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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Do Not Hate The LDS Church

Even though I no longer believe that the church is true, or anything that it claims to be, I do not hate the church. My intention is not to bring it down, or even to try to convince people that they shouldn't believe in Mormonism. However, the faith of most members is not based on all the facts. What I want is for people to see both sides and then decide, that way people can make an informed decision.

I do not think I am smarter than true believing members of the church. I simply think that with the new information that is available via the internet I have come to a different conclusion regarding the validity of the claims made by the church.

Interestingly enough, through this ordeal, I have become much more tolerant and open minded regarding other religions and belief systems. Why must we limit ourselves to one way of thinking? This includes the Mormon church. Although I no longer believe in Mormonism, I believe that people have the right to believe in whatever they want to believe in, as long as they are not violating the basic human rights of others.

Disillusioned Mormon

89 comments:

Bishop Rick said...

Does violation include brainwashing and deception?

tatabug said...

BR,

OUCH! You might be able to make a claim for deception, but brainwashing? No way.

Zelph,

I haven't been through the same ordeal as you, but these discussions, I think, have helped me to also become more tolerant. I can't really explain it, but I see things a bit differently now. Perhaps I am better able to see from other people's perspectives a little better and so I am not so quick to judge or get upset over the issues like I did in the beginning. I also have a bit of a different view of my own beliefs with regard to the Church. While I still know that the Church is true, I don't have the same perfect image of it in my mind. I now very much see the human imperfection in it, but that's okay. In a way, it helps me appreciate it that much more. It makes me grateful that Heavenly Father, in His wisdom, gives us truth and guides us, but allows us to learn and grow in the process by allowing us to make mistakes and use our own knowledge, talents and abilities to figure out a better way. At the same time, He is there for us to help us when our knowledge and abilities run short, and when we earnestly seek His help.

Okay, you can all stop rolling your eyes now.

paranoidfr33k said...

Zelph,

I appreciate your comment as my feelings are similar to yours. I think I am more tolerant to others, yet less tolerant of religion as an institution.

/paranoidfr33k

Elder Joseph said...

Does violation include threatening young girls into polygamous marriages with Gods Supposed Chosen OLD Mormon leaders and warning them if they disobey they will be damned ? Brigham Young style ..

Or what about Joseph Smith secret polygamy as if it were from God and causing distress among teenage females and also among already married women .

I have experienced myself how polygamy is hidden fromInvestigators .

I feel sorry for female converts entering this faith naively through a humble belief in Jesus only to find that they are most likely going to be polygamous wives ..... and 'called' into it ... no fairy tale ending for them ...

Zelph said...

Tatabug,

I think that is great that you can take an honest look at both sides and maintain your faith.

Bishop Rick,

That brings up an excellent question, at what point does it become a violation of human rights?

When it comes to manipulation, I absolutely agree with you. To tell someone that their eternal salvation is dependent on how devoted they are to the church is manipulation. However, people have the right to believe it if they want to. I believe people should have religious freedom. So where does one draw the line? That is a very difficult thing to determine, but practically forcing a 14 year old to marry an adult is definitely crossing that line.

The problem is that you can't force someone to stop believing in something in a free society. Let's say that society decides to make all religions illegal. Who is going to enforce that? Imagine a world where the government tells people what to believe and what not to believe. I see that as a very dangerous scenario. Does this mean that people will be subjected to believing in things that are not true? Absolutely, and that goes for all religions. However, they have every right to believe it.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

Just a hypothetical question. :)

tatabug said...

I'm curious to know where all this talk of forcing and threatening girls into polygamy comes from. Are you all assuming that because they were young girls, they were forced into it, or do you have actual evidence of this? I am currently reading about polygamy and that's not how I'm seeing it. Also, if polygamy is kept from investigators, perhaps it is because most members don't know or understand it well enough to be able to talk in an informed way about it, so it's easier for them to try and avoid the subject all together. In addition, there is no clear doctrine that polygamy will be practiced in the Celestial Kingdom, and from what I am reading, there is strong evidence to suggest that marriage in heaven will be monogamous.

Manipulation? Maybe, but truly, manipulation sort of requires that you convince someone of something they don't initially believe or want to believe in. Some people may make huge u-turns in beliefs and actions when they enter the Church, but those changes are always made voluntarily, and the Church goes out of its way to encourage people to seek their own spiritual confirmation of things. I can sort of see how you would call it manipulation, but from my point of view, I see it simply as teaching. Otherwise, if you want to take a liberal approach to manipulation, then we are all manipulated left, right, and frequently. We are manipulated by laws and law enforcement, we are manipulated by our school teachers, our employers, our spouses, our parents, our children, the media, etc. The list could go on and on, and we could discuss the many ways we are manipulated for days. Some manipulation, if you want to call it that, is good. It is good to be manipulated into keeping laws that are meant to protect others, such as murder laws. Knowing that there is a stiff penalty for breaking such a law is a very good way to make you think twice before breaking it.

Bishop Rick said...

tatabug,

If you take the example of Helen Mar Kimball, she was coerced and pressured into marrying JS by JS and her father. She resisted at first but succumbed under pressure from her father mostly. She was 14.

Jeffs was found guilty of rape as an accomplice, and the 14 year old girl's (at the time) husband is now being charged with rape.

Of course there is not concrete evidence that JS had sex with Helen, thus impossible to prove rape in this case, but the cases are eerily similar.

And since BY, HCK and all other practitioners of polygamy had sex with their polygamous wives, it only stands to reason that JS also engaged in polygamous sexual relations. After all, the others were simply following JS's lead. I think it naive indeed to assume that JS did not have sexual relations with his polygamous wives, and to demand proof before making that assumption makes no sense to me.

I totally agree with you that we are all manipulated by society, but that does not justify manipulation that goes against society - like in the case of polygamy.

There are many examples of multiple prophets teaching that the fullness of celestial marriage IS polygamy, and that you cannot reach Godhood without it. The JOD is full of these talks.

Of course the LDS church simply dismisses what is taught by it's own prophets when it suits them. Back in the day, the main means of teaching was from the pulpit. These men were teaching/preaching doctrine as they understood it.

For the LDS church or any of its members to deny this is blatant false representation (a nice way of saying they are flat out lying or are grossly misinformed).

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

What are you reading to suggest monogomous marriage in Heaven ?

Wishful Thinking edition of Ensign ? lol

I can only find that polygamy is the natural order and monogomy is only practiced because of the law.... and probably because no Mormon leader dare suggest it now that the church is domesticated anyway , although Polygamous temple sealings are still being practiced.

I'll send you my 'evidence' via email that polygamy was enforced in the name of God .The women wanted no part of it but they were spiritually bullied into it by LDS Mormon leaders ...

Have you read about Nancy Rigdon and how she rebuffed Joseph Smiths polygamous advance to her and his resultant letter to her ? Chilling stuff !

Elder Joseph said...

zelph

Informed decisions ?

This is what the church's critics would prefer ..however its not possible in Mormonism ..

If we had all the available info at the start who would join ?

However if we are slowly misled into the church and conditioned over the years , then any conflicting info gets brushed aside/explained away ( usually dishonestly or incorrectly at first ).
Each time more damaging info might crop up its then a bit too late and the convert can't rationalise properly anymore as he/she is taught that its Satan giving the doubts . Then there is the new social system which may be hard to let go of as well ...

This is why the church is deceptive in the first place.

Zelph said...

EJ,

You are right, and I agree with you. Although, I think many people simply want to believe. In fact many people let themselves become subject to religious authority because it is easier for them. This does not only include Mormons.

I would say that many of the claims made by the church are ridiculous, like claiming to be the "one true church" on Earth. However, people choose to believe because they want to believe. Many people stay away from information that might be critical of the church because they want to. Many people like living in a Mormon bubble because that is where they feel comfortable.

It's like when you are at the theater and you see a stage hand when you are not supposed to. You pretend you don't see him to keep the illusion going. You are literally hypnotizing yourself, and I think that is what many LDS members do with information. Many people like it this way, although I think there are a number of people out there looking for more.

From my perspective, I am seeing pretty much all religions as man-made institutions, and therefore are not much different than Mormonism.

tatabug said...

BR,

I disagree that Helen Mar Kimball had to be coerced into marrying Joseph. None of the evidence I've read points to that conclusion. I've read her autobiography which doesn't give details specifically about being married to Joseph, but which talks about her being taught about plural marriage and some of how she felt about it. (I don't know if it is her full autobiography either, or just an exerpt.) It gives a very different picture than what you would like me to believe. Yes, she apparently was very appalled at the concept of polygamy, but after it was explained to her by her father and Joseph, she was very much accepting of it. She made no intimations that she was in any way coerced to believe in the concept, but if anything was guilty of being very trusting that her father loved her and would not subject her to anything that he felt would be wrong or inappropriate. Here also, is a quote from a review of In Sacred Lonliness:

In Sacred Loneliness walks the reader through Helen’s crisis of accepting plural marriage, including the adjustment afterward.
The question is adjusting to what? By concentrating mainly on Helen’s feelings of shock at a new way of life, Compton leaves it open to assume this was a sexual adjustment (see pp. 498–99), although he does not clearly specify that in the Helen Mar Kimball chapter. There all we learn is that “she initially had a different perception of the meaning of the marriage than the reality turned out to be” (p. 501). This conclusion rests on Helen’s autobiography, for her descendants, which was specific about being “Bar’d out from social scenes by this thy destiny” (p. 500). Her cross was not a close relationship with Joseph Smith, but the elimination of laughing and dancing with her peers, who now accepted her with reservations. When Helen’s explicit complaint isunderstood, the second line of her poem on the sealing becomes clearer: “The step I now am taking’s for eternity alone” (quoted on p. 499). Helen clearly understood nothing would change for the present—she was sure she would be free for social life, and “no one need be the wiser” about the sealing (quoted on p. 499). She, her parents, and the Prophet counseled together before the marriage, and the parties to prospective Nauvoo marriages had far more practical sense than Compton accords them (see p. 22). If a sexual relationship was expected, she would know that in advance. “Eternity alone” meant her prior understanding that her status would not be altered, either in social or sexual dimensions. Thus COMPTON, WIVES OF JOSEPH SMITH (ANDERSON AND FAULRING) 81 historian Stanley B. Kimball interpreted the phrase to mean that the marriage was “unconsummated."

Your reasoning that the fact that some or most plural marriages were consummated must mean that all were consummated is weak and flawed. You make assumptions that are not based in fact because you assume that its only purpose was lasciviousness, or to satisfy the lusts of supposedly evil men. I have come to learn that it was for far different reasons and that it was something that most if not all of the righteous leaders at the time, including Joseph and Brigham, didn't want to be burdened with. Brigham basically said he would rather be dead. Joseph knew that it would lead to his eventual assassination. They did it because they believed it was what God required of them.

I am fully aware of what the JOD says regarding Celestial Marriage. And I will probably beat a dead horse again by saying this, but so be it. When God commands plural marriage, it is required for salvation. If God repeals that requirement, then how can He justly demand it as a requirement for salvation to those who are not permitted to practice it? You can say that it was convenient for the law to be repealed. But I know that the Church was being severely threatened by the country and its government because of polygamy, so the Lord mercifully took away that requirement. You might say that God could have made it possible for the Saints to practice polygamy unhindered, but remember how zealously God protects man's agency, and remember how important the foundation of this country was for the free exercise of religion. If He had destroyed the coutry to protect polygamy, He would have destroyed the country he directed to be established in order for His kingdom here on earth to be established.

