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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Revelations in the LDS church

Revelation and the LDS Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be an church that receives direct revelation from God. However, the question arises when was the last revelation? Most of Brigham Young's discourses are pretty much dead doctrines in the LDS church and are dismissed as merely his own personal opinion and not necessarily revelation from God. Mormon fundamentalists have a point there that they are the only ones that treat his discourses as scripture as originally intended. Are any of the most recent statements by the church considered to be revelations?

Official Church Statements

The Official Declaration 1, the basis for ceasing the practice of polygamy was not originally published as a revelation. It is a press release to the United States government. Nowhere does it say "thus sayeth the lord", it says "to whom it may concern" not even meant to be geared towards church members. Wilford Woodruff didn't call or refer to the manifesto as a revelation until a year later in 1891 at a stake conference in Logan, Utah. It is more likely that the manifesto was simply a response to the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887.

Official Declaration 2 is not a revelation. Once again, it is not written in 1st person from the Lord like Joseph Smith's revelations as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants. The specific wording simply refers to a revelation that the prophet and president of the church at the time received a revelation to allow blacks of any descent. The declaration reads "a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church". However, as I said the declaration simply refers to a revelation that was received, and explains the details of the revelation, but the actual revelation has not been recorded.

If we are to believe that God is at the head of the church, one would expect the church to be ahead of the rest of the world, not behind it. This revelation occurred 24 years after the civil rights movement. It seems to me that the idea that the prophets are directed by God simply makes the church more stubborn, entrenched and more reluctant to make changes, even if these are good changes. It draws the question if the church is run from top down, or from bottom up, or maybe a combination.

Are we to consider "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" and "The Living Christ The Testimony of the Apostles" as revelations? They both sound like declarations of beliefs.

Modern Revelation

Does the church still believe in receiving revelations from God? Not everything said from every prophet or apostle is to be considered doctrine. The prophets and apostles are able to voice their own opinions even when occasionally they are considered false doctrine by subsequent church leaders. If there is revelation given to the church leaders, is it given to them through feelings and perhaps not angelic messengers?

Book of Mormon and Angels

According to the Book of Mormon, if angels cease to appear and miracles cease to occur, it is due to apostasy and lack of faith.

Moroni 7:35-38


And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain. For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.
The question is asked if the LDS church is a church based on continual revelation, where are the revelations?

Disillusioned Mormon

278 comments:

1 – 200 of 278   Newer›   Newest»
Cr@ig said...

One of my favorite non-revelations was the 1909 First Presidency Proclamation to the World on the Origins of Man. You can read the entire proclamation here . Interestingly enough the church has never backed away from this proclamation and in fact has basically reaffirmed it by republishing it in the Ensign twice in 2000-2001 and again in 2002 .
As I’ve said so many times before…trying to pin Mormonism down is like trying to nail a piece of Jell-o to the wall …not going to happen. What is authoritative today…is subject to change or disavowance later by some future leader.
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=da135f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=c7e5f48fa2d20110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1&contentLocale=0

Jeremy said...

It is quite convenient that previous revelations can be repealed or dismissed as opinion.

I think I've mentioned this previously, If a prophet's statements can be dismissed as opinion because it isn't in accordance with the teachings of the gospel today why is that not indicative of a false prophet?

Think about it... if previous revelations are now said to be opinions than didn't the members of the church put their trust in man? And wouldn't that also say that the prophet didn't actually receive revelations?

NOW think about this, if we can do that to past leaders of the church who's to say we can't do that in 20 years from now to present day leaders? Why would we trust what they say when it's only going to change?

Yes, I'm making assumptions here but only to make people think about it. Put it in to perspective.

And Craig, your link didn't work.

Elder Joseph said...

The LDS church claims to have Prophet Seer and Revelators.

So when the Book of Abraham papyrus was rediscovered why didn't the Prophet Seer and Revelator David O McKay Translate it it or confirm it ?

I'll tell you the answer ,He didn't have a clue how to be a prophet a seer or Revelator ....Instead he passed it on to the ordinary BYU Egypologists !

Similarly why did Mark Hoffman manage to pass off and sell forgeries to prophet Seer and Revelator Spencer Kimball ?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

CES Symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History • 16 August 1985 • Brigham Young University.. quote

"As members of the Church, we have the gift of the Holy Ghost. If we will use our spiritual powers of discernment, we will not be misled by the lies and half-truths Satan will circulate in his attempts to deceive us and to thwart the work of God"

The church had just bought the false salamander letter from Mark Hoffman...

Dallin Oaks continues to say of the false salamander letter ,quote

" Since the letter purports only to be Martin Harris’s interpretation of what he had heard about Joseph’s experience, the use of the words white salamander and old spirit seem understandable"

The point here is the letter was totally fake so where is the spirit of discernment spoke about by Dallin Oaks .He was misled by Hoffman and even did a talk on The Salamander letter to reconcile and explain a Salamander appearing to Joseph Smith somehow yet it was all False .

No Revelation , No Prophetic qualities , No Seership and not even Discernment.....

Mormon Lite said...

Of course the church leadership is going to use verbiage like "one true church" if they want devout followers. I think most churches in a sense all teach that they have the truth and nobody else.

Perhaps "the only true and living church upon the face of the earth" is stretching it a bit.

However, I do believe that God reveals himself through other people. To say that the church leaders are the only ones that get this revelation is a little self absorbed, but it is to be expected. Ultimately, it comes down to choice. You get to pick your path.

Brother Zelph said...

Here is the link Cr@ig is referring to

Link

Bishop Rick said...

I have had a problem with the one true church label for awhile. This label is basically stating that the true church wasn't established until the arrival of Jesus, lasted a few decades and then was restored less than 200 years ago. That is not alot of time for the one true church to be on the earth. Some might say that the Jewish church was the true church until Jesus came and was replaced with Christianity. Does that really make sense? If anything, the Jewish church has the longest track record (thousands of years) - longer than Christianity, and recieved tons of angelic visits during the OT time.

Other than JS, the Jews have the angel monopoly.

I don't know, just something else that doesn't add up to me.

Brother Zelph said...

Good points everyone and I appreciate everyone's comments.

BR-You draw a good point. If Jesus established his church and it only lasted a few decades, it is amazing that Joseph Smith was able to restore the true church and have it last much longer. And we are supposed to be in the last days when Satan is working the hardest.

The Muslims base their religion also on a restoration of the truth via the angelic messenger Gabriel to the prophet Mohammad. They believe that they are the true Abrahamic religion. It is my understanding that they believe that originally the Torah contained the truth then became corrupted, they also believe the Bible contained the truth but became corrupted and they currently believe that the Qur'an is the restoration of the truth. Logic would only assume that the Qur'an will eventually become corrupted and a new set of scripture would have to take its place. But don't tell that to a Muslim.

Mormon Lite- I appreciate your perspective and understand where you are coming from.

EJ, I agree with BR something about your posts crack me up. It almost sounds tongue-in-cheek, which I appreciate because it adds a nice flavor. I am not sure if it is meant to be subtly humorous, but I always chuckle whenever I read your comments.

Jeremy- I understand your concerns and have thought about the same thing. I have a feeling that one day women will hold the priesthood and will see the current church as sexist. And I would not be surprised if they one day allowed homosexuals to marry and see the current church as very homophobic. Those are the things that come to mind.

Cr@ig, thanks for the link, I know that long links get cut off unless it is hyperlinked. More stuff to study and read.

Elder Joseph said...

mormon lite

Just something you asked about me on the other post where tata was getting angry and offended by me :(

I do come across antagonistic on occasion( especially to TBM's - Like Tata :) )But I believe that my comments are truthful and thats what hurts the TBM's otherwise why do people leave the church over the same information ? They don't leave because people like me make them angry , they leave because they have discovered the same things I have and concluded something very painful.

And yes I do have a personal gripe with Mormonism as it has affected me directly .Though I do feel the same impatience for Scientology,JW's , Moonies and many other similar 'organisations'.

But Mormonism is what My life consisted of for the last nearly three years...

I've nothing against the average church member as they are just Victims themselves and I believe I am doing them a service showing them their religion could be a hoax.

The ones who make me angry are the The Church Leaders and Founders and many of the Current Apostles and BYU apologists.

BrotherZelph

Thanks for agreeing with BR that my comments are somewhat humerous .I must admit i do chuckle as I write them though I'm not purposely writing a comic script .They just come out that way .

I feel better hearing that from you both as sometimes Tata makes me feel so guilty and horrible about myself , coupled with the fact that My ward members seem to fear me these days and yet I only explain the difficulties which caused me to stop attending ..

They interpret my concerns as though I am being 'against the church'?

This is what I don't like .I mention the polygamy and how it was effectively enforced with approriate JOD quotes and they frown at me as If I'm the one commiting some serious sin or something..
This is not a healthy reaction and concerns me as to the stability of some of them psychologically.

I believe there are many people trapped in Mormonism who would not be there if they knew the real events.Its unfair on them .


I had a promising friendship/relationship with a TBM female that I liked alot and she promised me that I should never be afraid to ask tough questions because she will research, learn and her testimony will grow.

So I asked the difficult ones , she then is shocked having never heard them before and now has chosen to cut me off :( ( On the advice of her Bishop I suspect ) as i'm sure she brought my questions to him..

Similarly in my Ward ,The Bishop suggested to a 'questioning' church member that he not associate with me anymore :(

How sad is that .Simply because his questions are too difficult and too true for them.A legitimate restored one and only true church personally presided over by Jesus Christ shouldn't fear investigation.

Well he stopped Tithing and only attends sacrament now and to be honest I feel great because he thanked me for liberating him from depression he had as a struggling potential TBM in the making.... He can't believe what he has discovered.

Now he knows what tyrants Smith and Young and the rest of them really were ,he feels really great about himself in comparison :)

Cr@ig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cr@ig said...

Now is the great day of my Hyperlink powers…I shall Hyperlink from the heavans to the ends of the each of my posts…oops Or Click Here
Just wanted to test my new super human hyperlink powers out on you … :-)

Joshua said...

There is no more need for prophets because Jesus was the last prophet and he is the prophet. He promised that he would be with us to the end of time.

Matthew 28:19-20

Elder Joseph said...

Joshua
I don't consider myself a 'believer' though I want to be , I still pray and still live my life consciously in case I'm held accountable at some kind of judgement.

I do agree with you that prophets are done away with from a theological point of view.

I believe Mormonism to be a massive Theological blunder and great erroneous mix up much in the same way as the JW theology ...

though I wouldn't like to label myself with any particular denomination and reserve myself some agnosticism too .

Anonymous said...

Semi-offtopic, but this was discussed in current comments.

Question: If the LDS church is the "restored church", where's the evidence current doctrine was accepted and practiced earlier in history?

Brother Zelph said...

Anonymous, that is a very good question. As a member of the church, we are taught to believe that the LDS church is a restoration of the original primitive church established by Jesus Christ. However, the only similarities I have seen is the title of apostle. I admit that I don't know very much on the subject of the early primitive church, so I can't really comment on that subject, I think that Mormon Heretic knows quite a bit on that topic.

Elder Joseph said...

Here is a BofM scripture which explains what a Seer is - someone who can translate ancient records.

Mosiah 8:13 "Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called SEER."

Once again why wasn't David O McKay able to translate from the Egyptian Papyrus and confirm the Book of Abraham ?

He could have even have used the seer stone( interpreters) Joseph had as I believe the church does have it in its posession.

There is also some statement ( in JOD I think ) where I think its Orson Pratt who challenges the other Christian Denominations and Boasts "Can they translate Ancient Records ? "

Well neither could David O McKay .

Elder Joseph said...

Found the quote

Journal of Discourses Volume 20 page 65-67,

LDS Apostle Orson Pratt :

“Have any other denominations got this gift among them? Go and inquire throughout all of Christiandom . . . ‘Can you translate ancient records written in a language that is lost to the knowledge of man? No . . . the universal reply of the Christian
a waterpolo ball.
denominations, numbering some 400 million, would be that they have not the power to do it - you must give us credit of at least professing to have these great and important gifts.”

Well Neither could David O McKay when the opportunity arose.

I give No Credibility Whatsoever to any LDS leadership claims.

mormon heretic said...

Anonymous,

I don't consider myself an expert, but I have been learning about early Christian history. (Thanks for the shout-out Brother of Zelph.)

When the Roman Emporer Nero burned Rome (around 60 BC), and blamed it on the Christians, he rounded up the early apostles, including Paul, Peter, etc, and had them executed. Not all were killed (John the Revelator lived through the end of the 1st century), but Nero severely persecuted the Christians, and seemed to limit the ability of the apostles to gather and ordain other apostles.

So, with no clear leader there was an incredible diversity of Christian thought from this time forth. (This sounds much like Jesus' parable of the wheat and the tares.) For example, the Gnostics claimed that Jesus was not a product of the virgin birth, but that he was not human at all. Basically, they believed that he descended from heavan, and didn't die on the cross. Gnosticism rivalved the Orthodox church in size in these early days.

There were other groups with differing beliefs: Marcionites, Ebionites, Montanists, Ariuns, and many other groups most non-academics have never heard of. Some believed in the trinity, some didn't, some believed Jesus was human, some didn't. Anyway, with all the diversity of thought, it dovetails nicely into the Mormon view of the Apostasy.

Among the early church fathers, there are writings that support almost any view. The most intriguing view to me is the Montanist movement, and I'll be blogging about that in the next few days. From my initial introduction, I see many similarities between Montanism, and Joseph Smith's views. Now these views are certainly not a perfect match with Mormonism, but there are some really interesting similarities. A case could be made that Montanus and Joseph held similar beliefs, and that Joseph was restoring some of similar beliefs held by Montanus.

Of course, mainstream Christians think Montanism was just a heresy. But it was in fact embraced by the pope in Rome for a short time, and later retracted.

I love Zelph's blog, and don't want to sound like a self-promoter, but I have been posting on Gnosticism and Marcionism over the last week or so, and if you'd like to know more about these early heresies, come check out my blog.

Lilith said...

As I’ve said so many times before…trying to pin Mormonism down is like trying to nail a piece of Jell-o to the wall …not going to happen. What is authoritative today…is subject to change or disavowance later by some future leader.

In a certain netforum I made the mistake of assuming that a book called "Mormon Doctrine" by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve was, you know, doctrine. I'd love to talk to Mormons about their doctrine, but they seem very reticent to reveal exactly what it is, even after numerous visits from the missionaries. Perhaps that's a good thing. After a few more decades of hiding their own doctrine like the crazy aunt in the celler, the CoJCoLDS might approach the mainline Christian groups in belief, just as the Worldwide Church of God did (much more rapidly) upon the death of its founder.

Bishop Rick said...

MH, Where are you getting your information on Nero rounding up all the Apostles and putting them to death? There is no reliable evidence that supports your statement.

John C. said...

You are thinking about it backwards. Let's be very clear o.k.? The head of the church is Christ. Christ gives revelation to the prophet and his counselors as well as the 12 apostles on how Jesus wants his church to be run. We have our own free agency. That means that WE might not be ready for certain doctrines like polygamy or the law of consecration.

The reason the church had the policy, not doctrine, to not allow blacks have the priesthood was because the members were not ready. The lord inspired SWK that in 1978 the members were ready to accept blacks into the priesthood. That doesn't mean that God is racist. In the OT, only descendants of the tribe of Levi could hold the priesthood.

The church is divinely inspired and does not change based on outside influence. However, the prophet might recognize through observation and inspiration that the people are ready to accept certain things, and there is no problem with that.

Mormon Lite said...

John C,

If I understand you correctly, does that mean that the church leaders are just waiting until the members are ready to accept that the BoM is inspired fiction?

Lilith said...

John C: The head of the church is Christ. Christ gives revelation to the prophet and his counselors as well as the 12 apostles on how Jesus wants his church to be run. We have our own free agency. That means that WE might not be ready for certain doctrines like polygamy or the law of consecration...The reason the church had the policy, not doctrine, to not allow blacks have the priesthood was because the members were not ready.

In the OT there was a doctrine that governed how to treat slaves. It said if you beat your slave to death you were to be punished, unless the slave lingered in agony for a day or two before dying. Then you were off the hook, because he was your property.

Exodus 21:[20] And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. [21] Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

And there was another doctrine that said if a man raped a virgin, he had to shell out fifty shekels to her father and then marry her.

Deuteronomy 22:[28] If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; [29] Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

We no longer practice these things today. I suppose Jesus has decided that the church is not ready for the doctrine of beating slaves to death and raping virgins.

Cr@ig said...

John C. Said: ”The church is divinely inspired and does not change based on outside influence”

REALLY?

Edmonds-Tucker Anti Polygamy Act of 1887 * Mormon Church “publicly” abandon’s polygamy 1890

Civil Rights Act of 1964 * Mormon Church extends priesthood to Black Race 1978

In 1994, Jewish community is outraged over abuse of Holocaust victims by Mormon Church * 1995 Mormon church abandons temple work for an entire race of people…eventually caving to public pressure from the Jewish community and from a Mormon perspective denying exaltation to all Jews, the very people the Book of Mormon was supposed to help save.

Cave to Public Pressure??? Ahh…Ummm….No Never at all… No history of them ever caving to public pressure...sure its revelation...

Elder Joseph said...

John C

You said "The reason the church had the policy, not doctrine, to not allow blacks have the priesthood was because the members were not ready."

The real reason is that the Leaders didn't know what they were talking about.See the JODS foe endless teachings of the blacks being punished for being less valiant etc.

On August 17, 1951, the First Presidency made an official statement on the "Negro question":

"The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is NOT a matter of the declaration of a POLICY but of direct commandment from the the Lord, on which is founded the DOCTRINE of the Church from the day of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the Priesthood at the present time." [emphasis added]

In a widely circulated letter to Dr. Lowry Nelson, the First Presidency wrote in 1947:

"From the days of the Prophet Joseph even until now, it has been the DOCTRINE of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel." [emphasis added]


Both these citations are from John L. Lund's book "The Church and the Negro," 1967. pp 88-89.

John C. said...

Mormon Lite,

The Book of Mormon is not inspired fiction, it is real. I know it is a true story because I have read it and felt the spirit as I read the story of Nephi and his older brothers. Now don't you think that if it were not a true story that I would not feel the spirit? Do you think God is a liar?

I grew up with older brothers and I just know it's true because I can relate so much with Nephi and the trials he went through.

Cr@ig said...

I might add that these doctrinal changes did not take place in a vacuum, there was a history behind the doctrinal changes the church made in 1890, 1978, 1990 (temple changes) as well as 1995.

In 1890 the church was facing complete financial collapse if had chosen NOT to cave to public pressure and change. The Tucker-Edmands act allowed the federal government to confiscate property of any organization not in compliance with this law. It would have destroyed the church as an organization. Its temples, farms buildings etc would have become government property and sold off.

In 1978…one could argue that the church had weathered the storm…but had it really? The church if nothing else is a PR driven machine. It cares about how it is viewed by the public. Banning Blacks in any form had run its course. The church in 1978 faced the total collapse of its priced BYU sports organization since other universities were starting to boycott BYU based solely on its priesthood ban. Banning blacks was a PR nightmare for the church and the process of determining black ancestry had become almost impossible in countries with high racial intermarriage such as Brazil had become impossible.

In 1990, due to an internal survey as to why members were avoiding temple attendance, offensive parts of the endowment were removed…including those distasteful parts that insulted protestant converts.

In 1995 the PR savvy Mormon Church, knew it was in a PR nightmare involving Jewish Holocaust victims. With nowhere to go…they capitulated a central church doctrine to appease worldwide Jewish opinion.

Each of these major doctrinal changes was driven by public pressure or a desire to improve the public image of the church. But REVELATION had little to do with these changes…unless Jesus is more interested in human image management then maintaining His eternal principals.

John C. said...

I don't know anything about slavery, but everyone knows that Joseph Smith was an abolitionist. The prophets and apostles are directed by God through revelation. Their personal opinions might be influenced by life experience, but when it comes to directing the church, if they tried to lead us astray, God would remove them from their church position. Here is proof right here.

"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty."

It says so right there in black and white, you can read it for yourself. This is not just one man's opinion because it has been canonized.

Elder Joseph said...

John c

This quote
"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray"

is itself another example of leading the church members astray with this very false statement.

Brigham Young led the church astray with his Adam God doctrine and teaching of blacks being less valiants.He also taught that slavery was a Divine Institution not to be abolished.

Mormon Heretic said...

Bishop Rick,

Sorry I took so long to respond. There is a PBS series from a few years back called "The First Christians". It is awesome.

Anyway, they discuss the fire that burned Rome around 50 AD. While it is not known exactly who caused the fire, many people back then as well as now, think that the Emporer Nero did it. Nero, wanting to blame someone, blamed the Christians. Paul and Peter were part of this round-up and were executed within a few years of the fire.

Every time I post a link, it gets chopped, but here it is

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/

(Perhaps someone can tell me how to embed a website in comments--it never works for me.)

While you are welcome to read the website, I found the 4 hour DVD incredible, and if you're interested in Early Christian history, I think this is a must.

MH said...

Of course, if you do a google search of "the first christians pbs" it comes up first too.

Lilith said...

Mormon Heretic:

(Perhaps someone can tell me how to embed a website in comments--it never works for me.)

You simply type
<a href="http://www.pbs.org
/wgbh/pages/frontline
/shows/religion/">Link Title</a>

This is what you get: Link Title

MH said...

Lilith, thanks! I'll keep that in mind for the future.

Elder Joseph said...

I've openly said on many occasions how I tend to mistrust the Mormon Apologists from FAIR and FARMS, BYU etc.

I think its worth a seperate thread to discuss exactly what the puropose of these apologists are.Are they trying to find real truth or just defend what they perceive is Truth at all costs and reason.

