Sunday, November 20, 2016

On The High Road To Apostasy

The Church's flashy new high-rise in Philadelphia.
Previously: I Decide To Become A Prophet

Latter-day saints in the Salt Lake City area are finding it difficult to share the gospel with their non-member friends, when at the same time their leaders are boasting in the press about the Church's impressive real estate developments.

It isn't easy trying to convert your neighbor when your salient message -that Jesus Christ personally directs the leaders of your Church- is contradicted by the actions of those self-same leaders. Anyone can see there's a serious disconnect.

Efforts by members to invite prospective converts to join our ranks invariably invite uncomfortable questions such as these:

"You're telling me that Jesus Christ himself instructed your leaders to build a three billion dollar shopping mall that caters to only the wealthiest clientele?"

"Well yes, he must have, because our prophet is guided by personal revelation from Christ."

"How about those high-rise office buildings? Were those Jesus' idea too?"

"I'm sure they were."

"And the luxury condominiums downtown?  And those expensive apartments in Philadelphia? Why would Jesus direct your Church to build a deluxe apartment high-rise?"

"Maybe the Church is building those apartments to house the poor."

"Your Church spokesman said they are being built 'because it is a very attractive investment opportunity' and that the units will be be rented out at market rates. Do you think all this was Jesus' idea?"

"Well, we believe we are led by a living prophet who guides this church under the direction of Jesus Christ, so I guess the Lord has his reasons. Maybe people will see how successful the Church has become and these investments will make good missionary tools."

"Okay, here's the problem.  You want to convert me to a religion that claims to have the true gospel of Jesus Christ, but every time I turn around I see your prideful Church leaders showing off how they are spending billions of dollars on impressive architecture that has nothing to do with the gospel of Christ, and which actually appears to us outsiders to contradict His teachings.  Your Church even donated millions toward the building of a theater in downtown Salt Lake City that will be the venue where The Book of Mormon Musical is booked to perform. I thought you people considered that show the height of blasphemy. But you're telling me your Church leaders believe that helping to provide that venue would make a good missionary tool?"

"Well, I don't know all the answers, but I can tell you God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform."

"Okay, let's cut to the chase. Tell me why I should join your church."

"Because Jesus Christ directs this Church through his living prophet."

At this point the prospective convert gives up, buys a gun, goes home, and shoots himself in the head.

An Eternal Principle?
If the average members of the church today bothered to think things through, they would recognize there is something a bit off-kilter about the way their Church's leaders are currently managing the funds supposedly entrusted to them by the members.  But most won't allow themselves to let critical thoughts enter their heads, because they have been conditioned to believe that challenging the actions of their leaders borders on sacrilege.  You aren't allowed to find fault with the leaders, because to do so would make you an apostate.

Exhibit A: This statement attributed to Joseph Smith:
"I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives."
There's only one thing wrong with that statement from Joseph Smith.

He never said it.

Adrian Larsen has documented an entire litany of myths and false teachings that continue to circulate in the church, even making their way into our modern Sunday School manuals, as did the phony warning from Joseph Smith above. Larsen has gathered them all into a fascinating six part series titled History, Hearsay, and Heresy.

It is admittedly not hard to appear smarter than everyone else in your ward (all you really have to do is chuck the manuals and read the scriptures instead.) But I'm prepared to make you a promise: if you become familiar with Brother Larsen's blog, you're guaranteed to be elevated to genius status in the minds of your fellow ward members. They'll think you're the next Hugh Nibley.

