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Saturday, August 4, 2007

"It Is Impossible For A Man To Be Saved In Ignorance" D&C 131:6

I would like to bring up the topic once again of intellectualism in the LDS church. In a previous post, I talked about how LDS church leaders have made recent statements discouraging intellectualism and scholarly thought, particularly topics, issues and facts that might not be "faith promoting". I compared it to the story of Adam and Eve, where in Mormonism, it was necessary for Adam and Eve to obtain knowledge of good and evil, even in disobedience to God. Yet, here are our church leaders telling us not to partake of the tree of intellectualism because it is a danger to the church.

If members of the church think they can ignore troubling facts surrounding church history and the veracity of the Book of Mormon and just slip into the Celestial Kingdom, they are mistaken.

D&C 131:6 says "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance".

It appears the LDS church is doing a disservice to its members when it hides facts in ensign publications as well as priesthood and lesson manuals. According to the Doctrine and Covenants, at some point, church members will have to tackle these tough issues. When Dallin H. Oaks says "intellectualism is a danger to the church" that may be true, but discouraging intellectualism is a danger to the salvation of the church member according to our scriptures.

Disillusioned Mormon

61 comments:

Russell said...

You might want to look at Oaks' book, The Lord's Way with his chapter on Reason and Revelation. He addresses "intellectualism" in depth and, I find, he is quite sympathetic to it ("I find much truth in intellectualism")

Just a thought.

Zelph said...

Russel, I appreciate the recommendation and will put it on my list. I know that Dallin H. Oaks was on the editorial board and staff of Dialogue years back. It makes me scratch my head sometimes why he makes some of the public statements that he makes, but then it could be from witnessing disaffection of his peers, but that is just speculation.

The point I am making is that the church isn't doing any favors to the members in keeping things hidden as it is impossible to be saved in ignorance.

Bishop Rick said...

I have run across many that embrace intellectualism, but it is definitely NOT what the LDS church preaches.

Obviously there are many that learn the truth about the LDS church and are still able to justify its validity.

Obviously again, I am not one of them. I see the LDS church for what it really is...a church that falsely claims sole authority (which if truly analyzed makes no sense) and wants to forget its past and the teachings of those that founded the church. It is an organization that is clinging to claims that can no longer be supported, and is being forced to fund groups (like FARMS) to come up with scenarios that "might" be plausible, even though they result in revisionist history.

It's just a matter of time before the jig will be up for the LDS church. It will be forced to reconcile its past and give up the reckless claims of JS, and simply become another Christian church or fold. I truly believe that. I only hope I am alive when it happens...the sooner the better.

Anonymous said...

I’m getting acquainted with blogging and in the process I’ve visited a dozen or so sites in the last few days on the subject of “Mormonism”. It’s interesting to see all the different sites.

The author of this site, and many who have made comments here, are apparently dealing with the conflict that arises from what they learned at church, and what they are learning from other sources about matters in church history. Intellectuals call this kind of conflict “cognitive dissonance”. One PhD quipped, “That most babies would not survive the first diaper change if parents did not learn how to cope with a little cognitive dissonance.” That’s funny but cognitive dissonance is tough to deal with. Lehi calls it “opposition in all things”. It’s what life is made of; for Adam and Eve it was the Tree of Life in opposition to the Forbidden Fruit, for the jilted suitor its unrequited love—I’ve been there, ouch! Learning to cope with and tolerate some ambiguity and paradox in life is seen as healthy. Rational people must deal with it almost every day: Do we stop driving because we observed someone running a red light? Hopefully not! Do we stop attending church because our Bishop was rude to us? With that said, we can’t be expected to ignore troubling questions. We must wrestle with them and win a victory.

I heard one person make an interesting point about expectations that I think bears on the discussions on this site; “In the Catholic Church everyone says the pope is infallible but nobody believes it; and in the Mormon Church everybody says the prophet is fallible but nobody believes it.” Funny but true—I think we need to cut some slack for those individuals who were and are leading men/women in the church. All of them are and were fallible. So how do we approach this? First, realize that the Lord has allowed there to be “opposition” in church history, second, apply your spiritual gifts.

At the end of the Book of Ether the prophet Moroni is troubled because of his weakness in writing and fears the Gentiles, you and me, will mock him. He expresses his concerns to the Savior—note what the Savior says: Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness (Ether 12:28). This is one of many scripture that tell us that in order to learn the truth about spiritual things we need to obtain an answer from God.

Years ago, when I was troubled by some of the things talked about on this site,I decided to find out the truth regarding the Book Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the church the way the Lord invites us to. I went on a spiritual quest and just as the Lord promises (in many places) I was rewarded with a very clear and irrefutable answer—a vision. I don’t know why I was given a vision, but I was. A vision, as I experienced it doesn’t leave any room for doubt. I realize that this not how the Lord usually answers our prayers—but he does on occasion. I know the truth, now I am working on being true to what I was given. That’s the only question I have—can I be faithful and endure to the end.

I hope that what I’ve said will motivate a few of you to learn the truth by obtaining your answer by the Spirit. It’s worth it!

Elder Joseph said...

anonymous,

Your post reads exactly like a copy and paste from somewhere where I have read before .

Where did I read it from ?

Was it you or did you get the comment from elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

"elder Joseph",

I'm the author, I just posted it twice on this site because I thought it might be useful to do so.

Jeremy said...

Anonymous,

You were wrong, thanks for trying.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Anonymous,

Your testimony is beautiful. Would be nice if you changed it up a bit, because reading it word for word twice causes me (and likely others) to doubt the sincerity of it ~ it would be just as strange for me to sit in fast & testimony meeting and hear a beautiful testimony from someone I never saw before, but then the next week in Sunday School to have that same stranger whip out a tape recorder after being called on and playing his recorded testimony again instead of just saying it aloud again.

Just sayin'. It's strange and doesn't serve the purpose you intended, either.

Zelph said...

anonymous-

I thought your testimony was well thought out, well said and very sincere...the first time I read it.

