you're wrong -- that perhaps you got the facts misinterpreted -- but by the time I'm done reading them you've got me convinced. Thank you for your diligence in research and your unceasing desire for veracity. I want to know the truth of all things, no matter how much it may pain my soul.
BTW, the David W. Patten story about Cain was also quoted by Spencer W. Kimball in his book "The Miracle of Forgiveness."
We must be on the same wavelength...I was just thinking about the same thing and even wrote a post on my blog about it a few days ago.
I was going to mention the endowment angle (maybe they just wanted their endowment) as a thought, but I see you've already thought of that. Like you, I found it strange that his diary didn't mention this marvelous vision over 2 days.
I hadn't thought about the fact that the endowment house wasn't used for endowments.
Still, I think the jury is still out on this one. I agree with you that we are woefully ignorant of our history and keep repeating things we know are rubbish. I do think, though, that it is very possible that Woodruff could have made up or flubbed the exact quote from the 'angels' in his recollection of what had happened 2 years ago. Or he could have made the whole thing up. Or something in between. It's just really hard to tell.
One thing is for sure: we really shouldn't have that painting in the temples. It's pretty much inviting trouble.
I've thought of this too. A few years ago I started poking around with this idea. Why not have a kiosk right in the lobby of the temples so people can verify if names have been done before doing the ordinance? We are not yet at the point where computers can fully do this say at the moment the name is scanned at the name desk. But with a few seconds of human interaction, we could vastly reduce the duplication.
The answer is: There just aren't enough names to go around. I'm convinced the brethren don't care because they realize they can't keep telling people to go to the temple once a day if we only do the ordinances once. I'm also convinced this is the same reason they don't provide a shortened endowment consisting only of the ordinances without the drama. There aren't enough names to go around.
This is the same reason they won't let you do more than about 5 initiatories in the Provo temple. They will run out of names.
Anyone who things presidents of the church are automatically prophets (in the spiritual gift sense) or that leaders never do anything wrong ought to read "Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power" by Quinn. The history will prove you wrong.
I'm really sick of all these "Brigham Young invented polygamy" people.
Please read (to start) "Mormon Hierarcy: Origins of Power" by Quinn.
If you trust the RLDS to give you your history, do you really think they are going to include historical documents (not talking about documents from the LDS church or Brigham Young, but diaries/journals/etc written at the time from people who were there) that refute their position?
Joseph was a polygamist, and he inducted many into the practice during the Nauvoo era. It is irrefutable. Anyone who believes otherwise has not searched into it with an open mind and an interest in truth.
Your comment brings up another issue. As you pointed out the reason for all the repetitions is so there will be enough names and keep people going to the temple.
If we had stayed with the temple system Joseph revealed we wouldn't have this problem. Temples were the community centers. They were places for weekly worship, meetings, community gatherings, schools, and offices. If we had kept temples in their proper place we wouldn't have to worry about keeping them full. They would just naturally be used constantly.
Rob I'm with you. Although I wouldn't say "sick", I guess I'm just tired of their ranting. With out powers combined we are sick and tired.
I'm not going to get into the argument if Joseph practices polygamy or not. I'm just tired of seeing polygamy, and the patriarchs who practiced it dragged, through the mud.
Abraham and Jacob are two of the most important patriarchs for our people. And guess what, they were polygamists. I just can't believe anyone would say that these men were destined for hell because they "fell for polygamy." I can't believe Joseph in making his anti-polygamy statements would have though the same thing of these patriarchs.
I have yet to find a prophetic statement from Joseph Smith that universally condemns polygamy. Therefor I assume he was speaking as a man when he said those things. It is entirely possible that Joseph had strong anti-polygamy feelings. But that does not mean those feelings are the views of the Lord.
I'm sorry(no, I'm not) but all this universal anti-polygamy hellfire flies in the face of scripture and the greatest patriarchs in our history.
P.S. I'm not defending Brigham's polygamy. I think that Brigham's version of polygamy was very abusive and continues to spawn abuse today.
I have never heard of any case of polygamy in history that wasn't abusive. People can twist Joseph's warnings about polygamy because they dont believe in having true christlike exclusive love for their own wife, but they can't prove that their abusive beliefs are true, for they are completely contrary to Christ's teachings and the scriptures that Joseph Smith gave us. Why would anyone listen to vile beliefs of men or prophets rather then to Christ.
I believe Joseph was innocent of polygamy, just like he testfied he was, but if it turns out he was just another abusive adulterous lying husband and prophet so be it, but it would not be surprising just sad, for even few prophets have been strong enough to not fall for whoredoms like polygamy and have true love which Christ said is the sign of his true disciples.
I am sick of seeing people lay whoredoms at the feet of Joseph, when they have absolutely no proof, just the most vile hearsay that they would rather believe then Joseph's pure repeatative published and proven testimony. Even without the RLDS beliefs one can see clearly that Joseph did not believe in polygamy for anyone, even Abraham.
Do a text search for "astray" You'll see the morphology of the idea of leading the church astray.
1882 Joseph F Smith
This is not an idea unique to Willford, he learned it.
Thank you for another eye opening and credibility restoring article.
There are several things WW did that smack of prevarication. The whole "prophet can never lead the church astray" thing is a whopper. Another is the obvious lies, half truths, and weird stories circulated about plural marriage. Another is the "Founding Fathers" episode.
Another, and I believe this one rivals, IF NOT SURPASSES, the "astray" story is that he changed the sealing ordinance. Up until WW, members were sealed to patriarchs, especially Joseph Smith. Even Brigham Young was sealed to Joseph Smith as his son. Then, during WW's presidency the sealing ordinance was changed to what we have now: the emotional but non-scriptural sealing of families together in generations as far back as possible.
To me, that one seems to be THE BLUNDER that fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy that we, in our day, "HAVE TRANSGRESSED THE LAWS, CHANGED THE ORDINANCE, AND BROKEN THE EVERLASTING COVENANT" resulting in the earth becoming defiled under the inhabitants thereof. (Isaiah 24:5).
In defense of the church, I feel impelled to say that I still believe, and have a testimony, that the church is the custodian of the preparatory gospel and Pres. Monson is the Prophet of the Preparatory Gospel.
Reading carefully in 2 Nephi 31-32, it is obvious that there is a separation of the church into those who have passed thru the gate into the straight and narrow path, which gate is the Baptism of Fire; and the "numberless concourses pressing forward that they might obtain the path" spoken of by Nephi (1Nephi 8:21). The church is here to help those "numberless concourses" find and pass thru the gate. Once people pass thru that gate, they are expected to develop a personal relationship with the Savior and the church then plays a diminishing role in their progression toward exaltation.
That is also contrary to what we are taught today in the church, but that is another story.
Thank you again.
I actually have two comments (aside from this being very well written).
1.) I've always been torn about this story. First because it did seem to get bigger with time, but also because I had a very similar experience. When I was first investigating the Church, I took lessons and then waited for months before even thinking about baptism. One day I knelt in prayer to see if I should be baptised and that night I had a dream where my deceased mother came to see me. This was actually a common thing that happened to me growing up, as she was taken from me when I was a very little girl. She explained that she knew I wanted to be baptised, but I was hesitant about change, but that I needed to get over that because her temple work had not been done and I needed to do it immediately. Naturally I woke up, called the Elders and set my baptism date. When I got my recommend to go to the temple for the first time, I went to our ward expert to find out what I needed to do. She looked up in the computer and found, NOPE, my mother's work had been completed a year after her death. I was so confused. So I prayed again, and again had a dream where she explained that I was always hesitant to do anything for myself, but that she knew I would be willing to do anything for another person, especially her, so she lied to get me to get over my anxiousness.
Now that story happened exactly as I tell it. HOWEVER... do I think I was really visited by the spirit of my dead mother? I don't know. Do I think it was a vision from God? I doubt it. Is it possible that my subconscious put together a dream for me to help me over come my fears (and subsequently explain the problem when it later occurred)? Probably. But it's a really good story. And it connects me to my mother. HOWEVER . . . It's certainly not doctrine. I have to wonder if the early leaders of the Church often had spiritual experiences (but not visions or doctrine changing moments) spiritual experiences like many of us have in our day to day lives, but they decided to use those experiences to make changes.
I wanted to get baptised. I just happened to have a dream about my mother, one person who could in fact get me to do anything, telling me to get baptised. Who's to say that the early prophets wanted to do something, and then prayed about it and had a spiritual experience (ie: good feeling in their gut) confirming their original desire? It makes me think of that quote by Ezra Taft Benson, "You cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible!" - Well guess what? I used to smoke, and I loved it. I really, really did. I quit because of my health, but I actually ENJOYED smoking. But according to WoW, that's wrong. When I was a pre-teenager I had a minor problem with stealing, and it felt good. I never felt guilty.
And I know I'm totally making a stretch here with this . . . but I have to wonder if leaders of the Church have normal spiritual experiences and build them up as great revelations for the Saints. Meanwhile the rest of the members have similar every day normal spiritual moments, and pass them off as minor things because it's not like we're prophets or anything.
2.) Rock, I have actually wondered exactly where your testimony lies in regards to Joseph? You clearly have (founded) problems with current and past leaders of the Church, but I'm wondering how you've established personally the difference between their "visions" and Joseph's.
What about this...
James G. Bleak, Clerk to Brigham Young wrote “I was also present in the St. George Temple and witnessed the appearance of the Spirits of the Signers... .the spirits of the Presidents... And also others, such as Martin Luther and John Wesley... .Who came to Wilford Woodruff and demanded that their baptism and endowments be done. Wilford Woodruff was baptized for all of them. While I and Brothers J.D.T. McAllister and David H Cannon (who were witnesses to the request) were endowed for them. These men.. ..laid the foundation of this American Gov., and signed the Declaration of Independence and were the best spirits the God of Heaven could find on the face of the earth to perform this work. Martin Luther and John Wesley helped to release the people from religious bondage that held them during the dark ages. They also prepared the peoples hearts so they would be ready to receive the restored gospel when the Lord sent it again to men on the earth.” (Personal journal of James Godson Bleak-Chief Recorder of the St. George
"If our vicarious ordinances are effectual why do we need to do this? Isn't once enough?"
The answer is "No!" This is about the moneychangers. When we come to understand that "You can buy anything in this world with money," that also means admittance to a temple.
Wilford Woodruff's doctrine of the Lord never allowing the prophet to lead the church astray or else he should be removed was nothing but self fulfilling prophecy for Woodruff. He signed the Manifesto, got the Church heavily in debt, and eventually appealed to the Bohemian Club in San Francisco for the repayment of the debt. He died (probably as a result of poisoning) right after meeting with the club while still in San Francisco.
Alan, I've just read your post about WW. This is the first post I've ever read of yours. It's very well written & your logic flows well. Based on this post, I'm going to follow. A couple comments, however. Your blurry background photo makes it almost impossible to read except when the text is in the clouds (on purpose, perhaps?), and I now have eyestrain & a headache - testaments to my interest in, and the validity of your post. Also, when you present the text of WW's journal for the date of his "miraculous St. George temple experience," it's initially unclear if you're giving the journal entry or the subsequent account of the event. I'm not as quick as some, and in order to get your intent, I had to read it a few times to be sure. As for thinking that WW was a false prophet while HG was at least better, I'll agree to that. But "better" doesn't mean "true" for me, and they were both mortal men. I wonder what the embryonic prophets of today are saying today, and if their words will take on prophetic charm when they "attain" the final office. Finally, I've often given the following phrase to Mormons who are still believers: " 'The Prophet will never lead the church astray.' Signed, The Prophet." What better control set-up could they have than that? I don't recall hearing any subsequent LDS Prophet correcting WW on this proclamation he made. Have they?
Though my faith and belief in the LDS church is, admittedly long gone, I would still like to give voice to this subject. To me, the argument about the practice of polygamy being acceptable or even a law given by the Lord takes a back seat to the question of how truthfully history is being presented to members.
People will come to their own belief or faith as to the "law" of polygamy and what it may or may not represent. To each their own, as it were. I am constantly amazed that there are people, even today that argue against Joseph Smith having practiced polygamy. He did. Period. It is there for all to see even on the LDS church's website.
"After God revealed the doctrine of plural marriage to Joseph Smith in 1831 and commanded him to live it, the Prophet, over a period of years, cautiously taught the doctrine to some close associates. Eventually, he and a small number of Church leaders entered into plural marriages in the early years of the Church. Those who practiced plural marriage at that time, both male and female, experienced a significant trial of their faith. The practice was so foreign to them that they needed and received personal inspiration from God to help them obey the commandment."
That is where the problem, for me, comes in. So many lies, so many hidden truths, so many misleading quotes. If I am to gain faith in any organization, church or otherwise, I want it to come through truths. It does not matter if they are uncomfortable, I just want to be able to make a decision based on fact rather than fallacy.
The story of the founding fathers appearing in the temple always seemed a bit inane to me. I never concerned myself enough to investigate, but never took it seriously either. Now the truth has been revealed as to why yet another sensationalistic story seemed just that, sensational. Lends credibility to my doubts.
The one thing I may never fully grasp, is why people continue to get so very angry at every truth revealed, every lie uncovered, rather than at the actual lie.
I've personally never heard any retraction Ken. If they were prophets, wouldn't they correct this egregious mistake? Or are they a fulfillment of Jeremiah 23?
James Bleak was also a liar?
One person will back up another person's lie. If the first liar is an individual with 'clout' it seems obvious to me that these ladder climbing members of the patriarchy would back one another up until the day they don't. That happened often. Oliver Cowdery was wonderful until the day he wasn't, when Joseph Smith called him a counterfeiter and a liar - well he should know because it takes one to know one.
This old boys' club needs to close shop. They have pulled the wool over the eyes of the faithful for far too long.
Thank goodness there are some members who will force themselves out of their comfort zone to see the truth.
Louisa Beaman, claimed plural wife of Joseph Smith, Jr. had several proxy baptisms & ordinances performed in her behalf over the years. Two years after she was claimed to have married brother Joseph...is evidence in Joseph's own journal that she was baptized a member of the church by him. Soooo I guess the founding prophet's ability to perform a valid baptism wasn't enough to satisfy membership in the church (even when such a great original record proves her baptism) "Dead Works" literally.
Wilford Woodruff testified in the 1892 Temple Lot Case that his discourses as published in the 'Journal of Discourses' were accurately recorded...IF that helps.
Rock - what can I say? You've done it again; well written and researched.
You know that I don't believe that Joseph Smith ever had any first vision unless he was smoking whacky tobacky or something stronger. The use of opiates in the form of laudanum , tincture, or alcoholic solution, of opium, first compounded by Paracelsus in the 16th cent. Not then known to be addictive, the preparation was widely used up through the 19th cent. to treat a variety of disorders. Many literary and artistic figures, including Coleridge, Poe, Moussorgsky, and De Quincey, are known to have been addicted.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright © 2004.
Licensed from Columbia University Press
So perhaps he had a drug induced vision which is one of my theories about Joseph Smith.
The story from Jessica is an example of how we can believe visions such as this. Not saying you were drugged though Jessica; that's definitely NOT my point.
When I was an early member of the church my aunt came to me in a vision too. She would not speak to me despite the fact that she was there; she was clearly angry with me. I didn't know why this would be the case because I loved her dearly and I know she loved me. She died when I was 10 years old I think.
What I extrapolated from this 'vision' was that she was angry with me for NOT having started her temple work. When there are stories floating in the ether such as the WW story it is easy for a new convert to come to such a conclusion. Do I really believe that 'vision' today? No. My brain invented it; our brains search for explanations for everything and then fills in the gaps for us. Thanks to that process I spent 39 years and many, many wasted hours at the temple - always berating myself for not getting anymore visions OR trying to see something that would reinforce what was becoming very difficult to believe.
I did the temple work for my aunt and she didn't even have the decency to come back and thank me.
Bless you Rock - I love you.