EJ,

I suspected you would be interested in where I read about monogamy in heaven. Here it is. Please note that it is not doctrinal, but I think that it makes some valid points. I don't know what the case will actually be, but I have come to the determination that whatever design there is in the Celestial Kingdom, I will be most happy to live with whatever my lot may be, should I be worthy enough to inherit it.

Also, you said:

However if we are slowly misled into the church and conditioned over the years , then any conflicting info gets brushed aside/explained away ( usually dishonestly or incorrectly at first ). Each time more damaging info might crop up its then a bit too late and the convert can't rationalise properly anymore as he/she is taught that its Satan giving the doubts .

Assuming the Church IS true, and excluding your opinion that things are explained dishonestly, how else would you suggest dealing with such information? If the Church IS true, then should we as members just lie down and give no response or explanation to conflicting information? Those who do allow criticisms to go unanswered are labeled as cowardly, or unable to respond because there is no logical answer, or simply uninformed of their own religious beliefs and history. Assuming once again that the Church IS true, then who but Satan would be behind the efforts to tear it down? That is my perspective of things. I believe the Church is true, and I see great logic in the refutations of criticisms against the Church. We, unfortunately, see things very differently. But please don't label me as being illogical or dillusional, because I could easily say the same for you.

Zelph,

Just some thoughts relating to your comments, but do you believe that there is truth? Somewhere out there, amongst all the theories and possibilities, do you believe that the truth exists? Or do you believe there are multiple truths with regard to God? If so, that seems to present a huge paradox which I'm sure you are quite able to see. So it only seems logical to me that there can only be one truth regarding God, and that we must try to find out what that truth is. You may not believe that the Mormon Church is the true Church, but at least it makes sense from a logical standpoint for the Church to claim that it is true, than for them to say that it is just one of many true churches in the world, which teach many different things about God, but they nonetheless are all true regardless of how seriously their teachings conflict.

I'm not sure what kind of delusions you are inclined to engage in, but if I see a stage hand at a theatre during a performance, I certainly don't try to convince myself I didn't see him or her. I might think something like, oops, I'm sure that wasn't supposed to happen, but then I am a bit realistic in the notion that no one is perfect and mistakes are made, and I am also able to enjoy the show regardless of the fact that I know it isn't real, but I don't need to delude myself into believing it's real to still enjoy it.

I also don't find it necessarily easy to subject myself to religious authority. It sometimes takes great faith and sacrifice on my part. It's a matter of knowing that the stage hand is there to be seen and not trying to deny it to keep up some illusion, or rather a matter of knowing the Church is true and not denying it because I know its real even when others call me crazy to believe it.

tatabug said...

BR,

I also responded to your comment on tithing on the Evolution post.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

You talk about 5 things in your response to me:

1. Was Helen Mar Kimball coerced into polygamy
2. What was Helen's adjustment
3. Was the marriage consummated
4. My assumptions on consummation
5. JOD references to Celestial Marriage

I will respond to each of these here.

1.
You state that Helen was opposed to plural marriage until it was explained to her by her father and JS after which she was very much accepting. This is simply not accurate. It was first explained to her by her father and it was this explanation that she was appalled with. It wasn't until JS reassured her telling her that the marriage would ensure the salvation of her and her family, did she agree. Even then she was still appalled by it. It wasn't until well after the death of JS that she came to embrace the doctrine. She only agreed to the marriage under the assumption that it was for eternity only...which leads us to number 2.

2.
Anderson and Faulring assume that Compton believes JS had sexual relations with all of his wives including Helen. There is absolutely no basis for this belief. Compton points out that he believed that there is absolutely no evidence that points to sex or no sex in the Helen case, and when pressed for his opinion (outside the book) he is on record as stating that based on many Utah plural marriages to girls of age 14 where the couple waited for the girl to mature before initiating sex, it was his opinion that the marriage was not consummated. Anderson and Faulring's critic of Compton's book is full of unjustified criticism and is clearly biased, so it should not be taken seriously.

Now back to what she had to adjust to, Compton points out that her initial thought was that the marriage was for eternity only (no earthly relationship) but when she was forbidden to socialize and date it became clear to her that this marriage was also for time. That was the adjustment, not that she couldn't laugh and play with friends. You may note that as soon as JS was killed, she began courting Sarah Whitney's (her best friend) brother, and soon after they were married.

3.
I actually covered this in number 2. I don't think the marriage was consummated, but I do think that if JS had lived longer, that it eventually would have been.

4.
My assumption (and I never said it was fact) is not weak at all. If you know that 95% of occurances involved sex, and the other 5% it is unknown, it is much more reasonable to think that the 5% followed the other 95%, than vice versa. If you can't see that, then you are not being honest with yourself. You are letting what you want to believe cloud what is known about polygamy.

5.
You claim that you know exactly what is mentioned in the JOD but yet you still choose not to believe it. When prophets of the church make statements in no uncertain terms that Celestial marriage is polygamy, you rationalize this by saying it doesn't make sense, so THIS thing spoken by prophets must be a mistake. Can't you see what you are doing here? You are picking and choosing what to believe even when it goes explicitly against teachings of the Prophets. There is no dead horse here. Either the prophets (and there are more than one) were right or they were wrong. And if they were wrong, then what else where they wrong about? Puts everything in doubt.

Sorry for the long response, but there were 5 topics afterall.

Bishop Rick said...

One last thing regarding number 1.

The fact that Helen was appalled at the idea of marrying JS, and had to be convinced of it, is in and of itself coercion. Especially when she agreed under false pretenses.

Zelph said...

tatabug,

First off, I would like to say that I truly admire you, because ask any Mormon member who Helen Mar Kimball was, and they would probably give you a blank stare. Truth is, most Mormons don't even know that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. I would even venture to say that a substantial number (outside of Utah) don't even know that polygamy was ever practiced. I saw this on my mission particularly. Imagine being a member for 10+ years and first learning that Brigham Young was a polygamist through the outside media. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

Anyways, I admire you that you can actually look at fact and history.

With that, let me answer your question- Yes, I do believe that there is such thing as absolute truth, however I don't believe that anyone here can know what it is. For example, even if a person is presented with absolute truth, the biggest problem is that they are human and therefore would not be able to correctly interpret what is being presented to them. Not only that, but then that person has the task of trying to explain in his own words what he saw, which he most likely didn't interpret correctly in the first place. That isn't bad enough, then people are supposed to take his interpretation and interpret it correctly? Sounds like the whole system is flawed from the beginning. Or perhaps there is an absolute truth that we are all given through direct revelation, it is just that we each interpret the same message differently.

I am not saying that the idea of there being a one true church is ridiculous. However, when I look at this claim made by the church, I think about church history and false prophesies and wonder how can one make this kind of claim. Not just that, but mainstream Mormonism is not the same church that was established by Joseph Smith. If you look at the church when Joseph Smith was alive and look at the church today, you realize that the church has become more and more conforming to society. If you compare the church back then with the FLDS, you see much more similarities. So, by that logic, if we were to believe that Joseph Smith set up the one true church, one must assume that the correct church is the one that is the most similar to the original. This is perfect, because after all, Hinckley hasn't suffered religious persecution like Warren Jeffs has.

tatabug said...

BR,

Here is an exerpt from Helen Mar Kimball's autobiography which details her first learning of the principle of plural marriage from her father:

With all the false traditions in which we were born, and in consequence of the degenerate tide with which the human family has been drifting for generations past, and as the Lord had no organized priesthood on the earth, it is not to be wondered at that in our ignorance of His ways the feelings of our natures should rebel against the doctrine of a plurality of wives. I remember how I felt, but which would be a difficult matter to describe--the various thoughts, fears and temptations that flashed through my mind when the principle was first introduced to me by my father [Heber C. Kimball], who one morning in the summer of 1843, without any preliminaries, asked me if I would believe him if he told me that it was right for married men to take other wives, can be better imagined than told. But suffice it to say the first impulse was anger, for I thought he had only said it to test my virtue,... My sensibilities were painfully touched. I felt such a sense of personal injury and displeasure for to mention such a thing to me I thought altogether unworthy of my father, and as quick as he spoke, I replied to him, short and emphatically, "No, I wouldn't!" I had always been taught to believe it a heinous crime, improper and unnatural, and I indignantly resented it.

This was the first time that I ever openly manifested anger towards him, but I was somewhat surprised at his countenance, as he seemed rather pleased than otherwise. Then he commenced talking seriously, and reasoned and explained the principle,... but left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty-four hours, during which time I was filled with various and conflicting ideas. I was skeptical--one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast her off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right. I knew that he loved me too well to teach me anything that was not strictly pure, virtuous and exalting in its tendencies; and no one else could have influenced me at that time or brought me to accept of a doctrine so utterly repugnant and so contrary to all of our former ideas and traditions...

The next day the Prophet called at our house, and I sat with my father and mother and heard him teach the principle and explain it more fully, and I believed it, but I had no proofs, only his and my father's testimony. I thought that sufficient, and did not deem it necessary to seek for any further, but had I been differently situated like many were without a father and a mother to love and counsel me, probably my dependence, like theirs, would have been on the Lord, but I leaned not upon His arm.


Note specifically when she stated that no one else but her father could have convinced her of the concept, which would dispute your assertion that it was Joseph who had actually convinced her with his promise of salvation.

The problem with her adjustment period was not that she was necessarily forbidden to socialize, but that she wasn't accepted well by her peers because of it. She assumed that no one would know about it and that all would remain the same as it was before. But apparently, that wasn't the case at all. However, after the prophet's death a year later, she was once again accepted.

Perhaps you see the fact that her father and Joseph presented the promise of salvation for her and her family as a coercive means of convincing her to consent to the marriage, but regardless, she still had the ability to consider her options and decide for herself what she would do. She did struggle with the principle, but she later stated to the effect that if she had a chance to do it all over again, she wouldn't change anything. Her second marriage was polygamous as well. Over time, she came to more fully understand and embrace the concept and wrote much in support of it. Just because she didn't have a full understanding of it at first, doesn't mean that she wouldn't still be inclined to accept it in obedience to God. Who could blame her for having trouble adjusting to such a foreign and repulsive concept? Here is a quote by her:

I did not try to conceal the fact of its having been a trial, but confessed that it had been one of the severest of my life; but that it had also proven one of the greatest blessings. I could truly say it had done the most towards making me a saint and a free woman, in every sense of the word; and I know many others who could say the same, and to whom it had proven one of the greatest boons—a “blessing in disguise.” As for its being degrading, it had proven to be the very opposite.

God's commandments are not always easy to obey, nor should they be expected to be, otherwise, there wouldn't be a need for them. We would all be living in perfect harmony with God's will.

It seems to me that those in opposition to Mormonism or religion in general, see the promises of obedience in the form of salvation as being a coercive way to gain obedience. I can see how you might see it that way, but I completely disagree with that belief. I doubt there is any way for me to convince you that you are in error because we have different views of religion. You see them as made up by man to control others and get gain (I assume). I agree that there is certainly an element of man involved there, but I also believe that God is in there, and is very much in control and concerned for all of us.