I do not deny your sincerity, but people claim to receive visions all the time from all different churches. People in different Christian denominations claim to speak in tongues or see the holy spirit. I knew Catholics that claimed to see a vision of "la santisima virgin Maria de Guadalupe" on my mission. Some people claim to be able to speak with the dead. I saw a program on T.V. that showed how some people with epilepsy have similar experiences as described by Joseph Smith. People have near death experiences. I can't help but wonder if all these people really have visions of God, or perhaps it is just their subconscious. Why aren't all these people flocking to Mormonism? These people all become more sure that they are in the correct church. You would think that if they had these experiences from God that the spirit would tell them to join the Mormons.

I think what it demonstrates is that when people have spiritual experiences, they tie that experience to what they are already exposed to.

My theory is that if someone is exposed to something long enough, you start to believe it.

If I wanted to believe once again in the Book of Mormon, I know what I could do. I would read the Book of Mormon continuously and ignore and forget about anything that might question the validity of the book. Then again it is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.

However, this is true for anything. If I wanted to believe in the Qur'an, I would do the same, or if I wanted to believe in Scientology, I would read Dianetics. It demonstrates that people will believe anything as long as they want to believe.

As I said, I do not deny the sincerity of your vision, but I also don't deny the sincerity of other people from other churches that have had visions.

How can they all be from God if everyone is getting visions that re-enforce their own beliefs? If you want to believe something, your subconscious will make it happen. If you keep repeating it, your subconscious mind is always listening, and will make it a reality in your mind.

Visions could either be nothing more than dreams, daydreams or hallucinations, produced by one's own subconscious mind. It is possible that people want to believe in something so badly that they hypnotize themselves. This would explain why so many people of so many different religions all claim to see visions as well that confirm to them that they are in the right church.

Anonymous, thank you for taking the time to post your testimony and I absolutely believe you are sincere. I do not want you to think that I am denying your vision, I am just giving you my perspective in that I have heard so many other people that have just as much conviction from all different churches that say they have seen visions as well. I can't dispute their sincerity either.

Anonymous said...

Mary Lisa,

I see your point. I don't view what I said so much as a testimony as I do and invitation for those frequenting this blog to not only employ their capacity to reason but also to employ their spiritual capacity. In relativity prosperous times, like we are in now (at least in many places in the world) it’s natural for our spiritual capacities to ebb or wither (see Helaman 12). My remarks are intended to draw attention to this.

I feel a great deal of concern for those who are getting caught up in the sort of things discussed on this blog; and at the same time are not finding the ability within themselves to tab into their spiritual capacities and obtain a manifestation of the spirit sufficient to deal with the opposition their encountering.

I want to point out that there are many, very many people who are doing so. But they are moving on and not saying much—so you never hear from them. I’ve chosen to encourage those who will, to take the time and put in the necessary effort to obtain a manifestation of the spirit.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Anonymous ~

Even were I to sincerely go back to praying and believing the church were true and God lives and loves me too, I could never go back to supporting and sustaining an organization that practices sexism on such a grand scale, nor one that uses its resources to try to keep homosexual people from being able to marry (an issue of state, not religion). Those two issues alone keep me from being able to support the church of my birth.

Plus, I just don't see how I could ever swallow the practices of Joseph Smith as prophetic and inspired now that I know how and what he really did as he set up his ministry.

Thanks for trying, though.

Anonymous said...

zelph,

I would like to attempt to give an answer, or two to your thoughts. I need to leave now and depending on what happens to my work schedule it may be a day or two before I get back with my thoughts. I appreciate your manner and tone.

My experience with the manifestations of the spirit go way beyond that initial experience the Lord gave me about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Once the channels of communication are open, one continues to receive many helps from the spirit—very practical help in day to day living. This is how I know for myself that I wasn’t experiencing some mental anomaly or the likes. I’ll share a few examples of this practical aspect of the spirit when I get back.

Elder Joseph said...

Yes Intellectualism is a danger to the church for the very reason that they get found out to be controlling and manipulating/regulating information which keeps things in their favour .
Not far from Totalitarian ideology similar to Communist regimes .

They both need to control information for their ultimate survival .

But the Internet is the biggest threat to the LDS Inc as was the printing press to Catholic Inc at that time.

Its a simple fact that Science and Access to Information does reform and influence established religions,something members would be wise to think about.

Zelph said...

Elder Joseph,

You bring up an excellent point about a parallel between the printing press and the influence it had on religion at the time and the internet today.

I think that is very relevant because the parallel is that you had 2 organizations that controlled information, then technology made it possible for people to get information outside of what the organization provided.

This has a devastating impact on said organization that relies on the control of information.

Martin Luther was persecuted and killed by for the big sin of translating the bible from latin to German so that people in the congregation could read it for themselves. Thanks to the printing press, the bible could be mass-produced. People realized very quickly that what they were being taught completely contradicted what it said in the bible, particularly regarding idol worship. This led to major reformations like protestantism and the church of England.

I see a similar thing happening today with the internet. Now, people can read about church history for themselves. People within Mormonism are realizing just as quickly that what they were taught in the church is not how it actually happened.

Russell said...

Honestly--and I can speak from peresonal experience here--I have employed intellectual tools on countless occasions in priesthood classes. I have referred to secular articles on Mormon history, philosophers and writers from outside the faith, and found excellent quotes from Joseph Smith, Hugh B. Brown (esp. Bro. Brown), Neal A. Maxwell and others to demonstrate a strong tradition of using the mind/secular scholarship to increase gospel understanding.

We might disavow "intellectualism" (I don't, but some do) largely because we disavow "isms" in general. I disavow it for the same reason I disavow Marxism, capitalism, and others. The only reason I embrace MOrmonism is because it isn't much of an -ism at all. I have (and I believe Elder Maxwell has) found and treated Mormonism publicly (again, priesthood classes and the like) as a free-wheeling doctrinal system that allows for numerous schools of thought. Quotes from Elder Packer notwithstanding (every such system needs its checks), the gospel is among the most liberal of ideologies I have studied in my years of formal education.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Russell ~

You say "the gospel is among the most liberal of ideologies I have studied in my years of formal education." It may be a liberal ideology, but without doubt in practice and policy the gospel insists on conformity and rigid following of rules. I see no liberal acceptance of anyone who does not conform and follow the rules as outlined by the men at the top.