Thank you Kristine. My thoughts exactly. The strange thing about the 'Be-All-And-End-All' temple mentality we have embraced through constant pestering of these corporate men who lead the church is that we join the church based on our feelings & thoughts given us by the Spirit on the BOOK OF MORMON. The Book of Mormon is what brings converts to the Gospel- I am not aware of people who join the church because of any other volume of scripture. After all, the Jews and the Muslims have had access to the Bible for hundreds if not thousands of years and it didn't convince them. The Book of Mormon's primary purpose IS the convincing of Jew and Gentile, not to mention the Lamanites (who are an essential part of the picture and sadly forgotten in this Babylonian farce today). And why? Because if we stop taking it lightly we will see that it contains the FULNESS of the Gospel! Everything we need to come unto Jesus is contained therein. Anything more or less than this is simply not part of the fulness. Is there any coincidence why there is no documention of this supposed Temple endowment ceremony rituals which reeks of Masonic stench, in the Book of Mormon? Nor in any of the scriptures? Nor in the writing of Joseph Smith while he was alive (or even dead for that matter!)? Since I shivered, shook and resisted the Spirit's prompting to run out of the Temple in my first visit in absolute horror, I now know that that ceremony is false, after many years of foolishly trying to 'follow the prophets' and other leaders' admonition to go to the temple. This is EXACTLY how the moneychangers get us- by giving us something tangible that we need to hold in our hand, the temple recommend. And like sheep whose eyes were put out, we blindly follow something ridiculous that was never part of the Gospel in the first place! If it was so, it would have been in the Book of Mormon or other scriptures. It isn't. It is a mockery of Jesus' atonement.
These men are not prophets today. The Lord calls prophets as He does with the Highest Melchizedek Priesthood, as clearly outlined in Genesis 14:25-40 (JST)- with His OWN voice. None of these guys have had this experience since Joseph, Sydney and a handful of men before the Church apostasised in Kirtland by 1835. Since then we simply do not have the priesthood power, and if you don't believe me, then listen to what the Lord Himself says in 1841, 11 years after the Priesthood was restored to Joseph in 1831- http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/124.28?lang=eng
28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
Did you see that?! What Priesthood was lost? Who took it away? Why? Simple answers are before are eyes: The FULNESS of the Priesthood is gone, taken away by the Lord Himself because of the apostasy in Kirtland and the failure to live the Law of the Gospel especially Consecration and Monogamy as clearly set out by the Lord in D&C 42. Next time we sit around and scratch our heads wondering why there are no spiritual gifts and powers in this church today, nor evidence of the Priesthood that is defined in Genesis 14:25-40 (JST), we should believe the Lord's words as to why.
'Onewhoiswatching' has brilliantly uncovered some of the most stunning history about this Highest Priesthood that was restored at the special conference at the Morley Farm in May of 1831 at his blog 'http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/ It remains fascinating as to why the church has done everything to cover up this mindblowing event and send it down the rabbit hole.
Ditto on the "pants on fire" graphic. It rocks, Rock.
Satan can also appear to us in the form of our relatives, just like he can appear as Christ and fool people into thinking they have been visited by Christ.
I believe he is deceiving many by his false visitations and dreams, pretending to be our relatives, especially when they ask for their temple work to be done, more than just baptism, for the other temple ordinances are of the devil I believe and just what he wants everyone to be involved in and wasting their time with.
That journal entry by Bleak could have been added after WW made his claim. It appears journals and histories were often tampered with to make things appear as the leaders then wanted them to appear.
You have to remember, Bleak supported Brigham Young and polygamy and the idea that lying was ok, need we say more?
Clinton, are you serious? Just because it's on the Church's website means it's true??? If Joseph didn't live polygamy do you really think they would ever tell us the truth? No. Adulterers always lie, that's how they try to get away with it.
There is no proof ever presented so far that proves Joseph preached or practiced polygamy, at least not the I or anyone I have ever known has found, including the Church.
All we have is alot of hearsay, rumors and accusations by 2nd hand sources, that could be either flat out lies by pressured women & members, deceived members falling for false rumors back then, or evil people trying to pin their own deeds & desires on Joseph.
But we do have tons of proof that Joseph preached against polygamy his whole life, just like Christ and the BoM Prophets did. Go figure, Joseph preached the same things as Christ. Was Christ lying too?
Can you tell me how to find the Morley Farm article on the OWIW blog? I have been there but didn't find it, although I did find some things of interest! Donna
When I have conversations with members, and they mention something pertaining to teachings in the church and sayings from leaders, I ask/say: Can I or I will have to research that because I want to make sure that it (the topic we are discussing) is true and did not come from lies, rumors, or is a cultural thing. I'll get back to you about it because I want to know if it is doctrine." The person to whom I am speaking stares at me with their mouth open.
There is so much to say about this! We are told not to lie and be honest in all we do. Which we should but obviously the GA's don't follow the commandments. The "Brethren" really do follow Boyd Packer's saying of just because something is true does not make it useful, or something like that. No wonder he said it.
If the church is running out of names then why are Temples being built all the time and everywhere? Use the money on the members, like low interest loans. I sure could use one. And provide members with health and dental insurance they can buy for a low corporate group price. That would be another way to make money!
(I guess all have heard about Grant Palmer's story about the doubting GA's. Not trying to hijack the thread)) Yep, the church is in apostasy.
WW was apparently influenced by BY to some degree:
Rock, I have some questions about this post and the timeline, which is the following:
1 January 1877: St. George temple is dedicated.
19 August 1877: WW's journal entry reads: “I spent the evening in preparing a list of the noted men of the 17 century and 18th, including the signers of the Declaration of Independence and presidents of the United States, for baptism on Tuesday the 21 Aug 1877.”
21 August 1877: WW's journal entry reads: “I, Wilford Woodruff, went to the temple of the Lord this morning and was baptized for 100 persons who were dead, including the signers of the Declaration of Independence.… I was baptized for the following names.”
31 August 1877: ten days later.
4 September 1877: 14 days (two weeks) later.
18 September 1877: Geo F. Gibbs records that Wilford Woodruff says "that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me...and they waited on me for two days and two nights."
Now, I have a few questions.
First, was 4 September 1877 the date that Wilford Woodruff left St. George?
Second, after Woodruff and McCallister performed the baptisms for these men, did they also perform all the other ordinances that pertain to the house of God in behalf of them? (I.e, the endowment, priesthood ordinations, etc.)
Third, is it possible that Geo F. Gibbs got "You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years" mixed up with "You have had the use of the endowment house for nearly a year"? In other words, could it be that Woodruff quoted the dead as saying "You have had the use of the endowment house [referring to the St. George temple] for nearly a year" but when he started writing that down he realized that the Endowment House (not the temple) had been around for more than a year and so made a "correction" and wrote "for a number of years" instead?
[To be continued...]
I ask these questions because in the other testimonies given by Woodruff in 1892 and 1898, he doesn't make the same claim about the Endowment House having existed for a number of years, but instead refers to "the ordinances of the house of God," which of course must mean the holy temple.
So, isn't it possible that the dead weren't referring to baptisms, at all, but to all the other ordinances of the house of God? Isn't it possible that the dead referred to the temple as the endowment house? Is not the temple the endowment house? Isn't it possible that Gibbs mistook the words "the endowment house" (meaning the temple) as "the Endowment House," meaning that place where only baptisms were performed? Isn't it possible that Gibbs tried to "correct" Woodruff's time frame for the existence of the Endowment House from "for nearly a year" to "for a number of years"? Aren't the two phrases close enough to make an error and correction?
Now, if the endowment and other ordinances were done for the dead at that time, and at no other previous time, does it not make sense that the dead were referring to all of the ordinances of the temple and to the fact that these other ordinances were not done for them? Also, given that rebaptism was a gospel principle still in full force at that time, does it not make sense that Woodruff would have done every ordinance of salvation and exaltation for these dead instead of skipping over baptism, which had already been done before? A modern LDS, unfamiliar with rebaptism, would not have performed another baptism, but those early LDS would have re-done all these ordinances again. So, Woodruff's actions are consistent with how things were done in those times.
This leads me to suspect that Gibbs' recording of that sermon might not have been entirely accurate and that Woodruff's account of the dead appearing to him might not be some fantasy on his part. The fact that he did not record the vision in his journal isn't evidence that it did not occur. I have had plenty of manifestations of the Spirit which I have chosen not to write down. Doesn't make them any less factual.
Ha, Me too Jessica! I smoked, and stole! But I changed when the gospel came along, and the gospel changed my life in a very good way. I too had a relative visit me in a dream ... my nan .. she didn't say anything to me, but she was dressed in a beautiful white dress that reminded me of the Temple, and to do her Temple work.
It seems that so much lies and truth have been mixed together that its hard to separate the two, but I believe their is good in the church amongst the people and those that are trying to present things in the way God wants them presented. I have had spiritual experiences in the Temple, and have been baptized, washed and annointed, endowed, sealed for scores of my ancestors...... BUT somethings just did not seem right, I felt good with the baptisms, washings and annointings, and sealings, but when it came to the Endowment, I didn't have ANY witnesses, I always was very alert to 'feel' the spirit of my dead ancester or whoever I did the work for, and I felt the spirit in the other parts of the Temple, except the Endowment. In fact I felt deserted in that room :-/ spirt wise, apart from loving the company I held and the striking movie of the world .... but no spiritual witness. So I have wondered if any of that part is of heavenly father!
Thank you for sharing :-D
Where you say he was probably poisoned, it seems alot of 'poisoning' went on in the old days, and sudden deaths. One wonders if people were kept in control in high places but fear of losing their lives. Now that I have taken off my rose tinted glasses and put on my spectacles of prayer and discernment, alot is flagging itself up.
Do we now, actually still believe that Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed by a mob? How many witnesses inside that room at the time? Two ... John Taylor and Willard Richards. One became prophet of the Church, and one became counselor or Brigham Young. Both practiced polygamy, What were Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith doing? They were expelling false doctrine from Church and expelling those practicing it too.
Their stories say that both Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith had guns .. yet they died, neither John or Willard had guns they said .. yet they lived. Not many people knew what the prophet looked like, how coincidental that the RIGHT people died. After 28 years of being duped, I believe their murders were a plot and set up. With Willard Richards in on it and Brigham Young. Joseph Smith was assassinated as far as I am concerned by those that wanted him out of the way, and knew how to get away with it and carry on to fool the people, and even to cloak themselves with the teachings of Joseph Smith but then taking his good name, embellished and fabricated teachings and falsely claimed they were Joseph's and to back themselves up, they rewrote history, getting all that feared their lives enough, to alter their history too in hindsight. Strange how so many journals say nothing, then when Joseph Fielding Smith and Brigham Young needed backup, suddenly all manner of accounts appeared and even more crazy, those false reports have been believed against the very wife and children of that prophet who testified there were no other wives! Are we idiots to believe others compared to the actual family? I believe Emma Smith, I believe Joseph Smith her son ... so that leaves Brigham Young a liar and all those that held him up as a God! Heavenly Father must have wept in the heaven!
What an oo ahhh!
I have looked up to the prophets since 1985 when I was baptized, but now I am becoming disappointed. I believe they are good men, but they are dishonest, and to be dishonest is not a good trait to have. They could redeem themselves by growing a backbone and actually saying it as it is ... but that would mean the church is a forgery, and therefore able to collapse. So they don't put things right, for fear of collapse.
I loved Gordon B Hinkley, and he did actually say polygamy was not doctrinal and so he did go that far! Take those words and that amounts to him not sustaining Brigham Young or all those leaders that taught and practiced it, and what a blessing that God raised up such a man to be loved and to say some true things. If only he also defined the true and false ordinances of the Temple, I would prefer that so much too!
Thomas S. Monson, even if you are not rightfully prophet of the church, the are in a position to do good, and I am sure it would lighten the burden of your heart to come clean with it all as it must be horrible to sit in the Temple and act out lies, and to sustain D&C 132 knowing it is a lie! Please bless us as a people, we deserve to be led well, we have no other prophets as far as we know, and as the trees from the book of mormon or the vines, mention that the good became bad and the bad became good and the good was grafted into the bad and the bad grafted into the good, perhaps in all the muddled God has made something good and worth blessing. I have felt great spiritual witnesses as a member of the church, and to be totally honest, I would never have known about it unless the missionaries taught me it, or challenged me to pray! So I hold out for something good to happen. There will need to be a cleaning up for sure.
hope you found the links to the 23 High Priests. I let the Spirit guide me to and with everything I come across and am open to being wrong as often as necessary so long as the price I pay is compensated by gaining some truth. With that in mind, I have got a serious amount of stuff from Onewhoiswatching's blogs (the other one is www.threewatches.blogspot.com) ...and the Lord's Spirit has always attended in all my studies. There is a tonne of interesting stuff to sift through in those blogs and on ldsanarchy's site which Onewhoiswatching and others have written. My disclaimer is thus: I don't always agree with everything but take what is truth according to the Spirit and moved aside the rest.
Incidentally, Anarchist, I love reading much of your stuff. However, with no offense intended of course, I disagree with your take on this.
By the way, can anyone here expand of D&C 124:28? Would love to hear someone else's take on it. My opinion has already been stated further up the page. In short, if the Lord gave the Priesthood in 1830 why was He telling us in a revelation (D&C 124:28) that we have LOST the Priesthood- and which Priesthood, exactly, was it?- and it was Him who took it away and that it needed a House of the Lord (a real Temple like Kirtland instead of a Masonic one like Nauvoo, I guess) in order to be restored? Or, re-restored.
Surely, this scripture spells out that we have been in blindness and darkness for a long time. For me, polygamy and the fake endowment plus a whole lot more false and transfigured teaching from charitable spiritual giants like Brigham, have confirmed that for me. I have been convinced that we are in the thick of apostasy, but hopefully at the tail end.
I for one simply cannot find any light and truth in much stuff since Joseph died...and in some cases, while he was nearing his death- in the final few years of his life. As for them removing Lectures on Faith- some of the most mindblowing scripture on the planet- ...don't even get me started. Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, indeed.
When you finally realize the level of evil going on in the Church and which has always gone on since Brigham Young, and the evil which is still allowed, encouraged and rewarded by Church leaders today, just calling them 'dishonest' is a huge understatement.
They are completely revolting and disgusting to put it mildly.
I left because I won't support and go along with the evil going on by all leaders from top to bottom. The evil and how it blinds and corrupts everyone who stays in the Church, far outweighs any good the Church does.
I believe all leaders know there is great evil going on and allowed in the Church, for they see too much, even at a Bishop level, yet they look the other way and go along with it all because of the perks in the 'good ol boy's club' that being a leader gives them or because they are evil themselves and agree with it.
For leaders to repent and speak up about the evil would lose them not only their high status but their membership, just like it did Alma.
When you compare King Noah and Brigham Young you see that they and their Priests (Apostles) did the same things, made the people support them in their riotous lavish living and whoredoms.
I'm glad so many people are finally waking up to the evil.
If those founding fathers were asking for the 'other' ordinances to be done for them, then for me, it proves even more so that such an experience never happened, at least not by 'righteous' Spirits, for I believe the whole temple thing is Satanic and made up by Brigham Young.
Also, I don't believe WW had any Priesthood power or authority to even do baptisms, etc., because of his vile wickedness and whoredoms.
Thus he nor any other church leaders or members, then or now, had/have any true authority to even baptize, so no true and righteous Spirits would come to WW or anyone in the Church for baptism, unless God doesn't require true authority when baptizing someone.
If no true authority is needed for baptism then other religion's baptisms would be acceptable and righteous Spirits wouldn't be coming to ask for another baptism. For the LDS Church has no more authority and power since Joseph died, than any other Church on earth.
I believe Satan is having his Spirits who follow him appear to leaders and members to deceive them into believing in and going along with all this false temple work, when there is no true authority in the Church to do such things, nor is there even any truth or power in such ordinances or sealings. But Satan loves us to use and waste our time in such things. He loves when people go to the temple.