As far as the percentages you state, if you want to put it into such a context, it is easy to agree with such an assumption. But I don't think it is fair in the case of polygamous marriages. Multiple wives were taken for multiple reasons. Some were for dynastic purposes, others were for temporal support only, others were more traditional, and some may have other and combined reasons. Helen Mar Kimball Whitney later recorded that some of her father's wives were to provide temporal support only. So for this reason, I don't think it fair to lump everything together. I think each case should be treated separately, and where there isn't enough information, we shouldn't just make assumptions because that's what the numbers would lead us to believe. That approach seems to lead one to the impression that polygamy's primary purpose was for sexual reasons.

I am not saying that I don't believe what is in the JOD. I just don't live with the notion that the commandments of God are unchangeable. They are unchangeable by man, but God can change them as He sees fit. Some examples of this are even found in the Bible. A number of practices in the Law of Moses were commanded by God to be kept forever (this word is actually used), including specific feasts, animal sacrifices, and circumcision. Another example was in the NT where Christ told the Apostles to preach to the house of Israel and not the Gentiles. Peter later received revelation that the gospel was now to be preached to the Gentiles also. Peter was also commanded to eat things which had previously been prohibited.

The big picture needs to be taken into account instead of isolating specific statements and teachings, because you can find contradicting statements in the scriptures and in the teachings of the JOD. Here is an exerpt from Brigham Young in the JOD that deals with the very issue of polygamy and contains teachings that give at least one good reason for polygamy and also appears to indicate an eventual end to it:

It is said that women rule among all nations; and if the women,...would rise up in the spirit and might of the holy gospel and make good men of those who are bad, and show them that they will be under the necessity of marrying a wife or else not have a woman at all, they would soon come to the mark. Yes, this odious doctrine will work out the moral reformation and salvation of this generation. People generally do not see it...But if this course be pursued, and we make this the rule of practice, it will force all men to take a wife. Then we will be satisfied with one wife. I should have been in the beginning; the one wife system would not have disagreed with me at all. If the prophet had said to me, "Brother Brigham, you can never have but one wife at a time." I should have said, "glory, hallelujah, that is just what I like." But he said, "you will have to take more than one wife, and this order has to spread and increase until the inhabitants of the earth repent of their evils and men will do what is right towards the females. In this also I say glory, hallelujah. Do men do that which is right now? No. You see travelers-young, middle-aged, or old-roaming over the world, and ask them where their families are, and the answer will generally be, "I have none." You go to the city of New York, and among the merchants there I doubt whether there is one man in three who has a wife...

Do not he startled, my sisters; do not be at all afraid; just get influence enough among the daughters of Eve in the midst of this generation until you have power enough over the males to bring them to their senses so that they will act according to the rule of right, and you will see that we will be free at once, and the elders of Israel will not be under the necessity of taking so many women. But we shall continue to do it until God tell us to stop, or until we pass into sin and iniquity, which will never be.

Do you see anything very bad in this? Just ask yourselves, historians, when was monogamy introduced on to the face of the earth? When those buccaneers, who settled on the peninsula where Rome now stands, could not steal women enough to have two or three apiece, they passed a law that a man should have but one woman. And this started monogamy and the downfall of the plurality system. In the days of Jesus, Rome, having dominion over Jerusalem, they carried out the doctrine more or less. This was the rise, start and foundation of the doctrine of monogamy; and never till then was there a law passed, that we have any knowledge of, that a man should have but one wife.

Now, sisters, I want you to see to this. I advise you to have faith and good works; be fervent in spirit and virtue, and try to live so as to bring the men to the standard of right, then we shall have no trouble at all. I believe that in Massachusetts they have only 27,000 more women than men; but that is not many. There is a cause, perhaps, for this. A good many young men go into the army, or go here or there. What is done with the daughters of Eve? In many countries they stick them in the factories, into the fields, the coal mines, and into the streets-as I have seen hundreds of them-gathering manure, &c., working all day and getting a penny at night to buy a loaf of bread with. They stick some of them down into the iron works, under the ground to pack the ore, or into the building to lug off the iron. But the young men are sent to the wars. When England and the rest of the nations learn war no more, instead of passing a law in this or any other nation against a man having more than one wife, they will pass a law to make men do as they should in honoring the daughters of Eve and making wives of and providing for them. Will not this be a happy time? Yes, very fine. If you will produce this to-day, I'll tell you what I would be willing to do, I would be willing to give up half or two-thirds of my wives, or to let the whole of them go, if it was necessary, if those who should take them would lead them to eternal salvation.
--Brigham Young, Discourse given at the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Aug. 9th, 1868, Journal of Discourses, 12: 261-262.


I think it is quite sad that people view Mormonism and God as being unfair and sexist toward women, when just the opposite is true. God has gone to great lengths to protect His daughters and see to their fair treatment. People are just too blind and ignorant to see the truth of the matter.

I appologize for my lengthy response, but I thought it necessary to thoroughly illustrate my point.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

I appreciate the compliment, but to tell you the truth, I hadn't heard of Helen Mar Kimball until about 4 or 5 months ago. I've known about polygamy for as long as I can remember (and I was raised in Kentucky). I'm skeptical of anyone in the Church who claims not to have ever heard of it. I've just never taken the time to learn more about it, and perhaps I never would were it not for the interet and the ability to have such easy access to a wealth of information. But I am so grateful that I have taken the time to learn about it, because my understanding of it has increased to such a degree that I can say with almost complete surety that were polygamy a requirement today, I would probably be able to accept it, whereas beforehand, I struggled to understand it, much less accept it.

Regarding truth, it is quite sad to me that you don't see the possibility that man can ever really know what the truth is. And your description of how truth is interpreted and then reinterpreted...well, there is a way to know the truth first-hand, and I believe direct revelation is the only way to correctly interpret truth.

But even the Church leaves many things open to our own interpretation and good judgement, and I think when we are honest with ourselves and do what we truly think is right, the Lord will bless us, even if we are wrong.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

About false prophecies, just because a prophecy isn't fulfilled doesn't make it a false prophecy or make a prophet a false prophet. There are examples of so-called "false prophecies" in the Bible, but the prophets who made them are still true prophets. It's just that sometimes, people themselves are responsible for whether or not prophecies reach fulfillment.

There are apologists who address the charge of "false prophecies" of Joseph, but don't forget that there are also prophecies he made which were fulfilled, and I don't think they can all be attributed to lucky guesses.

Zelph said...

tatabug- perhaps one can understand what is absolute truth. However, even looking at strictly the LDS church, if we are to assume that all the early prophets received direct revelation from God, it appears that they did not correctly interpret what God was telling them.

I suppose my point is that if Joseph Smith restored what is absolute truth, why would there need to be changes made to fundamental points of doctrine, changes to the temple ceremony and changes to scriptures? Once again, I venture to say that most Mormons don't realize these changes, except for people who lived through it and they don't tell the younger people about it.

One important example is Brigham Young's teaching of the Adam-God doctrine. This was not just one opinion on one occasion, if you read his discourses, this is a common theme. It is my understanding from what I have read that this was even taught in the temple endowment ceremony until the early 1900's. So if we are to believe that Brigham Young received direct revelation on what is absolute truth, we can conclude that in this case, he mis-interpreted what God was telling him.

The other issue I have is the method of finding truth. One is told to pray to God and he will answer your prayer directly. That is great, however the problem I see is if God will confirm absolute truth, why do other people receive answers that differ. In this example, I was talking with a Mormon Fundamentalist who said that what made him leave the LDS church and join the Fundamentalists was ultimately Brigham's doctrine on Adam-God.

That is, that Adam, our first parent was actually God the father and he returned as a resurrected being to impregnate Mary with Jesus.

Anyways, this Mormon Fundamentalist bore his testimony that when he read Brigham Young's discourses and prayed about it, he received confirmation from the Holy Ghost that the Adam-God doctrine was true. That is why he became a Fundamentalist. (He is not affiliated with the Warren Jeffs crowd, he is with a completely different sect)

These are some of the issues I am concerned about-if there is one absolute truth, why does everyone, including the different prophets of the church, interpret it so differently? And if we are able to receive direct revelation to confirm what we know is true, why do people get confirmation on contradicting points of doctrine>

Those are some of my concerns.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

First, let's deal with HMKSW. The autobiography which you quoted from was written well after Helen came to embrace polygamy. The information I referred to was from her diary which was written during the period where she despised it. In her early diaries, you get a totally different story. Even so, if you only take into account her later autobiography, I still maintain what I stated previously.

She was repulsed by the thought of polygamy. The man she trusted above all others tried to convince her that something she found repugnant was of God. That was augmented by JS's testimony (which included his promise of salvation according to her diary) only after this did she agree to the marriage.

The problem wasn't that she was not accepted by her peers for polygamy. No one even knew of her marriage to JS. Her peers didn't just accept her after JS's death. It was the fact that she was married to time and eternity that kept her away from them. She was not allowed to associate with them as commanded by her father and JS. This is right out of her diaries. She changed her tune later in life, but the story written closest to the time period states an entirely different story.

You need to step back and look at the big picture.

Now to the BY JOD.

It is amazing that you and I can read the exact same thing and come away with 2 opposing views.

According to this discourse, the reason for polygamy was that there were not enough men to honor the women in marriage, using admittedly made up numbers from Mass. and trumped up stories of iron factories and coal mines. Even still this logic may have held the slightest bit of water if this were the case in Utah where polygamy was actually being practiced. The fact is, there were many more men in Utah than women. This was the western frontier settled by men. There were many women there, but they were outnumbered by men by quite alot. This is according to a JOD talk given explicitly to dispute the "not enough men" theory.

You see the problem here is you have 2 prophets saying different things. I can even find JOD talks where BY states just the opposite of the talk you displayed here.

The reason the church conflicts with itself and the bible conflicts with itself, the BofM conflicts with itself, and religion in general conflcts with itself, is because it is all made up. This is the only thing that makes sense.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

I can see your point and I can understand your concerns. Those things would concern me as well and they do, in a sense. But I suppose I look at it differently. I know that change is okay and sometimes situations necessitate it. I don't think God is inflexible. I know that there are absolute truths, and there are things that won't change, but certain restrictions or ordinances or commandments may change when needed.

Perhaps, with regard to the prophets misinterpreting God's messages, it was actually a matter of God not having provided direct revelation on certain principles and the prophets took their own understanding of scripture and taught them. It seems that there isn't so much of that anymore. Maybe the brethren have learned through past experience to be more conservative in their teachings. I can understand that given some of the controversy surrounding some very bold teachings by the early prophets. As far as the Adam-God theory, that is something I've heard of but know very little about. Could it be possible that Brigham's teachings have been misunderstood by you and others who are not inclined to agree with the Church on much of anything? Or is it possible that there is some truth in it that the Church or the world wasn't quite ready to receive? These are questions that come to mind since I don't know much about the issue. I will look into the issue and try to learn more about it.

Regarding the person who received revelation confirming the truth of the Adam-God doctrine, I've found that you can't trust in the confirmations of others. You have to trust your own. I just don't see any other safe way to approach it. I don't think God has left us helpless to try and figure things out without some way of knowing for ourselves what the truth is.

tatabug said...