Russell said...

Zelph:

I concur. We, as members at a grassroots level, need to do better at full transperancy. Fortunately, the Church has made an important step in that direction with the publication of a key article on the Mountain Meadows Massacre coming in Sept. 2007.

Sister Mary Lisa:
Certainly, we should be more accepting. Elder Maxwell stated as much in his landmark talk (at least in my opinion) "The Mormon Milieu." (available at speeches.byu.edu).

However, I don't think we should confuse the regional/subcultural idiosyncracies of any set of Mormons with Church doctrine. I've seen Latter Day Saint Men with longer hair/beards fit in nicely within LDS singles wards. True, everyone can provide their horror stories of some bishop being insensitive, etc. (as can any religion with any kind of structure to it), but I have found my leaders to be EXTREMELY open, even liberal, to exceptional cases.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

OK, Russell. I'm glad you have a liberal ward to go to. I know for me, (I'm not in a large LDS population), if I were to attend church wearing pants, or in a dress but wearing an eyebrow ring, every single member in the congregation (save the little children) would be judging me as a non-member who was not very spiritual or who didn't know better. If I were to actually be discovered as a member, someone would talk to me about wearing pants, or about removing my eyebrow ring while attending church. Neither of those things has anything to do with how much tithing I pay, or how Christlike I am. I would bet money that were I to do so in YOUR liberal ward, the same stuff would be assumed about me, even by your extremely liberal bishop.

I wish it weren't that way within any church, that's all. Focus has shifted from actual values to conforming to appearances of righteousness.

Zelph said...

Russell, I agree that I have seen changes in the church, but I think the organization is in survival mode right now.

The timing of the article of Mountain Meadows Massacre comes as no surprise as next month is the 150th anniversary, the movie September Dawn is coming out (maybe) the PBS documentary dedicated a good 30 mins to the event and the church is being scrutinized closer with Mitt Romney running for president.

Russell said...

Perhaps, SML, perhaps. It's quite difficult for me to speak for others. And I certainly don't want to sound self-laudatory (as I am sometimes wont to do-something I've learned while writing on this blog); I have my issues with being judgmental, even if it tends to be in the opposite direction. I'm the one who in Sunday School class in silently chiding the teacher for missing some nuance, some cranny, or some exception within a given doctrinal topic. And I can't say that I've NEVER been accused of being heterodox; I have been and I don't take such criticism well. So I guess I'd better be careful about casting the first stone.

Whatever the case, I find it highly unfortunate that people would treat any differently/unkindly because of dress It's hard to discipline one's thoughts, but very feasible to treat others with kindness that they deserve, no matter their dress or their teaching style.

Just a thought: maybe both of us fall into the same trap of judging those who are judgmental of us?

Russell said...

And Zelph, I agree that changes have definitely taken place, esp. since the days of the September Six in the early 90s. It's interesting that the makeup of the quorum of the Twelve is largely the same now as it was then (with, significantly, one of the key intellectuals passing since then--Elder Maxwell).

However, I'm not sure if I would go to the extent of putting the Church in "survival mode." Typically, that would involved circling the wagons, not letting anyone in or out, in essence, becoming like the Amish (who face a very literal survival problem). I've almost never seen a survival mode mentality translate into openness, as dealing with the outside always tends to risk watering down the conviction of the base.

But I see the opposite happening. The newsroom has become a clearing house for doctrinal statements (of sorts) and the humanitarian work of the Church continues to expand via the PEF and other initiatives.

If they are in survival mode, they are going about it an excellent way. Hopefully, they stay in survival mode for a very long time :)

Sister Mary Lisa said...

"maybe both of us fall into the same trap of judging those who are judgmental of us?"

Could be, Russell, could be. You made me smile with that comment. But was it a judgemental smile?? ;)

Anonymous said...

Zelph, et al,

My purpose in posting at this site is to invite all to exercise their spiritual capacity, and acquire a God given manifestation of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s calling, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. This can be done in spite of the opposition that you are currently dealing with. I’ve learned by my own experience this is true. I understand now that with the intellect alone man/women can never find God (2 Cor. 2:11).

Zelph pointed out that spiritual experiences:

1. Are claimed by many people from all kinds of religions
2. Might be due to some sort of mental illness
3. Come as a result of the recipient’s strong desire—not God’s will

In essence, if I understand him correctly, he concludes that spiritual experiences can’t be trusted, not even are own experiences. This shuts the door on spiritual experiences—with a bang!

Zelph, I hope I didn’t put words in your mouth, if I did, please correct me. I’m trying to summarize what you wrote on Sunday morning last.

It may surprise you but I agree with all three, but with one addition, a fourth possibility:

4. Come as a result of the recipient’s strong desire, faith in God—and by God’s will.

The one sure test of the authenticity of spiritual experiences is that once the channels of communication are open there is a flow of various kinds of spiritual experiences thereafter; the Holy Ghost is a revelator.

Consider the sons of Mosiah. As you will recall they along with Alma were ardent enemies of the church (I’m sure they had very good reasons) but due to spiritual experiences (see Alma 17:2-3) they turned out to be like the Apostle Paul—true followers of Jesus Christ. Note what the scripture teaches: they had the spirit of revelation. Based on my experience this means that one can receive divine help in all sorts of very practical ways. The Savior can be our best friend, I know this by experience.