In my early years of Mormon study I came across FAIR and FARMS but was soon put off by what seemed IMO to be mostly excuses and confusing long winded possibilities for the BofM problems.

FAIR recently released a DVD called "The Book of Mormon and New World DNA."

However its been exposed that some comments made by these apologists on order to create the impression that all is well on the DNA front and that they are credible scholars are actually misleading and very unprofessional ..

As a result of Simon Southerton noticing and challenging these statements on the DVD John Tvedtnes the Mormon apologist has made the following recommendation to FAIR .

John Tvedtnes words below .........


Here is the message I sent to Scott Gordon, president of FAIR, regarding the DNA DVD.

John Tvedtnes

Sent: Monday, June 16
To: 'Scott Gordon'
Subject: DNA DVD

Like you (and others, I presume), I have gotten some complaints from Simon Southerton about the FAIR DNA video. I acknowledge that there are two parts of my interview that are problematic. The first is that, at the beginning, I said that haplogroup X is found in Mesoamerica, which is incorrect. Later on the DVD, I note that it is found in the eastern USA (and Canada, BTW), but “Mesoamerica” was incorrect. Also, the way I worded things made it sound like this was evidence for the Book of Mormon. It is, of course, not direct evidence, though it is true that the “brand” (as I put it) of X found in the New World is closer to that found in Europe and in the Middle East, where X is thought to have originated. Still, as I indicated in my later comments on the DVD, the likelihood is that the X of eastern North America came from Europe.

I also made an inadvertent mistake in assume that the haplogroup labeled “N” for remains of Great Basin Natives was also found in Europe. As it turns out, the Great Basin studies used “N” to denote samples of mitochondrial DNA that did not fall into the ABCD haplogroups and was intended to mean “none.” The real importance of these and X in general is that more haplogroups have been discovered since the original ABC (which expanded to ABCD, then added X, with others unclassified and usually labeled “other”). This suggests that one cannot close the door on more such discoveries, as some of the critics suggest.

I recommend editing out my early comments on X on the DVD and removing what I said about Great Basin N being also found in Europe. I watched the DVD again and everything else seems to be OK, though I wish I had been more clear about some things. (I also wish others on the DVD had been more clear and precise; alas, that is the nature of interviews.) It would have been better to have my comments about the Y-chromosome haplogroup 1C at the beginning in place of the brief comment I made about X, since 1C definitely is evidence that can be used to support the Book of Mormon.

If you can’t rework the DVD, could you at least include some kind of printed disclaimer (I could write one) or post something on the FAIR web site about my two mistakes? It is unfortunate that I (and I presume others) was not able to preview the product before it was released.

I should add that I have found many more errors in Southerton’s book than on the DVD, many of which I think were from incorrect information provided by the publisher rather than the author.

Brother Zelph said...

EJ, Thanks for the note, that is very interesting. I know that Simon Southerton had publicly stated that there are inaccuracies in the FAIR video.

I have seen the FAIR video, and I thought that it drew more questions than answers, although since I don't know much about DNA, I figured that it was just a matter of time until an independent scientist challenged the claims made on the video and sure enough. Even thought Simon is not completely bias, it is irrelevant that he is an Ex-Mo in this case, because when he confronted the Mormon apologist, he admitted that he mis-spoke.

I have my opinion on the role of Mo-pologists in a post about a year ago.

Elder Joseph said...

Brother Zelph

cheers.You explained the LDS apologist thing better than I could.I have a knack of coming over too aggressive as Tata correctly says and I need to have a change of heart.Alma 5:14 :)

I think thats with only spending two years in church .I could have done with maybe 5 more years and I'm sure it would have made me more politer at least :)

Thats what I like about Mormons, Inactives and ex mormons , they tend to keep the good they had in church.

The church is being challenged from prominent former members like Simon Southerton , Grant Palmer , Thomas Murphy , Tal Bachman,Arza Evans , Brent Metcalfe ,Kent Clark and many still current members like yourself.I think it really will struggle to grow in its current mindset and that its future lies with the pressure members like yourself are exerting on the church.

Resignations and withdrawal of tithes is the only indicator which may cause the Leadership to listen and harken and make changes.Though they will still call it revelation.

It did after all do two major U turns due to social pressure,Polygamy and Blacks.What better than to make the final changes through the influence of the new generation mormons.

Cr@ig said...

A couple of thoughts on Mormonism’s revelation claim.

As an active truly believing member (and I believe my perception of church revelation was very typical) I wholeheartedly believed that Jesus Christ Himself had occasional but rare physical visits with the prophet of the church. That Christ spoke directly on more regular occasions to His Mormon prophets…like a man speaks to a friend verbally…that it was both a physical as well as a spiritual event. That in addition to these special rare physical-audible communications, Jesus would communicate through the spirit the hard way…where the prophet would have to work it out in their mind…seek confirmation etc.

I mean come on, how else do you explain the scriptures where Christ’s dictations are quoted verbatim by His so called prophets in the Book of Mormon, D&C etc.

And since we were taught that God continues to communicate with his servants the prophets…why would God communicate one way with Joseph Smith and some other way with Gordon Hinckley?

But in reality, Hinckley admitted that the communication he received from his god…[yes I intended the small “g”] was not a physical communication… where he either saw or heard God’s voice, but the inner voice we all hear when we are trying to have a spiritual experience.

In an interview with Larry King, Hinckley opened the door a little to exactly how his revelation is received…note just how similar his revelation is to how an average member might receive an answer for help to a prayer to find their car keys:

KING: You are the prophet, right?

HINCKLEY: Right.

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

HINCKLEY: I think [WTF..You Think??? You're Not Sure???] he makes his will manifest, yes.

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

HINCKLEY: Yes, sir.

KING: How do you receive it?

HINCKLEY: Well, various ways. It isn't necessarily a voice heard. Impressions come. The building of this very building I think is an evidence of that.

There came an impression, a feeling, that we need to enlarge our facilities where we could hold our conferences. And it was a very bold measure. We had to tear down a big building here and put this building up at great cost.

But goodness sakes, what a wonderful thing it's proven to be. It is an answer to many, many needs. And I think [again he thinks???] it's the result of inspiration.

KING: And that came from something higher than you.

HINCKLEY: I think so. [OMG???]

So…Hinckley didn’t even know for sure if his decision to spend a billion dollars of tithing funds on the conference center came from his god or not. But he unconfidently stated that…He “think[s] so”… isn’t that reassuring…isn’t it wonderful…isn’t it marvelous…


But at least he helped dismiss the myth that God talks to Mormon prophets in any physical manner and for that I am thankful…it was one of the things that at the time gave me pause and help me awaken from my Mormon stupor.

Bishop Rick said...

cr@ig,

That's a pretty incredible transcript. Do you have the date of that interview or a URL?

Cr@ig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cr@ig said...

Here is the entire interview from CNN...dated 12-26-04
Click Here

I'm really amazed at how inarticulate Hinckley comes across...notwithstanding his age...his comments are short and very guarded...King has to keep asking questions after question to keep the interview going.

MH said...

Didn't you guys see the old movie "Windows of Heaven", where Lorenzo Snow receives a revelation about tithing, and it starts to rain?

I guess I've always considered those kind of revelations the norm, not the visions. Anyway, Pres Hinckley's interview isn't so eye-opening to me, as it is to you.

"We see through a glass darkly" is more often how revelation is.

Lilith said...

mh: "We see through a glass darkly" is more often how revelation is.

Maybe in the CoJCoLDS, where one looks through a seerstone darkly. True oracles are "lively" (Acts 7:38), but not always obeyed.

Elder Joseph said...

As for Pres Hinckley's interview , I'd say it was the blind leading the blind ....

Matt 15:14

tatabug said...

I've been checking in, but I haven't had time to comment, though I would like to. Maybe tomorrow.

MH said...

Lilith,

I'm not sure what you're referring to. What "lively" revelations have occurred between 100 AD and the present day, excepting Muhammed and Joseph Smith? Are you talking Jimmy Swaggart where God was going to kill him if he didn't raise enough money? What oracles are you speaking of?

Lilith said...

MH, the last lively oracle to occur was sometime before 130 AD when the second epistle of Peter was written by somebody (not Peter), and this was included in the NT canon. After that, the oracles fell silent, because we had the Bible.

tatabug said...

Here is what James E. Faust has said about continuing revelation: "In our lifetime we have been favored with ongoing communication from the heavens, which have been open to the prophets of our time. Major divine pronouncements have included what we now know as section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants, given in 1918. Surely one of the greatest divine disclosures came in 1978, when the blessings of the priesthood and temple became available to all worthy male members. Line upon line and precept upon precept, new knowledge and direction have been given to the Church.

"Thus, by revelation in our day the Seventies have been given an expanded role as members of Area Presidencies and in general Church administration, helping the First Presidency and the Twelve “in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations” (D&C 107:34). Many other divine instructions have also been received. Much revelation received, in this time as well as anciently, has been doctrinal. Some of it has been operational and tactical. Much of it is not spectacular....

"In our time God has revealed how to administer the Church with a membership of over nine million differently than when there were just six members of the Church. These differences include the use of modern technology, such as films, videos, computers, and satellite broadcasts, to teach and communicate new ways to conduct missionary work in various nations; the location and building of temples; and many others.

"This process of revelation comes to the Church very frequently. President Wilford Woodruff stated, “This power is in the bosom of Almighty God, and he imparts it to his servants the prophets as they stand in need of it day by day to build up Zion” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 56). This is necessary for the Church to fulfill its mission. Without it, we would fail."


Not all revelation is going to be huge and earth shattering. Most of the revelation received is mundane and has to do with just the everyday "steering the ship." Right now, the waters are calm and the weather is nice. But we have a "captain," so to speak, who is there to keep things running smoothly and efficiently, and when the storm clouds roll in, he's still there to keep us out of danger and lead us to safe harbors. (Sorry for the corny comparison. I guess I've been watching too much "Deadliest Catch.")

You stated that the church was 24 years behind the civil rights movement. My thought is that if the church is indeed led by inspired men of God, then societal trends and pressure would not be the determining factor for changing doctrine and practice. In this case, you would naturally see changes in church doctrine and practice as being either behind or ahead of the trends, but not necessarily in sync with them. That would be called "the Lord's timing."

But most people think that the church just gave in to social pressure without realizing that the pressure faced by the church regarding racism was much greater in the 60's, but was almost non-existent by and after 1974, so the argument that the revelation was one of convenience doesn't really hold water.

What I believe is significant for one to consider, is that throughout the history of the Church, black people who were members have been fellowshipped in white congregations and have attended Church services with them. In contrast, African-Americans were not welcome to participate with white congregations in many Protestant churches. They met separately and even formed separate ecclesiastical conventions.

Joseph Smith, in his bid for the presidency of the United States, took a strong stand for freeing the slaves. This was in distinct contrast to the position of other churches, which were pro-slavery.

So, in reality, the church has been ahead of the curve in some respects.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

No matter how you spin that, its not revelation. The LDS church is behind the rest of the Christian world in that respect (technology) so Faust is just spouting nonsense to excuse the lack of real revelation that has not existed since Joseph Smith. Even the polygamy and priesthood declarations are not revelation. They are declarations of doctrinal change.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to have an organization run my life, take what amounts to 20% of my take home pay and get 20+ hours of free labor from me on top of that, when the best they can do for me is have inspiration. I can do that myself and will benefit more directly.

Every LDS member should be Democratic (instead of the overwhelming majority being Republican) because they believe and live Hillary's doctrine of "it takes a village to raise a child".

Think about that one.

Cr@ig said...

Interesting that you should select that Faust quote to support your claim of Mormon revelation Tatabug….because in reality, it does exactly the opposite…it exposes the man-made nature of Mormonism.

Faust Said: Thus, by revelation in our day the Seventies have been given an expanded role as members of Area Presidencies and in general Church administration, helping the First Presidency and the Twelve “in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations”

Really? This is not what the historical record shows at all…in fact the evidence shows exactly what one would expect to find in a man-made church

The Mormon Church office of Seventy was established by Joseph Smith on 8 February 8, 1835. At the time it was “revealed by GOD Himself” cough cough..

“The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.

And they form a quorum, equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named. …

The Seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve or the traveling high council, in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews; The Twelve being sent out, holding the keys, to open the door by the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and first unto the Gentiles and then unto the Jews” (D&C 107:25–26, 34–35

So Mormon’s so-called God revealed the office of Seventy…as a quorum equal in authority to the Twelve…then in the 1930’s this office of men, equal in authority, was relegated to just a lowly weigh station office between Elder and High Priest in the church stakes for over 50 years…but this is exactly what we would expect to find happening in a man-made church.

But wait it gets better…in 1941, five “high priests” were called to assist the Twelve Apostles with their work, So This group of men were surely called as Seventies…since they were doing Seventies work, right? Ummm...Wrong…they were called as “Assistants to the Twelve”…but did exactly what the Seventy were told to do in God’s so-called revelation.

It wasn’t until the administration of Ezra Benson that the office of Seventy was reinstated with all its original power and authority….as commanded by Mormonism so-called god in 1835.

At the time of the reinstatement of the Seventy again as a “General Authority Office”, Eldon Tanner stated “With this move, the three governing quorums of the Church defined by the revelations—the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the First Quorum of the Seventy—have been set in their places as revealed by the Lord.

So I have to ask the question…if the Seventy was in fact revealed and commanded to exist by God as a church office equal to the twelve…why was the office eliminated for over 50 years to just a weigh station stake office…and if the Mormon Church does have some direct link with the creator of heaven and earth why did it take 50years for Him to communicate His displeasure at the Mormon church for disregarding His revelations and have the Seventy ... RE“set in their place as revealed by the Lord?”

There is only 2 posibilities and one logical answer…either Mormonism is a man made religion run by the whims of men and their claim to revelation is a bogus sham… OR These Men of God receive direct commands from their God…and then completely ignore Gods revealed words for years on end, administration after administration….and then years later decide to implement His commands…

Which option seems more logical to you?

MH said...

Lilith and friends,

I'm sure you probably won't be swayed by my arguments, but I just posted on an early heresy called Montanism. Briefly, Montanus lived in 170 AD in Turkey, and said there were no more revelations and miracles because of the worldliness of the early church. I compared him and his beliefs to Joseph Smith in my blog, and you might want more details there.

(I hope my embedded link works.)

Anyway, there is some evidence to support Joseph's contention that some early church doctrines were excluded by calling them heresies. Now, Montanus has some other beliefs that mormons would consider heretical such as women prophets, and Montanus had a convert who invented the term "trinity", but that's a topic for another time.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

With all due respect, this is Brother Zelph's blog.

Anonymous said...

"The reason the church had the policy, not doctrine, to not allow blacks have the priesthood was because the members were not ready."

Who wasn't ready? The white members or the black members?

Bishop Rick said...

good point anon. That "not ready" argument is weak and unfounded. I can't believe that a just God would let that many people die without the chance for exaltation (according to BY) yet all of sudden in 1978, anyone can be exalted. What a crock.

tatabug said...

BR,

Elder Faust never stated that the church was an innovator of modern technology, but rather that the growth of the church from 6 to however many millions there are now, has necessitated changes in how the church administers its programs. Elder Faust also mentioned the building and location of temples, and "many others." He only gave us a small sampling of the types of things that revelatory guidance was needed for. Your supposition that he is just covering for the lack of "real revelation" is just speculation on your part. Real revelation doesn't have to be big to be considered revelation. Anyway, I'd say that organizing millions of people (mostly unpaid), to run such a huge organization as smoothly as it is run could certainly qualify as big revelation.

The declarations regarding polygamy and priesthood may only be declarations, but that doesn't mean that the actions themselves did not come through direct revelation. In fact, there is supporting evidence to indicate that these changes were brought about through revelatory means.

Anyway, where are you getting the 20% of your income figure? Last I checked, we were only supposed to pay 10%, plus fast offering, but fast offering doesn't amount to 10%, at least not for me.

You sound like my husband when you say that members of the church should be democrats. The only difference with his reasoning relates it to the whole consecration thing. He's sort of right, because consecration is in some ways similar to the welfare state envisioned by democrats. The problem comes because it is not administered properly. It more closely resembles Satan's plan than the Lord's plan.

And no, it doesn't take a village to raise a child, but it sure does help, and makes the journey much more enjoyable.

Cr@ig,

As originally constituted by Joseph Smith, the Seventy were Elders ordained to the office of the Seventy. In 1937, it was discovered that 5 High Priests were ordained to the Seventy, so the council was reorganized using only priesthood members who were seventies. In Nauvoo, a decision was made to ordain all Elders under the age of 35 to the office of Seventy. So I'm not sure how you've relegated the position of Seventy in the 1930's to a "lowly weigh station office between Elder and High Priest" when it appears that it was that way from the beginning. It wasn't until David O. McKay came along that the Seventy were given the authority of High Priest.

The changes in the Seventy throughout the history of the church seem to have come as a result of changing circumstances related to growth in membership as well as geographical factors. For geographical reasons in the earlier years, it bacame difficult for the quorums to ever even meet, so changes were made so that it functioned at a stake level. I don't see how that makes the church a man-made organization, simply because it changes some things to better meet its needs and function more efficiently.

Regarding the Assistants to the Twelve, it seems that this distinct calling was given as opposed to the office of Seventy because this office was specifically to be filled by High Priests, not Elders who were the only ones ordained as Seventies. It wasn't until later that David O. Mckay made the change which called for High Priests to be ordained to the office of Seventy, upon which the First Council of the Seventy was formed.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

Replicating the same small business in thousands of sites does not take revelation. McDonalds, Wendy's, Starbucks, etc., etc. have done and still do it. Not a new concept. Its just a business...like the LDS church.

I said 20% of one's take home pay.

Let's use the following numbers as an example:

Joe makes $100,000 per year.
Taxes take out 30% of his salary.
Insurance takes another 7%.
He puts 6% into a 401K plan.
And finally puts 7% into a Stock Purchase plan.

He takes home $50,000 per year and pays $10,000 in tithing.

That's 20% of his take-home pay and that doesn't even include Fast offering, Perpetual Education Fund, Missionary Fund, Friends of Scouting, Other.

This poor guy only has $35,000 per year to live off of, and he makes $100,000.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

I'm glad you have ben kept busy and haven't had time to focus on my comment :)

You can make work hard for me.

Though I have to comment on the blacks thing.

The church has taught for over 150 years that the blacks are the less valiants , thats why they are cursed with a black skin, thats why they are slaves and meant to be .Brigham Young called it a divine institution not to be abolished.
Apostle Mark Peterson taught that Blacks could go to CK as servants only .

This belief of less valiancy ( cowards)is the real reason their was a ban on them having The Priesthood( probably started by Brigham Young).

Why would God put a ban on blacks entering his Temple ( assuming LDS is true) for the tragic , ridiculous and erroneus mistakes of the White Mormon Leadership ?

Unless you believe they really are the less valiants ?

If the church believes these LDS leaders were mistaken and just voicing their opinions, then how come God was following there fallible opinions also by keeping Blacks banned from the temple instead of putting them right in the beginning.

Now the ban is lifted , it seems that the less valiancy thing has subsided/gone with it too.

The older ward members here still believe in the Less valiancy thing .They know what they were taught and some are still shocked by the 1978 revelation.
One told me that she would have never dreamt of such a posibility.

Its evident from Gordon Hinckley's talk in one General conference that some white members still begrudge the 1978 revelation.

And it will be the same in 100 years time when members will find it hard to believe the church started off with books they longer use ! ( BofM, D&C, POGP) :)

Cr@ig said...

Tatabug, Perhaps you cut and pasted your statements from somewhere so I’ll give you some room to distance yourself from it…but you said As originally constituted by Joseph Smith, the Seventy were Elders ordained to the office of the Seventy It is true that the first man called to serve as a seventy had been an elder previously, “Elder” Joseph Young, Brigham’s brother, but historically, the Seventy was a quorum equal in authority to the Twelve [see D&C 107].

“Elder Joseph Young was called as the first president of that General Authority quorum. When the Mormon’s left Nauvoo, there were 35quorums of the Seventy and this number increased to 146 by 1904.

It is clear that these were general Church quorums and not stake quorums becasue Joseph Young was sustained as President of the Seventy and as a General Authority in 1838. the office of Seventy rapidly expanded, in part because of a decision that all elders under the age of thirty-five become seventies. [as you have pointed out] To provide leadership for the newly established quorums, the sixty-three members of the First Quorum who were not in its presidency were divided into nine presidencies of seven and assigned to preside over the next nine quorums. The seven presidents who remained in the First Quorum presided over all seventies. These men were designated the First Council of the Seventy and were sustained as General Authorities of the Church in 1838 ((HC 2:418).

In the 1930’s they were relegated to just a mere stake position and demoted from "General Authority" status because God’s Prophets…didn’t know exactly what to do with the office. this began a 50 year period when God's one and only true church wasn't being run as Joseph or God had intended.

But this is exactly what one would expect to find in a man-made church.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the Seventy were restored to their original intended power or purpose…that being a “General Authority” quorum.

Tatabug I don’t expect you to admit to the historical record…I know that active Mormon’s see revelation in the thousands of doctrinal and structural changes that Mormonism has undergone…but each and every change can be simply explained away as the whims and fancies of old men…there is NOTHING that you can point to within Mormonism where you can say…”Look this was a Revelation from the God of all creation”.

There is not a prophecy, a translation, a book, a structural change or edict from the pulpit that can be pointed to as a Revelation. NOTHING. EVERYTHING in Mormonism can be explained away as being man-made. And when one looks skeptically and critically at the historical record…the evidence is blaringly obvious that Mormonism is a man-made religion.

