If you'd like to see how difficult it can be to follow the counsel of Church leaders and still retain your membership in the church, take a look at what happened last Sunday to LDS blogger Adrian Larsen and his wife, Tausha. They were excommunicated for essentially heeding the advice of one of our apostles.
Apostle David Bednar has of late been concerned with how Mormonism is often wrongly perceived and misunderstood, and so last August Elder Bednar gave an address at BYU in which he encouraged individual members to flood the internet and social media, with the aim of correcting falsehoods about the church, promoting truth, and boldly testifying of Christ. This is what Adrian Larsen has been doing with his Mormon-themed blog To The Remnant since early summer: correcting falsehoods, promoting truth, and boldly testifying of Christ.
But because Adrian did so, last Sunday a high council was convened in his stake and he was expelled from our society for the sin of apostasy. So was his wife, Tausha, in a bizzare, highly unusual double-excommunication proceeding in which both were tried and sentenced together in the same proceeding. Both had been devoted members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all their lives, yet in one afternoon representatives of that same Church officially declared them to be apostates and pariahs.
It is still not clear to either Adrian or his wife why Tausha was given the boot, since she herself had never blogged or written anything that anyone on the High Council ever alluded to. The only thing they can conclude is that Tausha was expelled because of guilt by association. She is the wife of a Mormon blogger. Apparently that is now an egregious sin, in and of itself.
It also wasn't clear to either of them from the proceedings what act of apostasy they were accused of having committed, for under the traditional definition, in order to be an apostate one must have at some point renounced his or her former beliefs and and actively fought against Christ and His church, something neither Adrian nor Tausha has ever been accused of. Rather than accuse either of these good people of turning their backs on the faith, the High Council focused their interrogations on a particular post of Adrian's, the fourth part of a series on "Hearsay and Heresy" which he titled Never Led Astray. I found this post to be highly readable and extremely informative. And frankly, I cannot find any factual errors anywhere in it. This piece appears to be right in line with Apostle Bednar's charge to all of us to combat the pervasive misconceptions about Mormonism by countering them with truth.
Adrian has kindly given me permission to republish his controversial post below. Perhaps others reading it can detect where he has promoted falsehood rather than truth, or failed to adequately testify of Christ. If so, I hope you will help me understand what the controversy is by pointing those findings out in the comment section afterward.
Never Led Astray
By Adrian Larsen
I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)In the previous posts in this series, we've examined some manufactured quotes--falsely attributed to Joseph Smith--which are used to promote false doctrine. Among the ideas promoted:
- The majority of the twelve can never go astray.
- The records of the church can never go astray (not sure how they could...)
- The majority of the church members can never be misled.
- The majority of the church members will go to the Celestial Kingdom, and
- Anyone who says otherwise is on the high road to apostasy.
Now make no mistake, the above ideas are FALSE, never taught by Joseph, not supported by scripture, and frankly really stupid if you think about them. They were made up in an effort to strengthen an agenda and win a historical power struggle with other branches of the restoration movement. Yet we persist in believing and teaching these ideas, even featuring them in our official church manuals. We find it more important to win an argument than to be on the side of truth.
Not good, but it gets worse.
If we really want to get to the root of the problem we must consider the holiest of the holy grails of unbelief.
Warning: Confronting unbelief is never easy. You may find the following uncomfortable to consider. I sympathize with you; this wasn't easy for me, either. All I can do is plead with you to please hear me out. If you love God, value truth, and want to develop real faith, you'll need to confront your unbelief and seek truth above tradition. Saving faith can only be founded upon truth. If it is founded upon anything else, it is not faith. If confronting unbelief is the only way to know God, I'll gladly make that trade.OK, on to the problem. This is the 800-pound gorilla of false doctrine that affects every part of the church from top to bottom. It is simply stated as follows:
The Prophet can never lead us astray.
The mantra begins in primary, where we march to the drumbeat of "Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, don't go astray."
By the time we reach adulthood, we take great comfort in the idea that no matter what, as long as we're following the prophet, we're A-1 guaranteed entry into the celestial kingdom, because there's just no way the guy can ever make a mistake.
So pervasive is this unbelief, that we've now placed the prophet in a place of priority above the scriptures, above the truth, and even above the Lord. These are bold statements to make, but they are absolutely true in our religious practice and beliefs.
For examples, look to Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, a talk given by the apostle Ezra Taft Benson in 1980. In this talk, Elder Benson asserted, among other things, that words of the prophet are more important than what is written in our scriptures, that anything that comes out of the prophet's mouth is revelation, and that even if the prophet tells you to do evil, God is bound to honor you for doing it.
When this talk was given, it was roundly rejected by Spencer W. Kimball, who was the prophet at the time. In fact this talk very nearly earned Elder Benson a formal rebuke from the First Presidency, and he was required to apologize to the Quorum of the Twelve and explain himself to a combined meeting of all the general authorities of the church. In short, President Kimball was MUCH displeased with what was said, and considered it false doctrine.
Oddly enough, the same talk, filled with the same false doctrine, was just given in General Conference in 2010, without a peep from the Twelve, the First Presidency, or the general membership of the church. Nobody bothered to address how the doctrine could be false in 1980, but true 30 years later. Did God change the doctrine? Or did someone else?
So consider this: Brigham Young taught many things that the church has since flatly denied and openly called false (polygamy, Adam-god theory, blood atonement, refusal to ordain blacks, for example.) Obeying Brigham in these items nowadays will get you excommunicated. Yet when Brigham taught these things, he insisted he was speaking the word of the Lord.
Was Brigham wrong? Or is the church today wrong? Remember saving doctrine never changes. God does not vary. Somebody was wrong. Somebody misled you. Was it Brigham, or is it today's leaders? They can't both be right.
This deserves careful thought. Your salvation is at stake.
Since this series is about origins of doctrines, let's go back and take a look at where this particular doctrine of infallibility came from. Like many issues in our history, it all starts with polygamy.
As you may be aware, during Joseph Smith's day, the practice of plural marriage was limited and secret. But Brigham Young went public with the teaching in 1852, advocating plural marriage as a necessary part of the LDS faith, which he practiced with gusto.
Due to national backlash about this practice, government persecution threatened plural marriage in the LDS church. Seeking protection under the first amendment, Brigham began forcefully teaching that polygamy was not only part of the LDS religion, but a fundamental part of the belief system--so essential, in fact, that exaltation was simply impossible without polygamy. It was polygamy or damnation. Period.
By insisting plural marriage was so fundamental a part of the religion, Brigham hoped the religious freedom guarantee in the first amendment would protect the practice.
The church then commenced a 30-year series of court battles against various laws and attempts to curtail polygamy. Losses mounted for the church as government pressure and threats increased.
By 1890, in a final blow, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Edmunds-Tucker act, disincorporating the church and seizing church assets, including the temples. Though Wilford Woodruff, church president at the time, had previously vowed that the church would never give up polygamy, he found himself in a tough situation.
On the one hand, there had been 40 years of insistent teaching by prophets that polygamy was absolutely necessary for exaltation, that the church would never abandon it under any circumstances, and that the Lord would uphold the church against all its enemies.
On the other hand, there was the U.S. government, which had already disincorporated the church, seized church assets, and publicly stated it was coming for the temples next. Meanwhile many church members and leaders were languishing in jail, facing court fines, and living in secret to evade the law.
Wilford Woodruff was indeed in a tough situation.
Faced with the destruction of the church and no chance of statehood for Utah, under pressure from the government, he issued the press release now known as the Manifesto (Official Declaration 1), in which he stated that the church would no longer perform plural marriages. This statement was designed to mislead congress into believing the practice would actually stop.
Not to be misled, congress insisted that the statement not only be published in the press, but actually presented at General Conference and sustained by the church membership as a binding policy change.
And so it was that on October 6, 1890, Wilford Woodruff found himself standing at the tabernacle pulpit, before the church and the world, reading a statement that said he now intended to do what he swore he would never do, and which he himself had taught the Lord would never allow. He intended to publicly abandon polygamy. But he needed political cover for this fundamental change in the very foundation of then-practiced LDS mormonism. As one doctrine was abandoned, he needed another to justify it.
So he said the following:
"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."And thus was invented the doctrine of infallibility, now applied to each President of the LDS church.
Why can't the President lead you astray? Because he said so.
Of course, the doctrine has since grown and expanded to the point that rational people actually believe they can safely entrust their salvation to another fallen mortal man, despite pointed scriptural warnings to the contrary. They actually consider it safe to surrender their agency to another, not realizing that this was Lucifer's plan from the beginning!
The doctrine teaches that it is impossible for the prophet to lead us astray, and that if he attempts to do so, the Lord is obligated to kill him. Seriously. And we're OK with that? Knowing how many mistakes I make, I'm sure glad I'm not the prophet...
"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 1890 Wilford Woodruff just pulled it out of his butt."Not much I can add to that.
Wilford said it, he got the vote he needed to convince the congress he was serious, even though he wasn't (the church secretly continued polygamous marriages until at least 1904), and Utah got statehood.
As a by-product, we were left with a lie.
We've since repeated the lie so often and so well, with so much passion and embellishment, that it's become THE new foundational doctrine of the LDS church. A recent example from General Conference states, "We have the Lord’s personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray." I'd love to know when and where the Lord made that "personal promise." But all I can find is an apocryphal premise.
We've replaced polygamy with infallibility.
Today, the prophet can do no wrong, and therefore, by extension, the church can do no wrong. And if it's impossible for the church to be wrong, then there's really no need for individual LDS members to do anything other than "follow the prophet" right into the Celestial Kingdom.
We've traded the Savior's injunction of "Come, Follow Me" with Satan's imitation, "Go, follow him."
Cursed, indeed, is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)
Speaking of our day, Nephi said, "...they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (2 Nephi 28:14)
Therefore, in our day:
- ALL are astray
- Except a few who are humble followers of Christ
- And these humble followers are misled by their leaders in MANY INSTANCES.
So what's the solution?There's really no need to despair. The gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to save you without the need for a man to act as the intermediary between you and God. Remember, "the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel, and He employeth no servant there." (2 Nephi 9:41) Salvation is an individual endeavor between you and God. It always has been.
Certainly the church offers important things we need: Ordinances, opportunities to serve, a community of believers to love--in short, a lab in which to practice the gospel.
But when it comes to the one you should follow, you can go to God yourself. You can receive the revelation you need. You can even commune with angels and know the Lord face to face. The most important first step is to actually receive the Holy Ghost. Know why? Because the Holy Ghost is the one who truly can't lead you astray.
I'll talk more about that in a future post. Until then, ponder this:
Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3)
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:5)
Afterward by Rock
Since the members of the stake high council that excommunicated Adrian and Tausha Larsen acted in violation of scripture, outside their proper authority, and contrary to the counsel given to members by an actual apostle of the Lord who encouraged us all to be actively engaged in countering false information, we can always hope these excommunications will be overturned on appeal to the First Presidency, right?
Well, I wouldn't hold my breath. In spite of the numerous assurances by official Church Spokespersons that there is no effort to tell local leaders to keep members from blogging or discussing questions online, Adrian Larsen is only the latest of many who have been disciplined for blogging and discussing questions online. Take a look at this transcript by Brett Larson after he was ex'd, or consider the appalling disposition of Mormon blogger Will Carter's appeal here.
What is supposed to happen after an excommunication when either party is dissatisfied with the result is outlined in our Doctrine & Covenants:
“Should the parties or either of them be dissatisfied with the decision of said council, they may appeal to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted, according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made.” (D&C 102:26-27)
But the Church doesn't operate according to scripture anymore. What happens these days is that the Brethren in Salt Lake never do review these cases. Instead they automatically defer to the local leaders as having made the right decision.
When you have been officially declared an apostate by men in your stake who hold high callings and important titles, that means they're right and you're wrong. No further review is necessary. Shut up and wear that Scarlett 'A'.
UPDATE Monday, October 20: At the very time I was writing an reposting Adrian Larsen's piece, he was posting a follow-up to this one, which contains further insight as to what occurred, what it means, and how we all need to take a close look at the true damage being inflicted on the church we love. In short, this is essential reading. It's important, the kind of thing I wish I had the power to shout from the rooftops.
Adrian's latest is entitled 40 Days On Death Row and you can access it by clicking here.
Important Notice: I again remind those who wish to comment that posting only as "Anonymous" is no longer allowed. You do not have to use your real name, but if you insist on choosing "Anonymous" from the drop-down menu, you must invent a username and place that either at the top or bottom of your comment so that readers can tell you apart from the many others who for some reason keep choosing to post under the anonymous option. If you have a Google registration, use that one, otherwise it's best if you check the box that says "Name/URL", place your preferred username in in the "name" box, and ignore the box that asks for a URL. That way you can still remain anonymous if you so wish, but then other readers have a handle to address you with when responding. Comments missing any kind of identifying moniker are at risk of being deleted. I'm very strict about this because too many people posting as "anonymous" has created chaos in the past.
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Ok, I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I had to comment on something and then I'm going back to read the rest of it, that is unless I have to comment again before I'm done.
1 WOE to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!
(Old Testament | Isaiah 28:1)
It seems to me that the crown of Ephraim can't wait for the flower to fade, so they are hastening it along.
The Crown of Ephraim is so insecure and has absolutely no faith, that they are cutting out the humble followers of Christ. Wait, that's why they are so quick to ex these ppl, because they are the humble followers of Christ and not the humble followers of Monson. My heart goes out for those in the hierarchy. Things aren't going to be good for them in the long run.
Ok, back to the article!
Sorry! Here I am again. While reading the controversial post by Adrian, the first thing state was an apostate statement. The hierarchy really didn't have to read any further to decide upon excommunication.
They can't trust that you are or will be a Lemming who will do whatever you are told, if you don't put your complete trust in the arm of flesh.
I mean really what was he thinking? He really thought he could get away with saying such a bold thing or even quote a scripture. I'll bet this church will adopt the manual of instruction as their only form of scripture soon.
Oh yeah, an I want to give Adrian and his wife congrats for making the grade. Congratulations!!!!!
OK, back to the article!
This statement needs a comment:
Was Brigham wrong? Or is the church today wrong? Remember saving doctrine never changes. God does not vary. Somebody was wrong. Somebody misled you. Was it Brigham, or is it today's leaders? They can't both be right.
I used to believe the same thing about 40 yr.s ago, but today I believe we have a third option which is, "THEY ARE BOTH WRONG", only God is right.
Why don't church leaders try a more relaxed view toward their stewardship. It has to be a lot of pressure to keep up with the perfect image. They keep painting themselves each year in a tighter corner. Because every prophet before them was "perfect". Doesn't any of them just want to say in general conference. I was pondering on such and such issue and I would like your input. Please send you suggestions. 15 brains is less neurons than 12 million brains. Having "all" the answers must suck. Let everyone discuss their beliefs freely and let the prophet have the final word. Members want to have discussions about truth, but they feel they have the shackles of 120 yeas confining them.
So Wilford Woodruff said the following:
"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."
Look at this statement. God's big thing is agency. This statement tells us that God is a liar, and there is no need for faith in Him.
One more thing. While growing up, my dad rubbed shoulders with the G.A.s in Salt Lake and he even went on a couple of missions with the family. (I believe that began and ended with us, but I have the newspaper article to prove it.) Anyway, I was told by my dad that there was a committee to get rid of the dead wood. This was back in 1966. So, this has been going on for quite a number of years. I believe the difference between now and then is they were eliminating inactives, while today they are on a witch hunt.
This reminds me of the observation in the scriptures that the work of the restoration will not be completed by the Gentiles but by another group, the sons of Jacob. The Gentile church will be too busy polishing and policing the cult of personality that has grown up around the prophet and apostles. It boggles the mind. The Church™ does so much good on a certain level. It's a pity that that level is below what Jesus Christ has in mind.
Does the church do good? I really question that. I believe they are doing things that the public views as good, but if the following scripture is true, then they are workers of iniquity:
21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
(New Testament | Matthew 7:21 - 23)
I've never heard of a wife being excommunicated for something her husband wrote or did. This is just incredibly sad.
Thank you for linking to Adrian's post. I just read it and find my thoughts to be worded by his post, very similarly. I am glad there are members willing to discuss our struggles with conflicting doctrine out loud so that we may help each other find what is truth.
Thank you Rock for this! And for again, articulating my own thoughts and feelings about these things - better than I could! God be with all of those who are being persecuted for Christ's sake!
It's crazy making to stay in a church you know is led by false prophets or prophets & leaders who teach all manner of false doctrine. I don't understand why anyone would want to follow, associate with or support leaders or a church like that anyway?
Unfortunately this is and should not be surprising news to anyone. For we all know that the Church's leaders won't put up with anything less then 'silent blind obedience' today or in the past, in the same fashion that communist leaders around the globe insist upon.
But then again, one past G.A. (Elder H. V. Andersen) thought most LDS were communists anyway (by the way they voted), so such controlling leadership (political or religious) seems to appeal to most people.
Whereas, true prophets and followers of Christ would never ever demand such belief or obedience, in fact, they always warn to question & prove every single thing they do and say 1st before believing them. And they never say to follow 'them', but to always only follow 'Christ's words' instead, not their opinions or interpretations of Christ's words.
He said above that the Church provides "ordinances (fake ones instigated by unrighteous leaders), opportunities to serve and a community of believes to love", but all those things can be found 'outside' the Church and in far greater sincerity & truth.
It should be no surprise that false churches & false prophets teach 'infallibility' or blind obedience, (so many major false religions today do) and it's no surprise that most people in & out of the Church easily fall for such philosophies of men, for it strongly appeals to the natural man to put the weight of one's salvation on the shoulders of another, despite how easy it is to find in scriptures & history the warnings and evidence of where prophet after 'so called prophet' have taught false doctrine and led thousands/millions astray and still lived a long life afterwards.