I like what Brother Asay says:

Pause long enough to measure your acquaintance with spiritual gifts and powers. See whether foresight, discernment, sanctification, revelation, spiritual gifts, angelic speech, peace of assurance, and attendant blessings are evident in your life. Determine whether spiritual experiences are sprinkled generously throughout your daily living. And, if you find yourself wanting, have the courage to change and place your life in order.
Carlos E. Asay, "The Companionship of the Holy Ghost," Ensign, Apr. 1988, 15


This is all I have to say. I don’t want to beat the subject to death. I invite each and every one of you to join with those who were once skeptics and/or disillusioned—or worse, but who eventually found their faith:

1. Alma the older and his son, Alma the younger
2. Four son of Mosiah: Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni;
3. Aminadab (see Helaman 5)
5. Myself and many, many others

Best wishes

PS I’ll watch for any questions that I might help with and then be on my way

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Anonymous ~

You wrote Asay's words: "Determine whether spiritual experiences are sprinkled generously throughout your daily living. And, if you find yourself wanting, have the courage to change and place your life in order."

When I discovered the discrepancies in the history I had been taught regarding Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and the reality of their experiences, I determined that it appeared that Joseph had made it all up.

So I did what you suggest: I prayed fervently, with the most sincere and intense faith I had ever felt before or since ~ I sincerely wanted and needed it to be true.

I got no answer. Nothing.

Are you suggesting that I needed to get my life in order, before our God would give me the answer that the church is true? I can honestly admit that I was floored that God left me hanging like that. I look back at that time, and there was seriously nothing "found wanting" in my spirituality or righteousness at that time of crisis.

Why do you suppose it happened that way? I of course have my own theory about this, but would be happy to hear what you think about that.

Elder Joseph said...

anonymous

You said "My purpose in posting at this site is to invite all to exercise their spiritual capacity, and acquire a God given manifestation of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s calling, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints."

I can testify that non of the above are true . That doesn't mean I've eradicated God or Jesus Christ or Christianity .This Blog is not about that. It's The claims of the Latter day Saints that we have challenged and debunked.

You ask us to pray about
1 The truthfullness of the book of mormon .
2 Joseph Smiths calling .
3 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints."

I have and the answer is always the same (No they are not true )unless I block out my common sense , intelligence , ,Integrity , Dignity and love for fellow man .

All 3 have no divine validity but are simply man made and if you pray sincerely then you can know this too .

All those characters you mentioned Alma the older and his son, Alma the younger ,Four son of Mosiah: Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni; Aminadab are all fictitious , and if your testimony and experience is just like theirs then that says it all for me.

Why don't you address the real issues instead of ignoring them.

Have you got a seer stone that you get revelation from .If not why not because all the early church leaders had them and I can't find a revelation that has discontinued their use .

Russell said...

EJ--

It seems that you are drawing just as hard of a line as anyone who bears the Sunday SChool testimony. It appears that you are appearing to revelation just like the Latter Day Saints What do you do when people get conflicting revelation, when both appeal to evidence, both appeal to the scriptures, and both appeal to their love of mankind? Can you just discard the believers' testimony out of hand? It reminds me of the logic G.K. Chesterton derided when secularlists criticized peasants for being ghosts. "They're so creduluous." Why are they credulous? Because they see ghosts.

Chesterton concluded: "If we are inquiring whether certain results follow faith, it is useless to repeat wearily that (if they happen) they do follow faith. If faith is one of the conditions, those without faith have a most healthy right to laugh. But they have no right to judge."

Anonymous said...

Elder Joseph,

I extended the invitation based on what happened and is happening to me. I don't feel to judge and condem.

I don't have and answer for the other questions you bring up. At this point in my life I'm not "anti" anything. I like being "pro" something. When I tried the other approach it left me angry and miserable.

Anonymous said...

Sister Mary Lisa,

I like your honesty. I'll bet you're the kind of person that is a lot of fun to be around.

Unanswered prayers are the worst. I hate it when it happens to me. I've learned to wait and be patient--really tough thing for me to do. I'm not strong on patience--but I'm learning. My personal belief is that at some point all our sincere prayers will be answered. Remember, the Lord isn’t done with any of us. We’re his daughters and sons and are at various stages of spiritual maturity. I have decided that He knows what He is doing.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Anonymous ~

Thanks for your compliment about me being fun to be around. Some people may agree, others may disagree with that.

What I find interesting is that if there is a God, she must have known that I would walk away from the church/gospel with such an important question being left unanswered, taking my children with me. My non-member husband and his entire family of non-members would also be affected by my leaving.

Why did she leave me hanging?

Of course, when I look at it as if it's an institution that was man-made, then it all makes perfect sense, and I can feel much better about the fact I got no answer at all.

Either way, I'm the same good (and fun?) person I was all along.

:)

Jeremy said...

SML,

As always I quite enjoy your insights and comments... One thing that intrigues me is your view of God as female. I'd like to hear your interpretation of this. Curiosity has caught me, thats all.

Zelph said...

Anonymous-

1. "Are claimed by many people from all kinds of religions"
True.

2. Might be due to some sort of mental illness
True.

3. Come as a result of the recipient’s strong desire—not God’s will
True.

Now let me also explain that I am not trying to lessen the importance of spiritual experiences, because without spiritual experiences, life would have no meaning.

Realize that when I use the term "spiritual experience", I am not just referring to religion or God, but rather I see spirituality as the intangible things in life like emotions. I can have a spiritual experience at a music concert, because I love music, even if there is no mention of God.

That being said, I do not think these spiritual experiences are fake. I believe that they are very real to the individual. I just don't see it as an external force at work, but rather more likely your own brain making it real to you.

In the words of Morpheus from the Matrix, what is real? How do you know an object is real, because you can see and touch it? What is sight or touch but merely electrical signals interpreted by your brain?

No matter how much a person believes in something, it doesn't make it more or less true. More people in the world believe in Santa Claus than the Book of Mormon, so no matter how many people believe in it, it doesn't make it true, except in the minds of those that believe it.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Jeremy,

I use "she" when referring to God here because it makes one pause and think beyond the God Is Male mindset that so many believe.

I actually am leaning toward there being NO god, beyond what we as humans have created in our own mythologies to help make sense of the fears we feel over the unknown.

I remember the shock I first felt when I came across someone referring to God as "she"...it made me stop and think hard on why that shocked me so quickly and sharply. I forced myself to feel it, try it out on my tongue, revel in the sensation of shock and think about how wrong that is.

