Saturday, January 27, 2018

Who Died And Made HIM Prophet?

Previously: Why Heed Prophetic Counsel?

With the recent passing of Church president Thomas Monson and the installation of Russell Nelson as Monson's replacement, I was curious to see whether this time the leaders of the Church would follow the instructions outlined by the Lord regarding succession to the presidency. This is an action not to be taken lightly, if only for the fact that since the mid-twentieth century, the man selected to be president of the Church is also considered to be the Lord's mouthpiece on the earth. So my feeling is, if they're going to pick a new president, they'd better get this one right.
"There have always been false prophets and self proclaimed would-be leaders who have sought to establish their own claim to presiding authority...One's eternal salvation depends upon the ability to recognize and know the true servants of God -those who are authorized to preach His gospel and administer the sacred and saving ordinances thereof." 
That quote comes from a book by Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr. titled Prophets, Priesthood Keys, & Succession, published in 1991 by Deseret Book. Brother Brewster is also the author of The Doctrine & Covenants Encyclopedia, a reference book I refer to frequently because Hoyt Brewster knows the D&C inside and out.

Hoyt is right about the importance of knowing how to recognize a true prophet from a false one. And he shows us one method the Lord gives us, by citing from the Doctrine & Covenants:
"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. 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." ( D&C 124:45-46, quoted in Brewster, pg 50.)
The indicator of a true prophet, then, consists of spoken or written evidence showing that man was actually appointed by the Lord. We have scads of evidence, through direct revelation, affirming that Joseph Smith was variously appointed, anointed, and ordained by the Lord to be His special servant. I listed a dozen or so examples in a previous post, so I won't relist them again, but here's another one I came across just last month:
"Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him..." (D&C 112:15)
It's clear from section 124 that in order for us to recognize God's true mouthpiece, we are expected to hearken unto the Lord's voice, which is always conveyed by the voice of one of His servants. Check your doctrine & Covenants. That book is chock full of declarations in the first person voice of the Lord, relayed to us through his servant, Joseph Smith.

So it stands to reason that if Russell Nelson has been called by God to lead the Church, somebody should have received a revelation from the Lord saying so, and according to established protocol, shared that revelation with the members of the church.

I haven't seen one of these revelations, have you?

Bypassing God's Instructions
What I have seen over and over in recent weeks is unsupported assurances by Church leaders, Church public relations experts, and various Church apologists designed specifically to mollify any concerns Church members might entertain, in order that all can be confident that every part of the process has taken place, as the new president himself has declared, according to "the divine plan of succession put in place by the Lord Himself."

The January 23rd edition of the Church News reports on one of many descriptions of this process, this one by apostle Gary Stevenson:
 "As the President of the Church dies, the First Presidency is dissolved and the mantle of leadership goes to the senior man and to the Quorum of the Twelve as a body. At this point the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes the First Presidency until a formal reorganization takes place."
What is lacking in Gary's description is any mention of the Lord's involvement in this process.  Did the Lord ever instruct the Twelve to dissolve the First Presidency? If so, where is the revelation calling for that action? Also, where did the Lord indicate that the presidency of the Church is to devolve to the senior apostle? And what revelation informs us that the Lord desired the Twelve Apostles to become the acting First Presidency in the interim?

Seems to me the Lord made it abundantly clear when the apostles were called that the Twelve were to have nothing whatever to do with governing the Church. But maybe the Lord changed his mind about that at some point I'm not aware of. Let's see if we can get someone to tell us where the Lord revised His will on the subject. Maybe Russell Nelson can tell us. He seems to have a handle on this:
"The Church today has been organized by the Lord Himself. He has put in place a remarkable system of governance that provides redundancy and backup. That system provides for prophetic leadership even when the inevitable illnesses and incapacities may come with advancing age." 
Okay, Russell, you've got my attention. You say the Lord has put this system in place. Please tell us about that.
"The organization of the modern Church of Jesus Christ is patterned after His ancient Church. The divinely inspired structure provides a solid foundation for the functioning of the Church."
Nelson doesn't appear to be providing any further insight as to God's direction in this matter, but he does tell us the system is patterned after His ancient church. Okay, so we know that the pattern Jesus used to appoint his apostles was by anointing them personally. That gels with His statements in section 124 above where he declares his authorized servants must be appointed by Him. "You have not chosen me," he told the early apostles, "but I have chosen you.

Yet that is not the way things are done today, and Nelson has still told us nothing about how the Lord laid out the procedure for selecting a new Church president in modern times.  The only thing Elder Nelson -excuse me, I meant to say "President" Nelson- said about the way it happened for him was his brethren in the quorum "placed their hands upon my head to ordain me and set me apart as president of the Church."

Okay, but why them? Why didn't Jesus ordain you Himself? Didn't you just imply that the Lord handles these matters the same way he did with the ancients? Could He not have at least issued a verbal approval so everyone in the room could hear it and be sure they were ordaining the right guy?

 I'm not being flippant here. Russell just got done making two important points:
1. This is Jesus' Church
2. All the living apostles gathered in the upper room of the temple and made a unanimous decision to reorganize the first presidency and choose to have Nelson serve as president of the Church.
These guys boast constantly of being prophets, seers, and revelators with all the gifts, abilities, authority, and "keys" that Joseph Smith possessed.  We have plenty of evidence that the prophet Joseph was the conduit for numerous oracles -verbal communications uttered from the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself. So how come Nelson makes no mention of Jesus having any say in his "ordination"? If the Lord is not going to make an appearance at what the Brethren keep referring to as this most "historic" of occasions, when exactly does he communicate with these men?

D&C 102, one of the key sections laying out how the church was to be governed, says this:
"The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by revelation." (verse 9.)
So far, no one in the Church hierarchy has provided any revelation that would give us reason to believe the Lord chose Russell Nelson as his latest servant. All we know up to this point is what Nelson has told us about his colleagues choosing him, and that they were unanimous in their decision. That doesn't mean a thing without an appointment from God.  Recall that Jesus makes it clear that He will appoint his servants; it is not enough for Russell's pals alone to agree he gets to have the top job. If we are to recognize Russell as a prophet, as Joseph Smith was, why won't Russell read to us from the revelation the Lord conveyed to him appointing him to his new office? There has to be one, right? So why is that important detail missing from every online account?

All we've gotten from Nelson is a statement akin to "Jesus has not chosen me, but my pals in the Quorum have chosen me."  Well, that just isn't enough. He can't get away with telling us the system has been provided by the Lord Himself and not be willing to show us the Lord's words on the subject. 

I watched the entire video where Russell Nelson and Todd Christofferson attempted to convince us this was taking place under the direction of the Lord, without either of them citing one single word the Lord said about it.  We're clearly not getting any answers from these guys. Let's try someone else.

Enter The Scriptorian
Former Church president Joseph Fielding Smith was one of the preeminent doctrinal scholars in the Church during the 20th century, and judging from the anemic crop being passed off as "scholars" today, one of the last of his kind. Surely he will be able to point to the scripture that shows the Lord designed a system whereby the senior apostle is automatically called to be president of the Church. In volume 3 of Doctrines of Salvation, President Smith wrote,
"There is no mystery about the choosing of the successor to the President of the Church. The Lord settled this a long time ago."
Well, now we're getting somewhere! I can't wait for President Smith to tell us how the Lord settled the question. You've got the floor, Joseph Fielding Smith:
"The senior apostle automatically becomes the presiding officer of the church, and he is so sustained by the Council of the Twelve which becomes the presiding body of the Church when there is no First Presidency"
Well, that just brings us back to square one. He still hasn't explained where we can find the Lord's instructions on this.

We're used to seeing Joseph Fielding Smith pile on the citations to back up every teaching he expounds upon, but in this instance, just after he assures us that the Lord has settled the process, he fails to provide any citation proving that allegation. We are not any closer to solving the "mystery" of the choosing of the successor to the president of the church than we were before.

We may as well quote the Church PR department, where they say pretty much the same thing as Joseph Fielding Smith did; and they're just as lax about providing scriptural attribution:
“Throughout the history of the church, the longest-serving apostle has always become the president of the church when the First Presidency has been reorganized,”
Okay, we get it. This is the way it's always been done. But can someone please show us the original revelation from the Lord so we can understand the Lord's actual instructions about it?

Uh-oh. Turns out at least one person is willing to go on the record and admit the emperor has no clothes. Earlier this month, a Church history professor at BYU spilled the beans to the school newspaper. Here is a nugget of truth from professor Casey Griffiths, who is most likely about to lose his job:
"This is simply a historical precedent first set by President Brigham Young, and despite there being nothing in the Doctrine and Covenants about prophetic succession, this pattern of sustaining the most senior apostle as church president has been followed so consistently that it might as well be doctrine.
Let that sink in. It might as well be doctrine!

Looks like we've found the problem. If we are going to accept the traditions of men over the actual doctrines of Christ, we may as well do whatever we want -and the leaders certainly operate that way today.  It might as well be doctrine to baptize infants by sprinkling water on them, because, hey, the Catholic church has been following that pattern consistently for so long. Likewise, Mormons might as well let their clearly unauthorized method of choosing a new president continue as it has because this is the way we've been doing it like, forever, dude. So what does it matter if the Lord had a different pattern in mind? Who is HE to tell US how to do things?

Make no mistake about it. The Lord most certainly did provide a method for succession in the presidency, but it decidedly did not involve anyone in the Quorum of the Twelve. In fact, those twelve men, every last one of them, is specifically prohibited from having any governing role in the church whatsoever.

Interested in false teachings in the LDS Church today? I can show you a whole book full of 'em!

Dissension In The Quorum

Edward Leo Lyman is a historian of Mormon studies who spent over forty years studying the diaries and minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve. And what their words have to tell us about their experiences trying to sort out the succession mess belies the revisionist history the Church puts out today. Lyman is author of Succession by Seniority: The Development of Procedural Precedents in the LDS Church, published in the Journal of Mormon History,Vol 40, Issue 2 (Spring 2014.) As we can deduce from the title, succession in the presidency as we know it today did not arise from any scriptural directive, but it developed over time as the leaders adopted a series of gradual precedents.

One thing that may surprise you from Brother Lyman's research is that following the death of Brigham Young, the one thing most members of the Quorum agreed on was they did not want the church to have another president.

It might be necessary here to remind the reader that the Sunday School version we were taught about Brigham Young's ascension to the presidency is simplistic, to say the least. The story, as understood by the typical latter-day Saint, goes something like this: when Joseph Smith died, Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon debated about who should be president of the Church. Brigham Young won.

The reality is a bit more involved. In the first place, as the Radio Free Mormon Mormon broadcast thoroughly documented, it was not called a succession "crisis" because there was a shortage of claimants; it was called a crisis because there were so many contenders with reasonably valid claims. But let's focus for now on the Sunday School/Primary description of what happened, the debate between Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon, because that debate is instructive.

The debate was not over who should be the president, but who should be the "guardian" of the church until Joseph's eldest son, then 11 years old, came of age. Rigdon argued that as remaining member of the First Presidency, he should be the guardian. Brigham Young argued that with the deaths of two of the three members of the presidency, that body was effectively over. Kaput. Dissolved.* He insisted there would be no first presidency in the church any longer, but that the church would be better served if it were looked after by the entire quorum of the Twelve as a body rather than just one man calling the shots.
*This is the genesis of the false teaching that somehow the Twelve are empowered to "dissolve" the First Presidency. The First Presidency under Joseph Smith was automatically "dissolved"-not intentionally, but by circumstance, when its two co-presidents unexpectedly left the planet. That dissolution occurred by itself, without any required input from the Twelve.

There's more to it than that, and you can get a full account of the nefarious machinations of Brigham Young following the death of the prophet Joseph Smith by reading or listening to Apostolic Coup d'etat: How The Twelve Apostles, in a Breathtaking Power Grab, Assumed Absolute and Complete Control of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I've provided links to both the audio presentation and the transcript of this two part series on my blog where you can find them by clicking here and here.

What the saints ended up voting for -at least what they thought they were voting for- was for the church to be managed by all twelve apostles acting in concert, until Joseph Smith III could "take his rightful place among this people."  It did not occur to anyone that Brigham Young intended to be president himself, and certainly no one voted for that.

Brigham Pulls A Fast One
Three years after the people voted to be governed by the Twelve, Brigham Young led the first body of saints to the Rocky Mountains.  Then he returned to the remaining saints at Winter Quarters where he tried to persuade Wilford Woodruff to nominate him as head of a newly constituted First Presidency, with his obsequious cousin Willard Richards and his BFF Heber Kimball as counselors.

Initially Woodruff resisted, saying he did not believe such a thing could be done without a revelation. But Brigham kept Wilford awake for two days and eventually wore him down, until eventually Wilford agreed to propose Brigham's name to the people, whereupon Brigham got himself elected by the Saints to be their presiding officer. The vote was far from unanimous, because many of the Saints and some of the apostles had not participated in the voting, having by this time left Winter Quarters and moved half-way across the country to Utah territory. When it was announced to the Utah saints that Brigham was now their new president, what could they do? The deed was done.

Now mind you, Brigham never pretended to be a prophet; in fact he denied that possibility several times over the years. But he had been elected president of the church, and he presided over the saints with a "strong hand" until his death 33 years later.

As Edward Lyman documents, upon Brigham Young's death it was decided by the Twelve that there should be no First Presidency, that it would be better to go back and adopt Brigham's original proposal, where the church was managed by the twelve apostles governing as a body. Why did the Twelve decide to forgo installing someone as president of the Church at this time? Because,
"It soon became apparent that at least several apostles felt that Brigham Young had been too autocratic, particularly ignoring the possible role of other apostles of equivalent, if not senior, rank.  George Q Cannon noted with some astonishment four months after Young's death that some apostles disapproved of some of Young's actions and had felt oppressed, but had not 'dared to exhibit their feelings to him,' partly because they did not feel he would give their feelings any heed. Some felt the church leader had 'transcended the bounds of the authority he legitimately held.'" (Lyman, pg 109-110.)
So for a long time after Brigham Young, there was no First Presidency. What governing was required by the church was dealt with by the entire quorum. However, two years later, on September 6, 1879, John Taylor, the apostle next in line in seniority, decided he did in fact want to organize a new First Presidency with himself at the head, only to have his proposal shot down by the others.  Not willing to give up the dream, Taylor renewed his proposal again the following month, only to see it rejected again.
"Forty-two-year-old Joseph F. Smith, who had been ordained an apostle on July 1, 1866, noted in his diary that he was astonished that the proposal was even made. He revealingly stated that the Twelve had debated the issue for nearly four hours after which the quorum members had concluded that most apostles opposed Taylor's move because they assumed that Church members were 'not only satisfied, but happy under the administration of the Twelve.' Smith clearly spoke for some others as well and may, in fact, have revealed the main persisting issue, when he admitted that he did not 'want to see repeated what had occurred in the church [under Brigham Young].'" (Lyman, pg 110-111.)
A year after that -three years after the death of Brigham Young- John Taylor finally got to be president of the church. By this time the president of the Quorum acted as de facto president anyway, so the opposition weakened and the quorum more or less said, "what the hell, what does it matter?"

This was the beginning of the pattern of succession to the presidency we have today, which was shaping up not as a result of any revelation from God (nobody had been receiving revelations for the Church since Joseph and Hyrum were taken), but simply as a matter of tradition and expediency.

Years later still, as John Taylor's death became imminent, there was more conflict in the quorum, as some of the junior apostles claimed (correctly) that there was no reason Taylor's replacement as president had to be the most senior apostle. It could be any one of them. Of course, that was true. As long as the custom insisted an apostle was to take over the office of president, it could be any one of them, because the Lord had never declared any apostle, senior or junior, belonged in that office.

So for two years following John Taylor's demise there was more delaying, infighting, and jockeying for position in the quorum. But over time things shook out and a new first presidency was installed with Wilford Woodruff at the head. From then on, tradition has dictated that the senior apostle always moved into the spot as president of the church. The Lord has never had anything to do with setting up this pattern. In fact, the argument could be made that the reason the Lord has abandoned the Twelve to their own devices is precisely because they have disobeyed his instructions and rejected their revealed duties in favor of assuming power and authority over the church which He never gave them.

Way back when Joseph Smith was president of the church, he reminded the Twelve that they were  specifically prohibited from having anything to do with governing or administrating in the Church. As the founding prophet cautioned a group of newly called apostles prior to sending them on their first mission:
"The Twelve shall have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof where there is a standing high council. But it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the church." (Joseph Smith, Kirtland Council Minute Book, pg 112.)
Conversely, the prophet cautioned the high council that they were to stay off the apostles' turf:
"No standing high council has authority to go into the churches abroad and regulate the matters thereof, for this belongs to the Twelve." (ibid.)
This echoes D&C 107, a revelation where the Lord actually does lay out the duties of the leading quorums of the Church, and in that revelation the Lord tells the Council of the Twelve Apostles that they are given responsibilities "differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling." (D&C 107:23)

So, how do the duties of the Quorum of the Twelve differ from the other leading quorums? Well, the First Presidency is a governing and administrative body within the church. The High Council is a governing and administrative body within the church. So where does that leave the Twelve?  Answer: they are not a governing or administrative body within the church.

The Twelve are "sent out" to be the Twelve Traveling Councilors, to build up the church abroad.  That's why the apostles were so often in Great Britain; their role was to function outside the perimeters of church headquarters. They were expressly forbidden from interfering where the Church had already been established. In case you're having trouble following all this, it means the Twelve were not permitted to run the church when the church was headquartered in Nauvoo, and they're not allowed to run the church now that it's headquartered in Salt Lake City.

If all this goes against everything you've ever been taught about the way the church is supposed to be governed, I understand your feelings of dissonance. But these are the rules given to the Twelve by the Lord through revelation. You can find them in your scriptures.

These instructions the Lord gave to the Twelve are not exactly followed by that quorum in the Church today. The Lord gave them no authority to dissolve the First Presidency, nor do they have any authority to reconstitute the First Presidency once they've dissolved it, nor can they fill it with three of their own. These are usurpations the Twelve have taken upon themselves, absent any authority from God to do so.

I suppose the Lord Jesus Christ, who the scriptures tell us, is the same today, yesterday, and forever, could have later changed his mind about the duties of the Twelve and put them in charge of running the entire Church. He could have. But He didn't. If He had, we would have a revelation showing us the Lord had reversed Himself.

He That Learns Not His Duty Shall Not Be Counted Worthy
The Lord created two distinct high councils: a standing high council, and a traveling high council. Their duties do not overlap. The standing high council was "appointed by revelation for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church." That body was formed on February 17, 1834, and you can read all about it in D&C 102. At that time there was no quorum of Twelve Apostles in the church. That body was yet to be formed.

That took place a year later when the Lord, through revelation, called for a traveling high council selected from twelve of the existing apostles. (The calling of apostle had existed from the beginning, when Joseph Smith was named the first apostle in the church. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was a separate group consisting of twelve specifically called apostles set apart to travel outside the church, making them distinct from any members of the church who had been called apostles up to that time. So the "twelve traveling apostles" became a separate entity all their own, with distinct duties different from any other existing apostles.)

Joseph explained to these twelve men that their duty was to preach the gospel outside the local boundaries of the church. This "traveling high council," also known as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was formed on March 28th, 1835. This was one year after the creation of the standing high council, and five full years after the church itself was formally organized. There had been missionaries sent out from the beginning, but the Quorum of the Twelve were given the authority to only do missionary work and nothing beyond setting up branches abroad. The Lord appointed Brigham Young to be the president of this newly minted traveling high council. This was the only calling the Lord ever extended to Brigham Young: director of the missionary program.

Section 107 is known as the "Revelation on Priesthood" and in this revelation the Lord is making it very clear that His church was not to function in the hierarchical fashion it has developed into today. He designated four separate and distinct quorums, each with separate duties and responsibilities, while specifically stating that each quorum was "equal in authority" to the others. That is, the church was not created to be a top-down organization as it is today, but a flat structure with none of the leading quorums in authority over another. They were all equal in authority.

There's a lot of stuff covered in section 107 (there are a hundred verses), but for our purposes here we're going to skip over most of it and focus on the relationship between four particular leadership bodies, then narrow that down to the two that are pertinent to this discussion: the body that had jurisdiction within the church, and the one that had jurisdiction outside the church. Grab your D&C and follow along with me while we look at the way the Lord lays it out.

First, there's the First Presidency. Where does it come from? Is it supposed to be made up of former apostles?

Nope. The prophet Joseph Smith reorganized the First Presidency several times during his lifetime, and not once did he cull from the Quorum of the Twelve to replace one of his counselors. Not one single time. Ever.

Why not? Well, when the Lord describes the duties of the Twelve, you'll discover that if Joseph Smith picked one of them to be in the First Presidency, he would be removing that man from the important missionary calling given to him by the Lord, and assigning him different responsibilities. Remember, the Lord told the Twelve their duties would differ from every other quorum. The other quorums were tasked with governing the church; the Twelve were not.

The Lord describes the duties of the Twelve in various verses, and it's clear they are not a governing body in the church, but instead are "sent out" into "all the world"-which means the world outside of Church headquarters. 

Then we see something interesting. In verse 24 we discover that the Quorum of Twelve are equal in authority and power to the First Presidency. That's pretty nifty, because the Twelve deserve not to be dumped on, what with always being required to be away from home and all. I had always thought the First Presidency was in authority over the Twelve, but that's not so. Joseph Smith did not see his calling as any more important than anyone else's. He just had different gifts and differing responsibilities.

Then we get to the Seventy, and their duty is to act under the direction of the Twelve, and to be available if the Twelve require assistance to fill the need for additional preachers and so on. But get this: even though they act "under the direction of the Twelve," the Twelve don't have any authority over them. The Twelve are not in charge of the Seventy. The Lord says right there in verse 26 that the Seventy form a quorum equal in authority to that of the Twelve. You see, the Seventy are also apostles, they're just a separate quorum of apostles. The actual title of this group is "the seventy apostles." Why? Because there were seventy of them.

So we had the twelve apostles, and we had the seventy apostles. Separate groups, but equal to each other in authority. Neither group was in charge of the other.