A prophet saying 'he can't lead you astray' is like the Devil saying 'there is no devil'. Go back to sleep.
But what is surprising is when those who see the problems, falsehoods and false prophets in the Church are then surprised they are cast out by these false leaders, or think the false prophets at the top are going to let them stay in if they don't continue to be 'Yes Men & Women'.
I believe it's obvious that Brigham's Church is not the same Church that Joseph started. And that it's obvious that Joseph's Church was not the same church or religion that Christ started.
For Christ came and taught a short simple message and asked people to follow it, not start or build an earthly 'church' (a spiritual one yes), not build a temple, not give tithing to or pay leaders, but directly to the poor, not follow any leader or prophet, not excommunicate anyone, not teach any other prophet's or person's opinions/scriptures, not believe anyone's claims of being a prophet or seeing God, unless they prove they have unconditional love (especially for their spouse) & keep Christ's commandments and even if they do, don't follow them, but only follow Christ's simple teachings.
What Christ did say was to have unconditional love and give your excess time & money to relieve the sufferings & needs of the fatherless and poor and afflicted and live the Golden Rule and the 10 commandments.
And if you agree with those things then find a true believer of Christ to baptize you as a show of commitment. And then teach others around you this same simple message. That's about it.
It seems all religions and false prophets throughout history, and in the LDS Church, have added countless other teachings, practices and principles to & twisted Christ's short simple message, until they bear no resemblance to Christ's original teachings, but are all usually anti Christ.
Somebody posted a hint about a major blogger getting excommunicated on Reddit's /r/exmormon page, but they weren't at liberty to say who it was. I was afraid for a while that it was you, Rock. I'm glad to hear it was not, though that is sad for Adrian and especially for his Tausha.
Where are things at for you, anyway, if you are able to talk about it?
*his wife, Tausha* (need to proofread better)
All of these problems go away when you realize that the prophets past and present have always been and always will speak as men. Because that's all they are.
JeffT, when John Dehlin has time, he'll do another podcast interview with me and at that time I'll discuss my meeting with my stake president.
At this time, they appear to be taking a "wait and see" attitude much as John himself was informed.
By golly I never put the two (communism & the Mormon Church) together before. Thanks for that, and you know come to think about it, you're right about Joseph's Church too. I strongly believe that Joseph was privy to a lot of truth and he was trying to please those who believed what he was instructed by God to do,and God too, however, I don't believe for a minute that he was absolutely correct, and just like the Israelites praying for a king other than God, got what they wanted.
Thanks for your comment.
I guess Nelson hasn't gotten around to you yet. He must be on vacation or something else has his attention. Maybe he is pacing himself. He doesn't want to seem to eager in exing or should I say axing everyone all at the same time.
Basically this post reads like an indictment against the Prophet and the Church. No wonder the Stake President did what he did....it could also have something to do with how Adrain answered specific questions directed at him. Since we were not present we can only guess....
anyway according to Adrain he has already stated that he has enough knowledge to be "saved"
Perhaps you have seen this, but the arguments presented in the article are addressed here: http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/response-to-fundamentalists/
Sorry. Link should be:
@ Brian Hales:
Brian, you are truly a class act. Unlike most critics of the church, I detect no cynicism, no thinly veiled hatred, and no judgment. Reading the words you have written put my mind at easy; they don't agitate my fight or flight response. Your words are well thought out and your message is one of peace.
I read your essay. I found it well written and thought provoking. However, I do not believe it answered all of the arguments in this article, as you claimed.
Specifically, why would Adrian's wife be excommunicated? Is stating that the prophet is not fallible incorrect? And what are we as members to do when current leaders contradict past leaders? Who are we to believe?
Finally, do you believe Adrian's post warranted excommunication?
Do you mind addressing these questions?
*Correction. "is fallible incorrect."
This sounds a LOT like the "latter-Day Saints". Could this be a "warning for our day?"
I think the emperor does not like being told he has no cloths on. I am one that simply cannot stand by and talk about how beautiful the fabric is when there is none. The church has been taken over by progressives and are writing out the founding fathers. I am only interested in the truth, not what might make me feel good. I think I know who will be doing the most "weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth".
Let’s get real, here. Adrian Larsen starts of with a ‘Warning’ and then goes on using words that show no deference to the presidents of the LDS church (aka: the ‘Prophet’) past or present, and very clearly is inciting a type of ecclesiastical anarchy. Yeah, I get that we should be following Christ only, but the Mormon scripture in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants states, “Whether by mine own voice (the Lord’s) or the voice of my servants, it is the same.” End of story as far as the tenets of the Mormon church. In other words, if you can’t abide by this DOCTRINE then you ARE an apostate. It’s their party (the official church) and they have a right to ask you to leave, or formally kick you out (ex’ you). So again, ‘end of story’.
Also, we don’t know what was said at the so-called ‘court of love’. I’ve served on two of them in my ‘past life’ and I can tell you that they are all over the map as for who is conducting them. Having said that, though, it is very reasonable to conjecture that most people ‘on trial’, are given the option to ‘toe the line’ (repent). I suspect that Larsen’s words and/or attitude was/is “No way Jose, I’m sticking to my guns.”
What I want to say now, though, is more about the real issue, which is I don’t believe that the true (or ‘a’ true) church/religion of Jesus Christ excommunicates people for having beliefs that are contrary to the current, generally so-called ‘official’ beliefs and/or practices of the church. This is why I left Mormonism. This is why I don’t believe that the Mormon church is a or the true church of Jesus Christ. I cannot accept that Jesus would allow ANY MAN (or men) to excommunicate a person from the body of Christ if that person does not want to be excommunicated. The ‘official’ church can marginalize them, disenfranchise them in the sense of taking away callings and speaking opportunities, etc., and maybe even bar them from speaking in Fast and Testimony meetings, but never, never excommunicate a person. That would be taking away a person’s sense of salvation and official connection to Christ’s church, which is just plain evil, or at the very least totally un-Christ-like.
Hence, Larsen and his wife getting ex’ed from the Mormon church means NOTHING as far as Jesus is concerned. I am so, so, so, converted to that—this belief. What happened to the Larsen’s is just another clear ‘proof’ that the Mormon church is NOT about the true and living Christ.
I hope I’m making some sense. Sure, Larsen was inciting inflammatory notions AGAINST the official LDS church, but so what? It’s a false church! That’s my point, i.e., if the LDS church was the or ‘a’ true church of Christ, the Larsen’s wouldn’t have ever been ex’ed because Christ doesn’t operate like that. But the fact that they were, ‘proves’ to me that the LDS church is false—not of Christ. The only lamentable result of this excommunication may entail loosing friends, or maybe even your job, and things of that nature, but as far as eternal salvation is concerned it means NOTHING.
Wow. Since nobody else on this post will say it, I'll have to be the loner.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have called a prophet as with Moses, Abraham, and Noah in our day to speak for Them. I know Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet. He is the Lord's mouthpiece on the earth today. The priesthood is real and is God's power given to man to act under his authority. There is no other name under heaven whereby men may be saved but by Jesus Christ. His life and mortal ministry is central to Heavenly Father's plan for his children. He atoned for our sins and was crucified for our sake. He was resurrected on the third day and commanded his Apostles to continue his work. After their persecution and rejection, Heavenly Father removed the church and priesthood authority from the earth as in past times of apostasy. In 1820, he called a new prophet, Joseph Smith, and restored the truth of all things to the earth in this, the last dispensation. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I have read it, asked God, and received an answer of its veracity. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the God head and is available to witness all truth unto the humble seekers.
It is very troublesome times for the world in these the last days. Satan's power is great today, even unto the deception of the Lord's elect. If you have found the truth, don't give up! Stand for what the Holy Ghost has promised you and endure to the end. Eternal happiness in the presence of our Father must be our life, faith, and hope. I pray each of you to humbly seek the truth by your faith, in prayer.
"I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today. ...I know Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet. He is the Lord's mouthpiece on the earth today."
...(Steps down from Rameumptom)
Jared Tire: When in doubt, bear your testimony. No-one can argue against testimony, right? Do you know why that is? Because testimony is opinion, and you can't argue against opinion. Not because opinions are so powerful, but because opinions are meaningless in logical argument. In defending the supposed truthfulness of the Church, your testimony is irrelevant.
Bearing testimony is what members of the Church do when they have no argument to make and no genuine evidence to offer.
blah, blah, blah. Why is there so much emphasis on all the rhetoric? 1) Time and eternity are two very different things. 2) IF it is true that something eternal can never change (because it is eternal) then it would be true that every person who "fell" from an eternal higher state to a lower temporal (temporary) state cannot change the eternal nature of who (s)he is. Therefore, nobody's salvation is in jeopardy. If someone wants to use the mormon religion as a vehicle back to the eternal truth - great. And if someone takes a different path and different vehicle, well, the truth is the truth. I assume the true blues won't agree with me. That's OK. "If ye labor all your days and bring, save it be one poor sap some comforting thoughts, then how great shall be your joy with him/her in the Kingdom of Truth." Sadly, (in my experience) the average mormon has very little understanding of what their own religion actually teaches. That's OK too. The gospel, of course, means Good News. And it simply cannot be "good news" that even 1 of Father's children remain lost - if He supposedly loves each of us with a perfect love. It's like the majority of the LDS community has thrown all logic and reason out the window in favor of blah, blah, blah.
I'm sure you are very sincere in your testimony, I even believed and repeated those same things too my whole life up until a few years ago when I finally started studying Christ's real teachings and following His command to 'prove all things 1st' before believing anyone or anything.
And we can't prove things by prayer (that idea came from men not Christ), for Satan can and does give us wonderful feelings of confirmation & false revelation just as much and probably far more then God does, because we can always hear Satan but few are in tune to God.
Also, have you thought about the fact that there are just as many people (non-members & people who have left to follow Christ) who are sure the Holy Ghost has witnessed to them just the opposite about the church and it's leaders & doctrine to what you believe the HG told you?
One side is being deceived, pride causes us to think it's the other person. Humility causes us to consider we might be the one deceived, and to look into it and see if we are.
Can you show proof of righteousness that the LDS Leaders are true and righteous and following Christ's teachings, as Christ said to make sure before believing them? I do not believe they are following Christ at all.
Do you realize there are people in every religion on earth who are just as sure as you that God told them 'their' religion is the only right one?
So while I appreciate your sincere feelings, if we say we believe in Christ we should listen to his warnings to use logic and common sense and not fall for false revelation and false prophets, but to base our testimony on proven facts, not feelings, by watching what people do and say to see if they are keeping Christ's commandments or not.
Just what exactly has the "Lord's mouthpiece on the earth today" revealed, other than the "integrity" and soundness--all very questionable--of Zions bank?
Be a pal and help us all out. I can't speak for everyone, but I know I'd love to hear some revelations or counsel that I may have missed.
You bring up a good point when you said, "The gospel means Good News." I once sat in a sacrament meeting during the passing of the sacrament and asked God how I was suppose to feel about it, after pondering an experience a friend had when Pres. Kimball sat in her ward's sacrament and just sat there for 10 min.s while the poor kid passing the sacrament waited until he took it. Then looking up he had tears in his eyes.
This really bothered me and so during the sacrament one Sunday I asked how I was supposed to feel during this ordinance. The answering was, I was suppose to rejoice and praise God for the willing sacrifice of His Son.
At another sacrament, again pondering this subject it was revealed to me that the way and the spirit the sacrament was being handled with was an abomination before God, then I was reminded of this verse:
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
(Old Testament | Isaiah 1:13 - 14)
The sacrament these days are funeral dirges and not a feast of rejoicing. It is not done in the correct spirit or by the correct Spirit.
I guess what I'm suggesting is every individual needs to inquire of the Lord more often as to His will concerning the things that go on inside the Mormon Church instead of just walking the calf path. I think you'll be surprised.
Lots of talk here about the struggles folks have in deciding whether someone claiming to be a prophet is an actual prophet. We are participating in this forum because we give some credibility to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. One of the recurring themes of that book involves the struggles folks in Book of Mormon times had in deciding whether their "prophet" was an actual prophet. This on-going struggle begins with Lehi, a "visionary man" whose dreams end up bringing suffering, destitution and death to his family. Then we have Nephi, a self-confessed liar and murderer claiming to be a prophet .... and on it goes. From our orientation, we know with certainty that Lehi and Nephi were actual prophets, warts and all, but consider the daily struggles each member of the Lehi-Nephi clan faced in making that determination, frequently with life or death consequences. Laman and Lemuel and their followers chose not to believe that Lehi and Nephi were prophets, or perhaps that they were fallen prophets. On the other hand, the people who would later be called Nephites chose to exercise mighty faith as they rejected the arguments of the doubters and followed their prophets while coping with all sorts of contradictions. Ultimately, one group found Christ and the other group dwindled. Follow the prophet? Yes! Even though it's tough at times.
The verse “Whether by mine own voice (the Lord’s) or the voice of my servants, it is the same” is thrown around a lot within the church, but I would disagree that it's some sort of end-of-story, defining doctrine that forces Latter-day Saints to follow everything the prophet says.
If you look at the context of that verse in Section 1, there is a statement made a little earlier that says that "every man might speak in the name of God" (D&C 1:18). For whatever reason today, people interpret "servants" to mean General Authorities. But aren't all Saints (or any humble follower of Christ) servants of the Lord? The true doctrine is that whatever is spoken by any servant of the Lord, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, is true. But it is conversely up to each Saint with the gift of the Holy Ghost to discern when others are speaking through the Lord and when they are speaking as men. Following the Holy Ghost at all times is the doctrine. End of story, to use your words.
I think one difference is that the Book of Mormon never describes Lehi and Nephi as being perfect, or in modern parlance, incapable of leading the Church astray. I'm more than willing to follow the words of anyone, Thomas Monson included, if their words come through the Holy Ghost and the Holy Ghost confirms it to me. What I am not willing to do is sell my agency to these men, carried away on the Church like a ship that goes wherever the leaders take it. That goes against the very purpose of the gospel.
Also, it would be hard to argue the "contradictions" faced in the 1 Nephi narrative are anything like the contradictions faced by modern Saints. Laman and Lemuel murmured because they couldn't exercise patience; they just couldn't trust that the Lord would lead them to the Promised Land (which he ultimately did). But there is no record of Lehi teaching one doctrine and Nephi turning around and teaching a different one, like we have in the current LDS Church. Their message was simple and consistent, even if they had to face certain challenges along the way.
@ mormonion & Jb27
You guys are discussing prophets or those who are the Lords servants. Everyone forgets one thing, and this is something mormonion is eluding to, and that is just because someone says they are the Lords servant doesn't make them the Lords servant. You can have a million people professing that a person is the Lords servant or even 15 million by church record professing it and it still doesn't make it so. Only God knows who His servants are and only God can reveal that to each individual. D&C 1:38 doesn't prove anything.
Moreover, "his servants" explicitly means one to whom he has sent with a message. If you read the scriptures, you will find countless examples. EVERY scriptural prophet is asked by God to say something to someone. That is what it means to actually be a prophet. If someone isn't saying "the Lord told me ______" he isn't a prophet, period. And even then, anything that person says that isn't God's word, isn't actually God's word. You would think that would be self-evident, but because of concept control, it is a hard thing for most Mormons to understand. I wrote a book about the topic called "Commanded in all Things." You might check it out.
Thank you for this testimony Calleen. The Spirit confirmed the truth of your revelations to me.
most here don't "need" the LDS faith anymore.....congratulations!
When one exercises mighty faith he or she becomes a prophet, they do not follow other prophets. The Holy Ghost is a greater prophet than any person on earth. The Godhead are the only tyrants that I will follow thank you very much.
I know 'with certainty' that Nephi was 'not' a true prophet(and thus neither was Joseph Smith, for this and many other reasons), for Nephi did not keep the commandments of Christ. Christ commanded not to murder and to have love, no true prophet would have done what Nephi did in killing Laban, when his life was not in danger.
It's no wonder people fall for false prophets so easily when they hold up men like Nephi, Joseph Smith or Brigham Young to be true prophets. I don't think most of us even know what a true prophet looks or acts like.
Even the 'reason' Joseph gave, I mean Nephi gave for doing it, was not valid, for had Nephi been a true prophet he would have known he didn't need the brass plates to teach the people correctly, he could have received any new revelation needed directly from God and a prophet already knows the commandments by heart anyway, for he already lives them all to even 'become' a prophet.
And did you know that Lehi's 'visions' were just Joseph Smith father's vision? His father had the 'Tree of Life' vision when Joseph was a young boy and retold it to Joseph and the family over and over. So it made for good material to use in his book.
Joseph did a wonderful job in writing about many wonderful, true and insightful issues and doctrines in his Book of Mormon, but it's not all true doctrines or principles.
We can know 'with certainty' that the book was not from God or written by ancient true prophets, for they wouldn't have included Nephi's story in there, among other things, nor would they tell people to 'pray for confirmation from the Holy Ghost' about the book, they would instead say the exact thing Christ did and tell people to compare the writings and actions of those prophets to Christ's commandments, which then proves they or Joseph Smith, were not true prophets for they didn't follow Christ's teachings. It's 2+2. No one needs to pray to see this, it's clear as day.
I agree, Prophets are to help the wicked repent. The righteous don't need prophets for they 'are' prophets themselves and can and do receive all the revelation any other prophet does. Prophets already keep the commandments of Christ and thus don't need another prophet to lead them.
All prophets, male & female, receive their Priesthood power directly from God to baptize, bless, heal, teach, etc.
Everyone should be prophets, and as I read Christ, only those who are prophets will achieve Eternal Life.
I couldn't believe what I read today. Monson announces in a meeting that "He is the way the truth and the life" and that no one will get to Father but by him. I really think he has gone too far this time.