BR,

Perhaps you are right concerning Helen. I haven't read her early writings. But still, the case for coercion is one we will disagree on I'm sure. She obviously wasn't forced against her will. She may not have understood all of the implications, but sometimes, even adults don't fully understand the implications of situations until they are actually in those situations. Perhaps even after discovering implications we hadn't understood previously, we would still make the same decision. That has been my experience. You could say that my children were coerced into baptism. I didn't force them. I allowed them to make their own choice, but I gave them reasons from my biased perspective for why they should be baptized. I didn't give them any possible negative implications as a result of such a decision (if there are any). But I know full well that I wouldn't have forced them to be baptized had they made the choice not to. I don't think there is anything wrong with teaching your children to do what you believe is right, even though your beliefs may conflict with the beliefs of others.

I think a point you missed in Brigham's discourse was not just that in some situations, there may be a surplus of women as compared to men, but there were also many situations where men chose not to marry. There are men who don't buy the cow when they can get the milk for free, so to speak. Polygamy, as I understand from what BY said, is a way for women to demand that men be righteous. If the women of the world were to unite and live polygamously, if necessary, and not give the milk away for free, and demand a certain standard from men, they could eventually force men to conform to decency and take a wife and be an honorable husband. At the same time, women don't have to be denied the priviledge of having children and being provided for. Women really do have all the power, but they don't know how to use it. That is why I believe the early leaders taught that monogamy is evil. It doesn't allow women the power to demand that men be righteous. I can see how that can lead to the downfall of society. I think it's awesome that God wants women to have the power to ensure that they are treated properly. I never understood that before.

I am not familiar with the conflicting discourses to which you refer. Let me know what they are and I will take a look at them.

tatabug said...

Zelph and BR,

I have found a most compelling article which deals with the Adam-God theory. Even if you aren't interested in an apologetic response, you have to read it for the fact that it contains possible doctrine that is perhaps virtually unknown in the Church regarding the creation of Adam and Eve. I'm serious when I say that it may be doctrine, because it appears, though I haven't any confirmation at this point, that it is a concept taught early on in the Church which apparently wasn't accepted well by the Church members, so it was put on a back shelf, so to speak. Anyway, I found an exerpt that I thought applied to our discussion, BR, which deals with apparent conflicts in teachings, so I wanted to share it with you. It's a concept that I understand and use frequently, but didn't even think to express it in this way:

It has been alleged by some that we are not allowed to interpret Brigham Young's statements at all, but we must take them in the most direct and straightforward understanding of his words as they appear, and allow them to thus interpret themselves. To this, I answer "Why?" This is not the way we approach any other doctrine or teaching of the Church. Why must we make a special exception for Brigham Young's statements about Adam-God?

...some examples are provded followed by these examples...

The Book of Mormon says that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are one God. Are we required to accept that in its most direct and straightforward interpretation? Not at all. We know from the Pearl of Great Price that two separate personages appeared to Joseph Smith in the First Vision, so we go through some theological gyrations in order to make it possible for the two seemingly dissonant passages to agree. In order to do that, we interpret and explain the "oneness" of God, and to some that appears to be an invalid interpretation.

God says that sinners will suffer eternal damnation, but from D&C 19:10-12 we know that we must interpret eternal damnation as God's damnation, not a never ending torment of fire and brimstone. My point is that we interpret scripture and statements of the prophets in a manner in which they will harmonize with other scripture and other statements of the prophets all the time with almost every doctrine and concept we believe. Why then must we accept only the most direct understanding of Brigham Young's statements and not interpret them to fit with truth that is known from other sources? Are we to make Brigham Young's teachings on this one subject a rare exception to the general way we come to a correct understanding of all other doctrines?


The article also makes a comparison of Brigham Young's April 9, 1852 discourse with journal entries by Wilford Woodruff and Samuel Hollister Rogers to show how the discourse may not have been recorded properly, thus leading to the misinterpretations which have come to be known as the Adam-God theory, which is a theory I am coming to believe was not what Brigham Young believed or taught. Anyway, here is the link.

Elder Joseph said...

tata

I just want to pick up on this point you made

"my understanding of it has increased to such a degree that I can say with almost complete surety that were polygamy a requirement today, I would probably be able to accept it"

I found this a bit of a concern...

I haven't read the lengthy FAIRS pdf on polygamy and lying yet but its on my desktop ready ..

Which Polygamy are you thinking of .Joseph Smiths style taking married women also ..and supposedly no intimacy ?

Or Brigham Youngs Literal Polygamy.... where women were literally baby factories ?

These women were 'called' to polygamy and it seems against their will from reading the JOD talks .. we are talking about OLD men taking young girls to marry and concieve for the purpose of building up their eternal wives and posterity and riches, crowns and dominion for the CK !

are you serious ?

tatabug said...

EJ,

I wouldn't expect you to understand. It's a conclusion I've come to based on an understanding of the principle that I've gained, and if you don't have a similar understanding, it will never make sense to you. I understand that and I can sympathize, but please know that it is a conclusion that didn't come easy for me. I honestly don't know for sure what I would do were I actually faced with such a situation, but I am only trying to demonstrate my acceptance of it. It doesn't mean that I think it would be an easy thing to do, but sacrifice never is easy.

EJ, you do realize that these men took women of all ages, sometimes even older than themselves, right? Why is it that you want to focus primarily on the young ones as though that was their primary target? Have you not read all the things that Brigham Young said about preferring to have only one wife, or preferring death over polygamy when he first heard about it? You act as though they were all a bunch of old perverts. I can understand your aversion to the practice, but I wish you would try to be a little more objective in your characterizations.

tatabug said...

I just had to share this quote. It's by Brigham Young. I read it somewhere a while back, but I ran across it again. It always makes me laugh. The more I read of BY, the more I love him. He was some character.

I recollect a conversation I had with a priest who was an old friend of ours, before I was personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph. I clipped every argument he advanced, until at last he came out and began to rail against "Joe Smith," saying, "that he was a mean man, a liar, moneydigger, gambler, and a whore-master;" and he charged him with everything bad, that he could find language to utter. I said, hold on, Brother Gillmore, here is the doctrine, here is the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the revelations that have come through Joseph Smith the Prophet. I have never seen him, and do not know his private character. The doctrine he teaches is all I know about the matter, bring anything against that if you can. As to anything else I do not care. If he acts like a devil, he has brought forth a doctrine that will save us, if we will abide it. He may get drunk every day of his life, sleep with his neighbor's wife every night, run horses and gamble, I do not care anything about that, for I never embrace any man in my faith. But the doctrine he has produced will save you and me, and the whole world; and if you can find fault with that, find it.

Zelph said...

Tata, that is a very interesting quote, although I think it contradicts the whole Matthew 7 sermon

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth devil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/7/16-20#16

According to that passage, a good tree can not bring evil fruit and an evil tree can not bring good fruit.

tatabug said...

Oh, come on Zelph, lighten up. I thought it was funny, but at the same time he makes a good point. He may have gone a little overboard with it, but...Since you brought up good fruit, I think that the doctrines and scriptures that Joseph brought forth are what should be considered good fruit according to that scripture. If we look at anyone, whether a prophet of God or not, everyone is a sinner. Everyone brings forth evil fruit in that regard. If we want to hold prophets or anyone to such a standard of perfection then no one would qualify as a "good tree." The least degree of sin cannot withstand the presence of God, so we are all unworthy and unclean unless and until we are cleansed through the power of the atonement.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

I'm a bit late to this discussion which has been fascinating.

Tata ~

Early in this thread you wrote, "In addition, there is no clear doctrine that polygamy will be practiced in the Celestial Kingdom, and from what I am reading, there is strong evidence to suggest that marriage in heaven will be monogamous."

I have strong evidence to suggest that marriage in the Celestial Kingdom will be plural. It is my father, who is sealed to my mother AND his second wife, even as we speak. I can't imagine how this will be a monogamous affair in the next life.

Being an LDS woman married to a non-member brings this plural marriage doctrine right to the forefront of my consciousness, because really, it seemed to me that if my husband never accepted the gospel on this earth after taking the discussions, then my only hope for celestial salvation was to become a second or third or hundredth wife to some stranger in the next life.

Unless...*ahem*...BR...um......do you think...maybe...

I'm KIDDING!! But for you to say that marriage in the CK will be monogamous puts those many men living today who are sealed to more than one woman in a mighty awkward position. And what of their wives who are dead and waiting for their husbands and his second or third wives to join her? And what of my mother who is unable to marry another worthy LDS man in the temple, because the church still honors her sealing to my dad?

Polygamy is still alive and kickin' as far as I can tell in Mormon theology. Didn't one of the Apostles just marry his second wife in the temple recently?

Zelph said...

Tatabug, I was responding in a light-hearted way and it was meant to be in a sarcastic tone, although it doesn't translate well over the internet.

Once again, I admire any Mormon that willingly reads anything that isn't published by Deseret Book.

SML- That brings up an excellent point regarding polygamy in Mormon theology. I personally know that when a wife dies, a man can marry another woman for time and all eternity, yet when the husband dies, the woman can only marry another man for time only. yes, they do have temple marriages for time only.

Regarding your question, yes, it was Dallin Oaks, whose first wife died in 1998 and he remarried in 2000. Currently, when he refers to his current wife, he calls her his eternal companion.

As you said, if the celestial kingdom was strictly monogamous, I think Elder Oaks is going to be faced with an awkward situation.

tatabug said...

SML,

I have also considered the same things you address.

The statement to which you refer comes from having read an article, which I linked to in a response to Elder Joseph, which gives some really good reasons, in my opinion at least, why there will be monogamy in heaven. Of course, who really knows for sure, as there isn't any clear doctrine on it. But anyway, one strong reason has to do with polygamy not being the "norm" so to speak. Throughout history, polygamy has only been allowed under certain conditions it would seem. If it was to be the "norm" or the ideal standard, why wouldn't the Lord permit it in all periods of history? There doesn't appear to be evidence of its practice in New Testament times, and it was forbidden during Book of Mormon times. It seems like BOM times would be ideal for such a practice, but for some reason, it wasn't. Also consider that, as far as we know, Adam was only given one wife. If polygamy were the ideal, then why wasn't Adam given more than one wife? Also, a requirement so central to our eternal salvation should be firmly grounded in scriptures, but it isn't. Another issue has to do with numbers. There is a much higher percentage of males who die before the age of 8 than females. According to our doctrine, children who die before they are 8 automatically go to CK. In his article, "On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage," Eugene England gives the numbers, and he makes a case that there will actually be more males than females in the CK.

Concerning a man being sealed to more than one wife, the same can be said for women, because there are cases, though probably not many, where a woman is sealed to more than one man. I think some of the women sealed to Joseph Smith are examples of this. My feeling, and the feeling I have always gotten from the opinion of others whom I've had discussions with, is that such matters will be sorted out before the final judgement. It may all seem awkward and perhaps there will be some awkward moments, but I believe that it will be worked out for the satisfaction of all. If a woman is sealed to a man who treats her badly, or whom she no longer loves, I don't believe she will be required to remain sealed to him if that is her choice. The same could go for a man in a similar situation, to be fair to all you men out there. Also, it is my understanding, as I have first-hand knowledge of this from members of my own family and friends, that when a woman is sealed to one man and then gets a divorce, it is possible to be sealed to another man. I don't know if the first sealing is dissolved or if in some cases, the woman is permitted to be sealed to more than one man, but a second sealing is allowed. But I do know that it is not an easy thing to do, and I know that a "temple divorce" isn't granted for the woman until the time she is to be sealed to another man. Now in the case of the death of the husband, I don't believe a woman is permitted to be sealed again, as I think that was the case with my great grandmother.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

My mother wished to have a temple divorce from my father in order to be sealed to her second husband, but the church wouldn't grant it after asking my father.