Finally, the standing High Council. This is the meat and potatoes of our quest, because if the next First Presidency after Joseph's was to come from any place, it would have come from the standing high council. Why? Because this is the governing body that has authority within Church headquarters in the same way the Twelve had authority outside church headquarters. And like every other quorum, the Lord affirms that the standing high council is equal in authority to the Twelve and equal in authority to the First Presidency. Again, no quorum was in authority over any other.

The high council of the church was originally formed in Kirtland, Ohio. When Missouri became the center place of the church, that council moved to Missouri, and even though membership in the body came and went, the high council remained the central high council to the church. Same thing when church headquarters relocated to Nauvoo. They retained their duties and responsibilities similar to those of the other governing body, the First Presidency, which they stood next to. If Brigham Young had not illegally abolished the high council, there would be a central high council governing the Church from Salt Lake City today, and Russell Nelson and his pals would not be the ones sitting around the board table at 50 East North Temple Street. They would be far away from there, handing out pamphlets in Constantinople or Timbuktu.

In the final verse of section 107 the Lord issues a warning about any of the men in the various quorums who might be tempted to shirk his duty in favor of doing something else, and it is a pertinent warning that could be appropriately directed at every future church president from Brigham Young to Russell Nelson. "He that learns not his duty and shows himself approved shall not be counted worthy to stand."

Lying For The Lord
If you spend enough time digging around for explanations by Church authorities on why they believe apostles are entitled to install other apostles into the First Presidency, you'll eventually find someone attempting to rationalize this false doctrine by actually referring to -are you ready for this?- D&C 107! Here's the late David B. Haight:

Let's break this down:
"In 1835 the Lord gave a revelation on this matter that provides for orderly succession."
Notice Elder Haight speaks in a very authoritative manner about the existence of a revelation, and even tells us the year it was received. But he doesn't actually cite the section of the D&C where that revelation can be found, making it nearly impossible for the listener to readily look it up to see if what he says about it is actually in there. That's too much of a risk for him. Haight had to be aware that anyone bothering to check up on his claim would quickly see that this particular revelation does not provide for any kind of succession at all, orderly or otherwise. He continues:
"The revelation states that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is a body equal in authority to the First Presidency." 
Yes it does. But the revelation also states that the Standing High Council is also a body equal in authority to the First Presidency. How come he didn't bother mentioning that? He goes on:
"That means that when the president of the church dies, the presidency is dissolved." 
Is that really what it means, Elder Haight? I wonder how you made that leap in logic. You have to really want this revelation to say something other than what it actually says in order to come up with that meshugganeh interpretation, David. Where the heck is there anything in there about dissolving the First Presidency? For that matter, where is there anything in that revelation that remotely refers to what happens when the president dies? Let's keep going:
"And the Quorum of the Twelve automatically become the presiding body of the Church." 
Well, that was magical. The result Elder Haight needs to have happen just "automatically" takes place.

That's quite a chunk of sophistry you've bitten off there, Dave.  Let's recap it in the form of a syllogism in order to better grasp your reasoning:

1. The Twelve are equal in authority to the First Presidency,
2. "Which means that" when the president dies, the presidency is dissolved,
3. Therefore the Twelve "automatically" become the presiding body.

 Nope, sorry, Brother Haight. I'm just not following your logic.  Give us your final summation, if you will.
"This divinely revealed procedure...revelation from the Lord"
Well hold on there. I don't think you've shown any evidence at all that the procedure you describe is divinely revealed or that it came through a revelation from the Lord, seeing as how all you did was refer to a revelation that doesn't say anything close to what you say it does. Come on now, Brother Haight. Don't you mean to say "this procedure is the result of a trial-and-error series of precepts that have developed over time?" Okay, wrap it up, please. You were concluding that this divinely revealed revelation,
 "...for installing a new president of the church...has been followed to our present day."
That part is true.

Why Didn't Brigham Young Think Of That?
If D&C 107 contained even a modicum of evidence to support the claim David Haight attributes to it, don't you think Brigham Young would have cited it to bolster his own authority claims? What about John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and others? Wouldn't it have saved a lot of hassle on the part of those who had trouble justifying their right to dissolve and reinstall a new first presidency if only that revelation gave them the authority to do so?

Here's historian Michael Quinn:
Everyone in 1844, especially Brigham Young, knew the 1835 revelation did not mean what modern Mormons think it means concerning the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. That revelation certainly did not contain or imply what the LDS church's Encyclopedia of Mormonism now claims: "Further direction pertaining to the organization of the First Presidency was given in a revelation on priesthood in 1835. Three men were to be chosen and appointed, and ordained to that office by the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, 'and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church.' (D&C 107:22). 
On the contrary, readers can examine that verse and the entire revelation in vain for such an alleged provision that the Twelve were to choose the First Presidency. No such statement existed in either the 1835 revelation or any other Mormon document. During Joseph Smith's lifetime, the Twelve did not have the right to organize even a stake high council, let alone the First Presidency." (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, pg 157-158).
When I first read that in Quinn's book several years ago, I could not believe the writers of that segment in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism actually altered scripture in order to make it appear God said something he never said. So I pulled volume two of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism off the shelf and opened it up, and sure enough, there it was: a complete fabrication inserted into their telling of verse 22, deliberately intended to deceive the reader. The authors of that contribution are J. Lynn England and W. Keith Warner. If anyone out there knows them, tell them I said they are blatant liars and deserve to be publicly shamed.

Who Is Authorized To Lead The Church?
When members of the Quorum of the Twelve today declare that the Lord provided the means for a smooth transition of authority from one church president to the next, they are being completely truthful. The only thing they neglect to mention is that the Lord deliberately leaves them out of the process.

Jesus Christ, the head of the Church at the time, gave Joseph Smith the authority to appoint anyone he wanted to succeed him as president. Joseph chose his brother Hyrum. But Hyrum was murdered along with Joseph, so now what do we do?

I wonder if it had occurred to many people at the time, that by taking Joseph and Hyrum unto Himself, perhaps the Lord was trying to tell them something. Something on the order of "you don't deserve to have these men among you."

If the Saints had any sense at all, they would have realized the Lord was calling them to repentance. He already told them way back in 1832 that they were all under condemnation. (D&C 84: 55-57.) Four years later he warned them of the cursings and judgments that would soon come upon them if they didn't straighten up right away. He said if they continued to ignore His warnings, they would be moved out of their place. (D&C 124:45-48.) Those cursings and judgments took place soon after, and the people were indeed moved out of their place. But instead of repenting, every 24th of July Mormons in Utah make a holiday out of the way God allowed them to be moved out of their place, and treat it as if it were a cause for celebration.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of others I know, there is no need to be in a hurry to have someone preside over the church, at least not until they have repented and learned to govern themselves according to the commandments of God. But if there was a need for a new First Presidency to replace the last one, those men would properly come from within the standing high council, not the traveling high council as it is improperly done today.

Of course, first we would have to reconstitute the high council, because one of the first things Brigham Young did was get rid of it. As you can guess, that body stood in the way of his ambitions.

Michael Quinn noted that the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, which was published by Macmillan & Co. and therefore not strictly a Church publication, fudged on the truth about Mormon succession by citing section 107 while leaving out the pertinent part about the high council's qualifications. Yet a book published by Deseret Book the year before (the same book I cited at the beginning of this piece, Prophets, Priesthood Keys, & Succession) acknowledged the truth about the succession mystery:
"Thus in the developing days of Church government, the standing high councils stood in the line of succession."
Yes, it's true. An item sold at Deseret Book actually contained something of value.

If we require further evidence that the high council should have been the logical place to look for Joseph's successor, we have the Lord's description of that body as "the cornerstone of Zion." And let's not overlook Joseph Smith's own endorsement when he addressed the high council:
"If I should now be taken away, I had accomplished the great work the Lord had laid before me, and that which I had desired of the Lord; and that I had done my duty in organizing the High Council, through which council the will of the Lord might be known on all important occasions, in the building up of Zion, and establishing truth in the earth." (History of the Church, Vol 2, pg 124.)
The Widow Knows
It's no wonder Brigham Young had it out for Joseph's widow, Emma. He desperately needed her in his corner. Had she backed Sidney Rigdon, Brigham might have had an argument against that. Unfortunately for Brigham and Sidney, Emma had a firm understanding of why neither of them were qualified to take upon them the presidency of the Church. Here is how she explained it:
"Whereas it is the business of the First Presidency, more particularly to govern the church at Zion, and the members abroad have a right to that quorum from the decisions of the Twelve. Now as the Twelve have no power with regard to the government of the Church in the Stakes of Zion, but the High Council have all the power, so it follows that on removal of the first President, the office would devolve upon the President of the High Council in Zion, as the first President always resides there, and that is the proper place for the quorum of which he is head; thus there would be no schism or jarring. But the Twelve would attend to their duties in the world and not meddle with the government of the church at home, and the High Council in Zion and the First Presidency would attend to their business in the same place... 
"Mr. Rigdon is not the proper successor of President Smith, being only his counselor, but Elder Marks should be the individual as he was not only his councilor at the time of his death, but also President of the High Council." (Emma Smith to James M. Monroe, quoted in Newell and Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, pg 206-207; see also Quinn, Supra, pg 160.)
If you grew up like me reading only "Church approved" histories, you would be entirely unaware of the fact that thousands of members argued against Brigham Young's power grab, resulting in approximately half the population of the church refusing to follow the Twelve to the Rocky Mountains.  Here is a former senior president of the Seventy, Hazen Aldrich:
"You will see by the Book of Covenants that the 12 are a traveling high council and are entirely out of their place in attempting to assume the First Presidency & dictate the affairs of the whole church." (Quinn, Supra pg 388, n.77)
Joseph's younger brother William, an apostle at the time and rightful Patriarch after the death of Hyrum, lambasted Brigham and the Twelve for their blatant usurpation of authority. Though he recognized the right of the Twelve to ordain patriarchs in the mission field, he denied they had the right even to ordain him as patriarch, because that authority was not theirs to bestow.
"That 'the 12 had a right to ordain patriarchs in all large branches of the church abroad' I did not pretend to deny. But that they had a right to ordain one of their own number and place him under the direction of the presidency, or to ordain a patriarch to the whole church, I do deny, and pronounce the position a false doctrine, and from the devil, to destroy the church. It was a right thing that belonged to the first presidents of the church, [Joseph and Hyrum] and it is plain that the 12 had not this right or power over the church to act as first presidents, as their position and place in the church is defined by revelation as a traveling council and not a local presidency." (William Smith, Melchizedek and Aaronic Herald, vol 1 March 1849.) 
Emma wasn't finished, either. She had an effective argument for electing the president of the high council to the position of president of the Church. William Marks would have been Joseph Smith's clear choice;
"According to the ordination pronounced upon him by Bro Joseph he [William Marks] is the individual contemplated by him for his successor. The Twelve never received any such instructions or commands or ordinations as would authorize them to take that office. They were aware of these facts but acted differently." (Quinn, pg 397, n.50)
Here's something else worth noting: when Joseph ordained his brother Hyrum to become co-president of the church, he was able to do so because Hyrum already held office as a member of the standing high council. Had Hyrum been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, it would have been inappropriate for Joseph to yank him out of his calling as a missionary and place him in church government. Hyrum had to hold the high priesthood inside a stake of Zion, or he could not have been given a calling having to do with governing the church.

Unfortunately for the church, William Marks was not interested in becoming president.  He did not posess the kind of blind ambition as Brigham Young. Nevertheless, Brigham wasn't taking any chances; he immediately did what had to be done to get Marks out of the way. Again, these sly machinations are fully documented in Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover.

We will never know how much different the church would be today had the members refused to "go along" with the Twelve as the Twelve began usurping power and authority the Lord had deliberately withheld from them by revelation.

We have a word for when a person substitutes his own will for the commandments of God. We call it disobedience. The Lord has told us that he is bound when we do what he says, but when we do not what he says, we have no promise. That applies to leaders of the Church as much as anyone else. Maybe even more.

If all this is new to you and your head is swimming, I recommend this thorough list of sources and citations for you to examine. It's a bit more orderly than my disconnected ramblings here, but I think it vital for every believer in the Restoration to look into the matter at this juncture if we are to awaken to our awful situation. Also, I spoke to Radio Free Mormon yesterday, and he will be posting a podcast related to the same topics covered in this post, which should appear sometime today (Sunday). He is always informative and entertaining, so keep checking there.

And I hope you'll check back here next month when I discuss some of the things to consider before sustaining Russell M. Nelson as president and prophet, given his history of open rebellion against God. Meanwhile, I'll close by re-quoting the words from Hoyt Brewster that I opened this piece with, followed by a warning from Joseph Smith.
"There have always been false prophets and self proclaimed would-be leaders who have sought to establish their own claim to presiding authority...One's eternal salvation depends upon the ability to recognize and know the true servants of God -those who are authorized to preach His gospel and administer the sacred and saving ordinances thereof." - Prophets, Priesthood Keys, & Succession, pg 38
"The moment we revolt at anything that comes from God, the devil takes power."
   -Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 181
The Radio Free Mormon podcast referenced above is now available. RFM covers important stuff I either hadn't noticed or overlooked, so this is essential listening. Highly informative AND very entertaining. He made me laugh right out of the gate. But make no mistake, things are worse than even I was aware.  Click here for "Illegitimate First Presidency."
                                      Please share this post with your friends and family.

Related Posts:

How Jesus Christ Was Ousted as Head of the Church of Jesus Christ

Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover

How We Know Thomas Monson is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator

Did The Lord Choose Not to Anoint the Lord's Anointed?

How to Tell if You Are an Idolotor


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matt lohrke said...

Grumpy Russell is the Best Russell.

I can't for the life of me find it now, but I recently read one of Russell's previous conference talks in which he declares the church is run by the "spirit of inspiration." (which is perfectly fine, because there's probably a lot of truth in that). I think it was a rare moment of honesty, or he was banking on the fact that the lay membership would conflate inspiration and revelation. Maybe both.

If anyone can find it, I'd be very appreciative. I've had a few TBM's try to convince me of late that inspiration and revelation are the synonymous.

It was really something to see all the succession articles in the days after Thomas' death. Each author, it seemed, move effortlessly between "president" and "prophet," using the two interchangeably, often in the same sentence. One of the conclusions I drew is that we really have no idea what our scriptures teach.

Timely, topical post. Thanks.

Cachemagic said...

This is the closest I could find from Russell M. Nelson's conference talk from October 1997.

President Hinckley’s love of learning is catalyzed by curiosity. He grasps every opportunity to learn from others. On one occasion, I heard him quiz a local security officer for nearly an hour regarding crime control in a major city. I have heard him converse with building contractors, reporters, and those who specialize in the arts, architecture, business, government, law, medicine, and other disciplines. He knows their vocabularies, their challenges, and their strengths.

His remarkable ability as a writer has been gained by his living close to the Spirit. Similar skills can come to others too, for scriptures state that such has been “given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration.”

Roy Moore said...

As with most controversies in early LDS Church history, Brigham Young influenced the transfer of power by ordaining four of his sons as Apostles. John Willard Young was strategically positioned to take control of the Church by his Apostolic ordination on November 22, 1855, at age 11.

Here is an excerpt from an excellent article by Todd Compton:

(Pg. 8, 3rd Paragraph) "One can only conjecture why Brigham kept the ordination of John Willard secret. Perhaps there was tension between the church president and the Twelve, despite Young's forceful leadership. However, in October 1861, the ambiguity in apostolic succession was removed, when Brigham Young, at General Conference, stated a policy that brought about an important change in the method for reckoning apostolic seniority... "President Young directed the clerk, J. T. Long, to place Brother Taylor's name above Brother Woodruff's as Elder Taylor was ordained four or five months before Elder Woodruff...President Young said the calling was made in accordance with the date of ordination." Thus, years later John Taylor would become president of the church before Woodruff. Likewise, John Willard, with this new policy, would almost certainly become president of the church at some time, barring unforeseen difficulties, apostasy, or death, provided he entered the Quorum of the Twelve."

John Willard Young's seedy life didn't dissuade his interest in eventually claiming his rightful place at the helm of a sweet "honey-tree", yet Young's design was thwarted by an emergency measure initiated by the contemporary First Presidency, lead by Joseph F. Smith. (See "Denial of Church Presidency" -

These past procedural changes share the same character as today's 'change of the guard'... lack of evidence of divine and revelatory direction.

Greg said...

And the fact that the Twelve already were or soon to become polygamists, I doubt it would matter what proper procedures were followed.

scootd28 said...

Rock, The thought just occurred to me (I have not finished reading your piece yet) - what would happen if Russel M. Nelson DID publish what he claimed was a revelation? Would we, the free-range mormons, believe it, or would we question its authenticity. Of course we should take it to the Lord - I know that's the stock answer, but - well, you get my point.

Furthermore, I'm curious what the reaction from church members would be. The simple answer might be that they would be overjoyed. "The windows of heaven are open again!", although they were never theoretically closed. Would this become a new official declaration? These are serious questions, as they are generated by my belief that both groups are really quite comfortable in our relative boxes, and anything that comes along that rocks our boat (no pun intended - really - well, the boat actually was intentional) will be met with skepticism at the least, if not rejection out of hand simply because it doesn't fit the box.

Curious your thoughts on this - although actually my reason for the comment is to encourage people to think about it.

the_mormonion said...

Well-researched and thought-provoking as usual, Rock.

But hey, what’s with the dig at Deseret Book?! They do still carry the collected works of Hugh Nibley. For now... 🧐

Bruce in Montana said...

Sorry to oversimplify things but it seems that: Joseph Smith may have been a true prophet of God. He may not have been. There is a lot of evidence for both. However, even if he was...that office/authority died with him and his brother. Everything claiming otherwise since then is, and has been, a fraud.

Anonymous said...

Brother Waterman, why did you neglect to mention a historical fact which would weaken your premise? I thought you a fair and an unbiased reporter until now.

What you failed to mention is that upon W.Woodruff's death Lorenzo Snow saw the Savior in the Temple where (quoting)

"He instructed me to go right ahead and reorganize the First Presidency of the Church at once and not wait as had been done after the death of the previous presidents, and that I was to succeed President Woodruf"

Even though the Savior is not mentioned to have authorized any patterns here, it can be easily seen how people from then on took this vision as a divine approval of having the most senior apostle be a President.

matt lohrke said...

@Jackdale - is there a first-hand account of Lorenzo's vision?

I haven't been able to find one, but that doesn't mean one doesn't exist.

If no first-hand account exists, and we're relying on Lorenzo's granddaughter's account told by Lorenzo's son in 1933 (32 years after Lorenzo's death) I think we need to file it under "hearsay."

This account, told by Alice Pond, appears in official LDS publications:

I'm more than happy to be proven wrong.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

The title of this blog is terribly cold and offensive. Might as well re-title the whole blog: Pure Antimormonism. smh

Good Will said...

As far as I know, there is no contemporaneous account of this visitation by the Savior to Lorenzo Snow in the temple. Neither did Lorenzo Snow ever publicly acknowledge it. As I recall, this account was given to the church by a granddaughter or other descendant of Snow, claiming it to be handed down to them by him. This account, to my reckoning, is as reliable as the succession "debate" where Brigham Young was transmogrified into Joseph Smith. In other words, it is not reliable.

matt lohrke said...

It's amazing that FairMormon actually cites Lorenzo's vision in their "rebuttal" of "Passing the Heavenly Gift." I've not read that book, so I can't comment on it.

I, too, file this one away as a legend, much like the "angel" who appeared to Joseph Smith with a flaming sword 'o death and threatened Joseph's life with it if he didn't engage in polygamy.

How are we this gullible?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Scott Stover,
I've heard several people surmise (and I tend to agree with them) that based on his past performance, Russell Nelson will lie about communing with God and lie about receiving a revelation. Whereas up until now, every apostle who has been asked point blank if he has seen Jesus Christ has given an evasive answer intended to leave the impression he has seen the savior, it's very likely Nelson will make the claim outright.

Of course if he does, it is the duty of all to take that revelation before the Lord and seek a witness of the Holy Ghost to make certain it is from God. Most members will take his declaration at face value, sad to say.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Okay, Mormonion, I'll give Deseret Book a pass for still carrying Nibley's books.
And for the Joseph Smith Papers. And for offering 25 percent off coupons, even though I STILL can't afford the Joseph Smith Papers even at 25 percent off. Aren't those things EVER going to go on remainder?!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Didn't happen, Jackdale76. That's another of those faith promoting rumors that surfaced after Snow's death. That story was told ABOUT Lorenzo Snow, but he never claimed it. It still makes it into the Church manuals, but you can toss that one into the can with the story of the angel appearing to Joseph Smith with a flaming sword, threatening to slay him if he did not practice polygamy.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

"The title of this blog is terribly cold and offensive."

If you think THAT'S offensive, check out the devil outfit I dressed Nelson in here:

Keep complaining. I'll make more.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The Radio Free Mormon broadcast I mentioned near the end of the post is now available here:

Dave P. said...

"How are we this gullible?"

Quite simple: Far too many members have fallen into the trap of trusting in the arm of flesh and their "faith in their leaders" is questioned if they ever dare disagree with those "leaders" even if what they say/claim contradicts the written word. Rock brought up the earthquake that "confirmed" God's approval to allow BY to become the second church President. The claim that Lorenzo Snow saw Christ in the temple has been mentioned. And of course there is the 1979 "revelation" on restoring the priesthood to blacks. I will say this here and now: All of them were fabricated in order for either power-seeking men to get what they wanted or for the church to save face. And the membership goes along with it because people don't like being publicly challenged for going against the status quo.

If Nelson pulls a "revelation" out of his rear end, there will indeed be two camps of TBMs: Those who will claim the heavens are opened again vs. those who don't like having the status quo shaken. Even after the 1979 incident, "concerned members" took out a full page ad in the paper signing a petition to have it rescinded.