You have confirmed this when you pointed out that “…In 1937, it was discovered that 5 High Priests were ordained to the Seventy, so the council was reorganized using only priesthood members who were seventies” WTF??? In 1937 it was Discovered? HELLO!!! This is what a man made organization would do….they discover mistakes and correct and change them. This is what Mormonism does…it EVOLVES.

Thanks for pointing this out, you have merely confirmed my premises that the Mormon Seventy are the abused step child of the Mormon Priesthood, they seem to be kicked around being molded, adapted and changed to suit the need and whim of whom ever seems to be in power.

For years no one ever knew exactly what to do with them…. Then whammy…in the 1970’s they were restored to their rightful place…revelation? I think not. Just the first presidency having a light go off…saying…”Holy crap! We’ve been doing this wrong for over 50 years…we better right this wrong before someone discovers that we’ve been running this church different than “God” commanded us to back in 1835…Ah hey I have an idea…let’s call it a …Ummm…. “Revelation”…yeah that’s the ticket…then everyone will just think that God actually talks to us…we'll have something cool to tell the sheeple… I just hope no one is aware of the historical record…Ah shucks…No one reads that crap anyway…so no worries…. We can pull this off… Yup a Revelation it is.

Tatabud Said: “The changes in the Seventy throughout the history of the church seem to have come as a result of changing circumstances related to growth in membership as well as geographical factors. For geographical reasons in the earlier years, it became difficult for the quorums to ever even meet, so changes were made so that it functioned at a stake level.

Well first off, I give you credit for acknowledging that YES the purpose of the Seventy has changed and evolved over the years…cudo’s for that Tatabug…BUT, GOD himself dictated directly to Joseph’s ear that “…every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other.”
and if all of the members of the quorum couldn’t get together due to travel restrictions…due to as you say “geographical reasons in the early years” then …
“A majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise” so the super wise Mormon God foresaw that possibility…but Mormon leaders STILL ignored Him and did other wise… using the Seventy as the Paper Weight of the Mormon Priesthood. So sorry once again that argument doesn’t fly.


OMG , Tatabug and then you go on and say: “Regarding the Assistants to the Twelve, it seems that this distinct calling was given as opposed to the office of Seventy because this office was specifically to be filled by High Priests, not Elders who were “the only” ones ordained as Seventies”
Do you enjoy serving me up these easy lopers that I can hit out of the park? This is too easy.
First off…the very first modern member of the quorum of the Seventy, once it was restored its rightful place, were former “Assistants to the Twelve” and the mere fact that this body of assistance were only High Priests confirms my argument that the church didn’t have any idea what to do with the Seventy once it had been relegated to a lowly stake calling. But then you continue by suggesting that… “Elders… are the ONLY ones ordained as Seventies”…this may come as a surprise to “Seventies” Marlin Jenson and Earl Tingley, both High Priests before they were ordained Seventies..so your assertion just doesn’t wash.

Oh but wait…I forgot that David Mckay made the CHANGE which called for High Priests to be ordained to the office of Seventy, upon which the First Council of the Seventy was formed. So was that a revelation too? Or was that merely a restoration of the restoration?

Elder Joseph said...

tata

you said

"But most people think that the church just gave in to social pressure without realizing that the pressure faced by the church regarding racism was much greater in the 60's, but was almost non-existent by and after 1974, so the argument that the revelation was one of convenience doesn't really hold water."

Old habits die hard in the Mormon church.The church likley thought the civil rights thing might die out eventually ( after all the LDS church was guided by God himself ).

Seeing that it was here to stay they had little choice as BYU was being singled out as linked to this Apartheid system of priesthood and also in Brazil membership was increasing and many Brazilians had black blood ancestory in them.It couldn't continue for practical reasons.

The church being in the Latter days probably thought Jesus would have returned prior to having to give in on blacks.Brigham Young actually taught this.

It was the same with Polygamy , The early LDS did not give in under the peak of severe persecution thinking God would protect them , but when they realised that Society's view was here to stay and Statehood for Utah was under threat then Joseph Fielding Smith finally clamped down some 12 years after Woodruffs maifesto/declaration which the church apostles generally ignored.

PS I just know you will have something to say :)

I really wish I could have met someone in my ward like yourself.My Bishop should be ashamed of himself in comparison .His effort was non existent and instead resorted to telling me to read the book of mormon again and try and get a feeling for it!

tatabug said...

Oh Cr@ig, you are just too smart for me. How could I have been such an idiot for so long? How could I have not realized that because changes have been made to church practice and doctrine, then the leaders of the church can't possibly be receiving revelation? How could I not have seen that they were just using the word revelation to cover-up all those changes? Why, all this time I thought revelation was meant to reveal something new or to make changes to an existing doctrine or practice as circumstances warranted, but I should have realized that revelation isn't that at all. What it really means is that things stay the same and nothing changes. Thanks so much for enlightening me.

Please forgive me. I didn't cut and paste anything. That was just my own stupid interpretation of what I had researched. Nonetheless, I shall distance myself from it, as you have now opened my eyes to the light of truth.

Thank you so much for your humble way of trying to direct me down the right path. I actually don't deserve your patience and generosity, but nonetheless you have been so gracious and merciful to me.

tatabug said...

EJ,

I'll get back to you later.

Cr@ig said...

Tatabug...

OK Girl, You made me laugh... I was abit over the top with my post but Mormonism does that to me.

Great response...and very disarming; I know that nothing I ever post will crack you're firm testimony...but I do enjoy the joust.

Thanks for being a good sport to my punches... Oh No...I hope I don't gain too much respect for you...that might spoil all my evil plans...

MH said...

Sorry, Bishop Rick. I was trying to expand the conversation, but it seems y'all are stuck between 1830 and 1978. There are other relevant points to revelation, but my comments are obviously unwelcome. I see the groupies only want to rehash the same old points ad nauseum.

With all due respect of course....

Brother Zelph said...

MH- Your comments are certainly welcome as sometimes I feel guilty that people like Tata and yourself are ganged up on and out-numbered.

I appreciate your insights as you have done a lot of research on early Christianity. I might not come to the same conclusion, but still like the input.

tatabug said...

Cr@ig,

Hee Hee....Wasn't quite sure how you would take that, but anyway, now maybe we can get along better and have some fun "jousting."

MH,

Pulleeeaaase don't leave me here alone (sob, sob, sob)! I just can't do this alone anymore (sob, sob, sob).

But in all seriousness, try not to let the "groupies" get to you. It takes a while for BR to warm up to newbies of the LDS persuasion. He was brutal to Russell almost a year ago...tried to run him off I think, but he came around and realized he was being too hard on him. BR was actually being very civil to you, albeit a little too territorial, protecting Zelph's blog and all. (Down boy! ;)

Anyway, hang in there. You may find that eventually it just isn't working out for you here, but just don't give up too soon.

EJ and others,

Okay. Either the church leadership caved into pressure with the whole priesthood/race thing, or "old habits die hard." Which is it? I just don't see how you can have it both ways.

It seems that no matter when the church made the change, it can't win with the critics. And then, it gets no credit for the fact that the church, from the beginning, was very much ahead of societal trends with the FACT that all blacks were allowed baptism and membership in the church, and allowed to integrate within its white congregations. Why is that?

Here is what Billy Graham said in response to Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech in 1963: "Only when Christ comes again will little white children of Alabama walk hand in hand with little black children."

And here is what Martin Luther King said in his "The Pharisee and Publican" sermon to the Ebeneezer Baptist Church: "So often Negroes in Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia and other places have been taken to that tree that bears strange fruit. And do you know that the folk lynching them are often big deacons in the Baptist churches and stewards in the Methodist churches feeling that by killing and murdering and lynching another human being they are doing the will of Almighty God? The most vicious oppressors of the Negro today are probably in church."

I don't believe that the LDS church has ever been accused of lynching or killing black people because of racist attitudes. But yet the church is roundly criticized simply because of denying the priesthood to blacks and for buying in to some of the prevailing attitudes of the time regarding the situation of black people. It doesn't seem to matter that the church taught that black people had the same opportunity for salvation as anyone else, when most other religions didn't hold that same belief.

Here is some interesting statistical information regarding other religions, ranging from the 1800's to the 1990's:

Virtually all Protestant denominations have separate Negro churches, and thus the areas of association for religious purposes have been very small.

By the 1830's most southern evangelicals had thoroughly repudiated a heritage that valued blacks as fellow church members.

The black Methodist church, created not from a desire to be separate but from a desire to worship without discrimination at the hands of white brethren, was to become the most enduring legacy of Methodism's refusal to accord the black communicant all of the rights and privileges of membership in the body of Christ.

After the war the southern churches, continuing the legacy of slavery, were among the first institutions to call for the separation of the races; by the twentieth century they had become bastions of segregation. With no desire to intrude into places where they were not welcome, most black Southerners were more comfortable in their own congregations.

By November 1968 a survey research by the Home Mission Board revealed that only eleven percent of Southern Baptist churches would admit African-Americans.

The most extensive research on integration was undertaken jointly by the United Lutherans, Congregational Christians, and Presbyterians (U.S.A.). They found that 1,331 out of 13,597 predominantly white churches have nonwhite members or attenders. That is just short of 10 per cent.

Still in 1964, no more than 10 per cent of the white Protestant congregations had Negroes worshiping with them. Even these 10 per cent had only a few members or occasional attenders, so that throughout the US probably no more than 1 per cent of all Negroes worshiped in integrated congregations on Sunday mornings.

According to the 1998 National Congregations Study, about 90 percent of American congregations are made up at least 90 percent of people of the same race.

About eighty percent of all black Christians are in seven major denominations.

In 1977, the American Baptist Churches in the USA had a larger number of blacks than any other non-black denomination… An interesting irony of the racial overtones still prevalent is that the American Baptist Churches of the South are now predominately a black sub-convention of the American Baptist Churches in the USA. There has been little white involvement since the influx of black Baptists.


(From an article on FAIRLDS.org, Lamanites, the Seed of Cain, and Polygamy
by Juliann Reynolds. The quotes themselves come from non-LDS sources.)

Here's a quote from Forrest G. Wood. The Arrogance of Faith: Christianity and Race in America from the Colonial Era to the Twentieth Century (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), 318.:

This interpretation of Noah's curse was no southern invention; indeed, it had been in circulation long before the discovery of America. Even so, it proved especially useful to white masters of the South because they had been put on the defensive by the powerful emancipationist movement.

The story of Noah's Curse was so ingrained into the orthodox Protestant mind that it was sometimes invoked far from the pulpit. Speaking before the Mississippi Democratic State Convention in 1859, none other than Jefferson Davis defended chattel slavery and the foreign slave trade by alluding to the "importation of the race of Ham" as a fulfillment of its destiny to be "servant of servants."


The church also doesn't get credit for quotes such as these:

"If the Government of the United States, in Congress assembled, had the right to pass an anti-polygamy bill, they had also the right to pass a law that slaves should not be abused as they have been; they had also a right to make a law that negroes should be used like human beings, and not worse than dumb brutes. For their abuse of that race, the whites will be cursed, unless they repent." --Brigham Young

"They came into the world slaves, mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by the powers of his own mind to his exalted state of respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine off many of those they brush and wait on." --Joseph Smith


Once, as the Mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois he (Joseph Smith) was told of a black man in Nauvoo named Anthony who had sold liquor on Sunday; which was a violation of the Nauvoo City Code. Mormon writer Mary Frost Adams tells us what happened:

"While he was acting as mayor of the city, a colored man named Anthony was arrested for selling liquor on Sunday, contrary to law. He pleaded that the reason he had done so was that he might raise the money to purchase the liberty of a dear child held as a slave in a Southern State. He had been able to purchase the liberty of himself and his wife and now wished to bring his little child to their new home. Joseph said, 'I am sorry, Anthony, but the law must be observed and we will have to impose a fine.' The next day Brother Joseph presented Anthony with a fine horse, directing him to sell it, and use the money obtained for the purchase of the child." (Young Woman's Journal, p.538)

The horse was Joseph's prized white stallion, and was worth about $500; a huge sum at the time. With the money from the sale, Anthony was able to purchase his child out of slavery.


What a nasty con man that Joseph was.

"Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave States, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame.

Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress.

Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for 'an hour of virtuous liberty on earth is worth a whole eternity of bondage.'" --Joseph Smith


"We feel it to be our duty to define our position in relation to the subject of slavery. There are several in the Valley of the Salt Lake from the Southern States, who have their slaves with them. There is no law in Utah to authorize slavery, neither any to prohibit it. If the slave is disposed to leave his master, no power exist there, either legal or moral, that will prevent him. But if the slave chooses to remain with his master, none are allowed to interfere between the master and the slave. All the slaves that are there appear to be perfectly contented and satisfied.

When a man in the Southern states embraces our faith, the Church says to him, if your slaves wish to remain with you, and to go with you, put them not away; but if they choose to leave you, or are not satisfied to remain with you, it is for you to sell them, or let them go free, as your own conscience may direct you. The Church, on this point, assumes not the responsibility to direct. The laws of the land recognize slavery, we do not wish to oppose the laws of the country. If there is sin in selling a slave, let the individual who sells him bear that sin, and not the Church. Wisdom and prudence dictate to us, this position, and we trust our position will henceforth be understood.

Our counsel to all our ministers in the North and South is; to avoid contention upon the subject, and to oppose no institution which the laws of the country authorize; but to labor to bring men into the Church and Kingdom of God, and and teach them to do right, and honor their God in His creatures." --Orson Hyde


Now I'm not giving all of this as justification for any wrong actions or opinions held by leaders of the early church, but as a means of pointing out that even though the church has been perceived as being behind in the civil rights movement, they really weren't if you look at their contemporaries as well as the mainstream.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

I like your input, it is just that your last post seemed to not be a thread jack, but a blog jack, and it also seemed as if you were determining the topics to be discussed when that should be left to Zelph.

Just rubbed me wrong is all.

Anonymous said...

tata,

I couldn't tell if yours was a comment or a publication of your thesis......

But, your comment:

"It doesn't seem to matter that the church taught that black people had the same opportunity for salvation as anyone else, when most other religions didn't hold that same belief".

So.....most other religions don't give black people the opportunity for salvation?!? Ridiculous......

That is simply one of the most baseless conclusions I've ever read.

tatabug said...

Anonymous:

Here is my latest thesis. This is what I have. It is just cut and pasted for ease. Sources follow each quote:

Most nineteenth-century Latter-day Saints were raised in a world where all Black people were either slaves or illiterate poor. At the time there was much debate among American Christians in general as to how Blacks fit into God's overall plan as described in the Bible. Many theories abounded, with virtually all of them justifying, in one way or another, slavery or relegation of Blacks to the role of second-class citizens. There was even debate as to whether or not Blacks were human beings with souls that could receive salvation. (In contrast to this general Christian view, Joseph Smith declared rather progressively that yes, Blacks did have souls and could be saved.) This continued into the twentieth century.

http://en.fairmormon.org/index.php?title=Racist_statements_by_Church_leaders


To understand Dr. Wright's (Revered Jeremiah Wright of Obama fame) rhetoric and the reactions to it one has to explore the ways in which the white and black churches came into existence in this country. For the most part the white church in this country has roots in debating whether Black people even had souls...


http://thedailyvoice.com/voice/2008/03/jeremiah-wright-and-the-gospel-000332.php

Nashville publisher Buckner Payne, writing under the name of Ariel, argued that The Flood was divine punishment for human amalgamation with "beasts" and claimed that black people were not descended from Adam and Eve and were therefore not human. Instead they were part of pre-Adamic creation and, "like all beasts and cattle, they have no souls." See Ariel, "The Negro: What is his Ethnological Status? Is he the progeny of Ham? Is he a descendant of Adam and Eve? Has he a soul? Or is he a beast in God's nomenclature? What is his status as fixed by God in creation? What is his relation to the white race?" (Cincinnati, 1867) Ariel was probably a bit ahead of his time. Such views were still pretty much anathema to religious whites who nevertheless considered black people inferior. Robert A. Young, "The Negro A Reply to Ariel (Nashville, 1867) is one rebuttal.

http://www.h-net.org/~south/archives/threads/biblical.html

While other reviewers have been asked to analyze Kidd’s arguments regarding the seventeenth, eighteenth, and twentieth centuries, I want to focus on his claims regarding the nineteenth century and African American religion. In the nineteenth century, a series of religious and social anxieties troubled white Protestants. Slavery came under fire from abolitionist forces, while Darwinism challenged the core tenets of the Genesis account. Kidd traces an array of struggles between monogenists and polygenists on the one hand and pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces on the other. By and large, southern white Protestants claimed biblical sanction for slavery but refused the “heresy” of multiple creations. They wanted to have their Bible and their slaves so they turned to the Curse of Canaan, Noah’s utterance that the children of Canaan (read black) would serve the children of Japheth (read white). Following slavery’s demise and responding to Darwinian theories of evolution, many Protestants resurrected the idea of pre-Adamism, that humans had been created before Adam in the Genesis account. In this reading of the Bible, while there were people with minds and bodies before Adam, he and Eve were the first individuals endowed with immortal souls. Thus, they could have unique relationships with God unlike the pre-Adamite people. Quite easily, white supremacist theologians (who had earlier toyed with pre-Adamism) grabbed onto it and claimed that Adam was the first white person, and hence people of color had no souls.


Colin Kidd. The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 318 pp. ISBN 0521797292. Reviewed by Edward J. Blum for the Journal of Southern Religion.



http://jsr.fsu.edu/Volume10/Blum.htm



Humans as Property


American slavery was unique in another way; that is, how North American slave-owners resolved the age-old dilemma of all slave systems. Slaves are both persons and things----human beings and property. How do you treat a human being as both person and property? And what should take precedence, the human rights of the slave or the property rights of the master? American laws made clear that property was more sacred than people, and the property rights of masters overshadowed the human rights of slaves. Said Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the famous Dred Scott case of 1857, "Negroes were seen only as property; they were never thought of or spoken of except as property" and "(thus) were not intended by the framers of the Constitution to be accorded citizenship rights."


In order to transform people solely into property, you must minimize those qualities that make them human. Literature of the early nineteenth century began to portray "the negro" as a savage in even stronger terms than those that had been used for the Irish two centuries earlier. This was a major transformation in thought about who Africans were. Historian George Fredrickson states explicitly that "before 1830 open assertions of permanent black inferiority were exceedingly rare" (The Black Image in the White Mind, 1987). By mid-century, the ideology of "negro inferiority" dominated both popular and scholarly thought.


Science and the Justification for "Races"


What is so striking about the American experience in creating such an extreme conception of human differences was the role played by scientists and scholars in legitimizing the folk ideas. Scholarly writers began attempting to prove scientifically that "the Negro" was a different and lower kind of human being. The first published materials arguing from a scientific perspective that "negroes" were a separate species from white men appeared in the last decade of the eighteenth century. They argued that Negroes were either a product of degeneration from that first creation, or descendants of a separate creation altogether.


American intellectuals appropriated, and rigidified, the categories of human groups established by European scholars during the eighteenth century, but ignored Blumenbach's caution that human groups blend insensibly into one another, so that it is impossible to place precise boundaries around them.


When Dr. Samuel Morton in the 1830s initiated the field of craniometry, the first school of American anthropology, proponents of race ideology received the most powerful scientific support yet. Measuring the insides of crania collected from many populations, he offered "evidence" that the Negro had a smaller brain than whites, with Indians in-between. Morton is also famous for his involvement in a major scientific controversy over creation.


The very existence of a scientific debate over whether blacks and whites were products of a single creation, or of multiple creations, especially in a society dominated by Biblical explanations, seems anomalous. It indicates that the differences between "races" had been so magnified and exaggerated that popular consciousness had already widely accepted the idea of blacks being a different and inferior species of humans. Justice Taney's decision reflected this, declaring, "the negro is a different order of being." Thus slave-owners' rights to their "property" were upheld in law by appeal to the newly invented identity of peoples from Africa.


Scientists collaborated in confirming popular beliefs, and publications appeared on a regular basis providing the "proof" that comforted the white public. That some social leaders were conscious of their role in giving credibility to the invented myths is manifest in statements such as that found in the Charleston Medical Journal after Dr. Morton's death. It states, "We can only say that we of the South should consider him as our benefactor, for aiding most materially in giving to the negro his true position as an inferior race" (emphasis added). George Gliddon, co-editor of a famous scientific book Types of Mankind, (1854) which argued that Negroes were closer to apes than to humans and ranked all other groups between whites and Negroes, sent a copy of the book to a famous southern politician, saying that he was sure the south would appreciate the powerful support that this book gave for its "peculiar institution" (slavery). Like another famous tome (The Bell Curve, 1995) this was an 800-page book whose first edition sold out immediately; it went through nine other editions before the end of the century. What it said about the inferiority of blacks became widely known, even by those who could not read it.

http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-09.htm

Still sound ridiculous to you?

Oh, and just so we're clear, I never said that other religions currently hold that belief, but that they DID hold that belief.

tatabug said...

To all who look to science for the answers to life's most puzzling questions:

I found it very interesting, yea, almost funny that it was science, in all likelihood which gave rise to the notion that blacks didn't have souls, which in turn fueled racist attitudes. So much for the reliability and impartiality of science--yet again.

Anonymous said...

MH,

You said:
"Are you talking Jimmy Swaggart where God was going to kill him if he didn't raise enough money?"

That was Oral Roberts, not Jimmy Swaggart. ;)

And, in the family tradition, Oral's son and his wife are being investigated for misuse of ORU funds......

Jimmy was caught "ministering" to hookers on the Old Jefferson Hwy in Baton Rouge.