Yes, the above link was a lie, but what percentage of you were about to click on it to read the article. The point is way to many. I know the brethren cloister themselves with hundreds of yes men that praise them so they that they can almost believe they are Christ's. I have seen a massive corporation go bankrupt by the CEO surrounding himself with yes men. We all know church growth has slowed. If they don't change some things I believe it about to dip The brethren need to start realizing that guys like Rock Waterman and the Denver Snuffer are true friends to the faith and the butt kissers aren't.
I agree with every word of that statement. The LDS church alludes to the idea that none of the members need to become prophets, or develop their own personal relationship with Christ, because they have one president of the church who has done it for them and they just need to follow the president, who can use quotes like "whatever God commands is right" from joseph smith and use it to defend any unrighteousness they need to further their agenda.
Yes, Nate, it's very sad actually. The Church encourages everyone to be lax on their study of truth, since the 'studying & thinking has been done for them'. Who is going to search the scriptures if they just have to hold on to Daddy's shirt tail?
It's the Adversary's perfect plan, that he knows appeals to the natural man and works almost every time with almost everyone.
For everyone loves & hopes for the idea that 'all is well' and everything will be fine, and that they can just go back to sleep.
It seems the idea that we have to study, pray, ponder, prove and work out of our salvation for ourselves and actually live Christ's hard laws, instead of the softer philosophies of so called prophets, is way too hard for most people to except or do.
I wish it wasn't so hard and all on myself either, but so it is.
"Follow the prophet? Yes! Even though it's tough at times."-JB27
Actually, it's not tough at all to follow the prophet. Deseret news follows him wherever he goes on daily or weekly corporate nuances.
What's tough is actually being Christlike and striving to make correct decisions for yourself and family each and every day. That's where I fall short. If only it was or ever was as simple as "following the prophet".
Haha. That was classic.
Jared, if you know these things are true, I'm not sure why you're here or how you came to find this blog.
You look like a real nice young man so I won't shatter your paradigm from the very scriptures that you know and believe are true.
Congrats on your one year anniversary.
BK said:"I know 'with certainty' that Nephi was 'not' a true prophet(and thus neither was Joseph Smith, for this and many other reasons), for Nephi did not keep the commandments of Christ. Christ commanded not to murder and to have love, no true prophet would have done what Nephi did in killing Laban, when his life was not in danger".
I guess you don't believe that Abraham was a prophet either, because he was in the process of killing his son when god stopped him. I guess god is a fake too, because he asked a man to kill a blameless person.
I don't believe God told Abraham to sacrifice Issac, I believe it was Satan, for Abraham had obviously lost the Spirit from committing adultery by polygamy, and didn't seem to repent from it even though he sent Hagar away at Sarah's request. For he continued to practice polygamy later in life.
It's the most common thing in the world for unrighteous people to be deceived by false revelation, thinking it's God telling them things, when it's actually Satan or their own desires or imaginations.
Everyone is deceived by false revelation at times, but especially those who have lost the Spirit.
I believe Christ over Abraham, and Christ said we must discern true prophets from false ones, or the righteous from the wicked by whether they keep his commandments & have Christlike love or not, and his commandments are the same for all eternity, they never change, they're the same for Adam, Abraham, Joseph Smith and us today.
Christ commanded against murder and polygamy and thus it was impossible for Abraham to have received such a revelation from God.
I doubt you would do what Abraham did even if you thought the Spirit told you to, because you know it would be wrong and I bet you're smart enough to go with what Christ said over what you think the Spirit is saying.
We can't assume everything we read in the Bible is correct, much of it is not in harmony with Christ, so we have to 'prove all things and persons' even ancient prophets as much as more present men who claim to be prophets.
Abraham may have been righteous and a true prophet in his early days but then it appears he fell for adultery and worse, just like so many other so-called prophets also did in the Bible and in church history.
And what, exactly are Christ's teachings? Christ never wrote down a single word. Every teaching we have that is attributed to Christ came from the pen of a man. You seem to be a cafeteria Christian. You pick and chose what you believe.
True, the professed 'words of Christ' were written down by men but those words are all we have to judge everything and everyone by to see if they are right or not.
If those 'words of Christ' are not true or accurate, then we have nothing, and everyone is left to themselves to find out straight from God what is right or wrong, but that's difficult for we not only have to be really righteous to receive true revelation, it would also be very hard do discern if our revelation is coming from God or Satan, because we wouldn't have a standard to judge from, like we do with Christ's words.
But I believe the words attributed to Christ are true and correct principles. I have prayed about them, tested them out and am trying to live them and after studying history and people past and present my whole life, I believe those principles are the only way to have peace, happiness and freedom in our souls, marriage, family or society.
I have not found any other principles that are superior to the words attributed to Christ. So I believe they are true. At least they are the only words I believe in and live by.
I believe all the true scripture we really have are Christ's words in the 4 Gospels, every other book of scripture in the Bible, BoM, D&C, BoA, etc. were written by fallible men, by true & false prophets, for no other books of scripture are without many falsehoods mingled in, so they can easily mislead us, including those written by Christ's apostles after his death, for they were just their fallible opinions, often influenced by their culture and weaknesses.
But I have not found any teaching from Christ in the Gospels that I believe is in error.
I am definitely a cafeteria Christian when it comes to men who profess to be prophets and they give their opinions, even when they claim their teachings are from God. For often their teachings are contrary to Christ's words.
But I am not a cafeteria Christian when it comes to the words of Christ. Though I am not even near perfect at living them yet, for they are very difficult to live and I can't find anyone ancient or modern who is living or has lived all of his teachings, but it would be nice to find someone and find out how they do it.
It would be so nice if we really had a true prophet among us to help show us the way to live Christ's high laws. Someday soon a few will probably show up on the scene though but I don't believe hardly anyone will accept their teachings, just like most all finally walked away from Christ, except his disciples, who when he asked them 'Will you also go away?" They replied, Where shall we go? Only you have the words of Eternal life." And I believe they were right.
The problem is that all religion pre-supposes the existence of a- priori knowledge. Can you prove from a epistemological standpoint that a-priori knowledge even exists? You can only know religion is true by reason, and not any empirical evidence. Man cannot even prove his own existence, and has been grappling with this philosophical argument since Rene Des Cartes. The bottom line is, we, as human beings cannot be sure of anything, so why are you so quick to eliminate the beliefs of others as possible truths? Doxastic practice begins with the assumption of personal belief. You cannot say that your beliefs are any more valid than anyone else's. Facts are inherently unreliable. Chiholm's "Sheep in the Field" and Goldman's "The Fake Barns" demonstrate this.
Rock, you are wrong about Larsen.
Regarding the Church, brother Larsen wrote:
“It's misleading, it's dishonest, it will damn us… If you find it boring and stale, you should stop relying on others to spoon-feed you the same worn-out, warmed-over garbage we get in our manuals… I write these things because the Lord has asked me to. I don't know why He chose such an unworthy servant for this work, but I try to be willing, and he magnifies my poor abilities… I recognize there are many good folks who read what I’ve written and are desperately troubled….”
Allen Rock Waterman along with many of his followers (his flock that is not a flock) have challenged me to present any evidence that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet- that he reveals the word of God…
Brother Larsen’s theme throughout his blogs is in-line with the gospel according to ARW. They, along with many of their followers claim the prophets today are silent and that they have no new thing to reveal.
The apostle Paul encountered the same opposition when he spoke to the Athenians:
Acts 17: 21 “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.”
You may note there is no “letter” to the Athenians. There was never a branch established among them. Today, some 2,000 years later, Athens still is void any priesthood holders. Perhaps there is one or two in the city from time to time, but the Church is not there. It seems the Athenians, like the modern-day learned are on the wrong paths.
Show me a sign and I will believe!
Here is your sign:
Below is a portion of THE FAMILY: A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
If President Monson never revealed anything else to us, the above teachings on the family would be enough for me.
The world today, 20 years after this was revealed, teaches us the exact opposite. I’m glad I don’t have to rely on people like Rock Waterman and John Dehlin to guide me through issues such as gay marriage. I’m glad we have living prophets to better help us understand God’s will. Even the president of the United States is teaching that gay marriage is a good thing and those opposed to it are mean spirited and backward thinking.
Rock, you can stand with Brother Larsen and Brother Dehlin and perhaps they will give you a free shout-out for your newly printed anti-Mormon book. Perhaps you will make a few dollars in the process, but what will Larsen, Snuffer, and Dehlin give you and your family in the long run? They will give you nothing but filthy lucre.
Rock, as for your assertion that there is no such thing as Kellyites, Dehlinites or Snufferites, perhaps you are right in the sense that there be no need to differentiate them from one another. The thread that runs through all of these groups, and your group, is the same- you all fail to recognize we have a living prophet on the earth today. You all either have an outright distain for him or you just laugh at him and mock him at every chance.
I sustain Thomas S. Monson as a prophet. I hope at least one living soul who reads this blog will turn away from Waterman, Larsen, Kelly, Dehlin, and Snuffer and look to a living prophet for direction on matters such as gay marriage.
You are right, I believe God is a God of reason, love, common sense and the Golden Rule. So his doctrine would only be known by pure reason and by proven testing of facts. Definitely not by fuzzy feelings that can't be proven are from God.
And I don't believe God expects anyone to believe or follow his laws if they don't think they are right and just. But if they are and it's 'us' who is not righteous enough to see correctly, then we may loose out on eternal blessings.
I also agree that no one can be sure they are right, for it's so easy to be deceived and prideful and think we are right & righteous when we aren't.
Even people who are convinced God or Christ has appeared to them can easily be deceived by false angels of light (that Christ warned many would be deceived by). They rarely seem to question whether their vision is really God or not, despite all of Christ's warnings about false Christs appearing to many.
I don't believe other's beliefs if they are contrary to Christ's, for no one has proven to be more perfect, more knowledgeable, or have better doctrines then Christ was or did. So why should I believe their ideas?
Christ taught us to 'prove' people & principles against what he did and said and that's how I choose who and what to believe.
I probably do have some errant beliefs myself, especially given the Church I was brought up in, but I do at least point to Christ and what he taught, which I do believe his teachings have 'proven' to be far more valid then anyone else's on earth.
But no one can prove truth for us, we all are on our own to prove truth to ourselves and our salvation hangs on whether we get it right or not.
I don't think any religion has ever been perfect, but many of their leaders sure like to claim they are not only right but practically infallible, and completely trustworthy & safe to believe in (like LDS leaders do), and that if we don't believe in and follow them, even over Christ, we won't be saved.
But I believe only Christ was the only perfect & safe person who could be trusted with the truth for those few short years he was on the earth. Before and after him it's just a sea of fallible opinion (some truth, some error) by those who professed to be prophets or inspired of God.
I believe that the Follow the Prophet doctrine is the greatest heresy of the modern church. This was a great summary of why it happened and why it's such a bad thing. Strange to think that if my church leaders knew I totally agree with this article, I would probably be excommunicated as well, though I go to church every week and faithfully fulfill my church callings.
I know how you feel about not listening to anyone except Christ and I commend you for that. You have opened my eyes on a lot of things and I really appreciate that.
However while reading the Inspired Version of the New Testament I came across this:
St. Mark Chapter 5
1 And Jesus, seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain; and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him;
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are they who shall believe on me; and again, more blessed are they who shall believe on your words, when ye shall testify that ye have seen me and that I am.
4 Yea, blessed are they who shall believe on your words, and come down into the depth of humility, and be baptized in my name; for they shall be visited with fire and the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins. "
There are a lot of scriptures that I haven't completely understood until I've read them in the Inspired Version of the Bible. I know that if a person who is speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost is speaking the words given to him by God. I also know that only a prophet can recognize a prophet, because they will receive the understanding of the words spoken by the understanding given them by the Holy Ghost.
Not everyone understood Christ's words, but when He said, 9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
(New Testament | Mark 4:9)
Christ didn't demand people to just blindly hear him either. He knew they wouldn't understand unless they were taught by the Holy Ghost. So it goes with every person who receives personal revelation.
Keep up the good work!!!!
This argument about "Follow the Prophet" isn't anything new.
However, I've never ONCE seen anyone address the scripture from Paul to the Corinthians where he tells them to follow him.
"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." 1 Cor. 11:1
Isn't this at the heart what follow the prophet really is. Follow me as I follow Christ?
Please remember how strongly you currently feel about THE FAMILY: A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD.
Please remember this when the Church's treatment of the gay community continues to bring negative publicity.
Please remember this when the negative publicity threatens to hit the Church's financial bottom line.
Most importantly, please remember this when the Church changes it's "unchanging" teachings and truths to fit more in line with society.
Please then return and report about how you feel knowing this "revelation" is no longer accepted by the Church as truth.
This scenario seems impossible, right? I'm sure the members living under Brigham Young's presidency thought similarly about blacks and the priesthood or interracial marriage. And yet, here we are with new versions of the truth. It's only a matter of time before it happens again.
To Brian Hales
In response to your fine essay. So one line of thinking is that nothing moved in terms of FULLNESS since Joseph was lost. What of the church's prosperity (a word with some decidedly anti-Zion connotations)? Nibley points to 4 Nephi 27-28 as evidence a church's growth in the world should probably be seen as a red flag, not a sign of truthfulness. The stone rolling forth stuff is not about quantity, but quality. Who will do this if not the church, you ask? God will. He has not given His power to man. He does His own work. Nibley also acknowledged the fullness is not among us. Christ is the fullness--His presence--and also the list of things Joseph provided in the Lectures on Faith 7:20. So when a people lay hold on this kind of faith by picking up the Restoration where Joseph left off and attaining the presence of the Lord and access to the heavens--"that every man might speak in the name of the God the Lord, even the Savior of the world" (D&C 1:20), THEN the outreach to the remnant begins again. Joseph attempted it, but it has stalled since then because a possessor of the fullness is necessary to offer fullness to the remnant. And God is not dealing in "false and vain and foolish doctrine"--he is offering, as Joseph taught in Lectures 2:55, that "like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they shall obtain faith in God, and power to behold him face to face."
Thank you, I agree that we need to have the Holy Ghost, which is a teacher of truth, in order to completely understand or live all of Christ's teachings or to discern the true teachings of true disciples correctly.
I believe that scripture above is saying that it was good but 'easier' for people to believe in Christ when he was there with them, but that it takes something greater, even the Holy Ghost, for people to believe in the testimony & live all the teachings of Christ from the mouths of his disciples after Christ was gone.
We are in that boat today, all we have is the testimony of and teachings of Christ relayed through his ancient Apostles who were actually with Christ, but we need the Holy Ghost to be able to 'reason & understand' how Christ's teachings are true, superior and saving above the teachings of men, for Christ's laws are so difficult to live and totally contrary to what the natural man desires.
Thanks for bringing that vital point up.
It seems that most people in Christian religions understand and admit some or most of what Christ taught, even though they don't have the Holy Ghost and are not righteous, but if they don't repent they won't really believe in Him and have the strength to live his high laws for it's impossible, without the Holy Ghost giving us additional insights & revelation along the way.
That is one of the many teachings of Paul that makes me question if he was really a true disciple of Christ or even righteous.
I don't believe that particular teaching is right, it's too risky to follow even a true prophet, for even true prophets often have wrong opinions and teachings and can easily fall and lead people astray.
True prophets would and should be saying to follow Christ and they should only be relaying Christ's words to the people, not their own.
But back in Paul's day people didn't have their own set of scriptures or copies of Christ's teachings, so his Apostles had to go around & relay to the people what Christ had actually said. Which over time can lead to Apostles adding in their own beliefs and interpretations or they can even easily fall and start to preach completely false doctrine, which Christ said to always be watching for.
That was an excellent response. I was thinking the same thing. For I also believe that is what will happen in the not to distant future.
The Church seems to change it's stance on so many vital doctrines when there is enough outside or inside pressure to do so. The Church seems to care more about what society wants then what God wants or said. (Despite the fact that God's laws never change).
But I believe that by the time the Church does change it's tune, most members will have already desired & clamored for such a change and most will not totally agree with the Proclamation anymore.
It's one thing for the Church to put out the Proclamation, (which is mostly right but not perfect, for it should say that Mothers preside also over the family just as much as the Father, they're still hinting at Brigham's sexist doctrines there), but it's quite another thing for them to back it up with action themselves, which I don't believe they do.
Anyone can put out a Proclamation saying all the right things, it doesn't prove one a true prophet, for talk is cheap, actions speak louder then Proclamations. I'd like to see the Church leaders actually live by their proclamation.
So I'm going to throw down the guantlet to Rock and everybody else:
Where has President Monson (or the Apostles) taught things contrary to the Lord and actually led people astray?
Where has President Hinckley done this? Hunter? Benson? Kimball? etc.
"Malls" don't count - even if it was the wrong decision, there's no way you can say their decision itself somehow hurt your chances at salvation.
Yes, prophets and apostles make mistakes...they admit it themselves...and perhaps the mall was a mistake...but where have the RECENT actual teachings of LDS leadership led people away from Christ? (If anything, they should be faulted for teaching the same boring stuff for decades on end!)
The only thing I ever hear from you guys about them leading you astray is that they say "Follow the prophet" more than you'd like. But then the prophet goes ahead and tells us to follow CHRIST. As a practical matter, people are still being directed to CHRIST.
How is this leading people astray?
How have they led YOU astray, such that your salvation was in jeapardy?
I like the quotes from Nephi, but if you apply your own logic, how do you know Nephi wasn't leading YOU astray when he said to not trust in men? Maybe Nephi was wrong, right?! And if you aren't supposed to trust in men, maybe Joseph Smith was wrong, maybe all the Book of Mormon writers were, maybe the Biblical authors were, maybe Rock Waterman is, maybe Denver Snuffer is, and, most importantly, MAYBE YOU PERSONALLY ARE WRONG!
How the hell are you supposed to believe anything if you're not allowed to trust anyone? Not all of us get personal visits from Christ, after all!