*scratching my head*
Sick of *me*? All right. I hope you feel better.
Where are the children?
Why can't anyone find Joseph's children by all these other 'wives'?
That's a pretty straightforward question, and nobody can find the answer.
You can't tell me he wasn't able to father children either; Emma proved that.
I didn't say that I was sure about Joseph Smith, whether he was sealed to other women or not; the records do show that there was some kind of 'union' made, but . . .
where are the children?
I admitted that I don't know, that I only want to believe he did NOT live it.
It's sweet that so many of *you* are in admiration of the old 'patriarchs', but the bible makes it pretty clear that polygamy was not pretty, even back then. More than clear. Good heavens, look at the mess the world is in today because of Abraham!!! Listening, or so the record says, to Sarah. He didn't need more than one wife. Neither did Jacob, whose wives fought and did all sorts of disgraceful things and whose greater affection for the children of his favorite wife caused all sorts of heartache for centuries!
why do they need defending? They were men. The idea that polygamy is sacred, ever. Jacob doesn't say so, and Joseph Smith, the great polygamist who sired no children besides the ones he sired with Emma--
said that the Book of Mormon is/was the most correct book. There is that one very vague, fuzzy verse about the Lord commanding, if he wanted a righteous posterity.
My polygamist ancestors' progeny weren't so very great; the best people came out of the monogamous marriages, and my family saw nothing but heartache come from polygamy. I am capable of seeing that my ancestors fell for a lie--
but you can't see that Abraham and Jacob were less than perfect?
I won't say I am sick of you, so I'll take the higher road. What a way to have an intelligent discussion!
I knew a descendant of Brigham Young a few years ago, someone who was raised under really sad circumstances who came 'back' to the church. One of the first things she told me about being descended from Brigham Young was that so many of his descendants were apostates living 'low lives' that it would be hard to say there were very many who were not. She admitted that it was rare in her own family for anyone to come back to the church and stay married and out of trouble (drugs, etc.)--
I was a bit shocked. I had this really idealized notion that Brigham Young, being such a saint, would have a really righteous posterity.
It took some time to take it all in.
It’s exactly what I was looking nice job for posting this.Thanks lot for this useful article, nice post
and to Rob and others who are "sick" of those of *us* who decry polygamy in any or all of its forms--
*I* came to this site and now regularly read it because of Rock's courageous post about giving up polygamy; it's right there to the right of his home page--
I had been struggling with my own feelings about polygamy for many years, and I had searched all the scriptures and read my ancestral journals about it, etc.
I had two ancestors who died because of polygamy (in Utah)--and another who had a very spiritual experience with regards to not living it--
and ended up with a very righteous posterity--
so I was trying to come to grips with it all, and I saw Rock's blog for political reasons, and then I saw that article on polygamy, and my soul rejoiced.
That's where I got my ideas.
I never claimed, as I said, to know the truth about Joseph Smith; I just HOPE he didn't sleep with other women than his own wife. If my hoping that makes you sick, then--
there isn't much I can do about it.
But for the record, I find freedom in my new found beliefs on this site--
and if Rock wants to ask me to stop saying that Brigham Young (who was never mentioned with love by any of my ancestors--Joseph was--and who had little to do with any of them, for all his planning the exodus west) was the one who took polygamy out of hiding--
and to whom was Joseph Smith referring when he said that some of his closest associates were doing things that were reprehensible?
If you can discover that, maybe we can clear this little misconception up--
It was just a few weeks after Joseph Smith said that . . . that he was murdered.
I feel hopeful in knowing that someday the truth will be entirely known, and nobody can cover anything up anymore--
but in questioning Brigham Young, what am I covering up?
even though quoted by President Kimball, I never took that account of Patten seriously.
I wonder why.
now you're contradicting yourself. I point out that only after Joseph Smith's death did polygamy begin to come out into the open--
and you are 'sick of me', because I put Brigham Young and polygamy together.
I am very confused, Rob.
I don't doubt that Joseph Smith did some kind of sealing 'thing', but whether he considered it a 'marriage'--in the physical sense, who can know that?
If he had fathered children, that could be known, of course. But where are the children?
You would think that they would come forward now with dna testing--
all this shows is how easily one idea moves to another idea. Joseph had the idea of sealing and spiritual wives, and--
it got taken to a 'higher' (or lower) level--
if he had fathered children, we could believe that he was dishonest or covered things up--
then it would be proven, but in the meantime, until the children show up, who can know?
As I said before, I like to think that for him it was merely a ceremony and not the consummation.
@ wacky chipmunk--
I'm an old lady--LOL! And I've done temple work for decades for numerous ancestors (my husband is a convert with a huge family, and he's good at doing the research)--
I, too, have had some amazing, amazing experiences with baptisms, sealings, etc.--
but never with endowments for any of these ancestors.
This is the first time I've ever written this out, but this is the first time I've ever heard anyone else say the same thing.
So, thank YOU for sharing. It helps me piece things together. For health reasons I can no longer do endowments or baptisms, though I can do the other things--
I almost wonder if that isn't Father's way of telling me I've done enough endowments. Truly I can't count them--
hundreds and hundreds, I am sure.
@those who are sick of *us* who say that "Brigham invented polygamy"--
wacky chipmunk reminded me of this--
HINCKLEY: I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law.
So, Gordon B. Hinckley, who put a lot of time and money and effort into making films that featured Joseph Smith as a prophet and did not show him as a polygamist--
did he think Brigham Young invented polygamy? If he believed it was not doctrinal, and he believed Joseph Smith was a prophet, where does he stand on Brigham Young's inspiration in living polygamy--and in bringing polygamy out in the open--
Excuses typos!! Hopefully you can make sense of it and see the errors and I allude that to church teachings too ;-)
I understand reservations about the endowment ceremony; I have had them myself--
but I have had experiences that are undeniable with regards to sealings and other ordinances--
I think that I like what Denver Snuffer has to say about this--
the current temple situation is the best we have, even if it's not perfect (or something to that effect)--
Denver kindly mentions that Brigham Young "finished" the ceremonies.
I know quite a few people who regularly attend the temple and feel that it is important that they do so . . .
who believe that the temple ceremonies will be seriously changed when Jesus Christ comes again.
In the meantime, there is no worshipping of Baal in the temple, even though some of *us* struggle with the Masonic connections--
the temple does point to Jesus Christ and helps remind people of what matters most (family, personal righteousness, prayer)--
even if it's not perfect, it's more than what most people have--
I believe the temple teaches spouse abuse in teaching women to submit to men and that men can abuse their wife by polygamy and adultery. It also pressures members into giving much more money then they need to or should, especially to false prophets who dont seem to be using it righteously for the poor and fatherless. I believe the endowment is of Satan, thus those who go there do serve the Adversary, imo.
I also believe thatJoseph Smith believed that all couples throughout the world of any religion or no religion at all, will be married forever as long as they were righteous. Even if our family does not all make it to the Celestial K., we will stil forever be the parents of our children and we will remain family forever and can visit one another, etc.
Thus, I do not believe there is any need for such thing as 'sealings', I believe BY just made that up to help sell his polygamy doctrines.
I love doing baptisms and initiatories. LOVE IT. I love doing sealings too. And you know what? I love going through the endowments, but not for spiritual reasons. I like it because I have OCD and am a fan of the more ritual things. But I remember going through the temple for the first time and outright sobbing through my initiatory because the spirit was so strong . . . but then it faded into mere excitement over getting married mixed with intrigue. Nothing more.
Great post as always, Rock. That's why I always look forward to getting those alerts that you've written something new.
I believe Pres. Hinckley did believe in polygamy, for he strongly supported it happening in the Church while he was Pres. He allowed, and almost surely promised, men to be able to still be sealed to multiple women after the death or divorce of their 1st wife, etc.
I think he meant polygamy wasn't doctrinal today, to be outright lived cause it wasnt legal, but I do believe he believed in it, and that BY was righteous and doing right by living polygamy and that men will have multiple wives in heaven.. If he didn't believe such I don't believe he would have stayed in the Church, let alone continue to keep leading everyone astray to think all is well in the Church.
You know, I have to say I have had similar experiences in the temple. I honestly don't remember the feelings of my baptism well (I was 8 yo), but I remember feeling the Spirit strongly when doing baptisms for the dead, initiatories, and proxy sealings. I have gotten different insights during the endowment. However, the pledge regarding the Church organization at the end has always been a little jarring and felt wrong to me. I freely make that commitment to Christ and the rest of the Godhead, but to the imperfect, mortal organization?
Rock, you always cover the topics that hang in the back of my mind. We have a bishop who now believes that he can do no wrong and if he did then the Lord would remove him from his position as the bishop. Interesting how this mentality has now filtered down to the local membership.
I believe we have to be very careful putting automatic stock in our feelings and even spiritual experiences, for it's very easy to think such things are coming from God when they could be and usually do more often come from tbe Adversary.
All the above feelings expressed by several in relation to temple ordinances are just the same testimonies and feelings expressed by people when they were sealed in polygamy and to numerous wives in the early church and the same things people in polygamous groups today say, feel and believe.
To think our feelings are true and theirs arent is not wise, imo. Even people in all religions express the same sincere feelings about the truth of their experiences, feelings and opposite beliefs, though everyone cant be right.
We need to prove the truth of all things, especially find out if our own feelings and experiences are really true or not, by comparing our inspiration with Christ's teachings and the scriptures, to make sure we are feeling true things.
I cant believe how often people say how the Spirit tells them to commit the most vile evil, though of course they never think what they are being told is evil, but righteous and they feel so good and right about it and at 'peace' finally.
For the Adversary can easily deceive us by our feelings and impressions especially.
Hello Matthew Lohmeier :)
I agree. I've had a Bishop like that in the past. He felt as if he could do nothing that wasn't approved by God, and therefore any counter-opinion was means to threaten temple recommend status. It was a rough five years, with many appeals to the Stake President. A friend of mine who asked him for counsel on dealing with a verbally abusive spouse specifically asked him NOT to talk to the spouse, but he did almost immediately. Yeah, like that helped. And, when she confronted the Bishop, he pulled rank on her, telling her he (and God, by default) knew best.
Rob, I regret not having seen your piece before I wrote this. I'm intrigued by your finding that the reason there were no endowments for the dead performed in the endowment house was probably because there was no belief at that time that anything should be done for the dead other than baptism, that such things as endowments and sealings were for the living.
It's interesting that Woodruff likely introduced these ordinances in the St. George temple, of which he was president, and without any revelation from the prophet or any authority to do so. Food for thought, indeed.
I don't wish to enter this fray on the subject of whether or not Joseph Smith practiced polygamy with anyone who has not read both volumes of Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy. I have found that discussing the matter with those who have not properly researched it prove fruitless and go nowhere, so I have resolved henceforth to only engage those who have at minimum taken the time to examine the research performed by Richard and Pamela Price.
There exist boatloads of evidence that Joseph vigorously preached against the practice (even telling the sisters that if a prophet of God tells them otherwise, they can know of a certainty that he is a demon of the fiery pit), and absolutely no contemporary evidence that he did. But those are my conclusions based upon examining certain evidences.
So in order to discuss this issue from a position where all are on the same page, I would ask others to first examine the available documents, statements, court records, diaries, and other evidence first. I am open to learning where I am in error, but I have found it does no good to debate the issue unless we have allowed ourselves to be exposed to the same evidence. Then we can discuss whether we feel the evidence is valid, rather than simply argue back and forth. So read the book, please. Then let's talk.
Volume one is available in hard copy, but both books are available free online. Trust me, it's fascinating stuff:
Christian, I always delve into my research hoping I'm wrong, too.
That was my understanding of the original purpose of sealing also, JR. That the members were sealed by adoption linking them to Joseph Smith, though I don't know why. Possibly as patriarch of the last dispensation?
Regarding the Church being intended to play a diminishing role in our lives as we progress, that was one of the key points Elder Poelman rightly presented in his famous conference talk in 1984. The Brethren said NO, NO, NO! The people will always need us to hold their hands. And so they made him do it over; the first time in history a conference talk was faked in order to advance propaganda that could not be supported in scripture.
Jessica, I've had a spiritual witness regarding Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, though I am aware he was very much a flawed individual. So I am not blindly devoted to him, and I think that is consistent with God's intent; I don't believe God wanted us to make him or any man into our Pope or guru.
He had a calling, and gift, which he fulfilled. I appreciate the labors of Joseph Smith because he saw his role as helping to bring people closer to Christ. So I admire and respect Joseph Smith, but I do not idolize him. He is still one of the most fascinating individuals in history, yet one of the hardest to get to know or fully understand.
I have not had a similar witness regarding any of his successors, though as a faithful member I assumed they had been given his mantle of authority. Today, I just don't know. It would help if any of them ever produced a revelation or a prophetic statement, then I might have something by which to obtain a witness of the Holy Ghost.
Maybe Joseph was called the prophet of the last dispensation because he was intended to be the last one. I don't know. But that was certainly the belief of the members, even after they followed Brigham Young to Utah. He didn't pretend to be Joseph's successor, and the people did not consider him to be. Today we think of him as the second prophet only because our history has been revised to have us see it that way.
The people didn't follow Brigham because they thought he should be their next prophet. They followed him because he convinced them that the keys of leadership resided in the twelve apostles, and he was one of the twelve. They did not consider him personally to be the next in line, but it over time he assumed that role.
Man I can't believe they haven't dragged you into church court yet, they threw me out for less than this. You should do one on the book of Abraham.
BrMeacham, I am not convinced by Bleak's statement. Woodruff did not mention anyone else being present when the founders allegedly appeared to him. He did not say the founders appeared to "us." (When Joseph Smith was with others at the time heavenly being appeared to him, he testified of what "we" saw.)
It would not have been out of the ordinary for others to back up a faith promoting story. In fact, as has been shown by Reid Harper and Thomas Alexander in their analysis of the Transformation of Brigham Young, jumping in and adding to one's own witness was quite the thing to do.
Once Albert Carrington claimed to have witnessed something no one had ever mentioned before, everyone else added to the story, which grew with each additional person's "testimony" until we have extensive descriptions from people of the event who we know were not even in Nauvoo at the time.
I don't doubt that James Bleak was present for the baptisms; apparently several people were there on Tuesday morning. But did he witness the apparitions in the temple the previous Sunday night? I'm not convinced he did.
Brian Stuy isn't so certain Woodruff himself was actually in the temple when that event occurred, either. Stuy suggests Woodruff was at home in his bed having a dream that he later convinced himself had been a vision.
I wonder if there might be something wrong with your browser. My blog is posted with black ink on a white background; there is not fuzzy picture. Can you elaborate? Has anyone else had this problem?
I have seen blogs that were so busy I couldn't keep with them. I have tried to make sure my pages are clean and readable.
Anyway, glad to have you aboard. Sorry you've had so much trouble reading it.
Also, I did not intend to give the impression Heber Grant was a "better" prophet. Quite the contrary; I wrote that Grant didn't even want to get to close to God, and I thought that odd for the president of the Church.
One of the practices in the early LDS church that we have sadly done away with was the practice of being baptized more than once, particularly for baptisms of healing. I believe multiple baptisms (for the living) is a good thing, and something we should return to. Being washed again and rededicating our lives to Christ every couple of decades or so is is an idea I find appealing. We used to do it, so it can't have been wrong.
Nothing is stopping us from being baptized a second or third time, of course. All you need is a backyard pool. Just don't expect your local leaders to endorse it.
Well, then that tells us that according to Woodruff, George F. Gibbs took the dictation down exactly as Woodruff told the story. Doesn't make the story true, of course. Just that the scribe got it word for word.
Bless you too, Jean.
For those who don't know her, Jean Bodie is my favorite apostate. I love her like a sister (even though she's clearly going to hell and I will never see her again after this life).
Anarchist, you know I respect you greatly, but with all due respect, I think you're reaching here.
Sure, it's possible George Gibbs could have gotten it wrong and then corrected it, but I think it's a stretch. Here are some things to consider:
In the temple lot case, Woodruff testified that everything written in the Journal of Discourses was factual just as he said it.