Don't get me started on Televangelists and other hustlers who practice their trade under the guise of Christianity.

Stan said...

Cr@ig,

What surprised me about Hinckley was a couple of interviews he did with print media.

Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don't Mormons believe that God was once a man?

A: I wouldn't say that. There was a little couplet coined, "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Now that's more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about (San Francisco Chronicle, April 13, 1997.)

and in the same year, during a Time Magazine interview he said he didn't know they teach it, didn't know they emphasize it, and didn't know much about it.

The Prophet, Seer, Revelator doesn't "know much" about the Doctrine?!!!

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

Zelph's original post was about revelation, but most of the recent comments are about racism. I was trying to bring it back to revelation. Anyway, I love Zelph's blog, and did not intend to blog jack or thread jack, but it seems that the comments often lead in mysterious paths.

Anonymous, thanks for the correction. I get the televangelists mixed up.

I'm not sure if we're talking racism or revelation anymore. Let me say that I do believe that many different denominations were guilty of racism, and racism goes back to the Book of Genesis. Unfortunately, mormons are guilty too.

While I understand that many on this blog question revelations that seem to be timed with social convenience, I just think that it is nice to look at other examples for reference. For example, while Catholics don't talk about revelations per se, we can look at Galileo and see how his heresy of the sun (not earth) being the center of the universe was quite a revelation. Cynical people can't understand why prophets/popes aren't ahead of the curve, as if they should be fortune tellers or something. I find this logic naive.

I think revelation/inspiration is much more complicated than that. Often, prophets have their own biases which blind their eyes. Abraham was a polygamist who sent a wife and son Ishmael to die, because they made fun of Isaac. Jonah hoped an entire village would be wiped out by God. Joshua actually commit genocide (a type of racism) against the city of Jericho. Where's the outrage over these acts?

You act as if Spencer Kimball, Lorenzo Snow, or Joseph Smith were the first prophets to have problems. Where's the condemnation of these fortune telling prophets Joshua, Jonah, and Abraham? Do you realize that in some cases, centuries passed without them proclaiming to have face-to-face visits with God? Frankly, only Moses, Muhammed, and Joseph Smith claim special visits. Prophets like Amos received revelation much more like Pres Hinckley describes on Larry King.

I just find that many of the comments here lack perspective. God is not so simple as you and I, and allows for much more complicated situations. These are not easily explained away, by either people like Tata and I, nor the rest of you "groupies". (And I use the term "groupies" in an endearing way.) :)

Cr@ig said...

Tatabug Said: “But yet the church is roundly criticized simply because of denying the priesthood to blacks and for buying in to some of the prevailing attitudes of the time regarding the situation of black people.”

Cr@ig’s Response: Where much is “claimed”, much is expected. The Mormon Church CLAIMS to have a direct link to The God of the universe. With this claim comes the put up or shut up requirement. The church is great at making the claim that it is the ONLY church with a direct link with God; but is very weak on the Put Up part. There is no sign of any Mormon leader having any special revelatory insight or inspiration that might separate him from his fellow mankind. During these historical periods when they were standing firm against the hurricane of societal change …as you said Tatabug…they merely reflected the “prevailing attitudes” of their time well past the time that society had come to the decision that change was necessary. Mormon’s leaders did exactly what one would expect to find in a manmade church…they reflected the “Prevailing Attitudes”.

In every situation where they had an opportunity to demonstrate that they did in fact have some special unique communication link…they ended up behind the civilization curve ball rather than out front leading…as one would expect from a church with special super human powers and communications links from the Creator of everything in existence.

Rather than leading, the church caved to public pressure and what is an even more telling red flag to the manmade nature of Mormonism, they were even behind the societal evolution of all the other churches that Mormon's claim are manmade.

However, on the other hand….IF Mormon’s leaders do in fact have some special communication link to God…it begs the question… What was God thinking? Why was 1890 (being generous) & 1978 the perfect times for these dramatic changes in Mormon doctrine rather than say, 1840 or 1950 or say 1940 for polygamy and 2025 for the black question? What was so special (if not public pressure) for those years when the changes did occur?

If Mormonism is God directed, then God has terrible timing…because it makes His doctrinal changes seem very convenient rather than….Ummm godly.

So to put this argument in perspective, Mormon’s all-knowing God’s has consistently picked the exact worst times in history to confirm His revelatory powers. Rather than demonstrate that Mormon’s Prophets are His Prophets by being out front on these issues, He has gone out of His way to cast doubt on their super power claim. The Mormon God has consistently picked the exact worse times in history not once, not twice but seemingly every time He reveals major changes to His church. In fact, by waiting until there is a public furor over Mormon doctrine before revealing His word, the Mormon God has chosen to speak to His anointed leaders EXACTLY when it would be least likely to demonstrate that Mormonism has some SPECIAL LINK to Him.

But hey you gotta love a God that punishes His children NOT on the purity of their heart but on the color of their skin and the actions of their forefathers.

Cr@ig said...

One more thought.

I predict that in oh say 25 to 50 years when anti discrimination laws towards woman and gays have been adopted by the country and when the Mormon church is facing yet another disinfranchisment and loss of its prized property and income stream...we will see yet another "Revealation" giving woman the priesthood...and Gays equal standing in the church....and dare I say eternal marriage.

If anything...the Mormon God is a realist...and knows when to to give up a good fight to His human children.

tatabug said...

Cr@ig,

I appreciate the tone of your comments. Right now, I only have time to comment briefly as I am preparing for family to visit from out of town, and as a result will not be able to respond comprehensively to anything until next week.

However, just briefly I would say that with regard to women and the priesthood, maybe it will someday be open to women, but I doubt it. And regarding gays, that will not ever happen.

Plural marriage was not a sin and the requirement to practice it was revoked due to the legal difficulties faced by the church because of it, and the subsequent revelation in which God would no longer require its practice in order to protect and allow the work of the church to continue unhindered. And then you have blacks and the priesthood. Many prophets (including BY) stated from the beginning that the time would come in which all worthy males, including blacks, would enjoy the priviledge of holding the priesthood. They just didn't know when that would be. But regarding gays, homosexuality in practice is a sin, and it always has been, which is why it will never be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

"Many prophets (including BY) stated from the beginning that the time would come in which all worthy males, including blacks, would enjoy the priviledge of holding the priesthood. They just didn't know when that would be."

Not so......BY said when Blacks would receive the priesthood:

"the Lord told Cain that he should not receive the blessings of the preisthood nor his seed, until the last of the posterity of Able had received the preisthood, until the redemtion of the earth."

tatabug said...

Anonymous,

Sigh....I was referring to time-frame, not circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Tata,

So...since Blacks have received the Priesthood, the redemption has occurred and the posterity of Abel has received the Priesthood?

tatabug said...

Anonymous,

That is something I don't know. Assuming that is the reason for the ban in the first place, then I guess we can say yes, but as far as I know, no prophets have gone so far as to say that that is the case.

MH said...

I would like to comment on Cr@ig's prophecy, "I predict that in oh say 25 to 50 years ...we will see yet another "Revealation" giving woman the priesthood...and Gays equal standing in the church....and dare I say eternal marriage."

I'm going to disagree with Tata on this one. I think that it is possible for women to get the priesthood. I see evidence that women, such as Mary Magdalene, were teachers in the early days; Montanus was accompanied by 2 prophetesses in the 2nd century, and I believe that if Joseph Smith had lived longer, there would have been some big differences with women and blacks holding the priesthood. D Michael Quinn goes into some more detail on this, so I wouldn't be too surprised on this.

As for the other part about gays having eternal marriage, I agree with Tata on that one. The Proclamation on the Family is not going to be reversed or rescinded. From an evolution point of view, homosexuality makes no sense to me, and I just don't see the church bending on that one, even if it means a loss of income as you so cynically stated.

One thing I don't get about readers of this blog: why you think a prophet is a fortune teller, or a genie, who knows all things? I don't think there is anything biblical to support this view. Certainly there are prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses who had miraculous things happen, but they are usually seperated by centuries. Sure there are exceptions like Elijah and Elisha, Moses and Joshua, but the fortune tellers just aren't there, and the usually aren't back-to-back. Do you really not understand how prophets work, or are you just trying to distort the picture to make prophets look ridiculous?

To hear you describe prophets makes them sound like they do card tricks, read crystal balls, and palm readings. While there are instances in the bible where prophets do miraculous things, I don't think this is the norm. Bible stories are written to emphasize the miraculous to build faith, but often it is simple shepherds like Amos who simply tell people to quit sinning.

Why do you act like it is normal to every single prophet to be psychic? I just find this whole notion immature, irrational, and not grounded in any sense of reality. You make them sound like Zeus, and if they don't act the way you expect, they must be human. What's wrong with being human?

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

Read 1st Nephi and then question where the fortune telling or consecutive prophets with great seer powers comes from.

Brother Zelph said...

MH- I see your point and I tend to agree with you that God could inspire prophets on the earth through various ways. However, you know as well as I do that we are led to believe in the church that the prophet gets direct revelation from Jesus like batman's red telephone line to commissioner Gordon. This is taught in the temple as part of the symbolism in the endowment.

I know I shouldn't put words in your mouth, so you can correct me if I am wrong, but would you agree with me that there exists cultural folklore about the manner in which the prophet receives revelation? I was always led to believe that the prophet on occasion saw Jesus in physical form but didn't say much about it because of the whole pearls before swine thing.

Maybe Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. Maybe he receives revelation from God. Maybe the manner in which he gets revelation is influence from the collective subconscious of society. Maybe he is not the only prophet on earth. Maybe the Pope also gets revelation to guide his flock. However, statements like proclaiming to be "the one true church" have serious implications.

Regarding women and the priesthood, I agree with you and Craig and it is clear from what I have read that although women never held priesthood leadership positions, women did heal the sick and afflicted under Joseph Smith using the priesthood. It is apparent from the journal entries that this was not some obscure thing, but that women performed blessings all the time.

Although, I don't see any reason for the church leaders to make any policy change on the fraternal nature of the priesthood, as I don't hear very many women complaining about it, and those that do are in the minority in the church.

Personally, I think the church has a small opportunity today to demonstrate that they can make policy changes without outside influences by giving the priesthood to women as a preemptive move. However, I doubt it. I believe that eventually due to a government sanction or due to some other outside influence the church will cave under pressure.

Anonymous said...

Tata,

Both conditions, "Abel and Restoration" are milestones, so you'd think the First Presidency would have, at least, issued a press release announcing it.

Cr@ig said...

MH Said: To hear you describe prophets makes them sound like they do card tricks, read crystal balls, and palm readings. While there are instances in the bible where prophets do miraculous things, I don't think this is the norm.

Cr@ig’s Response: Mormon’s so-called prophets are referred to as “Prophets, Seer’s and Revelators”. Referring to Mormonism OWN definitions I ask you does Tom Monson, Gordon Hinckley or any modern “ahh hum-throat clearing” prophet pass the test?

Let’s start with a Seer :
The fictional Book of Mormon character Ammon said regarding a seer:

“I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. …
“And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.
“And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

“But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known” (Mosiah 8:13, 15–17).

So…” a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come” Hmmm…yeah sounds a lot like a fortune teller to me but what has Hinckley or Monson foretold? Heck, Hinckley couldn’t even foretell that Hoffmann was both a forger and a murderer.

So you tell me…do either of these so called Seer’s possess this ability? If they do they sure haven’t shared their super human powers with anyone. But hey silly me…maybe it only works in the dark when no one is looking…oh ME of little faith.

What does it mean to be a prophet? :

The word prophet in the Greek language means “inspired teacher” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, 4 vols., New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992, 3:1164). In Hebrew, the word prophet means “one who announces or brings a message from God.” According to John Widtsoe:

Soooo…what message is God sending through Hinckley and Monson? Women, don’t wear more than 1 earring, don’t get a tattoo and men must always wear a white shirt to church…but more telling is what God is NOT telling His so-called Prophets. He doesn’t forewarn about floods, earthquakes, tidal waves…other than the mandatory semi-annual preparedness speeches.
But perhaps I’m being too harsh. Hinckley did ask every member to read the Book of Mormon within 1 year…so maybe that was God’s message.

And what about a revelator? :

Well isn’t that the debate of this thread? So I again throw out the challenge to Mormonism’s defenders. What have Hinckley or Monson revealed? …surely if they are in fact Revelators…they must have reveled something? Anything? But sadly I doubt the defenders can point to a single unique item that any of these so called revelators have revealed that we didn’t already know or haven’t already heard before?

God could save a lot of money if He merely put out a command with each subsequent holder of His Most High and Holy Super Human Prophethood…to tell church membership to simply rewind and listen to what my predecessor said…Nothings new to revel…Nothing to seer…Nothing to foretell…same old message as the last dude….and if you didn’t listen to him…what the hell, you’re damned anyway…oh and P.S. keep paying your tithing.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

Just a comment on this point , you said

"It doesn't seem to matter that the church taught that black people had the same opportunity for salvation as anyone else, when most other religions didn't hold that same belief".

The LDS church did not teach that blacks had the same opportunity. They taught that blacks were the less valiants and cursed as to the priesthood which would mean no eternal families and LDS exaltation.

LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954.

“IN SPITE OF ALL HE DID IN THE PRE-EXISTENT LIFE, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there AS A SERVANT, but he will get celestial glory.”

And really you shouldn’t compare the LDS church with OTHER religions of the time.
The LDS church claimed to be the ONLY TRUE church and with direct approval and revelation and guidance from God.
The facts show and you are acknowledging that they were either simply no different or no worse to the other churches of the time or even possibly a little better somehow ?

Yet Brigham taught that Slavery was not to be abolished and that it’s a divine Institution(JOD) .Evangelical William Wilberforce had already achieved Law in England 50 years EARLIER to outlaw slavery. He said it was inhumane ,Brigham said it was divine!

Apostle Mark Peterson was not ever ‘corrected’ for his statement above ? Because this is what the church was believing at the time and many still do today in our ward concerning the blacks. They are still shocked at the 1978 ‘revelation’ (codswallop) :) :)

That’s why Gordon Hinckley had to make this statement :

Gordon B. Hinckley ……. 176th Annual General Conference
"I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ, nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man, holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the Priesthood while another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible."


You are of a newer generation. In the future generations when woman have the priesthood they too, when challenged on the past will be trying to compare the inequality with say the Catholic Church at the time. This is how FAIRS and FARMS will handle that change.

Same with the Gays issue .The bible teaches that Liars will go to hell as well as gays , yet the LDS church has a well recorded track record of lying .So being a practicing gay is no worse than a practising liar in Gods eyes.

The church also has an article of faith which says we believe in being subject to kings ….. etc etc and sustaining the law ! So why were the early polygamists jailed ? Because they were breaking the Law. That Article Of Faith was another Joseph Smith lie. He never believed in sustaining the law.

MH said...

Zelph,

I don't see the red batman phone in the temple ceremony. Perhaps we can talk off-line--temple stuff is taboo for me, and I don't want to get into stuff I shouldn't, but I'm curious to hear where you think the red phone comes into play. I'll have to disagree here.

As for folklore about psychic prophets, yes I do think there is some of that in mormon culture, but it is WAY overblown on this blog. Mormons don't believe the exaggerated claims made here. Contributors here bring these claims to ridiculous levels.

My wife is perfectly happy without the priesthood. I'm definitely much more progressive on the topic than she is. I think my wife is pretty typical, and I know that I'm not typical in this regard.

Cr@ig, let's see if some of the biblical '“ahh hum-throat clearing” prophet pass the test?'

Let's see, did Obadiah translate any plates? How about Amos, Micah, Nahum, Zechariah? Oh yeah, these are obscure. What did Abraham translate? How about Noah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Malachi?

Well, it looks like they all failed the seer test.

On to the prophet test. Let's see. Just about every prophet told us to do better. Joshua had people nail some scriptures on their doorpost. Hmmm, don't modern prophets tell us to put inspiring messages in our homes.... Seems kind of dull, I guess we throw out Joshua. Amos told the leaders to take care of the poor. Hey, modern prophets do the same. Let's throw out Amos on 2 counts now. Hmmm, Isaiah told people to repent. Modern prophets do that too. I guess we throw out Isaiah.

On to the revelator test. Well, Isaiah did reveal things. We have his visions, but we disqualified him on the last test. So is Isaiah in or out now? Do you have to do all 3, or will just 1 criteria work?

Yep, come to think of it, not very many of the biblical prophets did all 3. I guess we just throw out the bible now. Most of them all too boring to be real prophets anyway. All this repentance, prayer, have faith, it's all too humdrum.

Instead, we need a prophet like Elijah. He commanded fire down from heaven to consume wet logs. Then he massacred 400 priests of Baal, because they couldn't do the same thing. That's a good thing to do. They don't believe in our God, let's massacre 'em. That's what a prophet should do, right?

Oh, and once we get the government back, let's command the queen Jezebel to be trampled to death under horses. That's the true sign of a prophet right? Forget forgiveness--we need revenge. After all, Jezebel led the Israeli king to go after false gods. Revenge is a much better message for a prophet. Forgiveness is for sissies.

We need more bat-phones for our prophet. If he's like a cartoon, then maybe we'll believe him. Because if we don't, we might end up like the priests of Baal.

Let's look at the false prophet, Jeremiah. After all, Isaiah said Jerusalem would be saved, and it was! 100 years later, Jeremiah said Jerusalem would be destroyed because of wickedness. We know Isaiah was a true prophet, because his prophecy was true. So Jeremiah must be a false prophet. Let's throw him in jail. Jeremiah is contradicting Isaiah, so obviously he's a false prophet. He has no visions, just the same old boring repent stuff....

These boring prophets just repeat stuff we already know. How boring..... I guess you're saying Monson should be more like a super-hero? I guess you're right.

Where is the perspective?

Cr@ig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cr@ig said...

MH Said: Let's see, did Obadiah translate any plates? How about Amos, Micah, Nahum, Zechariah? Oh yeah, these are obscure. What did Abraham translate? How about Noah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Malachi?

Well, it looks like they all failed the seer test.

Cr@ig’s Response: Well first off MH. I did use the fictional Book of Mormon character Ammon’s definition of Seer, so it would hardly be fair to hold so-called biblical prophets to the definition of a fictional character. But isn’t it interesting that NONE of the Biblical Prophets claimed the ability to translate. Only Joseph Smith’s fictional characters make this claim, which I assume Joseph used to bolster his own claim to super human translation powers… But I think we can all agree that his translation ability claims have been completely discredited…well at least with the non-reformed Egyptian language at least.

MH Said: On to the prophet test. Let's see. Just about every prophet told us to do better. Joshua had people nail some scriptures on their doorpost. Hmmm, don't modern prophets tell us to put inspiring messages in our homes.... Seems kind of dull, I guess we throw out Joshua. Amos told the leaders to take care of the poor. Hey, modern prophets do the same. Let's throw out Amos on 2 counts now. Hmmm, Isaiah told people to repent. Modern prophets do that too. I guess we throw out Isaiah.

Cr@ig’s Response: IF the prophet test is limited to those in our society who inspire and lift society to “Do Better”…I can list an entire list of individuals who have had a much greater impact than any of Mormon’s so-called prophets.
Buddha, Lincoln, Jefferson, Luther, Washington, Kennedy, Reagan, King, Gandhi, Mother Teresa & Neilson to name just a few. Seems like the prophet bar is set rather low for the Mormon’s when compared to the accomplishments of these great people. But of course none of these people would be considered prophets by a Mormon…cuz they never had Special Super Human Power’s conferred on them…despite doing super human things.


MH Said: On to the revelator test. Well, Isaiah did reveal things. We have his visions, but we disqualified him on the last test. So is Isaiah in or out now? Do you have to do all 3, or will just 1 criteria work?

Yep, come to think of it, not very many of the biblical prophets did all 3. I guess we just throw out the bible now. Most of them all too boring to be real prophets anyway. All this repentance, prayer, have faith, it's all too humdrum.

Right….

… where’s your perspective?

Cr@ig’s Response: You ask for Perspective? I’ll give you perspective… Mormon’s so called prophets have no more greater claim to translation powers, foretelling of future events, warning of catastrophe or inspiring good deeds than any other human being. In fact the only thing they have that I or you don’t…is an audience of about 3.5 million active Mormon’s who hang on every word that drops from their lips and give these word’s greater significance than those that you or I might utter…at least until their prophet dies…when their words become suspect and no longer hold power over future generations. Particularly, if their words are found to have been racist, wrong, controversial or just outright nutty. Then of course we all know that Mormon’s so-called prophets were only speaking as men and not as prophets…and on that point I am in complte agreement. They are just men.

Brother Zelph said...

MH- I understand the sensitivity and that is why I left it very vague. I will just leave it at that for now.

MH said...

Cr@ig,

You're missing my point entirely. My long rant was to show you how ridiculous your "throat-clearing prophet test" was. By your standards, nobody should be considered a prophet, unless they exhibit super-hero traits. I find this reasoning juvenile. However, I am open to a more reasonable definition of a prophet. Can you come up with a better criteria?

I agree that your definition could include the likes of Ghandi, Buddha, Washington, etc. I think your criteria is utterly ridiculous, and founded upon cartoon characters, not real life.

Could you let me know your background? Do you believe the Bible, or are you agnostic? It makes no sense for me to give you biblical arguments if you believe the Bible is junk. I think we're talking past each other, because I am making an assumption that you are a christian. If this is a false assumption, no wonder my arguments sound absurd to you. I'll adjust accordingly, when I better understand where you're coming from.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

Let's just sum it all up. Throughout the history of the LDS Church, said Church has made and continues to make incredible and ridiculous claims. It is only the modern Mormon that has taken to calling LDS prophets mere humans and excusing their folly.