Even now, people give Joseph Smith far too much credit when he was repeatedly warned about his weakness to heed men over God and the BoC was quite clear in stating he was given the gift to translate the Book of Mormon and was to pretend to have no other, for God gave him none. In his Address to the Believers in Christ, David Whitmer outlined that Joseph calling himself a prophet was a huge mistake because 1. It fueled his ego and 2. It drove the saints to become lazy and rely on Joseph rather than seek the Lord directly.

When speaking to a friend about this several years ago, even before I'd read David Whitmer's address, he had said that after the church was cleansed, the membership needed to remove any and all revelations from the D&C that caused the church to put its trust in the arm of flesh in any fashion. I sent him the Address as Whitmer called for the D&C to be removed entirely but haven't heard back from him yet.

If you love me, keep my commandments said...

"The title of this blog is terribly cold and offensive."
If you think THAT'S offensive, check out the devil outfit I dressed Nelson in here:
Keep complaining. I'll make more.

They were right to excommunicate you. Thanks for making that clear, finally. Your light has gone out, replaced with hatred and bitterness. There is no wisdom to be found here. May you find your way back to the light someday, God willing.

matt lohrke said...

Dave - I think you're right. I've been recently thinking about the idea that we tend to overstate or overemphasize Joseph's mission.

In the BOC (same section you mention), the Lord said that he reserved the BOM for a wise purpose which would be known to future generations (hopefully that's us). And then followed it with "But this generation shall have my word," which later became, "this generation shall have my word through you." I think there may be a difference there. I don't really know. Just thinking out loud.

The kicker in all of this is that if the Gentiles hardened their hearts and rejected the BOM, they would be delivered up to Satan. Well, we did and we were.

Zebedee said...

Wait, what? It's right to excommunicate someone because he or she has a different opinion than you? What kind of message is that?

Dave P. said...

One of someone who is afraid to think differently from how they're told, Zebedee.

Eric Kuntz said...

TBM's love their doublethink

"Doublethink is the ability to hold two completely contradictory beliefs at the same time and to believe they are both true."

matt lohrke said...

We are here:

...And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

jstcommentary said...

Great job as usual. What amazes me is how clearly you laid this all out, and yet there is always some cowardly fool willing to criticize your work. You would think that anyone with an ounce of common sense who actually believed the LDS was the Lord's would be smart enough to A. not read this blog or B. read it but not reveal their ignorance by commenting. Anyone with a even one tenth of a spine would also use their name to comment.

John Scott Peterson

Alan Rock Waterman said...

If You Love Me Keep My Commandments,

So you believe my light has gone out because I chose to use a title you don't find even a tiny bit humorous. Okay, fine. But I think you're niggling over a mote.

Shouldn't you be more concerned about the light that has gone out of Russell Nelson and his cronies in the quorum resulting from their blatant disobedience to God's clear commandments which were given to the church through direct revelation?

You've given yourself the username "If You Love Me Keep My Commandments" yet you call me out over an insignificant headline, while ignoring the entire essay below it that promotes that very position: that the Church would be better served if those in leadership positions were to OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS given to them by Jesus Christ.

I'm having difficulty figuring out what you stand for, my friend. Do you favor obedience to God, or are you simply promoting idolatry?

Unknown said...

I do not suppose that what I post will change minds. But, I think it is worth considering that crucial source has been omitted in this discussion. The entire line of reasoning seems to depend upon Joseph's instructions in Kirtland that the twelve would have responsibility outside of Zion. At that time "Zion" referred to the saints in Missouri. That group had to leave and "Zion," in that sense, no longer existed.

Rock said that if the Lord wanted to change the instructions to the twelve, he would do that through Joseph Smith by revelation. That happened on August 16, 1841 as published in the Times and Seasons (1 September, 1841: 521-22). I found this reference in "Words of Joseph Smith" by Cook and Ehat. Joseph said:

"The time has come when the twelve should be called upon to stand in their place next to the first presidency, and attend to the settling of emigrants and the business of the church at the stakes, and assist to bear of the kingdom victoriously to the nations."

Given that Joseph was teaching this in Nauvoo, it is not surprising that people at that time would read D&C 107 in the manner that they did.

Peter Brown said...

I find that curious as well. We must remember the enormous implicit power gained by the Twelve after their successful missions to the British Isles. They are were popular. On one hand, I could see Joseph leaning upon them more for leadership. He had that right. But the changes were not canonized. And . . . Many things written in Joseph's name in the Times and Seasons were often not from Joseph. It's not as reliable as say, a revelation. It also does not negate the serious dereliction of scriptural command that occurred later with the disbanding of the High Council in 1845 to the dissolution of the office of patriarch in 2013. These things would bode better if we could view them at heavenly revealed and canonize them as such. The Community of Christ do better at following such patterns.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Occasional Contemplator,
I didn't want my piece to go on and on describing minutiae, so I did not go into much detail regarding the duties of the Twelve, other than to make the general statement that their responsibilities were to the church outside the established stakes.

Their responsibilities of course extended to assisting in settling the emigrant converts just as their duties included building up branches where there were no stakes. They had enormous leeway in their sphere, even to the calling of officers in branches. They had all the same type of authority the high council had; just somewhere else.

The Twelve were not always abroad. They did have some responsibilities in Nauvoo; they just weren't permitted to interfere with the governing of the church.

These converts that came from England and Canada were the responsibility of the Twelve. They had converted them, they were expected to help settle them as they gathered to Zion. They were also responsible for raising funds for that purpose. It's one reason they had the Seventy; some Seventies went abroad, but many were headquartered at Nauvoo for this very purpose. After all, there were only twelve apostles and if just those twelve spent all their time settling emigrants from England, they wouldn't get back there to do any preaching.

Joseph's charge given at Kirtland did not change when the church headquarters were moved, whether it was Kirtland, Missouri, or Nauvoo; where the Church headquarters ended up was where the Central High Council held sway. Call it Zion, or call it Nauvoo, wherever the high council was, the right of government remained.

You rightly quoted, "The time has come when the twelve should be called upon to stand in their place next to the first presidency, and attend to the settling of emigrants and the business of the church at the stakes, and assist to bear off the kingdom victoriously to the nations."

This charge for the Twelve to "stand in their place next to the stake presidency and attend to the settling of emigrants" was one way of saying, "Hey, get over here and take care of these converts you brought over into the stakes. It's your responsibility to get them settled in." But then "don't forget your other duty: assist in bearing off the kingdom victoriously to the nations." (meaning out in the world.)

One thing Joseph did not do was ignore the Lord's instructions to the Twelve. Their place was next to the First Presidency in the same sense the high council's place was next to the First Presidency: equal in authority, but separate in duties.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Peter Brown makes an excellent point, by the way. Although I don't have a quarrel with that quote insisting the Twelve take their place next to the FP and help with the Emigrants, half the time it's hard to tell WHAT Joseph actually said because so much was deleted, crossed out, and added. (By the way, Contemplator, can you furnish me with the page number of that quote? I've got The Words of Joseph Smith here next to me, but I don't feel like searching for it.)

You make a point about the tremendous success of the Twelve in the British Isles which I think is pertinent, Peter. It would appear that nearly all the converts followed Brigham and the Twelve to the Rockies, since they were loyal to those who converted them. A good many of those who would have nothing to do with Brigham seem to be the rough & tumble frontier American types who were not impressed and preferred to stay behind. I always thought it odd that Hyrum's widow went to Utah because it made sense to me that she would stay with Hyrum's family. But Emma was just her in-law and all her friends were going to the Rockies. Not to mention John Taylor, who was the missionary who converted her. She had only been married to Hyrum for a year or two; what deep bond did she have with Hyrum's sister in law, or his brother William, compared to the bond of all the other British immigrants including all those she was close to?

Brigham would have preferred the allegiance of Emma, but that wasn't going to happen. Getting Hyrum's wife was someone he had to settle for. At least she was a Smith. He was happy to have her along, and groomed her son for leadership.

The great rivalry between the Utah Church and the Plains Mormons didn't begin until the cousins, Joseph Fielding Smith and Joseph Smith the third were old enough to take sides against each other. After that it was one continuing argument over who had the authority. It would have been better if all had remained on friendly terms, but it was a family quarrel over who was boss.

In the mid to late 1840s to 50s the Plains Mormons simply considered the Utah Saints to be a far away branch of the church, no different than themselves. Brigham had not yet shown his tyrannical side, and the cousins had not started attacking one another.

Dave P. said...

Once again we are also seeing the great ironic example of how insecure the true blue membership can be about their "unshakable" faith. Very often I see the TBMs in Tribune articles and on Twitter declare "The church is 100% true!" and often quote Joseph Smith's "Standard of Truth" declaration.

That begs the question: Then why are you all utterly afraid of even the slightest amount of scrutiny? The moment any single person from within or without dares to ask a challenging question, it is dismissed entirely and the person discredited in every way imaginable?

That is not faith. That is denial. Utter denial in the idea there may be a gap in what you've been told to think. Rather than allow faith to strengthen by meeting the challenges and rising above them, they are pushed aside with non-arguments and derision, leaving the corporation thinking it continues to win while everyone outside of the bubble sees otherwise. It's no small wonder Moroni gave the warning in Ether to literally "Wake up!" I do not think he was merely saying to wake up from being asleep, but also from being in a trance.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Very well said, Dave P.

Advoc8 Tom M said...

Rock, that is an excellent article, with information that is all very good and well.
I love a simplistic approach though, like Jesus (the real Jesus) often used in presenting His Higher Law of "Less is More" (Love God, neighbor and self like unto each other - equally) and doing away with all the fluff, puffery and endless letter of the law.

Nobody has a corner on all truth nor upon dealing in the Holy Ghost.
No man or organization can grant, sell, command or revoke the Holy Ghost, or Heaven, Jesus said.

Jesus does not need Bullies to spread and force salvation and enforce His Truth and Gospel (GOOD News).
I believe that was the other brother's plan (Saint'nism).

"Wherefore, by their commandments, teachings and actions ye shall know them."
also D&C 46:7

Zebedee said...

At a special conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, held in the City of Nauvoo, August 16th, 1841. Elder Brigham Young was unanimously appointed to preside over the conference, and Elias Smith, and Lorenzo Barnes were appointed Clerks.

After singing by the choir, conference opened by prayer by the President.

The object of the conference was then presented by the President, who stated that President Joseph Smith, (who was then absent on account of the death of his child,) had called a special conference to transact certain items of business necessary to be done previos [previous] to the October conference, such as to select men of experience to send forth into the vineyard, take measures to assist emigrants who may arrive at the places of gathering, and prevent impositions being practiced upon them by nnprincipled [unprincipled] speculators, &c, &c,; and he hoped that no one could view him and his brethren, as aspiring because they had come forward to take part in the proceedings before them; for he could assure the brethren that nothing could be father [farther] from his wishes and that of his Quorum, than to interpose with church affairs at Zion and her stakes, for he had been in the vineyard so long he had become attached to foreign missions, and nothing could induce him to retire therefrom, and attend the affairs of the church at home but a sense of duty, the requirements of heaven, or the revelations of God, to which he would always submit, be the consequence what it might; and the brethren of his Quorum responded Amen.

A list of names of the elders, and cities were read by the president, and a few were selected by nomination and designated as follow: voted that Elders
H. G. Sherwood go to N. Orleans, La.
A. O. Smoot " Charleston, S. C.
B. Winchester " Salem, Mass.
Erastus Snow " Salem, Mass.
John Murdock " Baltimore Md.
Samuel James " Washington D. C.
On motion of V. Knight, seconded by Samuel Bent:

Resolved, that the Quorum of the twelve select the indivduals [individuals] to go and preach in such places as they may judge expedient, and present the same to the conference; with a view of expediating [expediting] the business of the day.

The situation of the poor of Nauvoo City, was then presented to the conference by Bishops Knights and Miller, and a collection taken for their benefit.

After singing, conference adjourned until 2 o'clock P. M.

Zebedee said...


Conference assembled at 2 P. M. and was addressed by Elders L. Barnes and H. G. Sherwood, concerning the spread of the gospel and the building up of the kingdom of God in these last days.

President Joseph Smith now arriving proceeded to state to the conference at considerable length, the object of their present meeting, and in addition to what President Young had stated in the morning, said that the time had come when the twelve should be called upon to stand in their place next to the first presidency, and attend to the settling of emegrants [emigrants] and the business of the church at the stakes, and assist to bear off the kingdom victorious to the nations; and as they had been faithful and had borne the burden in the heat of the day that it was right that they should have an opportunity of provididing [providing] something for themselves and families, and at the same time relieve him so that he might attend to the businesss [business] of translating.

Motioned seconded and carried that the conference approve of the instructions of President Smith, in relation to the twelve, and that they proceed accordingly, to attend to the duties of their office.

Motioned and seconded and carried unanimously, that every individual who shall hereafter be found trying to influence any emigrants belonging to the church, either to buy of them (except provisions,) or sell to them, (excepting the church agents) shall be immediately tried for fellowship, and dealt with as offenders, and unless they repent shall be cut off from the church.

President Rigdon then made some appropiate [appropriate] remarks on speculations.

It was moved that the conference accept the doings of the twelve, in designating certain individuals to certain cities &c. When president Joseph Smith, remarked that, the conference had already sanctioned the doings of the twelve, and it belonged to their office to transact such business with the approbation of the first presidency and he would then state what cities should now be built up viz: Nauvoo, Zarahemla, Warren, Nashville, and Ramus.

Resolved, that this conferance [conference] adjourn to the time of the general conference in October next. Closed with prayer by President Young.

Brigham Young, Pres't,
Elias Smith,}
Lorenzo Barnes,} Clerks.

Zebedee said...

That is the complete text from the Times and Seasons.

Unknown said...

What's really fun is when you get to the point in your spiritual development where you realize none of this stuff matters in the least, and the only people who truly worry themselves with the specifics are either Sadducees or Pharisees. Christ (and those with the same mind) couldn't care less about all of the details, for that's truly where the devil is.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks, Zebedee.
For those who are not aware, there were some greedy saints buying up property with the express purpose of reselling to the new converts at grossly inflated profits. The saints were commanded to gather in one place, therefore these "land speculators" knew they had a good thing if they could grab enough land in advance, they could make a killing when the new people arrived looking to buy a parcel to live on. Thus the rule put in place preventing anyone but the proper agents from selling to the emigrants.

Matthias said...

Rock, so do you believe Joseph III was Joseph Smith Jr.'s legal successor then? Should the saints have joined the RLDS and not followed Brigham west?

You seem to imply as much. That would fit some of the other views expressed on your blog such as polygamy being an invention of Brigham Young and Brigham Young being a power hungry, sex crazed, wicked man.

Also where do you stand on the endowment and sealings introduced by Joseph Smith in Nauvoo? Are the endowment and sealing necessary priesthood ordinance for salvation and exaltation?

I've been reading your blog for some time now. You point out concerns, but you don't generally offer solutions.

I think it's important for your readers to know exactly where you stand on these points so that they can discern whether you are preaching pure mormonism or different theology.

Jared Livesey said...


Joseph said saving priesthood ordinances are not to be changed nor altered. source citation to Joseph Smith Papers

Brigham said Joseph told him "Brother Brigham, this is not arranged right, but we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed, and I want you to take this matter in hand and organize and systematize all these ceremonies." Thus what Brigham gave the Church was not what Joseph gave Brigham. source citation to The Ensign

If both Joseph and Brigham told the truth, the logical conclusion is that the endowments never were necessary for salvation, or, if they ever were necessary for salvation, Brigham lied and what we have cannot save and are thus not necessary.

Take the conclusion you like best, as those are your only options if Joseph was truthful. Either one of these conclusions means those who say the endowments are necessary are preaching some other theology than that taught by Joseph Smith.

Jared Livesey

Chris Tolworthy said...

@matt lohrke

So the Lorenzo Snow vision was reported many years later, by Alice Pond? Wasn't she Dr Who's companion? Then she could have been there.

matt lohrke said...

@Chris - haha, I think that mighta been Amy Pond? ;) Perhaps a relative?

matt lohrke said...

@cachemagic - thanks for checking. I remember reading something different, or got it confused with something else.

Chris Tolworthy said...


Nah, I think they just misheard her name :) I just checked: Dr Who had Amelia Pond (shortened to Amy), and the Lorenzo Snow story comes from Alice Armeda Pond. I can easily see how Alice Armeda got shortened to Amelia. And how the Lorenzo Snow vision comment could have been an episode from Dr Who: kindly old man with his young companion, tells her about an alien visitation. A simple misunderstanding

Sorry to be irreverent! Back to the serious stuff.

matt lohrke said...

@Chris - you make a solid argument. ;)

James Q. Muir said...

A people who fail to take the commanded gospel of Jesus Christ seriously can hardly be expected to take seriously anything the Lord said. Some one please supply a list of any and all treatments of Acts Chapter One where the Lord labored forty days among the Jews who were already his disciples and apostles to coach them as to how the MUST get the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. I do not think that it has ever been taken seriously. Why......? Nobody has ever kept that commandment. Joseph saw it for himself before he went into the grove. He knew that Christianity was NOT doing according to that which is written. Not getting it right to begin with makes Zion impossible. And to this day it remains the same error.

LDS leadership feels just fine doing what they want because they never subjected their whole heart, might, mind and strength to the Lord in taking his name upon them with full purpose of heart unto the actual forsaking of the world like is typified by baptism in laying down your life in this world to take up a new life with Christ in God being truly begotten of God and brought thereby into the kingdom of God. They have never been wrought upon and cleansed and sanctified and so that means nothing to them so opening the temple to all the unclean is just good business in getting everyone to covenant all they have to the CHURCH!

Matthias said...

Well Jared, I think your conclusion is flawed.

So you're saying that there's really no chance whatsoever that the covenants and keywords of the endowment are required for exaltation, but the ritual portion of the endowment ceremony (the instruction and symbolism) may not have been fully developed and organized at the death of Joseph Smith?

There's no chance that the limited space in the upper room of the red brink store was not sufficient to fully organize the endowment the way in which the Lord wanted the general body of the saints to receive it?

I think you're trying to force a preconceived contradiction to fit the facts instead of looking at the facts objectively. The traditional narrative of the church is the most likely scenario and not your little either or scenario.

I think you have a really good point about not changing the ordinances. The church has completely changed the endowment from the Nauvoo Temple and early Utah. Up to 1990 it was still pretty close, but since then it has really gone off the rails. I mean shoot, now they force people to sit back in their chairs while making the signs and covenants which is a complete lack of reverence for God.

Eric Kuntz said...

ALL Mormon temple rituals are un-scriptural and therefore “cometh of evil.”

When it comes to the saving ordinances, God does nothing in secret.

19. For the Lord worketh NOT IN SECRET COMBINATIONS… (Ether 8)

23. I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness… (2Nephi 26)

Q: What are the saving ordinance?

23 And he that believeth and is baptized SHALL BE SAVED, but he that believeth not shall be damned; (Mormon 9)

33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same SHALL BE SAVED; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. (3Nephi 11)

34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye MAY BE SAVED. (Moroni 7)

A: The scriptures are clear that if you believe, repent and are baptized you are saved. End of story.

Jared Livesey said...


You are free to demonstrate the conclusion to be flawed if you like.

1. If a priesthood ordinance is necessary for salvation then that ordinance cannot be changed nor altered, said Joseph Smith.
2. Brigham Young said Joseph told him to arrange and systematize the endowments.
3. It is a necessary truth that to arrange and systematize something is to change and alter it.
4. Let us assume Joseph was telling the truth.
5. If Brigham told the truth, Joseph told Brigham to change and alter the endowments, which by their changeability and alterability therefore cannot be necessary for salvation.
6. If Brigham was not telling the truth, the changed and altered endowments Brigham delivered cannot be necessary for salvation.

The conclusions follow ineluctably from the words of Joseph and Brigham alone as publicly published by the Church. Logic, of course, favors no side. This is not a matter of question-begging, as you imply, where one starts with the conclusion and reasons backwards to required antecedents, but it is instead a straightforward constructive proof which follows deductively from the given antecedents: the words of Joseph and Brigham.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

Indeed, to reject the logical implications of Joseph and Brigham's statements, which is that the endowments as we have them cannot be necessary for salvation, based on the premise that the endowments as we have them MUST BE or ARE necessary for salvation, is to commit the fallacy of question-begging - which is to assume the truth of the conclusion the argument purports to prove as a premise.

Jared Livesey

Zebedee said...

We just had a special stake conference, and most speakers including the visiting Seventy talked a lot about the temple with its “sacred covenants” and “sacred saving ordinances” and how the temple is needed for salvation as it holds the “highest blessings of the Church.” Two speakers even talked about needing the signs and tokens to pass by the sentinels to get to heaven.

I was disappointed. I came hungering and thirsting, hoping to hear the words of Christ. But instead I was preached to that salvation only comes through the temple. I guess it was the theme.

The reality is, Christ employs no servant there. That means there are no sentinels that we have to give secret handshakes to. There are no earthly authorities between us and salvation. There is only us and Christ. He is the ONLY way. His Gospel plan is open, free, and easy for anyone and everyone who has faith in Him.

But sadly that isn’t talked about much. Christ seems to have been replaced or delegated to a scriptural soundbite to give validity to the philosophies of men.

Jared Livesey said...

Just because the endowments are broken doesn't mean they are useless.

Treat them as though they were the real thing and the real thing will be made known to you.

1. Obey the law and commandments of God, and sacrifice that which he commands of you.
2. Obey the law of the gospel.
3. Avoid light-mindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice.
4. Consecrate yourself to building up his kingdom on earth and establishing Zion.
5. Don't have sexual contact with those who are not your lawful and legal spouse.

The interpretation of the endowments is given unto men predicated upon their diligence.

Jared Livesey

Matthias said...

Jared, believe it or not I'm not taking a hardline stance that the endowment HAS to be a requirement for exaltation. That is what Brigham, Heber C. Kimball and others taught who received not only their endowments and sealings through Joseph Smith, but also their second annointings.

Now if you want to call these guys bold faced liars, go right ahead. I suppose that your opinion is just as valid sitting in your living room in 2018 as those of individuals who had the endowment given to them by Joseph Smith himself in 1844.