Adrian proves that the "apostasy" quote above is an obvious fake in Part 3 of the series on hearsay. I'll quote just an excerpt from his careful analysis:
This particular quote is cited [in the manual] as follows: 
History of the Church, 3:385; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on July 2, 1839, in Montrose, Iowa; reported by Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards. 
Therefore, this quote is cited from three sources: 
History of the Church by B.H. Roberts;
Wilford Woodruff
Willard Richards 
The quote does indeed appear in Source 1, History of the Church, but that's not the original source. History of the Church simply lifted the quote from the other two sources, as follows: 
First is Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, where we find the lengthy notes Woodruff took during the meeting in question. Trouble is, Woodruff's Journal completely omits this quote, though it directly (and without interruption) supplies the rest of the sermon used in History of the Church. 
The other source is Willard Richards' Pocket Companion, which does contain this quote. 
OK, so got that so far? Woodruff omits this paragraph from the sermon. Richards has this paragraph in the middle of the sermon. Woodruff, no. Richards, yes. 
Woodruff, who was present at the meeting in question, is considered the most reliable source because he recorded the notes of the meeting while in attendance. But this quote does not appear in that record. The sermon before and after this quote appears there uninterrupted, but the quoted paragraph is completely absent. 
Richards' Pocket Companion is actually a collection of material Willard Richards copied from other sources. Therefore, though this material appears there, Richards was not actually present when Joseph gave this sermon, and Richards copied the material from elsewhere, most likely Wilford Woodruff’s journal. As to how the quote in question got into Richards' Pocket Companion while NOT appearing in the original record is a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from. It is therefore hearsay and not a historical record. 
We are left to wonder where Richards obtained the quote and why he stuck it in the middle of a sermon he didn’t hear Joseph give. There is no original source that contains this quotation, and Richards was on a mission in England when Joseph was supposed to have said it. 
The quote's dubious provenance is not helped by its doctrinal difficulties. For example, scripture is replete with true prophets, called of God, who did indeed "rise up to condemn others, finding fault with the church, saying they are out of the way." Some obvious examples are as follows: 
Alma the Younger
Samuel the Lamanite
John the Baptist
Jesus Christ
Joseph Smith 
In fact, you can pretty much summarize the mission of any true prophet as calling people to repentance. (D&C 11:9) How is this not "condemn[ing] others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way?" 
Therefore, since Joseph Smith himself was "on the high road to apostasy" if this quote were true, it is utterly preposterous that Joseph Smith ever said this. Nobody quite knows where this quote came from, but it wasn't Joseph Smith.
Willard Richards, You Mischievous Imp!
It isn't hard to figure out how that fake entry made it into Joseph Smith's official Church History. Years after the prophet's death, Brigham Young directed his cousin, Willard Richards, to finish compiling Joseph Smith's history, which Richards proceeded to do, doctoring much of the record under instructions from Brigham. The result is that today our official record contains statements Joseph Smith never said, and it left out important things Joseph did say that no longer fit Brigham Young's preferred narrative. Charged to assist Willard in this chicanery was one Charles Wesley Wandell, who, once he realized he was expected to participate in a fraud, up and quit that job, then left Utah entirely.

Wandell is said to have left the church in disgust, but he only quit Brigham's branch of the Church. He went back to the states and rejoined those known as "the prairie saints," numerous quietly thriving branches that remained scattered throughout Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wyoming, Ohio, and the Great Lakes region. Our Utah version of Church history treats these saints as if they had abandoned the faith, but some 10,000 devoted believers (including Joseph Smith's own family) simply elected to remain closer to where Joseph said Zion would be built rather than follow Brigham Young all the way to the Rockies.

It should be noted that by the time the History of the Church was published, years after Joseph's death, some 60 percent of it was not written by the prophet, although the six volumes are given Joseph Smith's byline and the reader is expected to believe the narrative is all his. After quitting the job where he was expected to bowdlerize the history, Charles Wandell remained stalwart in the faith, serving a mission in California and as mission president in both Australia and New York. After the revised church history was published in 1855, he recorded these words in his journal:
"I notice the interpolations because having been employed (myself) in the Historian's office at Nauvoo by Doctor Richards, and employed, too, in 1845, in compiling this very autobiography, I know that after Joseph's death his memoir was 'doctored' to suit the new order of things, and this, too, by the direct order of Brigham Young to Doctor Richards and systematically by Richards." (See Marjorie Newton, Hero or Traitor: A Biographical Study of Charles Wesley WandellJohn Whitmer Historical Association).
 This wasn't the first time Willard Richards was involved in some dubious chirography. In April of 1842 he delivered what amounted to a love letter to Nancy Rigdon, the pretty 19-year-old daughter of Joseph Smith's counselor, Sidney.

Richards claimed the letter was from Joseph Smith, even though it was in the handwriting of Willard Richards. Both Nancy and her father scoffed at the idea that Joseph sent the letter and refused to believe the prophet had anything to do with it. They had a pretty good idea who was behind it, and they knew it wasn't Joseph.

When Joseph Smith heard about the letter (it was unsigned), he made affidavit denying any knowledge of it, and a few days later the prophet preached to thousands in the Grove near the Temple and condemned "all adulterers, and fornicators, and unvirtuous persons, and those who have made use of my name to carry on their iniquitous designs."