Although multiple baptisms were common in those days, those were baptisms for the living, as people came to feel the need for a renewal or healing. Dead people have been baptized more than once (see my footnote regarding Elvis Presley, for example), but that was usually inadvertent and due to poor recordkeeping, not because it was considered that the dead needed baptizing more than once.
Wilford's claim was that the founders complained that NOTHING had been done for them. Baptism is the single most important ordinance, so I wouldn't call that nothing.
Although leaving out the miraculous from his journal doesn't prove it didn't happen, that wasn't Woodruff's way. He looked for the miraculous in everything, and if such a vision had taken place, I think he would have said a lot about it in his journal. If something like that had happened to me, I might choose not to mention it publicly, but I sure write down every detail in my private journal. I wouldn't be able to help myself.
In his journal he reports that he came back two days later to perform the baptisms. In his public statement he says he "went straightway to the baptismal font" with Brother McCallister.
His journal telling was calm, and he commented that the experience was "interesting." What he claimed later was more than interesting, it was phenomenal.
I think Woodruff's mind was occupied by copying the names of the founders from the book "A Portrait Gallery of Prominent Americans and Europeans", coupled with the speech Brigham Young had delivered about redeeming the dead who laid the foundations. Plus, the book had pictures. I would not be surprised if with all that on his mind, Wilford dreamed he saw those faces before him. Problem is, he should have presented it s a dream instead of claiming they appeared to him personally.
Why do people need to be "initiated?" There are no special clothes or anything else that stands between me and the Savior. The only protection that can assure us of the kingdom of heaven is to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6 and D&C 27).
King Benjamin told us very clearly that the name we had to be called was that of Christ.
To say that Joseph's name would be had for both good and evil was certainly an understatement. LOL
The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was his mission. He should have stopped, let the church (as talked about in D&C 10) be a MOVEMENT, and never spent sacred monies for those stupid mummies. All the good Joseph did was certainly questioned by the book of Abraham.
That's just it, though, Rock, if the dead appeared to Woodruff, then you would have both the revelation and the authority to begin such ordinances for the dead. He was the temple president, therefore, he held the keys over the house of God. It makes sense that if the dead were to appear to anyone, it would be him. The fact that he describes the 21st of August 1877 in his journal as "interesting" is itself, interesting. His exact words, "It was a very interesting day." This sounds like something I would write in my journal on a day that a manifestation occurred, but which I did not feel like recording. Such a note is an inside joke, written with a chuckle. There is nothing interesting about performing routine ordinance work for the dead, regardless for who it is for. So, what's so interesting about the day? The appearance of the dead is what made it interesting, but again, this is hidden knowledge. That he later decided to reveal it publicly, is yet another thing I have done. People change their minds. I know it seems that one would record every single manifestation you've ever received, but I have not done so, nor do I think anyone else has either.
So, we get this sudden start up of endowments for the dead, authorized by a vision or angelic ministration, but Woodruff didn't record the vision in his journal. Sound familiar? How about the ordination of Joseph by Peter, James and John? Not recorded, but stated after the fact that it happened. In like manner, Woodruff records nothing but later spills the beans about how this new practice actually started, essentially giving us the revelatory context it is based on.
Again, I can totally relate to this kind of stuff because I've received things from the Lord, made the changes, recorded nothing, and much later, when I realize people need to know the revelatory context of the changes, explained that I didn't just pull the new info out of my ass, but it was given to me as a revelation on such and such a date, despite there being nothing written about it in my journal.
Well, keep in mind that until Joseph F. (the earth was made in six days) Smith decided to add it into the Standard Works list, The Pearl of Great Price was considered with suspicion by even members of the Twelve as a fabrication, and rightly so. You'll remember that the workbook that Joseph Smith, Jr used to "translate" the tome that accompanied the mummy was found to have somehow gotten into the collection of the Museum of Art in New York (I believe) and when it was published in the newspapers was found to demonstrate the amazing capacity of one hieroglyph representing a single sound of the language to somehow actually represent entire paragraphs of narration! Back in the 1830's they had just cracked the hieroglyph code in France, and today they know that all the tome was was a collection of spells for the dead called The Book of Breathings, dating from the 1st century AD.
The POGP is nice scripture, but it is entirely a fabrication. It isn't unfair to wonder about the question of if Joseph could write the POGP so well, why couldn't he have written the BOM as well? This question was the beginning of my departure journey out of the Church entirely. Of course, some people would rather not face the question at all.
And where is the workbook today? The Church bought it and it hasn't seen the light of day since, assuming it even still exists and hasn't been totally destroyed in a stove somewhere.
I wonder, how old was Woodruff in 1892? Could he have remembered that what Gibbs recorded in 1877 was accurate? Could he have remembered in September 1877 the exact words that the dead said to him 4 weeks before? Try thinking back 4 weeks to something someone said to you. Can you remember 50 consecutive words verbatim that anyone said to you? Count the words, it's 50:
“You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.”
In other words, there are more than a few possibilities here, none of which have to deal with lies or delusion. Memory is an interesting thing, as interesting as comparing Joseph's account to Oliver's account, of the words that the angel John (the baptist) spoke during their ordination. The two accounts should be a perfect match, but they aren't. So, if we allow for wiggle room for Joseph and Oliver, what's up with not giving Woodruff some slack in his quote spoken by the ministering spirits? If Woodruff remembered the words wrong (because many of us have a faulty memory and imperfect hearing) and Gibbs recorded Woodruff's words right (because Gibbs' hearing was perfect and his transcription abilities likewise perfect), would that discount a bunch of ministering spirits appearing?
Everything presented here makes me sick, oh followers of Lucifer.However, I forgive you and pray for you.
Please...elaborate, oh Anonymous. What exactly makes you sick? By all means pray for us; all of us need all the help we can get.
@anonymous 12:16 p.m.
You could be right, of course. I believe that Bhuddists and Hindus and Muslims and Shintos and others can have 'spiritual' experiences with regards to their religious beliefs.
I think that sometimes it is very easy for *us* to be 'black and white' with regards to God and religion.
Culture is scary and important. It is scary, because it is so powerful, and it is important, because it is the conveyance of values.
There are, I believe, superior cultures and inferior ones, but how can a human easily decide which is which?
I believe God takes the best we can give. I do believe that. I have heard of how powerfully some polygamists believe they are right, which is what makes what those who began the questionable practice did . . . even more frightening.
Once something begins it is hard to stop.
Hard to stop public education; hard to stop wars; hard to stop the practice of living with someone who is not your 'legal' spouse.
I do believe that those who turn cultures will be held responsible at some point, especially if they were in positions of 'authority'--
I do believe this is why God led Lehi out of Jerusalem, to try to start over. This is why the flood happened.
Once something becomes a cultural/social norm it is very hard to change it.
But I do believe that it is possible for people who are practicing things they have been taught to receive the approval of God--
maybe He knows things we do not know.
The fact is, anonymous, *we* are all limited in how much knowledge we can find and take in. Even if we spend our entire lives seeking for the truth, we are likely to find only a portion.
That is what makes this mortal experience such an amazing test.
I trust in God to sort it all out in the end.
I have not met any polygamists, but I have read what some of them believe and think, and I sense that, within the framework of their beliefs, they are doing something they believe is right, and therefore they will feel that God approves.
Maybe He does. As filthy (yes, that's the best word) as the practice appears to me, maybe God will hold them less accountable, because someone they considered to be a prophet led them there.
How responsible are children for the things they are taught? Why do you think it matters so much that children come into 'good' homes, and who is the person who decides what a 'good' home is, versus a 'bad' home--
I count on God the Father and Jesus Christ to sort it all out, and this is why I believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ. Even those of us who do our best can never do enough--
I know quite a few Bhuddists, and I know their attitude towards suicide is quite different from that of Christians. Do I believe God takes that into account? Certainly.
I appreciate this, because I had some spiritual experiences that were so profound--
and I know I was not sleeping--
things that came 'out of the blue', things I wasn't looking to have--
both negative and positive--
and yet I found it difficult to talk about them at the time to those who were close to me, and I found that I would only share snatches of them--
some of them are very clear to me now; some of them I honestly can't remember exactly when I had them. I know what house I was living in--but beyond that I can't remember.
I have heard of how many people have questioned Joseph Smith's 'first' vision and how he changed his story now and again--
or whatever, and I have thought, "yes, it's hard to share something profound in a linear way"--
so I sympathize with people who have experienced that or whose memories have handicapped them somehow.
I know I had those experiences, but if I were called upon to prove it by date I would be completely incapable of doing so--
but I still didn't believe those men appeared to Wilford Woodruff--
"On many occasions, Heber J. Grant made it clear that he believed loyalty to the Church was more important than having a personal relationship with Christ. And this was the titular prophet of God. "
Are there any solid examples of this point? I imagine you can give many examples of Grant endorsing the importance of loyalty to the Church, but I'm not sure if he would have ever directly stated its superiority to having a relationship with Christ.
In my opinion, the following reminiscence of a statement by Heber J. Grant by Marion G. Romney is a text book example of what Rock is referring to when he speaks of Grants belief that loyalty to the church is more important than a relationship with Christ:
“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Grant talk to our ward.
After the meeting, I drove him home. …
When we got to his home I got out of the car and went up on the porch with him.
Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said:
‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’
Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said,
‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray"
Marion G Romney, in Conference Report, October 1960, pg 78
Two very important doctrines are contained in those most inspiring words by HJG,
one is that we are blessed by categorically being loyal to the leaders of the church EVEN IF THEIR COUNSEL IS WRONG. (contrary to the Lords)
The second is the most impressive doctrine of infallibility.
Those two conflicting statements were artfully crafted into an amazing display of cognitive dissonance that is sure to reduce the number of brain cells that one might be in possession of prior to hearing such an utterance.
Perhaps that is the reason it was said with a "twinkle in the eye".
This concept has also filtered down to the ward level, at least in the area I live in. We had an almost knock-down drag-out fight in Gospel Doctrine class a while back, as ward members vehemently defended their position that if the bishop asked you to do something, you would be blessed if you did it, even if it was "wrong" and when some took exception to that idea, they were criticized loudly. Those who had ever turned down a calling were made to feel like sinners. It was really contentious.
Rock and Anonymous, I'm actually going to disagree with you. I don't think that as we progress the church should play a diminishing role. The problem is that we are conflating terms. I don't believeth corporate Church should have a role in any person's life. But I do believ ethe the church, should always play a role in a person's life. The church is the body of Christ, it is the community of believers, it is our family. Will we ever not need our family? Should our family play a diminishing role in our lives? Of course not. The church should always play a significant role in our lives. We are the church.
wacky chipmunk. You just gave me the perfect plotline for a story. Joseph Smith was never killed in carthage. They were look alikes. Brigham Young and John Taylor really captured Joseph and Hyrum, then took them to some remote location. Not sure how the rest of the story would go.
I just realized something interesting. Baptism is not some special Christian ordinance. John was baptizing people in the river before Christ started his ministry. Baptism must have been some Jewish washing that made sense to the people. Christians however treat baptism as if it is some special set apart Christian ceremony. But really it is just a washing. Multiple baptisms may not make sense to some people. However understanding rebaptism as multiple washings make more sense.
A couple of questions:
1. Why was the Endowment House called the endowment house if all they did was baptisms and it was never intended to do endowments there.
2. Why does the practice of baptisms for the dead take place when in B of M states:
2 Nephi 9:26
26. For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.
22. For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—
23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.
24 Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.
These scriptures refer to the common thought of little children being innocent and saved through the mercy of Jesus' baptism, but also those without the law, which would be those dead. It seems to me that those who rejected the gospel here for whatever reason are getting the opportunity to be taught in the spirit world and if and when they accept truth then they will be restored to God.
I think of the vision that Joseph Smith had upon seeing his older brother Alvin in the celestial kingdom, and Alvin hadn't had any of his "work" done for him.
Whether or not Wilford Woodruff had such a vision is neither here nor there. It's really hard to go back in time and establish facts. I think the more important thing here is that the founding fathers were not righteous men by any stretch of the imagination, and anyone that tries to characterize them as such is engaging in revisionist history.
Most of them had slaves, in spite of Jefferson declaring that "all men are created equal". Franklin had many illegitimate children. Hamilton tried to establish an evil central baking system. They rebelled against the English crown without sufficient provication. The wealthy, landed "founding fathers" rebelled against the crown for tax purposes, and had the poor dirt farmer do the fighting. The farmers stood to gain little.
Now I'm supposed to believe that these blackguards are waiting at the gate of the Celestial Kingdom for a get out of jail free card?
I just wanted to add to my comment that in the D+C the Lord tells us he raised up "wise" men to write the Constitution. Notice that the Lord does not say "righteous", he says "wise". There is a huge difference between the two.
Why not? Isn't Christs atonement for all? Doesn't God have to work with all imperfect people?
We all have strengths and weaknesses and whatever our strengths can be use for also comes with our weaknesses. The founding fathers weren't asked to teach or set up family relations classes. They had understandings of things that would be a help to set up a better system of government. Those strengths came with some weaknesses.
My post was not againts LDSPer, whose comments I regularly enjoy, but against the constant slamming of plural marriage, whose evidence only convinces those who don't know any better.
My reply was too long to post, so I am going to post it as a blog post. I'll elaborate it and put citations etc. when I get a chance.
To answer your question with a question, why do we even bother preaching the gospel if the atonement saves all those without the law?
ok, I see that the endowment house was to do only endowments for the living.
There is a kingdom of glory prepared for such people, but it is not the Celestial Kingdom. So just out of curiosity, do you think Hitler can be forgiven and receive thge Celestial Kingdom? Is he a "just man made perfect"?
I don't believe the Founding Fathers will achieve the Celestial Kingdom either if they weren't righteous and did and supported such evil things.
For there were many people in their day who suffered and sacrificed alot to not have slaves and to live righteously, so it would not be just to give those who weren't righteous the same blessings and Kingdom as those who were truly righteous.
It's amazing how most people don't want the freedom and responsibility to do their own thinking, but would rather be obligated to do what other's tell them, even if it's wrong.
Most of the members I have known have also believed that they should follow the Bishop and never question him, whether he's wrong or right.
I have to try to wake them up by instances where a Bishop and Stake President who asked for sexual favors of women I know. I ask them would it be ok for the woman to go along with his request and not be held accountable?
I once told my Bishop I believed he was wrong and I wasn't going to do what he asked, because I believed it would be very bad for my family. He was quite angry and put out, I guess he wasn't used to being countered.
I have noticed that the LDS appear to be far more deceived, blind and brain washed then any of my many relatives and friends who are in various other religions, yet who would think for themselves, before following blindly.
We all have a whole life to progress and repent. If the founding fathers were judged for their earlier years only then why would they want to live any longer. That's the sweet thing about our life here, we can always make a course correction. How can we judge which kingdom somebody will be most comfortable in. As far as Hitler, well, being responsible for 6 million deaths would be a hefty weight on his shoulders, but I guess if he accepts the gospel and repents and pays for all that isn't covered under Jesus Christ's atonement, then I guess the celestial kingdom could possibly be an option. That would be up to him and the Lord.
There is that parable that Jesus spoke of about the laborers who agreed to work for a certain amount of money for a full days work and then later more workers came and got the same pay and the first workers weren't very happy about it. The Lord of the place asked why it bothered them so much because they were getting the pay that they agreed to. Anyway, here is the reference and you can read if you want to. Matthew 20:1-16
LDSDPer, would you please check at the bottom of the comments on "Training Day"? Thank you
If the Founding Fathers repented before they died then yes, I agree, they could go to the C.K., we probably don't know for sure if they did or not though.
But the scriptures are pretty clear what it takes to achieve the Cel. Kingdom (eternal life) and if someone didn't repent while here on earth then the Prophets say they don't get a 2nd chance at Eternal Life, even though everyone will eventually repent in Spirit Prison, but then have to go to the Kingdom they merited by their acts here on earth.