The thought of GODDESS is so underdeveloped in our Mormon culture, and nonexistent in other prominent religious cultures.

It made me see that in the Mormon belief system, it's too bad that such emphasis has been placed on the male and how he's a god-in-training, leaving the female in the dust where godhood is concerned. Women seem to me to simply be breeders-in-training.

Elder Joseph said...

anonymous

You say "I don't feel to judge and condem."

and " At this point in my life I'm not "anti" anything. I like being "pro" something."

Well i'm sorry to remind you but your church foundations are built on the very thing you say you are against .

1 Nephi 4 10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the ewhore of all the earth.

You can't have it both ways , either you are for the BofM or against it .Its a nonsense to say 'oh we believe all truth where we find it ' and ' we don't ctiticize other 'churches'.

first Vision Acccount .. umpteenth version
"I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven" (Joseph Smith History 1:18-20)

This is the basis of Mormonism.And I wonder what the other things Joseph Supposedly was told that he couldn't write at this time? So why mention them ?
I could further quote directly attrocious statements from Brigham Young and others.So please don't anyone tell me how harsh or Judgemental I am ! I am a Saint in Comparison to these men.

Stop pussy footying around .If you want to be ecumenical then join an ecumenical church . You are in a fundamentalist church with a history of fanatics who showed no respect whatsover when they spoke by the spirit.

I'm sorry if my words sound harsh.If the Church formally rebukes the past leaders and their abysmal errors then I would have more respect .

Russel

You are too technical for me .All I know is that the church's 'Inspired' Leaders have a track record of nonsense so I won't trust them as I wonder what Todays nonsenses will be shown to be in 100 years time although I can make a few very good assumptions .

Ps I don't hate Mormons , many of my friends are mormons and yes they know I feel its a con but they are ok with it ... I just hate the deceptive and misleading infrastructure of how I was taught by missionaries and then the Friendshipping and conspiracy to get me baptised which was so obvious :))

Jeremy said...

SML,

Feeling a little burnt out about the whole religion thing, I too am leaning towards no higher power or if there is I think it would be more like Deism as Bishop Rick mentioned once to me.

EJ,

You nailed it about the friends, one of the steps in the missionary work is to help fellowship potential converts. The missionaries are taught to bring active members of the ward to help out and befriend you during the process. The idea is to have a permanent friend in the ward so you aren't left hanging when the missionaries are long gone and have well forgotten about you. But it also makes sense to me because, it's easier to have a friend influence you to make a decision then just relying on your own intelligence alone. What would the church do with out peer pressure?

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Jeremy and EJ ~

I don't think the people at church who befriend newcomers and investigators are insincere in their friendship. In my opinion they are honestly reaching out in the way they have been taught is good and righteous, and it makes them feel good because they are being Christlike and following the Every Member a Missionary counsel.

I think the unfortunate thing about this method of friendshipping/fellowshipping is that it doesn't originate from that feeling you get towards some people that you'd like to know them better. You know, when you look across the room at that new person in class whom you're drawn to and think to yourself, "I'd really like to get to know that person" and finding once you do that here is a best friend for life.

I feel that too many friendships within the church are based on duty and not actual fondness. I have many friends I worked with in presidencies and visiting teaching assignments, and teaching callings, yet it seemed like those friendships died instantly upon getting a new VT partner or new calling. That's too bad, I think.

But I wouldn't say it's intentionally designed with ulterior motives by the church. I think people at church genuinely want to be friendly, there are just too many who don't know how to extricate the bonus-points-in-heaven factor from the actual desire to be that person's friend because they seem fascinating on their own.

I don't know if I worded that non-offensively or not. I just know that friendships at church seem much different than friendships outside of church. It could be that most people at church are so busy doing the required things that they are unable to take time to actually get to know people separately from the church setting. I wish it seemed more genuine more often.

Jeremy said...

My comment was more specific to investigators. If you have "friends" in the church it's more likely that you will join because of your friends and most concerns about it will be forgotten because your friends wouldn't lead you wrong.

I don't see how what you said, SML, could be found offensive. But it's very true, there is so much going on in life when you are a member it becomes difficult to befriend someone when it's not associated with a calling.

joshsuth said...

Its sounds like a majority of the people on this blog dont even believe in Christ, or even have a fundamental belief in God. So I would understand how you would get confused with mormon doctrine when it concerns God, because you are trying to comprehend something concerning God, when you have no fundamental belief that he even exists. Its like me trying to understand the science of landing on the moon, when I dont even believe the moon exists. I would be wasting my time. Which is what I feel alot of people on this blog do, wasted time arguing opinions, opinions that are largely based on rumors and facts gained from other "anti's" if you will. Just my thoughts.
Elder Joseph,
Is Russell to technical? Or to educated for you? It seems you like talking about certain topics that you have researched, the seer stone, JS wives, and a few other things, but when the topic changes outside of those, you dont seem to comfortable. I think that Russell could run you around in circles if he wanted to, I think he is just being nice though.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Hi Joshsuth ~

I'm not confused with Mormon doctrine. It's interesting to discuss God and his attributes as taught in Mormone doctrine, because when I look closely at him with open eyes, he seems to be pretty into favoritism, glory-seeking, sexism, irrationality, and powermongering. And he wants us all to seek after these things as well and become like him too.

I believed God existed for over 34 years, so if I want to take apart my ingrained beliefs and do a quality check on the different parts individually, I will. I find it fascinating to do so. Liberating, even. It's fun to discuss it openly with people who believe the same as well as people who believe differently. Otherwise, how else will I be able to look at different ideas in order to choose for myself which make most sense to me?

Elder Joseph said...

JoshSuth

Russel is an 'Orthodox' Latter Days Saint ( His words) .What does this mean to you.He can come across educated/intellectual etc but it still doesn't make the Indians Descendants of Lehi , or address the issue of the church purposely misleading members and investigators .

You keep saying that we don't even know if we believe in a God so what is the point in discussing with us etc and its all just opinions .

