Saturday, April 2, 2022

Why Are You Still Calling This Guy A Prophet Of God?

Previously: Reigning With Blood And Horror On The Earth

Here's the thing: Russell M. Nelson was never called by God to lead the LDS Church. 

And I can prove it.

But first, if you're new to this forum, here's what you get to know about me: I am a firm believer in the gospel of Christ as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I revere the Book of Mormon as true scripture and a literal record of God's dealings with a people He brought to this continent in ancient times. I am more devoted to "Mormonism" than at any time in my life. So despite what you may have been told, I am not an apostate. An apostate is a person who has turned his back on his beliefs. I have not; The restored gospel of Christ is central to my life.

Tens of thousands of your fellow believers have also recognized that Russell Nelson is a fake and a fraud.  You may even know some of them.  We can clearly discern this truth because Nelson and his cohorts have, by their very acts and admissions, copped to the fact that Jesus Christ, the ostensible head of the Church, never called, ordained, anointed, appointed, or in any way set apart any one of them to lead His church.  If you find this hard to believe, keep reading. All the evidence will be provided below. 

What I will be presenting was previously presented here just after Russell Nelson took office as president of the Church.  I was prompted to revisit this topic due to the many faithful members who have been deeply troubled ever since the First Presidency, in an official declaration last August, encouraged members of the Church to take the Covid vaccines, saying those vaccines were "proven safe and effective."

Many devout members were disturbed by that statement, since those consulting the abundant scientific research were aware that the the only thing these vaccines have proven to be is extremely dangerous to a large segment of the population. These faithful members have found it difficult reconciling the science with Nelson's obvious falsehood, since we have all been taught since childhood that "the prophet can never lead the church astray." 

Yet, here was the First Presidency of the Church, led by the ostensible prophet, doing just that; leading the church astray. These concerned believers asked, "if the vaccines have been proven safe, why were they given approval only under the Emergency Use Authorization Act?"  Those paying attention understood that medications so authorized have not, by their very nature, undergone anything close to the testing required to approve them as either safe or effective for use on either humans or animals.   Such a limited authorization assumes those taking them understand that by injecting these untested substances, they were assuming all the risk, and that neither the government nor the pharmaceutical companies that produced them can be held responsible for any adverse effects, up to and including death. 

That's a gamble most intelligent people would promptly reject. 


Yet Russell Nelson, who is a medical doctor and should know better, insisted these highly dubious injections posed no danger.  He blatantly lied to the members of the Church when he issued that statement. That lie was confirmed when the pharmaceutical company Pfizer was forced by the courts to release information they had hoped to keep hidden from the public for fifty years, by which time all victims of their untested vaccines would likely be dead, as would those responsible for the manufacture of these poisons. In that release, we learn that Pfizer knew their vaccines were dangerous, yet widely promoted them anyway. You can download that document HERE where, beginning on page 9, you will find listed 30 pages of documented adverse and potentially dangerous reactions that Pfizer's own scientists have been fully aware of this entire time. 

So one wonders: Where was the mantle of the prophet when Russell M. Nelson, Dallin Oaks, and Henry Eyring boldly encouraged every member of the Church to have these poisons injected into them because these poisons had somehow magically been "proven safe and effective"?

The answer, of course, is that no such mantle has been bestowed on this current crop of imposters.  Joseph Smith had that mantle, but these usurpers most certainly do not.  What we do know is that Russell Nelson, who has complete control over every cent you paid in tithing last year, diverted over half a billion dollars of that tithing as investments in Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturers of the "vaccines." Did they get your approval before taking that action?  In D&C 104:71 God requires them to get that permission.  He also requires you to keep your eye on what your "servants" are up to. Have you been shirking your duty?

(UPDATE April 4th, 2022: an eagle-eyed reader who is much better at reading investment portfolios than I am has informed me that the total investments in those pharmaceutical companies is $10.5 billion.)

If you have never questioned the general authorities before, prepare to have your eyes opened, because God never bestowed upon them the authority they claim.  They have not been "lying for the Lord." They have just been lying.

And now, a caveat: since this post consists of two parts, it's a long read, so I don't expect anyone to take it all in in one sitting.  But I do feel this information is important, so if you know members of the Church who are having difficulty reconciling the false traditions of men with the actual words spoken by Jesus Christ through revelation, I hope you will share this with them and encourage them to pray about what they are about to discover.

So, to begin. Part One, "Who Died And Made Him Prophet?" was written in January, 2018, soon after Russell Nelson was installed as president of the Church.  As you will see, God had nothing to do with that duplicitous event: 


Who Died And Made Him Prophet?

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 chosen 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 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, won't he? 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 His prophets are to be picked?

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 halfway across the country to the Rocky Mountains. 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 through the minutes of the quorum, 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 governing body 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 and 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's partly true. It has been followed to our present day. It just hasn't been "divinely inspired," so you should have mentioned you made that part up.

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 later, 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."  He provided no equivalent description of the Twelve Apostles. 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.)

Did Joseph say anything in there about the Twelve Apostles being the body through which the will of the Lord might be known? Or that the Quorum of the Twelve would have a key role in the building up of Zion?  No, he did not. So why in the world do the members today look to these guys for direction? 

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 Zionas 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 posses 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. 

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
                                                                     *****

PART TWO:

Russell Nelson Is A Fake And A Fraud Who Stands In Rebellion Against God

The piece below, written prior to Russell Nelson receiving the sustaining vote of the membership of the Church, was originally titled Have You Voted For The New Church President Yet? In it I discussed some of the things members should have considered before sustaining Russell M. Nelson as president and prophet, given his history of open rebellion against God

So let's begin:


Have you voted for the new Church president yet? 

I'm just messing with you, of course -the title of this piece is a trick question. You can't vote for the Church president because it's already too late for that. You can vote for the new prophet if you want to, but the presidential slot has already been snapped up.

If we are to believe Jesus Christ (and I can't readily think of any reason why we shouldn't), you were supposed to vote for the president of the Church before he was ordained to the office.

You sadly missed your chance, because Russell Nelson jumped the gun and got his friends in the Quorum to ordain him behind closed doors before anyone in the church had a clue what those guys were up to. They didn't even announce their crime until two days later, and even then they couched it in terms they hoped would make it appear that everything was on the up-and-up.

I'm certain they'll be giving you another chance to "vote" at the upcoming general conference in April, but by that time your vote for the president will be meaningless. A sham. A mere formality.

Why? Because any vote taken after the ordination would be in violation of God's law.

Missed It By That Much!
In my last post, we looked at several reasons why Apostle Russell M. Nelson is unqualified to be president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based on the teachings of Joseph Smith and the clear revelations from the Lord. If you haven't read that one yet, I hope you'll hie on over there right now because it will give you the groundwork you'll require to understand what follows.

What I failed to instantiate in that post was something that was pointed out the same day over at Radio Free Mormon in a podcast aptly titled Illegitimate First Presidency, and that is this: even if Russell Nelson was qualified to be president of the Church in every other way (and he would have had to have come from some place other than the Quorum of the Twelve for that to happen), he made one irreversible fubar: he was fool enough to get himself crowned King Of The Church without following the most important instruction Jesus Christ gave on the subject. He failed to get the approval of the members FIRST.

This is no trivial thing. Every one of those men who met in secret that weekend with the intent to circumvent God's law in this matter seem to have forgotten the Lord's warning about their fate for such a clear breach:
"Ye shall see that my law is kept. He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my discipleand shall be cast out from among you.” (D&C  41:4-5)
According to Doctrine & Covenants section 20, before anyone can be ordained to an office in this Church -any office- he first has to be nominated and presented at a conference of the Church so the members have the opportunity to vote for or against him. Think back to the last time a new bishop was called in your ward, or when you got a new stake president. At your ward or stake conference, the nominee was presented for a sustaining vote, and then he or she was ordained to the office, assuming they got a majority of votes from the members (which these days always happens).

For the installation of a general authority, the appropriate conference would be the semi-annual General Conference, since those offices are general to the whole church, and not local to a particular stake or branch.  I can understand why Apostle Nelson didn't want to wait until April to be voted on. The guy was already ninety three years old at the time the last president shuffled off his mortal coil.  April was three months in the future; Nelson might have figured he could be dead by then, and there goes the big promotion.

Only one thing for Nelson to do: tell the Lord to "eat my dust," and go ahead without the vote.

And that's how it happened that Russell M. Nelson, already unqualified to be president of the Church because for the past thirty-four years he was in the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, was nominated anyway and then immediately ordained to that office before he could receive a sustaining vote from the members. That violated every procedure the Lord says he was required to follow, but he just ignored it all anyway and plunged ahead like a drunk Episcopalian.


Grab your scriptures and follow along with me while we look at why the Lord forbids this sort of thing.

Doctrine & Covenants section 20 consists of 81 verses primarily concerned with how the Church is to be governed, how meetings are to be conducted (Surprise! A lot differently than they are today), how people are called to offices, and the careful procedures that must be followed in the Church before a person can be installed into a particular office. Let's look at verse 63:
"The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders, by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences."
Okay, so what are "licenses," and why does someone in a church calling need one?

Remember what we learned from our reading of The Real Threat to Traditional Marriage? A license is defined as Permission. "Permission to do something which would otherwise be illegal or unlawful."

In the United States of America there is nothing illegal about preaching the gospel or holding office in a church. But it could be "unlawful" within a particular church -that is, against the established rules of that church- for a person to pretend to hold office in that church, or to represent that church, unless he has followed the lawful procedures instituted by that church that would certify he has been given permission ("license") by the members of that church to hold that office.

That's why section 20 is so precise in the matter of issuing licenses to those authorized to represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The procedure is further detailed in verse 64:
"Each priest, teacher, or deacon, who is ordained by a priest, may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate, when presented to an elder, shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling, or he may receive it from a conference."
If you've ever served a mission, you'll recall that you were instructed to carry your ministerial certificate in your pocket at all times to confirm you were properly licensed by your church to preach the gospel under your church's bylaws. But before you got your license or your certificate, there was one crucial step that could not be overlooked: you still had to be ordained. And before you could be ordained to go forth and preach the gospel, the members of your ward had to be given the opportunity to vote on whether they agreed you should represent them or not. Verse 65 applied to you the same as it applied to the one who ostensibly called you to your office, the presiding officer of the whole church.