Soon, wouldn't you know it, Joseph Smith's meanest adversary, John C. Bennett, claimed to have gotten ahold of the letter himself (I wonder who he could have gotten it from?) and published it in the Sagamo Journal with the design of raising a scandal. After Joseph's death, Richards simply inserted that debunked counterfeit into the official history of Joseph Smith. No authority in the Utah Church ever questioned the provenance of that letter, and it remains in the record today as "proof" that Joseph Smith taught "that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another." (See Price & Price, Bennett's Sixth Letter or The Letter on Happiness.)

But I digress.

What If Joseph Really Did Say It?
Every now and then some faithful member of the church will read something on this blog that upsets him and throw that phony quote at me to tell me I'm apostatizing. (Believe me, I've already been told that.)

No matter how much I try to persuade such people that the Lord would have us rely on our scriptures rather than on dubious "faith promoting" fabrications, some people simply will not allow historical truth to deter them. They insist that if that story is in the Church manual, then the Brethren approved it, and if the Brethren approved it, blah blah blah magic.

Okay, fine. Let's suppose Joseph Smith actually did say that those finding fault with the church are on the high road to apostasy. It still wouldn't mean what they seem to think it does. Because when Joseph Smith spoke of  "the Church" he didn't refer to it in the way we modern Mormons constantly do.

In the modern LDS vernacular, "the Church" has come to mean the organizational structure at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City; in other words, the institutional, corporate Church, and primarily its leaders. But when Joseph referenced "the church" he meant just the opposite. He was talking about the rank and file members.  Joseph's definition of the church was the same as the definition given by the Lord in D&C 10:67: all who repent and come unto Christ, "the same is my church."

Naturally that would include the leaders of the church as well as every other penitent within the body of Christ, but any member foolish enough to assume "the church" referred to Joseph Smith and his inner circle would find himself on the outs with Jesus, who warned in verse 68 of that chapter that anyone declaring contrary to the words he just spoke was not of him and not of His church.

Over the past decades I've read a lot of Joseph Smith's speeches, writings, and journal entries. He spoke of the church many times, but I have never once seen him use that term to refer to himself or others in positions of authority within the church. In every single instance when he used those words, he was referring to the community of saints in general. (For a fuller analysis of the meaning of the word "church," as our scriptures teach it, see "My Testimony of the Church.")

Joseph Smith's definition of the church was right in line with the definition given by the Lord. "The church is a compact body composed of different members," the prophet explained on one occasion, after which he extrapolated from the apostle Paul's comparison of the church to a body where no member is more important in rank or more exalted than another. (HC 5:28-29)

So let's look at this controversial talk Joseph Smith gave that day in 1839, and look at it in context. This was not a general meeting of the Saints. The prophet was not addressing the rank and file at this time, because none of them were present.  This was a meeting of the hierarchy, for lack of a better term. Joseph had come to address the quorum of Twelve Apostles and a few Seventies prior to their departing on their missions to Great Britain. He spoke to them for some time, repeatedly admonishing them to "be humble, and not be exalted, and beware of pride, and not seek to excel one above the other."

Now why do you suppose the prophet so emphatically warned these men about being careful not to exalt themselves? It was because just prior to calling these men to their offices, the church had been rocked by apostasy as one apostle after another either left the church or was excommunicated. This new quorum had been called to replace those who had left, because invariably the old guard had assumed, because they had been promoted to high office, that they were in a class separate and above the other members of the church. They had been captured by "pride and vain ambition" and as soon as they got a little authority as they supposed, they had begun to exercise "control, dominion, and compulsion upon the souls of the children of men." (D&C 121)

And now that bunch was gone. Apostatized.

So in light of the context we now have, let's look again at those words Joseph is supposed to have spoken to the new guys:
"That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives."

You can see why I have no problem with the claim that Joseph Smith made this statement. In fact, I wish he had said it, because read in its proper context, with a proper understanding of what Joseph would have meant when referring to "the church," this statement utterly condemns most of the Church hierarchy today. Many within the leadership today rise up to condemn many of the members, finding fault with them, saying that they are out of the way while they themselves are righteous. The late Boyd K. Packer was notorious for this attitude toward those below him in status, as was Bruce McConkie. Dallin Oaks has come right out and declared that "it's wrong to criticize the leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true." If that isn't an elitist attitude, I don't know what is.

There are plenty of disaffected Mormons who will tell you they have been shunted out of the church by leaders who felt they (the leaders) were righteous, while the lowly member was out of the way and in need of correcting.  These modern leaders have turned the definition of apostasy on its head. In the past, an apostate was understood to be someone who had turned against his religious beliefs and principles. Now it refers to someone who fails to show proper deference to Church authority.