Also, YOU are defining arranging and systemizing as "altering or changing." If Brigham Young had changed the covenants, signs, tokens, and names, the garment, temple clothing, etc, then he would likely have been altering the endowment. Arranging and systemizing the endowment to allow the endowment to be administered to a large group of people is not altering it.

I doubt you'll back off your stance, since you never do, so here's a different question for you.

If the endowment is not an ordinance required for salvation then what is it? What is the purpose of the signs, tokens, and names of the priesthood? They must have some crucial significance since Abraham included them in his facsimiles and Joseph Smith introduced them to quite a few saints in Nauvoo.

The RLDS rejected them, do you and Rock reject them, too.

Jared Livesey said...


Here is a sequence of numbers: 1, 3, 8, 5, 2, 1.

These numbers are not random, but fit a predetermined pattern. Here's what I want of you: systemize and arrange this sequence into the pattern from whence they came without changing the sequence and without altering the sequence.

Jared Livesey

Zebedee said...

Those on Log's list are all things any true Christian should be doing. If we follow the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the baptismal covenant, I think that covers that list. No ceremonial secret oaths required.

Where are the additional saving aspects of the ceremony?

Jared Livesey said...

The task I have asked MC to accomplish is, of course, logically impossible by virtue of the definitions of the words being used.

Systematize means "to arrange things according to a system or rule," which entails arranging things in a different order than they are initially found. There is no need to systematize something that is already ordered according to the desired system or rule.

Thus, systematizing and arranging necessarily entail changing the thing being systematized and arranged. Since change and alter are synonymous, to systematize and arrange the endowments is to change them and is also to alter them.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...


There are no saving aspects of the ceremony. The endowments as we have received them are broken, being changed and altered - or, if you prefer, systematized and arranged - from their original form, which we never had access to. Nevertheless, whoso shall take them seriously and execute them as he has received them with all diligence and real intent shall learn from heaven what they mean.

Jared Livesey

Matthias said...

Jared, I'm not going to play your little numbers game. You are making an apples to oranges comparison at best.

You insist that to systemize and arrange means to alter. Can you provide any evidence that Brigham Young altered the endowment before it was given in the Nauvoo Temple?

The endowment was not written down. That was by design. It was supposed to be transmitted orally. Naturally there would be some slight variation in the ceremony without some kind of system or arrangement in place. Even then there would still be some variation.

Brigham Young and the 12 arranging and systemizing the endowment does not mean that they changed the order or sequence in which certain instruction was given, let alone changed the signs, names, tokens, and covenants.

It means they took the endowment they had been given, and using their best judgement and the promptings of the spirit, put it together in a way that it could be administered to the body of the saints in the attic of the Nauvoo Temple.

If that constitutes corrupting the endowment, then there really is nothing to go on is there?

Is they story of the creation in the scriptures true, or has it been corrupted? Was Mormon using a corrupted and incorrectly recorded history to compile the BOM?

Can we trust what is recorded in the gospels, or are they all corrupted and not binding upon us?

For that matter what is the correct wordage for baptisms? The version in the 1835 D&C or the one from the BOM? What is the exact method for bestowing the Holy Ghost? The scriptures don't give us exact terminology, yet a man must be born again of water and the spirit to be saved.

I don't doubt that the endowment began to be corrupted long before the overhaul in 1990, but at what point was it made invalid? Is it even invalid now?

Just because Snuffer says that the endowment is not the real thing and only points to a real one doesn't mean anything. Show me where Joseph Smith or any of the early brethren said that. Snuffer just makes this stuff up as he goes along.

Jared Livesey said...


I am not referring to anything Snuffer has said. I referred you directly to Joseph and Brigham, both published by Church sources, who, combined, logically disprove the claim that the endowments are necessary for salvation.

Either Joseph was telling the truth or he was not. If he was telling the truth, regardless of whether Brigham was telling the truth, the endowments as we have them are broken and unnecessary.

If Joseph was lying, then whence Mormonism? For all liars go to hell, said God (D&C 63:17; Revelation 21:8; 2 Nephi 26:32).

Jared Livesey

Matthias said...

Jared, well it's good thing that I don't have to rely on your forced conclusions for my salvation.

I just explained how your interpretation is quite flawed and really without merit. Unless you can provide evidence that the essential parts of the endowment were altered by Brigham Young, your argument doesn't have a leg to stand on.

You can take two quotes, give them both the most extreme interpretation possible, and then pit them against each other all you want. It doesn't prove a darn thing. You weren't in Nauvoo and neither was I. I believe the testimonies of those who received their endowments from Joseph Smith. You apparently do not and instead insist on scrutinizing two quotes that need not be at odds with each other.

And yes you were repeating Snuffer doctrines in your comments to Zebedee. Snuffer is the one who started peddling the idea that the endowment is not the real thing and only points to the real thing. Something Joseph never taught to my knowledge.

By all means please prove me wrong. I willing to be shown to be in error. Please provide some evidence that Brigham altered the signs, tokens, names, garment, or covenants of the endowment in the Nauvoo Temple. Please provide evidence that Joseph taught that the endowment was not the real thing, but pointed to the real thing.

If you can't provide this evidence then we're done here.

Jared Livesey said...

If Brigham was telling the truth about Joseph's instructions to him, that the endowments were to be held susceptible to systematizing and arranging, means the endowments were never necessary for salvation.

Only if Brigham was lying about Joseph's instructions to him could the endowments have ever been necessary for salvation, and then only before Brigham changed anything.

The oath of vengeance was apparently not a part of what Joseph delivered, commencing in 1845 by instruction of Brigham and apparently not appearing in the ceremony before (citation to Dialogue Journal, Vol. 20, Number 4, p. 53). So Brigham apparently changed things pretty swiftly after Joseph and Hyrum's deaths, thus changing and altering the ordinance. And let us not forget the lecture at the veil.

So, what Brigham passed as the endowments on was never necessary for salvation, whether or not he was ever telling the truth.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

I wonder why Jesus is never accused of repeating the doctrine of John, the Baptist. After all, John came first, and taught repentance and baptism by water and by fire, just like Jesus did.

Maybe Jesus and John independently got their doctrine from the same source: heaven.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a fallacy.

Jared Livesey

Matthias said...

Adding the oath of vengeance as part of the prayer circle does not change the covenants, signs, tokens, etc. It is merely a covenant to pray for the Lord's vengeance to come upon the wicked who slew their beloved prophet and other saints. Brigham Young may have been wrong to add that. Who knows we weren't there. The Lord could have inspired him to add it to appease the saints desire for revenge. We just don't know.

The lecture at the veil was added near the end of Brigham's life if I remember correctly. A lecture does not change the actually ceremony and covenants. It is merely an explanation of what was already covenanted. Would explaining the baptismal covenant to someone who was just baptized invalidate that ordinance?

Got any real evidence of a corrupted or changed endowment by Brigham Young?

Jared Livesey said...


I've made my case. I'm content to let the audience weigh our words for themselves.

I will note in closing that the kind of argument you make for the salvific necessity of the endowments - speculatively separating it into "parts" with the transparent goal of claiming if any of the "parts" can possibly have survived from Joseph to today, then those portions may possibly be claimed to be necessary - justifies the Catholic practice of baptism by sprinkling. After all, they have preserved the essential element of "water." And, if they ever had authority, apparently altering the ordinances did not strip them of authority, on the same argument you make for the endowments.

Joseph made this issue simple: if a priesthood ordinance is necessary for salvation then it is not to be changed. It is not to be altered. All must be saved upon the same principle (rule or law).

And Brigham said Joseph told him to change the endowments.

And the endowments have been changed, by all admissions and accounts.

Therefore, the endowments as we have received them are not necessary for salvation.

Or Joseph was a liar.

Isaiah 24:5-6
5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

Clearly this speaks of the coming of the Lord. Which ordinance could Isaiah possibly have been speaking of? Baptism? Endowments?

JST Matthew 21:51-56
Matt 21:51 Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.

Matt 21:52 I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me and shall be broken.

Matt 21:53 And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (meaning the Gentiles).

Matt 21:54 Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

Matt 21:55 And when the Lord, therefore, of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

Matt 21:56 And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

So, it seems it is the Gentiles who possess the kingdom of God who shall be fried for changing the ordinance at the coming of the Lord. Whoever could that possibly be? Which Gentiles claim to possess the kingdom of God today, and have changed an ordinance?

Jared Livesey

Eric Kuntz said...

The 'endowments' are more than just useless they are downright "evil".

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you MY DOCTRINE. 32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. 33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. 34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. 35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. 36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one. 37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. 38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. 39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. 40 And WHOSO SHALL DECLARE MORE OR LESS THAN THIS, AND ESTABLISH IT FOR MY DOCTRINE, THE SAME COMETH OF EVIL, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. (3Nephi 11:31-40)

Is there any mention of temple ordinances in the doctrine of Christ? Nope. Jesus makes it clear that anything more “cometh of evil.”

Eric Kuntz said...

Oh and yes Joseph was a liar. A very good one at that.

Jared Livesey said...


Where and when did Joseph claim the endowments were part of the doctrine of Christ?

Jared Livesey

Alan Rock Waterman said...

MC asked, "Rock, so do you believe Joseph III was Joseph Smith Jr.'s legal successor then? Should the saints have joined the RLDS and not followed Brigham west?"

I have no idea whether Joseph the third was his father's legal successor or not. Certainly that was the understanding of most of the saints, based upon things Joseph Smith said on at least a couple of occasions. I'm going just by my memory here, but I believe at least one of those occasions was during a sermon at the grove, where most of the saints were present. There were apparently witnesses to a blessing Joseph gave his son to that effect, but given the inaccuracy rampant among witnesses at the time, he may have been giving him a patriarchal blessing, by which I mean telling him one day he would be the patriarch.

Joseph 3 would have been in line to be patriarch, if anything because it was a familial office. Could be president, but of course that would not have automatically made him a prophet. We tend to look at the Brigham/Joseph III rivalry as between two prophets, but Brigham was not one, and I don't know if Joseph III claimed the gifts.

If he were to become president of the church, he would have still had to be elected by the people, which would have been likely had Brigham not sabotaged everything. But I don't think the presidency of the church is as all-fired important a calling as Mormons seem to think it is. The church could have managed quite well without anyone presiding over them, as was true for that half the membership who did not go to the Rockies.

My current view, subject to revision, is no, the saints should not have joined the RLDS church. After the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, the saints who remained behind organized local branches in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and practiced the religion without organization or a president, or any hierarchy of any kind, which I think was proper. Most of them were later persuaded to gather under the umbrella organization that came to be known as the Reorganized Church, and it was then that they made their first error. The RLDS Church incorporated, which was a move just as bone-headed as what the Brighamite church did.

You ask if I believe in the endowment and sealings. My understanding of the endowment is that it became massively entangled with masonic ritual under Brigham, and especially Willard Richards and Wm Clayton, who had been ranking Masons before they joined the church.

Not even sure at this point that a temple was necessary for the endowment; it appears to have been a protective blessing given to departing missionaries, and Joseph did those and washings and anointing aplenty without a temple being necessary. As for sealings, they were intended to seal people to each other in a long priesthood chain going back to Adam, connecting all the human race through the priesthood, which is another thing the Church has gotten wrong today. Sealings were NOT about marrying multiple women to one man.

See Denver Snuffer's explanation of the sealing ordinance here:

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Chris and Matt, I think you're on to something. The Dr. Who connection to the Lorenzo Snow myth is the only explanation that makes any sense.

matt lohrke said...

Regarding all the back and forth about the endowment:

has anyone inquired of the Lord?

Eric Kuntz said...

I am not aware if JS Joseph ever claimed the endowments were part of the doctrine of Christ by his words, either spoken or written, but he did institute the Temple ritual by his actions at least and millions of Mormons believe that to be the case. And we still have that added evil fruit with us to this day.

From the scriptures, we can plainly discern why Jesus said of his doctrine that anyone that added more or less from the simple gospel of being baptized and coming unto him, “cometh of evil.”

26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. (1Nephi 8)

Why was the great and spacious building in the air? Because it had no foundation. None. Its foundation wasn’t even sandy. Just air.

What is the only true foundation we can build on? The Truth, our Lord, our God, Christ.

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation... (Helaman 5)

Christ is the only sure foundation.

JS built all kinds of things on air and sandy foundations.

Matthias said...

Jared, please stop putting words in my mouth. I never said or even suggested in any way that the endowment should be divided into parts and if any of the 'parts'can possibly have survived from Joseph to today, then those portions may possibly be claimed to be necessary for salvation. That's not what I'm saying at all.

I'm saying that you have ZERO proof that Brigham changed the endowment and corrupted it from what Joseph introduced in the red brick store.

All you have is some stupid interpretation of two quotes that do NOT in and of themselves contradict each other. If you could show how Brigham Young altered the endowment and corrupted it, your interpretation of those quotes might have some validity, but you are clearly unable to do so.

I actually agree with you that 24:5-6 is referring to the LDS church changing the temple ordinances. The difference is that I believe this scripture is referring to the changes since Brigham Young and the end of plural marriage, instead of by Brigham Young himself. I can produce a long list of evidence to support my beliefs. You haven't been able to produce anything even remotely concrete to support your accusations against Brother Brigham.

Here let's play your little quote game and see where it takes us.

Joseph Smith said that the ordinances of salvation are not to be changed. Joseph Smith then changes the baptismal prayer from the BOM/BOC to the one contained in the D&C in 1835.

So either Joseph Smith is a liar through and through or Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet by 1835 and EVERY LDS baptism since 1835 is not valid. This includes yours, mine, Snuffer's, Rock's, everybody's, except maybe the disciples of Christ founded by David Whitmer.

Take your pick.

Zebedee said...

Given how much of LDS history has been "revised" or flat out manufactured by Brigham and Co. how do we know for certain what Joseph Smith did in the Red Brick Store if anything?

There seems to be lacking evidence from Joseph's own mouth. According to what I can read in the public record at the time (D&C and Times and Seasons) the Nauvoo Temple was primarily for baptisms for the dead. And any sealing was because of that ordinance. Most of what we learn about the temple came after Joseph's death, from Brigham himself.

Can someone point me to some sources so I can read for myself what Joseph really institute in the store? Did Emma say anything about it? She must have had her endowments there you would think if they took place.

Matthias said...

Matt, I have prayed about the endowment. In fact as I began to realize that something was wrong with the church, I felt inspired to really examine the changes to the endowment, as the 1990 changes were before my time.

The long list of changes I discovered since the 1920s was enough to put me over the edge. It was then that I prayed and asked if the church is in a state of apostasy and got the undeniable witness that it is.

Beyond that I haven't been able to reach a definitive answer on exactly how the apostasy happened and what all is true and false. I'm still investigating. I have studied the endowment issue extensively and can see nothing Satanic about it. I still have questions, and probably will until the Lord's house is set in order by the one mighty and strong. Right now we are all walking in darkness, because of the apostasy. I don't think anyone has all the answers.

I investigated Snuffer pretty seriously and discovered he's full of it. I haven't been able to find the complete truth about our current situation. I don't know that anyone has it right now. I think we find ourselves in a situation similar to the great apostasy. We contend with each other, because none of us have the whole truth.

Betsy said...


You said-"So either Joseph Smith is a liar through and through or Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet by 1835...Right now we are all walking in darkness, because of the apostasy. I don't think anyone has all the answers."

Have you had a look at Watcher's blog at (Also Searcher at

Watcher would agree with you that Joseph was a fallen prophet by 1835 (ish) and that because of the apostasy we don't, in fact can't, have the all answers. He also rejects the temple. It's an interesting blog.

Linda Gale said...

In the endowment ceremony we are required to make solemn oaths with eternal consequences, which oaths we have not had time to consider all of the ramifications ahead of the time at which we make them.

Would God require us to blindly make oaths which have eternal consequences?

To me this would be unconscionable.

This is reason enough to find the endowment ceremony to be something to be avoided.

Jared Livesey said...


You say: "All you have is some stupid interpretation of two quotes that do NOT in and of themselves contradict each other. "

I say: Brigham said Joseph told him to change the ordinance by systematizing and arranging it, thus altering and changing it from whatever Joseph delivered. If Brigham told the truth, the alterability and changability of the endowments alone suffices to show that the endowments cannot be necessary for salvation, per Joseph, without the need for demonstrating any changes. If Brigham lied, his systematizing and arranging the endowments changed and altered them, thus what he passed on cannot be necessary for salvation, per Joseph. QED

For evidence Brigham changed things after Joseph's death, see the Dialogue article cited above (Vol. 20, No. 4, p. 33 onward).

The quotes from Joseph and Brigham do not contradict each other, indeed - instead, they contradict any man any time anywhere who ever claims that the endowments as we have received them are a priesthood ordinance necessary for salvation.

Why fight it?

Jared Livesey

Dave P. said...

The answer to if the endowment is of the Lord is already found in the scriptures. The endowment requires swearing an oath. Christ said, "Swear not at all and never make any kind of oath." The fact that members are required to consecrate everything to "the church" instead of God is also idolatry.

I've mentioned before that D&C Section 132 is the basis for the church's biggest marketing gimmick of "families are forever" but the biggest con- yes, con- the corporation is responsible for is the following paraphrase from Hinckley,

"Either the church is true or it is not. If the Book of Mormon is true, then everything that's attached to its coming forh must also be true." (Emphasis added) Of course that includes Joseph being a prophet, the "line of succession" of church presidents, the temple endowment, etc.

Here is what I have to say to that: How dare you attach your cancerous ideas to the keystone of the Restoration while completely ignoring the fact that basically everything the church ever did to fall out of God's favor came from treating lightly or outright ignoring what the Book of Mormon warns against!

The discussion above refers to the idea that Joseph became a fallen prophet by 1835. After reading up on more materials and altering my way of thinking, I've come to this conclusion: Joseph was never called as a prophet because early accounts of church history talk about several elders having the spirit of prophecy, so they were all prophets in that regard. Joseph was a king and set himself up as one rather than being the first elder of the church who was only tasked to translate the Book of Mormon. The Lord basically said, "Okay, Joseph, I'll humor you and allow this to happen after the parallel of ancient Israel," and the people began to replace the Lord with Joseph as a result. When other prophets within the church started realizing that that was a mistake and Joseph was erring, they were driven out because they dared to speak out against the king: Oliver Cowdery reported on the affair with Fanny Alger. Thomas B. Marsh testified of the Danites. David Whitmer warned about the Danites and prophesied the destruction of the printing press and driving the saints from Jackson County if they published the Book of Commandments (and, in his words, the BoC should never have gone public because the revelations contained therein were personal messages, not directives to everybody).

Fast-forward to today. If you ever dare to question the words of the corporate king, the entire great and spacious building throws everything it has at you in order to protect the king regardless of the contents of the questioning.

It's time we stopped treating Joseph Smith like he was more than what he was called to do: translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God- because there was no way in hades he could have done so otherwise (and the loss of the 116 pages tells us he couldn't even do that without giving in to his weakness). He was repeatedly called weak due to his carnal lusts and desires because he kept succumbing to them. The early saints were told to preach and practice "What is written" in the Book of Mormon and Bible (particularly teachings of Christ in the New Testament) and not rely on a man/king like Israel.

Guess what? That's exactly what happened and if the church does not repent while it still has the window to do so, the Unchanging God will repeat His pattern of cutting it off or destroying it completely and starting over.

We are witnesses to what has happened as a result of the poor choices of the past and yet here we are arguing about what branch to trim off when the disease has spread from the root of the tree. As for what to do? Don't ask me. Don't as Rock. Don't ask Denver Snuffer. Don't ask any man. Seek what the Lord has stated in what is written and inquire of Him directly.

Dave P. said...

Now that I think back on it, I get a chuckle from the supposed quote from Joseph Smith saying, "If Sydney Rigdon ever leads this church, he will lead it to hell within 5 years."

Here's the thing: He already did. Putting Sydney Rigdon in a prominent leadership position in the church was another one of Joseph's biggest mistakes. Rigdon cared more about tradition rather than casting it away for the pure simplicity of the gospel. Because he was a learned man, he brought his way of thinking into the church echelon and duly influenced Joseph as a result, thus creating the precursor to the corporate bureaucracy we see today.

Matthias said...

"Why fight it?"

I could say the same thing for you. Why keep pushing an argument that you can't sustain with actual evidence? Why keep pushing the Snuffer doctrines when they can't be sustained by the scriptures and early church teachings?

Do you have an answer to my question about Joseph changing the baptismal prayer?

If we use the exact same logic you do putting Brigham's and Joseph's quotes together to try and prove that receiving the signs, tokens, and covenants of the endowment are not necessary for salvation, and apply it to baptism what do we get?

1. Baptism isn't required for salvation

2. Joseph Smith corrupted baptism and made it invalid in 1835 (thus invalidating every single baptism since then)

3. Joseph Smith is a liar or fallen prophet

4. Jared's argument about the endowment based on those quotes doesn't hold water

5. Denver Snuffer is peddling nonsense

Take your pick

I won't hold my breath for an answer

Matthias said...

Hi Betsy, I am very much aware of the blogs and teachings of Watcher and Searcher. They are indeed both very interesting.

I believe that it's possible that they're more or less correct.

Having said that, there are some serious blind spots in their position.

For one, if Joseph fell in 1835ish, what do we make of the miracles at the Kirtland Temple dedication? Why would the Lord accept that as his house if his people were now apostate and Joseph was a fallen prophet?

What do we do with the revelations from Missouri and Nauvoo? Watcher accepts them except for D&C 132.

Both Watcher and Searcher have had to pick and choose what scriptures and history they will believe and what they will ignore or minimize.

Yet they still might be pretty close to the truth.

Then again, they might be way off, too.

I've conversed with both of them from time to time. They're good guys, but I question some of their conclusions.

It may just be that I'm not ready for all the truth yet. I'm open to learning and having my paradigm changed, but I'm also very cautious not to be deceived. Sadly many who have discovered the problems with the church latch on to false teachers and are deceived. It's a sad tale.

Jared Livesey said...


I'll stick with the original topic - the endowments.