In fact, this procedure is required before any person can obtain any office in the LDS church, from patriarch to president, from stake president, to high councilor, to bishop, bishop's councilors, Elder's quorum president, Elder's quorum councilors, primary president, primary president's councilors, young men's presidencies, young women's presidencies, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum, Simon says and Mother may I.

There's a reason you're asked to raise your right arm so frequently in this church, and it's not just so the person sitting next to you can smell your armpit. This procedure is absolutely essential to obtaining any office in the church. Without it, the person taking office is acting unlawfully:
"No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church." (Verse 65)
I'm going to take a wild guess here that maybe -just maybe- there's at least one branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. And since Fake President Russell M. Nelson admitted to the whole church on January 15th of this year that he had gotten himself and his two counselors ordained to their offices before the members were given the opportunity to vote them into that office, he has committed fraud, and stands in defiance of Church law and rebellion against the Lord.

There is nothing hyperbolic about this accusation. Let's recall again what the Lord said at the very end of the revelation on priesthood clear back in 1835: "He that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be found worthy to stand. Even so. Amen."

Boy howdy, "Amen" is right. This so-called "First Presidency" that was formed last month is illegitimate because the principals who engaged in that charade ignored the lawful procedure that had been carefully laid out in scripture and which must be followed. They are, by His word, unworthy to stand in the place they have presumed to put themselves.

           
The new First Presidency, before and after they sold their souls in exchange for the honors of men.

Disobeying The Words Of The Lord
In last month's post, we showed how Nelson, Oaks, and Eyering claimed the right to take these offices in the First Presidency by dint of their having been ordained to those positions by other members of the Twelve. We also showed how the Lord makes it clear that anyone claiming to be His servant must be shown to have been appointed by Him. He repeats himself on that matter in several places, most notably section 124, verses 45 and 46. (Because of the importance of understanding this matter, it might do to review that post now just to allow it to really hit home to you the extent of the fraud and usurpation that is taking place right under the noses of the members.)

There's a lot of interesting stuff in section 124. Here we have a revelation from the Lord given in January of 1841 where the Lord himself nominated men to virtually every important office in the church, from the patriarch, to the prophet, to all the members of the high council; in short, every office that was given authority to govern within the church, and also all the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, who were specifically not given authority to govern within the church.

To me, there are a couple of things that stand out in this revelation. First, virtually every one of these appointees is referred to by the Lord Himself as "my servant." Isn't it odd that members of the Church Hierarchy today like to refer to themselves as "the Lord's servants," without ever having received a revelation where the Lord uses that term to describe any of them? For that matter, don't you think it's odd that no one can point to any revelation received by any president of the Church in your lifetime that has been conveyed to us in the words of the Lord Himself and by His voice?

No revelations. No prophecies. No instructions from the Lord indicating He has reversed Himself on the procedure He has commanded his leaders to follow. Yet on January 13th of this year, Fake President Russell M. Nelson went ahead and got himself ordained to the office of President of the Church in a manner that denied the members the opportunity to follow a commandment of God in this very instance.

Here is that commandment:
"And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned." 
Oh, wait a minute. I seem to have left out the best part:
And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference.
Don't you find that interesting? Here's a very long revelation where the Lord goes to substantial trouble to nominate a great number of people he would like to see fill the offices in the church, and yet at the very end he tells the people it's their choice whether they want these guys or not. Entirely up to them. They have the right to nullify His picks.

When some in the sectarian world accuse us of worshiping a different God than they do, I'm inclined to agree with them. Many of them worship a God who is a stern authoritarian who wants things done His way or he'll send them all straight to hell.

The God we worship is one who recognizes and honors our freedom to choose. We have a God who says, "These are my choices. But you're the ones who will have to live with them, so it's up to you who you want to fill these offices. Choose wisely."

And the most intriguing thing about it, in my view, is that this is a commandment, not a suggestion. "You can vote for them or against them, but you have to vote one way or the other. You can't be wishy-washy about this, or try to hide your opinions."

God's Word Does Not Change
I hear some say, "Oh, but we do things differently now." They are so hung up on "following the Brethren" that if the the guy who they are told is "the prophet" decides to act contrary to God's clear instructions, then that man has the right to do it because...well..."because he's the prophet, man, don't you get it?"

But that's the problem, isn't it? "We do it differently now" is just another way of saying "we don't care about the procedure the Lord established for us to follow; nowadays we have our idols of flesh, and those are the gods we follow today."

The fact of the matter is, we aren't allowed to do things differently. And happily, the doctrine has never changed, regardless of whether some in leadership have chosen to go rogue.  As Radio Free Mormon pointed out in his recent podcast, the Church website affirms that the Law of Common Consent remains in effect today same as it always has. This is from the current Church Manual for Sunday Schools, Seminaries, and Institutes of the Church:
"Church officers are selected by the spirit of revelation in those appointed to choose them, but before the officers may serve in their positions, they must receive a formal sustaining vote of the people over whom they are to preside. (D. & C. 20:60–6726:22838:34–3541:9–1142:11102:9124:124–145.)” (See McConkie, Mormon Doctrine pp. 149–50.)
Nothing has changed about this procedure, despite any hopes Russell Nelson may have that he can attain the office of the presidency ahead of the clock just to satisfy his own sense of urgency. Church law is supreme here, and no amount of wishful thinking or secret works of darkness can alter it.

The manual also provides us with another little known fact: all of the policy changes, "improvements," and new ways of doing things the Brethren have introduced in recent decades (especially throughout the administrations of Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson), have clearly been unlawful because they did not follow the procedure outlined in scripture:
"Not only are Church officers sustained by common consent, but this same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints (see D&C 26:2)."
Do you recall being consulted when President Hinckley decided to commit billions of dollars in church funds to the building of a massive shopping center in downtown Salt Lake City? Do you recall being asked to give your consent for that expenditure, or were you instead just informed that the Church would be going ahead with that project without your approval?

How about the egregious November 5th "Exclusionary Policy," the shocking change that effectively reversed a key principle of the gospel and converted an essential ordinance into something the Magisterium could tinker with according to their whim? Was that shameful proposal ever brought up for a vote?

In case you need a reminder, Russell Nelson was the very person who tried to pass off that insidious  new policy change -a blatantly wicked new rule that prevented certain children from being baptized, as if it were a revelation he claimed to have "watched" President Monson receive. This was the notorious November 5th "Exclusionary Policy" the leaders had intended to be kept secret, but when the members got wind of it, the cover-up machine went into high gear. The stated purpose of this policy is to prevent anyone under the age of eighteen from being baptized if they happen to be living with a parent who is in a 'same-gender relationship." And even after they turn eighteen they can never be baptized until they have gone through a brutal series of "priesthood interviews" requiring them to completely denounce their wayward parent.

Your personal opinions regarding homosexuality are immaterial in this matter, as are mine. What matters is that this policy flies in the face of the foundational doctrine of Christ, which is that all are commanded to come unto Him, and repent and be baptized. Nelson has tried to turn the gospel of Christ on its head by holding children -not just young children, but fully capable teenagers- accountable for the sins of a parent. And mark my words, it will not be long before Russell stands before the Lord at the judgment bar and has to answer for his part in the creation of this web of lies.

Among all his many sins and iniquities, Russell Nelson is a blatant liar who tried to palm this controversial canard off as having been born of revelation. If Jesus ever did reverse Himself on this most essential principle of the gospel, He would not have told the leaders to sneak it into the secret operating manual without anyone noticing.

Such a reversal would have required a written revelation which, after having been received by the prophet in the voice of the Lord, was subsequently submitted to the church, then prayerfully considered by the members for a witness of the spirit so they can vote on whether or not they believe that revelation actually came from God. I'm sure I don't have to remind you that none of these required steps have been taken. There hasn't been a revelation; you've never been shown one, and you were never asked to vote on the matter.

The Case Of The Prepubescent Apostle
Speaking of the wrong-headed treatment of children, here's a pertinent digression. You may not have heard of the time Brigham Young ordained his favorite son to be an apostle when the child was only eleven years old. This story is not in the "approved" Church histories because the folks who control your church's history do not want you to know about it.  Charles Watson, who covered this strange episode in his PhD dissertation, noted that orthodox Church writers "gloss over or deliberately confuse the ordination date" dealing with this topic, and it's not hard to figure out why that is. This is another of those episodes in Church history that exposes Brigham Young for the conniving devil he was, and it completely undermines Russell Nelson's claim that his own succession to the presidency is the result of a smooth and unbroken pattern established from the beginning by the Lord.

Here is what happened: Brigham's favorite son, John Willard Young, received his endowment just a month after his eleventh birthday, after which his father ordained him an apostle. Why would Brigham Young do this? Because he hoped he could turn the Church into a family dynasty controlled for all time by his own descendants.

Brigham was the one who had established the rule that apostolic succession (and by extension, succession to the presidency) would attain according to seniority. That is, the person who had been an apostle longer than any other (provided he could outlive those ahead of him), would become the president of the church upon the death of the most recent president.

In those days it wasn't necessary to belong to the quorum of Twelve to be in the running; you only had to have been made an apostle. There were many men who were ordained apostles who never served in the quorum, so seniority in the quorum wasn't the issue then. Brigham figured that by making his son an apostle at a very early age, there was an excellent chance that not long after he himself passed on, John Willard would be able to succeed him. So Brigham Young schemed secretly to give his own kid a substantial head start.

And it almost worked. John Willard was only 55 years old when Lorenzo Snow's health began to fail, and that's when John Willard found himself next in line to run the Church.

The man who would be prez.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Brigham Young had changed the rules at least four times to reflect what he wanted to define as "seniority" in the quorum, and we can see he made these repeated refinements in order to nudge his own boy closer to the top of the ladder. In Joseph Smith's day, the only reason they ranked members of a quorum according to seniority (and this was true in the standing high council as well as the traveling high council) was so that each member of the quorum got his turn to conduct a meeting. It worked like this: the first meeting of a quorum would be conducted by the oldest member of that quorum. The next time they got together, the next oldest member was the one who conducted the meeting, and so on all the way down to the guy who was youngest in age. After that they started all over again with the guy who was the oldest.

It didn't matter when you came into the quorum, or how long you had been there, or how long ago you had been ordained; it was all simply according to age. This process of seniority had no special import under Joseph Smith. It was just an easy way to determine whose turn it was on any given week to hold the gavel.

After Joseph was dead and gone, Brigham Young decided to rank the apostles differently. Instead of seniority according to age, he announced seniority was attained by whichever guy could be shown to have been an apostle for the longest period of time.