The Atonement appears to only cover those who were righteous while on earth and who had true Charity for others and who weren't deceived by false prophets to do or support evil.
You're probably right about meriting the celestial according to this life.
There is so much that I don't know yet.
Reminds me of the great number of variations Joseph Smith seems to have given of the First Vision.
If I'm not mistaken, the account of Woodruffs experience goes in to say that all the other work was attended to as well. I read of Gearge Washington and John Wesley being ordained High Priests for example.
Therefore, it appears to me that the Woodruff account could be true, as the founding fathers wanted their work attended to, not just their baptisms. The Endowment House was not used for endowments for the dead, but the St George temple certainly was - so this makes sense.
A great grandfather of my husband came from a polygamous family. My husband does not know much about the great grandfather ( neither does anyone else in his family like cousins/aunts/uncles) except that the great grandfather ran away from home at age thirteen because of home problems. He never returned. No surprise, especially after reading about all the problems associated with polygamy.
It appears that when Brigham Young took over the church he just about did everything opposite of what Joseph Smith would have done, and he undid many things Joseph Smith instituted and taught (like Blacks holding the Priesthood).
all I know is that Heber J. Grant was a social conservative. I was raised one of those, but I have seen the downfalls, now that I have become more of a libertarian.
For example, prohibition.
Heber J. Grant wanted alcohol to be illegal in Utah, and I can understand why. But the fact is that prohibition was almost as much of a quagmire as the current failed 'drug war' is.
People who lived in Utah and other states along the Mormon corridor would have been hard pressed to see what prohibition did to families and society in areas where German and Scandinavian and Polish (etc.) farmers made their own home brews and carefully regulated what their families and young people used and did not use.
It has been sad to see the social catastrophe that resulted when farmers were told they could not make beer, and their children left the farm to do illegal work for the bootleggers--
honest people banned; dishonest people encouraged--
those young people were not exposed to good things and were away from the influence of their parents and traditional values--
the corruption was extant, and small farming communities anywhere near the horrific mafia corruption of places like Chicago--
really took the hit.
But Heber J. Grant didn't get what he wanted, and he would not have been able to see what happened in the non-LDS parts of the U.S., where honest people regulated their own making of and use of alcoholic beverages--
I'm glad that prohibition failed, but I have fellow members of the church (and, no, I've never even tasted beer or any other alcoholic beverage; don't want to go there)--
tell me that I am an 'apostate' because of my strong anti-prohibition feelings. After all, they will say, "a prophet of God spoke the mind and will of the Lord."
Well, tell that to the German farmers who dared not make beer and whose kids left to help the bootleggers--
Then maybe there's hope for me!!!
all I can say is that after all I can do . . .
and all the repentance I can muster . . .
I'm glad that some of the people on here aren't my Judge--
I add my personal 'witness' that those who 'lived' polygamy among my own ancestors . . . did not thrive spiritually as much as those who did not.
I can remember, being a really enthusiastic seminary/100% person as a youth, being really shocked by a couple of things:
1--none of my ancestors liked Brigham Young and stayed as far away from him as they could, which when I was young made me ashamed for my ancestors; how dared they? After all, he was a prophet, right?
2--those I have met personally who are descended from Brigham Young have told me how difficult it has been to be descended from him and how generally depraved are many of their relatives. One of them told me that she married a man whose ancestors refused to live polygamy, and his family has been more spiritually advanced than her own, who were pretty much all classic reprobates (couldn't stay married, couldn't stay out of every kind of trouble, low educational levels, etc.)
I feel badly for Brigham Young. The more I read the more I think he was truly a thorn in the flesh for the LDS people living during that time. There are other things I could say, but it might identify me--
but I just recently came to realize that President Kimball basically apologized for Brigham Young when the blacks were given (or had it given AGAIN) the priesthood--
Poor Brigham. I know we aren't supposed to pray for the dead, but if anyone needs our prayers, it is that man.
I'm glad I'm not descended from him, though. And I'm sorry if I offend anyone who is. I do know he has some good descendants, I guess. Steve Young is supposed to be at least not a jailbird--LOL!
I did, and I sent an e-mail, several times; it always returned to me.
I will try again, if you will check the e-mail address again.
Wishing you the best--
Oh, I am so sorry but I left off the s on hunts. Please do try again. email@example.com. Thank you so much!
I have concluded over the years that brother Brigham was a non-prophet. Not a false prophet take note - but a non-prophet. Someone who occupied the judgement seat so to speak, but did not have the mantle of a prophet.
Much the same can be said of a number of the church presidents we have had since, in my view.
@Alan, I do agree. Brigham himself did not say he was a prophet. I think that, in the past few years the term "prophet" has mostly become an honorific, though--
So it's hard to say when a man really acts as a prophet or is just a figurehead; I guess we'll know at some point.
I suppose Brigham did get everyone west, but, aside from the fact that many of the saints were tired of being burned out in Missouri and Illinois, I'm not exactly sure what the point of going west was--
seems to have created a culture almost counter to what Joseph Smith originally had in mind, and it certainly doesn't seem to be headed towards Zion--
as for Brigham, I think the people who went west 'with' him knew exactly what he was--
a stand-in . . .
they went on with their lives.
I think it's extreme to call someone a false prophet. I think most of the men who have held the position of president of the church have meant well at any rate, and I certainly don't see perfection in the Old Testament prophets--
men are, after all, men.
But I think it's important to call things what they are, instead of pretending.
A comment on the statement "the prophet can never lead the church astray". D&C 107 covers The order of Church tribunals and indicates no one in the Church is exempt from accountability.
D&C 107:82 And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the High Priesthood;
If the prophet can never lead the church astray why do we need this process to try the leader of the church?
On Sept 8, 1844 Sidney Rigdon as a member of the first presidency was tried by this method and excommunicated.
I agree, I don't believe Brigham Young was ever a 'Prophet' or a true and worthy Apostle, I believe he was unrighteous from even before Joseph called him to be an Apostle.
Nor do I believe any of the leaders of the Church since BY were true Prophets or Apostles or even righteous men, for they all go along with and support the vilest of evils.
The LDS Church is now, since Joseph's died, just as false and without true authority as any other Church on earth.
In order for a man to be a true Prophet he has to prove to people that he is really righteous and better than we are and possesses Christlike love, as Christ said he must, which takes near perfection, if they expect anyone to give them the time of day and consider them to be Prophets or anyone they should listen to.
Since such men, or women, are very rare, I doubt there have been very many true Prophets who ever walked the earth.
Zomarah, I agree with you of course. And you present the correct definition of church as the body of Christ, a family of which we are always members.
I was, of course, referring to the corporate Church and the leaders who were clearly alarmed at the idea that the membership might one day conclude they didn't need them and their correlated programs.
Yes it could, Alan, except Woodruff claims the founders told him that "nothing" had been done for them.
That is, not even their baptisms, which would have been the first "something" to have done. Since those baptisms had been performed, we have to ask, why would they claim nothing had been done?
Anarchist, my reading of Wiford's journal leads me to believe that he felt the day was interesting because he had the privilege of performing baptisms for these great men. He continues from there to comment on their importance. I don't see anything there to suggest that it was their miraculous appearance that made the day interesting. If I had performed those baptisms, I would write in my journal of what an interesting thing it was.
Ultimately, of course, we can't know for certain about this alleged apparition. Goodness knows I WANT it to be true, but taking all things into consideration, I feel it's unlikely. But I respect your view. I'm certainly the first to admit you know more than me on a lot of other issues, so I won't haggle with you on this one.
@anonymous, 4:35 p.m., will you please show me the scriptural definition of prophet as you state it--
"In order for a man to be a true Prophet he has to prove to people that is really righteous and better than we are and possesses Christlike love, as Christ says he must . . ."--
where is this found? As Christ said? Jesus said that prophets must show Christlike love? I thought He admonishes all of us to show Christlike love, to be like Him (and His Father)--
I think you need to focus more on Jesus Christ and His Love and stop focusing on the evil within the church. We all know that there are plenty of confused people within the church; it has always been that way, and it will be that way until Jesus returns--
but the way you focus on it makes me wonder how much you really focus on Jesus Christ. Humans will always disappoint, always--
Jesus Christ never will. Focus on Him. Look to Him. Follow Him and don't expect humans to be as good as you think they should be. You will only be depressed, because it will never happen.
hmmm, Leroy, this happened after Joseph Smith's murder that Sidney Rigdon was excommunicated? Wow; I had not connected that.
I used to study church history, and then I found it so disastrously depressing that I stopped. I have just started, baby steps, again--
I wonder who could have been responsible for Rigdon's excommunication. Now . . . who can imagine what person or persons might have benefited from having Rigdon out of the way--
According to what you write, those in charge needed less than 3 months to get Sidney Rigdon out of the way--
I had heard that Sidney was a corrupt man, but now I really, really wonder--
just so many new ideas flying around--
and, oh, by the way, I am not being critical of what you write, just thinking aloud on Rock's blog--
I can't help but think of this scripture a lot lately--
20 Wo unto them that acall bevil good, and good evil, that put cdarkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Lots of things seem to be confused--
I recently had a similar experience with a Bishop while I was serving as his counselor. When extending calling he felt that the revelation he received for extending callings superseded the individual's (the recipient of the calling) personal inspiration about whether or not to accept the calling. He said they don't need to pray about it because he already had, ad he new what answer they would receive (the same as his) if they were truly in tune with the spirit.
I told him I thought this was cult mentality. He said that it would be if this was not the Lord's church and that the Lord would remove him from his calling as a Bishop if he were to lead the ward members astray.
His is such an ill-founded as well as dangerous viewpoint.
I assure you, it is because I focus on Christ that I believe the Church is so evil. Christ said we should be 'perfect' like he was, was he just kidding? Was it just a suggestion? Was it a commandment, maybe even a requirement in this life for eternal life? Maybe, maybe not.
But Joseph Smith taught that we must be just as righteous here on earth as the Prophets were, if we want to be worthy to sit down in the same heaven as them.
At the very least I believe that if we focus on Christ we would at least be trying to become perfect, even if we falter. I don't believe Christ would command us to do something that was impossible to do in this life.
Trying to become perfect will not depress us if we possess the Spirit, which will fill us with hope and give us the strength to keep trying to be better and better.
Christ taught in the New Testament that we will know his 'true disciples' by their 'Christlike love', just like Christ had, ("By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples) And so if a man says he is a Prophet, a true disciple of Christ, then Christ says to test him to see if he really has Christlike love or not, then we will know.
I do not believe that any President or leader of the Church, high or low, since Joseph Smith, has had true Christlike love and has been a true disciple of Christ.
Having Christlike love is so difficult to possess that only a very righteous, near perfect person will possess it, so Christ knew and taught us to use that as a true test of a righteous man or woman or Prophet.
If a church leader doesn't prove they have Christlike love, then why would I listen to, support, trust or believe in them? I never would. Thus, especially Prophets have to prove such righteousness and love before they can expect people who have read Christ's teachings to listen to or believe them.
Joseph Smith taught that those with true Christlike love can't be deceived, thus I believe they wouldn't stay in an apostate false Church for long that is lead by false prophets who support and do evil.
Rigdon refused to follow the 12 even after the exercise of common consent to that effect by the people (and saying that he would). He was working behind the scenes (recruiting the likes of William Marks) to try and undermine the 12 and promote his own cause. When he left Nauvoo and took followers with him, his excommunication was inevitable. Brigham didn't really have a choice in the circumstances.
I think I finally realized, 10:37, why you and I don't see 'eye to eye'--
I think we've had this discussion before.
Though I have a desire to know the truth about all things, I just can't focus on the negative aspects of other human beings all of the time.
But, I rarely, rarely take human seriously, even if I respect them--
the only Being I take seriously is Jesus Christ. There are humans/mortals I love dearly, but I don't take even them seriously. I don't take myself seriously.
We are all frail, fragile, vulnerable, fallible--
so for someone to get so worked up about how evil people are, when . . . yes, there are evil people--
there might even be a few evil general authorities, for all I know.
But I don't know these people personally, so, if you do, and you've felt their malignance, then, by all means, stay away from them.
There are a lot of evil people in the world. The people who run Monsanto, for example, and the people who run the federal reserve and the people who . . . send economic hitmen into third world countries to destroy their economies and cultures and people--
evil. I find it hard not to laugh, in spite of the fact that I'm not sure they are all they should be, at your calling a few old men who try to run the corporate church . . .
and I wonder how much you've really met evil. I've stared evil in the face a time or two in my life--
and though I believe that there are general authorities who are not 'awake' to the situation around *us*, and though I believe there are those who have been deceived--
evil? Hardly. I don't know why I keep responding to you. I need to stop, because I am not going to get anywhere. I'm sure you've seen some hard things in your life, too; I have no idea, but if I could sit down with you and talk to you about some of the things that have happened to my family and me that have been evil that have not come from the LDS church (though things haven't been perfect there, by any means), then we could talk about evil.
But I can't, and I won't--
So, I can't take you seriously--
on a scale of 1 to 10, if there is evil in men (I am not talking about the inherent evil of corporatism, I'm sure the LDS church corporation is right up there with all of other corporations, and that is another discussion for another time and place)--
I've seen a lot more evil in men outside the LDS church than within. That they have disappointed is not to be doubted; men in the church have certainly disappointed, but--
the evil doesn't rate that high--
oh, and anonymous who believes there is no greater evil in the world than the men who lead the LDS church (*trying not to smile*)--
you didn't show me a scripture I asked for.
There isn't one.
There is this one:
48 aBe ye therefore bperfect, even as your cFather which is in heaven is dperfect.
48 Therefore I would that ye should be aperfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
I am not entirely certain I understand what this means, though I know that God does--
He will provide a way for this. I am incapable of being perfect at this point, no matter how hard I try, so I am not certain what it means, but I see it as a promise, as a promise that He will work with each of us, so that we might become like Him and His Father--
but there is no scripture where the Lord says that we should be perfect like prophets or that prophets should be more perfect than other humans--
so, on that one, the original question stands, prophets are just men--and as men . . . they will have the same challenges that the rest of *us* have--
I'm sure you're right about that, probably. I got to a point in my early adult years where I just had to put the LDS church history books down; I couldn't bear it any better than I could bear a lot of U.S. history--
I got tired of the good guys and bad guys and politics--
Still, when I compare the lives of the two men, I am not sure which one has more to answer for. It didn't appear that Rigdon had the problem with violence that Brigham did--
even if he didn't apply the violence directly, Brigham Young certainly has a few things to answer for--
let's hope, for his sake, that he answers truly, and that his answers please his God.
The fact is that the church was in such a mess by that time that I am not sure it mattered.
Do I believe that the saints were 'meant' to go West? No; I believe it was an exile, and I don't believe the God of Heaven was pleased with any of the saints at that point, either those who stayed or those who went, though certainly there were good people and true people in each group--
The westward movement was an exile, I believe, and from my family's journals things were dark for quite a few decades after the 'saints' arrived in the western valleys--
So I have a hard time thinking one of those men was any better than the other, at least.
Only time will tell, when things are shouted from the rooftops--
then we'll all know--
I hope that day comes soon.
I don't believe that any 'righteous' people followed Brigham Young, especially once his polygamy was preached and practiced openly, for it's just so vile that anyone with the Spirit would be so revolted and outraged that they wouldn't stay with such a group or leaders.
There were maybe righteous spouses forced by their spouse to go west in order to keep their family together or be able to be with their children, but I don't believe those forced spouses thought BY was righteous or had any authority, they would have known he was evil.
For righteous people ('Celestial level people') have the Holy Spirit as their guide and thus aren't deceived by false prophets or vile things like polygamy and submission of women, for the Spirit will warn them about it and tell them it is wrong.
While Joseph taught that good and honorable people ('Terrestrial level people') can be easily deceived by false prophets and evils like polygamy and go along with it and then if they do such evil themselves they become Telestial level.