The system sucks.

Jeremy said...

Its been a while since i have posted, but i have been following the posts...

Regarding the CK Plural Marriage... If you happed to come across the bishop's leadership manual that is published by the church it does indicate that Men can be sealed more than once but females can not. (Unless they have revised the manual in the last 5 years)

Correct me if i am mistaken, but according to this, and other related doctrine, it would mean regardless of what time period a person was sealed in plural marriage in the CK would exist. If all parties are "found worthy" to enter then the sealed man and all sealed women would all be allowed in CK.

Everything that I have learned about this topic indicates that there will be plural marriage in the CK.

Bishop Rick said...

BY and many other prophets taught that in order to achieve the highest level of the CK (Godhood) you would have to enter into plural marriage.

Prior to the manefesto, all the prophets had polygamous marriages where the women were sealed for both time and eternity, and yes Tata is correct. In the early days of the church, some women were married for time and eternity to multiple men, and not only when the first man had died. As Jeremy points out, this is no longer the case.

To me it is a complicated, mixed up system that cannot be from God.

tatabug said...

SML,

I'm sorry for your mother's situation. All I know is that my sister-in-law was sealed to a man for a short period of time before they divorced (no children). She wasn't granted a "temple divorce" then, but about a year later, she was married to another man civilly. After some time her husband converted and they wished to be sealed, so after great difficulty, she was able to receive a "temple divorce" so they could be sealed. I know they were anxious to have the first sealing dissolved since she was expecting a child and didn't want the child of her second husband to be born sealed to the first husband. However it came about, I know they put a lot of pressure on the Stake President to get what they wanted. Perhaps different circumstances are dealt with differently. Could it have something to do with the fact that your mother has children with her first husband and if the sealing was broken, then the entire family, children and all, would be affected?

However, you all claim that all evidence points to plural marriage in the CK, but you've totally ignored the logistical issue of numbers. If there are more males than females, or if the number happens to be equal, then how can polygamy be the rule in the CK? That would leave a lot of men out in the cold, with no possibility of exhaltation. Of course we don't know for sure what the numbers will be, but let's just suppose that it works out that way.

We can speculate all day, but the fact is we don't know for sure what the situation will be in the CK. My feeling is that it is more important that we are sealed to someone rather than who we are sealed to. Leave all the sorting out issues for later, because they will no doubt be handled properly. If not, then the Church never was true and none of it will have meant anything anyway.

Zelph said...

Tatabug,

You bring an excellent point, and I agree with you. Statistically, there are an equal number of men and women in the world. There have been few exceptions in times of war when many of the men have been wiped out. However, in the long term, there are an equal distribution of men and women. You are correct that polygamy doesn't make any sense at all and that is why it was a false doctrine that Joseph Smith made up to cover his own personal adulterous affairs.

It was a false doctrine when it was taught by all the early church leaders, including Brigham Young. It wasn't really about exaltation in the celestial kingdom, it was more about exercising power and dominion over the followers.

With that said, believe it or not, I actually think that people should have the right to practice polygamy if it is between consenting adults. As stated before, in a free society, people should be allowed to exercise their religious freedom and in this case, it is clearly a religious practice. However, I draw the line at coercing young girls into marriages they are not ready for or do not want.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

I have heard the same data about the number of men in the CK vs women. If the doctrine of polygamy was ever true, at the very least there should be slightly more women in the CK than men, if only to account for the early church and to be fair to the rest that make it.

However, I must agree with Zelph that polygamy never made sense, and makes even less sense today, especially with the numbers you mention.

Even though it would be an honor to have a polygamous relationship with SML in the hereafter, I'm afraid that is not and never was a possibility.

Even in GC this weekend, one talk mentioned polygamy as a limited practice that ended 100 years ago. That is really unfortunate the way it was treated on this grand scale. I would have more respect for the church to not mention it at all than to misrepresent what polygamy did and still does mean to the church.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

I never said polygamy didn't make sense. There are practical reasons for it, such as when there is a surplus of women, or when a large number of men choose to remain single, or when the Lord wants to "raise up seed" at an accelerated pace. I think it is also based on the principles of obedience and sacrifice. I know you see such principles as coercive, but to quote Joseph Smith, "a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation." Anyway, what I did say is that it doesn't make sense that polygamy would be the pattern in the CK if there is an equal amount of men and women present there.

BR,

I must have missed that talk which mentioned polygamy. I assume it was mentioned on Saturday, and I would have missed it since I was on the football field most of the day. But I can understand the statement, as you have described it, because it is true. It WAS indeed a limited practice. Not everyone, from what I understand, was "allowed" to practice it, and it did end 100 years ago. Or at least, it was no longer a permitted practice within the Church. The only thing it means to the Church now is that it is a practice only permitted when the Lord commands it, and that its practice MAY be found in the CK (although I favor the possibility that it won't be). I'm sorry, but I really don't appreciate the idea that the Church's beliefs and doctrines are to be found primarily in the contents of the JOD's, completely ignoring the fact that there is continuing revelation, which trumps past revelation. That is the foundation upon which the Church is built, the rock of revelation.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Siiiigh. That thought "Leave all the sorting out issues for later, because they will no doubt be handled properly" is one of the most insidiously harmful thoughts in our religion, because it causes many people to ignore things that aren't morally right.

I remember accepting it as my due when I was denied permission to take out my endowments, thinking it would sort itself out later in the next life, ignoring the fact that it was demeaning and wrong for my spouse to be given that power over me. I remember thinking it was OK for me to tell my gay brother that he should not seek love and intimacy with anyone he was attracted to...that his love life would sort itself out in the next life. I'm certain there were many black members pre-1978 who used those words like a mantra to make it bearable to sit through all those lessons on eternal salvation and priesthood being a requirement for such.

Again, siiiiiigh.

paranoidfr33k said...

tatabug,

If practicing polygamy was required to enter the CK at the time of Joseph Smith, why was its practice limited? It would seem that there were some pretty strict requirements for practicing it, such as extreme secrecy.

You should be able to admit that the circumstances surrounding the revelations on polygamy are suspect. If it were truly a doctrinal issue, JS would have revealed it much differently than keeping it secret from the church and his own wife. I have an idea of how a prophet reveals doctrine, and the process of releasing the doctrine of polygamy reaks of foul play.

/paranoidfr33k

Bishop Rick said...

On Big Love, prophets reveal revelation by placing a stone in a hat and putting their face in it to receive God's word and proclaim it to the people as it comes.

Not sure how accurate that is though, but it looked convincing.

Zelph said...

I wish I had HBO, because that is actually a really well made program. I rented the entire first season and surprisingly, my wife watched the whole thing with me and loved it.

tatabug said...

SML,

You said:

That thought "Leave all the sorting out issues for later, because they will no doubt be handled properly" is one of the most insidiously harmful thoughts in our religion, because it causes many people to ignore things that aren't morally right.

If one does not know what the state of things will be in the CK or heaven in general with any real clear knowledge or understanding, but one has a belief in God and of His love and concern for all of His children, then it only stands to reason that He would do as any loving parent would do to see that things are sorted out so that all His children are cared for and dealt with appropriately. If heaven is such a place to be sought after, then it only stands to reason that however things turn out, all will be happy there. If one doesn't believe in a loving God, then one must either believe in a disconnected, uncaring God or no God at all. If that is the case then nothing we do will matter. The Church would be false, and none of those sealings will mean anything. If one believes in a loving God, but the Church turns out to be false anyway, then those sealings will still mean nothing.

Like it or not, our spouses do have control over us in one way or another, even without the Church granting it. If you had been given permission to receive your endowments, he could have made your family life more difficult. I'm not saying that he would, but if he was asked by the Church leaders and said no, then he apparently felt threatened or hostile to the idea. Perhaps the Church leaders were looking out for you and didn't want the Church to become a point of contention between you and your husband any more than it may already have been. I can't speak specifically to your situation, but I would imagine that the decision was made for your and your family's benefit, whatever that may be. It is also possible that those leaders didn't make the best decision in your case as leaders are also not perfect, but if that were the case, I wouldn't have given up hope. I tend to agree that a woman should be able to make up her mind about such issues, and that her husband shouldn't have to be consulted about them, but I can have that opinion and still respect the decision to do so.

I actually had a lot to say about the issue you brought up about your brother, but I didn't want to risk offending you or anyone else, so I deleted it. I don't feel like anything was particularly offensive, but such a sensitive topic could easily be taken that way, so I felt it better to not address it at all. But I do have a strong opinion in the matter, while at the same time I do have great sympathy in relation to the issue, though it would likely not be taken that way.

About blacks and the priesthood. What better example is there where we can say that things indeed worked out for the best?

Paranoid,

You may not like it, but the case of covering up polygamy was a perfect example of civil disobedience. As a result, it had to be kept secret in order to protect those who practiced it. If it had been revealed officially to the whole Church, then it wouldn't be a secret. Whether or not Emma knew about it and when is a debatable issue. I think she knew about it, but she vascillated in her acceptance of it. So perhaps during her non-acceptance periods, Joseph tried to keep it from her knowledge. It wasn't a pretty situation, but that's the reality of it. I don't think it makes Joseph a false prophet any more than Abraham for his lying about Sarai being his sister rather than his wife, or Issac who told the same lie about his wife, or Moses who lied to Pharoah numerous times. The Lord even told Moses what to say to Pharoah, and yet it was a bit of a deception. The real story was that the Lord was going to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Egyptians, but the "public" story was that the Hebrews were just going to go 3 days' journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice. They were also to say that they were just going to "borrow" silver and gold from their neighbors, but they were really going to "spoil" them. God could have dealt with this situation a number of ways, yet He chose to handle it this way for some reason. Was it right or did it too wreak of foul play?

Zelph,

Though I don't watch or intend to watch Big Love (though I wouldn't mind knowing what it is that your wife likes about it, assuming she is still a TBM), you would be better off renting or buying it season by season. It would probably save you money over the long haul if that is the only show you really want to watch. That has been my experience anyway. When we've had any of the movie channels in the past, there are seldom any movies that we haven't already seen at the movies or rented that we care to see anyway. There have been several HBO series' that my husband enjoys, like Band of Brothers and Sopranos that we would have been better-off just buying instead of paying monthly for HBO. He ended up liking Band of Brothers so much that he bought it anyway. We've also found that it is more economical to rent online, if you are a frequent renter. Just a couple of potential money-saving tips since I like you so much:).

Bishop Rick said...

All this lying, deception, contradiction, and nonsense lead me to believe it is all a bunch of hooey.

tatabug said...

BR,

Always the optimist, you are.