(I use the word "disaffected" not to refer to unbelief, but by its actual definition of "dissatisfied with the people in authority and no longer willing to support them." Thousands of disaffected Mormons remain completely devoted to the faith.)

Whatever it was that possessed Willard Richards to slip that paragraph into the official record, it seems to me he tipped his hand in the introductory sentences where he has Joseph saying "I will give you one of the keys of the kingdom. It is an eternal principle that has existed with God from all eternity."

One of the keys of the kingdom? An eternal principle? One that has existed with God from all eternity?!

Seems to me old Willard took it a step too far.  Couldn't resist crossing the line into hyperbole. That's what I see as the first clue that he made it all up.

Finding fault with others is a serious sin, don't get me wrong. And when committed by a person who holds authority over others, that becomes the very definition of iniquity -to Lord it over others in an unequal manner. Iniquity was King Noah's great sin, and has been the sin of men in authority for all recorded history.

But "eternal principles that have existed with God through all eternity" denotes the operation of the laws of the universe; things that supercede time, space, and the cosmos. I think Brother Willard tried too hard with this one.

The worst part of it all is that Joseph Smith's warning -whether real or fake- was eventually distorted to completely erase whatever it might have meant. Here is Heber Kimball years later repeating what he thought he had read from Willard's account of Joseph's words that day in 1839. Notice how Kimball turns it all inside out:
"I will give you a key which Brother Joseph Smith used to give in Nauvoo. He said that the very step of apostasy commenced with losing confidence in the leaders of this Church and kingdom, and that whenever you discerned that spirit, you might know that it would lead the possessor of it on the road to apostasy."
So there you have it. losing confidence in the leaders is the one sure sign of apostasy. Not turning your back on Christ, not abandoning religious faith, not denouncing the gospel. "Losing confidence in the leaders" is the one sure thing that will get you kicked out of the church and branded a filthy apostate. Believe me, I know.

It's no wonder thousands of faithful, gospel-loving members are being called in by their bishops after letting it get out that they are striving to become more Christ-centered in their lives. Members today are instructed to center their focus on the leaders. "You keep your eyes riveted on the prophet and the Twelve apostles," counseled one of our modern apostles, "We will not lead you astray. We cannot. So keep your eyes riveted on the leadership of the Church." (Russell Ballard speaking at BYU, 1996)

Never mind having an eye single to the Glory of God. That advice comes from scripture, and scripture is passe' in the era of "follow the prophet." You may manage to find your way to God eventually, but first things first: keep that wandering eye fixed on Russell Ballard and his merry band if you really want to be saved.

You say you're striving to become more Christ-centered? Church headquarters has sent out notices to bishops and stake presidents to be on the lookout for statements like that because they are the warning signs of apostasy.

I kid you not. I hear from people nearly every week with horror stories of being called up for discipline because they bore "overly fervent" testimonies of Christ.

It's no surprise why Church headquarters tried to destroy all traces of Elder Poelman's original conference talk from 1984. He taught that our goal as members of Christ's church was to become so Christ-centered that we would no longer need hand-holding from the institutional Church. That kind of talk is anathema to the suits in the boardroom at 50 East South Temple. Why, just imagine! If the members got to the point where they no longer needed the leaders, where would they get the money for their fancy shopping malls and condominiums?

Joseph Knew Best
Back in the pioneer era, others picked up on Kimball's distorted version of what Joseph reportedly said and embellished it further, until even the original falsehood has been all but lost in a crazy game of Chinese Whispers. *
*Yes, I'm aware that's racist. Everybody knows Chinese people don't whisper.

False teachings are par for the course in the LDS Church today. True teachings have been replaced with a narrative of false traditions that lull the members into the comfortable security of knowing all is well; our leaders have everything under control. "And thus," Nephi warns, "the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell."

Even the program of scripture mastery has been replaced in our seminaries and institutes with a program called "Doctrinal Mastery." In a Church where very few bother to read scripture anymore, preferring instead to wait for their leaders to disseminate instructions, those leaders can shape the doctrine into any form they want.

If by some fluke of history we don't know about, Joseph Smith really did say those words about what it is that puts a man on the high road to apostasy, we know from the rest of his speech that day that he would not have been issuing that warning to the average, everyday member of the church. In Joseph Smith's day, it was rarely the faithful believer at the bottom who apostatized from the true path. It was the leaders.