Once Brigham made his own pre-teen bopper into a real live apostle with the intent of one day having him follow in his old man's footsteps and become the Grand Poobah of Deseret, Brigham still had that sticky problem of what to do with all those guys in line ahead of John Willard. Surely some of them would die off over time, but he still needed a way to nudge his own kid closer to the front. He did this by redefining the meaning of seniority once again. Seniority was now to be defined not simply by who was the longest serving apostle, but who had been the longest continuing apostle. That meant that if your apostleship had been interrupted for a time because, oh, maybe you left the church for awhile or had been excommunicated, then as part of that time out you stopped being an apostle. You could come back into the Church later, and you might even be able to resume your apostolic calling when you returned, but that line of service had been broken while you were on recess from the Church. As far as your ranking went, Brigham's new rule says you would have to start over.

That meant the Orson Twins, Hyde & Pratt, would have to move to the back of the line, because they had spent a short time out of the church some years before. This new definition of seniority bumped Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt down the ladder of seniority, and automatically moved Brigham's son up two spots closer to the brass ring.

And by the way, under Brigham's rules it still didn't matter that his son, John Willard, had never served a day in the Quorum. A man didn't have to be a member of the quorum to have seniority. He just had to have been ordained an apostle longer than anybody else.

But as you can imagine, the members of the Quorum of the Twelve were not very keen on this business of Brigham's pre-teen offspring being groomed for the presidency. But they were careful not to voice their opposition. One of them said something about it to Brigham once and Brigham promptly sent him away on a five year mission to Europe. (That's how Brigham got troublesome apostles out of the way; he punished them by sending them on missions.)

The biggest problem the members of the quorum had with John Willard Young was that Brigham's favorite son was not exactly active in the Church. In fact, for most of his life he didn't even live in Utah, preferring the glamour of New York City to the dull life of a Mormon pioneer in the Utah desert. John Willard actually prospered in New York -at least for a time- by speculating on the railroads. Brigham's favorite son was addicted to the bright gaslights and posh attention he enjoyed as a high-living member of the city's upper class, and when he fell short of funds he was able to maintain that lofty lifestyle because his daddy funneled money to him that was "borrowed" from church member's tithes. As one account puts it:
Brigham Young’s dysfunctional relationship with John Willard was no mystery to church leaders. Apostle George Q. Cannon expressed his concerns regarding the misappropriation of church funds, particularly as they related to John Willard’s regular monetary allowance that came straight out of tithing funds. Apostle Joseph F. Smith was even more specific when he noted that John Willard’s “$16,000 per year [the equivalent of $100,000 today] from the tithing office for his support” was a blatant misuse of church funds. (Brad Hart, Child Prophet: The Curious Case of a Mormon Apostle.)
Brigham's favorite son was known to New Yorkers to be something of a rake and a philanderer. Four of his five wives formally divorced him, and the fifth just up and left.

In spite of John Willard's complete lack of interest in Church service, his father Brigham, who had been constantly coaxing him to return to Utah, eventually got John Willard to come home by appointing him first councilor in the presidency of the Church. By then another of Brigham's sons, Brigham Young, Jr, was ordained an apostle too, so now there were two sons in the running, and Brigham Junior was actually given a place within the quorum. There were two more sons ordained  apostles by this time whose names I don't recall; but anyway, Brigham Senior was hedging his bets in hopes of insuring that family dynasty. Brigham continued to pin his highest hopes on his favorite, John Willard, because due to his young age, this one had the clearest shot at the presidency before the other two did. With a little luck, and the statistical probability of a decent percentage of those above him dying off before John Willard even reached middle age, it looked as though young J.W would make it all the way to the top Church position in record time.

For now though, as first counselor in the presidency, John Willard held the second highest position in the Church after his father. But his heart remained in New York City. He grew restless stuck in Utah. And in truth, he wasn't really needed in the role of counselor to his father. The current president was, after all, "Iron Hand Brigham," who rarely felt the need to consult with either of his councilors anyway. So John Willard eventually returned to New York without ever having been released from his calling. He still held the titular position of First Councilor in the Church, but he did it from New York, where he had his fingers in several iffy financial endeavors. As historian Todd Compton wrote,
"In these he alternated between dazzling success and inability to fulfill his dreams and promises. One day he would be a millionaire (and he liked to live like a millionaire), the next he would be penniless. He quickly became chronically indebted and beset by creditors. He raised money with a golden tongue, but when his projects failed, many contributors felt betrayed." (Todd Compton"John Willard Young, Brigham Young, and the Development of Presidential Succession in the LDS Church." Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 35, No. 4, pg 121)
After Brigham Young's passing in 1877, John Willard continued to bide his time in New York, waiting for his turn to take charge of the Church. In my last post I discussed that lengthy period when the apostles decided the Church should have no president, but finally after three years, the members voted John Taylor in. When Taylor died there was another two year wait while the apostles bickered again over whether the Church should have a president, and if so, whether seniority should actually be the deciding factor because, after all, the Lord had never said anything about succession by seniority. (Or succession by apostle, for that matter.)

Eventually Lorenzo Snow took office. Now there was only one man ahead of John Willard Young, and that was Franklin Richards. And then -O happy day!- Richards up and died. Now all John Willard had to do was wait out the elderly Lorenzo Snow, and then John Willard Young, long inactive, completely unqualified, and virtually unknown to most members of the Church in Utah, would finally be in charge of the whole shebang. The job of president came with one of those proverbial "modest stipends," and by this time John Willard could really use the money.

But unbeknownst to John Willard, the other apostles had been looking upon the possibility of Willard's ascension to the presidency with great apprehension. They foresaw a John Willard Young presidency as a disaster in the making. They were in a sweat over what to do about this ticking time bomb, and though Brigham Young was long dead, the Brethren were at first reluctant to tamper with the seniority rule Brigham had instituted years before. 

Now by this time, you're probably wondering why the apostles didn't simply ask for a revelation from God as to what they should do about this dilemma. Silly you. No one in the Quorum or the First Presidency had received any revelations since Joseph Smith's untimely exit fifty-seven years earlier. They were on their own and they knew it, just as they had been on their own trying to figure out the procedure they should follow after Brigham Young reached his sell-by date.

Eventually, common sense prevailed, and recognizing that a John Willard Young presidency would very likely drive the church into ruin, they changed the rules of succession once again so that "Seniority" now meant more than just having been an apostle. You had to be the longest serving apostle in the quorum.

When Lorenzo Snow's ailing body finally went bung in 1901, John Willard Young hopped a train from New York and was back in Utah five days later to take his rightful place as head of the church. Imagine his surprise to find he had lost his place to the apostle directly below him in seniority, Joseph F. Smith. No one had told him the rules had been changed, and daddy was no longer on the scene to throw his weight around. The Young family dynasty died right there along with Lorenzo Snow.

Now virtually broke, John Willard Young returned to New York and lived out the rest of his life as an elevator operator in one of New York's finest hotels -the very same hotel he had lived in back in his glory days when he was flush with cash. The sad postscript to this story is that the branch president of the church in New York City had to constantly take members aside and caution them against lending John Willard Young any money if he approached them.

There's little doubt that it would have been disastrous for the church if John Willard Young had been seated anywhere at the table, let alone at the front. But this story illustrates how actually uninspired succession in the presidency has been throughout our history. The myth Russell Nelson repeated last month about the Lord having established the pattern by which succession in the presidency has "always" taken place, is just another in a long series of self-serving lies Russell Nelson is known for spewing; lies he tells to advance his personal ambitions.

And Now For Something Completely Different
Having said all that, here is the reality: Russell M. Nelson is entirely within his rights to claim the presidency, and he doesn't need the vote of the members to do so. He became the legally recognized president of the church the very moment Thomas S. Monson breathed his last.

How is that? And why in the world would I seemingly reverse myself on everything I said in this piece so far?

The key word here is "legally." He is the legal president. But he is not the lawful president. For that to happen he would have had to follow the rules of direction laid down by the Lord. He would have had to follow lawful church procedure. He hasn't done that, and I harbor no expectations that he ever will. But he is on safe ground legally.

Confused? In part three of The Real Threat to Traditional Marriage. I went into some detail about the subtle differences in meaning between the words legal vs. lawful. You can also find a wealth of information on this topic in There Are Save Two Churches Only, Vol II. But for purposes of this discussion, think of it this way: In general terms, legal refers to rules of procedure enacted by the civil legislature; I use lawful in these instances to refer to the rules of direction laid out by God.


Those who have read the articles of incorporation for The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are acutely aware of this reality: Russell M. Nelson is the legal head of the Church, and under the corporate charter he is now the owner of all assets belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Note that I did not say he controls the assets of the Church; this charter makes him the owner of the Church. All the money, all the property, all the chapels and temples and schools and real estate and bank accounts. He personally owns it all outright. Upon the death of Thomas S. Monson, Russell Nelson became one of the richest multi-billionaires in the world.  Do you think he cares what you think of his violations of church protocol?

This was not the way the Lord intended His church to be structured. And indeed, it wasn't like this until relatively modern times. In the beginning, the church was understood to operate under the direction of Jesus Christ. That pretense is still given lip service, but ever since Heber J. Grant converted the church into a corporation subject to the civil laws of the United States government, the president is the actual head, and the only limitations placed on him are those written into the charter.

Which is to say there are no limitations.

If you were to try and sue the president for fraud, you would lose. Even if every single member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all over the world were to suddenly awake to their awful situation and filed a class action lawsuit against Russell Nelson for fraud and usurpation because he has failed to follow the laws laid out in the Lord's revelations regarding the way in which the church is to be governed, they would all lose. He can't be convicted of usurping the church if the governing document of the corporation recognizes he has all power and authority over the Church.

Understand this: the courts do not care about our doctrines, scriptures, or beliefs. They don't care that our scriptures show that Jesus Christ is the head of this church. They won't litigate those matters. Those things are irrelevant in any suit at law. They are internal matters we are all entitled to bicker over, but they would not be considered matters for the courts to decide. If suit was brought against the President of the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there would only be one question before the court: did the president violate the terms of the charter?

When they examine the corporate charter they will conclude that no, he did not. According to the bylaws of the corporation, the president can do pretty much whatever the hell he wants.

So, case dismissed.