Seriously, I doubt that is a new conclusion you have come to, now is it?

paranoidfr33k said...

tatabug,

I guess if you beleive the stories in the Bible to be literal and in support of a righteous god, then you would come to the conclusions that you have. The problem is, that what you beleive a god and a prophet to do and how they should act are in opposition to what the church tells us we/they should act. However, I guess Hinckley's lying several times about blacks and the priesthood and polygamy to the press would be acts of righteousness compared to your stories from the bible. I see it as a perfect example of a double-standard because I have been taught by the church all my life to tell the truth regardless of the consequences. Even if your life is at stake, you tell the truth.

/paranoidfr33k

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

It isn't new. I came to that conclusion a little over a year ago. It was a great shock to my system to see my world (as I knew it) come crashing down, but the genie is out of the bottle now and the bottle is broken.

tatabug said...

Paranoid,

"Even if your life is at stake, you tell the truth."

I've never been taught that. Sure, we are taught to always tell the truth, but I think we are given brains to think and use to decide when to break the rules for the greater good. What you suggest is akin to blind obedience. The Lord gives us rules and guidelines, but I think He also expects us to use common sense where necessary. Just like with the "ox in the mire." Obedience to the Sabbath was strictly spelled out and enforced, but even God allowed for instances where it would need to be broken. Don't you think there is possibly such a thing as a righteous lie? In my opinion, there is. When someone exercises unrighteous dominion over you, such as a king or the government and expects you to comply with demands which go against your core beliefs or suffer death, don't you think such a lie would be excuseable or perhaps even a good thing? When Pharoah ordered the midwives to kill all the males babies, but they didn't and made up an excuse for it which wasn't true, was that a bad thing? I suppose they should have died martyrs for the cause and permit someone to take their place who would actually do the killing for Pharoah. That would have been a much better solution, wouldn't it?

paranoidfr33k said...

tatabug,

I dare say that most members would agree that they are taught to tell the truth no matter what. How many times have you heard the "true blue, through and through" stories about people being asked if their Mormon and if they said yes they were afraid they would be killed? Those stories are taught at a very early age and are meant to teach us many things, one of which is telling the truth no matter what.

You changed the direction when you talk about pharaoh giving orders. Of course that would be a completely different set of circumstances. Thats probably a discussion that could go in circles all day long. However, I was talking about prophets. I understand that prophets are phalible, but that doesn't mean that they should be giving us example after example of when its appropriate to lie. Thats what you seem to be providing me.

I would say that I have a completely different understanding of what truth is now that I've spiritually left the church. I agree with you that there are circumstances in which it is best to lie. We can all think of circumstances where it would be foolish to tell the truth 100% of the time, no matter what, but thats not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about what prophets teach, and what they do.

/paranoidfr33k

Elder Joseph said...

tatabug
One of your quotes

" I don't think it makes Joseph a false prophet any more than Abraham for his lying about Sarai being his sister rather than his wife, or Issac who told the same lie about his wife, or Moses who lied to Pharoah numerous times."

Would you agree then that it's Ok for your husband to lie to you (as the one who gets revelation for his family) .How would you like that ? Its easy for you to defend Joseph Smith and his Lies but you were not a victim of them ...

This is how the church justifies lying to its investigators and members about anything they wish.Why even have talks on honesty when they simply don't believe it applies to them as church leaders ..

You could use the old testament to justify murder , rape and many other crimes ...

Jehovahs Witnesses use this same mentality in thier organisation , they call it Theocratic Warfare ..

Warren Jeffs runs his compound in exactly the same way as well ...

tatabug said...

Paranoid,

Never in all my years both having been taught the lessons in Primary, YW, Sunday School, Seminary and Relief Society as well as teaching many of those lessons myself have I ever heard a story of someone telling the truth even when their life was at stake. In fact, most, if not all the stories deal with situations we are faced with daily so as to be able to relate better.

I didn't change directions in giving the example of the midwives disobeying an order. I gave a perfect example of when it could be considered okay to lie. The examples I gave can be directly related to the polygamy cover-up. Making such a practice public knowledge posed a danger to the Church and its members. Even RUMORS of its practice prompted mob violence. If the knowledge of polygamy had been made public, it's quite probable that even greater persecution would have been leveled against the Church. Joseph even said himself that knowledge of it would lead to his assassination. One could say that it eventually did.

Example after example? I gave you three examples from three different prophets out of how many prophets? You act like I threw out a litany of accusations as though the prophets did nothing but lie. Examples provide context and meaning to concepts to make them more understandable. That's all I'm trying to do.

I just can't believe how you and others in these blog discussions were just walking around in some fog your entire time in the Church, and then you leave the Church and all of a sudden your eyes are open. I didn't even have to leave the Church to understand that there are circumstances where a lie is okay. Imagine that. We must all be talking about a different Church.

The scriptures are for our benefit and learning. The stories and lives of the prophets provide opportunities to learn. If all you can see from them are examples of how they lie and break the rules, then you are either looking at things from strictly biased sources, or you aren't digging deep enough. There are far more examples of their obedience, faithfulness, honesty, and integrity than there are of examples of such things as civil disobedience. They are not purposely giving examples of when and when not to live by the rules. They live their lives, often facing difficulties and trials, and it's up to us to learn from their experiences. When we are faced with difficult circumstances, their examples can be instructive in how to handle them.

EJ,

Sarai was not a victim of Abraham's lie either. Read the story. It's found in Genesis 12:12-20. If my husband needed to tell such a lie in order to save his life, more power to him. I'm not trying to say, "it's okay to lie. I just found examples of where a prophet lied, so now we can lie and it's okay." What I am saying is, use your brain, stir in a little reason and logic, and then you might understand that not all things are black and white.

You certainly aren't a victim of Joseph's lies, but yet you act as though you are. Your words wreak of self-righteous indignation.

Please share with me how one might use the Bible to justify rape. I don't recall anyone committing rape in the Bible where the Lord permitted it or lauded the virtues of such a person. There never is a good reason to commit rape. Murder, on the other hand, is a different story. It is sometimes necessary under the most extreme circumstances unfortunately. But murder is not something that the Church teaches or engages in. I know murder is wrong, but I know that if someone is trying to kill me or my children, you can bet I'll be doing my best to kill that person first, and I won't feel in error by doing so.

Bishop Rick said...

I agree with tata to a point. I know I would lie in a heartbeat to save my or a family member's life. That said, there are some disturbing things found in the bible.

Moses was instructed to murder an entire village, man, woman, child and animal.

There is no justification for that. That is worse than MMM.

Lot had sex with his 2 daughters so they could bare him sons and preserve his posterity...are you kidding me? Where are Lot's descendants now?

I'm not aware of rape, but genocide and incest are disturbing enough for me, but according to the bible, they are OK in certain circumstances. I think this is what EJ is referring to.

And, I don't think fr33k is only referring to lies dealing with civil disobedience. I think there are cases regarding civil disobedience where lying is OK when injustice is involved (like Jim Crow laws for example). But doing something that is both repugnant to social conscience and against the law (polygamy) and then lying about it in the name of civil disobedience, doesn't wash in my opinion.

tatabug said...

Yes, there are disturbing things found in the Bible. But what should be noted in the case of Lot and his daughters is that, according to the JS translation, Lot's daughters were wicked in what they did. That would not give an honest person justification to commit incest. I don't know of any instance in the Bible where incest would have been considered okay.

Regarding Moses murdering an entire village, bottom line, God commanded it. But that is obviously not something you do without such a commandment, and any other justification would not suffice. There is a great deal that could be said with regard to this and other cities that were conquered, in order to understand the reasons behind it, but I would waste my time trying to share that information, so suffice it to say that the Israelites were directed to handle each city they conquered differently, and much of how they were handled had to do with the degree of wickedness of each city.

But notice how David, a man after the Lord's own heart, sinned in the case of Uriah, where he sent him to the front lines of battle to ensure he would be killed, leaving Uriah's wife for David to take. He remains unforgiven of that crime and has fallen from his exaltation because of it. So apparently, murder is excusable when it is commanded by God or out of necessity, but not so much when it isn't. The only people who would justify heinous crimes because they are found in the Bible, when it's obvious to people with half a brain that it isn't acceptable to God, are psychos or idiots who don't understand the Bible.

Polygamy may have been repugnant to the "societal conscience," but not to God. In fact he commanded it or Joseph and the Saints would have suffered serious consequences had they not obeyed the command. You can argue whether or not Joseph was a false prophet all you want, but if he weren't, then he would have been right in what he did. Just because he broke the law and offended society, doesn't make him a false prophet.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

My self righteous indignation ? Maybe its from reading too much Journal Of Discourses !:)

You mention the Joseph Smith Translation ? Is it trustworthy ?
How do explain the following ?

Matthew 6:13: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

JST, Matthew 6:14: And suffer us not to be led into temptation, but deliver us from…

If the JST is correct to render 'lead us not into temptation' as ' suffer us not to be led into temptation'..... How do you explain 3 Nephi ? Were the Gold Plates wrong also ?

3 Nephi 13:12-13: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

JST available online if you need to check .

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

concerning King David

"He remains unforgiven of that crime and has fallen from his exaltation because of it"

How do you know this ? The words of one man Joseph Smith,like everything you believe,its all from one man.

You trust him so much that

would you
1 marry him while your husband is on a mission .
2 Give your 14 year old daughter to him in marriage.
3 Lie and keep your marriage to him secret .

all because he said so. How can you trust the words one man so much? all this from a BofM !

Ps I'm still looking in the Old Testament for a justification for rape , although this is close ? The womans will is not considered ..

Deuteronomy 21:10 When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife.

tatabug said...

EJ,

Regarding the JST, you are working under the assumption that because the JST changed the phrasing that must mean that the original translation was wrong, but that is an incorrect assumption. The literal translation in the KJV is correct, but the meaning is wrong. Joseph more than likely just added a more superior interpretation of the original meaning of that verse. As the verse reads, one could be led to believe that the Lord actually leads people into temptation, but that isn't true, so to say "suffer us not to be led into temptation..." would provide a better interpretation even if the original translation is correct. I think it is likely that Joseph tranlated 3 Nephi 13:12 correctly. The JST came after the BOM was translated, so perhaps in time, had he not been killed, he would have made a similar change in the BOM too. If you check out Luke 11:4, which parallels Matthew 6:13, you will see that the JST is a bit different. It says, "...And let us not be led unto temptation." Later in life, Joseph also offered another version, "leave us not in temptation." Bottom line, the original translations are correct, but to avoid misunderstanding how God deals with His children, the change was made.

BTW, how does Deuteronomy 21:10 translate into not giving the woman a choice? Who's to say that asking her is not a part of it? Maybe that was just a no-brainer. I think you are reading things into those verses that aren't clearly spelled out. (I suppose we should just be glad that the Lord didn't command them to kill all the women of the city they just conquered. KIDDING!)

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

Your response really scares me.
So you think that God (Jesus) commanded Moses to kill every man, woman, child, baby, cat, dog, cow, sheep, etc.? And you think this is OK? This doesn't make you question if this actually happened?

God tells terrorists to strap bombs to themselves and to kill men, women, children, etc. every day, but that is justifiable because God told them to do it.

tatabug said...

BR,

Gee, thanks. Now it seems I have a terrorist mindset just because I believe in the Bible and am defending Moses.