And if the logic of my argument - which is no argument, but the simple application of Joseph's words at face value - cuts against the validity of LDS baptisms, well, that's not my problem to solve, is it?

"The consequences of 'salvific ordinances cannot be changed or altered' being true are overwhelmingly distasteful to me, therefore it cannot be true!"

The appeal to consequences is also a fallacy. Truth is truth, no matter how distasteful it may seem.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

So, let's see - those who teach that the changeable and alterable endowments are priesthood ordinances necessary for salvation are teaching a different theology than Joseph Smith, who declared that priesthood ordinances necessary for salvation cannot be changed nor altered.

It goes without saying that if Joseph was lying, there is no "pure Mormonism" to speak of, and if he was telling the truth, his views define "pure Mormonism."

Therefore, those who say the endowments as we have received them in their altered and changed state are not necessary for salvation are consistent with pure Mormonism, while those who say otherwise are not.

A word on why apostasy occurs, for those who have by being baptized witnessed before God and men that they seek to do the will of God, or for those who have partaken of the sacramental bread, and witnessed unto God that they are willing - which means desiring - to keep his commandments.

Here's an example that's very close to home.

Go look at KJV Luke 6:30: "Give to every man that asketh thee, and of him who taketh away thy goods ask them not again."

If you do not do exactly those things as they are written, whatever reasoning or feelings go into your refusal to do what Christ commanded is exactly why apostasy occurs. You already know the cause of apostasy, or rebellion against God, because you are yourself rebellious against God for that reason.

It is always possible to repent, and do what you witnessed you would do by partaking of the bread, and being baptized, until you die. Why procrastinate the day of your repentance? For you are not guaranteed another day of life.

Jared Livesey

matt lohrke said...

@MC - thanks for sharing your experience. Indeed we live in confusing times. I know some folks who are really struggling with the idea of the temple. These are uniformly good people who want to serve God and their fellow humans. They sincerely wants to do what's right.

Right now I'm leaning towards "definitely-corrupted-not-necessary-for-salvation-possibly-includes-freemasonic/Gaddianton-oaths-symbols-tokens-not-in-the-translated-portion-of-the-book-of-Mormon-so-I'm-not-going-to-worry-about-it."

Side note: at the end of my "faith crisis" the Lord told me He is God, the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, and Joseph translated it and to not worry about anything else. So I haven't. I've since thrown myself full force into the scriptures and became a convert to Christ at age 41. Funny how that works. Put the focus where it belongs and things start to fall into place. Everything else is ultimately just noise.

Zebedee said...

Here's another little dilemma that parallels Log's question:

Joseph Smith: "I have never been a polygamist"

Brigham Young: "Joseph Smith was a polygamist"

Which one is true? They can't both be. One is a liar, but which one?

If JS lied, then forget about anything taught after 1838 or so.

If BY lied, then forget about anything taught after 1844.

Good luck.

Zebedee said...


I agree with you the BoM is the iron rod, anything else is a mist of darkness.

Matthias said...

Well Jared, it's obvious that both of us are sinners and need to repent of our pride and contention.

You seem to think you are more righteous than I am. Maybe you are. I'm a sinner I won't deny that.

Since we're issuing warnings now, I have one for you. Let go of the false doctrines and teachings of Snuffer. He has a great influence on you. Take his books and burn them. Delete his writings from your computer. He is not sent by God and his writings are not the words of truth. The remnant movement will collapse. It's only a matter of time. Get out while you still can.

Happy to be a Saint said...

Why on earth are you on this site? You clearly believe it to be anti-Mormon, and so why are you on a site you deem to be anti-Mormon? And what do you know about excommunication? If you understood it at all, you would understand that the brethren (according to our doctrine) did not have a right to excommunicate Mr. Waterman. How can you know a man's heart or whether the light has gone out of him? I can understand if you disagree with what he is purporting and decide it is all rubbish, but to presume to know a man is consumed with hatred and bitterness is to say too much. Mr. Waterman's commentary is researched. He supports his claims with documented sources which he provides. You need only click on the links. I think what you meant to say is that you hate the Church's history. You hate that it doesn't match with the history you were taught. I understand how you feel. If you wish to remain in the church, you may want to reconsider reading commentary from people who have researched the true Church history and not the sanitized Church history. Or, you may allow yourself to accept that LDS History has be sanitized at the hands of the brethren and forgive them. This is what I have done, and in this way, I allow myself to learn the truth, accept that these men are fallible, and continue on my merry way as a faithful, practicing member of the church. God bless you, brother, as you continue to wrestle with these complex problems. And God bless you, Mr. Waterman, as you continue to do what the Lord has called you to do. I know you must be very brave.

Happy to be a Saint said...

Mr. Waterman, please see my response above to "If you love me..." And please accept my sincere gratitude for everything you do. Your articles have helped me immensely. I have just recently returned to church and full activity after a two year stint in the "Lone and Dreary World." U have forgiven the brethren and continue to do so because I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT that they believe they are doing the right thing. And, guess what? I get to disagree with them. I go to Church. I worship. I fellowship with the Saints. And I sustain what I can, and what I can't, I don't. It's a lot like being a Catholic again! LOL. Anyway, just thank you, Rock.

--Jacqueline Riggs

Happy to be a Saint said...

*Not "U" but "I" have forgiven them...

Greg said...

Joseph while in Liberty Jail writes a letter to the Saints:

There's a couple of interesting things in this letter regarding polygamy and consecration.

“Know assuredly Dear brethren, that it is for the testimony of Jesus, that we are in bonds and in prison . . . .

Was it for committing adultery?  We are aware that false and slanderous reports have gone abroad, which have reached our ears, respecting this thing, which have been started by renegades, and spread by the dissenters, who are extremely active in spreading foul and libelous reports concerning us; thinking thereby to gain the fellowship of the world . . . . Some have reported that we not only dedicated our property, but likewise our families to the Lord, and Satan taking advantage of this has transfigured it into lasciviousness, a community of wives [polygamy], which things are an abomination in the sight of God.
When we consecrate our property to the Lord, it is to administer to the wants of the poor and needy according to the laws of God, and when a man consecrates or dedicates his wife and children to the Lord, he does not give them to his brother or to his neighbor; which is contrary to the law of God, which says, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.’  ‘He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already in his heart.’  Now for a man to consecrate his property, his wife and children to the Lord is nothing more nor less than to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the widows and fatherless, the sick and afflicted; and do all he can to administer to their relief in their afflictions, and for himself and his house to serve the Lord.  In order to do this he and all his house must be virtuous and shun every appearance of evil.  Now if any person, has represented anything otherwise than what we now write they have willfully misrepresented us.” 
Times and Seasons[4] [April 1840]: 82–85 (emphasis added). 

Lena Hansen said...

Good post Rock. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and knowledge. One thing though, in the comments section you brought up the idea that the European Saints were loyal to Brigham Young and the 12 because of familiarity. I believe this bit of historical interpretation is true, especially looking at my own family history.

However, you did make one error that I am addressing; Joseph F Smith, the son of Hyrum, was born in Far West on November 13, 1838. He was five years old when his father passed away in 1844. His parents were married December 24, 1837. So Mary was a Smith family member for 6-7 years, not one or two years as you stated.

Mary F Smith joined the church in Canada and it was her brother who was the minister in Preston England who allowed Heber Kimball and the other missionaries (including Joseph Fielding who was another brother) to speak in his church. After Hyrum’s death, Mary was married to Heber Kimball in 1844. She died at his home in 1852. I am confused at all the "widow in poverty" stories that are told about her.
I also find it curious that Samuel Smith's second wife (just like Hyrum, after the death of the first wife) Lavina took Samuel's children to Utah. His children alleged that their father was murdered too. Lavina became a plural wife to Phineas Young also in 1844. Phineas was Brigham's brother, and Samuel's first convert. I know that in a state of grief and shock, often loved ones will agree to things they never would have agreed to otherwise .

I' m going out on a ledge here; I have wondered (no proof) if the plan was to get Emma to be Brigham's wife and thus seal the deal in Brigham's rise to power. She messed up his plan and that’s part of why he hated her so.

Also an interesting tale found in Alma 47 about a nephite Secret Combinations. The entire chapter is fascinating and perhaps history has a way of repeating itself, because Satan knows what works when dealing with the hearts of mankind. I will high light the more interesting verses:

4 Now behold, this was the desire of Amalickiah; for he being a very subtle man to do evil therefore he laid the plan in his heart to dethrone the king of the Lamanites.

17 Now it was the custom among the Lamanites, if their chief leader was killed, to appoint the second leader to be their chief leader.

18 And it came to pass that Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died.

19 Now, when Lehonti was dead, the Lamanites appointed Amalickiah to be their leader and their chief commander.

27 And it came to pass that Amalickiah commanded that his armies should march forth and see what had happened to the king; and when they had come to the spot, and found the king lying in his gore, Amalickiah pretended to be wroth, and said: Whosoever loved the king, let him go forth, and pursue his servants that they may be slain.

35 And it came to pass that Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen, and took her unto him to wife; and thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom; yea, he was acknowledged king throughout all the land, among all the people of the Lamanites, who were composed of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites, and all the dissenters of the Nephites, from the reign of Nephi down to the present time.

Lena M hansen

matt lohrke said...

@ Lena - good observation. What has been will be.

Dave P. said...

This whole thread has gotten me thinking again (dangerous, I know) about what exactly does the term "Mormonism" define?

Does "Mormonism" refer to the teachings of Christ found solely in the combined Bible and Book or Mormon, or does it refer to any/all of the doctrines/offices/ordinances/positions added by Joseph Smith and those who claimed to be his successors?

It's become as vague as the modern day usage of "Christian" rather than how it's defined in the BoM, but observation and experience have shown that the vast majority subscribe to the latter of those two.

matt lohrke said...

I think it's definitely become the latter.

I do like Joseph's observations of Mormons/Mormonism:

"Mormonism, is the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ; of which I myself am not ashamed."

"We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons."

"One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may. ... Truth is Mormonism. God is the author of it."

I think what we have today is Latter-Day Saintism (Pharasiasm) which only accepts "truth" that comes out of LDSHQ.

PNW_DPer said...

Dave P.; "Does "Mormonism" refer to the teachings of Christ found solely in the combined Bible and Book or Mormon, or does it refer to any/all of the doctrines/offices/ordinances/positions added by Joseph Smith and those who claimed to be his successors?"

Well, I explained to my wife by drawing two circles that slightly overlap (this from set theory somewhere in my math schooling), and explained that one circle could represent the true Doctrine of Christ, while the other circle could represent "Mormon" culture and traditions, thus showing that there is some overlap, but also that there is a lot of true doctrine of Christ missing or ignored in typical Mormon culture, and also that there is a lot of stuff in Mormon culture that is not the Doctrine of Christ.

Zebedee said...


Getting back on the topic of this post. I went read it again as I really liked the way you laid things out. I also followed the links you placed in there and read those too. One thing that caught my attention was the LDS Newsroom article on succession. Here’s the quote that stuck out:

“The First Presidency and Twelve Apostles are regarded by Latter-day Saints as prophets who receive divine revelation and inspiration to guide the Church.”

Did you catch that?

It doesn’t say the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles ARE prophets, only that the Saints regard them as such.

Why so bashful? Either they are or they are not. Why do the PR people feel they need to blur the lines in such crafty ways? But I guess that’s what we get for having a professional PR man run the corporation 10-20 years ago.

A few examples from the chief PR officer during the Larry King interview September 8, 1998:

Larry King: What does the president entail? I have heard you’re called the prophet. Are you the — when you speak, do you speak for the church?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I speak for the church, yes, I think so, yes.

Larry King: And this is a position you're appoint — how do you get this? How do you get to be president?

Gordon B. Hinckley: You're appointed a member of the counsel of 12 and you out live everybody else. (LAUGHTER)

[Laughter aside, Hinckley skillfully evades without confirming that he is a prophet, he just says he speaks for the church, but leaves the prophet question hanging. In another interview with Larry King on December 26, 2004:]

KING: When you pray, what is that? What's occurring? Are you talking to God? You're a prophet, so God talks to you.

HINCKLEY: I'm talking to God, yes. I do pray. Of course I do.

[Again, he evades. He admits he talks to God via prayer but skirts the prophet question. Later on in the interview, King asks him:]

KING: You are the prophet, right?


[Hinckley kept it brief, but he only confirmed he was THE prophet (as in a title) not necessarily A prophet of God. King quickly moves on to his real question]:

KING: Does that mean that, according to the church canon, the Lord speaks through you?

HINCKLEY: I think he makes his will manifest, yes.

KING: So if you change things, that's done by an edict given to you.

HINCKLEY: Yes, sir.

KING: How do you receive it?

HINCKLEY: Well, various ways. It isn't necessarily a voice heard. Impressions come. The building of this very building I think is an evidence of that. There came an impression, a feeling that we need to enlarge our facilities where we could hold our conferences. And it was a very bold measure. We had to tear down a big building here and put this building up at great cost. But goodness sakes, what a wonderful thing it's proven to be. It is an answer to many, many needs. And I think it's the result of inspiration.

KING: And that came from something higher than you.

HINCKLEY: I think so.

I don’t know about you, but those remarks seem rather timid for a prophet of God, or even a “special witness of Christ.” Hinckley’s claim to revelation is that he was “inspired” to build a $300 million auditorium?

Don’t get me wrong, I liked GBH as man, I met him several times, he was very friendly and personable. But why don’t we have prophets who say with boldness when interviewed, “I am a prophet of Almighty God, sent by Him and he has commanded me to tell the whole world repent and come unto Christ, or destruction is at your door!” or something similar?

Too much to hope for I suppose.

matt lohrke said...

Zeb - I was just reading Samuel the Lamanites warning revelation to the Nephites last night.


Therefore he went up and got on the wall...and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put in his heart.

"And behold, an angel of the Lord hath declared it unto me; and he did bring glad tidings unto my soul. And behold, I was sent unto you to declare unto you also, that ye might have glad tidings."

"Therefore, thus saith the Lord: Because of the hardness of the hearts of the people of the Nephi, except they repent, I will take away my word from them and I will withdraw my spirit my spirit from them." (sounds familiar)

"Yeah, woe unto this great city of Zarahemla!...For I perceive, saith the Lord, that are many...that will harden their hears against me."

"But when the time cometh, saith the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction."

"And it shall come to pass, saith the Lord of Hosts, yea, our great and true God..."

"And behold, thus hath the Lord commanded me by his angel, that I should come and tell this thing to you...and he hath said unto me: Cry unto this people: Repent and prepare the way of the Lord."

"And behold, thus hath the angel spoken unto me."


Gordon was a master PR man. He could weasel out of anything--answering questions without actually answering them. Then again, how many times did anyone actually push him?

Eric Kuntz said...

"It doesn’t say the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles ARE prophets, only that the Saints regard them as such. "

They state it this way because they know they are posers. The only ones who "know" they are Apostles and prophets are the sheeple Mormons who follow them blindly, questioningly nothing.

matt lohrke said...

Adding to Zeb's post. I believe Rock has posted this before and I'm sure most people here are very familiar with this.

Interview of GBH by SF Gate, 1997:

Q: You are the president, prophet, seer and revelator of the Mormon Church?
A: I am so sustained, yes. (Laughter)

(It's a yes/no question, yet GBH still manages to answer it without actually answering it.)

Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?
A: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don't need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we've already received. Now, if a problem should arise on which we don't have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes. Quietly. Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind. I liken it to Elijah's experience. When he sought the Lord, there was a great wind, and the Lord was not in the wind. And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake. And a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. But in a still, small voice. Now that's the way it works."

That's not the way it works.

Zebedee said...

Thanks Matt, I was looking for that quote but couldn't find it.

Hinckley's last answer reminds me of this verse [with a slight change]:

"Thou fool, that shall say: [Revelation] we have got [revelation], and we need no more [revelation]..."

Moroni sums it up well: "If the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief."

I would consider revelation a gift of God. If the leaders of the Church say we don't need much more of that gift, then what does that tell us?

Jared Livesey said...

We can do better.

1. Ordinances for salvation cannot be altered nor changed. - Joseph Smith
2. The temple ordinances are for salvation. - Brigham Young
3. Joseph told me to change the endowments. - Brigham Young

If Joseph spoke truly, Brigham lied. If Brigham spoke truly, Joseph lied. There is now no middle ground. And if Joseph was a liar, Mormonism is false, and Brigham was a liar anyways.

And God has said: all liars go to hell.


Please note: all these quotes are published by Church sources.

1. Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not [to] be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle. (June 11, 1843. Smith Diary) Citation to Church source

2. The ordinances of the house of God are for the salvation of the human family. We … hold the keys of salvation committed to the children of men from the heavens by the Lord Almighty; and inasmuch as there are those who hold these keys, it is important that they should be acted upon for the salvation of the human family. The building of temples, places in which the ordinances of salvation are administered, is necessary to carry out the plan of redemption, and it is a glorious subject upon which to address the Saints (Discourses of Brigham Young, 396–97). Citation to Church source

3. Bro Joseph turned to me and said: “Brother Brigham this is not arranged right, but we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed, and I wish you to take this mat[t]er in hand and organize and systematize all these ceremonies with the signs, tokens, penalties and key words.” I did so and each time I got something more; so that when we went through the Temple at Nauvoo, I understood and knew how to place them there. We had our ceremonies pretty correct. (L. John Nuttall, Diary, February 7 1877, Special Collections, Lee Library.) Citation to Church Source

How correct is "pretty" correct? Clearly "pretty correct" is not "exactly correct" or else we would not need the adjective "pretty" attached to "correct;" we'd just say "correct." Might the discrepancy between "correct" and "pretty correct" be why he said Joseph told him to change things?

Jared Livesey

Dave P. said...

It tells us there is a delicious irony in how much the LDS Corporation fulfills pretty much all of the Book of Mormon scriptures that it thinks apply to "the other" faiths.

Jared Livesey said...

Now, it is held that the temple ordinances represent an alteration to the doctrine of Christ, and therefore they cannot be from God.

In point of fact, we know that the Law of Moses was added because of the transgression of the people (Galatians 3:19). Therefore we know that God can add things to his law.

It does not contradict the doctrine of Christ for Christ to instruct his people to build a temple. That instruction, if it comes, is necessary to be kept or the people cannot be saved.

It does not contradict the doctrine of Christ for Christ to instruct his people to perform ordinances in the temple. That instruction, if it comes, is necessary to be kept or the people cannot be saved.

For the commandments of God must all be kept or else one cannot be saved.

And it appears that temples are commanded of his people due to unrighteousness or disobedience.

May Sunday 1 preached in the grove on the keys of the kingdom charity &c.— The keys are certain signs & words by which false spirits & personages may be detected from true.— which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed.— The rich can only get them in the Temple. The poor may get them on the Mountain top as did moses. The rich cannot be saved without cha[r]ity. giving to feed the poor. when & how God requires as well as building. There are signs in heaven earth & hell. the elders must know them all to be endued with power. to finish their work & prevent imposition. The devil knows many signs. but does not know the sign of the son of man. or Jesus. No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something. & these this can only be in the holiest of Holies. - Citation to Joseph Smith Papers

Of course, if there are rich and poor among the people of God, then the people are disobedient, not keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ.

Jared Livesey

Eric Kuntz said...

Hopefully many Mormons will one day "discover" that the BOM condemns Mormonism in no uncertain terms, and that THEY are the 'souls of no light'.

10 Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. 2Nep 7

19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? 20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 2Nep 18

matt lohrke said...

Zeb - it seems to me the church hinges on the idea "modern revelation" and the so-called "unbroken chain of authority" back to Joseph. If we don't need much revelation and we can prove the chain was broken, then...

I think we're all basically in agreement that things are very awry. Now what? Has anyone had any success sharing these ideas with TBM's? If so, what did you do? How do we turn this into a positive?

My only approach so far has been encourage my friends to read the Book of Mormon more diligently (I want to avoid dropping atom bombs on them unprepared). I have offered to buy about 30 people a copy of the 1840 BOM with the original chapter breaks and no chapter headings. Only 1 has taken me up on it, and I'm 99% sure that person hasn't opened it. A friend of mine told me about a recent sunday school lesson in which people were brainstorming about ways to be more diligent about reading the BOM. Just opening the thing is a good start, but that apparently requires too much effort.

I remember Matt Lohmeier saying in his Mormon Stories interview that the current church is a very appealing religion because all you have to do is follow the leaders, go to church, don't drink, don't smoke, pay tithing and all the other basic "creeds of the Methodists." LDS-ism doesn't require any intellectual rigor. One not even profess any belief in the BOM to join the corporation. But we have memes!

If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears.

Jared Livesey said...

One might try repenting from all one's own sins and begin diligently doing what Christ commanded.

By this means one may obtain the high priesthood and do as the rest of the high priests did - preach repentance.

JST Genesis 14:26-29
Gen 14:26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child, he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.

Gen 14:27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained a high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,

Gen 14:28 It being after the order of the Son of God, which order came not by man, nor the will of man, neither by father nor mother, neither by beginning of days nor end of years, but of God.

Gen 14:29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name[.]

To believe on the name of God means to keep all his commandments as they are given. Righteousness means obedience to the law and commandments of God as they are given. Repentance means relenting from the ways of rebellion against the law and commandments of God and obeying them instead.

Alma 13:1-6
1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.

2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.

3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.

4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.

5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared—

6 And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest[.]

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

That's what Melchizedek did.

Alma 13:17-18
17 Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness;
18 But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.

Are any willing to enter the labors of the Lord by exercising mighty faith in prayer, repenting of all their sins, and consecrating themselves to his service with full purpose of heart, and from thence keeping and teaching his commandments as they are written?

Jared Livesey

Zebedee said...

Melchizedek built a Zion-type community patterned after Enoch's. And his city, Salem, was likewise translated. If you're looking for leaders to follow, both he and Enoch are good examples.

matt lohrke said...

Jared -

I really do appreciate your approach to the Gospel. I've been thinking about what you wrote for the last couple of hours and you're right. And I believe you sincerely believe it and endeavor to practice it. I think that's great.

Lately I've been wondering if I have sufficient faith that the Lord will provide if I truly consecrate my efforts and meager talents to His work.