Catholic Pope, Meet The Mormon Pope
Preventing church members from invoking their right to common consent was the very reason Heber J. Grant was persuaded to convert the Church into a corporation in the first place. This corporation provides the president the same protection that universal law gives to the catholic pope. The primitive Christian church, originally a body of believers with no hierarchy and no one to answer to except Jesus Christ, was hijacked by the Emperor Constantine and ultimately converted into a corporation sole with the Holy Pontiff holding all power and authority.

A hundred years after the gospel of Christ was restored through Joseph Smith, Church lawyers discovered that obscure form of incorporation under which the Catholic Church had been operating for the past several centuries, and found it to be a perfect fit for converting the LDS Church into an institution that would allow for more expedient management. President Grant was persuaded to convert the Restored Church of Christ into what is now a creature of the state. To do this, he just cut out the middle man (the members) and lopped off the head (Jesus Christ).

Just as the Pope literally owns the entire wealth of the Catholic church, and cannot be told what he can or cannot do by any of the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, so it now is with the Mormon president. Everything is his. All of it. To do with as he pleases, no questions asked.

That's a lot of power in the hands of one man. And the Lord Jesus Christ was not the one who gave that power to him.

You think Jesus Christ is still head of this church? He was once. When the church was first organized in 1830 it was decidedly not organized as any kind of a corporation. Why? Because that would have placed Jesus Christ in a position subservient to man's law. Everything changed in December of 1923, though. Jesus Christ is not mentioned in the charter as having any controlling interest in the church. His name appears only in reference to the name of the corporation: "The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." He is never mentioned otherwise. Not once.

In fact, as LDS historian Daymon Smith points out in The Book of Mammon: A Book About A Book About The Corporation That Owns The Mormons, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints itself no longer even exists as a legal entity.

Don't believe it? Try to sue the LDS Church. That name, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" exists today only as a trademark belonging to Intellectual Reserve, Inc., one of many subsidiaries of the Corporation of the President.  Any lawsuits directed against the Church would have to be worded as "John Doe v. The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." If Brother Doe tried to file a cause of action against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the court would not be able to find that entity. In legal contemplation, it does not exist.

Someone once asked me what was the problem with the church being incorporated? Well, there are many reasons, as I've detailed elsewhere, but let's ask a better question: if it was alright to convert the church into a corporation, why not call it "The Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"? Why instead is it chartered as "The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"?

The answer to that question is in the bylaws of the charter itself. The very reason the corporation was established was to take control of the church away from the members to whom it rightfully belongs. Here is the wording:
"[T]his corporation shall have power, without any authority or authorization from the members of said Church or religious society, to grant, sell, convey, rent, mortgage, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any part or all of such property."
And when it says "this corporation shall have power" what it is really saying is "this one guy shall have power," because the president himself is the entire corporation. That's what is meant by "corporation sole." The entire corporation consists of one solitary human being holding all the power and all the authority.

So of course, the law of common consent is out the window. And this allows the president of the corporation to make an end run around pretty much all the decrees mandated by Jesus Christ in scripture. Again, the United States government is not concerned whether Russell Nelson adheres to anything Jesus Christ commands of him. The only question that would ever be before the court is whether he violated the terms of the charter. If he were to cash out all the property of the church; sell every temple, every chapel, every school, every bank account, every holding, all of its investments, and then take all the proceeds to buy his own private country where he could live out his life as king of all he surveys, he would still not be in violation of the charter.

He is, in law and in fact, the sole holder of title to everything in the LDS Church, including, of course, the title of president. It's all spelled out in that document. And he is protected in that claim. Not by God, mind you, but by the government of the United States. He is the President of the corporation, and no one can do anything about that.

However...

If He Wants To Be PROPHET, He Will Need Your Permission
Among the more fascinating things I've read as a member of the church is the testimony given by President Joseph F. Smith during the infamous Reed Smoot hearings before the United States Senate in Washington, D.C.

President Smith was a reluctant witness, and answered only the questions he was forced to answer. But because he was under oath, he was obliged to answer honestly, and he did. He provided answers to questions he would rather not have been asked. Most church members have never been told about this testimony because the truthful answers President Smith gave do not fit well into the official narrative most of us were taught growing up.

Somebody made a five minute animation around a part of this testimony, and it's quite revealing because it shows that even as far back as the turn of the 20th century, most of the president's time was occupied with other than ecclesiastical matters.



That's some interesting stuff, but there's lots more worth reading, including the incredible reveal where Joseph F. Smith, putative prophet, seer, and revelator for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comes out and flatly admits that "I have never pretended to nor do I profess to have received revelations."

But here's the part of his testimony that is pertinent to our discussion here:

Mr. TAYLER. Are you a prophet, seer, and revelator?
Mr. SMITH. I am so sustained and upheld by my people.
Mr. TAYLER. Do you get that title by reason of being president or by reason of having been an apostle?
Mr. SMITH. By reason of being president.
Mr. TAYLER. Are not all the apostles also prophets, seers, and revelators?
Mr. SMITH. They are sustained as such at our conferences.
Mr. TAYLER. They all have that title now, have they not?
Mr. SMITH. Well, they are so sustained at the conferences.
Mr. TAYLER. I want to know if they do not have that title now.
Mr. SMITH. I suppose if they are sustained they must have that title.
Mr. TAYLER. Are they sustained as such now ?
Mr. SMITH. I have said so twice, sir.
Mr. TAYLER. Who were your predecessors in office as president of the church?
Mr. SMITH. My immediate predecessor was Lorenzo Snow.
Mr. TAYLER. And his predecessor ?
Mr. SMITH. Wilford Woodruff.
Mr. TAYLER. And his?
Mr. SMITH. John Taylor.
Mr. TAYLER. Yes; go on back through the line.
Mr. SMITH. Brigham Young.
Mr. TAYLER. Yes.
Mr. SMITH. And Joseph Smith.
Mr. TAYLER. You are possessed of the same powers that they were possessed of ?
Mr. SMITH. Yes, I am supposed to be possessed of the same authority that they were.
Mr. TAYLER. You believe yourself to be, do you not?
Mr. SMITH. I think I do believe so.
Mr. TAYLER. I do not know that there is any significance in your use of the word "think," Mr. Smith, but one hardly thinks that he has a belief. He either knows or does not know that he has a belief.
Mr. SMITH. I think I do.

President Smith was clearly not happy to have these questions put to him, but it makes you wonder: if the man has the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator, wouldn't you expect him to declare it boldly? His uncle, Joseph Smith, Jr. certainly did.

Joseph F here exhibits none of the qualities of his divinely appointed uncle. Indeed, he hesitantly admits that he thinks he is possessed of the same authority as Joseph Smith. He knows he is "supposed to be," but when pressed a second time to assert whether he believes he does or merely thinks he does, he repeats "I think I do."

This is not the testimony of a prophet of God.

But what I want to get to is this: how are we to know whether the president of the Church is also a prophet, seer, and revelator? This is a vital question, because members of the Church the world over will soon be given the opportunity to vote on whether they know for a fact that Russell Nelson is that man. We can't really vote for or against Russell Nelson becoming president; that ship has sailed. But you will still be invited to cast that vote anyway, and more importantly you will be asked to vote to confirm your belief that this man has the gifts of a prophet, a seer, and a revelator. Therefore, you might want to carefully consider whether:

1.) You can state categorically that you know the Lord has appointed him to that office and,
2.) You can affirm that you know the Lord has given him those gifts.

The corporate charter is silent on these questions. It does not tell us whether the current president is also a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator. In fact, none of those words appear anywhere in the charter. The president of the corporation is never referred to in the charter as the prophet, as we Mormons are wont to do. For all legal intents and purposes, that title is invisible and has nothing to do with the man's authority to run the Church.

So if you intend to do your duty as required by Jesus Christ, before the next general conference session you are going to have to go to the Lord and ask Him for a witness and a testimony that Russell Nelson might be something other than simply the president of a corporation. You are going to need to find out if he is also the Lord's appointed prophet.

Here's a handy template given to you by Jesus Himself to help you in your search for the kind of man you should be looking for:
"The duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood [in case you didn't know, that means the president of the church], is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses...yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church." (D&C 107:91-92)
You'll note that the Lord doesn't tell us those gifts will magically appear in the guy you select after you sustain him. You're supposed to recognize whether he has the right stuff in him before you give him your sustaining vote.

Remember, even Joseph F. Smith admitted under oath that he didn't really have the gifts of a prophet, seer, and revelator. He reluctantly copped to owning the title, but we know from his testimony under oath that was only because the members affirmed he was a prophet. That was the only validation he was able to give: "I guess I'm a prophet, because the members of the church keep saying I am."
I have a sneaking suspicion that the only reason the members voted to sustain Smith as a prophet, seer, and revelator, was because they were allowed to assume God had already bestowed those gifts upon him as He had with Joseph Smith. But in Joseph F. Smith's case, they actually had no knowledge of whether any of it was true or not.

Many years later, Gordon B. Hinckley was asked this same question by the religion editor for the San Francisco Examiner, and he used the same response as Joseph F. Smith did those many years prior:
Q: You are the president, prophet, seer and revelator of the Mormon Church?
A: I am so sustained, yes.
Again, the answer is not the bold proclamation one would expect from a true prophet. Hinckley's answer is evasive at best: I carry the title of prophet because the congregation voted to give me that title.

Here is the lesson in all of this: Russell M. Nelson can cheat, and lie, and prevaricate his way into the presidency of the Church, and he can claim that title with or without your vote.

But he cannot claim the title of a prophet, seer, and revelator unless the members voice their agreement. 

Joseph Smith was a prophet, seer, and revelator. We can see the evidence he left behind in our Doctrine & Covenants. But every single "prophet" who came after him had to admit they were "prophets" only because the congregation said they were.

I tend to think it takes more than that. I think that before a man can claim he is a prophet, somewhere along the line God Himself is going to have to make that call.

So, What Are YOU Going To Do?
Three and a half years ago Russell Nelson had this to say: "Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us."

Can you honestly say that you have received a testimony that the calling of Russell Nelson is legitimate? Don't you think it's time you strove to find that out before you make any kind of oath in the presence of God that has the potential to be binding?

The Lord is waiting for you to ask Him. Angels are standing by to take your call. Not every member of the Church will have the opportunity to vote in general conference, but all will have a chance to raise their hands in their upcoming stake conference to show the Lord that they "approve of those names, or else disapprove of them."

The words of Joshua, one of those rare actual prophets, applies perfectly here. He told the Israelites --the bona fide people of God at the time-- that they could go ahead and worship their idols if they wanted to, "but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Don't forget: whether you vote in favor, or whether you oppose, one way or the other you are still commanded to raise your hand.