This is a new thing that has come about as a result of the education of the LDS masses. More and more LDS are seeing through the nonsense and demanding explanations.

By your definition, we shouldn't refer to Hinkley, Monson et al as Prophets, Seers and Revelators. We should simply call them what they are...Presidents of the LDS Church.

On this point I would have to agree with you, because this is all they are...nothing more.

Heck, they aren't even called of God. They just happen to be the guy with the longest tenure as an Apostle, but don't worry, God will make sure the next in line will die before Monson if that Apostle is not supposed to be the next "Prophet".

The evidence that these men are not really Prophets became obvious when their statements and declarations had to be approved by the entire quorum to become representative of the Church...are you kidding me? If this isn't proof that God does not talk to Monson, Hinkley, etc. I don't know what is. Seems to me that if God told Monson to give the priesthood to women, it shouldn't have to be voted on, but since all these men know that God doesn't actually talk to the Prophets, thier actions makes sense.

I still remember Hinkley's response to his first big TV interview when he was asked if he was a Prophet of God. His response was "Well, 11 million people think that I am." I was still TBM at the time and that response struck me as very odd.

Nephi or even Samuel the Lamanite would have answered unequivicably in the affirmative, and taken the opportunity to testify in the name of the Lord. Not Hinckley. He thought the better route was to jokingly avoid the question altogether.

These men do not have any special power, authority or anything else. They are just men. They do not communicate with God (admittedly) and have gotten so old that their judgment can't even be trusted without going through correlation.

If their sole purpose is to continue to preach the same message as before -- the same message I get from my Elder's quorum instructor -- then let's call them what they really are...President, not Prophet, Seer and Revelator.

No one here is blowing things out of proportion. We all, at one time, believed these things because it is what the church teaches. To say that the claims made here are juvenile or ridiculous is disingenuous.

Either the LDS Church is the only TRUE church or it isn't. Either the president of the LDS church communicates with God in a way that only the head of the one true church can, or he doesn't. Either the claims made in the BoM are true or they aren't.

If you tell me that you are the head of the only true church of God on the face of the earth and that you are leading the restoration of all things in preparation to usher in the new millennium prior to judgment day, you better have a more convincing story than just getting impressions to build multi-billion dollar malls and buildings or just regurgitating the same stuff I heard from my Baptist minister. You better be getting information directly from God that cannot be gotten anywhere else, and you better claim that from the mountaintops...and no, I don't consider SLC the mountaintops.

Brother Zelph said...

MH- Regarding the mythologizing the prophets and apostles, I don't think I am blowing things out of proportion. Although admittedly, my comments are solely based on my own personal observation and not based on any kind of scientific research.

I agree with BR that the reasonable approach to the prophet and apostles is a new phenomenon simply due to the higher education of the masses. The magical supernatural view of what the prophet is might be juvenile, but that is what I was brought up to believe.

Although I admit that there is no way to disprove that they talk to God, so I will have to remain "agnostic" to the idea that they communicate with God. :)

However, I have come to believe that if we get inspiration from a deity, it is through our own intellect from studying as much as we can. The D&C even has a verse on studying it out in your mind first before praying about it.

MH said...

BR,

You have me mixed up with Cr@ig. When did I give a definition of a prophet? I never did. I just take great issue with comparing all prophets to the Incredible Hulk, Batman, or Superman. A prophet is not a superhero.

The mormon church has never claimed this--not Joseph Smith, not Brigham Young, not Thomas Monson. It was bloggers here who said that prophets had a bat-phone to God. This is a ridiculous notion, and I won't back off on it. Find me a quote in the Ensign, or any other church publication claiming mormon prophets have a crystal ball or bat-phone.

While I know that the brethren would like us to believe everything they say, and most of the "disillusioned" people on this blog have done just that, there are people like Hugh B Brown who take a more realistic approach.

“...while all members should respect, support, and heed the teachings of the authorities of the church, no one should accept a statement and base his or her testimony upon it, no matter who makes it, until he or she has, under mature examination, found it to be true and worthwhile; then one’s logical deductions may be confirmed by the spirit of revelation to his or her spirit, because real conversion must come from within” ((Hugh B. Brown, An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, ed. Edwin B. Firmage [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1999], 140).

Now, I find that most of the comments here are not made "under mature examination." Has anyone actually read the entire Bible here, cover to cover? Has anyone taken any serious study of the Bible? (I'm not talking seminary and institute classes--they're great for high school kids, but I would not call that "mature examination.")

Yes, I'm not the typical mormon. I don't believe every single word that is spoken is church was uttered by God himself, and I think that most of you would agree with that statement. Still, instead of attaching sinister motives to the church leaders as you do, I try to understand that they do make mistakes, just like the Bible prophets made mistakes. But I don't believe anyone here has any idea that bible prophets made mistakes, or false prophecies. You all think Joseph has a corner on the market for sin and prophecy.

How's this for a false prophecy in the Bible: Jonah prophecied in Jonah 3:4, "And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."

Well Nineveh wasn't overthrown, was it? What's your take on Jonah? Yes, there's that miraculous story of being swallowed by a fish, but he sure had some rotten attitudes about Nineveh. Jonah was as racist as they come. He wanted Nineveh destroyed. He refused to do God's will. He made a false prophecy. Is Jonah a false prophet? (Why do I ask these questions--I haven't had a single person make a single reference to the Bible. Has anybody got an opinion on Jonah? Am I up in the night? Do I misinterpret Bible passages?)

How about this one from the prophet Nathan? 2 Sam 7:16 "And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. 17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David."

David's kingdom barely survived his own life, and he lost it for a time to his son Absalom, who slept with David's concubines. Sure Solomon kept the thrown going, but forever? Certainly not.

So, we can now throw Nathan and Jonah out as false prophets, right? Does anyone have an opinion on any biblical passages I am citing? Does anyone actually read the Bible? Is the Bible not relevant to the discussion?

What is disingenuous to me is the fact that you all claim to know so much about how prophets act, but nobody has refuted a single bible reference I have made. Has anybody really studied Biblical prophets to see how ridiculous some of the things they did? Jeremiah walked naked through the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah gave his children bizarre names. Ezekiel and Revelations have some of the weirdest imagery. Am I the only one who has a problem with biblical prophets, and weird imagery?

Was Joshua a prophet? He has a book in the bible with this nice little gem: "choose you this day who ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Yet the same man who gave us this scripture, massacred the city of Jericho. Can I call Joshua a prophet, yet condemn the massacre? Most people will be uncomfortable to condemn a so-called prophet, but mature minds will accept the good scripture, and reject the bad massacre.

This is the kind of analysis I am asking you to do. But you want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Sure you'll quote this to me again. "It's either all true, or it's all false." I reject this stupid idea, and I don't really care who says it, whether or not it is spoken from the pulpit.

Brother Zelph said...

MH-

Regarding your comment about the intentions of the church leadership, I do not believe there are sinister motives behind what they do. They strike me as genuine and I believe they have a genuine concern for the well-being of the church and the members.

This might be interesting to bring into the conversation. On the mormon.com website, under the definition of prophet it says

"A person who has been called by and speaks for God. As a messenger of God, a prophet receives commandments, prophecies, and revelations from God. His responsibility is to make known God’s will and true character to mankind and to show the meaning of his dealings with them. A prophet denounces sin and foretells its consequences. He is a preacher of righteousness. On occasion, prophets may be inspired to foretell the future for the benefit of mankind. His primary responsibility, however, is to bear witness of Christ. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s prophet on earth today. Members of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators."

The Bible Dictionary defines a prophet as:

"The work of a Hebrew prophet was to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will. The message was usually prefaced with the words “Thus saith Jehovah.” He taught men about God’s character, showing the full meaning of his dealings with Israel in the past. It was therefore part of the prophetic office to preserve and edit the records of the nation’s history; and such historical books as Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Sam., 1 and 2 Kings were known by the Jews as the former Prophets. It was also the prophet’s duty to denounce sin and foretell its punishment, and to redress, so far as he could, both public and private wrongs. He was to be, above all, a preacher of righteousness. When the people had fallen away from a true faith in Jehovah, the prophets had to try to restore that faith and remove false views about the character of God and the nature of the Divine requirement. In certain cases prophets predicted future events, e.g., there are the very important prophecies announcing the coming of Messiah’s kingdom; but as a rule prophet was a forthteller rather than a foreteller. In a general sense a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost, as in Num. 11: 25-29; Rev. 19: 10."

The Bible Dictionary definition of a Seer:

"“A seer is a revelator and a prophet also” (Mosiah 8: 15-16), and when necessary he can use the Urim and Thummim or holy interpreters (Mosiah 8: 13; Mosiah 28: 16). There have been many seers in the history of God’s people on this earth, but not so many as there have been prophets. “A seer is greater than a prophet . . . and a gift which is greater can no man have . . . “ (Mosiah 8: 15-18). Joseph Smith is the great seer of the latter days. In addition, the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, and the Patriarch to the Church are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators"

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

I don't have you mixed up with Cr@ig. Your dissection of Cr@ig's description of a prophet in effect made your stance known.

What do you mean prophets are not superheros? Have you not heard of Captain Moroni?

Not sure why you are so pumped up about prophets not being superheros. You are the only one making that statement. The bat phone was merely suggested for effect. It was not meant literally. You can't honestly tell me that you were not taught that the prophets communicate directly with God the Father and with the Son. We have all been taught that right or wrong (actually wrong). If this is a ridiculous notion (which it is) it was put there by the church (again right or wrong). If you should take offense with anyone it should be with those within the LDS church that propogate this nonsense, not with people on this blog that were fed it.

Regarding the Bible, you have to remember that you are new to this blog. Go back and read all comments on all blog entries then you will see that the Bible has actually been discussed quite a bit on this blog. I for one agree with you that these OT prophets often contradict what we view as good honorable men defending the will of God. I am on record stating that I think the OT is a bunch of bunk.

And yes, I have read the Bible through. I have read the NT several times, but the OT only once and that was enough. I have read the BoM so many times I can't remember how many. The most recent was at GBH's request to read it within the year, 2 years ago. I would venture to guess most on this blog have read all/most of the scriptures as well. I'm not sure why you think otherwise. Seems a bit presumptive.

Lastly, I'm not sure why you put quotes around "It's either all true or it's all false." then attach my name to it. I never made that statement. That is not even an accurate paraphrase. That said, you should have said something to the effect of "IMO, this idea is stupid..." because that is all it is...just your opinion. I will cut you some slack here though as I am sure I have done the same thing in a fit of passion. In fact I'm positive I have...I think.

Brother Zelph said...

MH-

Just to give you a better understanding of where I and many others come from once disillusioned, there was a poll done on the NOM board and here are the results:

-Theist/Active in another church 7%

-Theist 25%

-Agnostic/Searching for another church 1%

-Agnostic/Don't want another church 48%

-Atheist 16%

Of course a poll on a NOM board is not scientific, and it has a very small sampling size, however, I think that it is a good targeted sample of the group of people that become disillusioned to Mormonism. Although admittedly people that go to other churches might not go to the NOM site for support. Regardless of that, according to the poll, 64% consider themselves agnostic or atheist. I believe the reason is once the wheels start rolling, you start to question everything. I am just trying to help you with a better sense of where I am coming from. I can't speak for other people here so I don't know where they would categorize themselves if one could be categorized.

tatabug said...

BR,

You said:

"It is only the modern Mormon that has taken to calling LDS prophets mere humans and excusing their folly."

Are you sure about that? Joseph Smith said that if the Saints expected perfection from him, he should expect it from them, but if they would bear with his infimities and the infirmities of the brethren, he would likewise bear with their infirmities.

On one occasion, the prophet dressed in the worst clothes he could find, got on a horse, and rode down to the Maid of Iowa just as it was emitting a whole load of converts from England. The first man that came up the row, he stopped. "Why are you here?" he inquired. "I have joined the Mormon church." "What do you know about Joseph Smith?" "I know that he is a prophet of God." "What if I told you I am Joseph Smith?"
If you are Joseph Smith, then I know you are a prophet of God." The prophet smiled, struck hands, and said, "I am the prophet, but I've dressed up in these rough clothes just so you'll understand that if you expect somebody other than a human, you might as well get right back on that boat and go back to England."

In a sermon preached a little over a month before he was martyred, he declared, "I never told you I was perfect--but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught."

According to Truman G. Madsen, "He spent his life, it seems, half trying to convince those people of little faith that God was indeed with him and with them, and the other half alerting them that a prophet is only a prophet when he is a prophet, which means when he is inspired of God. The rest of the time, he is a mere mortal, has opinions, makes mistakes, and generally speaking has to put his pants on one leg at a time like everyone else. It was difficult to strike a balance. Some thought him too human; some thought he was too prophetic."

MH said...

Here's a definition I think we can all agree on. It comes from Wikipedia, which I know is not authoritative, but I like it.

"The label 'prophet' can be extremely subjective; without exception, a person considered a 'true' prophet by some people is simultaneously considered a false prophet by some others."

I guess I didn't realize that most people here think the Bible is bunk. However, even if one has that assumption, it is instructive to compare Joseph and others to ancient prophets, and one will see that modern prophets are not so different than ancient ones. Of course, if you don't like ancient ones, you won't like modern ones either....

Finally, yes, there are prophets like Captain Moroni who did superhuman things, but there are others like Abinadi who simply burned at the stake, and probably looked very much like a loser. Yes, some prophets do act like superhereos, but many others do not. To try to say Tom Monson isn't a prophet because he's not a superhero is a false statement. He's more along the lines of a Zechariah, or Amos, or Obadiah. But I agree that the term prophet is highly subjective.

Prophets do sin, despite all of the myths to the contrary. Thanks Tata, for pointing out the human-ness of a prophet. I think far too many people lose sight of this fact. Intellectually, it makes sense, but emotionally, most people reject this idea.

Brother Zelph said...

Tata- Thank you for the reference. In a way, I feel it is unfortunate that my experience and observation has been based on an unrealistic view of the prophet. It was a view that was only set up for disappointment.

MH- I agree with you that the term "prophet" is subjective when you are talking about the general definition. I can't only speak on my own personal observation and personal experience. I can tell you unequivocally that in my own personal experience, I was led to believe that the prophet talks to God, more specifically Jesus, face to face on a somewhat regular basis in the holy of holies in the Salt Lake temple.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

I believe that when I was younger, my understanding of what a prophet is was probably a bit unrealistic as well. But my current understanding came as I read not only the words of latter-day prophets but also the accounts of Biblical prophets and found that they really are human and make mistakes. I came to understand that while we should be willing to accept and follow the prophet, we do not have to assume that every word uttered by a prophet is flawless. That is one reason that before their words become scripture, they must meet the approval of the quorum of the twelve and they must be voted on by the body of the church. It is the church's version of checks and balances, and I am very grateful for that protection. It helps prevent a fallen prophet from leading the entire church astray.

Cr@ig said...

HM ,Everything you ever wanted to know about me can be found HERE

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

you said of Joseph Smith (he said of himself)

" In a sermon preached a little over a month before he was martyred, he declared, "I never told you I was perfect--but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught."

First, how do we know he wasn't merely speaking as a man when he said that anyway ? Was that a Revelation or an Opinion of his ?


Since a prophet is only a prophet when speaking as such , How do we know which revelations he taught were speaking as a prophet and without error ?

David Whitmer quote :

"Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copyright, returning without any money."

So were any of his revelations really without error ?

Bishop Rick said...

If you want to call today's "prophets" mere humans that only get inspiration from higher sources, and thus should not be held to a higher standard than any other person, that's fine. But don't try to pull that line of thinking with JS. He is a man that claimed to see God and Jesus and angels on a regular basis. If that man can't live a damn near perfect life, then he is either a hopeless case destined for the T kingdom, or he is a liar. I guess he could be both giving a loose translation of the T kingdom.

In order to get a Temple Recommend, one has to be damn near perfect. JS would not be eligible today. Should I dismiss that simply because he was a mere human that just happened to see GOD, JESUS AND COUNTLESS ANGELS?

It amazes me that you can't see the redwood sticking out of your eye (IMO). That logic is just so flawed on so many levels (IMO) that it astounds me. You might say that it amazes and astounds me.

Tata, you probably live a far better life than JS did, and you have not seen any of these beings. My guess is that MH maybe not so much, but still probably better than JS, and I'm sure he hasn't seen God or Jesus or Angels either.

I know that if I had those experiences, I wouldn't be the idiot that JS was...drinking, smoking, destroying presses, taking peoples money...and I'm not even going to mention the adultery since you will dispute that.

I'm sorry, but "being human" does not excuse someone that had the privileges that JS supposedly had. That is one of the reasons why I know he was merely a liar.

Matt said...

We have a joke in the church. It goes like this: Catholics say that the pope is not fallible, but nobody believes it. Mormons say the the prophet is fallible, but nobody believes it.

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

Given your cartoon images of prophets, it is a waste of time to even try to argue with you. This is your story, and you're sticking to it.

Since nobody here even believes in any scripture, it is quite ironic that you are all experts on how prophets should act and behave.

Let me put it another way. Why do you care if anyone is called a prophet, since there is no such thing as a prophet (in your view) anyway?

It seems really silly to argue someone is not a prophet, when you don't believe in prophets. What's the point?

Call Joseph a liar, and be done with it. Why do you quibble over subjective definitions anyway? It's completely pointless in your non-prophetic world. We get it--you think Joseph is a liar. Revelation doesn't exist, and apparently never has. Titles should be meaningless to you.

Did I mischaracterize your position?

Oh, and thanks for your sterling judgment of my and Tata's spirituality. It's obvious you can nail anyone's character. All it takes is a few comments on a blog, and you've got them. I think you ASSUME too much. (How does that saying go?)

In all seriousness, I know we can all get pretty riled up here. I would really like to meet some of you, and really be able to understand you better. I'm sure we would all be surprised to actually meet each other. Comments on a blog are a window to each other, but there is a whole lot more to see.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

You need to take a chill pill. You are taking this way too serious. Let's discuss your points:

MH Said
"Given your cartoon images of prophets, it is a waste of time to even try to argue with you. This is your story, and you're sticking to it."

Dude, you are the one blowing this stuff out of proportion. No one here has a cartoon image of a prophet. My image of a prophet is exactly what I have received from LDS sources. I didn't even know what a prophet was before joining the LDS church. Again, take your perceived anger out on the source.

MH Said
"Since nobody here even believes in any scripture, it is quite ironic that you are all experts on how prophets should act and behave."

Making blanket statements like this does nothing for one's credibility. I personally believe the OT is bunk, for many of the reasons YOU brought up, but the jury is still out with me regarding the NT. Others here think the entire Bible is bunk while still others believe in the entire Bible. You really need to be careful what you say or no one will take you serious.

And again, in my case, my image of a prophet came from LDS sources which you obviously disagree with yourself. Not sure I see the conflict here. You are sending mixed messages.

MH Said
"Let me put it another way. Why do you care if anyone is called a prophet, since there is no such thing as a prophet (in your view) anyway?"

I never said there was no such thing as a prophet. (who is making assumptions here?) I just don't think there has ever been an LDS prophet.

MH Said
"Call Joseph a liar, and be done with it...We get it--you think Joseph is a liar. Revelation doesn't exist, and apparently never has."

There isn't a single person that comments regularly on this blog that doesn't know the position of all the other regular commentors, but by your logic, we should all just pack our bags and go home...since there is no point. I would suspect that all here are welcome to heed that advice.

MH Said
"Why do you quibble over subjective definitions anyway?"

The subject of this blog post is "Revelations in the LDS church" This entire subject is subjective. I don't think I'm out of line here.

MH Said
"Oh, and thanks for your sterling judgment of my and Tata's spirituality. It's obvious you can nail anyone's character. All it takes is a few comments on a blog, and you've got them. I think you ASSUME too much. (How does that saying go?)"

I suppose I could have said something like:

"With my limited knowledge of MH and Tata (only having a few blog comments to go by) my perception is that they..."

I instead chose to use the much more efficient word "probably" yet you still take offense. I think you need to stop for a few minutes and figure out just what it is that is getting you so riled up...and the ASSUME comment was uncalled for.

MH Said
"In all seriousness, I know we can all get pretty riled up here. I would really like to meet some of you, and really be able to understand you better. I'm sure we would all be surprised to actually meet each other. Comments on a blog are a window to each other, but there is a whole lot more to see."

I have no idea what to make of this since it is so out of character with the other recent comments. I don't know if all the other seemingly serious comments were not serious or if this one is not serious...no idea.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

I would like your take on the following since you avoided it in your last comment:

To receive a temple recommend, one has to answer questions in a way that testifies to them being pretty close to perfect. This is with your common, everyday mormon.

Joseph Smith, on the other hand, was known to ride his horse through town smoking a cigar. He owned and ran a bar. He drank alcohol himself and even drank the night before he was killed. He swindled people out of money thru bogus bank dealings and never repaid them. He had a printing press destroyed because it reported TRUTHs about him that he didn't want made public.

This is from a man that claimed to see God, Jesus and numerous angels on many different occasions.

Why do I have to be nie unto perfect to attend the temple, but JS gets a free ride after supposedly having a perfect knowledge of all things, and where the best I have to hope for is unfounded faith.

To TBMs, "prophets" (the men that we are taught have a perfect knowledge of all things) should get a free ride, where common members get no such luxury.

This makes absolutely no sense to me.

What is your take?

Brother Zelph said...

MH,

Why so combative? Maybe that isn't your intention, but that is how it is coming across. Maybe you are being playful? Or perhaps dead serious, it is difficult to tell.

If so, let me explain my position a little further. My disillusionment has let me to question everything, including the Bible and even Jesus. This doesn't mean I have made up my mind or that I have decided that it is all bunk.