Do I think God commanded Moses to kill every man, woman, child, and animal? Yes. Do I like it? No. It isn't a pleasant thought. It was quite disturbing when I first read about it, actually. It still is, but I have a better insight into some of the possible reasons for it which makes it more understandable. But it would never make me feel justified in doing something such as that. And no, it doesn't make me doubt that it happened.

God does not tell terrorists to strap bombs on themselves to kill people. Those are fundamentalists who have interpreted the Quran to fit their own agenda in order to recruit followers. Please don't equate that with the much larger percentage of sincere religious people of various faiths who are only trying to do what is right and would never feel justified in doing such things.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata,

you said "The literal translation in the KJV is correct, but the meaning is wrong."

So why did Joseph Smith make a literal translation from the supposed Gold Plates with a wrong meaning and then have to correct it later in his JST bible ?

He supposedly got 3 Nephi through revelation, why not receive it with the correct meaning ?

Are you sure he didn't just recite his KJV bible when staring in his hatfor his BofM ?


Mathew 6:22: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

JST, Matthew 6:22: The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single to the glory of God, thy whole body shall be full of light.

3 Nephi 13:22: The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

JST has added 5 words "To The Glory Of God "

Is the 3 Nephi translation correct or does it have the 5 words missing in the Reformed Egytptian ?

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

Of course I don't believe that God tells terrorists to strap on bombs and kill innocents, but they will tell you that he does, and they believe that he is. This is just an example of (admittedly extreme) blind followers.

I don't believe God told Moses to commit genocide either. Why should I believe that? Because its in the bible, a book written by men? God didn't write the Bible. The Bible is just a compilation of letters, stories passed down by word of mouth over many centuries (like Moses), discourses and other documents written thousands of years ago for isolated circumstances, etc. Why should I believe something as hideous as genocide was sanctioned/commanded by God? This is akin to the genocide that God committed with the great flood, and we know that didn't happen. Why should I believe this hideous act happened when the other parallel act has been proven false?

tatabug said...

EJ,

Perhaps I shouldn't have used the term "wrong" in describing the meaning of the original translation and instead said that the translation that Joseph provided in the JST was a "better" translation.

I only understand English. I have never translated anything, so I know virtually nothing about how the translation process goes, and I know even less about the process Joseph used to translate the gold plates. But it is possible that he gave a literal translation of what he saw rather than a "better" interpretation, as in the case of the scriptures you cite. I can't say why, but it doesn't concern me either.

As for the second verses you mentioned, I found a translation or meaning for them (from an apparently non-LDS source) which gives a "better" interpretation for KJV of the scriptures:

Yeshua's words in Matthew 6:22 contain an idiom that did not translate well into English.
Certainly, the First Century hearer, would have easily understood that verse 22 was part of the topic discussed in verses 19 through 24.
19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
The “good eye” and “bad eye” idiom is a First Century euphemism for being generous or being stingy. This idiom is used in Proverbs 22:9 as well. The Mishnah uses this idiom for generosity: A good eye and a humble spirit and a lowly soul, those who have these are disciples of Abraham our Father.
Avot 5:9


So it's very possible that the same case applies to Matt. 6:22/3 Nephi 13:22 as it does to Matt. 6:13/3 Nephi 13:12, meaning it was a literal translation and the original translations (KJV and BOM) are correct, but the meanings are not conveyed well. It's a matter of language barriers where you can translate correctly, but it's often difficult to convey the most accurate meaning from one language to another when there are some words that exist in one language but not in another.

But you are probably wondering why the interpretation I provided from a non-LDS source has nothing to do with Joseph's translation of the same scripture, where he added only the words "to the glory of God." My suggestion is that both "interpretations" are someone else's idea of the best way to convey the meaning of those scriptures, and I think they both work, but in my opinion, Joseph's interpretation is a little easier for us, in our culture, to understand.

tatabug said...

BR,

You are interpreting "God." Your version of God wouldn't sanction or commit genocide, but you have no evidence of that. Perhaps God doesn't sanction or commit genocide, but perhaps there extreme circumstances where wickedness is so pervasive and inhumane that it is more humane to put an end to such wickedness through genocidal means than to allow it to continue, otherwise ensuring that children born into such circumstances have no choice for righteousness and are subject to incredible inhumanity.

Elder Joseph said...

tatabug

How come Jospeph Smith translated words from supposed Gold Nephite Plates in exactly the same way as the King James Translators.Is it possible he used his King James bible to help him ?

ie simply copied verses...

I would have thought that if he really was doing it by the Gift and Power Of God then he would have got it more accurate instead of a 'literal transaltion 'which needed correcting later on ..

Perhaps he should have done a JST of the Book Of Mormon as well then ?

How do you explain the defective KJV transaltion turning up in the book of Mormon as well ?Here is one of them


Isaiah 4:5, And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory of Zion shall be a defence.

2 Nephi 14:5 And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory of Zion shall be a defence.


Modern translators of Isaiah say that it should read “For over all the glory there will be a canopy,” not a "defense". The Hebrew word does not mean defense but a protective curtain or canopy. The translators of King James bible made this mistake but so did Joseph Smith as well .

Zelph said...

Elder Joseph,

That draws an excellent point, and it is probably worth an entire post regarding the similarities between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. What is really bad is the word-for-word exactness, including the same translation errors as found in the KJV. Then, couple that with our article of faith where we say we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. Then, Joseph Smith makes "corrections" to the Bible and it turns out his translations are conveniently self-serving, even mentioning himself, but yet the Joseph Smith translation is different than the Book of Mormon.

It is enough to make your head spin. I will probably talk about this subject next, as it was probably one of the first "doubts" that I came across as I started studying the religion.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

I cannot reconcile murder of innocent children based on an unprovable assumption that they could not have grown up righteous in their current environment.

Wouldn't a more humane thing have been to kill the wicked and absorb the innocent?

I could believe God calling for that type of solution, but not the lazy unrighteous "kill them all" solution.

If Jesus was the God of the OT, why was he a hateful SOB in the OT and a kind, wise, loving example in the NT?

In my eyes, it is because they are not the same person.

tatabug said...

EJ,

Hugh Nibley has a question for you:

"When Jesus and the Apostles and, for that matter, the Angel Gabriel quote the [Hebrew] scriptures in the New Testament, do they recite from some mysterious Urtext? Do they quote the prophets of old in the ultimate original? . . . No, they do not. They quote the Septuagint, a Greek version of the Old Testament prepared in the third century B.C. Why so? Because that happened to be the received standard version of the Bible accepted by the readers of the Greek New Testament."

I don't know all the complexities surrounding the translation of the BOM, and it seems that eyewitnesses make it clear that Joseph didn't use the Bible as a part of the translation process, but it seems a logical conclusion that however it was received, the KJV language and phraseology was used in the BOM because it was widely used and recognized, and as long as they adequately represented the true meaning of the scripture, they were left intact. Just think of how you (if you do) learn and memorize and recognize scriptures by its particular wording. To me, it is very comforting to have those words in my mind and be able to repeat them verbatim. If I had my choice I would prefer them to be left as they are, so long as they adequately reflect the true meaning. That is probably why you see pretty much the same wording, or "plagiarism" as you might prefer, in the BOM as there is in the Bible.

Canopy. What is a canopy? A canopy is a covering of sorts. What does it cover? Your head perhaps, or a small dwelling area, such as a tent. Why do you need a canopy? To protect you from rain, sleet, sun, etc. So basically, a canopy is a form of protection. What is a defence? It is protection. Canopy...Defence...Tomato(long a)...tomato(short a). They carry similar meanings and connotations. You yourself even described it as a protective curtain or canopy. Like I've said before, as long as it ADEQUATELY reflected the true meaning of the scripture, it was left in its original form, probably for a recognizability factor. Seems logical to me.

My question to you is regarding 2 Nephi 12, which quotes Isaiah 2, where in verse 16 of the KJV says that the day of the Lord will be "upon all the ships of Tarshish." The Greek Septuagint version of the OT says it would be upon the "ships of the sea," but doesn't mention Tarshish. The BOM has both phrases, "upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish..." Was it a coincidence that Joseph got this right, or did he have access to the Greek Septuagint when he translated the gold plates? There are also other such examples where Joseph makes changes to KJV Isaiah which end up matching up almost perfectly with other translations of the Bible, if you are ever interested.

Zelph,

Are you talking specifically about 2 Nephi 27 which is compared to Isaiah 29 which also has a lengthy JST at the back of the Bible? If so, my observation is that while 2 Nephi 27 references Isaiah 29, it seems that there are only 3 or 4 verses out of the entire 2 Nephi chapter that are even remotely similar to Isaiah 29. That leads me to believe that the reference to Isaiah 29 in the chapter heading doesn't mean that the intent of Nephi was to replicate that entire chapter of Isaiah, but rather for him to "expound" on his own using some of the scriptures and ideas from that chapter of Isaiah. Maybe that was Nephi's talk he gave at church on Sunday, which was based off of that chapter in Isaiah, kind of like how we use conference talks to give lessons and talks at church, but we don't necessarily read the entire thing word for word, although there may be instances where we do give direct quotes. If you notice, the few chapters preceeding and all the ones following are not "Isaiah chapters." If I am correct, the JST would then have nothing to do with 2 Nephi 27. But anyway, the few JST verses that would apply here seem to match up.

BR,

Once again, you have interpreted God to fit an image that you find acceptable, with no apparent proof to back it up. You refuse to try to understand what seems impossible to understand. What seems illogical or immoral to us, may be very logical and necessary through the eyes of God. He gives us glimpses and gives us what we need to know and understand, but not all of His ways are given explanation. Just like how I deal with my children, especially my 4-year old. Sometimes, "because I said so," is the best answer when all the logic and reasoning behind my actions doesn't resonate with them. When I use reasoning with them, and they still don't understand, I just simply have to say, "Someday you'll understand."

But specifically regarding the destruction of men, women, AND children, like I said before (and a lot of this information comes from or is quoted out of OT student manual), Israel was not commanded to treat all her enemies in this manner. The law specifically forbade reprisals against Egyptians or any other foreigner; instead of vengeance, they were to remember their oppression in Egypt as a means of greater dedication to justice for all under God's law. They were basically supposed to avoid being like the Egyptians. Egypt wanted to destroy all Hebrews, but Israel was required to render justice to all Egyptians in terms of their individual obedience or disobedience to the law. But the Canaanites were different. The second commandment prohibits graven images of worship and requires the destruction of all such forms of worship (see Ex. 23:24). In Deut. 7:1-5, certain instances required not only the destruction of the graven images but also the destruction of the people of the images. Not only were covenants with the Canaanites forbidden, but inter-marriage also. All Canaanites were devoted to death. The criterion was not enmity to Israel but the law of God. Egypt was an enemy of God as was Canaan, but the iniquity of the Canaanites was 'full' or total in God's sight. Prostitution and homosexuality had become religious practices to the point wher the people were entrenched in depravity and proud of it. So, God sentenced them to death and made Israel the executioner. The kinds of evil of which the Canaanites were guilty were so infectious, so contaminating, that to have shown mercy and let them survive would have proven to be the spiritual downfall of Israel. Indeed, later history shows that this is exactly what happened when Israel failed to follow these instructions. You have to remember the tactic that had to be taken with Israel when Moses led them from Egypt. They were slow to hearken and follow, and as a result, the law of Moses was given. There was a lot of strictness and symbolism to keep them "in line." They were so easily distracted and led astray by the world. Since the Israelites were forbidden to marry the Canaanites, if they had spared the children, the Israelites would have been left to care for those children and most likely those children would have inter-married with the Israelites.