It has always been the leaders.


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Anonymous said...


D&C 84 is only talking about two priesthoods, the higher (Melchizedek) and the lower (Aaronic), at least as far as I can tell. There is no mention of a patriarchal priesthood. Perhaps it's hidden in there somewhere.

I'll tell you what, I'll study it out some more and get back with you.

Just to be clear I'm not claiming that the Melchizedek priesthood is with the church now or even available on earth at the moment. I do believe that John the Beloved, the three Nephites and any other translated beings on earth have it though. Perhaps the church still does retain some of the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood, but I certainly see no evidence that the power is still with us.

I suppose the question is when it was taken from us? I don't believe it's been with us during any part of my lifetime, so I really can't say for sure when it was taken. Really doesn't matter too much anyway. I too am waiting for the Melchizedek priesthood to be restored. I believe it will be soon as well.

And by the way I'm no racist. I have nothing against any race, including Blacks. I treat everyone the same. I'm not the one who wrote Moses 7 and Abraham 1 and the number of other scriptures that call the Canaanites/Blacks a cursed race. I'm not the one who recorded the account of Christ ignoring the Canaanite woman and calling her a dog. Nor am I the one who made the prophecy that one day (the millennium) the Canaanites would no longer be in the house of the Lord. These passages come from the Lord Himself through his ancient prophets.

Jared Livesey said...


Back to the topic of your post...

How about we ignore the issue of whether Joseph said it or not for a second, and ask first whether or not the principle is true?

If someone rises up from a community, say, by rejecting the common ground of the community (to better look down upon them - and isn't such rejection of common ground defection, or apostasy from the group?), and declares that the community is stupid / wicked / insane / ignorant while he himself is not, is it not then a truism that said man will become, or even currently is, an enemy to that community?

Take this essay, for example. Does it not illustrate precisely this principle?

And if the principle is true, then does it not belong to what Joseph called "Mormonism," which encompasses all truth?

And if it is, then is it so hard to believe Joseph said it?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

RobinH, thanks for the compliment. Most of our theology and literature on church history are in English, so one must have a basic knowledge of the language, to be able to read it. I cannot do without a dictionary though.
About Brexit (you must be British; otherwise you would'nt come up with the topic), personally I think it is not a good idea; the European economies are too much interconnected to create barriers again. Holding a referendum is not always without danger, as it usually reduces complex issues to simple questions that you can answer with yes or no. And every fool could come around to influence people, thus spoiling the democratic proces. We'll see the result sooner or later.
About the LDS church in Holland, it is a small community and the atmosphere is quite relaxed and tolerant. We don't hear of any manipulations from church leadership. In my case this is not the church that is described on dissenting blogs.
My position is that Mormonism is true, but that the church has become out of order on several issues, over the years. By reading on the internet, people are becoming more aware of these things, which has made the church leadership a bit nervous obviously; I must say that the response has been rather inapropriate and disappointing. As far as I am concerned I can speak out my mind freely in Sunday School without people frowning at me.
Thanks for the message, and have a nice day.

Robin Hood said...

Many thanks for your thoughts.
Regarding Brexit, I am very firmly in the Leave camp. This is nothing to do with economics and everything to do with sovereignty. In the end the referendum came down to one thing for most people: "Do I want unelected EU officials whom I didn't vote for and who I cannot remove, to make our laws or do I want them made by our elected representatives in our own Parliament, and who we can hold to account?"
The ruling classes don't like referendums because it deprives them of the thing they crave more than anything else - power.
As far as the majority of Brits are concerned, the sooner we leave the EU the better. I don't think we will be the last either.

Although the church is much larger here in the UK than in the Netherlands, I think it is pretty much the same as you describe. I know of nobody who has been the "target" of church leaders for apostasy. It's completely unheard of.

I sometimes wonder if we're part of the same church over here!

My position is that there will always be varying degrees of apostasy in and of the church. It's a sliding scale. Sometimes we are nearer the 1 than the 10, other times we're hovering around the middle somewhere.
There will always be issues that the likes of Snuffer, Rock et al can pounce upon, but on the whole things are generally within the margin of error.
I've always felt that the church is merely a delivery mechanism for the gospel, nothing more and nothing less. Much of the apostasy we read about here and elsewhere usually occurs because those involved had an unrealistic expectation of the church and it's function in my view.

Anyway, thanks once again for your thoughts.
Robin Hood

Jared Livesey said...