Don't get me wrong. The church has problems. But having a prophet isn't one of them.
At least give me a hard one if you're throwing down the gauntlet. Want to know where they've led astray? Here's a short list:
1. Changing ordinances. Isaiah 24:5 indicates that that's a big deal (the earth itself being defiled and all). Joseph Smith agrees when he said "Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed" (TPJS p. 308). No one gets to modify ordinances, no matter what keys they hold. Church leaders have modified temple ordinances 3 times in my short life time. In none of the cases that took place during my adult life was a revelation announced or provided, and in none of the cases was a sustaining vote taken of the members.
2. Requiring confession of [current church president] as a prophet of God as a precondition to baptism. Antithetical to the Doctrine of Christ as laid out in scripture (2 Nephi 31, D&C 10, 3 Nephi 11, etc.)
3. In some areas in South America, Mormon 8:32 has become the official policy of the church. (payment required before baptism; again in conflict with the Doctrine of Christ).
4. Failing to provide disclosure of financial information, having all the money go in and out of the treasury by the voice of common consent. (Sorry, Rob Cantwell's little "We follow all our own rules, and we checked, none of them were violated" speech every April doesn't cut it for me. Common consent requires knowledge of the relevant issues.
5. Controlling who you can "associate," "affiliate," or "agree" with by means of withholding temple recommends from people who don't toe the line. In conflict with D&C 121... all that pesky "no power or influence" business.
6. Elder Ballard's recent conference talk in which he said "we will not and can not lead you astray." He may as well have read 2 Nephi 28:5. Such a damning precept was declared "in the name of Jesus Christ," and went uncorrected both in the meeting by the presiding authority and in the final transcript.
7. Widespread practice of polygamy (Takes a bit of research to reach a conclusion, and I'll grant you that there are other possible views, which I respect. This represents my conclusion.)
8. Restricting access to Priesthood based on race or "lineage." Joseph made no effort to do so. There is no revelation that began the ban. A lot of false ideas were propounded on this subject between Brigham Young and Spencer W. Kimball. Today those ideas are denounced as having been spoken "in the absence of revelation," even though the original statements were made "in the name of Jesus Christ." That sounds to me like the textbook definition of leading the church astray, but on this issue and the polygamy one I fully acknowledge that they've been righted, and I honor those who made the corrections.
That's just rattled off, I'm sure others can add to the list. But as you rightly said, it all comes down to "follow the prophet." If you believe the prophet can't lead you astray, and that whatever they decide is, by definition, correct, then none of these are issues at all.
Now that I've finished reading your comment, I'll answer your final couple of questions.
"How the hell are you supposed to believe anything if you're not allowed to trust anyone? Not all of us get personal visits from Christ, after all!"
You're absolutely right on this one. It's a formidable challenge; a test worthy of one who would be exalted. Just no substitute for fasting and prayer to receive the Holy Ghost. You can hear teachings and precepts from anyone, but no one gets a categorical endorsement as being always correct all the time save Christ only. Some people develop a better track record than others -- Nephi, Joseph Smith, and others come to mind; but many of them admit weakness and failures, so even they aren't infallible.
My Xeng Lo did a great job giving you some evidence, however did you NOT read the post by Adrian?
He said that if you supported polygamy now you'd be ex'd, but if you didn't support it during BY's day you'd likely get ex'd. Or any of the other numerous examples that were cited like 14 Fundamentals of a Prophet.
I thought you might be interested in a transcript I did of Malcolm Jeppsen's role in Avraham Gileadi's excommunication (Avraham was one of the Sept Six.) See http://mormonheretic.org/2014/10/18/malcolm-jeppsens-role-in-sept-six/
Throwing down the gauntlet.
To add to the list,
"We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.”
- Thomas S Monson
I know this is false. God depends on no mortal. He does not need us to convert anyone, help Him do anything, or to be anything. He can do His own work.
Also the idea of probation or a time requirement to forgiveness for sins, and withholding certain callings from people for the rest of their lives defies scripture such as in the cases of Paul, sons of Mosiah, alma the younger, etc.
These are just false doctrines that can be pointed out that you might be able to acknowledge, but this is the very tip of the iceberg.
How in the hell can we learn anything if we can't trust anyone? First one needs to obtain the Holy Ghost. Second one needs to learn to only trust the Holy Ghost and not trust men, and third, they need to continue to do this until Christ is manifested unto them in the flesh. This is plainly taught in the end of 2nd Nephi.
These are simple and true doctrines. Members will continually wink at false doctrines taught and rationalize that the leaders must have meant something different or that things in the past don't matter. They do matter, and there is false doctrine taught, but your beliefs are between you and God, so are mine.
If you have the stomach for it here's the begining of 20 changed, transfigured or mutilated doctrines of the restoration.
The first one is Jospeh Smith contradicting Joseph Smith. Kirtland vs Nauvoo
I'm not sure why the link wasn't hyperlinked.
Here it is again just incase it works this time...
I know this will be off topic, but I had to tell my experience to someone! My children and I visited a friend's church today. As the service went on I had a vague notion that I was in an LDS church service. I am at the point where I am tired of spiritual "deadness" and want to feel something ALIVE. I have been to a few other denominations' services and have relished their ALIVENESS. So I was rather chagrined at the rather deadness and familiarity of terms at this church we were visiting today.
When I got home I had to look up this church on Wikipedia. It was called "Church of Christ". As I read about the beginnings of this church I was blown away. It has its roots in the restoration movement and Alexander Campell movement. The more I read of the wikipedia article the more I was taken aback. It is like an LDS twilight zone minus the book of Mormon. Here is a link, it is a long article but so reminded me of our "doctrine" as I read through it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churches_of_Christ
I just kept thinking of Daymon Smith's Book of Mormon Cultural history. It verified to me what Daymon Smith said in his books about the Campellite movement influencing the LDS church. In the Church of Christ they do not use instruments and sing acapella. Does anyone know if the early LDS church ever opposed using instruments(including piano) during sacrament?
I so wish I could share this experience with Celia, as she enjoyed Daymon Smith's books. Missing her right now!
I only WISH Larsen, Snuffer, and Dehlin would provide me with some filthy lucre. So far not one of them has taken the hint.
I think it's pretty evident that you are also guilty of requiring a sign. 3 posts and you end it with
"I sustain Thomas S. Monson as a prophet. I hope at least one living soul who reads this blog will turn away from Waterman, Larsen, Kelly, Dehlin, and Snuffer and look to a living prophet for direction on matters such as gay marriage."
Looks to me like you found your sign in gay marriage. Setting aside for a moment the importance of this matter, I think it's easy to prophecy to a flock about something others do. It's so easy for you to rally around this big bad wolf of a doctrine of who other people love and sleep with. Because it's not you! How convenient! It's a hot button issue, and they play it for all it's worth. But aren't there many other equally important issues in this world that aren't getting noted? I wonder why?
Agree or disagree with gay marriage, how is it our duty to keep them from doing it?? It's a free country and then there's freedom to choose good or evil. So all that's left is to offer is condemnation. What does this say about a people?
I read the article with interest. I'm not surprised he was excommunicated; it appears it was the only outcome possible in the circumstances.
And I have to say I'm concerned about this self-fulfilling love-in, where we have Adrian Larsen quoting Rock, and then Rock quoting Larsen. That raises so many red flags for me.
A couple more thoughts come to mind.
There is just no way the High Council would have excommunicated Larsen's wife simply because she was married to him. That is a ridiculous assumption to make.
There is no record of the proceedings, no transcript of what was said, questions asked answers given. And yet the article appears to suggest Rock is "in the know". But Rock knows as much as we do - which is only slightly more than zilch.
The reference to Benson's rebuke. This is just hearsay. There is no record of such a rebuke, no statement regarding the matter, and no eye-witness to the alleged event. It is therefore irrelevant to this issue at hand in my view.
Rock, please, for goodness sake, deal with facts rather than speculations. Your arguments are so much more compelling when you do.
To “Xeng Lo”
I’ll respond to each of your points. Overall, you don’t seem to understand the difference between the concept of “church leaders will never make mistakes” (which is plainly false) and “church leaders will not lead you astray” (in any substantive sense pertaining to your salvation).
1. Changing Ordinances. Jesus changed ordinances (doing away with animal sacrifice, etc.). Do you admit that God has the power or right to change ordinances? I sure do.
2. The scriptures are the words of “prophets” – men, if you will. Given that you believe prophets can lead us astray, why do you place so much stock in Nephi’s opinion? Why does Nephi have so much more authority than current prophets? Couldn’t Nephi have led us astray?
3. Red herring – this hasn’t affected YOU. And why do we think Mormon had any more insight than current church leaders?
4. Red herring – this isn’t affecting your salvation.
5. Red herring – this isn’t affecting your salvation. Besides, if you think God doesn’t endorse this, feel free to flout it. Don’t you think there should be some kind of standard of worthiness to enter sacred places? I sure do. Don’t you think that sacred places would be defiled by having anti-mormons coming into the Temple, only to mock it outside?
6. Red herring – this is the whole point we’re arguing about! You can’t use the subject matter of our argument as evidence to support the argument itself! As I’ve said, people say “follow the prophet,” and then the prophet says “Follow Christ.” You end up following Christ = Not led astray.
7. Polygamy: My post was about recent teachings, not old ones. Do you think we should be practicing polygamy? I sure don’t. I’m grateful that current leaders re-emphasize that we shouldn’t.
8. Race: My post was about recent teachings, not old ones. I’m grateful priesthood has been extended to all races. Brigham Young got it wrong. But I don’t think God is going to eternally punish blacks who didn’t have the priesthood, or punish people who believed their prophet.
Finally, you talk about the Holy Ghost. I agree it’s essential. But let’s be honest – people have a heck of time knowing when they are getting guidance from the Holy Ghost. People claim the Holy Ghost told them to believe Denver Snuffer. People claim the Holy Ghost told them Denver Snuffer is satan incarnate. People claim the Holy Ghost told them to become Catholic. People claim the Holy Ghost told them to take on multiple wives, etc.
Throwing Down The Gauntlet, well said. I am in full agreement with the points you make.
Regarding the reasons for Larsen's excommunication; a simple reading of his blog illustrates that he is not only unrepentant, but is rather arrogant and defiant. He appears to be rather self-serving too.
If his SP were to tell the story would any of us be able to recognize Larsen's version from the SP's description?
I suggest we wouldn't.
But of course we know the SP won't do that, and Larsen knows that too. In fact, he is counting on it.
Don't be deceived by these wolves in sheep's clothing.
Am I the only person here who believes Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God but that there are some problems in the church and false teachings being spread around? I don't believe a prophet always speaks as a prophet when he opens his mouth, but only when filled with the Holy Ghost. I thought this was clearly taught in the church and so I thought teachings like not having tattoos was the Word of God, spoken by a prophet. I thought that if it was opinion it wouldn't get taught by the GAs that it was doctrine and must be followed.
Following the prophet is fine if he's leading you to Christ and thereby you're following Christ (therefore you're only really following Christ and so "follow the prophet" is not a good mantra as it gets misunderstood/twisted etc.). If we use the example of Moses leading Israel. It's clear from the scriptural account that it was God leading Israel and it was like The Lord was in front and Moses next and so they were following Moses who went just behind the Lord. But the Israelites misunderstood this and thought that Moses was leading them and doing things. They thought Moses performed the miracles in Egypt and later in the desert and it was Moses leading them. They also murmured at Moses for leading them into a desert. They missed the point that it was the Lord leading them all along.
I've added an important update at the end of the original post. It links to Adrian Larsen's follow-up piece to this one, and I think you'll find it extremely interesting.
I wonder why you keep harping on Rock about gay marriage when he has never once advocated for it as you seem to believe.
In the only piece I can find where Rock deals with the subject, he clearly does not personally approve of homosexual acts. (Neither do I. In spite of my username, I am not gay.) So why do you keep attacking him as being in favor of gay marriage, when he takes no position one way or the other?
Here is the entirety of what Rock has had to say about same sex attraction on his blog. I think you'll find it perfectly in line with what God has revealed about the subject in these latter days:
You reiterate that you are glad you don't have to rely on Rock Waterman to guide you through issues such as gay marriage. So am I. Thankfully, Rock has not claimed to have received any revelation from the Lord on that topic, and I doubt I would follow him if he did.
But then, Thomas Monson has not received any revelation on the topic, either. You keep insisting President Monson receives revelations, and yet you make the following admission:
"If President Monson never revealed anything else to us, the above teachings on the family would be enough for me."
And yet, even that is not a revelation from God. The Brethren didn't pretend it was. In fact, when Elder Packer referred to the Proclamation on the Family as a "revelation" in a conference talk he gave, his words were later corrected in the official record, because everyone in the Church hierarchy knows it was not a revelation, and was never presented as a revelation.
Again, the men who signed that declaration did not intend it to be read as a revelation, but as a position paper regarding the Church's official stand on the sanctity of the family. It is a position most of us would agree with, but let's not call something a revelation from God when it clearly is something else.
Do you consider the Articles of Faith to be a revelation? They were written (most likely by Sidney Rigdon) in response to a request by John Wentworth, a Newspaper editor, who wished to be provided a list of the Mormon's basic beliefs. Most of us are in agreement with the beliefs provided to Mr Wentworth, but that list did not come to us from the mouth of God any more than the Proclamation on the family did.
But here's the point: even if the Proclamation had been a revelation, as you seem to believe, you had to reach back 20 years for that example, and then you state that EVEN IF Monson had never revealed anything else, that would have been enough for you.
And yet you keep insisting he gets revelations all the time.
So where are they? That's all we want to know. If you have such a firm testimony of these revelations, which particular revelations that President Monson has been receiving are you testifying of? Can you provide the rest of us with a short list? There does not have to be a lot of revelations. But if you are willing to testify of the truth of something, you should be able to point to what you are testifying of.
I'll make it easy. Please provide just one example of any of these revelations you have been testifying of that has been received by any president of the Church in the past 20 years. If you have a testimony of something, you should be able to tell us what it is.
To Throwing Down,
The overall theme of your response is that "They can't lead us astray, but even when they can, it doesn't matter." I’ll try to be as concise as I can in responding:
1. Changing Ordinances.
God alone has that right and power. He does not give that power to men. Jesus "did away" with ordinances, which were under a lesser law anyway, but notice he did not "change" them. Not one whit. If God were to change the ordinances, it would require a fresh revelation on the subject, and in every instance I know about it was essentially a "doing away with" the old ordinances and establishing a new one (Law of Moses -> Sacrament, if you like. Not a perfect analogy, but fairly reasonable). Church leaders have never ever claimed that changes to ordinances in my life time were given by revelation, only that they hold "keys" and are therefore "authorized" to make such changes. I reject that idea, in favor of Joseph’s precept cited before.
2. Why is Nephi better?
1) Actually talked with God, and testified of such in a clear and unambiguous manner. Provided 1st person quotations from the Lord.
2) The law of witnesses is satisfied – Nephi being the 1st, and the Holy Ghost being the 2nd.
3. Red herring – this hasn’t affected YOU. And why do we think Mormon had any more insight than current church leaders?
You're free to disagree with me. This is affecting many - RIGHT NOW, TODAY (since one of your later objections is "old teachings" this one is all the more relevant). I think Mormon had similar status as Nephi, in that he spoke in plainness that he received a message from God and provided 1st person words that the Lord spoke. I further think that Mormon "saw our day" and was attempting to warn us -- or in other words, I believe Mormon actually was a prophet, a seer, and a revelator. I don't believe it just because he said it (for example, there are plenty of FLDS leaders who have used phrases like "thus saith the Lord") but because the Holy Ghost acts as a 2nd confirming witness. On both counts, I simply disagree and disbelieve the "2nd Fundamental of Following the Prophet" which is that the living prophet is more vital than the standard works. That is false.
4. Finances – Red herring.
I disagree, but for the sake of this discussion will concede the point. Finances are a topic for another day.
For purposes of this discussion, I'll concede some standard of worthiness. Who you associate with shouldn't be on the list; neither should sustaining your leaders. Common consent is an election, and it loses all meaning if you have to vote in the "acceptable" way as a condition of worthiness. Standards of "do you believe___" and the actual worthiness ones like chastity or honesty are fine with me. But requiring what amounts to an oath of allegiance to the leaders as a condition is nonsense. People used to cast dissenting votes all the time back in the old days.
6. FTP – Red Herring.
I disagree. The fact that they are pointing to themselves and teaching false, vain, and foolish doctrines "in the name of Jesus Christ" is extremely relevant. You seem to draw an equivalency that goes something like "Follow the Prophet = Follow Christ = Not Led Astray." Many have their hearts broken and lose faith entirely when the house of cards built by trumped up faith in the leaders comes crashing down. Does that not matter to you? Are those people irrelevant? Perhaps humbly declaring the Doctrine of Christ could have prevented some of these people from losing faith and abandoning the restoration altogether.
I don't believe the old Marion G Romney/J Reuben Clark/Heber J Grant precept that "if the President of the church asks you to do something that you know is wrong, and you do it anyway, the Lord will bless you for it." I do not, can not, and will not believe that the Lord will spare judgments for neglecting His guidance on what is right and wrong in favor of obeying someone else. I can't outsource the blame for my actions. How would it be on Judgment Day if I could look up and say "but I was only doing what ____ told me to do" and if the right name was filled in the blank, all my deplorable actions in his name would be absolved? Indeed yield blessings instead of cursings? That would make God, by definition, a respector of persons, which He is not.
I apologize for not being clear in my original post. What I meant by "widespread practice of polygamy" was that such should never have been the case at all. Since you seem to agree that monogamy is the better course, I'll not belabor the point.