Maybe it still doesn't make sense to you, and I'll admit that it isn't easy to understand, and I don't comprehend the entire significance of it, but that's okay because, "the foolishness of God is wiser than men (1 Cor. 1:25)," and "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14)," and "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Cor. 3:19)."

As far as why God is different in the OT and the NT, I don't think there is a difference. I think He is the same God. But the atonement brought about a change in the law and a change in how God dealt with His people. It may seem like God was a big meany in the OT, but just because He had to take a firm hand, doesn't make Him so. Sometimes parents have to take a firm hand with their children and issue severe punishment for severe disobedience, but it doesn't make them mean parents. Supposing that the parents aren't just abusive, those parents are good parents who love their children and want to teach their children to do the right thing.

Elder Joseph said...

Sister Tatabug,

Canopy defense .. I agree to a certain extent , however if the Bof M had corrected it to 'canopy' then I believe the Mormon apologists would be the first to praise it and confirm its authenticity !

I can get back to you on your point ref

"The BOM has both phrases, "upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish..." Was it a coincidence that Joseph got this right, or did he have access to the Greek Septuagint when he translated the gold plates?"

He could have had a a commentary on Isaiah that included the Septuagint reading.

I've read that he plageurised lots of sources throughout his career ..( Grant Palmer -Insiders view of Mormon Origins )

More when Zelph posts the blog Topic of BofM plageurisms.

I have better examples which we will look at also.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

The only thing I can do to make the existence of God have any credence is to interpret God in a fashion that makes sense...not nonsense. The scriptures you quote about the foolishness of man and wisdom of God are cute, but at the same time foolish in and of themselves. If those words were found anywhere else other than the bible, they would be ridiculed.

So now your saying that it is OK to murder a suckling baby because God is a Bigot? And you agree with this? Someday I will understand why its OK to murder in the name of Bigotry?

Wow.

Your reasoning about the atonement accounting for the difference in personalities of the OT God and NT Jesus, sound pretty good, until you realize that Jesus's personality was established before the atonement.

If my father told me to kill all my neighbors and the only reason given was "I told you so" I would call the police.

tatabug said...

EJ,

I guess Joseph missed the commentaries which mentioned that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and not Jerusalem. Go figure.

Seriously though, several of the commentaries that Joseph may have had access to suggest that "ships of the sea" should replace "ships of Tarshish" rather than be in addition to.

What I want to know is why would Joseph make such a seemingly inconsequential addition to that verse when the commentaries instead suggested replacing "ships of Tarshish" with "ships of the sea" since the two phrases are apparently interchangeable? At the same time how did he not even know something as simple as Jesus being born in Bethlehem (Alma 7:10)? Anyone who has ever read the Bible would know that, but yet we are supposed to believe that he read a Bible commentary? Yes, he did become well-read, but at the time of the translation, all evidence points to the fact that he hadn't been to that point.

BR,

I'm not suprised that you would suggest the God of the OT is a racist bigot. Such a conclusion isn't a difficult one to come to, which is why it is important to reconcile what seems to be "multiple personalities" of God in the Bible. On the one hand, he prohibits murder and expects fairness, equality, and mercy to be shown to our fellowmen, and on the other hand commands the seemingly merciless murder of innocent children. These apparent inconsistencies demonstrate why it is important not to read and interpret the Bible on its face, but to dig deeper and try to understand it so that it makes sense and not just quickly dismiss it because it doesn't.

Also, I don't think that the God of the Bible would warrant such a following if what is apparent on the surface is all there really is to Him. Look at all the prophets of the Bible. What did they have to gain by perpetuating such a fraud? Many of them were killed, and most seemed to live lives of virtual poverty.

You don't think that in Jesus' three-year ministry He could have used that time to prepare the people for the change, since after all, He wouldn't be around after that to show them a better way? Didn't he teach the people the higher law as part of his ministry?

If my father told me to kill all my neighbors and the only reason given was "I told you so" I would call the police.

Me too.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

Have a look here for more on the Book of Mormon and its link with King James bible .. see what you think ..

Book Of Mormon sudy

Its very interesting .

Elder Joseph said...

My Link ....

It should read 'Study' lol

tatabug said...

EJ,

I followed the link you gave and read the article, but it wasn't terribly compelling in my opinion. The explanations I have already provided apply in many of the cases I think. Also, the idea that while the translation was divinely inspired, the human element wasn't eliminated, which would account for Joseph's lack of understanding of King James English. Perhaps if he had re-translated words such as dragons and satyrs, which meanings are probably not clearly understood even by modern scholars, which fact was alluded to in the article you sent, he would have been condemned for getting them wrong anyway by enemies of the Church, so he may have felt it was better to just leave them alone, since they are pretty inconsequential to the meaning of the scriptures anyway. That can be said of all the apparent errors which the article points out. They seem to have no real bearing on the meaning of the scriptures and I think that Joseph was probably more concerned with the things that really mattered, than with more trivial things.

tatabug said...

Hey guys,

I know this is off-topic, but I found a llink to an article about the unreliability of DNA testing to determine ancestry. ScienceDaily.com reports on an article which will be published in the prestigious Science journal. I found the article interesting and was intrigued by a reference to Native American ancestry. I thought Native American DNA resembled Asian DNA. Apparently it doesn't, but then again, who knows?

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

Isn't it talking about " Take Home kits " ????

ScienceDaily (Oct. 20, 2007) — For many Americans, the potential to track one's DNA to a specific country, region or tribe with a TAKE-HOME KIT is highly alluring. But while the popularity of genetic ancestry testing is rising - particularly among African Americans - the technology is flawed and could spawn unwelcome societal consequences, according to researchers from several institutions nationwide, including the University of California, Berkeley.

Bishop Rick said...

yea, I read the article as well. It is talking about the services offered to the general public. These are not the same tests used to track global migration patterns as performed by the Global Genographic Project.

tatabug said...

Whether or not it's a take-home kit isn't as important as the fact that DNA tests have limitations. It is my understanding that an over-simplification of the results of DNA testing has led to possible false assumptions of Native American lineage.

Anyway, it seems that the global genographic project is also employing the use of take-home kits as well.

Elder Joseph said...

tata

Just look at American Indians
Then look at Siberian Mongoloid Asians
Then look at Israelis

DNA just confirms what is fairly obvious jsut by sight...

All those D*C scriptures about preaching to the Lamenites are just Joseph Smiths 'nonsense' .

Had he not committed those un called for 'marriage' practices and other abuses of his followers then I could have seen a funny side to it all ..

tatabug said...

EJ,

I don't doubt that Native Americans have Asian ancestry, since the BofM mentions different groups already in existence in the Americas upon the arrival of Lehi's family, such as the Jaredites, who may have been largely of Asian origin. There may have been other migrations afterwards as well. All I'm trying to say is that current studies shouldn't be relied upon to prove conclusively that Asians are the only ancestors of Native Americans because of the limitations that exist. It seems like you employ an extraordinary amount of doubt and skepticism towards the Church and its claims. Shouldn't you also do the same with such studies in order to be consistent and to prevent others from deceiving you? Scientists are as capable of fraud and deceit as anyone.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

Nice catch. The Genographic Project is indeed using take home kits. I guess what I should have said is that the tests performed are much more sophisticated that those used by the for-profit genealogy companies.

Elder Joseph said...

tata

I thought the Jaredites had extincted themselves in an almighty battle on Hill Cumorah ,leaving only Shiz and Coriantumr ?

and also when Lehi landed it says in the BofM

2 Nephi 1:8 And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.

Is seems Asian DNA has overrun the land then ..

tatabug said...

BR,

It appears that Family Tree DNA ("world's first and largest geneology driven DNA testing service")is the company which is providing the test kits for the genographic project. The test seems to be similar to your normal, ordinary take-home kit where you scrape the inside of your cheek, and send it in, indicating whether you want a paternal DNA test or a maternal DNA test (sorry, only one analysis per test). Perhaps the genographic project is also using other means of testing in their travels, but I couldn't find any information regarding it. I would be interested to know what information has led you to believe that the tests are more sophisticated because I haven't been able to find any evidence of that.

tatabug said...

EJ,

Yes, the Jaredites were wiped out. But it is possible that portions of the Jaredites could have splintered off at some point and inhabited other parts of the continent(s), just like Hagoth's group did from the Nephites.

It is apparent from the BofM that there were other people already in the Americas like the Jaredites as well as others who aren't named specifically. So that scripture wouldn't make sense if it meant that no one other than Lehi's family were made aware of the existence of the Americas. So you look at the fact that it said "nations." That doesn't mean that the Lord didn't lead select groups of people here. It just means he kept the knowledge of its existence from the "nations" or rather from the general population and the ruling factions in order to keep it from being overrun. Does that make sense?

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

The Genographic Project has 2 components. There is the study of 100,000 indigenous tribes around the globe, which is using one set of testing, and there is the testing of the general Public, which is using the Family Tree DNA kits for testing.

This information is found on the Genographic Project FAQ webpage and is covered in question 9 pasted below:

9. Who is involved in the Genographic Project?

The Genographic Project is a partnership of National Geographic and IBM. In addition, the field science is supported by the Waitt Family Foundation. The researchers are using Applied Biosystems equipment to carry out the laboratory research at the regional centers. In addition, the Genographic Project is working with Family Tree DNA to carry out the testing for the public participation component of the project.

tatabug said...

BR,

Thanks for that information. I hope the project yields some interesting information.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

Me too. I'm thinking about participating myself. I know that the information that can be provided for me is limited, but you know what? I'll take what I can get because I'm fascinated with this stuff.

Jeremy said...

One Word Change to the BoM

Elder Joseph said...

Thanks for that link Jeremy .

I wonder what else changes as the years go by ....

BofM just Spiritual fiction perhaps ? An easy guess ! lol

tatabug said...

We just can't win for losing, can we? The Church is wrong because they ignorantly teach that the Lamanites are the principle ancestors of the Native Americans, and that can't possibly be true because of DNA, but then the change is made to add some clarification, the Church gets accused of being revisionists.

I rather liked Russell's comments on Mormanity (on just this topic about the change to the BOM) with relation to this comment:

D&C 28:8 And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.

-God's direction to Joseph seemed to be clear on who the Lamanites were.


Russell said:

Again, glad to see that [you] understand the mind and will of the Lord better than any of us...indeed, even the Lord himself (since there have been repeated statements on how we have no doctrine on BOM and the corollary of the identity of the Lamanites).

That said, I think this verse fits in nicely with Christ's identification of "this land" with the remnant of Jacob. Spiritual adoption was at play here, so in a sense, I believe that these "Lamanites" were called such because they were adopted under the family of Lehi. If you notice in the beginning chpts. of the BOM, the family of Lehi was receiving everything that Abraham did--they were essentially renewing the Abrahamic covenant. It would logically follow then that their seed would also be as the sands of the sea...ie, the populations of the Americas. Were these Lamanites of the literal house of Israel? Perhaps, but it's just as likely that they were not.