I have ancestors who followed BY out of Nauvoo and I don't consider them righteous either, they were just deceived for falling for and going along with some of the vilest of evils, they chose to ignore what they knew Joseph Smith, Christ and the scriptures said against it all.
Righteous men and women in any age don't support and go along with whoredoms, or the abuse, abandonment, control or submission of women, they honor women's total equality and protection.
I believe there were a few righteous Saints after Joseph died who stayed in the East and didn't follow BY out West. They did the best they could without a Prophet to lead them, and since they had the Holy Spirit as their guide and the scriptures, they probably did just fine.
For 'the Holy Spirit' is far more important than having a Prophet to lead you, for the Spirit will teach and tell you everything that a Prophet would, even far more, in fact it probably makes you a Prophet if you have the Spirit.
The problem is though, that everyone, both the wicked and the righteous usually think they have the Holy Spirit leading them, when almost everyone just has the Adversary giving them their revelation, inspiration, dreams and visions, which sound good and right to them, yet it's just the Adversary carefully leading them down.
For I believe it is very hard and rare to really have the Holy Spirit as our constant guide, and be truly righteous. I don't think I have ever known of a truly 'righteous' person in my whole life. I'm not sure I myself can' ever become truly righteous, for it takes true Charity, which is so rare and hard to gain. But I keep trying, and hopefully one day I can achieve it.
I believe like Joseph taught, that the righteous can't be deceived, because they possess Charity, the pure love of Christ, which then makes them worthy of the Holy Spirit as their guide.
Today and always it seems that everyone is very easily deceived, to support the vilest of men and evils, except a rare few, but those rare righteous souls are almost impossible to find.
I did mention the scripture, I just didn't give the reference because I thought you were probably familiar with it and thus it wasn't necessary, but if we aren't familiar with it, here is the reference I referred to above.
John 13:35 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Christ was talking to his apostles here, saying that people will know they are his true apostles or disciples, by the proof that they will have 'true Christlike love'. If people or prophets don't possess such love, then we know for sure they aren't righteous or true prophets or disciples of Christ.
And it takes one to know one. We have to understand and possess such love or at least be making serious headway in gaining it, in order tell if others have it or not, or we will easily be deceived to think prophets or people have such love when they really don't. It appears most people don't even know what pure love looks like.
Most people today don't seem to even believe in or understand unconditional pure Christlike love anymore, let alone be trying to possess it.
Maybe you have not considered how Christ was telling us to prove all persons, especially those who call themselves prophets, to see if they are really true disciples of Christ or not, by if they have pure Christlike love or not.
If we can't easily discern true prophets from false prophets, as easy as telling 'the night from the day', as the scriptures say, then we will quickly be deceived.
Pure unconditional Christlike love is and always has been the true test and proof of righteousness for men, women and prophets throughout the history of the world, and it appears that one has to be near perfect to possess it.
And you are right, I do believe the LDS Church is evil, and has been since Brigham Young took that part of the Saints out west.
I have never known of any leader, or even member, of the Church since Joseph Smith, who I believe is righteous. All leaders appear to be very unrighteous. They may be nice, good and honorable most of the time, but they still appear unrighteous, especially when you really look to see if they possess Christlike love or not. For instead of possessing love, they support or do evil.
I have never known a leader of the Church I believe has any pure love or the Spirit, though they all think and say they do. And if they don't possess love, then as Christ taught, I should and would never support or follow them or stay in such a Church.
All of the last 12 Bishop's and Stake Presidents I have known have also had the 'prideful mentality' that they or higher leaders couldn't be wrong and that if I didn't follow or support them then 'I was wrong', even disciplined.
They never stop to consider that Satan always gets people to think they, or leaders, are right and couldn't be wrong.
LDS Leaders never seem to realize that 'pride' blinds them to the fact that they are, or could be, wrong.
Believing the lie, (that 'prophets or any leader can't lead us astray), is just a lie that prideful or lazy people choose and want to believe, for it either gives them more 'power' to get people to follow them OR gives people 'less responsibility' to have to think and discern for themselves.
Either way it's a satanic win for leaders or followers, for everyone wants either power or the easy way.
But we and they will be held accountable for falling for Satan's little 'good sounding' lies, that he preaches through false prophets and false leaders.
I don't think anyone can know any of this about anyone he/she hasn't met in person--
This is one of the pitfalls of the corporate church. We only see faces and hear voices; we don't KNOW any of these people.
Although that is a beautiful and profound teaching of Jesus Christ, I didn't get the idea that it applied specifically to prophets--
it applies to everyone, but a person cannot know whether another person is righteous, or not, unless he/she is in the company of that person--
modern media makes this very difficult--
I cannot know, except by their fruits, whether anyone in the past has been righteous or not--and even then how can I know the entire story? I really cannot--
the point I continue to try to make is that it is impossible for a person to make blanket statements, "nobody who 'followed' BY could have been righteous"--
because you/I/we were not there--
I understand bitterness; I have struggled with some of my own, and so I know you are not alone in feeling disgust at evil--
there is too much evil in the world today, and sometimes it can become overwhelming--
war and bloodshed, profit by greedy men and women from the selling and/or killing of other human beings--
it is very overwhelming--
but it's too easy to make a statement that, "everyone there is evil"--
just too easy--
By the way, it really is just fine with me if you have contempt for the LDS church--
but the collectivization/generalization is dangerous--
it is dangerous to say that, "all men or all women are ________" or to say about any particular religious group that it is something, especially if it is negative, but even if it is positive. It is dehumanizing--
This frightens me, and do you want to know why? Whipping up animosity towards any group of people can be dangerous. People who don't think clearly can become angry and become violent towards a group or towards a symbol of a group--
so it really is important to be cautious--
When I read or hear of someone who is making blanket statements about any group I become afraid of the consequences--
I mean, are you speaking of human beings or of buildings when you say the "LDS church is evil"?
I even have to be careful when I think of entities like Monsanto. I believe Monsanto does a terrible number of evil deeds in the world, but I also know a sweet man whose best friend worked for the company for years. I would like to see Monsanto just . . . 'gone', but if I am not careful, am I asking for the demise of a deceived old man who spent his entire engineering career working for that company?
I'm not the judge--
After all there are a lot of frustrated, disappointed, unhappy people in the world--
and, I say this to myself as well, focusing on the evil can not produce any good fruit--
how do you have unconditional love towards . . . --
can you have unconditional love for . . . the leaders of the LDS church, or are they outside your paradigm?
You don't have to answer--
but they are human beings, and thank heavens (literally) their ultimate destiny is in God's Hands, not in mine--
I see that we are never going to be able to agree on this, but I keep coming back and trying--which is silly really--
I am afraid we will never understand each other, but I hope the best for you and hope that the time will come when you will find another righteous person in the world, so that you will not be so alone--
even though you claim that you don't think you can be righteous enough either--
it's already a very hard life--and a terribly complicated world. Amazingly, in spite of the fact that humans are so perverse and full of sin, the God of Heaven and Earth, the Creator of all things in Heaven and Earth . . .
died for every one--
Yes, I agree Christ died for everyone and gave them the free gift of resurrection, but his Atonement was only for the truly righteous.
And I also feel we should probably just agree to disagree, for these things are hard to discuss over the internet, let alone come to an understanding of each other's views, without being in person.
But I will just say that having unconditional love for even the leaders of the Church does not mean we wouldn't identify and warn others about their falsehoods.
The more love we have, the more evil we can see, and the more outrage we feel, and the more we speak out against it.
Take Moroni for instance, I wouldn't say Moroni focused on evil, but he sure didn't quietly go along with it.
And I believe it is usually easy to tell who has pure love, even if you have never met the person. I believe you can tell by what they stand for, by the way they talk about certain subjects, by the things they support in society or by what religious leaders they follow or support, by the books they write, and by the talks they give, etc.
I believe true Christlike love is very easy to detect, for it's so amazing when someone really possesses it, though sadly it seems very rare to find.
So, according to you we're practically all doomed.
Thanks for the upbeat message!!!
And to make matters worse - it's a Monday!
As I see it, it's either 'few there be that find it' and we have to be 'prophet level' to earn Eternal Life, as Joseph said we do.
We can all sin a little here and a little there and God will beat us with a few stripes and everyone will be saved in the Kingdom of God, which is what the BoM says Satan wants us to believe.
Righteous people have always been rare, even in Adam's day all his children and grandchildren were unrighteous, for maybe 100 to 200 years or more, before he finally had a righteous child 'Abel'.
And Adam's family lived in the best of times with righteous parents and still couldn't get a righteous child, without any TV, movies, internet, magazines, cities with high crime, divorce, porn, socialism, etc., etc.
Why would we have any more righteous people today that Adam did, if not far less?
The Book of Mormon describes our day and the Holy Church of God, as being totally corrupt and 'everyone' in and out of the Holy Church as completely fallen for evil, except a rare few.
I wish it weren't so, but from what I see, it seems those ancient BoM prophets called it right today.
Do you personally know anyone who even believes in Christlike unconditional love today? Let alone possesses it? That's what Christ said to judge his true disciples by, 'pure love', to know if they are righteous and trustworthy or not.
I would love to find someone with such love, for I would like to better learn how to gain it.
Great article! I try to read your work soon after you publish it, but I have been busy. I enjoy your insights and writings. I learned something new tonight and you answered a puzzling question, about that vision that has always bothered me. Thanks!
I love everything and everybody, even Satan! The secret is never to judge anybody about anything, and just be their friend in all things. There we go. I am the answer to both of your statements. The only reason I haven't been translated yet is because I'm needed more here than in heaven, because everybody is like me in heaven, believe it or not. When you just love you are completely free, but when you worry about righteousness and worthiness and that kind of thing you are bound by chains so tightly wound that you are completely paralyzed and imprisoned totally. So, free yourself and be like me, perfect in every way, because I ONLY love. No. no...just hug me; you don't have to kiss my feet.
On the subject of whether or not Joseph was a polygamist, I have studied this question for many years. I came to the conclusion some time ago that he was not a polygamist. I believe he was probably sealed to a number of people, but that did not and does not constitute a marriage. I was sealed to my parents many years ago but no one accused me of marrying my mother!
Was Brigham a bad man? Who knows. I have learned not to question someone elses stewardship, only my own. We smuggly gaze back with critical 21st century eyes at people who lived in a different time, and for me a different place. We think we are so smart and have the right to sit in judgement on Brigham or Wilfred Woodruff. We would do well to follow the admonition of Jesus when it comes to judging another mortal.
I have always believed my mission in life is to be the best Alan I can be. I don't have to out-Rock Rock, or anyone else here or in the world at large. Brigham too had to be the best Brigham he could be. Maybe he was. If he doesn't meet our pre-conceived ideas of a prophet or president, the fault lies squarely with us.
I'm with Alan, anonymous, and I know we've gone around this maypole many times--
The fact is that I believe that you are wresting the scriptures.
Those who say, "eat, drink, and be merry . . . and God will beat us with a few stripes" do NOT love God. They don't love Jesus Christ. They don't want His atonement. They don't want to repent--
they think they can have the world and heaven, too--
what you imply in all you write is that people have to be practically perfect, whereas when I read those same scriptures what I am getting out of it is that it is the HEART that matters. Mistakes might be made, but contrition (broken heart anyone?) will be there and repentance--
I really don't sense that you believe in Jesus Christ's atonement--
you seem to think that a person can do it alone by just being righteous.
You can't say whether others have Christlike love or not--
but it's not going to be perfect in an imperfect world or with imperfect minds/bodies--
There are some people who have hurt me deeply--
say that I feel the same way about them that you do about the LDS church leaders (whom you say are across the board evil)--
Evil people, but little people, not leaders of anything; they happen to be LDS--
I struggle daily with forgiving these people. I pray for them, when I can think of them; I try not to think of them, because when I think of them, I feel pain, and I'm human and don't want to feel pain. I've spent hours on my knees (figuratively; my knees can't be knelt on anymore)--
crying to the Lord to help me forgive them and asking Him to forgive me, because I still hurt, and, unfortunately, I still have to have some, limited, contact with these toxic people--
others who have been hurt by them (in my family) go on with their lives without all this angst--
say, "I've forgiven" and just move on.
So, I won't make it, by your standards, because I haven't achieved that level of love that makes it possible for me to forget they hurt me--
even though I don't want anything bad to happen to those people by any means, but I can't pretend that I want to be with them--
I just leave them in God's Hands to do with them whatever HE wants to do with them--
and try to heal--
I am beginning to think that you are quite young.
You quote Moroni--you quote Book of Mormon verses, and yet you seem so . . . without hope--
what on earth do you think YOU would have to do to measure up to what you interpret the Book of Mormon to mean? After all, Nephi said he was a wretched man, and yet he saw Jesus--
I do believe there are many, many people who don't love God, who don't want to be with Him again and who don't want to put any energy into repenting OR loving--
but I believe that, I just read this in Jacob, when he was talking to Sherem. Sherem was very self-righteous, and he believed the law of Moses was everything; he discounted Jesus--
and Jacob made a comment; here let me find it:
2 And this is not all—it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and seen; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the apower of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be blost.
Well, the atonement, you say, is only for the righteous--
but here it says that without the atonement (not just the resurrection) all mankind would be lost. How far does desire and a broken heart take people? The idea that we have to be perfect to be blessed by the atonement seems to be what you are preaching. And I don't think that is in the scriptures. Perfection, you believe, can be attained; we all must be like prophets (and there is no scripture for that either; the verse in John doesn't say that)--
even those of us who WANT to have Christlike love . . . are, after all, still only human. You seem to imply that only those who have attained perfection will benefit from the atonement. You use the word 'righteous', which implies perfection--
nothing about faith, hope, and charity--
nothing about desire (Alma says it's enough to desire to believe, at least foundationally)--
Yes, churches are corrupt.
But, again, I say this again, in a different way, hoping to make a point I can't stop feeling I need to make.
Perpetual wars in the middle east have happened, because an entire nation (90%, probably) has been convinced that the Muslim religion is evil.
See the atrocities committed because most white, Christian Americans (and maybe Jewish) believe that Islam is evil?
So, when you, anonymous, say that anyone associated with the LDS church cannot possibly have the spirit or get answers to prayers, because the LDS church is evil, I wonder what spirit you are listening to. How can you know what each heart of each human in any religion feels or thinks or believes or does? You cannot. So when you say that, it's hard to take you seriously. You sound sincere, but . . . there's some big gap there. If you believe that the LDS people, as a WHOLE, are evil, then you are no different from those Americans who think it's all right to kill babies in the name of God, because Islam is evil--
at least some of those people can say, "there are good people within the Islam ideology/religion, but the religion is evil, so let's wipe them out"--
I just wonder where your thought processes lead. Again, do you have unconditional love for the leaders of the LDS church, whom he profess to be so evil? And how can *we* know you do?
I don't claim to have that kind of love, but I'm working on it, and I'm not going to stop trying, just because some unknown person comes on this blog and says we're all sunk; nobody can possibly be righteous enough. Alan's sense of humor saved the day--
I was never going to respond to you again, but the things you preach scare me. I think the God of Heaven and Earth and the Son of God love humanity so much that . . . I don't think you can see how big that love is. I think you are totally focused on a human's ability to make him/herself righteous and . . . don't understand the love of God, even for Mormons and Muslims. Thank Heavens I believe that God loves Mormons!!! Because I am, still, one.
I know evangelical Christians who claim to have charity but whose coldness towards Mormons (in my own home once and putting my little daughter into tears) . . . is profound. There's just a coldness there that doesn't fit with Jesus. And yet they claim we are all going to hell. You sound like them; I've said that before, and yet you quote the Book of Mormon--
what you say about not judging hits me squarely.
True; we were not there. I've been pretty hard on Brigham the last few years; for years I thought he was some kind of he-man, and I quoted him all the time, and when he 'fell', he fell hard.
But you are right, Alan. It's not my place to judge, and though I know we don't pray for those who have gone beyond . . .