What does it matter what we believe , it still will never make Joseph Smith any more credible or the Church True .

David Koresh believed in God and was Martyred in Waco by the FBI . Do you really believe you could have a better converation with him and get somewhere ? and not with us ?

SML

I agree The Friendshipping thing is done with the best of intent , but Mormons can't see what they are really doing . Would they be as keen if the investigator told them he already knew it was false etc ?

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Joshsuth ~

One more thing. You wrote, "you are trying to comprehend something concerning God, when you have no fundamental belief that he even exists..."

I see no difference between ME trying to comprehend something concerning God and YOU trying to comprehend something concerning God. Neither of us has seen God personally to actually KNOW God exists, so everything I say or you say is mere speculation. No?

Russell said...

SML:

You say that since neither of us have seen God; therefore, it makes no difference who discusses it.

My question: let's say I HAVE indeed seen God and say as much (though I would normally keep such things to myself). Would that make a difference to you? Or would you echo the criticisms of the ancient anti-Christians (Celsus, in particular) who called the first witness to the resurrection "a hysterical woman... and perhaps one other person, both deluded by his sorcery or else so wrenched with grief at his failure that they hallucinated him rising from the dead by some sort of wishful thinking." No, I think my experience would be deconstructed just as Joseph Smith's was, leaving me a stark raving lunatic.

And I can tell you what being "orthodox" means to me. Look at G.K. Chesterton's book, Orthodoxy and specifically the chpt. "The Paradoxes of Christianity." Like Christianity or not, it makes for a romping good point of departure.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Russell ~

Joshsuth claims people here who don't believe God exists are wasting their time. I was simply refuting that if I'm wasting my time, it's no more than he is.

As for if you told me that you had seen God with your own two eyes, I'd say good for you. I'm sure if that happened to you then it was a very special experience that touched you deeply.

I'd also claim that many people of many religions have had similar visions/experiences of seeing their gods. I would never mock that.

I'm not calling JS a stark raving lunatic, either. I'm calling him a charismatic person who was able to convince others of many things by using his story that he saw God and Jesus. If it weren't so obvious to me that he was doing so for personal gain, I'd respect him as much as you do for what he was able to accomplish in his short lifetime.

joshsuth said...

SML, Just like Russell said, as soon as someone came out said they did (JS), you immediately would condemn them. So i guess discussing God between me and you would be a waste of time.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

I do not condemn JS not for his seeing God and saying so, but rather for his seeing God, and saying so in order to gain things such as power, support, and other mens' wives.

I'd love to discuss God with you or anyone else, Joshsuth. I will do my best to respect your beliefs and expect the same from you. I'm sorry if your love for Joseph is hurt by my low opinion of some of his actions.

Elder Joseph said...

joshsuth

Joseph Smith married at least 10 women who were already married , He married Orson Hydes wife while he was on a mission ( sent by Joseph Smith ).

He married a 14 year old Helen Marr Kimball , supposedly ensuring hers and her families well being in the eterntities .

He asked for his followers wives .

ALL according to Him that it WAS COMMANDED HE DO THIS .

Do we have to accept the possibility that this is from God to have a discussion about God with you .

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Russell ~

HAVE you seen God? I won't mock you, I'm just curious. You may email me if you'd rather not publicly answer.

Zelph said...

Russell, I would like to point out a few things.

Let's say that Joseph Smith did in fact see God the Father and Jesus. Let's even say that the Book of Mormon is true. Does that give Joseph Smith a license to do whatever he wants, because he saw God and gave us the Book of Mormon?

If you said you saw God, I would think that is great, and I would wish that I had a similar experience.

What if I told you I saw God, then 2 weeks later I robbed a bank? Am I justified in robbing the bank because I saw God 2 weeks previously? If anything, I would be held even more accountable because I would have sinned after seeing God.

Joseph Smith could have seen God and Jesus. I don't think it is likely in his case because the different versions make it very suspect, but that doesn't "prove" that he made it up any more than one could "prove" that he did in fact see God. What I have to look at is when I see the whole story, I have to piece together everything and think about what is the most reasonable conclusion.

Russell said...

So many comments...

SML--Alas, if only...
but then again, if we can believe in abstract philosophies about secularism, empiricism, then the existence of God can have an equal seat at the table...in my neck of the woods, forcing religion to the back of the philosophical bus in an act of philosophical segregation ain't cool.

As a side note, EJ--both of those examples are probably more indicative of how Joseph related the society of the Saints to eternity--Bushman argues that Joseph continually feared nothingness, that death would end society as he knew it. The sealings were meant to ensure that his society would continue. No (good) evidence exists that Joseph consummated the marriages with those already married--even in the case of Sylvia Fisher. In her case, the quote is ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations re: the relationship between spiritual and biological kinship.

Zelph:
Of course not, Zelph. The point I was making was a limited one: that it is pointless to even posit the possibility of seeing God to a secularist. The paradigm already does not allow for such an occurence; I refer back to Chesterton's example about the peasants. Why are peasants gullible? Because they see ghosts. Why do they see ghosts? Because they're gullible.

Incidentally, Joseph agrees with you; he said he was similarly more accountable after seeing God and felt guilty for his sins. I do find it interesting how UNINTERESTED Joseph was in publicizing this revelation however (not published until 1842, 4 years after it was recorded officially in 1838). Notice that the First Vision did not even enter our doctrinal infrastructure until the 1880s.

So I do not believe JOseph really used the vision to justify many things at all. The majority of the accounts were rather sporadic and random, based on a plethora of different individuals who almost never used it as a basis for Joseph's prophetic authority. The question of Joseph's use of this account to gain status is based on a false premise.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Well, I know that Joseph Smith DID use God and other visions as reason for things he gained, and his status as a prophet as given him by God was used to gain things as well. It's all related in my opinion. Had he not said he saw and heard God, he may not have been able to convince others he was a prophet. Had he not told them he was a prophet with God directing his every move, he may not not have been able to found cities and societies and banks. Had he not told women that God told him he was to marry them, he may not have been able to convince them to marry him. Had he not told his friends that he could ensure their eternal salvation and that of their entire families if they gave their wives and daughters to him in plural marriage, he may not have been given said wives and daughters.