What would happen if enough people had sufficient faith? Could we compel the Lord's hand as the Brother of Jared did? If our faith is sufficient, he is required to reveal himself, is he not? He tells us that this level of faith is required of us to receive the sealed portion of the BOM and read the things the Brother of Jared saw.

I'm probably wrong, but it seems to me that any physical Zion will be the natural, organic outgrowth or extension of an already Zion people. Like the old adage says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

"We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object." - Joseph Smith

"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day (after the coming forth of the BOM), for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb." (1 Nephi 13:37)

It feels a lot overwhelming at times...

bom pogp said...

As I was reading I was amazed at the power grab by Brigham and the people's willingness to allow him to do so. Having said this, are we NOT apostate from the real church set up by Joseph? Have indeed the very elect been deceived? OR can WE CLASS OURSELVES AS ELECT NOW?

Linda Gale said...

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 King James Version (KJV)
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

What if when the Savior gave the Sermon on the Mount that he changed the gospel from one of works to one of spirit?

What if the original temples were for animal sacrifice, which was done away with because of Christ's sacrifice for our sins, all of ours sins, past present and future?

What if we truly are the temple of God and need to treat each other as the Savior commanded?

What if love of God and love of fellow being is all that is required in order for us to keep all of the commandments?

Why did Jesus need to be crucified if we could get into heaven on our own goodness?

Are modern temples and rituals leading us to place faith in dead works?

David said...


You asked, "What would happen if enough people had sufficient faith? Could we compel the Lord's hand as the Brother of Jared did?" What would qualify as enough people? Melchizedek was one man. Enoch was one man. Perhaps the better question is what would happen if I had sufficient faith? What is sufficient?

Can you believe without having faith? Is faith more than we presume it to be? Do we understand faith like the ancients? Do we teach it?

Mormon 9, Ether 12, Moroni 7 Who is Moroni speaking to in Mormon 9? If we don't really have/understand/teach the same faith, are we "those who do not believe in Christ"? Do we experience the things Mormon and Moroni taught? If not, what do they say about it?

Dave P. said...

Linda brings up an excellent point that tends to be overlooked quite a bit:

Christ did away with all of the ancient traditions if the Law of Moses but people still try to cling to them. One great example is in the New Testament where Peter and Paul have a huge argument over whether or not circumcision is still necessary when James steps in and berates both of them for wasting time arguing over things that don't matter any more and their energy is best spent preaching about Christ.

That also goes back to how the corporation constantly thinks that is being persecuted is a sign that it's doing things right when the BoM clearly states that such treatment is a call that it needs to repent. This happened in the early days of the church as well when the first two men ordained as high priests immediately became possessed by evil spirits. Joseph Smith apparently cast them out and declared that was a sign they'd done the right thing but, as David Whitmer recounted in hindsight, that meant they'd made a huge mistake because the office of high priest had been done away by Christ and He never ordained anyone as such in the Book of Mormon. Only elders, teachers, and priests are mentioned as existing after His appearance to the Nephites.

Linda Gale said...

Thanks Dave P,

Your validating comments mean so much to me, as I sometimes feel alone in my thinking.

When I first read the part about the high priests being possessed by evil spirits, it struck me as showing that action to be against God's will in the matter. Yet others went on as if that was perfectly normal and to be expected. Yikes!

Also in reading D&C 124:45-48 it is obvious to me that the church had run off the rails by that time. I mean the things the Danites were doing to the non-LDS population was appalling. Would a God of love condone such actions? If not, and I believe that He was allowing the church members to be as wicked as their hearts desired, then we have real, tangible problems with the church during its early history.

And it seems to go downhill from there. Yes, the LDS church is very, very wealthy today. That seems to be a worldly gauge of wellness, rather than a manifestation of spiritual development to me.

Dave P. said...

The church constantly touts its "16 million members" and its wealth is brought up quite a bit. Neither are valid measurements of spiritual progress.

A God of (tough) love would indeed not condone such actions, but the early saints had their free agency just as much as anyone and everyone else throughout history. It goes back to what I said earlier with the Lord basically saying, "Okay, Joseph, you want to have your fun and play king? Go right ahead. I'll suffer it for a time, but remember the warning I gave to Jacob in that the sins of my church will be on your head for leading them astray because of your weakness."

That and the warning Samuel gave to Israel over choosing a king above the Lord still holds today and applies to temporal leaders as much as spiritual leaders.

At the same time, the fault doesn't fall entirely on the leaders. Because we have our agency (which is defined as the power to act just as much as the notion of free will and thought), we are expected to use it. The members will be held accountable for believing in blind obedience to the leaders and expecting to be saved by the modern Law of Moses rather than feasting on the words of Christ.

matt lohrke said...

David - good questions. I would be interested to hear you elaborate a bit if you're so inclined.

Linda Gale said...

Dave P said:

"At the same time, the fault doesn't fall entirely on the leaders. Because we have our agency (which is defined as the power to act just as much as the notion of free will and thought), we are expected to use it. The members will be held accountable for believing in blind obedience to the leaders and expecting to be saved by the modern Law of Moses rather than feasting on the words of Christ."

I have had so many discussions with extended family members about their trusting the church leaders words over trusting the Savior's words in scripture. One such conversation I asked specifically for where Christ rescinded His word that we should not kill. All I got in response was LDS.INC memes and passages from handbooks allowing forays into foreign lands, and how the gun-toters would not be held accountable for their actions. Sheez!

Linda Gale said...

One relative said it was okay to kill people protecting their homes and families as long as we did not have hate in our hearts as we killed them!

I kid you not.

At that point I realized that it was futile to continue the conversation.

Dave P. said...

Even if people go with what is considered to be the more accurate translation of "Thou shalt not murder," the blatant violation of never waging an offensive war certainly showcases how the modern members simply do not care about the Book of Mormon. After all, it was only launching an offensive war that was the straw that broke the camel's back and doomed the Nephites to complete destruction. Mormon's letter also reveals that the Nephites, the supposed "good" guys at the time (a term I use very loosely) were committing the greater atrocities and war crimes as well.

Per this conversation I'm also reminded of a series of sci-fi/supernatural movies titled Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners. After a near-death experience from a car accident, the main character gains the ability to see special lines along anyone and anything that, if she cuts across it, that person/object will die. Being an intense action series, she's often fighting for her life against some weird supernatural phenomena, but the final movie in the series is a character exploration arc of how she considers herself a killer, but not a murderer. It's quite thought-provoking, but also quite violent so I can't recommend watching most of the series (especially movies 2, 3, and 5) if you're squeamish.

David said...


I will share my thoughts, but keep in mind they are just that; my thoughts. The words of Mormon and Moroni tell me that the faith they speak of is not the same as what I thought about faith. Their description, their expectations are much more dynamic than what I would have originally believed. Miracles do not produce faith, but as I ponder the messages from the BOM, I have come to realize that faith always produces miracles. Not some far off distant miracles, not miracles of medicine or technology, but actual miracles God performs in the lives of those who have such faith.

It is completely reasonable to understand that one can believe in something without having faith. That belief could be strong enough motivation to actually influence behavior, but it may not qualify as faith. A child's belief in Santa Clause, for instance, is often genuine and sincere. It leads that child to behave in such a way that will place him/her on the nice list. They expect results by getting what they asked him for. It changes their thinking and their behavior. Is it faith? No. Is it possible that I could believe in God in the same way? Absolutely!

It's very sobering when you realize faith is much more than what you currently have. With that in mind, read Mormon 9 as if Moroni is speaking to you. I've read that as written to atheists, agnostics, non-Christian denominations, etc. but never included myself. Do I really "believe in Christ" if I have no idea what faith really is? If I believe in teachings or ideas about the gospel that do not come from Christ, wouldn't they cause unbelief and lack of faith---lack of really believing in Christ?

If my faith is insufficient to allow God to fix something right now, how can I trust that it will be sufficient to bring salvation in the end. If my faith does not allow me to completely trust God now, how can he save me then?

matt lohrke said...

David - thanks you for sharing your thoughts. I agree! My thoughts are very much aligned with what you wrote. This is the faith I seek after, but not for any personal satisfaction or gain. Faith described in the BOM is dynamic and vibrant:

"For the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove—and it was removed. And if he had not had faith it would not have moved; wherefore thou workest after men have faith." (Ether 12:30)

"...and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea." (Jacob 4:6)

There are many such examples we're all familiar with.

Maybe this is the difference between believing in Christ and believing onthe name of Christ? Book of Mormon writers favor the latter.

Side thought: I have a friend who's a geneticist. One day she was telling me how sometimes genes can lay dormant from birth and are then activated by an external stressor (life event, traumatic experience, etc). I thought if that's true, surely the opposite must also be true. That profound spiritual experiences can shut down or rewire those genes that influence our carnal behaviors. Maybe this is what is meant by "having a mighty change wrought in our hearts" or "becoming new people." We're literally changed on a molecular level. I could be wrong, but this sounds like Enos' experience after the Lord swept away his guilt:

"And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole." (Enos 1:8)

Faith in the modern church seems limited to just believing things we can't see. It's a flat, inert faith. As Brother Bednar stated, we need to have faith not to be healed.

Linda Gale said...


"faith not to be healed" is so bass-ackwards as to make one wonder what the brethern have been imbibing in, or perhaps smoking/snorting.

Dave P. said...

They're full of their own pride.

"For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord— And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work." (2 Nephi 28:3-6)

"And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is. And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever. And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them." (Moroni 10:6-8)

Linda Gale said...

Dave P.,

The official LDS Handbook has replaced the Holy Ghost, dontcha know?

matt lohrke said...

2 Nephi 28 is so magnificent. I get the sense Nephi knows his days are numbered and he's just laying bare his soul. He's throwing everything out there. I love it.

v. 29: Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough.

GBH: "We don't need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we've already received."

Prophecy fulfilled.


Matthias said...

Lot's of interesting comments.

I agree that there are lot of problems in the church from top to bottom. Seeing clearly what is going on is also very important.

Having said that, I think it's also important to not jump to conclusions or judge people unrightously.

Jared, for example attacks Brigham Young and accuses him of being a liar, because of what he believes is a discrepancy between two statements, neither of which do we even know were transcribed 100% correctly. Even if Brigham was mistaken, that doesn't make him a liar. He could just be mistaken. It is a safer course to say that one disagrees with Brigham rather that to falsely accuse.

I think we need to show restraint in attacking Elder Bednar for his faith not to be healed comment. What does one expect him to say? Miraculous healings as contained in the scriptures, and decades ago in the church, just don't happen anymore. You never hear about any. Miracles by faith still happen of course, but I'm not aware of anyone being raised from the dead or being healed of brain cancer by the laying of hands and nothing more. Perhaps Elder Bednar is trying to deceive or is smoking crack, but more than likely he's just trying to find a way to explain the complete lack of healings today.

It seems Dave P. and Eric are accusing Joseph of a power grab. Gee I sure hope you're right, because you'll be judged in the same manner as you judge.

Eric and Dave P. do either of you have any thoughts about the heavenly visitations and spiritual outpouring at the Kirtland Temple dedication? According to both of you Joseph and the church were off the rails by then.

Matthias said...

On a side note, you know what would make for a fascinating essay or blog post? Brigham Young vs Gordan B. Hinkley comparison. The two are complete opposites.

One prophesied, the other didn't. One boldly spoke his mind and sometimes put his foot in his mouth, the other was a crafty PR guy who could evade any question. One boldly declared polygamy and the denial of the priesthood to blacks to be doctrine. The other denounced both as false doctrine. One warned against the church becoming popular and saw it a sign of apostasy , the other strove for church popularity and declared it to be a sign of divine approval. One received his endowment from Joseph Smith and did all on his power to maintain the ordinances as he had received them, the other completely changed the endowment in an effort to streamline it and not offend feminists and converts. One said he was not a prophet, the other carefully evaded and implied that he was a prophet. One saw signs of an apostasy creeping in and warned of destruction coming upon the church in a future day, the other declared that all is well and that the church would roll on in all it's glory until one day Christ pops out of the sky and the LDS membership will be overjoyed. And on and on.

Jared Livesey said...

MC: "[Brigham] prophesied."

MC: "[Brigham] said he was not a prophet."

MC: "[Brigham] received his endowment from Joseph Smith and did all on his power to maintain the ordinances as he had received them[.]"

Joseph: Ordinances for salvation cannot be changed nor altered.

Brigham: The temple ordinances are for salvation.

Brigham: Joseph told me to alter and change the endowments, and I did.

MC: We can't know if Brigham or Joseph did or said anything the historical record says they did, so we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that Brigham and Joseph said or did anything. Besides, Brigham might simply have been mistaken and not lying about Joseph telling him to change and alter the endowments, and Brigham might simply have been mistaken and not lying about changing and altering the endowments, and Brigham might simply have been mistaken and not lying about the temple ordinances being for salvation. And Joseph might have never said ordinances necessary for salvation cannot be changed nor altered. Who can know what happened in the past? Even if we have contemporaneous records from diarists of Joseph's words, and transcriptions of Brigham's words, and accounts from witnesses of the changes to the endowments, it doesn't mean any of it happened. And even if we grant that Joseph and Brigham did say and do all these things the historical record says they did, it is perilous to your salvation to notice, and dangerous to say, that Brigham contradicted Joseph and can thus be known to be a liar. Therefore, you should shut up if you know what's good for you.

Jared: Quite so.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

We have scriptural reason to believe Joseph was reported correctly (Isaiah 24:5).

And given the history of changes to the endowments, we have every reason to believe Brigham's statement justifying himself in altering and changing the endowments was recorded substantially accurately.

And the same goes for Brigham's statement that the temple ordinances are for salvation.

As it stands, the truth of the historical record proves conclusively that Brigham lied about a topic critical to mainstream Mormon practices.

The proper defense of Brigham, if it is possible to make one, is not done by rejecting the historical record whenever it reflects poorly upon Brigham, nor by threatening hellfire against those who notice and state the logical implication of the first-order contradiction between Joseph and Brigham. The proper defense of Brigham is producing any historical evidence at all that shows that the statements he made were in fact fabricated by others, and that the endowments as he provided them were unchanged and unaltered from what Joseph delivered to him.

Of course, this last is impossible without rejecting the historical record (re: oath of vengeance, inter alia). And rejecting the historical record is anti-social behavior in a forum where the discussions are based on historical evidence.

And even if it were possible that Brigham could potentially be vindicated, the otherwise inexplicable alterations to the endowments within living memory, combined with Joseph's statement, suffice logically to establish that the endowments as we have received them are not necessary for salvation. Thus the claim that the ordinance of the endowments as we have received them is necessary for salvation divides Joseph Smith's theology from modern Mormon theology. If Joseph's theology was pure Mormonism, it follows that modern Mormonism cannot be.

Brigham's demonstrated perfidy was simply a bonus point.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

More fun with Brigham.

MC: "[Brigham] said he was not a prophet."

"If any person should ask me if I were a prophet, I should not deny it, as that would give me the lie; for, according to John, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; therefore, if I profess to be a witness or teacher, and have not the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus, I must be a false witness; but if I be a true teacher and witness, I must possess the spirit of prophecy, and that constitutes a prophet; and any man who says he is a teacher or a preacher of righteousness, and denies the spirit of prophecy, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; and by this key false teachers and impostors may be detected. (Dec. 30, 1842.) DHC 5:215-216." - Joseph Smith, citation to the Joseph Smith Papers

An awful lot of Mormon theology rides on the teachings and practices and rites given by an admitted impostor.

Jared Livesey

Dave P. said...

Regardless of what happened at Kirtland, if it did even happen as recorded, it does not matter. What does the church have to do to repent? Cast off all of its practices and traditions that it adopted the moment it began to turn astray (as early as 1830) and go back to "what is written" in the Book of Mormon and use that as the keystone in conjunction with what Christ taught in the New Testament. That will include needing to be re-baptized and nothing else for baptism is the only saving ordinance as taught by Christ.

And even if the events in Kirtland happened as recorded, it is still the only temple recorded as having been accepted by the Lord while all of the others are cursed and need to be torn down anyway as part of that repentance process.

Matthias said...

Yeah I guess Brigham may have gone back and forth a bit with the prophet thing. He did at one point say he wasn't one. Perhaps his earlier statement was one of humility and later he realized that because he had been inspired to prophecy at times, that he wouldn't deny being a prophet. I guess if one changes their mind or misspeaks one is automatically a liar.

Jared, for someone who claims to be seeking the face of God and striving diligently to keep all of Christ's commandments contained in the BOM and NT, you sure have a lot of hate and anger in your heart.

I do not reject the historical record. I have reached a different conclusion than you have (probably because I think for myself and don't just piggyback off of Snuffer's erroneous teachings).

You'll notice that even though I think Snuffer is a false prophet through and through, I have never called him a liar. I certainly could, because he has contradicted himself many times and can easily be shown to have never kept the commandments to the point of receiving his second comforter. You know why I don't call him a liar? It's because I don't know if he is one. I don't know if he is deceived or a deceiver. So I won't judge him. I only judge his teachings and actions and the actions of his followers.

You should stop staying up all night spewing out hate towards Brigham Young and me. Let it go. Let God judge Brigham Young. Read through your comments to me and see if they are meek and lowly and those of an enlightened follower of Christ, or if they are full of hate and anger.

I know some of my comments are a little aggressive, and that I certainly fall short of my ideals. One of my weaknesses is that I can be contentious, especially when Iget called out by someone who likes to argue and attack everything. I need to be less contentious. I know that. At least I can admit when I'm wrong and acknowledge that I have shortcomings. Can you do the same or are you so blinded by your pride and hatred that you can't see the error of your ways?

Moving forward I will try very hard to be less aggressive when dealing with you. I might have to just ignore you at this point, unless you can show that you don't just want to attack and hate.

Matthias said...

Dave P, whether or not the Lord excepted the Kirtland Temple as His House and bestowed the keys to the gathering of Israel, dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, and the turning the hearts of the fathers to the children really happened is crucial in understanding what "the church has to do to repent."

If the manifestations in the Kirtland Temple really happened then the Lord has/had a greater mission for the saints than merely following the BOM. The church was to gather the house of Israel and perform ordinances for the dead.

If Elias restored the keys to the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, then plural marriage could very possibly be part of that.

There's a lot going on. You keep referencing David Whitmer. He had his opinion of what was going on, but that's all it is, an opinion.

If the Lord excepted the Kirtland Temple as His House, then it also validates the 1835 D&C. Which would mean that we have to follow those commandments and not just the BOM and NT.

We need to find out what was really going on, and not reject everything beyond what is contained in the BOM and NT out of hand.

Jared Livesey said...


Perhaps this forum is not a comfortable fit for you.

I appreciate your warnings for the salvation of my soul.

Jared Livesey

Eric Kuntz said...


Here's the dirty little secret...the 'Church' was never on the rails. God gave JS only one gift...bring forth the BOM. That's it. Everything else he did was his own doing, without God's direction.

You can search through the original documents (BOC) and you won’t find a command from God to organize a church. What you will find is the Lord speaking about His future church, but you will not find a commandment to organize, because God had already told Joseph he had ONE gift, to translate the book and not to PRETEND to any other gifts.

Dave P. said...

It's quite simple, really, because the Book of Mormon is supposed to be the keystone of our religion and contain the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If it is not explicitly supported by the BoM and the membership accepts it anyway, then it continues to "treat lightly" the things that are in it as we have it today, so we can't expect to see the sealed portion anytime soon.

As mentioned previously, Joseph Smith went beyond his calling to translate by setting himself up as a king. The Book of Commandments is very clear that he was given no other gift. What happened with the 1835 D&C? Those written revelations were altered to attempt to justify Joseph's position as king, making him a liar in that regard.

The church also has plenty of delusions of grandeur in thinking it's out to fulfill some great destiny- something that those with worldly aspirations have- and are not content with being a peculiar people who seek to simply follow what Christ taught. Christ's teachings are simple, it is men who continue to make things complicated.

As for David Whitmer, his words mirror that of Nephi: Stop trusting in the arm of flesh! Nearly every point of discussion that people argue about in these threads have been about topics/doctrines introduced by men.

Dave P. said...

Eric also brought up a point that I forgot: Joseph's decision to organize a church in the legal sense was another example of him heeding the words of men over the words of God to further parallel Israel wanting a king so they could be like "other nations. The legal church was organized to conform to the laws of the state in order to be recognized by groups of men like the "other churches."

Christ defined His church, and has never needed any man or group of men to set it up as a "legal" entity, for the land is His.

Matthias said...

Jared, you might be right that this forum may not be the right fit for me. I guess since Rock is good buddy's with Denver Snuffer and a part of the remnant movement, I should expect to be attacked by his readership, who are obviously mostly members of the same movement.

I guess I just hoped that since this blog is called pure mormonism and since the people here are awake to the apostasy, that there would be more open discussion about church history and the scriptures, and mot just onesided all the time. That's really what I seek for, honest open dialogue with people who are searching the truth. Maybe I expected too much. I guess we're close minded in our own ways.

Matthias said...

Eric, if what you say is true, how do you explain the spiritual outpouring at the Kirtland Temple dedication? Or Joseph's Smith's prophecies about the Civil War coming true?

God never said that he would not give Joseph any other gifts in the BOC. He said that Joseph had, but one gift and that was to translate the BOM. Once that was done, there was the possibility of more gifts being added. All of us can receive more gifts from God then we currently possess.

Jared Livesey said...


I think you might find or to be more to your taste.

As I explained: if you do not keep the commandments of Jesus Christ as written, you are yourself apostate, which means rebelling against God. Notice that sentence started with the word "if," and is not an accusation towards you personally. However, as you have already publicly admitted you do not keep the commandments of Jesus Christ as they are written, you have an intimate understanding of causes of apostasy. Whatever rationales or justifications or feelings prevent you from doing exactly and only what God has commanded, that's it.