Old issues aren't irrelevant. Historic examples illustrate that a prophet can in fact lead the church astray, which you seem to admit that Brigham Young did. If BY could do it, why not GBH or TSM? I agree with you that blacks who were denied Priesthood through no fault of their own suffer no loss, and I agree with you that there are many who will have mercy extended to them by a patient and loving Father in Heaven for their participation in perpetuating the ban; but I don't think it was harmless. I think those involved in perpetuating the ban (I leave it to you to decide whether or to what extent members share in the responsibility with the leaders) will be held to account for their stewardship. I leave it to the Lord to judge, forgive, or condemn as He sees fit.
Finally, you talk about the Holy Ghost. I agree it’s essential. But let’s be honest – people have a heck of time knowing when they are getting guidance from the Holy Ghost.
I agree people have a heck of a time identifying the Holy Ghost's influence vs others. It's a challenge. False spirits come among us to deceive. So you're suggesting we need a mortal, arm of the flesh that can arbitrate truth from error for us? Or that the Holy Ghost is so unreliable or difficult to discern as to be irrelevant? I'm willing to accept that God has guidance for me, and for you. I have no desire to control or compel your actions, nor anyone else's. I'm also willing to be accountable to God for how I receive and follow His guidance through the Holy Ghost. Disagreements don't need to be centrally managed. If we start from where we agree (Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, etc.) and hear one another out (as we both have done here) then let each pray and gain Heaven's guidance for himself. There are many who take paths different from mine; I don't feel any need to tell them they're not inspired because their promptings are different from mine. I rather think they are inspired, or at least will give them the benefit of the doubt, and that the direction relevant to their life is perhaps different from mine at this precise moment. I only ever take issue with someone else's inspiration when it requires me to obey them. That's highly suspect. Otherwise, not an issue for me. If you feel the Holy Ghost has told you that you should be a good traditional Mormon, then great! You SHOULD be exactly that. I honor you for your faithfulness and fidelity to God. If we disagree on some issues, that's ok with me; we can still be brothers. Eventually God will make known my errors to me, and your errors to you, and if we both accept His guidance, correction, and tutelage, we'll arrive at the same place, and in complete agreement.
That’s about all I have to say on the subject, so thanks for the discussion; I hope we understand one another better. God bless you and yours.
Xeng Lo -
How can I write in boldface to emphasize my arguments? Seriously - cool trick.
We could go round and round on this. Do prophets err? Yes. Should we follow Christ? Yes.
Are the current LDS leaders leading us away from Christ? You say "Yes." I say "No." But in any case, it's a moot point because everybody agrees we should follow Christ.
Neither you nor anyone else has adequately dealt with the following challenge: When you say you "don't trust in men," why do you place so much confidence in prior men (Nephi, Mormon, etc.), and so little confidence in current men (LDS leaders)? If men err, then surely that undermines any confidence you can have in what Nephi or Mormon said. You've really dug yourself into a hole.
Saying that "Nephi saw Christ" doesn't get you out, because plenty of people claim that and have been deceived. Dozens and dozens of Catholics claim to have seen Christ as well as their Saint Maria. Does this make it so? Other churches have said the same thing. Leaders of cults have said the same thing. Denver says the same thing. Leaders like Boyd K Packer have strongly implied they have, and there's no definitive evidence saying that Monson or others have NOT.
Bottom Line: Unfortunately, someone saying they've been directed by Christ is not uncommon, and not something you can easily hang your hat on. Too many people over the years have claimed to be directly led by Christ to make that all that convincing.
2nd Bottom Line: Even more unfortunate, people routinely ascribe things to the Holy Ghost that are not from Him. Otherwise, how do you explain all the contradictions that exist? On the Denver Snuffer issue alone, you can line up a dozen people on each side who will claim that the Holy Ghost told them that Denver IS/IS NOT a prophet.
What are we to do? Do your best to follow Christ. And if that doesn't work, I'm sure Rock and Denver will be glad to tell you how to live your life.
This was in the Meridian North Stake, the same guys who made the Happy video last summer. It's sad because these are good people (and so are the Larsens): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RbH4DoMWhI&feature=youtu.be
Hi Xeng Lo:
I re-read your posts. I think we agree on more than we disagree.
(1) You can't go wrong by following Christ.
(2) If someone asks you to do something that goes against things in the scriptures that Christ would have you do, smile and give them a fake cell phone number.
(3) I am incredibly annoyed by all the "Follow the Prophet" stuff - and would much prefer it to be "Follow Christ" - but I see it as fairly harmless, because our current crop of leaders give benign counsel like "Be Nice" "Be Friendly," "Do your home teaching" etc. If any of them asked me to do something crazy, I'd just ignore it. Hell, I ignore most of their good counsel as it is - why shouldn't I ignore the crazy stuff?
Thanks for your thoughtfulness. And seriously, please tell me how to write my comments in bold font.
I'm not sure how to explain how to type in boldface-- it's the "B" HTML tag explained in the text immediately below the comment box. Not trying to emphasize mine more than yours; just trying to show where I'm responding vs what you said (then I ran up against the character limit... sigh). I would have used different colors if I could, but couldn't figure out how to do that (or if it's even possible).
I didn't simply say "Nephi saw Christ and is therefore reliable." Nephi's claims are backed by the Holy Ghost. As for your claims about Elder Packer and President Monson, I don't need evidence that they have NOT seen Christ. Not having seen Christ is the default position of mankind, therefore in order to conclude to the contrary there would have to be evidence in favor of a change of status, perhaps by them giving testimony to that effect (as Elders DB Haight, OF Whitney, MJ Ballard, GQ Cannon, and perhaps a few others did). But their testimony is only 1 witness; the required 2nd witness of the Holy Ghost is what makes it valid to me. You're quite correct that anyone can say anything they like. But other than that, I don't think I can give you an answer that will satisfy you regarding why I consider Nephi, Mormon, Mornoi, and Joseph Smith more reliable than Thomas, Deiter, Boyd, and the others. I accept the Book of Mormon as scripture. Period. It has brought me nearer to God. The Holy Ghost confirms what is written on its pages.
Not sure how Rock, Denver, or anyone else got roped into this, and I frankly find the suggestion that I take direction from them or anyone else on "how to live my life" offensive. I neither mentioned them, nor offered an opinion on their status, reliability, ideas, writings, or anything whatever. I thought my comment was abundantly clear that I think the best course is to seek guidance directly from the only source that truly cannot lead you astray. You seem to want to make the discussion a disagreement about which person we should follow (Thomas v Denver, Rock v Boyd, Daymon v Dieter, etc.). That's not what I said; but just to be clear: Follow Jesus Christ. Him alone, and without intermediary. To the extent someone teaches truth (wherever situated - be they a member of the 12 or a catholic priest) accept that and act on it.
Your new post appeared after I wrote my last one. On points 1 and 2 in your 10:53am comment, we have 100% complete agreement.
On point 3, we mostly agree. Their counsel is typically good - don't get tattoos or wear a bunch of earrings, always be kind and neighborly, etc. No issue with that. The issue I have is the nonsensical distractions they're propounding (see Meet the Mormons, spend your time indexing, etc.) For example, on LDS.org you can find a statement that gets used to suggest that there's no better spiritual protection than family history. It includes the phrase "I can think of no better protection..." or something like that (sorry, too lazy to go source it; disregard this if I'm mistaken). That's a failure of imagination - prayer is better. Scripture study is better. Fasting is better. I can think of a lot of activities that will provide better spiritual protection.
But yes, there is MUCH we can agree on :).
Xeng Lo -
Whoa! Where did you get info about David B. Haight and the others seeing Christ? That's huge to me. I met Elder Haight several times and thought the world of him. I had no idea that he claimed to have seen Christ. I'd love to read more about it if you can direct me...
Incidentally, I would think this would present a minor problem to Denver's thesis (as I understand it, at least) that JS was the last LDS leader to have seen Christ. Maybe I'm misunderstanding Denver somewhere...
I likewise think very highly of Elder Haight. His vision was described in a conference talk in 1989:
DS never said that JS was the last leader to see Christ; he even acknowledges Elder Haight and others' experiences in is writings. (see for example http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/03/president-packers-testimony.html) but I can totally see how a reasonable person could make that conclusion.
Thanks for the link to your essay. I'm a bit premature in responding to it, as I have not yet read it completely (I hope to get to it by tommorow; for now I'm intent on catching up with the comments here on my blog).
Anyway, based solely on the abstract of the piece, which posits that many who leave the Church seek reasons to rationalize their leaving, I think I will be agreeing with you. But that thesis doesn't fit the current situation with Adrian and Tausha Larsen, who did not voluntarily leave the Church, nor did they have any plans to. What's more, they embrace the fundamentals of the religion, same as I do, and have not sought to "expose" the early history or doctrines, as many who CHOSE to leave often attempt to do.
What is most disconcerting to me was that Adrian tells how his stake president on three occasions practically BEGGED him to resign from the Church voluntarily, even going so far as to suggest a different church he and his wife might join. (This is related in his latest blog entry, the link to which I have posted as an update at the end of the OP.)
Anyway, like I said, I'll read your piece as soon as I can, and probably contact you to discuss it personally.
As an aside, I wish my readers to know that Brian Hales and I are friends, and that although we have a few areas of disagreement, I have the utmost respect and admiration for him and his scholarship. Every chance I get, I urge people to purchase and read his three volume work "Joseph Smith's Polygamy." Even though I have not come to all of the same conclusions Brian has regarding Joseph Smith's personal attitude toward plural marriage, Those volumes are a preeminent reference for anyone desiring a complete understanding of the controversy. If you hope to be fully apprised, you must be familiar with Brian's work as well as the works of Richard and Pamela Price. Even though Brian differs with me as to Joseph Smith's participation, Brian has fully explored the rumors, hearsay, and falsehoods that other historians merely accepted at face value.
Also worth noting here is that the hard copy of "Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Volume II" has finally been published. I recommend that readers interested in being fully informed on this controversy get ahold of the works of both the Prices and of Brian Hales.
"The reference to Benson's rebuke. This is just hearsay. There is no record of such a rebuke, no statement regarding the matter, and no eye-witness to the alleged event. It is therefore irrelevant to this issue at hand in my view."
This is not correct. If you had read one of Rock's previous articles "Preaching False Doctrine From The General Conference Pulpit" you would see that this "hearsay" came from a book entitled "Lengthen Your Stride - The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball". The author is Edward L. Kimball, President Kimball's son. For your statement to be true, you would believe that Edward was lying or grossly misunderstood what his father shared with him, or that President Kimball was lying when he shared the story of the rebuke with his son. I believe the likelihood of either of these scenarios being true is very slim.
You also say...
"Regarding the reasons for Larsen's excommunication; a simple reading of his blog illustrates that he is not only unrepentant, but is rather arrogant and defiant."
Why would Larsen be repentant if he believes he is standing up for his principles? I know you disagree with Larsen but your words betray your attitude which is the same as those who carried out the Spanish Inquisition, or Abinadi in Noah's court. Noah and his priests probably thought the same about Abinadi as you think about Larsen, that he "is not only unrepentant, but is rather arrogant and defiant."
The remainder of your comments are based upon speculation and infer that the SP is going to tell the true story and Larsen is lying. The fact is we do not know. Just because someone is a SP or Bishop that they are above reproach. I have sat in many meetings with and have had business dealings with some (not all or most) of these leaders. I have been shocked by the dishonesty, gossiping etc....
Finally the "wolves in sheep's clothing" comment. Would you please give us a list of those you would put in this category. Would you include Rock Waterman?
You asked about the meaning of 1 Corinthians 11:1 where the apostle Paul encourages the church to "be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ."
It's easy to see why that might be confusing, as we too often apply 21st first century LDS connotations to words improperly translated in 1611. This is one of the many instances where the KJV translators came close to the proper meaning of the word, but fell short of capturing the true meaning.
If you take a look at Strong's concordance, you'll see that "follow" in that instance (Number 3402) was improperly translated from the Greek word "Mimetes", which means "to imitate."
Okay, so to "imitate" someone is pretty much the same as "following" him, right?
Well, not quite, because to follow someone often means to do so out of admiration, and especially as we are currently encouraged to do in the Church today in regards to our leaders, we are encouraged to obey them.
Certainly Paul wasn't demanding the church at Corinth should look to him admiringly, nor even to obey him. In fact, as BK alludes to above, there are times when Paul teaches his own opinions, and not things revealed to him by God, such as that women should keep silent in the churches, or other times when he weighs in on women's hairstyles.
Another way we often misunderstand scripture is by not reading what came before. After all, Paul did not make that statement as the first thought in in a new chapter, as we have it today. Rather, it was a continuation of his thoughts expressed previously, which included fleeing from idolatry.
Were he to really be suggesting the people "follow" him the same way in which they were expected to follow Christ, that would have made them idolators, much in the way we see latter-day Saints making idols of the leaders of the Church by following them blindly.
Prior to the beginning of chapter 11, what is Paul encouraging the Saints to do? "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God," is what he tells them.
Which fits right in line with his subsequent suggestion that they "imitate" him AS (or in the same way)he is attempting to "imitate" Christ.
One dictionary definition of "imitate" puts it this way: "To mimic: TRY AND GET AS CLOSE TO THE REAL THING AS POSSIBLE." (emphasis mine.)
The real thing, of course, is Christ Jesus, as Paul repeatedly taught. Surely Paul never thought he was the real thing. He was merely trying to imitate the real thing, to get as close to the real thing (Christ) as he possibly could, and he hoped others would try to do likewise. That is the lesson we take from 1 Corinthians 11. "Look," says Paul, "I'm doing everything I can to imitate Christ. You might think about doing that yourselves."
Paul never taught anyone in the church at Corinth or elsewhere that he was incapable of leading them astray. Nor did he insist they obey him. Had he done so, he would have contradicted Peter and the other apostles who declared, "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)
Sorry, I have a correction to make. I said...
"some (not all or most) of these leaders."
It should read...
some (not all or most) of these types or levels of leaders.
About the Larsen excommunication; this is clearly a case of priestcraft, for which the members of this court will be individually accountable. I wish them happy days.
We know the terrible warning in D&C 121: "We have learned by sad experience...etc... they will begin to excercise unrighteous dominion" , ..."Amen to the priesthood..."
Joseph Smith is reported to have said: "You will live to see men arise in power in the Church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the wordly learning which they seem to be in possion of, and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty" (from the Mosiah Hancock Autobiography, BYU Special Collections).
Anyway, The Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles were excommunicated also, so the Larsens are in good company.
Every Nephi needs a Laman and Lemeul. Maybe Nephi and Lehi weren't perfect. God wanted Laman and Lemuel to step on the boat. Maybe the scriptures are full of examples of what not to do on both sides. Just look at Lehi, "If you guys could only be like your brother speeches. I would never say that kind of thing to my kids. There are only a few times in the scriptures that they were free of ites. We are so interested in making things so black and white. This person is good ,this person is bad. The brethren of the church want so much to wear the white hats and put black hats on the Rockites, Snuffites ,and Dehlinites to the extent that are starting to look like idiots because they are such nice guys. Our goal should be free of ites. The brethren have a lot to learn from all the ites. Life is a stage and we all have our roles to play until we can figure out how to be free of ites and just love one another. Enoch did it we can too.
Throwing Down The Gauntlet,
You asked in your original comment above, "Where has President Monson (or the Apostles) taught things contrary to the Lord and actually led people astray?"
Notwithstanding the amazing job Xeng Lo did of responding to that query within the discussion that took place between you two above, THAT has never really been my beef with the Brethren.
Sure, there has been quite a bit of harm done to the church as the result of both statements and policy changes within the church. But if you are familiar with many of my posts here, what I am lamenting is not some imagined glut of FALSE prophecies emanating from these men. What bothers me is that I have witnessed virtually NO prophecies or revelations coming out of Salt Lake City within my entire lifetime.
I believe in continuing revelation. That is what I expect to see in a church that claims such gifts. But where are they? Where ARE these revelations we are told are constantly flowing through the pipeline?
They are absent. We can't point to a one.
And that tells me we as a people deserve to put away our pride and become humble and repentant so that the Lord will again deign to speak to us through His servants. That he is not doing so now seems to me so self evident that it baffles me when someone testifies to how wonderful it is that we have a prophet on the earth today, yet is unable to point to even ONE evidence that he has the gift that title would imply.
We need to repent of this delusion, and ask forgiveness for our pride and arrogance in believing there is something special about us when the entire world can see our claims are hollow.
Throwing Down The Gauntlet,
You rightly state that if the president of the Church were to issue a decree that you felt was wrong, you would not hesitate to ignore him. So, you ask, what's the harm?
The harm is that a great many members of the Church do not have your ability to discern. They have been taught blind obedience to the Brethren, that when the leaders speak, it is as if God himself has declared it so.
Gaybob Spongebath made reference to a piece I wrote, "Why I Don't Care If You're Gay" in it is clear to me that many people in this church were harmed financially when the Brethren issued a call for them to assist financially in the battle to defeat Proposition 8 here in California.
Now, I have no problems with people becoming politically involved in any cause, and I encourage anyone who wishes to donate to any political campaign to do so. I think that's a good thing.
I don't even have a problem with leaders of a church -any church- putting out a call for members to rally round a specific cause.
The problem comes when you have members of a Church raised to believe that the will of its leaders is the very will of God Himself. Then the people tend to believe they are involved in a holy crusade, and they further believe God Himself wants them to give their all for the cause, and if they do, the cause will not fail.
Well, untold thousands of members rallied round the Brethren in their call to arms, and guess what? It worked! They won the cause. Proposition 8 passed. We won!
But not in the long run. So how do you think a lot of these members felt when proposition 8 was overturned? Didn't they fight the good fight? Then how could God have let them give them all in a cause that HE must have known was ultimately doomed to fail?