It's all related.

As for his non-sexual plural marriages. Come on, Russell. Puleeez. You can read Joseph's own writings to see that these weren't innocent relationships. Why else keep them secret from Emma and also deny it to the public? Maybe God told him to do that too.

Besides, why would Joseph's plural marriages be platonic while Brigham Young's were not? Did I miss something?

Happy Heathen said...

If you want to know the truth about Christian origins, visit this site http://home.earthlink.net/~pgwhacker/ChristianOrigins/

It is amazing how much of Christianity was borrowed from paganism

Russell said...

You can believe as you will re: Joseph's use of the vision. But the evidence I presented (at least as I see it) indicates otherwise. He was tight-lipped about it, only publishing the account three times in his life. If it were the THE seminal event, you would expect it to play a more central role. When it was mentioned, Joseph's role was diminished; it was the opening of a new dispensation that was emphasized. Even Brigham Young thought Joseph to be less-than a charismatic; one of Brigham's friends saw Joseph as a bit "queer" to be viewed as a prophet.

"You can read Joseph's own writings to see that these weren't innocent relationships."

And thus the peril of historical research--folks read the same sources and come to very different conclusions. Certainly, most of his wives did participate in all the acts of marriage; however, as even Fawn Brodie remarked, there was too much of the Puritan in Joseph for him to be an outright libertine. Also, those wives who did marry Joseph did so with their living husbands at their sides; they never moved in with Joseph. The emphasis was never romance, only eternal networks of relationship. While I am unaware of these supposed 'smoking guns'--I wouldn't mind knowing some references just for my future knowledge--I am aware of evidence indicating Joseph viewed these relationships as more indicative of social relationships (Helen Vilate Kimball specifically). Given that my great aunt was one of those married, I am quite aware of her story; even when Joseph "used" his prophetic mantle to persuade, she still turned him down. Only an open vision would convince her otherwise.

That's what the evidence says, as I see it.

Elder Joseph said...

I don't believe these marriages of Joseph Smith were merely social or eternal networks of relationship.

1 If this was the case why would Emma be very angry at it .

2 Why does it state specifically in D&C 132 that replenishing the earth was its purpose.

3 Why does it say they have to be Virgins in D&C 132 or they would be destroyed.

4 Why the secrecy if the only motive was to collect a network of friends ? Why marry only women if they were not really 'marriages' why not some men in his social network.

5 Why did others misinterpret the real purpose of these marraiges then and literally conceive with their multiple wives .

6 Why marry other mens wives , aren't they going to be busy with their own husbands as gods and goddesses of their own worlds .

The simple answer is that its all a load of Codswallop .Thats a polite English word to desrcibe 'crap' .

Listening to Mormon mopologists trying to spin a farce and tragedy against women into something honorable is a disgrace .

They behaved no different than David Koresh of Waco .Religious nutters they were .Self righteous bigots which the world can manage without and has done . The worlds economic growth and prosperity and economic systems and Laws were created without the necessity of the plural offspring of these early mormon apostle bigots .

This church has benefitted from the Laws and infrastructure of the Developed nations and not the other way round .

We don't need Mormon Prophets or Aosptles , they add no benefit any more or less than anyone else to the established economic system .

Sister Mary Lisa said...

What do you think about Joseph promising eternal salvation to Helen Mar Kimball's entire extended family if they'd give her (age 14) to him as a plural wife?

This to me was shocking because I thought we were supposed to work individually for eternal salvation, and do all the ordinances required such as baptism, endowments, temple marriage. I've been taught this my whole life at church. Yet Joseph told them they would gain themselves a spot in the Celestial Kingdom if they but gave Helen to him (like so much property).

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Russell ~

Here's a letter Joseph wrote as found on the Deseret Books website from the book Personal Writings of Joseph Smith.

It's a letter he wrote to the Whitney's three weeks after he was sealed to seventeen year old Sarah Ann Whitney.

Read the letter in its entirety. To me it screams cheating-bastard-husband-crap, but what do I know? I know he's revered right now by Mormons as the best thing next to sliced bread, but I can't read that particular letter and admire the man who is that sneaky.

You will likely say it's for his own safety he was being sneaky...but note how he says to watch for EMMA, because it won't be safe for HER to see them coming to visit. There is only one reason that would be so, considering they were all on the same side of the war against those followers of Satan who wanted to have Joseph fail in his "prophetic" mission.

What do you make of it?

Russell said...

Kudos, SML--seriously. I commend you for delving into the sources and making a serious attempt to understand the man, even if you understand him differently than I do. And I also appreciate the generally respectful tone of your post.

That said, I think it an error to make some of the assumptions you have made concerning the meaning of the letter. First, let's say Joseph indeed "composed" sec. 132 (which, incidentally, was not immediately published and therefore more reflective of Joseph's mind than any PR campaign). The first section is obsessively anti-adultery; to Joseph appeared worried more about adultery than anything else. While sec. 132 addresses the raising of children, we have little evidence of such births, even now. Of course, you could argue that such things would not be recorded, but then again, look at William Parcher in the movie A Beautiful Mind--it was the hallucination that told John Nash to believe in a conspiracy.

To me, the tone of the letter is more awkward than it is unfaithful. The 1832 revelation put Joseph AND Emma in impossible positions. Of course, I'm sure you are well aware of Emma's own vacillations on the topic. She even told Emily Partridge (I believe--check Andrew Ehat's master's thesis on this) that she knew it was a principle ordained from God, but she felt personally terrible about it. Emily recalled this even in a time when making Emma look bad was a pasttime. Additionally, I don't believe that we are correct when we believe that the Saints were monolithic in their devotion to Joseph, esp. on a doctrine that was so explosive. Joseph Robinson recalled that Joseph probably had to retract the doctrine once he tried to publicly teach; the people bucked at it. Yet he believed he had been commanded to teach it. He felt he had no choice.