Now, imagine everyone sitting next to you in the pews feels about keeping Christ's commandments as written just like you do, and imagine that it's been this way since the beginning. That's why things are the way they are. People tell God by baptism and sacrament they would obey his commandments, and thereafter don't do what they said they would do, but do something else instead and call it the same thing, and make shit up to justify the discrepancies, and threaten those who point out the differences, and pass down their made-up explanations as traditions, which harden into doctrines, which become de facto creeds, blinding the minds (inability to understand truth when it is presented to them because it contradicts the traditions) and hardening the hearts (causing defensiveness, which results in doing evil) of the people.

Jared Livesey

Jared Livesey said...

And I hasten to add that’s not a personal attack. That simply an explanation.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jacquline Riggs,
Thanks for those kind words. Nice to have you in my corner.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

On the subject of Sidney Rigdon leading the church to hell, it's possible he meant pretty much as has happened since our day. As we learn from Daymon Smith's 5 Volume A Cultural History of the Book of Mormon, Rigdon couldn't help bringing his Campellite doctrines into the church, beliefs that continue to plague us to this day. He and his former Campbellite converts such as Parley Pratt were looking for a church that mimicked what they thought they saw in the primitive Christian Church: an organization led by apostles. The Book of Mormon doesn't teach that; these converts simply folded their own wishful thinking into the religion they were the earliest converts to.

In reality the first century apostles were not leaders of the early Christian churches; there was plenty of diversity among the various branches, and they were autonomous. Jesus did not set up an organization, especially not one with a hierarchy. Leadership entered when the Catholic Church took hold of it.

As it turns out, there wasn't much difference between Brigham's view and Rigdon's. Both were under the mistaken belief that the apostle should take charge. Still, I wonder if things might have turned out better had Rigdon become guardian. Would he have reigned with an iron hand? Probably, given his personality.

Zebedee said...

I take exception to Log suggesting that MC leave this forum. MC, as far as I'm concerned, you are welcome here.

Just for the record, if anyone cares (which I doubt they do), as a frequent reader of this blog I do not follow Denver Snuffer. I do not follow Russell Nelson either. When it comes to my salvation I follow no man. Certainly I think anyone can teach me something from his or her experiences and opinions (and we see a lot of opinions here). That's a good thing because it gives me perspective. But if there is something pertaining to my salvation I skip the middleman, go directly to the source, and discuss it with God himself.

It seems we spend a lot of time here picking nits and splitting hairs. We should all realize that most everything we hear in this world is opinion. Facts themselves are quite rare.

At least that's my opinion. :-)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Lena Hansen,
Thanks for that correction on the length of years Hyrum and Mary Fielding had been married. I don't know where I got that idea it had only been one or two years, because I should have recalled Joseph Fielding was about five years old or so at the time of the exodus. Thanks for pointing out that error!

Interesting speculation that Brigham might have wanted to take Emma on as a wife. That would have certainly consolidated his power had he been able to get her as a trophy. I read recently that he offered her a thousand dollars to at least not oppose him. She refused to take it, but it does raise the question of where Brigham could have come up with that sum of money, clearly a very large sum in that day.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

You're way ahead of me in your comment of Jan 31 at 10:49. I was considering including that very dialogue between Hinckley and Larry King in the next blog. It is indeed very telling that Hinckley seriously downplays the very gifts that members of the Church believe he demonstrates continuously: that he has a personal audience with God. Instead he speaks of "impressions" and at best "inspiration."

Well, it looks like at least I have you to thank, Zebedee, for saving me the effort of typing all that out; now I can simply copy and paste what I need from your comment. So, Thanks!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Dave P, it looks like I'm going to have to check out Kara no Kyoukai, even though I have little patience for anime. I don't know why that is, either, because I grew up watching Kimba and Gigantor. Maybe I just got my fill back in the sixties.

My eldest son is a confirmed Japanophile and most likely knows that series. If he recommends it as well as you, well, then that's from the mouth of two witnesses, so I'll have to give it a look-see.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

You certainly got me thinking in a way I had not thought before, with that comparison between Brigham and Hinckley. Of course, my position is that they were both wildly off-base, but you've demonstrated how they can be both off base AND contradictory of each other! Who'd have thought they could hold opposite positions, yet STILL both be completely in the wrong?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The interesting thing would be to throw quotations from Joseph Smith in the mix, thus showing how both Brigham and Hinckley taught opposite from the founder and from the words of God.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Per your comment above, "More Fun With Brigham," I would add that the problem in the church today is that we have been taught that a prophet is not only someone who communicates messages from God, as Joseph Smith did, but that he is also the ONE TRUE LEADER. Thus in modern teachings, Brigam Young HAD to be a prophet, based on nothing more than his position as the president. Even though he actually DENIED he had those gifts, and DENIED he was Joseph's legal successor.

Thus we will soon see the body of Christ vote to sustain Russell Nelson as their prophet, seer, and revelator, despite his never having exhibited those gifts AND despite there being no evidence the Lord appointed him as such. He will BECOME the prophet based on nothing more solid than that the Twelve ordained him to be their president.

As Matt Lohrke said in last month's comment section, "Things are about to get real weird."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Just to make it clear, you are quite welcome here. There is no requirement to adhere to any certain creeds, or hold to "approved" opinions. That's what the LDS Church is for. Anyone can go there, but you will be required to hold your tongue or be cast out. I like it better here.

I don't mind you two disagreeing. Of course, I'd prefer you both keep it civil, but I'm as aware as anyone that is not always easy when opinions are strongly held. I personally enjoy learning from you both, and I'm always edified by well reasoned arguments, even if at times those arguments tend to become overly vigorous.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

"And I hasten to add that’s not a personal attack. That simply an explanation."

Sheez, Log, that sure looks like a personal attack.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Jacqueling Riggs,
I meant to respond earlier to tell you how impressed I am that you have been able to forgive the leaders of the Church, sustaining what you can, "and what I can't, I don't.

As you can imagine, I know that forgiving these men their trespasses is not an easy thing to do. There are plenty of good people who remain angry, saying "the Church lied to me." They have not been able to forgive, but who ends up bitter? They do.

But we should ask ourselve, who in fact was it who deliberately lied to us? Most of what we learned that wasn't true were falsehoods passed on to us by teachers, and yes, even leaders at the top, who may not have been aware that the traditions they were passing down were not true. It's not as if the leaders of the Church actually spend any time investigating what is doctrinal true and what is not. With all his faults, I believe Boyd Packer felt he was protecting the testimonies of the Saints. He had no way of knowing he was making things worse by making up. We get to stand back and not take any of this personally, otherwise we can become bitter ourselves.

It's clear that some leaders at the top of the hierarchy (*Cough*Russell Nelson*Cough) have been deliberately dishonest, but what are their motivations? It could very well be to get power and gain, as prophesied by the Book of Mormon prophets, or it could be motivated by nothing more than a misplaced desire to protect the testimonies of the members. Not for us to say.

We forgive for our own well-being; we need not cling tenaciously to other people's sins. That having been said, there's certainly nothing wrong with calling the church to repentance. In fact, I would venture that it is those who are in positions to work iniquity (those in power over others) who SHOULD be called to repentance. This is, I believe, one of the things I am called to do, but you'll notice I don't do it in anger, but with a horselaugh. They don't pay attention to me anyway. They labeled me an apostate, so as far as they are concerned, I'm out of the way.

Setting aside the leaders, I still believe it is the duty of all believing Mormons to point out to their brothers and sisters when they are crossing into idololatry. They may not want to hear it, but then, remaining silent won't help. I don't think we are going to convert the leaders. They will have to answer to God, so we "forgive" them and let them go. When the Church collapses, it will be by their hands. We won't be able to stop it.+

Meanwhile, our brothers and sisters who remain asleep will benefit by having certain discrepancies pointed out to them, as long as we remember not to push them into despair and apostasy against the gospel.

Anyway, Jacqueline, I admire your attitude. If you can maintain that attitude of kindness toward all in your ward, you just possibly may not get kicked out.

Happy to be a Saint said...


I don't want to be kicked out. I suppose it's going to be a tightrope walk as I continue to sort my feelings and beliefs out.

I am an English teacher, and I just finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with my freshmen class. The people of Oz are kind of like some Mormons I know. Like the people of Oz, these Mormons see everything in Mormonland through those funky green goggles. Everything is green! All things are in common. Ugh! No growth, nothing new, only the plain, not very often the precious, skim milk.

I don't think Joseph Smith was as much about protecting the doctrine as much as the leaders of the church are in our day. He often got frustrated with the Saints because they preferred to keep their goggles on and follow blindly, rather than think, ponder, and pray for their own enlightenment.

There is much work to do within and without the land of the Mormons. I pray for the brethren; I sincerely want them to be good leaders. But they are afraid. The status quo is being challenged by you and others like you. It needs to be. It is only unfortunate that their fear drives them to label those who challenge them as apostates and then violently excommunicate them. Barbaric really!

It is inevitably going to have to come down to this one thing, the president and the rest of the crew are going to have to admit that they are not The True Church. They have sanitized their history, ad they have changed the ordinances. If they don't admit this and repent, they're toast!

Thank you sincerely for doing your job.


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


When someone asks why X occurs, and then mentions that they themselves do X, a reason others do X is for the same reason they themselves do X.

In MC's case, X is "apostatize," which means "rebel against God's commandments." MC openly and freely asserted X is presently true of himself above.

It's not a personal attack to apply logic to evidence and state the conclusions in order to explain a phenomenon to someone.

An example of a personal attack, or reviling, is "Jared, you're full of hatred and anger."

I trust the distinction is clear.


Suggesting other forums may be more comfortable for MC does not imply he is not welcome here. Since stating the results of logic applied to evidence causes MC to revile whenever the results are held to be unfavorable to Brigham or his successors, this environment is unhealthful for him. There are other forums where stating the results of logic applied to evidence is disallowed whenever the outcome is held to be unfavorable to Brigham or his successors, and those who openly state such results are prevented from participating, and MC may find less occasion to revile there.

Jared Livesey

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The folks on LDS Fredom Forum betrayed their original intentions long ago, as most of the commenters on there are not much interested in freedom anymore, but in conformity. I can recall the day when it was a great place for freedom lovers to discuss things, but bit by bit all the freedom-minded Mormons like myself were crowded out.

As for the other two forums you mention, Jared, They had one agenda from the start: The Brethren Must Not Be Criticized.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The leaders will always maintain a core of True Believers (in their infallibility) so I don't hold up much hope for their ever coming to admit their errors. I tend to agree with Denver Snuffer's assessment, that in 20 years or so the LDS Church will be a conglomerate, with the "Church" only one of its subsidiaries. Some will say it's already at that point, but I envision the day when the business interests overshadow the religion department.

Zebedee said...


You wrote: "Still, I wonder if things might have turned out better had Rigdon become guardian." One good thing if Rigdon had taken charge is that we probably wouldn't have the curse of polygamy.

Your comments about the organizationally-free ancient church has given me pause to think. Moroni recorded that Christ's church in the western hemisphere was run by the Spirit, which led them to preach, pray, sing, etc. It makes sense that that same system was operating in the east. Having any man as a leader goes against that model. The Spirit should lead, not men. We have a good account of what happens when people drift from the Spirit as recorded in 4 Nephi. Organizations of men, which they called churches, were popping up like daisies.

Unfortunately, because many members place their faith in mortal leaders, they are in reality following blind men, just as the Lord warned. "Follow the prophet, he knows the way," right into a ditch.

Best to ditch the leaders and follow the Spirit as directed by our Lord.

Matthias said...

Rock, you're right that it would be good to also compare the statements of Brigham Young and Gordan B. Hinckley to statements by Joseph Smith. All three should also be compared to the scriptures. It would make for a fascinating study.

matt lohrke said...

Zeb - When I started actually paying attention to what I was reading in the scriptures, one of the things that struck more than just about any other was the Lord's statement of who would qualify to abide His Coming in Glory found in D&C 45:56-59:

1 - Those who are wise and have received the truth
2 - Who have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide
3 - Who have not been deceived

Noticeably absent is following the prophet, going to church, temple work, etc. We really should aim for letting the Holy Spirit be our guide--in all things.

MC - I hope you stick around. You have great insight. The more voices the better.

Bro. B said...

In David Whitmer's Address to All Believers in Christ he wrote:

In June, 1829, the Lord called Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and myself as the three witnesses, to behold the vision of the Angel, as recorded in the fore part of the Book of Mormon, and to bear testimony to the world that the Book of Mormon is true. I was not called to bear testimony to the mission of Brother Joseph Smith any farther than his work of translating the Book of Mormon, as you can see by reading the testimony of us three witnesses.

In this month I was baptized, confirmed, and ordained an Elder in the Church of Christ by Bro. Joseph Smith. Previous to this, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had baptized, confirmed and ordained each other to the office of an Elder in the Church of Christ. I was the third person baptized into the church. In August, 1829, we began to preach the gospel of Christ. The following six Elders had then been ordained: Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, Samuel H. Smith, Hyrum Smith, and myself. The Book of Mormon was still in the hands of the printer, but my brother, Christian Whitmer, had copied from the manuscript the teachings and doctrine of Christ, being the things which we were commanded to preach. We preached, baptized and confirmed members into the Church of Christ, from August, 1829, until April 6th, 1830, being eight months in which time we had proceeded rightly; the offices in the church being Elders, Priests and Teachers.

Now, when April 6, 1830, had come, we had then established three branches of the "Church of Christ," in which three branches were about seventy members: One branch was at Fayette, N.Y.; one at Manchester, N.Y., and one at Colesville, Pa. It is all a mistake about the church being organized on April 6, 1830, as I will show. We were as fully organized — spiritually — before April 6th as we were on that day. The reason why we met on that day was this; the world had been telling us that we were not a regularly organized church, and we had no right to officiate in the ordinance of marriage, hold church property, etc., and that we should organize according to the laws of the land. On this account we met at my father's house in Fayette, N.Y., on April 6, 1830, to attend to this matter of organizing according to the laws of the land; you can see this from Sec. 17 Doctrine and Covenants: the church was organized on April 6th "agreeable to the laws of our country."

It says after this, "by the will and commandments of God;" but this revelation came through Bro. Joseph as "mouthpiece." Now brethren, how can it be that the church was any more organized — spiritually — on April 6th, than it was before that time? There were six elders and about seventy members before April 6th, and the same number of elders and members after that day. We attended to our business of organizing, according to the laws of the land, the church acknowledging us six elders as their ministers; besides, a few who had recently been baptized and not confirmed were confirmed on that day; some blessings were pronounced, and we partook of the Lord's supper.

I do not consider that the church was any more organized or established in the eyes of God on that day than it was previous to that day.

He also stated:

The Holy Ghost was with us in more power during the eight months previous to April 6, 1830, than ever at any time thereafter. Almost everyone who was baptized received the Holy Ghost in power, some prophesying, some speaking in tongues, the heavens were opened to some, and all the signs which Christ promised should follow the believers were with us abundantly. We were an humble happy people, and loved each other as brethren should love.

MC said...

Jared, You are misrepresenting me. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not misrepresenting me intentionally.

I do not "revile whenever the results are held to be unfavorable to Brigham or his successors."

Brigham Young is not some sacred cow to me, and neither are his successors. Brigham Young certainly had his shortcomings. For example, there are aspects of his Adam God teachings that just don't square with the scriptures. He also restructured the aaronic priesthood quorums in a way that led to the current young men's program. I believe this was wrong. Clearly the young men generally do not have the ability to act in the offices of priest, teacher, and deacon they way they are spelled out in the scriptures. I'm sure some of them could act in this offices correctly, but they aren't even asked to.

Since the turn of the 20th century much has changed in the church. The brethren no longer speak by the spirit in conferences and meetings, but give carefully prepared talks. Missionaries no longer travel without purse or script. Women go on missions. The temple ordinances have been dramatically altered since 1990. The garment has been changed. The brethren have sought to make the church popular in the eyes of the world. The brethren allow the saints to use birth control and have abortions. The brethren gave blacks the priesthood and promote interracial marriage between blacks and whites in church magazines and websites. The brethren correlated all instruction and meetings. The brethren accept homosexuality in the church (they haven't fully embraced it, but they no longer speak out against it and their actions speak louder than any of their words anyway). The church has fully embraced graven images (members don't generally bow down and worship them, but they all have them in their homes and our churches and temples are full of them).

What I take exception to are unfounded attacks that cannot be supported by history. For example I take exception to people calling Brigham Young a liar because he said that Joseph practiced and introduced polygamy. Yes Joseph publicly denied it on several occasions, but there is much more to it than just a "Brigham vs Joseph whose the liar" going on. There are many witnesses who testified that Joseph had more wives than Emma and that he introduced the practice. While it is true that the majority of these are Utah saints, there are quite a few who aren't, such as William Law, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, William McClellan, John C. Bennett, and Sarah Pratt. Even if all of the witnesses were from Utah, the accusation that Brigham Young was some sex-crazed, power-hungry monster who coerced and forced hundreds of people to lie about the origins of plural marriage is ridiculous. It's beyond the point of insanity. It's wishful thinking and revisionist history. It is falsely speaking evil of Brother Brigham.

On a side note. Yes I admit that I'm a sinner and that I fall short of the glory of God. If that makes me an apostate so be it. I'd rather be an apostate than a hypocrite.

Eric Kuntz said...


4:1 Behold, I say unto you, that my servant Martin has desired a witness from my hand, that my servant Joseph has got the things of which he has testified, and borne record that he has received of me.4:2 And now, behold this shall you say unto him:–I the Lord am God, and I have given these things unto my servant Joseph, and I have commanded him that he should stand as a witness of these things, nevertheless I have caused him that he should enter into a covenant with me, that he should not show them except I command him and he has no power over them except I grant it unto him; and he has a gift to translate the book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift. (The Book of Commandments chapter 4)

When the Lord says "...I will grant him no other gift." That sounds pretty clear to me, that God gave JS (1) gift and would get no more.

Now let's compare the original revelation (BOC) to the much revised D&C:

5:4 And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.

These changes gave JS everything he needed to claim to be a prophet, seer, and revelator and to start a church

Here is what David Whitmer had to say about these changes:

"I will prove that God called Brother Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon only, and that he was not called to organize and establish the church any more than the rest of us Elders. That God commanded him that he should pretend to no other gift but to translate the Book of Mormon, that God would grant him no other gift...."

Eric Kuntz said...


" do you explain the spiritual outpouring at the Kirkland Temple dedication..."

The short answer is that they never happened. Neither did either of the two priesthood 'restorations'. (Aaronic / Melchizedek)

Regrading the supposed Kirkland event, there are no...diaries...letters...newspaper articles or sermons where this alleged vision is ever referenced. Neither Joseph nor Oliver ever mention this 'event' to anyone during their lifetime. Church history from the Ohio period is totally silent regarding this matter. Yet today in the modern church, D&C 110 is presented as though it occurred without question on April 3, 1836 in the Kirtland Temple. No evidence exists that is was a real event.

Jared Livesey said...

MC: Jared, You are misrepresenting me.... I take exception to people calling Brigham Young a liar because he said that Joseph practiced and introduced polygamy.

Speaking about misrepresentations, I nowhere referred to polygamy.

MC: Yes I admit that I'm a sinner and that I fall short of the glory of God.

Therefore, you should understand the root cause of apostasy, or refusal to do exactly and only what Jesus commanded. Imagine, again, pews and leadership filled with people who feel just like you do about the commandments of God, who share the same beliefs, and to whom God doesn't talk to much either because of lack of obedience to his commands and thus lacking faith in him. Draw that out over generations, like nearly 200 years. That's why things are the way they are.

My point isn't that you're a sinner and a hypocrite. My purpose was to answer your question - whence apostasy? - by reference to motivations you understand intimately, so that you may comprehend it by your own experience.

That's all. The solution to apostasy is merely to repent - change one's mind about Christ's words and believe them and agree with them - and call upon him in mighty prayer for forgiveness, and do exactly and only what Christ commands.

Whatever stops you from doing exactly that is what stops others too.

Jared Livesey

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


Is it logically possible that God gave Joseph other commandments after he translated the Book of Mormon?

Is it logically possible that God gave Joseph no other gift than that of translation?

Is it logically possible that the ability to ask and be answered - or receive revelations - is not, properly speaking, a gift, but a necessary benefit of having actual association with God?

Is it logically possible that God gave Joseph the commandments he did because the people would not receive and obey the commandments God had given in the Book of Mormon?

Is it logically possible that Joseph did exactly and only what God told him to do, and was neither self-willed nor self-serving in anything he did?

Is it logically possible that much of what is attributed to Joseph's egomania, power-hunger, and whatnot, could indeed have been commanded of him by God?

Is it logically possible that God commanded Joseph to command those who hearkened to Joseph to build a temple?

Is it logically possible that God commanded Joseph to give the rites of the endowment to the apostles?

If you hold any of these things to be logically impossible, on what evidentiary grounds do you make that assertion?

Jared Livesey

MC said...

Jared, I wasn't suggesting that you were mentioning polygamy. Sorry if that wasn't clear. I was merely providing an example of an attack on Brigham Young that I see frequently on this blog and among the remnant movement, that I take issue with.

You're right about what the solution to being a sinner is. Repentance of course.

Lilli said...

I agree we should ditch following or trusting in any leaders or authority, for that is even what Christ taught, but following the Spirit can be just as deceptive and lead us astray as much or more than any leader or mortal.

For the Adversary can give us false feelings, confirmations, impressions, revelations, dreams, visions, visitations, etc, just as much if not more than God does, for the Adversary's are far easier to hear and receive, if not constant.

Not to mention that falsehoods taught by 'the/a spirit' usually sound better and more right to us than truths, so it's natural to assume a false revelation or visitation is from God. Thus why we have so many religions around the world filled with people just as sure 'the spirit' confirmed to them 'their' religion or leaders were true.

Christ had the answer in just following his ample but simple and few commandments as our 'iron rod', not the spirit, for his teachings can't be wrong but 'the spirit' often is.

Christ taught us to be leery, not only of all leaders and the claims and teachings of so called prophets like Moses, Joseph Smith, BY, etc, but also leery of 'the spirit', who yes, can teach truth but can also teach mostly falsehood that sounds or feels like truth, thus he taught that the spirit's teachings or revelations, or the revelations of others/prophets, must be tested, against his commandments, which again are our only sure standard of truth.