Here is an excerpt from the piece I wrote about the fervor over California's Proposition 8:
"Back when the LDS Church was actively encouraging its members to support California's Proposition 8 -the proposal to define marriage as between one man and one woman- I opened up my Sunday paper, the Sacramento Bee, and saw a prominent feature story about an LDS family that lived about 11 miles from me over in Folsom. What I read made my heart sink.
"The story told of the Patterson family's response to the call from their church to donate money to help pass prop 8, and how they had obediently turned over their entire life savings of $50,000 to the cause.
"The Patterson family was not particularly well-off. They had a modest home and drove a 10 year old Honda. But by living frugally, they had managed to save enough money for their children's future missions and college educations. Now they heard the call from their Church to contribute regarding what they obviously thought was a call from the Lord, and just like that, all their money was gone. Evaporated into nothing for a cause that anyone with a modicum of foresight could see would never succeed.
"I sat there reading that article knowing that no amount of money would ever make a difference because ultimately the question of gay marriage is the same as traditional marriage. Marriage has nothing to do with obtaining permission from the government, from a church, or from anywhere else. It is about the right to contract, and no government has the right to impair a contract willingly entered into by any two competent adults. Proposition 8 could very well pass (and it did), but the rights of any two people to contract to cohabit would not be affected by its passage.
"The Pattersons weren't thinking about this, of course. They had confused the opinions of some at Church headquarters with the immutable will of God, and firmly believed their life savings was going to have something to do with building up the kingdom and putting evil underfoot. Because the Church had asked this sacrifice of them, God was surely behind it. Their money would contribute to a victory for the powers of Heaven.
"What the Pattersons failed to realize was that God had issued no revelation to the president of the Church instructing him on support for proposition 8 or predicting a political victory. There had been no revelation given to anyone commanding him to mobilize the Saints. This project was initiated by mere mortal men, the same men who set out without any instructions from God to use Church money to construct a multi-billion dollar shopping center in the heart of Salt Lake City during a time when most potential customers were experiencing financial hardship.
"I wonder when the Saints will start asking the pertinent questions that should be asked of the Brethren every time something like this is proposed: "Where is the accompanying revelation? When did God authorize you to take this action or require this sacrifice from us?"
"How will the Pattersons survive without that nest egg they so carefully accumulated if Brother Patterson loses his job? What means will they use now to finance their children's missions? They, along with countless other faithful members, were goaded into throwing away their inheritance by men who had received no instructions from God asking them to do so."
Throwing Down, I have no idea how the Pattersons feel about recent events. But I have to think they wonder why God would have let this effort fail after they had sacrificed everything they had under the assumption their sacrifice would make a difference because it must have been God's will.
You say that if the Brethren issued a command you didn't feel was legitimate, you would ignore it. Good for you. But not everyone in this church thinks as clearly as you do.
And that's where the harm comes in.
Thanks very much for that link! And my hat is off to you for the massive effort that went in to creating that transcript. Well done!
For those who missed it above, here again is that link:
What the Pattersons failed to realize was that God had issued no revelation to the president of the Church instructing him on support for proposition 8 or predicting a political victory. There had been no revelation given to anyone commanding him to mobilize the Saints. This project was initiated by mere mortal men, the same men who set out without any instructions from God to use Church money to construct a multi-billion dollar shopping center in the heart of Salt Lake City during a time when most potential customers were experiencing financial hardship.
How do you know this?
Robin Hood writes:
"the article appears to suggest Rock is "in the know". But Rock knows as much as we do - which is only slightly more than zilch."
Well, I didn't pull all that insight out of my hat, Robin. I know what I know about the proceedings through personal correspondence with Adrian Larsen, and I have spoken by phone with both Adrian and Tausha.
Weird and wacky things do occur at the hands of local leaders. Many of them are overzealous and apply their personal prejudices against members of their flock.
Just last week I reconnected with a woman whom I had baptized while on my mission in Iowa. At the time she was in her early twenties. I had lost track of her for almost forty years, and we had a lovely chat on the phone. She told me she had been active in the church for many years, until her Branch President excommunicated her for going through with a marriage to a man who was divorced.
This sounded incredible to me. As you know, there is no Church policy against marrying a divorced person. So I grilled her on the details to make sure there had not been some other reason she had neglected to tell me of.
But no, it was because the man was a divorcee, nothing more. I can believe it, because I knew Branch Presidents out there in the rural Midwest, and many of them often allowed their personal prejudices to rule their ecclesiastical duties. My friend wasn't knowledgeable enough to either defend herself, or to realize she could have at least tried to appeal the decision. And so she drifted away from the church because she was unjustly driven out. Up until we had our chat, she still believed that it was against Church policy to be married to someone who had been previously divorced. The tragedy is she has had nearly forty years to spread that false rumor to others. So much for helping the image of the Church, huh?
Bad things happen to good people. As much as you don't approve of what you see as the tone of Adrian's piece, did you miss the fact that nothing he wrote in his blog was doctrinally incorrect? And therefore the entire proceeding was a miscarriage of justice?
You know better than most that there is a public definition of apostasy given on LDS.org, but an entirely different -and bogus definition- provided to local leaders, which enables them to kick anyone out of the Church for any reason, or no reason whatsoever.
Here again is everything you need to know about the action taken against the Larsens, in the follow-up piece to the post I published:
I am sorry for your friend. But it's time for a showdown, especially since you're always talking about how church policy trumps scriptural doctrine.
In the Book of Mormon, Christ says the following (3 Nephi 12:31-32; see also Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9): “31 It hath been written, that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. 32 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery.”
An earnest question: Where in the scriptures were these commandments ever repealed? Did the Body of Saints ever vote to sustain such a change, meaning that the doctrine was never repealed properly?
Incidentally, in response to the argument that Christ was directing his teaching on adultery only to men rather than women, note that almost all the scriptures are addressed to men, rather than women, yet generally apply equally to both sexes. Otherwise, women are left with virtually no scriptural guidance on how to live their lives. In addition, commentators on the Bible have noted that in Jewish law, women did not have the ability to divorce their husbands, and since Matthew was directing his Gospel predominantly to the Jews, he only addressed the circumstance applicable to them.
Mark, on the other hand, addressed his Gospel predominantly to the Gentiles, where in matters of divorce women enjoyed equal rights to their husbands. Mark shows that Christ’s teaching apply to both the husband and the wife (Mark 10:11-12): "11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." Luke then teaches that marrying a divorced person is an act of adultery: “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).
What is a person supposed to do? Remain single, apparently. “11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband…” (1 Cor. 7:10-11)
The bottom line is that, as recorded in the New Testament and echoed in the Book of Mormon, divorce and remarriage are not permitted, as marriage is a divine institution. As Jesus states, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6).
Have these teachings been repealed? When? Rock, I thought we were supposed to follow scripture - not Church policy!
I'm not arguing the rightness or wrongness of scripture; frankly I don't know the answer to this particular dilemma, and not having been divorced I haven't been motivated to spend much time either thinking about it or researching it (other than what I've seen from BK's posts here).
What I am pointing out here is the sheer arbitrariness of it all, and the fact that some local leaders will latch onto a perceived "sin" as Adrian's stake president did over his "failure to obey his priesthood leaders")and enforce the maximum punishment.
Divorced members of this church marry each other all the time. Church policy seems to allow for it. Some are even granted temple divorces to do so. Why then enforce the prohibition in this one woman's case, while all others are ignored? That's what I want to know.
Very eloquent. Thank you for taking the time to address it.
Are you asking me how I know God had issued no revelation to the president of the Church instructing him to have the members support proposition 8?
I know because the prophet never conveyed any such revelation to the members. Prophets do not have the privilege of getting messages from God and then keeping those messages to themselves. A prophet's role is to serve as the mouthpiece of the Lord. When he gets a message from God, he is commanded to deliver the message. That's what a prophet does.
That's how it was done in ancient times, and in these latter days Joseph Smith set the precedent for what a revelation is intended to look like.
I know because the prophet never conveyed any such revelation to the members. Prophets do not have the privilege of getting messages from God and then keeping those messages to themselves. A prophet's role is to serve as the mouthpiece of the Lord. When he gets a message from God, he is commanded to deliver the message. That's what a prophet does.
Just because the President doesn't declare "thus saith the Lord" doesn't mean nobody received revelation directing him to mobilize the Saints. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. A just judge can come to no conclusion in the absence of evidence.
I agree what happened to your friend was unfair, not in keeping with church policy, not something that should have happened.
For all their faults, handbooks are supposed to reign in arbitrary actions like this.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Log, what the heck is that supposed to mean when it comes to the role of a prophet?
Suppose that Joseph Smith had never published the revelations he received from God. Would his claims of having received instruction from God have any real merit if he had kept them to himself? Why would anyone have reason to heed his words if those words were never publicly conveyed to the people for whom they were intended? What would the people have to ponder and take to the Lord in prayer to receive a witness of the Holy Ghost?
If the current president of the Church received instruction from God to mobilize the members to defeat Prop 8, yet failed to so much as tell the members that these were God's instructions to them, then what exactly is the role of a prophet?
Is not the ONLY role of a prophet to be God's messenger? Or is his role to be the chief administrator of the Church? Joseph Smith certainly didn't see it as his job to be the administrator or figurehead. He was the guy who delivered the messages, and delivered them in God's name.
And when he did, he made certain the people understood these were the Lord's words, not his.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" may make a clever retort in certain instances, but not when we're talking about the revealed word of God. If there is no record of God revealing his will among a people who boast of continuous revelation as the ONE THING that distinguishes us from all other churches, that certainly IS evidence of absence.
Or, to use another meaningless and overused cliche, "Perhaps we should just agree to disagree."
I am sorry you feel that way. I understand that being a just judge is a lot of hard work and that it is very appealing to make the unwarranted leap from "lack of evidence" to "evidence of lack." It surely saves the time and effort to gain revelation on the issue. Unfortunately, making that leap renders us unjust judges.
We can certainly agree to disagree. I believe being just is highly important - so important, in fact, that it is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the exalted, according to D&C 76.
In its essence, being a just judge is withholding judgement until God tells you directly what the truth is.
An unjust judge would condemn Nephi, who, to all outward appearances, was a murderer, a liar, and a thief.
An unjust judge would condemn Abraham, who, to all outward appearances, was a schizophrenic attemtped child-killer.
To be less than a just judge is to be an accuser.
I'm not trying to condemn anyone, but I am simply trying to point minds upwards. How would you like to be judged? Judge others exactly that way. If you have had your motivations misunderstood, and if you would like someone to give you the benefit of the doubt, then do likewise to everyone else.
So your position is the default position? Just assume that all Church programs come from the mouth of God, revealed to the prophet in secret because we haven't been told otherwise?
We have seen from Rock's comment above that making unwarranted assumptions like that can do some people real harm and cost them everything they have.
There is such a thing as righteous judgment. You weigh the evidence (or lack of evidence) as to whether a person who claims to be a prophet seer and revelator, then you righteously determine whether there is any evidence those gifts are manifest.
I don't think God expects anything less. He does not command blind obedience to authority; he warns against it.
"Every chance I get, I urge people to purchase and read his three volume work "Joseph Smith's Polygamy."
Well , you'd better put your money where your mouth is then, Rock and update your "Why I'm abandoning polygamy" post.
That's the beauty of a blog, right? The post mentions Brian's work zero times.
To answer some of you here: What I suspect is as soon as the brethren bring forth new revelation, all of ya'll will condemn it as False or of the devil.....
Just as Paul of old was preoccupied trying to correct misguided "members" and giving instruction of the true teachings of Christ Jesus to the many churches (wards), I believe the Brethren too are doing their best through the spirit of prophecy and authority today. We can postulate the errors of previous leaders and pray for more enlightenment regarding the current, but if we are to condemn the Church as false and "teach" these falsehoods through blogging I believe even Paul would have to ask you to leave.
Already prevalent on this blog and others are many saints who don't follow (imitate) the Prophet, but are professing that their is no need of Priesthood (authority), Baptism can be performed by any person (as long as they believe) and the teaching (revelations) given by Joseph are of no consequence (truth) therefore "like sheep have [you all] gone astray" Isaiah 53:6
Since Jesus is not physically here among us (but soon to be) he has appointed those whom he calls disciple's to "sit upon twelve thrones" Matthew 19:28 persuading us to continue in the grace of God. Acts 16:17
Check yourselves.... and ask do I want to add my testimony with the brethern 1 Thessalonians 1:6 or do I want to follow my own lust 2 Timothy 4:3
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of 2 Peter 2:2
I admire your zeal. I think that I will trust in the Holy Ghost, who has never lead me astray.
He that has the spirit is not under the law.
He that has the spirit can be judged of no man, but judgeth in all things.
If you truly feel safe and sound in the mainstream of the church then wonderful. If you are built upon the rock of Christ and Him alone, independent of any other human being, then you are fine.
I will check myself, of you will do the same. If there were no prophets and apostles, and you were alone as john the revelator or moroni, would you know all of your beliefs to be true, even to the laying down of your life for them? Or do you rest some of your testimony on the words and faith of others, including those you call prophets, seers, and revelators?
Theoretically, if the 15 men you sustain all abandoned ship and said they were wrong, would you abandon ship with them or would you stand fast in the doctrines and policies currently taught in the LDS church. Such is the surety of testimony that will be required in the coming days, and you must have knowledge from God independent of any other human being. God bless
The default position should be not to judge, or, if one is unable to withhold judgement, to judge others as they themselves would want to be judged, because whatever standard we apply to others shall be applied to us. That is the sum of the Savior's teaching on the subject of judgement.
Rock alleges that the family in question was harmed; I am short on evidence that the family in question would agree.
Moreover, not everyone is equally ignorant about whether God moved upon the leadership of the Church to participate in the Prop. 8 battle. One might even consider the possibility that the family in question knew more than others about the inspiration of the fight. $50k is a large chunk of change to throw down on a whim, or on the mere say-so of another.
Righteous judgement is God's judgement - it is the truth; nothing more and nothing less.
It is unrighteous judgement to leap from outward appearances to inward intent - again, the point of my having brought up Nephi and Abraham.
But none of this matters unless your concern is to be a just judge. If instead your concern is to be potentially highly likely to be right, but not really sure, then apply a different standard. It's not my business which way you go.
I just mention correct principles and allow everyone to apply them, or not, as they will.
Patience, my friend. When I wrote that post about polygamy, I was unaware of Brian's excellent work, but I own those books now. I have yet to finish all three volumes, but sometime in the future, likely once JSFP Volume III has been published and digested, I intend to revisit the entire controversy and write about my impressions of both sides of the issue.
But that may be some time from now. In the meantime I have had several opportunities to recommend both Brian's and the Prices books, which I do whenever I run across folks who want a fuller and more complete view of the controversy.
In fact, it's kind of like what I tell my children about their lackluster toothbrushing.
"I'm not the one you need to impress when you brush your teeth. I'm not the one you're scrubbing off your teeth. The bugs don't care if you only look like you're scrubbing your teeth - they only care if you are actually scrubbing them off."
Nobody needs to impress me, neither does anyone need to justify themselves to me, and nobody need seek to correct me since I hearken to no man.
It is God who sees all who needs to be impressed with our judgements.
I see that you've read a lot on JS and polygamy. It appears that you and Rock both favor that JS didn't participate in it to the extent that BY did.
In your reading have you ever read anything by Watcher about his thoughts on polygamy?
I would love to here your take.
Nevermind Log. That was Rick that posted about the Prices.
Posting on my phone makes it hard for me to distinguish who's posting what.
My bad :(
I definitely agree with you on your last 2 points. We can't trust in any man, not Monson, Nephi, Joseph Smith, Moses, Etc. We can only trust in Christ and the word's he said, not anyone's interpretation of what he said.
And I so agree how everyone ascribes things to the Holy Ghost that didn't come from him. I've realized how much I've done that through my life, I think the church teaches us to assume all good feelings and warm fuzzies or even visions, dreams, revelation or visitations come from God or the Spirit, when most probably don't.
Rock, it appears that the doctrines of the Church are often opposite the apparent policies. The church's doctrine is that divorce and remarriage is adultery, the last President of the Church to declare this was Joseph Fielding Smith in Conference. He said that Matthew 19:9 is absolutely true and told everyone to go read it, though he acknowledged that the Church, meaning some leaders, don't follow it. But there are still a few church leaders who understand Christ's and the Church's law and inforce it, though now they look in yhe wrong because most leaders don't know or understand Christ's laws on remarriage and thus allow it and often even encourage it. I believe the top leaders are very aware of Christ's law and that Pres. JFSMITH reiterated that law and no President since has renounced what Pres.Smith said, though Elder Oaks did give his opinion in conference of Apr. 2007 I think, saying we don't have to keep Christ's Iaw anymore, go figure, as if he has the authority to declare that, for even church doctrine states that only Presidents can change doctrine, but in reality, not even church presidents can trump or change or nullify what Christ Said. His word stands forever. But I believe the church leaders allow divorce and remarriage for any reason under the sun because they care more about keeping people in the church then getting them into heaven. Not many would stay in the church if it's leaders taught and upheld Christ's laws. The Catholic Church still does, on this point, but at their recent yearly conference it was the hot topic, many wanted to start allowing remarriage, for most everyone supports it today, despite that it's destroying society.
I've known some church leaders who have said that by a divorced person putting their name on one if those dating websites is adultery, cause they are still married in God's eyes. Everyone just thinks God changes his laws to whatever men, politicians or earthly courts decide and truth and right are ever changing.
Correction: Pres. JF Smith said, Matt 19:9 is absolutely true 'even if the church (leaders) doesn't usually follow it.
I can post the quote tomorrow when my internet is back up & running. For now I'm on my phone which is slow.
130 comments and just in a few days; this is hot stuff.
One more remark; this subject is not new of course, more people have written the same, of course, starting with the prophet Joseph Smith himself. In the works of Ogden Kraut you can read this. Any investigating mind will have to come across that sooner or later. But anyway, I admire the valiance of the Larsens; they have my sympathy. And it makes very clear once again what is going on this church right now.