Scary, huh? You may not be able to wiggle out of this one. But I'm thinking it might be time to come out of the shadows anyway.

                                                      *****
Share these posts with friends and family you think might benefit from them. 

 

Related Posts and Other Sources Pertinent to This Topic:

From Pure Mormonism:
Did The Lord Choose Not To Anoint The Lord's Anointed?

Evil Speaking Of The Lord's Anointed

Heeding Prophetic Counsel

Did Russell Nelson Take The Lord's Name In Vain?

The Hidden Reason For The Policy Change on Baptisms

Who Died And Made Him Prophet?

How Corporatism Has Undermined and subverted The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

How We Know Thomas Monson Is A Prophet, Seer, and Revelator

Any Opposed, Please Sit Down And Shut Up

The 181st Semi-Annual Bowl Of Pap

How Jesus Christ Was Ousted From The Church of Jesus Christ

Brigham Young's Hostile Takeover

57 comments:

Dave P. said...

Haven't read the whole thing yet but I caught the end first.

Caught the snippet of the sustaining during the afternoon session today while doing laundry and felt quite prompted to raise my hand in opposition each time.

wild_dad said...

Pitiful apostates.

Jeff said...

Yes, I can honestly say that.

Just over 30 years ago, the missionaries followed the text of what was then the first discussion, challenging me to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Once I received that revelation, it reasoned, I would also know that the Church is true and should choose to be baptized. I responded with a question of my own, which began a conversation that went something like this:

Me: “Yes, I’m happy to do that, but I’m confused. Aren’t there other churches that also believe Joseph Smith was a prophet?”

Missionary: “Well, yes.”

Me: “Okay. So it seems to me that if I figure out that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that just narrows it down. The true church could be any one of those that believe in him, or it could be just like God told him: they could all be wrong. Just because the Church was true when he was alive doesn’t mean it is now.”

(At this point, the missionaries were becoming very uncomfortable.)

Me: “Was Joseph the only prophet? Is there one today?”

Missionary, excited again: “Yes!”

Me: “Okay… so what’s his name?”

Missionary: “Ezra Taft Benson.”

Me: “Okay. So it seems to me that what I need to do is pray to know if Ezra Taft Benson is a prophet.”

Missionary, now very excited: “Okay! So will you pray to know if Ezra Taft Benson is a prophet?”

Me: “Of course!”

…and the rest is history. I have prayed regarding the calling of every Apostle since then—and every new President of the Church—and while the answer has come with varying degrees of immediacy, it has always come. ♥

JimmyR said...

Interesting and well written. If I could offer a bit of advice though? When writing a tome, perhaps don’t make the opening statement one where you are Begging the Question.

dx said...

I don't understand this article.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, JimmyR, I knew the introduction was overly long but I didn't quite know how to shorten it. Please elaborate though, on what you meant by "begging the question." If I can improve that thing I will certainly work on it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

dx, I don't quite know what you mean when you say you don't understand the article. Can you please help me understand where the difficulty lies?

Telavian said...

This is like a "best of" article. You have combined the best of other things into a single great resource.

I am like you. I love Mormonism and believe that I am a better Mormon now than I previously have been even though I am technically an apostate.

It is sad today though because the leadership can do whatever they want and very few will question. Even if there is a very large amount of historical precedent against the action. It is almost as if we are brainwashed into following our leader instead of the word of God. 😊

0459803485-034 said...

The total investments in those pharmaceutical companies was $10.5 billion before that pittance you mentioned.

dx said...

I don't understand this article. What is your central thesis? For example: Are you claiming no one living now is called of God to lead? Or only Russell Nelson is not called of God? Or are there exceptions you have in mind? Some individuals who are called but not leading? What does it mean to be called to lead? Nelson is, in fact, leading something whether or not called. What does it mean for God to allow a "fake" or "fraud" to lead his church (however defined)? Does God do that? If not, what are the implications for not just the LDS church based in Salt Lake City, but for any church organization on Earth right now? I don't understand what you are really saying with this article. Rather than addressing these example questions, could you perhaps summarize your thesis statement as precisely as possible? I would find that helpful. Thanks!

Good Will said...

I have spent ALL DAY reading this blog post -- including the the transcripts (and associated comments) of the two podcasts from Radio Free Mormon -- and I am SHOCKED to discovered that I STILL haven't finished reading it! There's more! I have already recommended this blog post (and sent a link of it) to my loved ones! Kind of like calling up friends while in the middle of a meal at a restaurant and telling them to "rush down here and eat with me! It's that good!")

Kudos to you for all the excellent scholarship and argumentation, Rock. This blog post is really almost a capstone to everything you've said and done here. If anyone can read it, including all the comments, and come away NOT knowing the LDS Church is in a state of apostasy and without legitimate claim whatsoever to any authority from God, then they have not understood the gospel in the slightest and are probably beyond convincing until ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE and, then, maybe not even then. Maybe when they stand before the Lord and he says to them "What the hell were you thinking?" THEN maybe they'll wise up. (But I'm not holding my breath.)

Meanwhile, you've done a great job and have given us A LOT to think about. THANK YOU for these precious gems.

Telavian said...

My many thoughts. These are just random as I went through the article. It would be helpful to give context for each point however I would have to write to tome which I don't want to.
They also don't necessarily follow one after another.

1. Certainly Nelson was wrong about the vaccine being safe and effective however using science for a religious argument can be problematic since science is "ever [changing] and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3:7.

2. Almost all of the customs and practices we follow today in the LDS church have no scriptural basis. We do things simply because we have previously done them. Most imagine that if God wanted things differently then he would divinely make it so however that is not how God works.

3. Nelson is president/prophet of the LDS church simply because all his friends died before he did. This should not be the sole requirement to be a prophet of God's church.

4. In relation to seeing Christ or being ordained by Christ the leaders always say something like "it is too sacred to share." However, Joseph and the scriptures would adamantly disagree with that. Is the apostles entire calling not to testify about Christ personally?

5. "It might as well be doctrine" is a very scary concept to base your salvation upon. Is this not the same thing the Pharisees did to justify their actions? Should we not want to know the mind and will of God instead of man?

6. "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men" is the single best book I have read to illustrate the flaws in the current LDS church. It is an amazing resource.

7. Brigham Young was clearly a tyrant however leadership today is very similar. They will say they "love" you however if you don't agree then you are shown the door.

8. The true structure of the church is actually very simple and efficient. The form we have today is bureaucratic and inefficient.

9. Your last verse of 107 has a missing [not]. This actually is a very serious verse for the current leadership. This fits in with the JST of Matt 25:12 which is "Ye know me not".

10. I liked Elder Haight however he didn't seem like he was all there mentally. Why doesn't the church at least perform basic fact checking of these talks?

11. The LDS certainly blatantly lies in the hope no one will fact check them. Many know this however it is scary and painful to go against your entire religious identity so most do not.

12. Emma was an amazing woman. I feel sorry that I believed the narrative about her being misguided.

13. Voting or "sustaining" the leaders is totally pointless. The vote means nothing, and the church doesn't care about those who oppose. I wish they would just stop doing it.

14. We look down on other churches for changing with the cultural wind, however we don't notice that we do the exact same thing and call it "revelation."

15. The "revelation" on excluding children from baptism that was later downgraded to a "policy" is frankly sad. Why are faithful members not seeing that the emperor has no clothes?

16. Orson Pratt was a real stalwart leader. He stuck to what he believed and failed to compromise to please Brigham. We should all be so bold.

17. The story of John Willard Young certainly does show that the leaders are winging it.

18. President Nelson could do almost anything he wants to do, and the members will not say anything about it.

19. The president of the LDS church has really become an idol to the members. We now worship God in name only.

20. President Nelson is not a prophet and has done nothing prophetic.

21. It is our duty to oppose the leaders every time they are put up for a vote. We need the leadership to feel the pressure, so they stop asking for those who oppose.

Rhone said...

In my opinion they're all charlatans, though and through. The realization came to me when I studied the BoM and found that they are nothing like the prophets in the scriptures. I prayed to God to tell me if Nelson was accepted of him as a prophet and God said no. It's clear why this is the case. The church was rejected in D&C 124 and God has been absent in it ever since.

Here's a succinct list of differences between today's 'prophets' and those in the scriptures. I didn't write it but it lays it out pretty well I think.

Global Faith Leader: Admired and Honored
Prophet of God: Rejected and Despised

Global Faith Leader: Offers platitudes during calamities
Prophet of God: Acknowledges God's disapproval of our choices

Global Faith Leader: Speaks smooth words of comfort
Prophet of God: Calls for repentance

Global Faith Leader: Top of the hierarchical institution
Prophet of God: Outsider who condemns the religious institution

Global Faith Leader: Friend of government, business
Prophet of God: Exposes corruption

Global Faith Leader: Attends to administrative duties
Prophet of God: Reveals rich truth from Heaven

Global Faith Leader: Focuses on his priestly authority
Prophet of God: Functions outside of man's authority and control

Global Faith Leader: Accumulates wealth and power
Prophet of God: Gives to all those in need

Global Faith Leader: Disciplines those who don't obey
Prophet of God: Only uses persuasion, gentleness, and kindness

Global Faith Leader: Modifies or changes ordinances
Prophet of God: Explains and restores ordinances

Global Faith Leader: Ordained by men in authority
Prophet of God: Ordained by God himself

Global Faith Leader: People become dependent to follow them
Prophet of God: Promotes only a personal relationship with Christ

Global Faith Leader: Repeats and quotes others
Prophet of God: Foretells what will happen

Global Faith Leader: Waters down gospel truth
Prophet of God: Expounds the scriptures

Global Faith Leader: Shares their impressions and thoughts
Prophet of God: Face to face revelations from God

Global Faith Leader: Encourages to be good global citizens
Prophet of God: Prepares the few to live in Zion

Global Faith Leader: Works with government officials
Prophet of God: Works with God and angels

Global Faith Leader: Holds keys to administrative duties
Prophet of God: Holds keys to unlocking understanding

Global Faith Leader: Writes proclamations by committee
Prophet of God: Receives new revelations from God

Global Faith Leader: Stable and focused on outward conduct
Prophet of God: Unpredictable and focused on the inward heart

Global Faith Leader: Changes policies to be politically correct
Prophet of God: Restores abandoned and misunderstood truth

Global Faith Leader: Mistaken as a true prophet
Prophet of God: Mistaken as a false prophet

Global Faith Leader: Claims to be a special witness
Prophet of God: Has stood in the presence of God


Which one of these did people sustain today?