We probably don't even need 'the spirit', just like we don't need any prophets (who if true would only repeat Christ, not start or lead a church or write more scripture), to do or know what is right as long as we follow the commandments. For a true spirit/prophet would only repeat Christ's commandments to us, nothing else or different or more.

And as mortals, it's impossible to know what kind of spirit is teaching or inspiring us, but we can prove if what that spirit inspires is right or not.

If we 1st and foremost test Joseph Smith (and our testimony of him) and his actions, teachings and claims, against Christ's commandments, I don't see where he proves to be a true prophet, let alone follows those commandments, for he and they are very often contradictory IMO.

While teaching Catholics in Italy as a missionary I always wondered why they didn't question their leaders, doctrine or church beginnings, but now I see it's the same with LDS and other religions. As a young missionary I wondered how people could be so easily duped by a man or group of men who just started a religion and claimed it was true and that they had authority and revelation from God? Without seriously questioning it all. But I didn't realize yet that even I didn't question my own LDS church and leaders myself enough, until gradually thru the years as I learned more and more that didn't seem right. It's so easy to see when others are deceived but not when we are.

It seems most people don't want to question what is familiar, comfortable or what sounds good to them, for it's uncomfortable to question your beliefs, testimony or foundations, for you might find out they aren't true, and the perks of belonging or thinking you are right or righteous or saved, can seem to far outweigh the perks of truth.

Bottom line, we can't trust 'the spirit' or our revelations or visitations, etc, or anyone else's. We can only trust Christ's commandments, for only they are perfect, but 1st we come to learn they are true.

Eric Kuntz said...


Yes, all of the scenarios that you propose are logically possible I suppose, either in this Universe or parallel universes. The important question for me is what is indeed the truth of the matter and what does the Word of God have to say about it. Unfortunately the Word of God is mostly ignored by most people of the world and religions as well. They are too invested in their own agendas to seriously investigate what God has to say about everything; especially when they discover that God’s Word invalidates their corporate messaging. Each flavor of religion has its favorite selection of passages which keep the flock in tow and proves they are being taught the only true religion. The Mormons especially love the slogans "Follow the Prophet" and "Families are Forever". The problem is that very little if anything found in the Mormon religion accords with the Bible and the BOM. Mormon theologians will cherry pick a few select verses, ignore the contradictions and wrest the remaining.

7 And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them— 8 Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are firm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free.(Helaman 15)

The Word of God rescues souls from hell because the Scriptures are truth.

38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 ,Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5)

10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. (Alma 12)

matt lohrke said...

Scripted press conference?

Maybe something here, maybe not. You can decide.

Eric Kuntz said...

Wow. Something there for sure. Looks like Oaks is running the whole show.

Zebedee said...

They were reading from a teleprompter. You can see Nelson glance at it. Oaks is following along with the script. You can see it here in front of the cameras:

And these are prophets?

matt lohrke said...

So it was definitely scripted.

Linda Gale said...

Creepy indeed!

Right out of the gate it was creepy.

Why would Pres. Nelson say he hopes he will be forgiven for saying he has a special place in his heart for Peggy Fletcher Stack?

Forgiven by whom?

Is he asking her to forgive him?

Is he asking God to forgive him for stating that he has a special place in his heart (if he really has a heart) for this reporter?

Wow! If this was a scripted event, and it appears to have been, then what is going on here with this preliminary statement?

We live in interesting times.

Dave P. said...

Oh we live in times where satan's influence is hiding in plain sight all over the place.

The church: "Do everything we say without question and you will be saved."
The government: "Do everything we say without question and you will be saved."
The healthcare system: "Do everything we say without question and you will be saved."
etc., all throughout history.

Of course the big lie is not that we will be saved via blind obedience and surrendering our agency, it's that we are all made dependent on those "leaders" who would rather rule and exercise power over us rather than serve us.

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

Bro B.,
I appreciate your citing that excerpt from David Whitmer's pamphlet; it's been some years since I've read it, and I had forgotten much of it. Two things stood out for me in that excerpt:

1. Whitmer's declaration that he was not called to bear testimony of Joseph Smith, any farther than his work of translating the Book of Mormon.

Today we are all but required to bear testimony of the president of the Church, but I'm sure Joseph would be horrified if the saints in his day routinely stood up to bear testimony of him, instead of the the work God was performing.

2. It's Whitmer's belief that the saints felt the Holy Ghost much more in the days prior to "officially" organizing the church than they did thereafter. This seems to me evidence that the Lord was not pleased that the early saints had bowed to outside pressure to formally organize according to the laws of the country. We can give them credit for one thing, at least: they didn't organize it according to a corporate charter, which would have put the church under the aegis of the earthly government as it is now. What they did was was a common law announcement, unnecessary to be sure, but at least it did not tie them to the state as the Church is today since the day in 1925 when Heber Grant applied for a corporate charter under federal law.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

On the topic of the Kirtland "temple" some of you have referenced above, I have been reading Ronald Kerran's book, "Exonerating Emma, Joseph, and Hyrum, and he dropped a bombshell. In the diaries of Joseph Smith at the time, nowhere is that edifice referred to as a temple. Instead, it was the Kirtland CHAPEL. No one else at the time ever spoke of it as a temple, either, but as a chapel. Temples were not on the radar in Kirtland. Others came behind and changed the wordings in Joseph's journals.

I pulled down my copy of Joseph's Journals edited by Scott Faulring, and sure enough, Temple had been inserted every place Joseph had referenced the Kirtland chapel.

That book is soon to be released on Amazon, and MC, before you become entirely convinced that all those "witnesses" were telling the truth about Joseph's participation in plural marriage, I'd recommend you give that book a look. Brigham, Heber, Wm Clayton and others admit in private documents about a "secret priesthood" they were involved in that was separate and unknown to Joseph and Hyrum, and that they were concerned about Hyrum uncovering their doings. Quite a read.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Someone sent me the link to that press conference the other day, and I still don't know what to think about it. As Linda Gale wrote, it's "creepy." To say the least.

Also mystifying. One of the strangest things I've ever seen from Oaks OR Nelson.

As for what Nelson meant when he said he hopes he'll be forgiven for being complimentary to Peggy Strack, I can only assume he is referring to how he'll have to answer to his real God, Beelzebub. Seeing as Peggy has often spoken truth to power when it comes to Church Leader's shenanigans, she is clearly the enemy of the Father of Lies. Nelson will most likely be on his knees to Satan asking forgiveness from the Dark Lord for letting that one slip by.

matt lohrke said...

That makes perfect sense that Kirtland was to be a chapel. WOW. I think that does qualify as a bombshell.

I cannot wait for the day Joseph's good name is restored and the charlatans are exposed for who they were. This is an exciting time to be alive. The Lord truly waking us up and setting the wheels in motion.

Underdog2 said...

Dave P said:

"Oh we live in times where satan's influence is hiding in plain sight all over the place.

The church: "Do everything we say without question and you will be saved."
The government: "Do everything we say without question and you will be saved."
The healthcare system: "Do everything we say without question and you will be saved."
etc., all throughout history.

Of course the big lie is not that we will be saved via blind obedience and surrendering our agency, it's that we are all made dependent on those "leaders" who would rather rule and exercise power over us rather than serve us."

I would add the obvious: The Education System: No Child Left Behind.

That is a plagiarism of Satan: "I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost". I'm not sure which is better. Both have a good ring to them.

Either way, it's attractive to the lazy and fearful.

Church leaders today: "Stay on Old Ship Zion and you will be saved." See Elder Ballard's talk which delivers this message at

I wonder if the Second Anointing as supposedly administered by Joseph (see had the unintended consequence of riveting attention on the Prophet? Brigham Young ran with the concept, even delegating this "authority" to others. Thousands have received it. The talking point put out there now is that this doesn't happen today, but Tom Phillips, you'll recall, testified it happened TO HIM. See footnote 12 in the wiki link above. Tom was anointed by none other than Elder Ballard, who likes to preach “Keep the eyes of the [members] on the leaders of the Church. … We will not and … cannot lead [you] astray" (quoted in GC article above).

If God is promising exaltation through a true prophet via a "second anointing" ordinance, then the obvious tendency would be to depend on or to look to that prophet. Such dependency gravely disappointed Joseph when he famously quoted Ezekiel 14 and said the people "were darkened in their minds" because they were depending on him.

I know he COULD (since with God anything is possible), but it makes me wonder if the Lord would (has) ever delegated the actual act promising of exaltation to somebody else. Is he really the only one at the gate, or does he sometimes employ a servant there (2 Nephi 9:41)? Then we have..."Whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants it is the same." It figures that evil-minded despots take full advantage of this truth to deceive and control people.


Dave P. said...

In regards to the news conference, I simply have to ask: How much blackmail material do the Apostles hold over each others' heads? I know I'd like to ask both Nelson and Oaks some very specific questions in a public forum.


I believe I mentioned this before but satan's plan is very appealing to the natural man, as the natural man seeks the easy way out while abdicating all forms of responsibility, so every instance of it will ensnare those who do not desire to exercise self-control.

The educational system is easily one of the worst as parents surrender their responsibilities of rearing their children to the state to be programmed how it sees fit. I read an article just today about how every child is born with the potential for creative genius, but gets dumbed down by the US education system:

As for the Second Anointing, it's another instance of something that Joseph taught but Christ did not. Christ taught repentance and baptism.

We also have to remember that a true servant of God will operate with an eye single to His glory. What one one of Joseph Smith's first mistakes when it came to even getting ahold of the plates to translate the BoM? Setting the plates aside and double-checking the box to see if there was anything else inside he could sell for money. This was after he'd already been warned, "Do not do this for material gain!" Between constantly failing to heed the Lord's words and acting in his own self interest, can Joseph be called a servant of the Lord?

Zebedee said...


My two cents: I believe that (1) God is a God of truth and cannot lie, (2) God is no respecter of persons, and (3) we must become as a little child to enter heaven.

If God cannot lie and once His words leave His mouth they must be all fulfilled, then when He says "no other servant," I take Him at His word. There is no other servant.

If the only way to see God is by some middleman then what about the billions of souls who are redeemed by the atonement alone, such as those who are innocent by age or by law? Do they need a middleman?

Are we following the example of the Catholic Church who worship a particular Saint to put in a good word to Mary to put in a good word with Christ? Why do we not come unto Christ directly? Do we think He hates us and would rather destroy us than look at us? Why cower behind some other mortal or the dead?

Does a second (or even a first) anointing make one a little child? Anointings in the Old Testament were for priests and kings. We don't anoint priests today do we? We only ordain them. In the temple many are anointed only to become one at some undetermined point in the future. But what do priests do? They perform outward ordinances here on earth for the benefit of God’s children in mortality. Why be anointed to be a priest later on when the work of salvation is over? You might say it’s an honorary title. Then why not prophet? Why aren’t we anointed to become prophets in the next world?

With Christ old things were done away and that would imply the Old Testament need for priests and kings or any system that elevates one above another. Do we need kings in the hereafter when there is only one King? Or does that idea just stroke our pride and vanity to think we MAY become one? And how do we become one? By bowing down in this life before some other assumed mortal king to receive some empty promise of future royalty. God doesn’t work that way, at least not the God I worship.

We must become a little child of God and put away such egotistical thoughts of being anything more than that.

Jared Livesey said...

In my desultory readings, I stumbled upon this.

Joseph F. Smith: The rules of succession are merely a custom. The Twelve nominates a president and the Church elects him. Citation to "Proceedings before the Committee on Privileges and Elections of the United States Senate in the matter of The Protest Against The Right of Hon. Reed Smoot, A Senator from the State of Utah, to Hold his Seat," pp. 92-93; 368 See also here for a photo of page 368.[1]

Joseph Fielding Smith: The Lord set forth the rules of succession. The Church does not elect the president. Citation to Church source[2]


Mr. SMITH. 1 was nominated by the twelve apostles and submitted
to the whole church and sustained by the whole church.

Mr. WORTHINGTON. Explain what you mean by the word "sus-
tained" in that technical sense.

Mr. SMITH. That is, voted upon.

Senator BAILEY. I understand that. As a matter of fact, the apostles
nominate the president and the church elects him. Do I understand
that to be the case ?

Mr. SMITH. Well, yes, sir; that has been the case. And then, again,
the senior apostle, through custom of the church since the death of
Joseph Smith, has been recognized on the death of the president as the
legitimate successor to the president.

Senator BAILEY. It is a question of succession rather than of election ?

Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.

Senator BAILEY. Has that the force of law ?

Mr. SMITH. Still he is elected, just the same.

Senator BAILEY. Has that the force of law or has it merely the per-
suasion of custom?

Mr. SMITH. Merely a custom. There is no law in relation to it. It
does not of necessity follow that the senior apostle would be or should
be chosen as the president of the church.

Senator BAILEY. And if they did not elect him it would do no vio-
lence to the church or the organization?

Mr. SMITH. No, sir; not in the least.

Senator McCoMAS. You say the church elects the president?

Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir. (Reed Smoot, pp. 92-93 [see also p. 368])

[2] “There is no mystery about the choosing of the successor to the President of the Church. The Lord settled this a long time ago, and the senior apostle automatically becomes the presiding officer of the Church, and he is so sustained by the Council of the Twelve which becomes the presiding body of the Church when there is no First Presidency. The president is not elected, but he has to be sustained both by his brethren of the Council and by the members of the Church” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:156).

Jared Livesey said...

I seem to recall Brigham Young flatly declaring he had been elected president of the Church. Probably cited in Passing the Heavenly Gift somewheres. Joseph F. was closer to the origins of succession than his son, Joseph Fielding, and was also under oath in his testimony.

Seems we can detect the firm insertion of "the hand of God" into the election of the Church President between Joseph F. Smith and Joseph Fielding Smith. Granted Joseph F. was careful to declare he and his co-religionists believed the process of succession to be "inspired" in some indefinite way, but Joseph Fielding makes it out to be a matter of fact and not mere belief.

We can see that what was once held to be merely a matter of belief or opinion hardened into a doctrine and is today a creed.

Linda Gale said...

I was glad to see someone reference the second anointing. Now there is a real doozy for you.

You are guaranteed entrance into the celestial kingdom as long as you 'don't shed innocent blood'. Who is to determine whose blood is innocent, and who deserved to be murdered/killed?

But that is merely the beginning.

Cheat on your wife? Rape, incest, choir boys for the top 15? No problem, no problem at all.

Lie, cheat, steal? Dig a pit for thy brother?

All kinds of business deals done in the back room? Payola?

Give the special handshakes to crass members of the ruling society? No biggie!

That is all covered with your very own "get out of jail free" card.

matt lohrke said...

It seems every day we get closer to the dam bursting. The charade can't go on forever. When that day does come, there will be a lot of shattered worlds. Many will be lost and hurting. Many others will rejoice because of that sorrow. I think we'll have a unique opportunity to love and assure people that Jesus, The Book of Mormon and real Mormonism are still very much alive and very viable.

Rock - any inkling when the Exonerating Emma, Joseph and Hyrum book comes out? It looks like it was for sale at one point, but was taken off the shelves. I can't wait to get my hands on it. I found this little blurb and it whet the ole' appetite:

"The findings herein should generate a new dialogue between Mormons, ex-Mormons, anti-Mormons, and even non-Mormons. In his non-conventional (perhaps quirky) yet straightforward style, Karren, through journal entries and pro-Mormon sources, clearly shows that Brigham Young and Willard Richards, with their friend, Masonic Royal Arch Master Heber C. Kimball joined Joseph’s Church, and consolidated the loyalty of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles. While together in England, they created a secret church with a secret priesthood, and began experimenting with an expanded form of polygamy starting in 1839. It is Brigham who claims he received the revelation regarding Spiritual Wifery in a vision “in 1839/40”. And, artifacts clearly show the Smiths fought spiritual wifery (including polygamy) on every occasion. From 1844 onward, core doctrines of Joseph’s Restoration began to disappear, which included conferring the priesthood on blacks starting with Elijah Abel to the Quorum of the Seventy in 1836.

Joseph’s only handwritten account of the First Vision includes only one personage, not two—identical to Apostle Paul’s vision. Joseph’s dialogue differs greatly from the traditional LDS version. Additionally, Joseph clearly had neither interest in nor reverence for temples or temple worship. In over 50 journal entries, the Kirtland Chapel was never once referred to as a “temple” by Joseph. The Nauvoo “temple” was not an LDS temple until 2002. The David O. McKay Papers show the LDS purchase of the Nauvoo Masonic Temple in 1954. From that “temple” cornerstone they removed Kimball and Clayton’s Masonic Minute Books, which they had created, doctored, and partially destroyed before depositing them into that cornerstone at the “temple” dedication in 1843.

To cover up their elaborate plan of hijacking Joseph’s Church, and to ensure a “valid” succession from Joseph to Brigham, Joseph, Hyrum, and Samuel not only had to be removed from the picture, but also framed with spiritual wifery and temple worship—a narrative that Emma, alone, vehemently fought to her dying day."

Just imagine, for a moment, everything Emma went through. Just imagine.

Zebedee said...

That kinda puts an interesting light on this message from the Lord:

"And now I show unto you a mystery, a thing which is had in secret chambers, to bring to pass even your destruction in process of time, and ye knew it not." (D&C 38:13)

The enemies were conspiring from the very beginning to overthrow the Church. We shouldn’t be surprised that these guys were Freemasons, whose M.O. is to infiltrate and corrupt from within. Their documented secret oaths closely resemble the Gadianton's of old. They have never had anything to do with stonework, that's just a lame cover story. Think of “Mason” as a derivation of “Mahan” and you’ll know who they really are (see Moses 5:31).

Speaking of the Church leaders of His day, the Lord said:

"Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres...Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered." (Luke 11:47-48, 52)

If the shoe fits...

matt lohrke said...

Zeb -

Indeed. In the BOM the journey from light to apostasy was usually a few years. It seems for the Saints the same held true.

Has anyone read "Mormons and Masonry" by E. Cecil Gavin, published in 1947? Thinking about picking up it up. It's interesting to learn that the Beehive is a traditional Masonic symbol.

I can't help but wonder if these secret handshakes, signs, symbols, emblems, tokens, etc, are descended from the Gaddianton, and by extension the devil. What a terrifying thing that'd be. Thinking about it now, it all seems so at odds with Christ's Gospel.

How many billions of dollars have been spent on LDS temples?

Underdog2 said...


I've got the book and have read it. It's been over 20 years though.

I'm of the mindset right now (maybe this is my own cognitive bias) that the Church hasn't been led strictly by Gadiantons. I believe, as Jesus' parable teaches us, that the enemy hath planted tares among the wheat.

My personal belief is that a shift has happened just in the last few years, when "the" secret combination has gained absolute control over the Church. Benson was a good guy, just deceived, like the rest of us, but more awake than 99% of the people.

With his death, things have accelerated. Hinckley/ Monson did nothing to further the cause of Liberty. Nelson hasn't either. All three have served to, I'm guessing bring more tares into the top leadership positions.

Nelson is particularly bad news because he's the one that personally excommunicated Denver Snuffer. No matter what one believes about Denver, he had no business being excommunicated. No business. For what? Temple recommend holders who testify of seeing Christ and who teach officially (in books, talks, essays, blogs) the gospel of Jesus Christ have no business being targeted for purging.

Unless there's patently evil workings and undercurrent. Which there is.

Russell M. Nelson has NO EXCUSE. He can't do what he did (to Denver) without being evil, in my humble view. His personal interference and leadership in "persecuting the saints" and expelling Denver Snuffer are prima facie evidence he is evil. Convicted!

So I think a shift has happened. And the BoM tells us one "tell" when the end is imminent, and that is when the righteous are cast out. We are all witnesses to this happening in the last few years. Per the BoM. The criteria has been met and is past tense. The end must be near. The readers (non readers) of the BoM take the book lightly, and see not what is happening.

Zebedee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Underdog2 said...


It's interesting that the JST (see footnote of Matt 13:30) of the parable states that wheat will be gathered together FIRST in a barn, then the tares bundled and burned. The Bible reverses the order.

I don't know how else to interpret that but that there will be an attempt at Zion (the barn). This gives a clue that the Lord is LEADING. He moves first. Then the burning comes of "bound" tares. Interesting.

Zebedee said...


Interesting indeed. The wheat gathered into a barn is a safe place. The tares are burned in the field. We know from the parable the field represents the world. The barn is somewhere out of the field, or out of the world. Is that figurative (like Zion) or literal (like off the planet)? Or maybe a combination of both, if we consider Enoch's return.

Binding is another key word. Bound with what? The chains of hell perhaps?

matt lohrke said...

I miss the days of Ezra. He signed my mission call. He pulled no punches calling out the Gaddiantons in the government and the church. It amazes me how many LDS friends I have who believe socialism, and to some extent communism, are benign political ideologies. I was alarmed during the last election cycle to discover most of friends were statists. Wild. Whether government or the church, willful paternalism seems to be the name of the game.

I agree, though, things dramatically shifted with Gordon. I'm acquainted with a few direct descendants of his, so I'm reluctant to overly criticize him. It seems the "follow the prophet" mantra really metastasized with him. I've found a few instances of that phrase appearing in conference back in the late 1970s, then came Ezra's 14 fundamentals talk, and then Gordon's reign began.

The parallels to King Noah are hard to overlook. It wouldn't take more than a couple of people in high places to corrupt the entire tree.

matt lohrke said...

A friend of mine just relayed something Sandra Tanner said in her Mormon Stories interview:

If the temple endowment is required for salvation, what was the point of the atonement?

I think that's a reasonable question.

The fullness of the Gospel is indeed in the BOM.

Dave P. said...

You also have to remember that plenty of satanic rituals involve human sacrifices. Brigham Young denied Christ's Atonement when he taught that some sins were too severe to be redeemed by the blood of Christ and thus the person had to shed his own blood.

Of course Young had full control over which sins counted for "blood atonement" and we know he had people, namely "apostates" killed. Almost as if he was looking for human sacrifices for his god.

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