I hope he finds himself in a good place with God. Either way, now that my eyes have been opened to realize that I, alone, am responsible for working out my own salvation with fear and trembling (verses in both N.T. and Book of Mormon say that)--
I need to let Brigham be Brigham and . . . keep myself on my own path--
let God worry about Brigham. Realizing, however, that Brigham may have done some naughty things . . . has helped me in my journey--
and now it's time to let it go. He didn't personally do much to hurt me, besides the fact that I REALLY did not like the university named after him; I much preferred the non-ecclesiastical universities and colleges I attended--
It sounds like you are doing as best as one can to love someone who hurt them. Having Christlike love for those who hurt us doesn't mean we will want to be around them (God would never ask or want that of us either) or trust them or that we will forget what they did to us. We of course would still remember what they did to us and not trust them, in order to protect ourselves from any further abuse, since most people don't repent in this life, so you can't trust them at least until they do.
Now if they totally repented and confessed and apologized to you and sought to serve you and make it all up to you for years, then over time, you would probably have an easier time at completely forgiving them.
But I believe God gives us a lifetime and then some to forgive some people and some things, especially if they haven't fully repented and made things up to us. Somethings take a lifetime or longer to make restitution for, it doesn't sound like that person who hurt you is even started doing such yet.
I think you're doing great and I wouldn't base your worthiness on your feelings about that person. God probably wouldn't want you around them either anymore and I guarantee he is more outraged at them then you are for what they've done to you.
Love, above all, protects, oneself or others as needed.
And it's not that we 'can't' become righteous and nearly perfect so we gain the Holy Spirit and Charity and reach a 'prophet level', but that it's very hard and very rare. But anyone who sincerely wants to get there can.
I just don't think I have ever known anyone who seems to really care about gaining or even believing in such Christlike love.
If you do, then that is wonderful, you seem to be trying to gain it too and thus I believe you and I eventually will, if we keep trying. For the Atonement is for those who put forth a true effort, even if they are not perfect yet, though they will get close.
Joseph Smith and Christ taught that those who are deceived to support and do evil will have to pay for their own sins, for the Atonement won't cover them.
But those who try to love unconditionally and try to wake up and do their best to learn and progress will one day achieve perfection, either in this life or the next. The desire of our hearts is the key, but I just believe it's rare for someone to have the 'desire' to even want to try to love unconditionally and want to wake up, learn and progress.
But thanks for the discussion, I appreciated it.
I love reading all of the old stories of the church. Being a member and living in Utah for over 4 decades I have heard many but have forgotten some. Going through the blog makes me feel like it's mysteries at the museum.
As I read through this post the one thing that went through my head was most if not all of the faith inspiring things in this church are just stories. Nothing more. From the top to the bottom. A to Z. Just fools gold waiting for someone to be uplifted by it. All you have to do is pick a thread and watch it unravel.
Wonderful job. And I don't mean the research and the fantastic writing. What I mean is, wonderful job standing up and boldly stating things as they are- without so much as a darn for those who hold power 'as they supppose...'. In doing so, you and others like yourself who have these blogs have done an immense service, perhaps greater than you and I even comprehend, in bring the next phase of the Gospel into motion- that of the church finally repenting and hopefully ending utter confusion and contention when true messengers are finally sent. I believe that will not happen until, as the Book of Mormon says, there will be just a few humble followers of Jesus left...and the church will go into the wilderness. I think the blueprint that the Book of Mormon, the ONLY book of scripture that has the FULNESS of all we need to return back to our God's presence- huge red flag here for that fake and pathetic Temple Endowment, which is not hinted at in any scriptures especially the one with the fulness, that has all but barred the Saviour from visiting ANYONE in the Temples since Kirtland, which of course did NOT have this pretend endowment, but instead the real 'endowment from on high!'- lays out clearly involves the many examples contained therein to bring about this Marvellous Work and Wonder that is clearly still yet to come. Some things I can see the BOM teaching us is to be like Nephi and Lehi and leave behind that which is corrupted before destruction comes, and seek our promised land of refuges. And like Enos, pray intensely for personal total forgiveness and sanctification through Jesus' love, mercy and grace...and HEAR His voice for real. And like Jacob, the lot of us finally accept that polygamy is an utter abomination, just like he said...and stop finding excuses for believing it is true and will return again. And, like the group in Mosiah, become one in seeking the baptism of fire. And like Alma, watch for the real messengers and take off from the modern day King Noahs who build the buildings and pretend their power in statistics equals priesthood power which presently does NOT exist on earth, as it is laid out in JST Genesis 14: 25-40. And...I could continue to give more examples, but I don't need to. When we all, like the Lectures on Faith intimates, (i paraphrase) 'seek and share the mind and will of God which is the Holy Spirit', we will be one with each other and with our Lord and Heavenly Father. The Book of Mormon continues to fascinate me more each month/year, and I am positive that the pattern is there to break this cycle of contention and vague confusion among those of us who DETEST babylon with a passion, and seek to have all things common in Zion (including our many weaknesses, no doubt). It is my hope that we all, especially me, seek out why the Lord condemned us for taking His word in the Book of Mormon lightly. After all, it is the ONLY scripture on the planet that was given directly from the Lord to this race, that testifies of Him and provides a second witness to His earlier word, by the hands of His angel. It continues to change my life, in ways I simply have no words to explain.
Much love bro. Can't wait for the next one. Hope it is on the topic the the Watcher was recently coaxing you into on his blog comments.
Great post, as (almost) always.
"hoisted" in the first paragraph of the last section should be "foisted."
Thank you, Eagle-eyed Trev. My embarrassment over that typo leaves me hoisted on my own petard.
Thanks, Fusion. I forgot what that topic was, so had to go back and look.
Oh. Polygamy. I am so tired of that topic right now.
I know you told me your real identity, Fusion, but I have forgotten. Would you mind sending me a PM on Facebook?
I apologize in advance for hijacking this thread. I need help with a girl's camp problem concerning my daughter. The Stake leaders have dropped the ball this year. I want to knock their heads together because they are in denial. It's my daughter's last year and 3 girls have ruined it! We are both in tears and camp is in 4 weeks.
My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank You Rock! I don't have anywhere else to turn to. We LDS need a "Dear Abby" site.
Really Interesting, love this article!
Use paragraphs much?
I appreciate the discussion, too. I am very sensitive about judgement--
because I've dealt with some highly judgemental people (in and out of the church)--
but I have thought a LOT about what you say. I've reached many of the same conclusions myself in the past 10-15 years (that really only 'love', Christlike love, not just pathos, etc. counts)--
There IS no other way but by Jesus Christ. Absolutely and finally.
I have some real questions about the kingdoms of glory. I don't like the tendency of LDS to think in terms of 'working towards' a degree of glory or being so focused on it--
I'd like to think of it as something that happens when we are lost in serving and following Jesus Christ.
It just kind of happens, because we would be where we are most comfortable, according to how we have lived.
But I've thought a lot about what you have to say about Christlike love, and I'm afraid you are right.
Something recently happened in our ward that helped me to see that even some of those who profess the highest devotion . . . simply don't understand Christlike love--
it's a pity, and such people need the prayers of those whom they have harmed--
anyway, I don't want to get 'off' on this again, but I am coming back to say that I have appreciated our discussions, too--
Thank you LDSDPer,
I do sincerely enjoy discussing things with you, even though we may not always agree, for you seem to be very awake, wise and thinking and have such good desires. I'm sure we would agree alot more if we were in person, discussing online is so hard to really get your meanings and feelings across correctly.
I realize you have experienced some unrighteous people in your life, but that has probably awakened you more than anything, which is a huge hidden blessing among such trials. Few people wake up in this life.
While I believe we have been commanded to judge righteously, meaning with the Spirit of love and using the scriptures and God's laws as our standard, unfortunately most people don't seem to judge righteously, but instead judge from their own unrighteous perspective based on their own lower standards, which doesn't help anyone but just makes things worse.
When we judge righteously as Joseph Smith and Christ taught us to, (see JS's translation), judging righteously not only helps protect us from being deceived and from falling for unrighteous people, principles & practices, but it also aids those who are doing or teaching wrong, for we try to help them see the light and repent. God of course makes the final judgments though. And of course we must have the light 1st in order to see people correctly, or we just have a huge 'beam in our own eye'.
But nonetheless, our worth is not based in what anyone else may say or think about us, only what God tells us about ourselves. He judges righteously, lovingly and mercifully.
I hope you feel his great love and admiration for you, and know how amazing and righteous you are, few people can see what you can see and have learned what you have learned and few are trying as hard as you are to do what's right.
Well, as anyone who knows me can attest, I'm the last person anyone should take advice from. But how can I turn down a damsel in distress?
I have emailed you privately at the above address. I can lend a shoulder, at least. But be warned: if your daughter pays any attention to what I say, she will have 3 girls ruining things for her and one old man.
that's what my husband says-- :) . . . he always adds the "righteously; Joseph Smith in the inspired version changed it to 'judge righteously'"--
And I believe that is true. However, I have a fear of not judging righteously, so I try not to judge. I am less concerned about talking about historical figures--
I agree, however, that it is imperative to judge ideas, circumstances, etc.
As for people, that's a hard call. IF *we* could all judge righteously, it would be no big deal. But there is that 'if'--
back at you--
I totally agree, if only we could always judge righteously.
HAHA love your comments! Rock! And Anonymous - hope that you and your daughter work something out, and knock the stake presidents' head!
See you in hell my bro.
Great conspiracy theory. Any ideas about the death masks?
I didn't join the church in 1967 because of the Book of Mormon, heck I didn't read it for years. It was the story the missionaries told me and my fear of belonging to the 'whore of all the earth' or at least one of her apostate daughters, the Church of England.
If someone had just told the truth about LDS history, I would not have joined at all, but all the spin made it so enticing. My main reason I think was so that my little ones would be mine forever. A ceremony would need to be performed, but only by one having the correct authority; clearly the C of E had none of that as the apostate daughter of a whore.
Brigham Young had slaves in Utah, he hated black people; see Journal of Discourses. I think the founding fathers were no less righteous than he and he was baptized, endowed and had many wives and children and died a millionaire.
IF god is truly the most loving entity in the whole universe then his followers should be able to feel that love and be filled with it to the extent that they cannot help BUT show it to others.
Building a %$#&^% mall and beautifying downtown SLC, (why SLC and not some poor country where there are also members of the church) is not exactly reflecting the great love of their god is it?
If your heart is filled with god's love and it should be if you are a lover of god and HE IS love - then that is all that is necessary. What kind of philosophy another person embraces is inconsequential, they are loved because god is love and HE is the judge.
I found no room for my own beliefs or philosophies within the church, only a proscribed set of rules and dogma. Love comes from the heart not from rules.
Did the Book of Mormon use 'and it came to pass' much?
Yes Jean, Brigham Young was wicked for all the things he did, including having slaves, but at least the Founding Fathers weren't as evil as BY, they didn't believe in polygamy, even if some may have been adulterous in other ways.
It's so nice to know that our children or 1st spouse will be ours forever, no matter what religion we are or no religion at all.
Family members may not end up in the same kingdom, but the higher family members can visit the lower ones, like family members visit each other here on earth.
So this whole business about 'sealing' is really quite ridiculous and of course unnecessary when you stop to really think about it.
But it did come in real handy for Brigham to be able to pressure people better into going along with his polygamy and even today it still is a big selling point to get people to join the Church, thinking that if they don't they can't be a forever family.
Also, the falsehood that you have to be sealed and married in the temple keeps members pressured to pay their tithing to get that eternal blessing or to be able to watch their children get married. Perfect ploy.
Incredible, when all along we find that 'every' family and 1st marriage in the whole world will be eternal and forever, even if they don't all end up in the same place, we will still know and love and be close to them as our family, no sealing required.
LOL, my Sistah.
Hi Rock. This is a very interesting article and comments.
I for one have long rejected the "done deal doctrine" (as I call it). Meaning the doctrine that it is a done deal that the Church President will never err in doctrine or decisions. Here is my study of the matter, based on scripture:
That said, I am still open to the possibility notwithstanding, that Wilford did have the dream/vision he claimed to have had from the founding fathers. One reason is that I find Wilford's Word of the Lord revelations believable. But I am not sure how to defend his claim after reading this article.
Here are Wilford's known written oracles:
George Washington, I looked at the first link--
I got as far as the part about the priesthood being given to the blacks. Joseph Smith did give it to the blacks. Brigham Young took it away. It sounds as though the person writing that essay/article is one of those who believes that Brigham Young "improved" everything Joseph Smith said or did (polygamy, blacks having the priesthood, etc.)--
if a person doubts that Joseph Smith actually 'lived' polygamy and accepts that he was behaving as a prophet when he ordained black men to the priesthood--
then one wonders why Brigham had the right to make polygamy a 'principle' and take the priesthood away from the blacks.
*We* only have Brigham's words for it that people are not worthy of a particular thing because of 'blood' or lineage; we have Jesus' word for it that blood means nothing--
JST, Matthew 3:36 makes that clear. Jesus trumps Brigham. Brigham believed blacks were inferior based upon enculturation and therefore preached that they were. Joseph Smith would not have ordained blacks to the priesthood if he had believed that. The idea that everything Brigham did "improved" the mission of Joseph Smith is dubious. I am ready to believe that Brigham had some kind of 'mission', but I am not ready to believe that it was to nullify what Joseph Smith taught and restored, including priesthood to the blacks.
As for polygamy, I think Rock is tired of it. I agree with him on that.
I believe President Kimball and the apostles were 'embarrassed' (for lack of a better word) when they realized that the blacks should never have had the priesthood taken away--
and restored it. To support what Joseph Smith had originally done did not need sustaining by the church. It was a nice gesture, but not necessary. What should have been done? Brigham should have been disciplined for taking it away, but there were few black saints (those who did exist suffered, I assure you), and NObody stood up to Brigham.
There were those who would question Joseph; he invited it. But NObody, absolutely nobody dared question Brigham.
President Kimball had the courage quietly to restore what had once been restored and illegitimately taken away--
without drawing undue attention to Brigham Young's mistake--
that showed grace.
All I have to know about Willy is that he believed in and lived polygamy. That says it all, about his lack of character, untrustworthiness to believe anything he says and his unrighteousness, to put it mildly.
I can only imagine what men like Moroni would say and do about him.
So true, Jesus trumps Brigham, or Thomas Monson for that matter and all the things he says and does that are anti Christ too.
Joseph warned us that if he himself or any other so called 'prophet' ever preached or practiced polygamy or anything else that was contrary to Christ or the Book of Mormon, then we would know for use they are false and we should consider them imposters and refuse to heed them, or we will be damned along with them.
I believe George -and he can correct me if I'm wrong- comes to us from a fundamentalist background, so it may help to read his comments with that in mind. Much of what he has written in that edition of the Millenial North Star is valid and worth contemplating, though I reject his personal take on the priesthood ban for the same reasons you give.
I'm also glad to see a collection of Woodruff's writings in the format he provides in his second link. Some years ago fundamentalist Mormon Fred Collier compiled the claimed revelations of Woodruff and Taylor, et al into two volumes broken down by chapter and verse entitled "Unpublished Revelations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
At the time I bought those books, I believed the revelations were legitimate, but I no longer am inclined to that view. Nevertheless, they are valuable collections, and I'm happy to see George has made available Woodruff's purported revelations in an identical format online.
P.S. I realize George wrote in his first link about serving an LDS mission, which may question why I think he is a fundamentalist, but it is not entirely unknown for some mainstream members to have defected to fundamentalism. Again, I invite George to clarify and correct my assumptions if I'm off base here.
Ha! I'm a 7th generation LDS; one of my ancestors taught Brigham Young (the ancestor that he doesn't like in the film from the 90s!); that same ancestor baptized Heber C. Kimball--
And I have never met a 'fundamentalist' or a plural marriage advocate/polygamist. All of my ancestors were 'out' of polygamy before 1890--
Three or four of them who could have taken plural wives before 1890 just didn't--
bad experiences in the family, etc.--
and in one case an ancestress who prayed and was told, "tell your husband to wait 'til after 1890"--
and the husband was a good man and agreed with no hesitation--
they had a large and happy family.