Thomas S. Monson could be a prophet. How can I be sure he doesn't talk to God? I don't think it is very likely, but in the strict definition, I must remain agnostic to the idea that he is a prophet.

"Call Joseph a liar, and be done with it."

O.K. if you say so. Joseph Smith lied to his wife and to his followers about his polygamous relationships and denied publicly to his dying day his polygamy.

Does that mean he was not a prophet? Who knows. Joseph Smith could have been a prophet. I can not be sure he was not a prophet, so once again I must remain agnostic to the idea.

Although, for me it just comes down to what is more reasonable and more likely.

MH said...

Brother Zelph asked,

"Why so combative? Maybe that isn't your intention, but that is how it is coming across. Maybe you are being playful? Or perhaps dead serious, it is difficult to tell."

Look, I enjoy a good verbal joust, which this has certainly been. Yes, I'm playful, and dead serious, and I can understand why it is difficult to tell, because often my comments can and should be taken both ways. I honestly enjoy the give and take, and don't really mean to be so combative. I'm sorry if I've been a over the top with my comments.

Please remember, I am not the only one who is combative. I just went through the entire set of 106 comments that were posted previous to this comment, which is #107. There were 23 church-affirming comments (21.7%), there were 35 (33.0%) neutral comments (including deleted comments), and 48 (45.3%) comments critical of the LDS church. That's roughly a 2:1 ratio of negative-positive. (There were 15 people who posted, and I grouped all the anonymous posters together.) (And yes, I am a statistician.)

Why are my comments combative? Please read these below.

Zelph
I feel guilty that people like Tata and yourself are ganged up on and out-numbered.

Elder Joseph
No Revelation , No Prophetic qualities , No Seership and not even Discernment.....

showing them their religion could be a hoax.

Now he knows what tyrants Smith and Young and the rest of them really were

I believe Mormonism to be a massive Theological blunder and great erroneous mix up

I give No Credibility Whatsoever to any LDS leadership claims.

The real reason is that the Leaders didn't know what they were talking about.

is itself another example of leading the church members astray with this very false statement.

As for Pres Hinckley's interview , I'd say it was the blind leading the blind ....

yet the LDS church has a well recorded track record of lying .

So being a practicing gay is no worse than a practising liar in Gods eyes.

Lilith
After a few more decades of hiding their own doctrine like the crazy aunt in the celler,

I suppose Jesus has decided that the church is not ready for the doctrine of beating slaves to death and raping virgins.

where one looks through a seerstone darkly

Mormon lite
does that mean that the church leaders are just waiting until the members are ready to accept that the BoM is inspired fiction?

Cr@ig
One of my favorite non-revelations

Cave to Public Pressure??? Ahh…Ummm….No Never at all… No history of them ever caving to public pressure...sure its revelation...

But REVELATION had little to do with these changes…unless Jesus is more interested in human image management then maintaining His eternal principals.

it was one of the things that at the time gave me pause and help me awaken from my Mormon stupor.

I'm really amazed at how inarticulate Hinckley comes across
it exposes the man-made nature of Mormonism.

either Mormonism is a man made religion run by the whims of men and their claim to revelation is a bogus sham

WTF???

you have merely confirmed my premises that the Mormon Seventy are the abused step child

Mormon’s all-knowing God’s has consistently picked the exact worst times in history to confirm His revelatory powers.

If anything...the Mormon God is a realist...and knows when to to give up a good fight to His human children.

so it would hardly be fair to hold so-called biblical prophets to the definition of a fictional character.

Only Joseph Smith’s fictional characters make this claim, which I assume Joseph used to bolster his own claim to super human translation powers…

But I think we can all agree that his translation ability claims have been completely discredited…

Bishop Rick
No matter how you spin that, its not revelation.

What a crock.

Throughout the history of the LDS Church, said Church has made and continues to make incredible and ridiculous claims.

I am on record stating that I think the OT is a bunch of bunk.

If that man can't live a damn near perfect life, then he is either a hopeless case destined for the T kingdom, or he is a liar.

I wouldn't be the idiot that JS was...drinking, smoking, destroying presses, taking peoples money...and I'm not even going to mention the adultery since you will dispute that.

He swindled people out of money thru bogus bank dealings and never repaid them.

Anonymous
That is simply one of the most baseless conclusions I've ever read.

------------

Let me single out Bishop Rick and Cr@ig. In some of my previous comments, it appeared that my comments were directed at you, when they were really intended to be directed at others. My apologies. I should give better attribution, and will do so in the future.

Sorry for the tangent, but I thought it was important to address. And Bishop Rick, I'm not ducking your question. I'll answer it tomorrow, but I just spent about 2 hours on this post, and I really need to get to sleep. It's 2:30 AM, and I logged on because I couldn't sleep. (I think I breathed in too much fireworks smoke.) I really need to get to bed now. I hope y'all had a great 4th of July.

MH said...

Ok, now for my thesis.

Bishop Rick, let me answer your question. I’m going to paste your comments here, although in a different order, as it seems to make a little more sense for my response, and I have added numbers to address your points.

Why do I have to be nie unto perfect to attend the temple, but JS gets a free ride after supposedly having a perfect knowledge of all things, and where the best I have to hope for is unfounded faith.

(1) Joseph Smith, on the other hand, was known to ride his horse through town smoking a cigar. He owned and ran a bar. He drank alcohol himself and even drank the night before he was killed. (2) He swindled people out of money thru bogus bank dealings and never repaid them. (3) He had a printing press destroyed because it reported TRUTHs about him that he didn't want made public.

Now, regarding point (1), this deals with the Word of Wisdom. You seem to be comparing the Word of Wisdom to being perfect. Now, I understand that many TBM’s think alcohol is bad, but I don’t subscribe to that notion. I can give a litany of examples. Jesus drank wine (and was known as a “wine-bibber”). Medical studies have shown that wine in moderation has a positive effect on heart disease. The original sacrament was administered with wine.

Simply put, I don’t think wine-drinking (or beer drinking) is a sin. Of course, we all see the problems of drunk-driving. Alcoholism leads to cirrhosis of the liver. And many people have fallen into sexual sin as a result of consumption of alcohol.

This is a topic that is not so simple as your question implies. D&C 89 was given “To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint.” Why is it a temple recommend question now? Because in general conference 1851, Brigham Young proposed to the general conference of the Church that all members formally covenant to keep the Word of Wisdom. His proposal was unanimously sustained by the membership of the Church, and since that day the revelation has been a binding commandment on all Church members.

So, to apply this logic back to Joseph is to take section 89 out of the context of the time it was given. By that logic, we should apply it to Jesus, Moses, and others. Then we would have to disqualify Christ, and Moses. I find this logic faulty. So, the Word of Wisdom has nothing to do with receiving revelation. I know that many church members try to tie the Word of Wisdom together with revelation, but it is a fallacy to do so.

Once again, so why is it a temple recommend question? The Word of Wisdom is “adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints.” Now from a logical point of view, how does the church decide who is a “weak” saint? Do we wait until someone is a town drunk to advise them to stop drinking, or kills someone in a drunk driving accident, or falls into sexual sin? Institutionally, it is much easier to just completely forbid alcohol. That covers the weak saints, as well as the strong saints, and nobody commits sin. It’s sure much easier to prohibit everyone, than to, for example, try to make a judgment that Zelph and Cr@ig are strong saints, and can handle their liquor, but Bishop Rick, Tata, and Lilith are weak saints, and should avoid it altogether. Besides, it fits nicely into the whole “peculiar people” concept that the church is so proud of embracing. (I can already hear the “that’s not revelation” comments coming—and perhaps in your view it isn’t, but perhaps in the GA’s view it is. Maybe we should agree to disagree on this one.)

Point (2). “He swindled people out of money thru bogus bank dealings and never repaid them.”

I find this statement biased. In Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman takes great effort to show that Joseph and his parents were terrible with their money. They were not financial geniuses, by any stretch of the imagination, and made countless bad decisions. “Swindled” implies that Joseph’s intention was to take the money and run. Why can’t he just be a financially stupid? I don’t think Joseph had any desire to cheat his members out of their money. He was certainly not Warren Buffet, and I don’t think he was trying to manipulate markets like the Enron executives did. I think Joseph had a desire to make the desert bloom, but just didn’t have the financial knowledge to make it work. He certainly had no training as a banker. His bank is not the only one which has ever failed, and many did with much more expertise. It would have been nice for Joseph to put more capable men in charge of the bank, but can anyone tell me who that person would have been? They were all a bunch of farmers in his group back then, and I doubt any one of them would have done a better job at banking. Perhaps I’m minimizing the problem, but comments like “swindling” maximize the problem.

“(3) He had a printing press destroyed because it reported TRUTHs about him that he didn't want made public.”

Let’s look back at the period. Nauvoo was part of the frontier. There was plenty of vigilante justice on both the pro-mormon and anti-mormon camps. Mormon persecutions are well-documented. Do you think Joseph destroyed the press in a vacuum? Are you not aware of the persecutions of the time? Do you like biased truths told about you, to make you look worse than you really are?

Yes, the destruction of the printing press made a bad situation worse. But please remember, it was a bad situation already. Joseph is not a perfect saint, nor is he the vilest sinner. Plenty of true and false rumors were made about him. I’m sure you all would have handled the situation much better, as Bishop Rick said, “If that man can't live a damn near perfect life, then he is either a hopeless case destined for the T kingdom, or he is a liar.”

There is a fallacy in the church that if one is perfect (which is obviously impossible), then one is righteous enough to see God, or at least get wonderful revelations or scripture. But this has never been the case. The Apostle Paul helped organize the Apostle Stephen’s death, and then saw Jesus. Alma the Younger tried to tear down the church, and then had a vision. Peter denied Christ, then went on to lead the church. David wrote Psalms, while he was committing adultery, and murdering Uriah. (There is evidence he is involved in the deaths of Jonathan, Saul, Abner, Ishbaal, and others.) Moses killed an Egyptian. Nephi killed Laban. Paul said “it’s better to marry than to burn”, and “women should be silent in church.” Judas was one of Jesus’ closes friends.

This all begs the question, so why did God/Jesus talk to any of these people, if they were all such sinners? I don’t know. God is the only one with the answer. We can speculate, and denigrate all we want, but nobody here has the answer. Frankly, it seems that the people who had the most spectacular sins, had the most spectacular visions. It doesn’t make sense. But God’s ways are not man’s ways.

Man is inherently paradoxical (or hypocritical if you prefer that word.) Thomas Jefferson wrote “All men are created equal”, yet not only owned slaves, but fathered children by them. There were accusations during his presidential campaign, and current DNA technology has proved these accusations to be true. David became irate when Nathan came to him and told him the parable about the lambs, yet confessed to committing adultery with Bath-sheba and covering up the death of Uriah. Then he went on to write the Psalms. Oh, and Bishop Rick, your excluded one more paradox for Joseph Smith. Even though he received the Word of Wisdom, he encouraged the saints in Nauvoo to grow grapes for the purpose of making wine.

On my mission, I remember a teenage girl who bore her testimony about her wonderful temple experience of doing baptisms for the dead. Then a month later, the ward learned she was 3 months pregnant. Is it possible she really had a spiritual experience, despite the obvious fact that she was unworthy to attend the temple. Orthodox mormons (and many former TBM’s on this blog) would like to easily dismiss her as a liar and a fraud, but I think she did have a spiritual experience. I don’t believe that spiritual experiences/revelations are only available to the super-righteous, but can happen to so-called “vile” sinners as well. If super-righteousness was a prerequisite, we’d have no scriptures.

I encourage you (everyone) to dig a little deeper in your analysis. Don’t take all the words spoken over the pulpit as 100% true in all cases. I think that there is some real complexity in true spirituality. Many church members get caught up in simplistic judgments, and don’t really put them in the context. Some of you talk about being awakened from your “Mormon stupor”, and I congratulate you, but I also ask you to quit making the same snap judgments that led you into your “Mormon stupor” in the first place.

So my next comment is directed to all of the critics of Mormonism on this blog. When I say your (collectively as a group) arguments are juvenile, or immature, I guess I should have chosen a different word, such as simplistic, which isn’t so loaded. I just think that many on this blog have an axe to grind, and use words like “theological blunder”, “he is a liar”, “fictional characters”, “WTF???”, and other combative phrases that I take issue with. Yes, I should be a bigger man than I am, and should couch my words with more civility, but it sure doesn’t seem like anyone else gets censured here for inflammatory phrases, especially by those who are sympathetic to the critical view of mormonism. I apologize, and will try to be less confrontational in the future, and I encourage you all to clean up your phraseology as well.

Bishop Rick said...

OK, so let me get this straight.

Point 1
On the one hand, you have a Revelation from God that "recommends" you abstain from certain items due to health concerns.

On the other hand, you have someone that is "inspired" to take the earlier "revelation" and make...let's say...a revelation.

What we have here folks is a failure to communicate.

God tells JS to let the people know that they should abstain from stuff (like unto the law of moses which was done a away with I might add) but that it apparently does not apply to him...or anyone else for that matter. That begs the question, "Why was there a "revelation" in the first place?"

If God takes the time to tell you something, you would think it was pretty important...that is unless it was just made up to begin with.

Point 2
Swindled would seem too harsh a term if deception was not used to get people to place their money in the first place, but since we know deception was used (crate full of rocks covered with a thin layer of actual money) then I think swindle is in order. The old JS and his family were horrible with money argument just doesn't cut it, but rather points to a much deeper problem. The fact that they thought there was need for bank in the first place is alarming.

Point 3
I'm not even sure I picked up on a defense on this one other than times were rough (frontier rough) so its ok to break the law even though breaking the law goes directly against the articles of faith. No way around this one. JS broke the law whether he excused those actions in his own mind or not. That just goes to show the mindset of JS...that he was actually above the law. He was above revelations sent directly from God, he was above moral law concerning the Band fiasco, he was above the constitution of the U.S.. Not a good trend here.

Look, are there people on this blog with an ax to grind? Probably, but just because you find terms or phrases combative, does not make them untrue. If someone is a hypocrite (like JS and BY regarding the WoW) or is a liar (JS and polygamy) or a criminal (JS and the printing press) then seemingly combative or not, the truth is still the truth.

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

I spent many paragraphs shooting down the myth of super-righteousness = revelation, and then you focus on the minor points (Joseph's sins) and ignore the larger argument. Well, I tried to explain it to you, and I obviously failed. We've beaten this horse to death.

However, I'm very impressed with your self-control. If you were in Joseph's shoes, you would have ignored the constant death threats, the beatings, getting tarred and feathered, the atrocities at the Haun's Mill Massacre, and kept the freedom of the press, in spite of the desire of the publishers to see that Joseph was lynched.

Although participants in the Haun's Mill massacre boasted of their acts for years, none of the Missourian militiamen were ever brought to trial, and the Latter-day Saints' efforts at receiving justice in the Missouri courts failed. (Marquardt, H. Michael (2005), The Rise of Mormonism: 1816–1844)

It doesn't matter to you that the Illinois governor didn't keep his word to keep the mob of 200 away from Joseph who was safely behind bars in the Carthage jail. Five defendants—Thomas C. Sharp, Mark Aldrich, William N. Grover, Jacob C. Davis and Levi Williams—were tried for the murder of the Smiths. All five defendants were found not guilty by a jury. (See Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill (1975). Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press); Marvin S. Hill. "Carthage Conspiracy Reconsidered: A Second Look at the Murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith", Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Summer 2004.)

Yep, you would have been Ghandi under those circumstances. You are truly a peaceful human being, and a fine example to society. I would say that you are "nie unto perfect." I truly admire your self-control. You are a fine example to humanity.

Brother Zelph said...

MH- I didn't mean to single you out, as I agree with you that many of the comments can get heated, I am just trying to get a feel for where you are coming from. I didn't know if you were completely joking or taking it too seriously. I think I have a better idea where you are coming from.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

These so-called minor things are only minor to you because you cannot explain them away.

Not once have I said that super righteous = revelation. If that is what you get then you are only seeing what you want to see.

I don't think that super righteous = revelation, but you already know that I think the OT is bunk so using those "prophets" as an example only strengthens my problem with the OT. Paul is not a very good example to me either, because I believe that if there actually was an apostasy from the Jewish sect called Christianity, it was Paul that ushered it in. You see, I don't believe that God talks to earthlings thru prophets, in fact I don't believe that God talks to earthlings at all. If he/she did/does, then that God is a total idiot because the messages contradict, are racist, elitist and in many cases immoral. Maybe that's what we are put on this earth to discover...that all religion is man-made and that we need to simply learn how to think for ourselves and to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, (Gee I just used chiasmus, I must be a freakin genius or prophet or something.) and not because I'm afraid I will burn in hell otherwise, or won't get to live with my family forever or some other ridiculous religious notion, like having 60 virgins waiting for me or unlimited polygamous wives.

Sorry if that is too combative for you, but man-made religion just doesn't make sense to me at any level. I am more of a Deist if anything.

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

So if Paul ushered in the apostasy, what parts of the New Testament do you actually believe in? (It seems you have more in common with Marcionism, where you can throw out parts of the canon--especially the Old Testament--as you see fit, although Marcionists loved Paul, and thought he was the true Christian.)

Bishop Rick said...

The whole premise of Paul is flawed. Here is a man that claims Jesus appeared to him but there are no eyewitnesses or forewarnings...a little too convenient. Then he bullies his way into the inner sanctum and essentially takes over while introducing radical ideas. Why was it Paul - an outsider - that extends Christianity to the gentiles? Why was this not Peter? I thought Peter was head of the church. The answer is that there was no church. Christianity was just a Jewish sect. It was Paul who really created a church separate from the Jews. If anything, it was Paul who created Christianity and was the head of said church. Paul was the first pope, not Peter...if you believe that there actually was a pope before Constantine.

tatabug said...

Just trying to catch up, so I realize I'm a little behind in some of my comments.

Anonymous,
Well, it isn't as though the priesthood being made available to all worthy males was kept secret. Perhaps the Lord didn't reveal the information regarding the descendants of Abel when the ban was lifted.

Anyway, do we know for sure that the reason for the ban had anything to do with the descendants of Abel? In other words, how do we know that BY wasn't just speculating on what he thought the reason was? Dallin H. Oaks has said, "...It's not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reasons to commandments. When we do we're on our own. Some people put reasons to [the ban] and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that.... The lesson I've drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it. ...I'm referring to reasons given by general authorities and reasons elaborated upon [those reasons] by others. The whole set of reasons seemed to me to be unnecessary risk taking. ...Let's [not] make the mistake that's been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we sustain as the will of the Lord and that's where safety lies."


All,
I know that this is probably going to come as a big suprise to most of you, but I am going to have to agree with MH here. He hasn't been any more over the top in his comments than anyone else here. What I have a problem with is the fact that we are just supposed to sit here and take our lumps as though we've done something to deserve them. Yes, our beliefs are different than yours, but we deserve as much respect from you as you deserve from us, and if you are going to dish out the disrespect or the sarcasm, be prepared to eat some of it too, because more than likely we aren't going to sit back and take it without giving back "some of the love."

BR,
You said, "On the one hand, you have a Revelation from God that "recommends" you abstain from certain items due to health concerns.
"On the other hand, you have someone that is "inspired" to take the earlier "revelation" and make...let's say...a revelation."

Perhaps this could've been considered a "grace period" of sorts where the Saints were allowed to adjust to the new requirement rather than just be expected to go "cold turkey." It's one thing when complete abstinence is expected from a new member, as is the case currently, but to expect the entire body of Saints to be able to do that without a great deal of difficulty is a lot to ask. The church was new and needed as much strength as possible to aid in its establishment and such an abrupt change could've threatened the church's success in its infancy.

Also, my personal belief is that the requirement was meant more for the present than it was for the early Saints. In the revelation it says, "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation--" If you look at what has been and is being done with the demonization of smoking along with the increase in taxes on tobacco products, and the government benefitting big from it, I think that definitely could qualify as a conspiracy of men.

Then look at alcohol and how expensive it can be. Look at how much money people spend on it. It's not like it was in the early days of the church where lots of people made their own alcohol. Combine the expense with the addictive properties of alcohol and you have the makings of a great possibility of financial ruin.

Also, in the early days, alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee were used almost as much medicinally as they were recreationally, but with the advances in medicine these days, those things are not as beneficial as they once were. Back then, those things were what they primarily turned to for medicinal needs.

"If someone is a hypocrite (like JS and BY regarding the WoW) or is a liar (JS and polygamy) or a criminal (JS and the printing press) then seemingly combative or not, the truth is still the truth."

It's as though JS and BY have been tried and convicted, when the truth is that the jury is divided. JS and BY could only be considered hypocritical if they had expectations of others that they didn't demand of themselves. Since JS and BY didn't make the WoW binding on the Saints, then you can't honestly consider them hypocritical in this instance. Anyway, the WoW forbids "strong drink," which at the time meant hard liquor. Beer, unfermented or lightly fermented wine, or cider were considered "mild drinks."

Regarding polygamy, we've been over this before, but the the lies told about polygamy are comparable to lies told in instances of civil disobedience. You may disagree with it, but even the constitution doesn't require a person to incriminate themselves, and I wouldn't begrudge anyone who lied to protect themselves or their families from being killed by a bunch of mobsters taking the law in their own hands. Would you?

Regarding the printing press, how do you feel about those who destroyed the church's printing press? I guess Joseph and the rest of the saints should've just taken their lumps too and not done anything in their own defense. Yes, I know that the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor printing press likely wasn't a direct retalliation of the destruction of the church's printing press, but the mobs that combined against the church were ruthless, and if the "law" wasn't going to enforce the law, and just allow the saints to be treated in an unlawful manner, then the saints shouldn't have been expected to abide by the law if it wasn't going to be executed fairly on all sides.