JimmyR said...

Rock you wrote : “ Here's the thing: Russell M. Nelson was never called by God to lead the LDS Church. And I can prove it.”

To make a statement of this magnitude you are making the conclusion or begging the question that God does in fact exist (God is unprovable) and that you can therefore prove that God never called a specific man to lead the LDS church and that you could “prove it.” Belief in a God or any higher being is based on faith. Perhaps wording your thesis as “Based on LDS scripture as what we believe was revealed to Joseph Smith , I can show or prove that Russell M. Nelson is not the legitimate successor to lead The Church of Jesus Christ.”

Your statement as you wrote it you’d have to first prove that God even exists, until then everything that you write post this is just circular reasoning, you might as well be writing how you can prove that Captain Kirk would win in a Battle Royal amongst all Star Trek captains.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

JimmyR,

James Tiberius Kirk would indeed win a Battle Royale amongst all Star Fleet Captains. And I can prove that, too.

JimmyR said...

Rock,

Make it so

Janet F-S said...

After all everyone, Nelson is a "Profit of God!"

Alan Rock Waterman said...

0459803485-034 (Boy, you sure know how to pick a username),

Thanks for that clarification on the much higher figure the Church has poured into the vaccine makers. I'll update the article.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX,
You say you don't understand the gist of this article. You point out that Russell Nelson is certainly leading SOMETHING, and wonder how God can let that be if Russell is not approved by Him. So let me see if I can summarize briefly what the problem is.

In 1830 Joseph Smith and 5 others organized a religious society known as the Church of Christ. Joseph had previously been anointed by the Lord to reveal God's will. God said as much, several times, as I document in the article. At one point, the members were given the opportunity to elect a president from among them. It could have been anyone, but the members chose to elect Joseph Smith. Many have since assumed it was a mistake on Joseph's part to accept that nomination, because the president of the church has different roles from a prophet. (Put simply, a president "presides" over the temporal affairs of the church while the prophet receives revelations from God and conveys God's instructions to the people. As B.H. Roberts aptly put it, the primary role of a prophet is to teach. He should not be seen as "in charge" of things.) Joseph tried to remedy this later in life by appointing his brother Hyrum president, but the people continued to look to him as if he was the High Poobah in all matters.

Where the prophet is concerned, the members were counseled by God to heed Joseph's words as Joseph received them from God. As I stated in part two of the piece above, God chooses the prophet; on the other hand, the people choose who they want to be president. In other words, God cares very much who he chooses as His mouthpiece but he doesn't care that much who the people choose to preside over their "church." I expounded more on this in "Joseph Smith's Big Mistake" which you can find here: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2017/06/joseph-smiths-big-mistake.html

After Joseph's death, half the existing members (about 10,000 out of an estimated 20,000) voted to allowed the apostles to "lead" them, which at the time meant to help organize the departure from Nauvoo. None of these men claimed revelation giving them authority to lead the church or to receive revelation as Joseph had, but over time, and especially by the 1950's, Church leaders began teaching the falsehood that whoever was elevated to the office of president of the church automatically held the gifts of prophet, seer, and revelator just as Joseph had. They also promoted another falsehood never revealed by God and one that was denounced by Joseph Smith, and that was that the president of the church was incapable of leading the church astray.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

DX (Continued),

This brings us to the situation we are in today. Russell Nelson, same as every other president of the Church going all the way back to Brigham Young, has NOT BEEN anointed by the Lord to be the Lord's mouthpiece. He has not been set apart by the Lord, appointed by the Lord, anointed by the Lord, or called by the Lord in any way, shape or manner. Yet the members BELIEVE somehow he was, because that is what the members have been taught to believe all their lives. This is what the leaders constantly promote: that the president of the Church today is a prophet, seer, and revelator just as Joseph Smith was, and they add a little something extra: to question the president of the Church is the same as defying God. Obedience to the Brethren has become the prime doctrine of the Church today. It over-rules anything Jesus might have said to the contrary.

As I documented in the article, the president of the Church has the LEGAL right to lead the Church, but that is only because the Church is no longer an autonomous religious society as originally organized. In 1925 it was secretly converted into an earthly corporation, and is no longer in the hands of the members. It is a legal earthly entity owned solely by whoever happens to be the president at the time.

To summarize, the Church of Jesus Christ is no longer guided by Jesus Christ. It is guided by one man who ignores the will of Jesus on a regular basis. As for why God would allow this to happen? He has ALWAYS permitted His people to decide for themselves how they will be governed. How did King Noah attain all that power of the people? The people permitted it, until they were slaves on their own land. And so it is today.

If you are still having trouble grasping the extent of the problem the church faces today, I encourage you to look into the additional links I provided at the end. I think the truth of the matter is undeniable.

The church of Jesus Christ today is not led by Jesus Christ. It's our duty to help the members to become aware of this reality.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Telavian,

That was an astute list of thoughts. I'll comment on a couple of them:

No 1. You are correct that science is ever changing and evolving as more evidence is acquired and false theories are discarded. But just to correct the record, I do not use science as a religious argument. I mention the science because the data regarding the vaccines, masks, lockdowns, and virtually everything promoted by the political class is and always has been at odds with the scientific evidence. For example, the CDC notoriously ignored the scientific studies that the CDC was paying for, and instead opted to promote positions that those in power preferred to have promoted. It's clear that the First Presidency of the Church also had no interest in facts; they promoted the vaccine because they had a personal stake in seeing it succeed for them financially.

No. 6 In addition to Rob Smith's "Teaching for Doctrine the Commandments of Men," I also recommend Denver Snuffer's "Passing the Heavenly Gift." That book takes us step-by-step through the history of the changes those in authority have made that replaced the true doctrines revealed by Christ.

No. 9 Thanks for catching that typo. I have made the correction.

No. 10 "I believe someone in the Church vets the conference talk today ever since Elder Poelman gave that conference talk in which he asserted that the goal of the members should be to get to the point in their progress where they no longer have need of the leaders. I believe what is permitted to be said today, no matter how doctrinally in error, is put out because that is what they want the members to believe.

Thanks again for your contribution, Telavian. Your input is always beneficial to the discourse here.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Rhone,
That is an amazing list of juxtapositions. Seems to me that would make an excellent blog post I might want to borrow from. Please let me know if you can find the original source.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

JimmyR,

For now I'll have to leave that discussion of Captain Kirk's superior skills for another time, as I have been informed that elsewhere on the internet some ignoramus has asserted that Captain Peter Quincy Taggart is just an actor and the NSEA Protector is merely a model. Seriously, hasn't this person seen the historical documents? Next thing you know we'll hear no one has ever activated Omega 13.

Rhone said...

As a fellow fan of Galaxy Quest, I salute you. o7 One of these times you need to sign your post as Alan 'Gorignak' Waterman.

I'll see if I can find where I got that list.

Rhone said...

I got it from here: https://ldtruths.blogspot.com/2020/11/prophets-who-dont-prophesy.html

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks, Rhone!
I should have known to look for that at LDTruths. Don't know how I missed it the first time around. The proprietor (who preferred to remain anonymous) died recently and I miss him dearly; he was a close friend.

-Gorignak

Rhone said...

I'm sorry to hear that.

Michael said...

Hi Rock,

I'm so saddened to hear about the passing of the author of the Ldtruths blog. Had something similar happen to another blog (non religious) I followed up until mid-2021 (targetliberty.com and economicpolicyjournal.com).

I was looking forward to his continuation of his series started in February. How sad and he will be missed.

Amanda said...

Your blog has been an answer to years of prayers ❤️

JR said...

So saddened to learn that the author of LDS Truths blog passed away. I absolutely enjoy that site as I do Pure Mormonism.

After Pres. Benson passed away I have never felt the other church presidents were called of God. Even at the local level where I live, God's guidance is non existent.

Thank You!

JR said...

Canada just announced that the country is going to Digital Currency.

This is how dictator governments will control the people. Wrong think?.....bank account shut down.

Openly Oppose the politicians?.....your life will be destroyed.
Digital Currency is Cancel Culture on steroids controlled by corrupt politicians to control the people.
It's coming soon to the USA.

Vaughn Hughes said...

Speaking of the idea of a pope: In the garden scene of the LDS endowment, there was once a reference not to the Pope but to "popes":
--------------------
ELOHIM: "I will place enmity between thee and the seed of the woman. Thou mayest have power to bruise his heal, but he shall have power to crush thy head."

LUCIFER: Then with that enmity I will take the treasures of the earth, and with gold and silver I will buy up armies and navies, popes and priests, and reign with blood and horror on the earth!
--------------------
Ask yourself what or who "popes" could possibly refer to. There's only one in the Catholic Church, not a bunch. Who in the world could fill the shoes of a group of popes? Rhetorical questions, of course.

Curiously, among the many (unauthorized) 1990 changes they made, they replaced the words "popes and priests" with "false priests who oppress and tyrants who destroy." That was probably where someone realized that Joseph Smith's language was just a little too obvious and needed to be "dealt with", as these things always go.

Ryan Janus said...

I've been following your blogs on and off for a few years. I admire the courage it takes to go against the "party line" while still remaining true to your core beliefs; I also respect the detail and research put into many of these posts. I have a question: what about the temple? See, my dilemma is: I LOVE going to the temple. With 1-2 exceptions, the most spiritual experiences I've had in my life have happened inside temples. And one of those exceptions was a dream that actually had to do with temple work! I went through a period of inactivity when my first marriage fell apart and for about a year afterwards, and the thing I missed the most (though I didn't know it at the time) was going to the temple. I really do believe vital work is continuously happening within those walls, and I want to keep my temple recommend for the rest of my life so I can continue to partake in that work. How would a person deny the notion that Russell M. Nelson is a prophet - something I'm definitely not prepared to do, though you always give me some food for thought - and still be able to hang onto his temple recommend? Live with the cognitive dissonance? Try to convince himself that temple work really isn't important after all? Or make the hard choice to forgo temple work until the Lord anoints a new prophet to reorganize his Church? I hope that last one didn't sound a bit snarky/sassy in the absence of non-verbals, because it was meant very seriously. I can't even imagine the anguish that some folks like yourself, Telavian and Rhone felt when having to make that impossible choice.

Dave P. said...

Ryan Janus,

The litmus test is, "What does the Book of Mormon say about it?"