I'm sorry my friend but if you genuinely believe your friend from your missionary days was excommunicated simply because she married a divorcee, then you'll believe anything. Frankly Rock, this is ridiculous.
There was obviously something else going on that you don't know about and that your friend hasn't mentioned. You only have her word for it and it was 40 years ago. Common sense should surely alert you to the very real and likely possibility her story or understanding is incorrect. I bet that if the BP gave his version of events (which, of course, he won't) you would get a very different story.
Surely Rock, come on, think about it.
This is what I mean about relying on facts rather than speculations.
It's the same with Larsen. You've spoken with him on the phone. So what? Do you really think he is going to tell you something he hasn't announced to the whole world? Given his arrogant attitude, do you really think he is a reliable and accurate witness?
I don't know whose intelligence is most insulted, yours or mine.
I have heard you are a bishop. If this is so, why do you encourage the perversion of judgement? I do not understand.
A prayer for judgment. (A Psalm of Asaph.)
1 The Gods stand in the congregation of God; he judgeth among the Gods.
2 How long will ye suffer them to judge unjustly, and countenance the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I have said, Ye are Gods; and all of you are children of the Most High.
7 Surely ye shall die like Adam, and fall like a prince.
8 Arise, Gods, judge the earth; for ye shall inherit all nations.
I don't understand your question.
Thank you for your comments.
The Edward L. Kimball source is hearsay. He was not an eye witness to this event, and according to Adrian Larsen's blog (he has a great deal to say about hearsay) should therefore not be believed.
Can you not see that? There is only one source for this story and it is from someone who wasn't there! Was Edward Kimball lying? I don't know. Did he understand what his father said? I don't know that either. Neither do you my friend. See what I mean, it's speculation - simple as that.
As for your comments regarding my "words" concerning Larsen; just go and read his blog. All of it. I have, and his inspiration is very easy to detect. Of the band of increasingly vociferous keyboard warrior apostates who seem to think they are more intelligent/righteous/special/informed than the rest of us, he is probably the least skilled at disguising his true motivation.
My point about the SP is that there would have been 18 people in that room including Larsen. Yet we only get to hear 1/18th of the potentially available testimony but are expected, by Larsen and Rock, to believe the only one we hear. I simply pointed out that Larsen is counting on that. He can say anything he likes about it and he knows he won't be corrected.
My question is why do you encourage others, specifically Rock in this context, to judge unjustly by impugning the integrity of others, specifically Larsen and Rock's unnamed proselyte, without cause for such impugning?
I do not understand why a bishop, who is a common judge in Israel, would encourage someone to view others as liars without positive evidence of dishonesty.
I trust my question is now clear.
I appreciate Rock’s comments (about 50 comments back :-) interesting thread.
There are a multitude of comments here, but I’d like to respond to a couple of ideas.
“The Church is not the gospel” is true, but the Church leadership control our access to valid ordinances that are required for exaltation. “My house is a house of order” declared Joseph Smith’s God (D&C 132: 8, 18) and that house (as I see it) is the Church, not the gospel. The declaration was made while discussing access to the keys of sealing (vv. 7, 18).
We can sing and pray and worship and testify through the gospel—to our hearts content and beyond—but we will not have the saving ordinances. Joseph taught: “There is no salvation between the two lids of the Bible without a legal administrator” (TPJS 319). Who is that legal administrator?
Another similar question for individuals who declare the Church is in apostasy and that they are the non-errant “remnant” is, “Where is valid priesthood?” Freelance baptisms don’t count (D&C 22:1) and neither to freelance marriage sealings (D&C 132:18). Denver Snuffer says if we are sincere and go through the motions of priesthood ordinances, then God will eventually recognize the effort. That isn’t true.
Through out Church history, individuals who proclaim their ideas to the general membership of the Church become self-appoint general authorities. As self-appointed general teachers or authorities, we can teach whatever we want. But if we disagree with or criticize the sustained General Authorities, they are under obligation to excommunicate us so that Church members won’t be confused. Alma explained: “For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him” (Alma 5:59).
The excommunicants may feel victimized, but they aren’t. When we publicly disagree with the General Authorities, we are choosing to be separated from them regarding Church membership. It isn’t punitive; it is keeping order so members can easily identify the sources of the information they are receiving. The leaders who perform the excommunications are commanded to have “compassion,” but they are warned that they may offend God if they do not proceed (D&C 64:13-14).
Joseph Smith taught: “If ye receive not the spirit, ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14). Does Adrian profess to have that spirit and that his leaders do not? Maybe, but Joseph warned: “Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world” (D&C 50:2).
How can we discern? Joseph gave the answer: “And unto the bishop of the church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God.” (D&C 46:27.) The gifts include “the word of wisdom” and the “word of knowledge” and to “prophesy” (D&C 46:17, 18, 22). According to Joseph’s revelations, the “Bishops” and “elders” who are “ordained to watch over the church” are given the ability to discern as a part of their priesthood callings.
But that doesn’t work here because those who dissent seem certain those leaders are in error. It is a conundrum for some. But it isn’t for me because I believe the Spirit and the true authority are still in the Church.
Thanks for reading,
Thanks for being forthright in stating that as your opinions and beliefs - "as I see it."
Many are not so forthright.
Relating to this, however, I'm not sure you're correct.
Denver Snuffer says if we are sincere and go through the motions of priesthood ordinances, then God will eventually recognize the effort. That isn’t true.
Where did Snuffer say that? If you could provide the citation, I would appreciate it.
You correctly characterize the use to which the modern Church puts excommunication - to excise heretics. Alma did not seem to be speaking of heretics, however, and I don't recall any punitive action against heretics in the Book of Mormon - always against actual crimes and wickedness. I could be wrong, however; maybe you can clarify where you see excommunication explicitly being used to excise them who disagreed with the teachings of leadership but who were not guilty of any actual sin in the Book of Mormon.
Joseph had words to say about that.
I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like methodism and not like Latter-day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be trammelled. It don't prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine.
But I suppose we're well past Joseph by now.
You are assuming thatJoseph Smith, BY and the leaders on up to today are true prophets with real authority from God. Your assuming the idea of temple ordinances and sealings are of God and not man's idea.
Christ taught us to prove all things and persons before believing in them, I see no proof that any of the above are true.
Joseph, nor especially any of the leaders since him, do not pass Christ's test of true disciples, imo, so they could not really be 'called of God' nor should we believe any of their teachings, for so many are completely contrary to the commandments of Christ.
I would suggest studying and living Christ's commandments 1st, before believing any man's doctrine just because it sounds good to you. For those leaders teachings appeal greatly to the natural man, so many believe in them without proving them 1st. And not proving by the Spirit, which is not possible, but by how Christ said to prove.
Sorry I couldn't fit this in
On another point, I don’t understand why Adrian’s wife was excommunicated. This is an ongoing problem with excommunication proceedings (like John Dehlin’s and the attorney Kelly), everything is completely one sided. We only hear the story from those who are disciplined. Entire books have been written about his (see CASE REPORTS OF THE MORMON ALLIANCE), calling it “spiritual abuse,” but the format is flawed because only one voice is heard—the Church leaders never get to tell their story.
It is also true that Sunday attendance among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is probably around 50-60%. Among the attenders are some who are not converted spiritually, but attend for social reasons. Another subgroup are those with temple recommends. Among them are a smaller number who are truly converted, who are faithful and faith-filled, who experience the miracles and the power of valid covenants in their lives, even a fullness of the promised blessings. They are humble, often quiet, not always in leadership positions (although they usually have had such experiences).
I believe this subset of Latter-day Saints is more numerous than all dissidents put together and constitute more than enough righteous adherents to allow God’s work to move forward according to the Lord’s timetable.
Dissenters seem to want to ignore the faithful LDS and instead focus on the less faithful and then imply all members are less faithful. It just isn’t true. There are many who are fulfilling Joseph’s prophesies and have been advancing them throughout their lives and ever since the restoration began.
Actually, that Branch Pres. was following the Church's and Christ's doctrine, that remarriage after divorce is adultery. I know many people who wish more leaders would stand up for right and do the same. Instead most leaders, including those at the top would rather be popular and go with the norms of the day then follow Christ.
The Church admits the truth about this, but it seems they just don't want to follow it and lose numbers & probably more especially, money.
Sorry about not providing the Snuffer quote. Here it is:
"The church’s ordinations and ordinances remain vital to the restored Gospel, and the plan of salvation. Whether or not there is any person in the church with priesthood power, every person who joins the church, and keeps its ordinances will be invited through those ordinances, to come and receive the Lord." (Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., Passing the Heavenly Gift (Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2011), 37.)
I did a little research and Edward L. Kimball's source material for the Benson matter was President Kimball's journal. I guess you could still argue that it is hearsay because neither of us have access to Pres. Kimball's journal.
Technically there probably would be 2 out of the 18/19 because Larsen's wife was probably there unless they had two separate hearings.
You say that ...
"Yet we only get to hear 1/18th of the potentially available testimony but are expected, by Larsen and Rock, to believe the only one we hear. I simply pointed out that Larsen is counting on that."
Do you have direct knowledge that he is "counting on that."? If not you are assuming it to be so. I could argue that the SP and High Council are relying on the situation of confidentiality to cover up what actually happened in the hearing. This would be an assumption on my part also.
The fact is that the Larsen's were excommunicated. Both sides of the issue could use the confidentiality situation to their advantage. If you realistically look at this situation the only people who may believe the Larsen's are family members, close friends, those mistreated by the church and those who "have an axe to grind", which, relatively speaking, are few. Most people who see the situation are going to assume that the Larsen's are "apostates" and that the SP and HC were correct in their decision. Overall the advantage goes to the SP and HC.
In your last comments to Rock you used at least four logical fallacies. You use logical fallacies quite regularly in your comments. In fact you seem to be pretty good at using the seven basic techniques of propaganda. This might lead one to believe that you are a PR person.
Finally, in your comments to Rock you start off by saying... "I'm sorry my friend..." and then proceed to try and humiliate Rock publicly. That sounds a bit too two-faced to me. I don't treat my friends like that. I take them aside and talk to them privately.
I've sent a message to my friend to see if she still has the letter giving the reasons for her excommunication.
According to BK and others here, the idea that a person might be ex'd for marrying a divorced person may not be that far-fetched. If the teaching still stands that it is adultery, I suppose some leaders may take the initiative and discipline such members. How then could anyone higher up the ladder object?
As for your other point: If Adrian Larsen's excommunication for not obeying his local leaders were an isolated case, I too might think that story was far-fetched. But this sort of thing is happening all the time within the church. Believing members with firm testimonies of the gospel are being hunted down and expelled because they refuse to kow-tow to the pre-eminent doctrine of the day: that we must obey those in authority above us first and foremost.
Nothing else matters to the idol worshipers. The new doctrine is that above all else, one must defer to those with rank and station in the church. Otherwise out you go.
Choosing to recognize Christ as your king is not apostasy. Using pretended priesthood "authority" as a means of coercing others, in violation of D&C 121; now THAT'S apostasy.
Believe it or not, Robin Hood and I ARE friends. I just tend to exasperate him now and then.
You write "Dissenters seem to want to ignore the faithful LDS and instead focus on the less faithful and then imply all members are less faithful. It just isn’t true. There are many who are fulfilling Joseph’s prophesies and have been advancing them throughout their lives and ever since the restoration began."
That may be true about "dissenters," who, as the Book of Mormon describes them, leave the church on their own and fight against Christ and his message. But I detect you are referring here to those like Adrian and Tausha Larsen who embrace the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the gospel of Christ, and the doctrines of the Restoration. They are neither dissenters, nor saboteurs, but wish to remain within the community of believers because that is where they feel they belong.
That there are those who fight against the church, it is true. But many of us simply wish to remain within the body of Christ, quietly and humbly following Christ and continuing to be part of that subset you speak of who are "humble, often quiet[except for maybe me], not always in leadership positions," who remain in the community because that is where God wants them to be "allowing God’s work to move forward according to the Lord’s timetable."
If we find no valid reason to accept the false teaching to "follow the Brethren," so what? Can't we be left alone to follow Christ? Is there no room any more for Christians in the Church of Jesus Christ?
Adrian, and Denver, and Brett, and Will, and me, and countless others have been asked the question, "Why would you want to be a member of this Church if you don't care a whit about the leaders?"
Speaking for myself, it's because I don't think of this as being the church of the leaders. I desire to remain a member of the church of Jesus Christ, as He defined it in D&C 10:67. Some of the leaders may not want me in THEIR church, but so what? I'm absolutely convinced the Lord still wants me in His.
Let us assume, arguendo, that Snuffer's words may be fairly summarized as you have done.
You say it isn't true, and you cite D&C 22:1 (1830) as though it were binding upon any except those to whom it was given, and it were a permanent state of affairs. I'm not sure this position can be dogmatically asserted. After all, at the time, the Church was described as "true and living" (D&C 1, 1831) but was shortly thereafter condemned (D&C 84, 1832).
Are you sure that "freelance" ordinances [by which I take it you mean non-Church controlled] are not honored of heaven? If you are sure, how did you come by this surety?
And are you really sure the Lord will not honor the efforts of those who seek to do his will and keep his commandments?
That's the claim that you have made which I find most interesting.
JST Matthew 25
32 When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he shall sit upon the throne of his glory;
33 And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth sheep from the goats; the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
34 And he shall sit upon his throne, and the twelve apostles with him.
35 Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
36 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me;
37 I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
38 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee; or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
39 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in; or naked, and clothed thee?
40 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
41 And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
42 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
43 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;
44 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
45 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
46 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me.
47 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.
I am unable to see where the righteous and the wicked are divided by whether they submitted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not. It seems the sole dividing point between the wicked and the righteous was how they treated their lessers. Maybe someone else can find it.
And are we sure "God's house" doesn't refer to his family, or, maybe, his literal house - the Heavens?
And, lastly, while I do not know this for sure, it seems a highly likely reason for the rash of recent excommunications of heretics is because their claims cannot be answered by reference to the scriptures.
If they could be so answered, then it seems likely that answering them is preferrable to excommunicating them.
Maybe the inability to answer the heretics by reference to the scriptures is because the heretics are either correct, or the Lord has purposefully left holes in the scriptural record so that he can test his servants and see if they will judge justly or if they will arrogantly begin to abuse their lessers.
Food for thought.
I too of late have begun to question the conventional interpretation of the Lord's "House" in that scripture. Most of us assume it means His church, but as you suggest, that makes less sense than if we were to interpret it has meaning his family (all the tribes of the "house" of Israel?) or even his heavenly abode. It would certainly make sense to say His heavenly abode is a house of order, therefore we should endeavor to make our abode orderly as well.
When He sends the one mighty and strong to "set his house in order," it could mean the institutional LDS church. That's what I've always assumed? But what about the other various Restorationist branches? They share our fundamental beliefs; are they excluded from the Lord's house? What about the entire house of Israel?
I don't really know. I just think it's wisdom to question our assumptions.
So, fundamentally, how are covenants and ordinances between God and man established and controlled?
From Denver Snuffer’s Centerville talk on Covenants, pages 6-7:
Quote (emphasis added with all caps):
Everything proceeds according to God’s law. THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD IS NOT AND NEVER HAS BEEN NECESSARILY LIMITED TO AN ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE. Instead it hails back to things that were committed, by God, in promises made to the fathers, which have yet to be fulfilled. IT DOESN'T MATTER IF WE THINK WE CAN CAPTURE THAT AND TIE IT INTO AN ORGANIZATION WE CONTROL. WE ARE UNABLE TO BIND GOD INTO OUR PREFERENCES. HE CONTROLS THE AGENDA AND ALWAYS HAS. God's purposes are ordained according to a law that was ordained before the world was. He reminds us: “I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that NO MAN SHALL COME UNTO THE FATHER BUT BY ME OR BY MY WORD, WHICH IS MY LAW, SAITH THE LORD.” (D&C 132: 12) In other words, if you were going to come, whoever you are, unto the Father, THE ONLY WAY YOU ARE GOING TO GET THERE WILL BE THROUGH THE SON.
God warns us: “And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, THAT ARE NOT BY ME OR BY MY WORD, SAITH THE LORD, SHALL BE THROWN DOWN, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God. For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed.” THIS IS THE LAW PREORDAINED WHICH CONTROLS. NOT A COMMITTEE, NOT AN OFFICE, NOT OUR COMMON CONSENT, BUT A LAW BELONGING TO AND ORDAINED BY GOD ALONE. WE MUST FIND AND SUBMIT TO IT, OR OUR EXPECTATIONS WILL NOT MATERIALIZE. THIS IS ANOTHER WAY IN WHICH WE CAN KNOW THAT “THE KEEPER OF THE GATE IS THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, AND HE EMPLOYTH NO SERVANT THERE.” (2 NE. 9: 41) BECAUSE WHEN IT COMES TO THIS KIND OF MATERIAL, INVOLVING THIS KIND OF SALVATION, FOR ANY OF THE CHILDREN OF MEN, GOD IS HANDS ON. OUR REDEEMER IS NOT ONLY THE ONE WHO KEEPS THE GATE, PROTECTS THE WAY, AND GREETS THOSE ALONG THE WAY, BUT IT IS HE ALONE WHO WILL INTRODUCE TO THE FATHER. Continuing, “And it has to be by me, or by my word, saith the Lord. If it is not, then it shall be thrown down. And it shall not remain.” ONLY GOD CAN, OR DOES, ORDAIN COVENANTS. WE DO NOT MAKE COVENANTS. COVENANTS COME AS A CONSEQUENCE OF GOD'S WILL, AND ONLY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF GOD'S WILL. WE CAN ACCEPT THEM, OR WE CAN REJECT THEM, BUT WE CANNOT CREATE THEM. HE DOES. OUR PARTICIPATION IS LIMITED TO, ACCEPTANCE OF, OR REJECTION OF, WHAT HE OFFERS. The way in which we accept the covenants, is set out in Doctrine and Covenants section 130: 20, which states: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”
Therefore what is important for you to understand and learn is what the relevant law requires of you. Because THE WAY IN WHICH YOU ACCEPT THE COVENANT OFFERED TO YOU IS BY LEARNING THE PRINCIPLE OR THE LAW UPON WHICH THE BLESSING YOU SEEK IS PREDICATED. THEN HAVING LEARNED WHAT THE LAW ORDAINS, YOU FOLLOW THROUGH BY OBEYING IT. We learn all of this through the revelations given to us by Joseph Smith.