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

Ok, I get it, but again, "What part of the New Testament do you believe?"

I think it is important to lay ground rules. If you've going to throw out OT and most of the NT stuff, it's really hard to make arguments unless we can both agree on something that is supposedly authoritative.

MH said...

And I'll second Tatabug's comments.

Elder Joseph said...

mh

you said

"If you were in Joseph's shoes, you would have ignored the constant death threats, the beatings, getting tarred and feathered, the atrocities at the Haun's Mill Massacre, and kept the freedom of the press, in spite of the desire of the publishers to see that Joseph was lynched."

This is no different from what Mafia gang members go through for their tyranny and they continue with it also.

tata

"the lies told about polygamy are comparable to lies told in instances of civil disobedience"

I disagree totally , the church itself declared in its Atricles Of Faith - ' we believe in following the Law etc'

They even cannonised a LIE in the D&C about polygamy not being practiced.

D&C Section 101
"All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband."


Hail Warren Jeffs then for keeping up the standards set by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

That latter part about baptising a woman contrary to her husbands will is ridiculous when you condsider Parley Pratt did just that and then married her while she was still legally married to her husband.

Not suprised her estranged husband killed Parley Pratt.

MH said...

Elder Joseph,

"This is no different from what Mafia gang members go through for their tyranny and they continue with it also."

This is a completely ridiculous comparison. Even biased observers don't make such absurd claims. You're beyond biased--I'm not sure there's even a word for this. Perhaps "kangaroo court" describes your position best.

I'm sorry, this is really turning into a gripe session. It is as if you all got dumped by your girlfriend, and are now making up accusations to show how bad she was.

Referring to revelations as lies is equally preposterous. You are welcome to disagree with my opinions, but please do so with at least some elements of respect, self restraint, at least a modicum of truth, and logic. You are disagreeing just to disagree.

If I'm going to get called out for my "juvenile" comments, your comments are beyond any sense of reason now. This makes me tired.

If you can't come up with something better, I will leave this well enough alone, because you are bringing no serious arguments to the table. This is laughable, appalling, disgusting, and worth no response at this point.

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

"Not once have I said that super righteous = revelation. If that is what you get then you are only seeing what you want to see."

but earlier you said,

If you want to call today's "prophets" mere humans that only get inspiration from higher sources, and thus should not be held to a higher standard than any other person, that's fine. But don't try to pull that line of thinking with JS. He is a man that claimed to see God and Jesus and angels on a regular basis. If that man can't live a damn near perfect life, then he is either a hopeless case destined for the T kingdom, or he is a liar."

Yes, perhaps my phraseology is different, but that is certainly the argument you were making. Perhaps you did not understand your implications?

tatabug said...

EJ,

I'm not sure I understand your comment to MH. Are you saying that mafia members ignore death threats? Are you saying that they allow themselves to get beat up by rival mafiosos without retalliating? That is quite contrary to my understanding of mafia behavior.

Regarding civil disobedience, suppose you lived in a communist country where the law forbade prayer, and the consequence of disobedience to that law was death. Suppose also that you believed it was a commandment of God to pray, and you even formed a group that met together to pray regularly, which included family members and close friends. So then, one day, a government official comes to your door and asks you about your group activities. Do you tell him you and your group have been praying when he asks you about it? (Please answer the question without dodging it.)

Regarding Parley P. Pratt's marriage to Eleanor Mclean, I believe you have your facts wrong. Eleanor's husband was a drunk who abused Eleanor. He DID give written permission for Eleanor to be baptized, but forbade her to sing hymns or read Mormon scriptures in their home. He later decided he didn't want her to have anything to do with the Mormons, and was prepared to kill any Mormon who stepped foot in his house. At one point, her husband tried to have her put in an asylum to keep her away from the Mormons, and after she had their children baptized, he had them shipped to live with relatives in New Orleans and said, "Now they are where you and the cursed Mormons can never see them again!" Then he locked her in her room. Two weeks later, she left for New Orleans, and he even helped pay to get her there even though he at first said that she was under his power and that he would have her in an insane asylum within 24 hours. Eleanor and her husband remained separated, and though they never divorced legally, she considered herself single. It was almost a year after their separation that she married Parley.

tatabug said...

EJ,

You said, "Not suprised her estranged husband killed Parley Pratt."

I almost missed this comment, but I couldn't help but wonder if you would've been so dismissive of such an action if it had been pertpetrated by a Mormon.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

I can accept the grace period for the LDS masses, but not for the man that claimed to have the revelation straight from God. There isn't anyone on this blog...not me, not cr@ig, not EJ, not BZ that consume anything of the sort after receiving a revelation direct from God. JS does not get an out here.

I understand your point about tried and convicted, since we will never be able to confront JS directly, but we have many eyewitnesses and even JS's own journal that speak of these things. That is pretty convincing evidence, trial or no trial.

Regarding polygamy, yes we have been over this before, but JS was not lying just to mobs (which I can understand). He lied to his congregation...those that supported him and would not come after him. They didn't come after BY. He also lied to his own wife. What reasoning do you have for that one?

EJ,

I normally understand where you are coming from when you make comments that seem on the fringe, but I have to admit, I'm not following this mafia one. I must have missed something.

Elder Joseph said...

MH and tata

My Comment

"This is no different from what Mafia gang members go through for their tyranny and they continue with it also."

MH comment

"This is a completely ridiculous comparison. Even biased observers don't make such absurd claims. "

Tata Comment

"Are you saying that mafia members ignore death threats? Are you saying that they allow themselves to get beat up by rival mafiosos without retalliating?"

With reference to retaliation and the LDS church .

1 Mountain Meadows Massacre
2 Looting of non Mormon property
3Violence Threats for apostacy in JOD's
4Danites ( John Whitmer, David Whitmer and others threatened) see also ' An Address To All Believers in Christ' - David Whitmer about the secret organisation set up to sort out the dissenters.
5 Orrin Porter Rockwell - Destroying Angel
6Joseph Smith threatened his non mormon neighbours via supposed Revelations.
7 Joseph Smiths violence to others who opposed him
8 Joseph Smiths name blackening(via church publications and sermons) to those who disobeyed/opposed him.His Sermons accusing others of lying were his own lies again.
9 Systematic church lying over secret polygamy and even keeping it from ordinary CHURCH MEMBERS and prospective converts including single females in England who were told there is no polygamy and never will be( Millenial star).Then they proceed to defame those who were actually telling the truth.
10 Joseph Smith armed in Carthage Jail, Shoots two dead , wounds a third.


This is all Mafia/Gangster/Thug style behaviour and has no relation whatsover to the new testament church he purported to have restored.

As far as your communist threat to people praying comparison to Joseph Smiths secret marriage practices with teens and married women.

you said

"(Please answer the question without dodging it.)"

First off My prayer group would know we have been praying.Joseph Smiths followers did not know he was secretly taking their single women in marriage or asking for his members wives or was lying to them about it in denials all his life.It was his little secret club and only let in those who would swear an oath to it, hence William Law and his opposition to it all. Joseph Smith even propositioned Law's wife Jane .
The only difference between Smith and the mafia is that Smith claimed God had commanded him to do all this !?!?

Tata As far as answering your question more fully.....

I would say NO we have not been praying if it meant a threat to our lives , however neither have I seen or spoken with God .Joseph claimed to have spoken with God and Jesus Christ and Angel Moroni , why shoud he fear man when carrying out Gods Will ?? If I had seen and spoken with God then I would not need to lie about carrying out his will.

'Praying' and 'taking women secretly into marriage unions and marying other mens wives , teen daughters etc' are two very different things.

Even the mafia could justify lying with your comparison to cover up their own misdeeds.They could argue the same that they have to lie about their crimes as well or they will end up killed or in Jail away from their families.

Indeed your logic gives an excuse for any kind of behaviour including Warren Jeffs's arranged marriages and with suspected teenagers in his old age in the same arrangements as the early LDS.

He too needs to lie and hide it or he will get locked up or beaten up ( at least by any angry outsiders or even the law).After all what would you do if communists came to arrest you for suspected praying ? You would lie also just like Warren Jeffs.This is your comparison Tata.

Now would you answer my question?

Would you give your 16 year old daughter to a 57 year old LDS Apostle for polygamous marriage and immediate conception?(Just like Orson Pratt married a 16 year at aged 57).

(Please answer the question without dodging it.) :)

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

I'm not sure which parts of the NT that I do believe. I never said that the NT or even parts of it were bunk. I said the jury is still out. My take on Paul is gathered from the NT as if the story as a whole, happened. I just don't buy Paul's story. It doesn't make sense.

MH said: "Perhaps you did not understand your implications?"

I understood them perfectly and will repeat myself again. I never said super righteous = revelation.

The words you cite say just the opposite. Let me attempt to better explain:

First let me state that I don't consider JS's claims to be mere revelation. They are heavenly visitations...BIG difference. But even if we substitute revelation with visitation, I still stand by what I said.

Super Righteous does not = Visitation.

BUT

Visitation damn well ought to = super righteous.

Is this more clear?

Bishop Rick said...

EJ,

I don't consider your mafia comment to be ridiculous, absurd, laughable, appalling, disgusting, and worth no response at this point, but I would like to better understand the point you were making.

tatabug said...

BR,

Why is the grace period not acceptable for JS and BY since it wasn't even a commandment? If it was indeed some sort of grace period, then it seems as though by definition it wouldn't be required, even by the ones through whom the revelation was received. That is you imposing some kind of moral code that you've concocted, and you aren't being fair. What rule is there that says a prophet has to be more righteous than anyone else? I believe that they are, but your expectations show no understanding whatsoever.

You said: "but we have many eyewitnesses and even JS's own journal that speak of these things. That is pretty convincing evidence, trial or no trial."

What are you talking about specifically here?

You said: "He lied to his congregation...those that supported him and would not come after him. They didn't come after BY. He also lied to his own wife. What reasoning do you have for that one?"

Not everyone who was a member of the church was accepting of polygamy. Joseph tried to reveal it to the entire church once, but there was such an uproar about it that he came back later on in the same meeting and took back everything he said about polygamy. He was stuck between obedience to the Lord and the hostility of his own congregation over the matter, which is why it had to be revealed in secrecy to those who were accepting of it. And then it was lied about to members of the church because if they weren't happy about it, do you think they would've stayed in the church and kept their mouths shut about it the church's opponents? Look at what happened in Nauvoo when Joseph revealed it to the high council. Many rejected it and left the church, resulting in the Nauvoo Expositor episode. And yes, Emma wavered between acceptance and rejection of it, but she arranged for some, if not many, of the marriages between Joseph and his plural wives.

Oh, and BR, if I or MH had used such a flimsy explanation like EJ's mafia comparison, you would've been all over us like stink on crap.

EJ,

Your explanation regarding the mafia seems to be grasping at straws. Most of it doesn't make sense, but this one makes me angry:

"10 Joseph Smith armed in Carthage Jail, Shoots two dead , wounds a third."

You can't be serious. Please tell me you don't seriously consider this in any way comparable to the mafia.

You honestly think that Joseph Smith, in defense of his brother and his close associates, was acting in a mafia-like manner? I am just speechless, and I must say that I've lost some respect for you as being objective. It is obvious that you are reading a bunch of anti-mormon garbage.

I really have no other response for you right now because I am just baffled by the utter nonsense that you've spewed here.

Brother Zelph said...

I think the point EJ was making, and he can clarify, but the way I interpreted his comments is that he is simply pointing out that just because the early members of the church endured violence against them doesn't automatically mean that the church is true. I believe that is what he is saying.

Many members are led to believe that the early church was persecuted for their religious beliefs and that the whole world was against them because they were so "righteous" and we all know that agents of Satan don't like righteous people.

I believe that EJ was simply pointing out that this was not the case and that the members and leadership of the early church were not all innocent and many times were the agitators of the violence. He brought up a few examples and I would add to that the ordered destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor, the newspaper printing press that exposed Joseph Smith as a polygamist.

I would suggest that everyone here read the Nauvoo Expositor if you haven't already.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

You said:
"Oh, and BR, if I or MH had used such a flimsy explanation like EJ's mafia comparison, you would've been all over us like stink on crap."

In this new era of non-combative civility, what would you have had me say to EJ?

What I actually said:
"I normally understand where you are coming from when you make comments that seem on the fringe, but I have to admit, I'm not following this mafia one. I must have missed something."

What MH said:
"This is laughable, appalling, disgusting, and worth no response at this point."

Or what you said:
"I really have no other response for you right now because I am just baffled by the utter nonsense that you've spewed here."

tatabug said...

Zelph,

And you guys make fun of Mormon Apologists. I don't see how you got that out of EJ's comment. But I can just hear EJ now, "Uh, yeah, that's right...that's what I meant."

And I don't believe that MH or I have in any way implied that the violence and persecution which the Saints were subjected to is an indication that the church is true.

That's fine. Keep it up. It's rather funny watching you guys on the defense for a change.

Bishop Rick said...

Ok, at first I didn't understand what EJ was trying to say. His follow-up was not there while I was posting. I think we were typing at the same time. Now after reading his post at 12:25 I understand exactly what he is saying and don't find it absurd at all.

The mafia got what they wanted through intimidation and fear tactics. EJ has pointed to several incidents that fall directly into this category.

Although I agree with tata that #10 would fall under self defense, not intimidation, but I'm not sure why that would make her angry.

If you take #10 out of the equation, what EJ states makes perfect sense. Not sure why this is not obvious.

Bishop Rick said...

Plus EJ makes an excellent point referring to civil disobedience.

"Why fear man when you are carrying out God's will."

VERY good point. Totally trumps the civil disobedience argument.

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

"I'm not sure which parts of the NT that I do believe."

Well, that makes it quite difficult to discuss NT doctrines, doesn't it? Anything I bring up to refute your arguments will be easily dismissed as "well, I don't believe that." It's not really a fair playing field is it? You can challenge anything I say on the NT, but I can't challenge anything you say, because you're not sure you believe it?

I'd say this puts you quite firmly in the camp that the NT is not trustworthy--perhaps better than OT, but still untrustworthy, so without a further explanation, I'll have to put you in the "Bible is bunk" group. However, if you're willing to take a stand on "Matthew is in--Luke is out" or some type of comment like that, I'm all ears. I know you said the jury is out, but you must have some opinions on some of the books being trustworthy.

As for your other comment,

Super Righteous does not = Visitation.

BUT

Visitation damn well ought to = super righteous.


Well, as a mathematician, I'd say the commutative property applies and these comments are equivalent. However, if you disagree and want to argue the statements are not equivalent, that's fine, because my thesis still proves the second statement to be a false myth. But since you don't believe the Bible, (or at least won't tell me what parts of the NT you believe in), then my argument is doomed to fail. Either way, I can't win, because you are unwilling to give any credit to my references found in the Bible.

-------------

EJ, no mormon scholar would dare to make a comparison between Joseph and the mafia--he/she would lose tenure to make such a ridiculous comment like that. Even Helen Whitney, who made the recent PBS series on the mormons, acknowledges the role that persecution played in the MMM. Look, I'm not trying to defend MMM or Haun's Mill Massacre. They were both hideous events, and neither one justifies the other. However, it gives us an insight into how volatile the period was. A more appropriate analogy is a war, not the mafia. Atrocities were committed on both sides. All atrocities are wrong. These are the things that happen in wars. Please remember that there were Civil War rumblings at this time, and the Mexican-American war broke out just after Joseph's murder, with the Civil War not far behind.

For BR to imply that he would have acted like Ghandi under these volatile circumstances is highly arrogant, and shows a tremendous lack of understanding of the time period. Your comments have not shown the passivity of Mother Teresa or Ghandi, and I just have a hard time believing that you would "turn the other cheek" under similar circumstances. Perhaps I am wrong, but your combative comments that I outlined above would never be attributed to a peacemaker like Ghandi or Mother Teresa. And for EJ to be so dismissive of the Parley Pratt murder is reprehensible.

Yes, polygamy AND Joseph's opposition to slavery were inciting events leading up to the murder. The church does over-emphasize the "righteous" aspect of the persecution, but you all dismiss the Haun's Mill Massacre. I have heard nobody condemn HMM here, and your bringing up all the misdeeds of the mormons minimizes the horrific atrocities committed by the mobs. Where is your condemnation of the mob of 200 that attacked Cathage jail? Where is your condemnation of HMM? Where is your condemnation for the kangaroo courts that couldn't convict a single person in either HMM or Joseph's jailhouse murder?

Instead of condemning these acts, you make them appear justified. No respectable person in the human race should pretend that murder is justified even if they disagree with Joseph's polygamy. Bringing up Joseph's wrongs does not make his murder right, or HMM, or any of the other atrocities committed against the mormons.

Please remember that Missouri was a slave state. Joseph had planned on bringing free slaves to the city of Independence. Slavery was a hot issue in the 1800's, and slavery is much more of an issue into Joseph's death than most people give credit for. There is a great podcast on Mormon Stories where Darron Smith (I believe--I'll get the reference if you would like) talks about the slave issue and how it affected the politics of the area. Remember, Joseph was running for President, Nauvoo was the largest city in Illinois, and Joseph was a threat to the pro-slavery movement.

The comments here show such a lack of understanding of the time period. Look, I'm no scholar, but these opinions are so far out of reason. I can't believe Tata is even engaging you on this topic. It's mind-boggling to me that any individuals even entertain ridiculous comparisons to the mafia, let alone try to defend these comparisons.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

For now let's just converse under the understanding that the NT is valid as a historical document. That is what I did in reference to Paul. I look at it as being reported as understood, but point out the flaws in the Paul story. I think we need to be open to the idea that claims made in any of the scriptures are up for debate. We can't just make a blanket statement that "it is in the scriptures, therefore it is true". This would be foolish and as you say, leaves no room for debate.

Regarding R=V therefore V=R...if only english were as pure as math (the real Adamic Language IMO).

In this case I don't think it applies and here is why.

There are arguably thousands of incredibly righteous people on the earth, but very few that claim to have received direct revelation and fewer still that claim visitation. So we know that R does not = V.

Regarding V should = R is founded on logic and reasoning, not biblical precedence. I assume you probably fall into the pretty righteous category (if not you, then hypothetically) but still have those few things that you would like to improve on. This would be based on your FAITH that the LDS teachings are true for the most part. Are you telling me that if God paid you a visit and told you that following the WoW would be a good idea (for example) that you would continue to disobey that advice? I can honestly say that I would not only live my life in accordance with the WoW that I would shout it from the mountaintops. I would not treat it as a suggestion. Does that make sense to you? The fact that JS did not do this makes the claim suspect.

If I implied that I would be like Ghandi or even MLK under the nauvoo saints situation, let me set the record straight. If I lived in Nauvoo among the saints and someone attacked my family, you better believe I would defend it vigorously and would likely have participated in retaliatory tactics as well...no doubt about it. I don't fault Mormons for defense or for retaliation (right or wrong). One thing I would not do is participate in a massacre that involved innocent women and children. That repulses me...obviously on both sides. Nothing can condone or excuse that regardless of what preceded it.
TBMs constantly use the violence as the excuse for MMM and other things so to imply that only non-TBMs make that statement is inaccurate.

I totally understand the kangaroo courts that took place and don't condone them at all, and I understand that violence, retribution, intimidation, murder, etc. took place on both sides. So I would say that both sides can be accused of mafia-like tactics. It really isn't an unrealistic comparison. Where it falls short is that it should be stated that both sides engaged in these tactics. This is fact that is worthy of discussion. It is not a ridiculous, made up diatribe. All statements here should be treated as worthy for further discussion.

If the comments here show a lack of understanding, then please enlighten those who make the comments, rather than dismissing the comment as ridiculous and not worthy of discussion.

Nobody here is making trite statements just for the sake of argument. The statements are made (on both sides I might add) because the people believe what they are stating. I keep hearing for a call for respect from the TBM side, but haven't seen that same respect reciprocated.

Do as I say, not as I do?

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

Thank you for the respectful tone. It's the first time I've seen some respect since I got called out (by a non-TBM, Zelph--thanks Zelph--I think this was long overdue), and your tone (BR and BZ) is appreciated. I wish I was better at turning the other cheek, and I will strive to do better.

It seems to me that we are starting to agree on some things. If I'm understanding your symbols correctly, you're using R for righteous, and V for visitation. I will say that R <> V and V <> R.

I just don't understand many of the things God does, and often his actions seem quite arbitrary. I really don't think there can be any sort of convincing argument that V = R. One need look simply at Adam to see that V did not = R. And we really don't have the historical knowledge to see Adam's daily life. I heard one bible commentator referring to Adam and Eve's family as "the first dysfunctional family." I know this is an OT reference, but I think it is quite relevant.

I'm glad to hear that you empathize with the mormons regarding these attacks, and that you would vigorously defend your family. I would love to get a similar response from EJ, as it does not seem to be his position.

I do believe these mafia comparisons to be quite dubious, though your explanation helped close the gap somewhat. I believe there is still too great a chasm for this to be considered a credible position.

MH said...

Oh, and thanks for calling me a TBM. At church, I feel much more like a heretic, which is why I decided to embrace the name.

Bishop Rick said...

In my last comment I stated that V should = R (not does = R) and that when it does not = R then associated claims are suspect.

This stance makes sense to me.

tatabug said...

BR,

You said: "In this new era of non-combative civility, what would you have had me say to EJ?"

I wouldn't have you change a thing with what you said. I would only hope you would be as patient with me, and my fear is that you wouldn't. Although, you do appear to have put on a kinder, gentler tone even with MH, so perhaps some things have changed. Thank you.