The harsh reality of the temples as they are today is that all of them on the Earth except Kirtland's are cursed. The church and its temples have been rejected because of the failure to complete the one at Nauvoo.

As for what goes on inside of them, especially the endowment, are things that the BoM warns against: Secret signs and tokens, swearing of blood oaths, and consecrating everything to "the church" instead of God.

The "temple recommend" itself also has no scriptural support simply because Heber J. Grant instituted it as a loyalty test towards him when the church did not go along with his Prohibition crusade. It has been used as a tool of control since.

In The Book of Mormon and reiterated in the Doctrine and Covenants, Christ taught, "This is my doctrine: Repent and be baptized. Anyone who teaches more or less than this is not of me." The fact that He stated it three times in the BoM means He was dead serious. Baptism is the only saving ordinance and what goes on in the temples today are simply Masonic induction rituals pretending to be saving ordinances.

Once again, this all stems from the condemnation placed on the church for not taking the Book of Mormon and its warnings seriously.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ryan,
I was unsure how to respond to your question because to give you my opinion would require a complete blog post, one which I've been thinking about doing for some time but still have to gather my thoughts about. Therefore, I'm indebted to Dave P for his contribution above. I welcome other readers stepping in as well, as this is not only a complicated issue, but a sensitive one for some, given the lifetime of indoctrination we have received. What makes your question intriguing to me, Ryan, is that most everyone I know who has come to the realization that the LDS church was hijacked, when they speak of the temple, they usually come from a place of recognizing how much closer they have come to Christ once they realized the LDS temple teachings had the effect of actually distancing them from Him, though they had not realized it at the time. Rather than bringing them closer to Him, the temple ceremony served to make accessibility more difficult.

So let me just say for now that there definitely was a reason the Saints were commanded to build a temple, and that day will come again. But we tend to forget that when the Nauvoo Saints failed to complete the temple in the time appointed to them by the Lord, they were placed under a curse and told they would be rejected as a church along with their dead. (See D&C 124:32)

So they blew it, and all the rituals they think they are accomplishing for their dead today are worthless and rejected. I see no revelation from God received in Utah that they should build a massive gothic-style structure to make up for it (which took them 40 years to complete) and that would somehow make up for their earlier disobedience. I have also seen no revelations instructing the church to build multiple temples all over the world. The Saints were commanded to build just one, and as I understand it, one single temple may be all that is needed.

That's because, according to my understanding of the purpose of the temple, that structure is necessary for the Lord to physically return to His people. Think of it as a portal of sorts, a stargate. He has to have a sanctified, protected place to come to because his glory is such that if he were to set foot on the earth as it is, the whole world would be consumed by fire.

Whatever other purposes the temple might hold, I'm now convinced it had nothing to do with the corrupted rituals introduced by Brigham Young. Margaret Barker has done extensive research on the purposes and uses of the temple in biblical times, and none of the Masonic-introduced rituals used today don't appear to have had anything to do with it.

What was actually taught in the Kirtland temple is lost to us, but if you've ever been to the Kirtland Temple you'll see it would be difficult to see how our modern rituals would have fit. I'm sure much of what we are taught about the creation was introduced by Joseph Smith, but it's a sure bet that Brigham, Heber, and Willard Richards expanded on it.

My wife Connie, like you, LOVED going to the temple, but later she admitted that it was because she looked forward to the feelings of peace she got in the celestial room. If she had to endure what she now recognizes as nonsensical "filler" in order to get there, then so be it.

There's much more I could say in response to your query, and I hope other readers will jump in with their thoughts, but in my opinion you may find that once you break away from the idea that Church leaders have the power to control your access to God's love, you may find going to some isolated place in nature where you can commune with the Lord unfettered by ritual can be much more edifying.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Ryan,

One more interesting thing I'd like to add, and you can take this for what it's worth:

Some time ago I came upon a thread -on Reddit, I think, though I can't be certain- where a former temple worker admitted that the deep, dark secret none of us is ever told is this: pretty much all the genealogy that it's possible to do has already been done, and that there are no more names of people who existed on the earth to have baptisms and sealings done for. This woman wrote that therefore, the names temple-goers are given to do work for are recycled over and over. Other readers on that thread who had spent years volunteering at the temple confirmed her story, and more people who had attended the temple regularly said they had noticed they had done work for people they had previously done work for.

As most of us know, dead celebrities have been baptized by proxy, and that's why it's very easy to tell when some dead famous person has been baptized for the dead more than once. Someone mentioned that Elis Presley had his temple work done at least a dozen times.

So we are at the point, with all these new temples constantly being built, that there is really no need for them, other than to signify to the faithful members that the Church is continuing to grow. Temples have become a make-work project, both in the construction and maintenance of them, and also as a way to keep the members convinced they have to jump through numerous hoops in order to be "worthy" to enter them.

The evidence of their uselessness is the fact that operating hours for all temples have been curtailed, as attendance numbers decrease. If LDS temples were a restaurant franchise, there wouldn't be enough business to justify their existence. Yet the Church keeps building them, even as church membership shrinks to such numbers that wards are combined and stakes are eliminated around the world. I think the increase in temples is the only way the leaders can convince the members that the Church is growing. It's the only visible measure of success they can point to.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Amanda,
Thank you for your kind words. It's comments like yours that keep me going.

Rhone said...

Ryan,

Reading your question has caused me to reflect on my own journey. You used the words "impossible choice". Today the choice is obvious to me. However, I've been at this for years now. Things weren't so clear when I started. Though I was born and raised in the church, I really didn't start to take it seriously until I met a unique individual in my early twenties. This man taught me the actual gospel from the scriptures. This was something that I never was able to get from my parents, seminary or institute instructors, or from church attendance. That gospel was simple: a man can approach God and receive knowledge from him and only by knowing God can one be saved. It was so clear in the Book of Mormon starting with the first page. There was a process. It began with obedience and culminated in being brought back into the presence of the Lord.

I wanted that. So much so. I decided that I was going to be the best Mormon I could be. That included 100% church and conference attendance, daily prayer and study, frequent repentance, accepting every calling, weekly temple worship, etc etc. I gave it my all. In the end though, I was left empty and wanting. I felt abandoned. I felt like none of my efforts mattered. I was angry with God for not keeping his promises. That's not to say that God has been entirely absent from my life.

At one point I prayed to know what I'd done wrong. How had I offended God so, that he would nearly completely reject my efforts? Was I not a good enough member? A good enough missionary? The answer was basically that I couldn't progress any further since I already knew everything, or thought I did. My cup was full of things that didn't matter and it needed to be emptied in order to received a more better portion. I needed to unlearn what I had come to accept as true.

From my late twenties to early thirties I tried on and off again to be a exemplary member, with the same results. I was still studying the scriptures and, I suppose, you could say they began to unfold in a way that I'd never considered. The Book of Mormon, in particular, was talking to me! I slowly began to realize just how relevant it was to my life. I was both elated and horrified at the same time. This was because I also had the realization that it was, essentially, one long condemnation letter to the LDS church! It was speaking to the only people who would receive it in these last days, and yet we've been so conditioned as Mormons to instead believe that it's surely warning every other church and we're all good. This was truly the point where I'd seen the man behind the curtain and I could not unsee it. God was slowly exposing the sorry state of religion in this world to my understanding and it was painful. Even today it's painful to watch those who will not even consider such possibilities.

During this time I'd started looking outside of the church manuals and teachings to try and find anyone who could tell me about how to find Jesus. It wasn't until I was around thirty years old that I read Denver Snuffers' book "Conversing with Lord through the Veil". This served as yet another witness that God is accessible to us. Denver's "Passing the Heavenly Gift" added reason to observation and helped me understand why the church was the way it was. Robert Smith's "Teaching for Commandments the Doctrines of Men" was also a great addition. Various internet blogs like Rock's have provided a great deal of insight and comfort over the years. I'll always be grateful for their efforts.

(continued below)

Rhone said...

The worst part of all of this was the fear. Fear of losing my wife due to my changing beliefs. Fear of alienating myself from my very LDS parents and siblings. Fear of being excommunicated for daring to ask questions. Fear of being a poor parent to my children by not immersing them in LDS culture. The good news is that the fear fades in time. My wife is understanding and is starting to see some of this herself. The rest will work itself out in time I think.

I want to say that this journey has born fruit. It has, in little ways I think. I still don't know God as well as I'd like. I've only stood in his presence in dreams. I've heard his voice, clear as day, bestowing wisdom and knowledge that I didn't previously have but sorely needed. I was baptized twice in the 'remnant movement' hoping to gain the Holy Ghost, but I don't believe that has happened yet and I don't know why. Sometimes I get angry with God. Sometimes I want to give up on religion altogether but something, some tiny thing inside demands that I have patience and keep moving forward. I hope that means I'm on the right track.

The only advice I can offer is that if something doesn't feel right then don't ignore it. Question authority. Rely on the Book of Mormon.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Nicely put, Rhone.

Jw said...

You said in this article as someone is to declare to the church the President Nelson was called of God. So let me declare it. At the funeral of Elder Richard G. Scott as President Nelson was speaking the spirit bore witness to me that he, President Nelson, would become the next Prophet. So I declare it to you and to the church and all the world that President Nelson was called of God and set apart and ordained by His chosen Apostles. And although I’ve had my doubts about the way they handle the vaccine the spirit that bore witness to me was unmistakable. And when the time comes for President Oaks to become Prophet I will declare that too. And this testimony I leave with you in the name sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen

Sarah S. said...

Hi, Rock. I have read your blog for several years. Thank you for your thoughts. I don’t know the right place to asks this, so I will just ask it here. Have you written about the anachronisms in the Book of Mormon. I would like to read your thoughts about this topic. Thank you for you time. I want to believe.

Telavian said...

Jw,

I in no way want to deny your experience with God as it is personal and was meant for you. I do though want to point out that being a "prophet" in God's eyes is not what we would call a prophet in the LDS church. For instance, in Numbers 11:29, Moses is stating that God wants all his people to be a prophet and have the spirit. The president of the LDS church is also much more of a president and much less of a prophet today. The two positions also don't have to go together however we merge them today for no apparent reason.

In addition, it was almost a guarantee that Nelson would be prophet next since the senior apostle is always chosen and he was the senior apostle at the time.

I prophecy that Oaks will be the prophet next, and he will be a very hardline prophet that will usher in a period of religious bondage.

PNW_DPer said...