I agree with you that the "house" where the end times tribulations are to begin is likely to refer to the House of Israel; of which we are part. It certainly appears to be a better fit.
I have never said that I am a bishop. What makes you think I am?
You call me judgmental (is that not a judgment?), but where I'm from we are brought up to call a spade a spade.
If you could please cite me where I call you judgemental, I would appreciate it.
I have heard you were a bishop, which is why I asked. If you were a bishop, it would make your conduct even more perplexing than it would otherwise be for a lay member of the Church.
From where I am sitting, I have said only that you encourage perversion of judgement by impugning the integrity of others without cause, and I have asked why you have done so.
I note you did not answer me.
You, of course, don't have to answer my question, which was why would you encourage perversion of judgement by seeking to encourage Rock and others to view Larson and Rocks' unnamed proselyte as dishonest. I have no interest in disputing whether you have so encouraged.
Indeed, that you did not answer me but sought instead to accuse me is answer enough to my question.
I wish mightily that people would remember this:
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
From whom did you hear I serve as a bishop?
I don't believe I have "encouraged the perversion of judgment", so I will not be answering your question further.
I apologize for questioning your friendship with Rock. If he considers you a friend then who am I to question that.
A while ago in a previous post their were some who were accusing you of being a "church internet missionary". It was after that that Rock had been in contact with you and said you were not an internet missionary and if I recall correctly, that you were a Bishop in England and that's why you had to use a name (Robin Hood) different than your own.
I certainly do not use the name "Robin Hood" simply to hide my identity. In fact, I have used this name for many years on various sites I have frequented. I use it because it is connected to the place I am from.
I have only told Rock what church calling I have, he has never asked my permission to divulge that information about me, and therefore knowing the kind of chap Rock is, I don't believe he has. This is why I want to know why Log, and now apparently you, think I'm a serving bishop.
(By the way, I neither confirm nor deny that I am a bishop, stake president, apostle, hymnbook monitor, nursery leader etc in the church - it isn't relevant)
I do remember when I was accused of being an "internet missionary" (whatever that is) and Rock (who already knew me) confirmed that I was not and that he knew who I was. However, he did not reveal what church calling I had.
Therefore, I would like to know the truth, given that Rock will not have been the source.
I don't think that is a lot to ask.
Just to confirm, Rock and I are friends.
I like him very much and I get the impression he likes me.
That doesn't mean we have to agree on anything and everything. The world would be a sad and lonely place if we only counted as friends those who agree with us.
Just because I question Rock's interpretation of something, or think he's been unwise to swallow Snuffer's megalomania, doesn't mean we are enemies. Not at all. I'm quite sure Rock thinks I'm a fully paid up member of the chartered guild of village idiots sometimes!... and he's right!
The one fault I find with this blog and many others like it, is that many posters appear to take themselves too seriously.
Thank you for your response.
As I said in my comments I may be wrong about what Rock said. Maybe what I am remembering is that someone used your name )(Robin Hood) in connection with being a bishop just as they tried to connect you with being a church internet missionary. I will have to go back sometime and read the comments again.
I first heard about the idea of "church internet missionary" from another LDS blog. The owner of the blog became suspicious of comments being posted under four different pseudonyms because they appeared to be working together. He did a reverse search of their IP addresses and discovered that they all came from the same IP address and that this IP address was operated out of an LDS church property in Salt Lake City. I think the blog owner called them out and asked them if they were "church internet missionaries" or just self appointed defenders of the faith. So now you know as much as I do about what LDSIM's are.
So now I have a few really tough questions for you. Who is the real Robin Hood? Secondly, did he wear tights?
In reference to the mystery of whether Robin Hood is a bishop or not (I have no personal knowledge that he is, by the way), I did make reference in a post somewhere to a bishop who is serving in another state who is an occasional contributor here. I did not identify anything about that bishop, but perhaps that's where the confusion originated.
For the record, I don't think Robin Hood is an internet missionary, either. As The Watcher has discovered, those guys were working out of Salt Lake City. Another thing I know nothing about: whether that program still continues.
There was some speculation about whether my old nemesis Friar Tuck worked for the Church and posted here on secret assignment. I don't think that to be the case, either. As for why he took on the name of Friar Tuck, I recall there was a comment once made by Robin Hood which the reader previously known as Little Rock agreed with, and at that time instantly attached himself to Robin Hood as a member of the band of Merry Men.
As long as we're talking about things I'm pretty certain of, I'm pretty certain this Robin Hood is not acquainted with that Friar Tuck. Just one of the many reasons Robin Hood and I remain friends.
“But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:14)
Sounds as if you are comparing those on this blog to the Jews who despised words of plainness.
Could you point out which words of plainness we or whoever else is guilty of despising exactly?
Or how are we looking beyond the mark?
To Brian Hales,
Brian, not sure if you are still following this. If so, first let me say that I admire your historical work. Thank you for contributing useful resources to history.
I want to touch on your assertion that the claims of dissenters ignore the situation of the faithful LDS. You used this quote:
"The church’s ordinations and ordinances remain vital to the restored Gospel, and the plan of salvation. Whether or not there is any person in the church with priesthood power, every person who joins the church, and keeps its ordinances will be invited through those ordinances, to come and receive the Lord."
I think this misses the real issue at hand. This is not simply about a few people getting a few things wrong. This is about a whole culture coming to the point where, in sum, it leads people away from Christ moreso than it brings them to him.
I believe I could say the same thing Snuffer said about the LDS church about any Christian, Jewish, or any other sincere form of worship of God. The question is not whether it is possible to obtain salvation through the LDS church. The question is do we necessarily find it there and only there.
Another way of putting this: Does the LDS church have exclusive claim on any requirement for exaltation?
If the answer is no, then we ask, is what it does exclusively offer worth the false traditions that come with it?
Jesus seemed to teach that the Jewish faith in his day was not worth the traditions it espoused that prevented one from entering in. Would he say the same about the LDS church today?
If Snuffer is right, the LDS church possesses nothing that is unique to them and good. Yet, almost any English speaker with the internet and a quad can identify a score of false LDS traditions that will damn you (such as the idea that the second anointing saves you and is the only thing that will save you).
To Brian Hales,
I've tried to post this comment since Oct 21 and for some reason it's still in moderation. I'm not sure if it'll ever be released to the public.
However, since you're here, or have been I thought I'd post it here for your thoughtful consideration.
I just read your essay, good job!
However, there seems to be one point that escaped your critique.
Everyone wants to focus on Joseph in Nauvoo or even Brigham as where things start to go awry.
However, the point you missed is from the very beginning of the restoration movement and comes from the revelations that Joseph revealed.
Here it is…
Revelation to Joseph Smith March 1829:
“the BEGINNING of the rising up and the COMING FORTH of my church out of the wilderness” (D&C 5:14, emphasis mine)
Revelation to Joseph Smith October 1830:
“this church have I ESTABLISHED and CALLED FORTH out of the wilderness” (D&C 33:5, emphasis mine)
Dedicatory Prayer for Kirtland Temple given by Joseph Smith March 27, 1836:
“That thy church may COME FORTH OUT OF THE WILDERNESS of darkness” (D&C 109:73, emphasis mine)
The Church was going to come out of the wilderness, then it did and then it retreated back into the wilderness again?
So what happened?
On April 6, 1830, the Church of Christ was established.
Then on May 3, 1834 a Special Conference was called to take the name of Christ out of the name of the church. The name was changed from the “Church of Christ” to the “Church of the Latter day Saints”. (HC 2:62-63)
BOTH the title page of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants and the name of the church that built the Kirtland Temple BOTH say “Church of Latter Day Saints”.
I really didn’t know what or how to respond to them.
But the Lord gave the name of the church as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1838 by revelation.
So the Lord must be pleased with his Church now in these latter days, right?
Not really if you read the following…
Revelation to Joseph Smith January 19, 1841:
“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.” (D&C 124:28, emphasis mine)
“that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it. [referring to the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House]
44 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy.
45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall NOT be moved out of their place.
46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall NOT be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will NOT perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.”
(D&C 124:43-47, emphasis mine)
Which way do you think it went for the early saints? Did they complete the temple and where they NOT removed from their place?
What are your thoughts on how the Church hasn’t been rejected along with its dead as found in the D&C based on the above references?
“if you do NOT these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be REJECTED as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.” (D&C 124:32, emphasis mine).
Your brother in Christ,
So what you are saying Ryan, is that the "Church"(TM) has been in a state of apostasy ever since they FAILED to do what the Lord required of them?.. You mean that God may have taken offense since they had plenty of time to build a Masonic lodge and permanent homes, but NEVER actually finished HIS temple... Could it be that the Lord actually honors his words and commitments seriously?..
Things like those that you bring up make me wonder sometimes if the true Church of Christ isn't an entirely different organization than the one we think of as the church. Like how the president is no longer required to report to the church members on the finances. Perhaps he is and still does, but we aren't considered the church. Like how the church manual is used for determining apostasy and not scripture, apparently since we're not the church the scriptures don't apply to us!
I know it's a bit conspiratorial but it helps to make sense of a few things.
It looks like you've been spending some time over on http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/
Having done a Google search using the dates, scriptures and references you provided, that site is the one that keeps coming up in my search results containing all of them.
I skimmed through a few of the posts there and can't help but notice that your post here is almost verbatim to a lot of the arguments presented over there.
Are you One Who Is Watching?
If you are, you've written a LOT! Some of your ideas are out there. I'm not sure if it's a blog that I want to jump into at the present moment.
However, you've presented me with some compelling scripture logic that I'm going to have to chew on for a while.
Whether you're the originator of that blog or not, thanks for brining this over here.
No, I'm not Watcher, that's what he goes by.
That guy has been at it for a really long time. It's true, I did pull my information from him. I like his blog because he relies on the scriptures and church history as his source material.
However, whether from his blog or not, it's a sincere question that I have and I was hoping that Brian in all his extensive research would be able to help give me some clarity around the issue.
Thanks for checking though.
I have a question for anyone in the know. I have served in many callings over the years. A couple of these callings gave me access to the "Church Handbook". It has always been my understanding, and experience that a member who is not a Melchizedek priesthood holder, as Tausha Larsen, should be handled by the Bishop and not the Stake President. Have they changed the rules in the latest version of the CHI? This appears to be a violation of the Bishop's stewardship as a common judge in Israel.
Another comment. I watched the Larsen's (former) stake presidency video for youth conference which was posted earlier in these comments by Anonymous. It is based upon Pharrell Williams popular song Happy. Here is the link again.
I have taught and worked with youth for many years and my experience has been that these type of stunts don't work with the youth. In fact youth lose respect for adults trying to be one of the youth. It's like a parent trying to be "cool" and "fit in" with their child and child's friends. I realize my experience is a small sample and does not constitute evidence of a principle throughout society. However I do recall being taught that it church teacher training courses that we should not to try and be "one of the guys or gals".
Anyone have any comments related to this? Are there any any psychologists or psychiatrists out their who would be willing to comment on this subject.
For the record I really like Pharrell Williams original version of "Happy". I also enjoy Weird Al's parody version of this song which he entitled "Tacky", which I have given the link below. In my opinion the SP's version... well all I can say is that it is beyond tacky.
I cannot give you a "professional opinion", just a mom of young adults and teens. Last summer during the Happy Craze, I watched the video of the Meridian ID Stake Presidency performing their Happy shtick. My two teens looked over my shoulder and one of them said, "Turn it off! Secondhand embarrassment!" My kids were so embarrassed for these adult dorks that it was painful for them to watch. Some adults are so starved for approval they delude themselves that they are "cool". Just my opinion, but I think they must have some unresolved issues from when they were teens, not being cool enough and fitting in. Now they are in leadership, this becomes their second chance at being "one of the cool kids". When they act like this, you are right, it does not go over like they intended it to with teenagers. Teens would prefer that adults act like adults. Which means dignified and dependable, not dorky.
Thank you for your comments. I count your words as coming from an expert because there is no better authority on youth, on this planet, than a mother of youth.
A fascinating tidbit. A friend from my old ward told me of the stake president meeting Elder Bednar at the October general conference. In the course of the conversation Elder Bendar said, "I have all of the keys and they're all active."
A pretty bold claim by any measure that seems to go beyond the traditional explanation of the 15 holding all the keys but only the president of the church exercising them.
Right after he was ordained a member of the 12 he spoke at BYU-I at a special fireside.
He said, "I testify to you that the prophet hears the voice of the spirit clearer than any other man alive on the earth today which qualifies him to be the prophet. I also testify that his 2 counselors and the Qof12 are the 14 men in the world who hear the voice of the spirit clearer than any other person living today which qualifies them to be his apostles."
An equally un-scriptural claim, Ahuizotl. It would be interesting but not important to know if these broadened views of the 15 are shared by the rest of the 15.
I think it would be more interesting to know if the claims were true, rather than if they were shared by anyone.
But that's just me.
You got that right, Log.
I was thinking about when I was a kid seeing the school janitor walk down the hall lop-sided with all those keys hanging on his belt?
Where do you suppose the angels who stand guard as sentinels are actually posted when they ask you for your signs, tokens, and key words?
Indeed, what might these signs, tokens, and key words signify?
Since we are all under commandment to "suffer not the beggar to put up his petition to you in vain," how might God test our commitment and obedience to the commandments we witness each sacrament that we'll keep?
Food for thought.
"Do you sell your tokens or signs for money?"
What might it look like for someone to sell their signs or tokens for money?
And when that question is asked, the messengers are in disguise - their true character is unknown.
Curious, isn't it.
Gary, I just read to my wife your comment about the janitor, and she just told me that the most spiritual person she knew in elementary school was the school janitor. Wonder if it had something to do with all those keys.
(And then she added that he was also the stake patriarch at the time.)
You bring up some interesting questions. It brings to mind the hymn A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.
Some of the most spiritual and insightful people I have known have been of humble means. It seems like growing up we have been taught that it doesn't matter what position in the church a person holds (nursery worker or prophet) nobody is better than anyone else. We just have all been asked to serve in different callings. I don't know if Elder Bednar actually said those things, but if he did then either what we have been taught in the past is wrong or what he said is wrong. A transcript of the talk would be helpful for verification purposes.
I think the keys your wife's school janitor had were spiritual keys in his heart and mind which unlocked the door to heaven.
"He said, "I testify to you that the prophet hears the voice of the spirit clearer than any other man alive on the earth today which qualifies him to be the prophet. I also testify that his 2 counselors and the Qof12 are the 14 men in the world who hear the voice of the spirit clearer than any other person living today which qualifies them to be his apostles."
Hears the voice of the Spirit? Anyone, no matter their religion can have that. And how was he qualified to know this? A visitation from God? A vision from heaven? Sounds to me like children in a sandbox arguing over who gets the most attention from Mom.
Also, if God does not change and if all of the scriptural prophets saw the face of God, angels, and visions why did his testimony include only what is a run-of-the-mill experience? It should have been that they see visions - though I don't recall a person in scripture testifying that a prophet has more visions than any other man alive.
Curiouser and curiouser. Weirder and weirder.
"Elder Bendar said, "I have all of the keys and they're all active."
From what I've heard of this man, this statement is perfectly in line with his pride and exaggerated self-importance.
Did Bednar speak truly?
If so, how is this known?
If not, how is this known?
Is it just to judge a man from rumors?
If it is not known whether he has spoken truly, is it not premature to say that by making the disputed statements he is displaying pride and exaggerated self-importance in accordance with rumors?
Good Monday Rock,
I hop you and Connie are well.
Guess what popped up in my email from LDSLiving?
An article about Mormon women non-military chaplains!!!! This is not new, but seems to be news to most of us.
Also an article on the Joseph Smith Papers which relates a story told about a time in the School of the Prophets, which states that now the men are ready to be apostles BECAUSE THEY HAVE SEEN BOTH THE FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST.
I found that to be very interesting.
Here is the link:
Remind me again, why can Joseph Smith pull so many things out of his butt and it's considered doctrinal, but not WW?
You bring up good points, Log.
Great question! Most in the Mormon persuasion don't ever question anything joseph smith said but all other presidents are held at a different standard
Once you understand the Scape Goat Doctrine it really doesn't matter what JS said. Even if it is so out of line with revealed revelations. Like how the King Follet's Discourse contradicts the Lectures on Faith.
I agree, few seem willing to apply the same standards of testing to Joseph Smith as they do to Brigham Young or Pres. Monson.
Let alone do they test whether Joseph really kept Christ's commandments or not to prove whether he was a true or false prophet.
Like "Thou shalt not bear false witness, for starters.
Christ should be our rock, not Joseph Smith, then we will see things clearly.
I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.
Log you the same person who wrote the other article on latter day commentary? I thought that was good too.
Have they changed the rules in the latest version of the CHI? This appears to be a violation of the Bishop's stewardship as a common judge in Israel.
No Gary, the CHI rules are still the same - sections 6.2.1 and 6.2.3 clearly state the bishop has authority over church discipline unless it is likely that a Melchizedek Priesthood holder will be excommunicated. Apparently it's asking too much to follow the handbook, let alone the scriptures...
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