As far as Helen Kimball goes, her situation has been a difficult one for me to understand. I do know what Lucy Walker (my great-great aunt said of the marriage (she was 17 when Joseph proposed); she said it was not a "love matter" but her ultimate sacrifice. In this sense, her willingness to give up her assumptions, her youth, and her will to what they viewed as God's command would be seen as an Abrahamic sacrifice.

Additionally, Joseph saw salvation as community affair; this theme runs throughout his teachings. Salvation came in connecting the generations and in connecting neighbors. This was one way to ensure that. Why didn't they just get sealed in a general way? I don't exactly know. Perhaps Joseph viewed the marriage covenant as the primary sealing that should take place between people. To my knowledge, this is the only sealing doctrine he taught, that man and woman should be married under the covenant. To him, no one could be saved unless they were saved in a community.

Elder Joseph said...

Russell

D&C 132.. you said

The first section is obsessively anti-adultery;


This is a big joke and nothing else . These men took/snatched mutiple wives and obtained them by 'calling' them , a mormon term to mean coersed them and threatening them if they disobeyed .This is nothing less than Adultery and Rape and to do it in the name of God is an absolute disgrace and a big Hippocracy .

This is no different than David Koresh having sex with his female followers as the chosen one.Neither David Koresh nor Brigham Young were called of God.

Brigham Young was a an old pig calling very young girls in his old age .The remarks they made concerning polygamy shows total disrespect and contempt for the women and reduced them to just property to be called to serve the rigtheous prophets of God which they were not ,they were arrogant idiots full of themselves.They were not humble and neither did they have broken or contrite spirits .

Would you give your wife to Warren Jeffs or your underage daughters or sisters to him and his others in his old mens club .There is no difference between him and Joseph Smith and Brigham Young .

They were all dangerous cult leaders.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

That's exactly my point, Russ. If the "sealing doctrine" was just a community thing to Joseph, why has it changed now?

Also, you wrote, "Additionally, I don't believe that we are correct when we believe that the Saints were monolithic in their devotion to Joseph..." Are you referring to my comment about Joseph being revered today? I meant TODAY he's revered. It's undeniable. I'd say as much emphasis is placed on JS at church as is placed on Jesus himself. Sometimes more.

If you theoretically consider that Joseph was someone who relished power and manipulating people to do his will, then it's fascinating to look at what he did and wrote. The fact he never mentions his vision of God but a few times, etc. would play into this theory of mine. He may have tried it out a few times, telling people what happened, making the story slightly different to test for reactions/believability...then he moved to a new area and got bolder because these were strangers to him, so he could now walk into a shop and say, "I'm Joseph the Prophet" with confidence, whereas in his hometown it was laughable as many knew him when he was a boy, or when he was looking for treasure and whatnot.

You'll notice a great influx of plural marriages in a very short time (years after his initial "revelation" to do this) ~ theoretically as he practiced his ability to get people to believe him, he enjoyed wielding this power and getting people to do what he asked of them. A theoretical power trip.

I never quite believed that could be done, until I saw Big Brother last year, and watched Will manipulate others in the Big Brother house on a whim, just for fun. He was so bold in his claims, relying on his charm to pull him through anyone's attempt to get rid of him, and it worked. He could be completely honest to them all, and tell them outrageous truths about himself that WERE TRUE YET OFFENSIVE, and they'd still keep him close and they still loved him. I was fascinated, I tell you. (Judge me as you will for watching such a show!) I couldn't help but think that if Joseph Smith were like Will, he could have done exactly what he did, and would have enjoyed it too. He'd have enjoyed every second of his con.

Theoretically, of course.

Zelph said...

I think an excellent point is drawn regarding Brigham Young and polygamy. It is obvious that Brigham Young's marriages were absolutely polygamous marriages, as in he fathered many children with them. However where did Brigham Young learn this practice? From the Lord? Well, according to his own discourses, he did not even ask God if it was a true doctrine, he said that he is just carrying out the practice as instructed by Joseph Smith.

"If it is wrong for a man to have more than one wife at a time, the Lord will reveal it by and by, and he will put it away that it will not be known in the Church. I did not ask Him for the revelation upon this subject. When that revelation was first read to me by Joseph Smith, I plainly saw the great trials and the abuse of it that would be made by many of the Elders, and the trouble and the persecution that it would bring upon this whole people. But the Lord revealed it, and it was my business to accept it."
Journal of Discourses 11:266

So perhaps Brigham Young mis-interpreted what Joseph Smith had revealed to him?

Elder Joseph said...

I can't understand how any female in the LDS Church can accept this whole concept of Polygamy being commanded of God.

Its the most senseless doctrine I've come across and its only purpose was so Mormon Men could become Gods of their own worlds with their many wives .

Women being just another commodity to serve the chosen elect of God who by the way could marry other mens wives as Joseph Smith showed himself to be very capable of.

They must really fear that the LDS church has 'Authority' and that they have to be obedient to the 'Priesthood'.

Well I have great news , there is no authority in the LDS church because its all made up. All this Priesthood Power is just a barrage of nonsense.

It's all pretty disgusting to me and one needs only to look at Warren Jeffs and all the other Fundamentalist Mormon Sects to see first hand the Polygamy as practised by Brigham Young and others .

Young Girls were called to marry OLD men .

The sooner LDS people can see through this whole facade the better .I don't accept that the Mormon men are 'Righteous'and deserve mutiple wives while others are not righteous .

They are no different from a broad spread of men from other denominations.

Reading what Brigham Young taught for his whole career in JOD's shows what a big ASS he really was.

I have no fear whatsover of any Mormon Apostle having any part to play in any judgement .They'll be lucky themselves if they don't get a severe punishment for the stunts they pulled in the name of God .

admin said...

Hey guys, check this out:

http://www.lds-exchange.com

It's a pretty cool site where people both inside and outside of the LDS faith (or those with one foot in and one foot out) can all join together in open discussion about the LDS Church.

Thanks!
Admin

Jeremy said...

Admin,

I think you killed it...