Sarah S,

I don't know if Rock has really addressed "Anachronisms" in a blog, but I believe he has mentioned in replies about someone at the Grandin print shop using already set up stock plates of the King James Bible for the Book of Mormon to save time when the printer encountered long passages from the Bible, thus possibly perpetuating errors from after the 600 BC flight of Lehi from Jerusalem with the Brass Plates, and even errors after the Savior's teaching in both the Old and New Worlds.

That said, my testimony of the Book of Mormon does not depend on "explaining anachronisms" or "historicity", but from the Holy Ghost telling me the Book of Mormon is true because the principles it teaches are correct principles.

Though, like Rock (he can correct me if I'm wrong) I do believe in a true historical setting of the Book of Mormon most likely according to the heartland theory of between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River.

Dave P. said...

This was a while ago, but I remember reading a post linked from one of the blogs on the PM side bar that went into detail on how the "anachronisms" in the Book of Mormon refer more to the symbolism found in Israelite festivals and celebrations given the Nephites continued the practices after arriving in the promised land.

If I can find it again, I'll link it.

Eric Kuntz said...

The only prophets in the LDS Church ae spelled PROFITS.

rodney4 said...

Thank you for your comment. I have had the exact same feelings and experiences as I have done my own study of the Book of Mormon. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my journey to find truth and light directly from the source.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

JW,
I did not immediately reply to your comment because I assumed you meant it as satire. Your "testimony" was so palpably absurd that I thought you were pretending to be a diehard Brethrenite testifying that Nelson is a prophet because you had a personal emotional reaction. I occasionally hear from people who are hostile to Mormonism, so you can see why I would assume you were joking when you wrote it. But just in case you were dead serious (which, admittedly, doesn't seem likely), allow me to respond seriously for a moment.

You said, "I declare it to you and to the church and all the world that President Nelson was called of God and set apart and ordained by His chosen Apostles."

You say you received that "witness" when you heard Russell Nelson (then an apostle) speak at the funeral of another apostle. Naturally I assumed that was a joke, because (among other things), as Telavian pointed out above, the process by which the apostles choose their next president dictates that the guy with the most seniority ALWAYS becomes the next president of the corporation. It follows as day follows night. So we can file that under "tell me something I don't know."

But just in case you were not trying to pull my leg, let's focus on just that one sentence of yours as quoted above. You bear witness that "President Nelson was called of God and set apart and ordained by His chosen Apostles." If you can testify of such an amazing occurrence, would you mind telling us what that was like? What actually took place? What was the date when God called president President Nelson and what did He say? Who else was present? Was there no one available to write down the Lord's words as has been the case throughout history?

And what do you mean by "called of God"? We know from God's own words that God has to "anoint" that man in person. What evidence can you provide us so that we, too can pray over that evidence and gain such a testimony?

You don't give us anything to go by except your personal impression. I trust you actually read this post, because if you had you would know that the Lord has always provided a specific method by which He calls a man to be his mouthpiece, and that method specifically PROHIBITS any member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from having any say-so in the governing of the Church. That means that not only can a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles NOT ascend to the presidency of the Church, it also means the rest of the members of the quorum are not permitted to "anoint" the new president.

Since I covered all this in the body of the piece you're responding to, I shouldn't have to remind you that Nelson himself, as well as the Church PR department and several fellow apostles carefully walked us through every step of the proceeding, and there was not one mention of the Lord anointing, appointing, ordaining, or in any way calling Russell Nelson to be His prophet, seer, and revelator.

(Continued Below)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

JW (Continued),

The history of the Church of Christ that was founded by Joseph Smith contains many, many breakaway sects and branches, all of which can boast of someone like you who was willing to "testify" that the guy leading any of those particular splinter groups was "called of God" to do so. So what makes your testimony more exceptional than any of theirs? We can give you records of every single sect among the fundamentalist polygamists, where not just one, but several people claim to have had the same witness of the spirit as you claim to have received. So which of theirs trumps yours? Or do you think it possible that SOME of those people were pranked by a spirit of deception? Given the fact that the procedure by which all of those ostensible "prophets" violated the procedure outlined by the Lord himself, has it not occurred to you that your witness was just as false as any of theirs?

But here is what made me uncomfortable about your little satirical piece, JW: I don't like it when someone makes a joke and then wraps it up by testifying of the truth of it in the name of Jesus Christ. There are lots of things I find amusing, but that just doesn't happen to be one of them.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Sarah S,
Back in the day I was ready to chuck the entire Book of Mormon because I had been persuaded that the so-called "anachronisms" were completely damning and proved the Book of Mormon to be a fraud. That was before the internet, of course, so now it's a piece of cake to learn the truth about this stuff. For instance, I completely bought into the lie that there were no horses on this continent before Columbus. That absurd claim apparently originated from something some conquistador wrote and it was repeated so often it was assumed to be true.

Now, whether there were or were not horses in South America, I couldn't tell you, but it's well known among those in the know that horses have always existed among the Indians here in North America, and since North America is where the Book of Mormon civilizations took place, who cares about their existence in the South? If you look up Horses in America before Columbus you'll find sources saying OF COURSE there were. I even came across a Native American woman who raises one of the ancient breeds. They're a very interesting breed, with very long manes. I'd like to see some of these in person:

https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/yes-world-there-were-horses-in-native-culture-before-the-settlers-came

I think the biggest problem we Mormons have had reconciling what we thought were anachronisms was the result of focusing on Meso-America when even Joseph Smith asserted the Book of Mormon took place in the areas we now know as Missouri, Illinoi, Iowa, Wisconsin, New York and the Great Lakes areas. When we look at the archeological and anthropological evidence in these areas, everything falls into place, including DNA. The indigenous peoples of South America may be traced to Japanese ancestry, but the DNA from several tribes in North America (notably Algonquin tribes such as the Ojibwe, if I recall correctly) can be traced to the Middle East, which would jibe with them being descended from Lehi.

I could go on forever, but I'll refer you to a couple of excellent sources for starters:

https://bookofmormonevidence.org/

https://bookofmormongeography.org

You can get lost in those sources forever, so I hope you have some time on your hands. I own a copy of the Annotated Book of Mormon, which you can get at BookofMormonEvidence.org. It has a hefty price tag, but it's a hefty volume, chock full of pictures, maps, and information that you can browse in forever. I LOVE this source.

I did indeed touch on this topic in a post I wrote awhile back, "Best Evidence For the Book of Mormon," after watching a five DVD presentation. I think I provided a link to where you can get those DVDs, but so much of it is on Youtube already, I would think. Check out the links above and you can get lost in the massive amounts of info. Here's the link to "Best Evidence":

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2011/11/best-evidence-for-book-of-mormon.html

Regarding what PNW wrote to you above, I did a piece on this site titled "Why Our Scriptures Need an Overhaul" where I detailed the intense labor it took the typesetter to get through that difficult job. In an interview the typesetter, John Gilbert, gave years later, he admitted that when he would come across a long passage that appeared to be cribbed from Isaiah or some other biblical section, he found it easier to just rest his personal copy of the bible on the rack above the press and simply transpose those words. The result, of course, is that later scholars have found slight errors in Isaiah and those errors were carried over into the Book of Mormon. Hence what APPEARS to be an anachronism, but isn't when we have a fuller picture of the process.

Here is that link:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2017/04/why-our-scriptures-need-overhaul.html

I hope this helps, Sarah!

Ryan Janus said...

Rock's post on the Cahokia Mounds was actually the first puremormonism post I stumbled across when looking for evidences for the Book of Mormon. We used to live in St. Clair county east of St. Louis, just 20 minutes from these amazing mounds, and I was doing some homework on the mounds and was myself curious if these were at all connected to Book of Mormon peoples. What's interesting - maybe even more interesting than the similarity between the language of the "Mississippians" and Reformed Egyptian, though that's really interesting - is the prevalence of arrowheads and other artifacts/remnants of these people, even outside of the HUNDREDS of known mounds. Most are found by farmers, and because there are so many of them (or maybe because they don't want the government to take their farm from them and make it a protected historical site - I'm told that's happened before), they just toss them in the trash without a second thought. Oh, and by the way - some of them are made of metal.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

That's interesting that you lived near the Cahokia mounds, Ryan. I think I mentioned that even though as a missionary I lived in the very town of Cahokia, neither my companion nor I had any interest in seeing the mounds because it didn't occur to us they might have been connected to Book of Mormon times. In those days especially (circa 1974) the conventional narrative was that the Book of Mormon took place in South America. The assumption was that the American Indians had migrated up north well after Moroni had died. (There was also a popular theory that there must have been two Hill Cumorahs, one in south America and one in North, which is absurd on its face.

In the five DVD presentation I referred to, they talked about farmers in the area having to remove arrow and spear heads by the wheelbarrow full. That's where I also learned the answer to the question "where are all the skeletons from the great battle that took place at Cumorah?" Turns out that when you bury a corpse the skeleton is preserved, but when bodies are left out to the elements, they turn to dust and that powder either sinks into the earth or blows away. Example: the millions of Buffalo that were slaughtered on the plains in the late 1800: the corpses disintegrated within a couple of decades.

As late as the 1950s it was a common thing for boys to go out and look for arrowheads. They weren't as common as when the white settlers arrive and found them so prolific they were a nuisance, but kids could still find them just inched below the soil in many parts of America.

Ryan Janus said...

Yup, bones decompose. Just ask any farmer. Bone meal is a great fertilizer, actually. That's what sort of makes Book of Mormon archaeology more problematic from the get-go, actually. In a dry climate (like the Middle East), things will preserve much longer. But I'm sure you were in Illinois long enough that you can still feel the humidity on your skin! :-) You can't even leave a sealed bag of bread out on the counter for more than a few days before the mold starts.

jjkrambule said...

Well said!

Dave P. said...

Just read that Orrin Hatch died.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hatch was a once great conservative who turned Neocon warmonger. Wouldn't want to be in his shoes right about now.

Steven Retz said...

I preached to a large congregation at the stand, on the science and practice of MEDICINE, desiring to persuade the Saints to TRUST in GOD when SICK, and not in an ARM OF FLESH, and live by FAITH and not by MEDICINE, or POISON; and when they were SICK, and had called for the Elders to PRAY for them, and they were not healed, to use HERBS and MILD FOOD.
Joseph Smith; Documentary History of the Church, Volume 4, page 414; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Trust in God When Sick, 1841 Sep 05
https://seekingyhwh.org/resources/health/