Serious question: what constitutes apostasy to you, and how would you know it if you saw it?

I've asked evolutionists what it would take to overturn evolution - the stock retort is "a [fossilized] rabbit in the Pre-Cambrian [strata]." Yet, logically, even finding a fossilized rabbit in Pre-Cambrian strata wouldn't serve to overturn evolution, due to the principle of evolutionary convergence - the claim that a given structure can evolve multiple times, independently of other occurrences of the structure elsewhere.

Is the "truth" of the Church axiomatic, just as evolution is axiomatic for the evolutionists? Is there any evidence which can, in principle, establish apostasy? And, if so, upon what principle would the judgement be performed? And if there is no evidence which can even in principle establish apostasy, then isn't that to say the "truth" of the Church is axiomatic, and is not "up for grabs?"

There are two cases I can think of in which apostasy applies. The principle attributed to Joseph is sound, as far as I can tell. I can't think of a single counterexample.

1. A man rejects the common ground of the community to rise up against them (this "rising up" is comparative).
2. He points the finger of scorn at the community claiming they are out of the way (ignorant, wicked, stupid, or insane) and he himself knows the real score and therefore people should be listening to him.

It's clear he is their enemy. The man has betrayed the community.

But here's another scenario that is also sound.

1. A community pays lip service to a common ground - that is, the community is one of pretenders, play actors - hypocrites.
2. A man takes their hypocrisy at face value and discovers the community is only pretending to believe what they claim to believe - their behavior belies their claims.
3. The community pressures / ostracizes / casts out / stones / slays the man if and when his views become known.

In this case, the community has betrayed both the common ground, and those who take their claims seriously. Hence Rock's blog, "Pure Mormonism."

It's this second scenario that Nephi warns us Gentiles of by quoting Isaiah.

1 Nephi 20
1 Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness.

2 Nevertheless, they call themselves of the holy city [ie, Zion], but they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel, who is the Lord of Hosts; yea, the Lord of Hosts is his name.

Baptism is the public witness of men's willingness to keep the commandments of God. What shall be said, then, of a community of baptized pretenders, who pay lip service to their God, but have no interest in keeping his commandments, and thereby show that they have no faith in him? Who are the apostates? The community of pretenders, or those take their covenants seriously and keep God's commandments and discover thereby that the community is comprised of pretenders?

Jared Livesey said...

It occurs to me that in a totalitarian, one-party state, leaders rise up from a community, and bear down upon the community, telling them that they are out of the way while they, the leaders, know the real score and are never wrong (whenever they agree with themselves, of course). This knowledge, of course, justifies their rule over the community, for who wants anyone less to be one's leader?

Food for thought.

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared Livesey said...

Whatever goes wrong is always the community's fault, never the leaders' - after all, they're never wrong.

Robin Hood said...

"Baptism is the public witness of men's willingness to keep the commandments of God".
I submit that baptism is more than that.

Dave P. said...

Indeed. Christ is quite clear in both the Book of Mormon and D&C that baptism is both the new and everlasting covenant AND the only saving ordinance. To summarize, "This is my doctrine: Repent and be baptized. Whosoever teaches more or less than this is not of me."

Jared Livesey said...

Regardless of the additional content one might ascribe to baptism, if it is agreed that it at least signifies that much, then the point stands.

After all:

Moroni 6
1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.

2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.

3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.

4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

D&C 20
37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism--All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

Hinkle's Corner said...

Hi Rock. I have enjoyed your blog for several years now. Thank you. It has been a help. I recently wrote a short book of:"The Gentiles: All is Not Well" as I received it over Thanksgiving week. First: may I send it to you. Second: If you have a favorable review of it, would you make it available to others on your site?
Thank you again, Jack Hinkle

Robin Hood said...

Hinkle's Corner,
Sounds interesting.
Hope it's not another one of those "we're the wicked Gentiles" pieces.
We have quite enough of those.

whitey keymas said...

If the leaders would never lead us astray they would tell the tabernacle choir to not sing at trump's inauguration as that goes against their old teaching of avoiding all appearances of evil. All the money they are spending on malls, apartment buildings, theaters, etc.....if, instead, they could distribute some of that to the poorest members to help them have a better life would be much more Christ like. Oh well, I do believe in a lot of the doctrines, but Joseph Smith (and certainly Jesus Christ) would not recognize what "the church", as it is referred to today...the corporate side of it. Good post, is a shame that so much has changed and it is hard to find a real history.

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