Anyway, I think it is very strange that I've only seen fundamentalists on youtubes/internet sites. My heart went out to them in 2007 or 2008 when that thing happened in Texas. I felt that mainstream LDS should have been more helpful/sympathetic. After all, we share a similar heritage. To be so harsh with them seems inconsistent. Even those of us who think polygamy was a mistake or a detour of some kind--
can show compassion for people in trouble.
I've never been tempted by plural marriage; my husband (people kind of assume that men might be interested in it) is a convert, and when plural marriage is mentioned he gets a terrified look in his eyes.
We both interpreted President Hinckley's "it's not doctrine" statement as meaning, "it was a mistake", and we both breathed a huge sigh of relief--
So, I think it's very strange that someone whose LDS roots go back THAT far . . . has never, knowingly, run into one polygamist--
But then I didn't grow up in the Mormon corridor (the intermountain west)
I always thought a lot of John Taylor; I wonder if his teachings/writings weren't hijacked somehow. The fact is that he had very little time to be the POTC, and I wonder if he didn't submit to polygamy out of a sense of, "I've already done it; it's too late now; I had better believe in it"--
Something about his being with Joseph and Hyrum when they were murdered; I don't know. I have always believed he had an unusual amount of integrity--
Well, I just said that I understand why everyone is tired of polygamy, and then I write more--
Good read. I think other explanations are possible, rather than "liar liar," but i definitely will not restate this story as fact ever again.
I disagree with your conclusion though, mainly because i don't think that the most "The salient and most heavily promoted "doctrine" in the Church today" has anything to do with the Prophet. Most of the meetings/lessons/testimonies that i am present for relate either to Christ, the Atonement, God's love, or the scriptures, and rarely is the Prophet even brought up. It's just not as big an issue, the "prophet standing between us and God" thing, as you make it seem.
Other things exposed Woodruff's fable. First of all, how did he identify who they all were, since according Mormon Doctrine a Spirit is a reflection of person in the prime of their life. Is he claiming they were wearing colonial wigs and the garb of those days, when they appeared to him? Secondly, if you look at the names who he had the work done for, many were the wives of the men. Many were English authors, who certainly were not "Founding Fathers". Seems they were people he admired and whose works he enjoyed reading while on a mission in England. One of the people baptized for was Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. As Confederates tried to overthrow the U.S. Government, his proxy baptism would have been in violation of the principle taught in the 12th Article of Faith, which requires the members to honor the authority of Kings and Presidents and obeying the laws of the land. Lastly, D&C 129 outlines the Grand Keys for identifying whether and administration is from God. Woodruff never applied the test outlined in this section to detect whether of not he was being deceived.
Anonymous (June 21, 2013 at 11:07am),
I think you make some good points. The picture at the beginning of the article is a silly, artist's concept, of what the event might have looked like. Like you, I don't know for sure if WW said they had the "wigs" and "garb of those days,".
Technically the Confederacy just wanted to secede, not overthrow the US government. They had it written in their constitutions that they could or they wouldn't have signed on in the first place. It was Lincoln who pushed the issue to war. A good book on the subject is "The Real Lincoln" by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.
As far as the 12th Article of Faith is concerned, the 98th Section of the D&C says...
5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
The problem is that the constitution allowed for states to leave the US. Lincoln violated the constition many times and didn't want the southern states to leave because of the taxes he wanted to collect from them. The Lord doesn't require us to follow an unconstitutional law.
Yes , it appears he didn't test the spirits in the vision as you noted in D&C 129.
I'll just add my voice to that of Gary Hunt in saying it wasn't Stonewall Jackson who sought to overthrow the U.S. Government. Clearly Abraham Lincoln was the one attempting to overthrow the United States, and everyone knew it at the time, as over 300 Norther newspapers vehemently spoke out against Lincoln's crimes.
Stonewall Jackson actions were in defense of his country. But as they say, the victors write the histories, so it's no surprise that most of us had our history taught us upside down.
Lincoln sent invading armies into sovereign states without a grant of war by congress, sent U.S. Marshalls to arrest a Supreme Court Justice and a congressman from an opposing party, threw several dozen members of the Maryland legislature into military prison, and attempted to disband what was left of the congress in the North. That sure sounds like an overthrow of the government to me.
These and many other actions such as shutting down those three hundred newspapers in the North that exposed his tyrannies are acts of treason. He threatened to have his armies invade several Northern States as well as Southern ones for daring to stand up to his despotism.
All that aside, however, I must take issue with the assertion of Anonymous that the 12th article of faith puts any requirement upon us. The articles of faith are not commandments, and they are not revelations from God. They consist of a brief list outlining our beliefs which Joseph Smith compiled in response to a request from the editor of a Chicago newspaper. The articles of faith are simply articles of our faith; they are not commandments one must obey in order to be a member of Christ's church.
I'm not picking on Anonymous here, because we are in agreement with the basic assertion that Wilford was exaggerating. I'm just attempting to clear the record.
For more proof that Lincoln was guilty of overthrowing the government, see this piece by the author of
"The Real Lincoln," the book recommended by Gary Hunt above. Lincoln initiated a Second American Revolution, and not the good kind. "Lincoln's words and actions thoroughly and completely repudiated every one of the main principles of the Declaration," including the one about all men being created equal. Lincoln freely used "the N-word" in disparaging free Northern blacks. He is no hero to me.
I'm prone to agree with the Anarchist. I realize that the modern fad is to view everything with skepticism and demystify everything. There is a tendency to think that once we have the facts then there is no more magic or wonder behind an occurrence. I reject this world view. I prefer to see everything as a miracle. If Brother Wilford had a wonderful experience who am I to rain on his parade? So what if the work had been done before! I was in the St. George Temple a few years ago and read about the experience in a book they have there for the curious. I found a few other facts interesting: Their washing and anointing, and their ordination ordinances were also performed that day. And there were several men ordained as high priests rather than elders. Wilford claimed that this was done by revelation to endow these men with the priesthood requisite for their future work in the spirit would. One of these was John Westly, not even an American. I still think that these ordinances may have been the focus of a vision, and the baptisms were done just for good measure. As you pointed out it is not common for any person giving a story later to be highly specific on details. Besides, in the early church re-baptism was a common ordinance! All of the early saints were baptized multiple times in life, why not more than once after death? Wilford Woodruff was baptized himself at least half a dozen times before he claimed to have this vision. So why assume that multiple baptisms would be out of the ordinary here? Joseph smith was baptized multiple times, every saint was re-baptised when gathered to Zion,during the mormon reformation, and usually re-baptized every time someone joined a united order, or received new ordinances, such as prior to marriage. So maybe the dead were simply being treated the same as the living back then!
The truly poignant message of your article for me, was that you pointed out the foolishness of basing your testimony on someone else's experience. That is never a good idea! A testimony is supposed to be an account of what you have personally seen, done and felt. If you are basing a "testimony" on something from someone else then that is mere hearsay. Such testimony is not acceptable or allowed in court and shouldn't be in church either.
It is interesting that the "follow the Prophet" cult seems to base its doctrine on a statement that was made by Wilford Woodruff. Yet he is at least a man who knew the difference himself. He did actually receive revelations "thus saith the Lord" and made the distinction as to who was speaking, himself or the Lord. This is the most vicious of all false doctrines and has been at the core of more apostasies than one. Remember the Jews constant emphasis on asking Jesus if he had "church" authority for what he said and did? Yet the president of the church in his day, Caiaphas, spit in his face and cried out "crucify Him!" There were many people who joined in that cry in order to be "in harmony with the brethren." Still I do not think it is necessary to make Wilford Woodruff look like a vicious liar in order to demonstrate that this false statement is false. We all mis-speak sometimes, or are overly vague. So let's cut this Prophet a little slack. At least he received actual revelations (though currently uncannonized.) After all he didn't have the correlation department to edit his words before conference!
I certainly didn't intend to make Woodruff "look like a vicious liar." Perhaps the picture I used to illustrate this piece was a touch snarky.
I am very much an advocate of multiple baptisms; I think we should be doing healing baptisms still today. The thing is, the way Wilford told the story, the founders claimed they had never been baptised at all, but were lamenting the unfairness of having been forgotten.
I recommend reading the piece I refer to in my post. The research is very thorough regarding what Wilford said when he related the stories and how many times he told the story, and what embellishments were added with the retelling. He also gives us a convincing idea of what inspired Woodruff to tell the story, which was a book on the prominent Americans Woodruff had been reading at the time.
Like you say, the takeaway from all this is that we should not rely on the testimony of others for our own ideas of what is true and what is not. That is my motivation for writing it, not to trash Wilford Woodruff. Again, it was very common for ALL Americans to tell faith promoting stories, and I think it's important for us latter-day Saints to understand that our forefathers commonly exaggerated in order to promote a moral.
We need to be able to separate myth from reality. There is enough about this religion that is true; diluting it with falsehoods only gives ammo to our enemies.
"They could not have been referring to endowments since these were not performed for the dead in the endowment house."
I don't understand this
Endowments weren't performed for the dead in the endowment house, but baptisms were?
What was an endowment house, and how was it's function different from a Temple?
They only did endowments for the living in the endowment house. Endowments and sealings for the dead had to be performed in the temple, which had not yet been built.
Presumably, baptisms for the dead could be done anywhere, since they were being performed in the Missisippi river at Nauvoo.
It comes as no surprise to me. Just wait until you discover that Joseph Smith couldn't possibly have been telling the truth about the first vision! (original sources here) And then there's the Kinderhook plates, the Book of Abraham, even the Book of Mormon is not aloof to such scrutiny. Joseph Smith would have made Woodruff blush. However, for those who prefer the apologetic approach so as to protect their all-important testimonies, the prior ordinances might not have been performed correct, and/or Woodruff might have remembered the experience slightly wrong. After all, we weren't there, right?
For the information of the reader, baptisms are hardly the most important ordinance performed by the church for the dead. The men (including my great great great grandfather) that were there those nights and participated in the ordinances for those great men all can attest to the story President Woodruff stated. Most importantly, the higher ordinances had never been performed by any member in Nauvoo or elsewhere, and were performed there. No where in any account does it say the founding fathers wanted baptism. The men stayed up all night performing work for those men, and it was completely out of the blue. The men involved were under the impression it was divinely mandated that the work be done, whether Pres. Woodruff declared it so then or whether he waited until he was more distanced from the event out of reverence for the sacredness of it.
There were 3 other eyewitnesses to Wilford Woodruff's account! As is customary in the Law of the Lord, there were other eyewitnesses to the event of the signers and others appearing in the St. George Temple to Wilford Woodruff. A temple clerk, James G. Bleak, adds his witness saying "I was also present in the St. George Temple and witnessed the appearance of the Spirits of the Signers...the spirits of the Presidents...And also others...Who came to Wilford Woodruff and demanded that their baptism and endowments be done. Wilford Woodruff was baptized for all of them. While I and Brothers J.D.T. McAllister and David H. Cannon (who were witnesses to the request) were endowed for them."
This information can be found in "The Lincoln Hypothesis" by Timothy Ballard, and in "The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff" by Vicki Jo Anderson.
So, did each of these otherwise honorable men really perjure themselves, or has our writer (Pants on Fire) been mistaken in his assessment?
"Otherwise honorable men"? I don't think so.
According to Christ, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon Prophets and any righteous man who is thus respectful to women and wouldn't abuse them by polygamy, I believe all disagree that those men where 'honorable', in fact just the opposite.
WW & those witnesses all had plenty of reasons to lie to cover for their vile deeds and false doctrines. Men who abuse women aren't trustworthy or honorable.
It doesn't seem like you are very familiar with what kind of man W. W. was and the horrific things he did to women/wives, or also those men who gave witness.
Not to mention how the temple and all it's ordinances prove false also, that those 'Spirit's' supposedly needed to have done for them.
Christ warned us to 'prove all persons & prophets', before believing a word they say.
W. W. doesn't pass Christ's test.
While our writer of "Pants On Fire" on the other hand, proves very Christlike.
First, I pray for your's and Connie's complete recovery from your health concerns. You seem to be awesome children of our God. I went through walking pneumonia for the entire month of January. Be careful please.
Thank you for this essay; it is very interesting and thought-provoking to say the least.
I am new to your blog having been introduced to it by "Latter-day Commentary".
I am very interested in your essays on war.
I have read everything I could find in way of scriptures and conference talks, and found no support among the brethern of today's church. I do honor J Ruben Clark for his conference message of Proclaim Peace.
So in reading the comment section on one of your more recent essays is where you said for one of the commenters to read your essays on war. WOW! You confirmed everything I had been able to find previously about war and peace, and added greatly to my knowledge.
Before finding your blog, I was so disappointed and discouraged with what seemed to be a war-like church leadership. They seemed to be turning their backs on the very foundational teachings of Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for helping me to find this community of the peaceable followers of Christ.
On this particular essay, you mention how elders had done baptisms for the founding fathers while in Nauvoo. One of the names you mentioned a couple of times is that of my great grandmother's uncle, Haden Wells Church. I had not realized that he had done some of the baptisms for the founders. So thank you for bringing this to my attention.
Anyway, TBM here, whose eyes are being opened. But the opening of the eyes started because of my disappointment in the LDS leaders' lack of testimony against war.
A funny aside: Having the last name of "Church" can be confusing to some people. (Haden Wells Church was born and raised, and died in Tennessee although he raised his family in St. George, UT.) Some early members of our family were named for prominent early church persons, we have an Eliza Snow Church, and a Parley Pratt Church. Missionaries from Utah, in tracting through the rural areas in Tennesse, came across my great-uncle's home and marveled as they read on his mailbox: "Parley Pratt Church". In their innocence and immaturity they wondered to themselves when had Parley Pratt started his own church? LOL!
Very sincerely yours,
I really like to read. Hope to learn a lot and have a nice experience here! my best regards guys!
Rock, I realize that you posted this quite awhile ago, but I'm especially interested in this because I'm John Bernhisel and the grandson of Dr. Bernhisel who is mentioned in your article. Thanks for the detailed account!
A pleasure to hear from you, John!
Rock, I haven't followed your blogs, to my regret, but someone posted this article on Facebook. I thought your article was well researched and compelling. The only thing that did not set well with me was your attempt to excuse Woodruff and others because that was how they did things back then, guilding the lily and such. You seem to apologize for them because it was common practice for historians to embellish the truth. However, I disagree there was any mitigating or extenuating circumstances that would excuse them. Woodruff knew his scriptures and he knew the many scriptures that referred to the sin of lying. God hates a liar, Doctrine and Covenants 42:21
21 Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out. and many more. This notion that somehow the embellishment of the truth was culturally acceptable is damnable. Lying for the Lord became a doctrine of the church and led to false affidavits, false witness and false statements, under the excuse that if the Lord commands it, it is right. We should not cut him or my ancestors any slack on this practice of lying.
I know the author of, "The Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff" and have worked in the church family History Library. If you do not understand the whole history and ways of the Temple work and record keeping plus the problems of it, you cannot begin to understand what Wilford Woodruff did to correct it though revelations. Even today we have problems with work being done without proper authority. I found Brigham Young's work done without permission many times
because people did not know were the special temple records are kept. Other early Temple work was not officially recorded and had to be redone. As in the Book of Mormon, The records were not right and had to be corrected and will need to be corrected the next time they are checked.
Poor record keeping is not the issue here, Ralph. The issue is that Wilford Woodruff presented the founders as having appeared to him wondering why their baptisms had NEVER been performed. They weren't wondering why the records of their baptisms had been misplaced, or that their baptsims had not been performed under the proper authority. According to Woodruff's story, they felt forgotten because no one had thought about them enough to perform proxy baptisms for them, ever.
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