The reason EJ's comments regarding "#10" made me so angry, is because EJ is either begrudging Joseph the opportunity to defend himself, his friends, and family, or he is completely ignorant of the facts and is just repeating what he's read in some stupid anti-mormon rag without checking it out first. In either event, I think he should know better, especially concerning such a noteworthy event.

You said: "TBMs constantly use the violence as the excuse for MMM and other things so to imply that only non-TBMs make that statement is inaccurate."

Regarding MMM, I believe there is no excuse for such an atrocity, but I don't blame the church itself for that act, but rather the individuals who took it upon themselves to act. However, I can understand that given the environment how some might be tempted to act before being acted upon. But again, that doesn't excuse the slaughter of innocents in this manner.

I appreciate your understanding of the Saints being able to defend themselves and even retalliate at times.

Regarding V=R and the fact that JS didn't comply with the WoW after receiving the revelation for it, please take this into consideration. It comes from FAIRWiki: "Consider also that drinking water in Joseph Smith's day (or during Biblical times) was a gamble because water purity was always questionable; a little alcohol in a beverage insured that it was free of viruses and bacteria. The development of germ theory in the late 19th century lead to chemical treatments to ensure a safe supply of public drinking water. A strict enforcement of the Word of Wisdom in Joseph Smith's time would have been a death sentence for many Latter-day Saints."

Again, I think some aspects of the WoW were meant more for modern times than for earlier times. I think that it was made binding on the church when it became necessary to do so.

MH,

You said: "I can't believe Tata is even engaging you on this topic. It's mind-boggling to me that any individuals even entertain ridiculous comparisons to the mafia, let alone try to defend these comparisons."

My reason for engaging, if that's what you want to call it, is that EJ (and others) are known for making inflamatory statements, and sometimes ridiculous ones too, without backing them up. I've been here long enough that such comments don't get a "hit-and-run" pass from me (unless I miss them or am short on time). If you are going to make such bold statements, you better be prepared to back them up and defend them, or else back off from them. I put a great deal of time and effort into my comments (most of them anyway) and I try not to make statements that I can't defend just because they sound good. I only hope that everyone else does the same. Unfortunately I don't think EJ does. He may truly believe what he says, but he really should try to be more cautious, thoughtful, and rational.

Bishop Rick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

I agree that a little alcohol in water during JS's day would have taken care of diseases like cholera, but JS would not have known that since the disease/water connection was not made until 1854. Also, why would God give bad advice? Does that make sense? Why didn't he wait until the late 1800s when water filtration was more commonplace? WoW revelation is still suspect.

MH said...

Bishop Rick,

In my last comment I stated that V should = R (not does = R) and that when it does not = R then associated claims are suspect.

This stance makes sense to me.


Well, it certainly makes logical sense, but who ever said humans, or God, is logical? Only Spock from Star Trek obeys logic all the time. Humans sin constantly, and do lots of stupid things like over-eat, waste gas, drive without seatbelts, despite the fact that we all know better.

Yes, V should = R, but I can show all sorts of instances in almost any scripture book of your choosing (but I'd prefer Christian scriptures--if you choose something like Confucianism, you might stump me) that humans simply do illogical things, in spite of knowledge.

To hold Joseph Smith to a standard that he didn't himself agree to, is to be unrealistic. If I knew you better, I'm sure I could find some hypocritical things you do, in spite of your knowledge of wearing helmets, seatbelts, overeating, or something else. We're all hypocrites.

I'm sure you'll say that wearing seat belts is different than visitations from God, but think about it: not wearing your seat belt at an inopportune time will get you a personal visit with God quicker than drinking a glass of wine. If you do both together, your visit is much more likely to happen.

Bishop Rick said...

If God visited me and told me to wear my helmet, I most definitely would.

You will never convince me that just because someone readily ignores advice from man that he should not be expected to follow advice from God.

To do so reduces the position of God tremendously. I honestly cannot see a way around this. I cannot see where My wearing or not wearing a helmet has anything to do with God or direct revelation. Hypocrite or not, if God takes the time to give me advice, I'm gonna follow it. I would bet everyone on this blog would do the same. JS didn't. That makes me believe that he didn't really receive direct revelation to begin with. This has nothing to do with logic, but has everything to do with respect. The one person on this earth (in the latter days) that should nothing but the utmost respect for God, is JS. Yet he openly defied the very advice that became scripture during his lifetime. Do you really expect me to give JS a pass on openly and publicly defying direct revelation? We are not talking privately here.

It is absolutely not unrealistic to expect JS to obey on perfect knowledge what every member today is expected to obey on faith. You really have no argument here.

Bishop Rick said...

IMO

tatabug said...

BR,

Check out verse 17 of D&C 89, paying close attention to the part in bold:

"Nevertheless, wheat for man and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for the swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals and for mild drinks, as also other grain.

Grains are useful for making mild drinks? Remember the difference between mild drinks and strong drinks? Well, it turns out that during the time of the WoW revelation, mild drinks mean beer (5% alcohol) and small beer (1% alcohol). So it seems that the original WoW did allow certain alcoholic beverages, such as homemade wine from grapes for the sacrament, and other grain-based alcohols that were low in alcohol.

MH said...

BR,

You must be mostly Vulcan. You fail to acknowledge human beings gross hypocrisy, and expect Joseph to act rationally 100% of the time. I've given you many examples of other prophets who were just as hypocritical as Joseph, yet you discount them as well.

This is the cartoon image of a prophet I was speaking of earlier. No prophet fits your logical definition, because they all behave erratically in one way or another. I'm trying to be realistic here, and you're trying to be overly logical. You're taking logic to an unhealthy extreme. Yes, your argument makes sense, but it is not grounded in humanity or reality.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

I think a mild drink made from barley would be something like Postum, plus this doesn't account for the cigars.

MH,

Actually I am not holding JS to an impossible 100% infallible standard and I am not painting a cartoon prophet. I am only holding JS to follow that which was given to him straight from God. A very small subset. If millions can do it based on faith alone, it is obviously not that tough of a task. I don't think I'm taking logic to an unhealthy extreme and I hold that this is reasonable. Please point out the extremity and tell me what your reaction would be to a visitation from God.

Actually I believe that the length at which you go to excuse ultimate hypocrisy (that which goes against God vs petty everyday helmet wearing) quite surprising...almost to the level of unhealthy. You are in danger of losing your heretic title. You appear pretty mainstream on this blog.

Mormon Heretic said...

BR,

Joseph always claimed to be from the biblical mold of a prophet. So, it is instructive to look at biblical prophets.

As I said above, "I've given you many examples of other prophets who were just as hypocritical as Joseph, yet you discount them as well."

I think it is important to understand what Joseph's idea of a prophet is, and not make up definitions as you have. Of course he isn't living up to your definition--he never agreed to that. Your definition does not fit the mold of biblical prophets.

Once again, the bible speaks of the evils of drunkenness, yet Noah, David, and even Jesus were either considered drunks, or wine-bibbers. Sorry, the WoW would disqualify every single one of them as well, and even the bible would seemingly disqualify them, under your definition. (Please remember that Noah got so drunk, that his daughter slept with him and got pregnant. This is worse hypocrisy than Joseph's polygamy.)

Now if you don't believe the OT, and have serious problems with the NT, my argument is not going to hold any water. However, you must be consistent, and understand Joseph's role as a prophet as he understood it, not as you understand it. If you want to throw Joseph, Jesus, and Noah under the bus for their misdeeds, then you are welcome to do it, but you will certainly have a hard time calling yourself a Christian, or even a Jew.

Perhaps that is ok with you, because you earlier said you were a Deist. I don't quite understand why you so vigorously oppose calling Joseph a prophet. Do you also deny Noah and Jesus were prophets? (I'd really like to hear your response to this question.)

As as a Deist, why do these definitions even matter to you? If a Hindu wants to call a cow his god, I couldn't care less. Why is prophecy and revelation such a big deal to you if you don't believe in them anyway? Or do you believe in prophecy and revelation, just not anything written in the Bible or mormon scripture?

Mormon Heretic said...

BR,
tell me what your reaction would be to a visitation from God.

If God came to me and told me not to drink wine, I'd stop it. But if God told me to kill my son, like he did to Abraham, I think I'd probably question a few things. BR, What would you do? Would you have behaved as Abraham did?

I think you're tying the First Vision to the WoW, and I'm not sure that's an accurate representation of what happened. Let's examine this time period. The First Vision and WoW weren't back-to-back events.

The WoW was given some 13 years after the First Vision, and I really don't put it on the same level. Remember, the WoW came about as a result of Emma taking issue with the tobacco spit all over the floor, with her having to clean up the filthy mess.

I don't think God and Jesus sat down with Joseph and spoke to him in the same manner as they did during the First Vision. If we are to rank spiritual experiences, I think the WoW ranks much lower (although sometimes it can appear that church members seem to emphasize it more than the First Vision, which I personally find ridiculous.) And judging Joseph's reaction to this particular revelation, it certainly did not seem to be as important, as say, temple building. (And Joseph was even rebuked for his lackadaisical attitude regarding construction of the temple.)

Regarding the WoW, the revelation said "To be sent greeting; not by commandment." It just didn't rise to the level of commandment to him, but I'm sure he quit spitting tobacco all over the floor.

Now, regarding your comment that Joseph smoked a cigar, and drank wine the night prior to his murder. Well, Jesus drank wine, the night before his execution too.

As we have already discussed, Joseph was under constant death threats, had warrants out for his arrests, and I'd say his stress level was much higher than anything you or I have experienced. We all know people who smoke to calm themselves down in times of stress, and others who go to bars and drink their troubles away as a form of self-medication. Many do both at the same time. Now, I'm sure that Joseph didn't think that he was "self-medicating", as most drunks and smokers don't understand that they are self-medicating either, but I also don't believe that there was any valium present in the jail to help him relax either.

I'm not trying to excuse his behavior, but rather trying to explain it. Yes, I understand your logic, but, as I've said before, humans are paradoxical (or as you say hypocritical), and from a modern perspective, I can understand why he might need some stress relief, especially considering it was not a commandment to him as it is to us modern day mormons. Does this excuse the behavior? No. Does it explain it? Yes.

I don't think either one of us fully understand all the chaotic events between 1830-40. Obviously, I am willing to cut him more slack than you are, but I hope to help give you a better understanding for the time period, and hope you can give a little (ok a lot) more empathy.

I'd like to ask some questions about the blog comments here. Have TBM's acknowledged Joseph was sinful? Yes. Have non-TBM's on this blog exploited Joseph's sins? Yes.

Have non-TBM's acknowledged the good things he did? No. Have non-TBM's acknowledged the horrific crimes of mormon persecutors? No (ok BR grudgingly has, but I'm still waiting for Cr@ig and EJ). Have TBM's acknowledged horrific crimes of mormons? Yes, and have exploited them.

This blog is supposed to be "an objective look at the Mormon Church"? Look, I understand that the church is not objective, but neither are non-TBM's here. I know that I am biased, and will admit that.

However, IMO, I think I'm much more objective than any of the non-TBM's here. And I think the church is more willing to admit Joseph's faults, than non-TBM's are willing to admit his virtues. I've yet to hear a single comment complimentary about any church leaders from a non-TBM.

Who really thinks this is objective?

Mormon Heretic said...

Sorry, this comment didn't make sense. It was supposed to say,

"Have TBM's acknowledged horrific crimes of mormons? Yes, and non-TBM's have exploited these horrific crimes."

Bishop Rick said...

MH Logic

1. Joseph claimed to be a sinner (but only in the context of other great and revered OT prophets) so therefore his sins are justified.

Rating: Ridiculous

2. Mythical stories that supposedly occurred thousands of years ago are justification for factual stories of today.

Rating: Ridiculous

3. If MH doesn't agree with you, then you are simply making things up.

Rating: Typical

4. MH continuously practices revisionist history. The latest claiming that Noah and Lot are the same person.

Rating: Oops

5. Jesus (he who is without sin) drank wine as did JS, therefore the WoW is true revelation.

Rating: Huh?

Commentary: If anything, the fact that Jesus drank wine shows that the WoW is a fraud.

6. Disagreeing with the deeds of JS is like unto throwing Noah and Jesus under the bus.

Rating: Ridiculous

7. When your argument regarding WoW is exposed, turn the discussion to something unrelated...like murder.

Rating: Typical

8. When your argument regarding WoW is exposed, divert the discussion to an unrelated event like the First Vision. Then make up stats about Church members treating of the 2 separate events and then call them ridiculous for having done so.

Rating: Laughable

9. Since the WoW was simply a greeting (not a revelatory response to an inquiry) it makes sense that it was not to be fully enforced ever and only partially enforced many many years later.

Rating: Typical

10: If you can explain why something happened, (regardless of what it was) then it was OK.

Rating: Huh?

MH's own Private Idaho

1. TBM's may at times be biased, but only because they are right

2. If you are not a TBM, you are never right

3. If a TBM is actually found to be right, change the subject, ignore, make something up, but never acknowledge.

4. TBMs are the only objective participants in blogs

5. non-TBMs rarely if ever admit anything and only then, they do so begrudgingly.

6. non-TBMs simply don't understand the environment surrounding JS because they are not as educated or versed as MH is. Otherwise, they would accept JS's fraud, er folly, er shortcomings that are like unto OT prophets.

7. When non-TBMs make statements about prophets they are simply painting unrealistic cartoons.

8. TBMs admit JS's minor flaws but tout his MAJOR accomplishments. Non-TBMs only talk about JS's flaws.

Commentary: Not so. Non-TBMs readily acknowledge the fact that JS thought he was better than even Jesus.

Summary

This is how utterly ridiculous you make yourself look when you post comments.

Elder Joseph said...

All these points in defending Joseph Smith can be equally attributable to Warren Jeffs.

The whole point about the Carthage Jail incident is that I was taught that he went like a Lamb to The Slaughter, thats patently false as he was pre-prepared with a gun.

If I had seen God and spoke with him then I would not need a gun.Is God not more poweful than a man made gun.Did Joseph Smith have no Faith himself.If it was the Lords will then they could have been spared.A God who created the world , created man , parted the red sea , ressurrected dead people can very simply have thwarted the mob supernaturally if Joseph Smith was his prophet of Restoration.

I don't buy Tata'a apologetic line that Joseph was protecting his brother and friends.He was trying to save his own skin and didn't want to go to The Spirit world because he didn't know himself it really existed.He simply wanted to STAY in the world.

My whole Mafia comparison was that the Mormon Church was held together by THREATS and INTIMIDATION and thats a fact.( and still is in a subtle way from my experience in church).
Plus lying was a major part.The Danites threatened John Whitmer and David Whitmer because they spoke out against the corruption and deception of the leaders.The Mafia does the same thing if anyone speaks against 'The Family'.

Its ridiculous to suggest that God commanded Polygamy which happens to mean that these Mormon Leaders could suddenly pick and choose any girls they wanted and those girls had little choice under the THREATS and INTIMIDATION to follow suit.

I don't think I can ever be convinced that God ordered it.Why doesn't he order it now .Why isn't Thomas Monson secretly marrying Ward members wives and daughters ?

He could actualy be doing it for all we know.Tata will claim its preposterous but it happened before so why wasn't it preposterous then?

If you look at D&C 132 it speaks about DESIRE and IF a man DESIRE another VIRGIN , it doesn't speak of being FORCED by God to take on wives against their will ...

" 61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and DESIRE to espouse another, and the first give her consent, "

Similarly the whole consent clause of the first wife is totally nonsense .First wives were ignored , Brigham actually said its NON OF THEIR BUSINESS how many wives he takes or what he does with them.JOD .

The original Mormon church became a leadership of thugs and bullies who's only hold on power over its members and dissent was to threaten them with violence and loosing their wives to higher ranking Mormon Leaders.

The women were threatened with Eternal Damnation if they rebelled over having to be married polygamously to those OLD Leaders.

Look at Warren Jeffs if you really want to know what early Mormonism was like.

I'm not posting here to be Ecumenical with Mormons.This is the harsh reality of what many of us really think about the Mormon church and no amount of PR tactics from the church will change that.

tatabug said...

BR,
You are distorting the points that MH is trying to make. You seem unwilling to be understanding.

1. Joseph claimed to be a sinner (but only in the context of other great and revered OT prophets) so therefore his sins are justified.

MH didn't use the examples of prophets to excuse Joseph's sins, but rather to point out that prophets are not perfect, but that they can still be prophets and be good men in spite of weaknesses.

In my opinion, however, the WoW issue doesn't make Joseph a sinner. The WoW was not given as a commandment in the beginning, but rather as a guideline, and Joseph's approach to the issue was "all things in moderation."

Take into consideration the revelation found in D&C 59 which was received about 2 years prior to the WoW. Verses 18-20 read:

"Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion."

Joseph and the Saints likely interpreted the WoW taking into account this revelation as well. The ideal situation was for those things in the WoW to be guidelines rather than absolute prohibitions. And if it weren't for the weaknesses of men to be able to use those things in moderation rather than to excess, then perhaps the WoW would still be practiced as it was originally intended/interpreted to mean.

4. MH continuously practices revisionist history. The latest claiming that Noah and Lot are the same person.

I wouldn't call it revisionist history. He probably just got the two incidents confused. Although Noah did get drunk.

5. Jesus (he who is without sin) drank wine as did JS, therefore the WoW is true revelation....Commentary: If anything, the fact that Jesus drank wine shows that the WoW is a fraud.

Wine was not forbidden in the WoW originally. It was to be used for the sacrament. And no, it wasn't grape juice.

I just think that you are being very inflexible on this one. I don't believe that JS would've "made up" a revelation and then not lived up to it, and not expected the Saints to live up to it either if his understanding of it was anything other than a guideline rather than a rigid set of do's and don'ts.

Regarding the fact that he saw God, I don't think your logic that such an experience should've guaranteed his absolute perfect obedience. If so, it would mean he should've been absolutely perfect in all things, not just the WoW. But such a thing just isn't the norm. I do believe that such an experience would ellicit more obedience than normal, but not perfection. Even the great prophets in the Bible who saw God did not become perfect as a result.

Your line of reasoning says that men are not perfect because they haven't seen God; that if only men could see God, they would then become perfect. That just isn't how it works. I'm not imperfect because I lack knowledge of God's existence or because I haven't seen Him. I'm imperfect because I am weak or because I lack faith. Faith is the motivating factor behind obedience. Example: My children know that I exist (they live with me and see me every day) and they know what I expect of them, yet they either don't believe me, or their desires and weaknesses make perfect obedience difficult for them.

You believe that if you saw God, you would be perfectly obedient. I certainly hope that I would be, but in all honesty, I don't know that I would be, and since you've never had such an experience, I don't think you can say for sure how you wouuld act either. I'm not saying that such an experience would'nt have profound effects, but that there is no way to know how profound. There isn't a soul on this earth, other than Jesus, who has ever reached the level of perfection, even among those who have seen God, and I don't see why only Joseph Smith is criticized for this.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

Many can be criticized for this. JS just happens to be the topic at hand. By your reasoning, Tom Monson probably has a drink or two when no one is looking, or maybe he strays a little on the internet. He is after all, only human. He has weaknesses like the rest of us right? Maybe he fudges a bit on his income tax returns.

I can't do any of those things and stay in good standing with the church. I have to assume that Monson doesn't do these things either. In fact, for him to remain in good standing, he has to be near perfect, just like you and me.

If anyone is being inflexible it is you and MH for refusing to concede this fact. I'm not making this up. I'm not coloring a cartoon prophet. This stuff is in the standard temple recommend interview.

Please explain to me what you can get away with and still pass the recommend interview honestly.

The answer is nothing.

If Jesus drank wine, why can't I? Weaknesses of men makes no sense to me. The same weaknesses existed in Jesus's time. Why didn't Jesus set a better example being perfect and all? Or is it that the perfect example was already being set and drinking wine is perfectly acceptable?

tatabug said...

BR,

There is no reason for me to believe that Thomas S. Monson breaks any commandments that would prevent him from being worthy of a temple recommend. Does that mean he is perfect? No.

Likewise, just because Joseph Smith wasn't perfect, doesn't mean that he wasn't worthy of a temple recommend. I have no reason to believe that he didn't live a temple-worthy life.

The standards that were needed to obtain temple-worthy status were different then than they are now, just as the requirements have probably differed from time period to time period based upon what standards the Lord deemed important and/or necessary for the Saints to live by.

Jesus did not sin by drinking wine. Drinking alcohol, in and of itself, is not a sin, unless abstinence from alcohol is given as a commandment.

And being temple-worthy doesn't make one "near perfect." It is simply the minimum required standard for entering the temple.

The gospel is not about being perfect. It is about the process of becoming such. It is about repentance and forgiveness and the grace that is available to us through Christ's atoning sacrifice.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

"The gospel is not about being perfect. It is about the process of becoming such."

D&C 88;22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.

Is anyone able to abide the Celestial Law ? I think(know)I do better than some Temple Recommend Mormons,this is partly what put me off ,some temple recommend members seemingly leading strange double lives.It was odd that I was even being frowned upon for bringing it up.

How long have we got to become perfect?

ALMA 34:32“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.”

It seems to indicate that now is the time( this life ).

This is what confused me about the perfection issue until I concluded it was just Josephs way of scaring his followers into obeying him .

After all following his commands was effectively following God , including handing your wife or daughter over to him when asked.

This is simply out of order and shocking to the core of anyone with a Christlike or even humanitarian like conscience.

The 'Godfather' similarly gives commands and those who disobey ?

Concrete 'Danite' recommend boots :)

Tata .. just think of Zeezrom and it will reduce your anger toward me:)

Mormon Heretic said...

Tata, you have much more patience than me. I'm trying, but it's much harder for me.

EJ,

Your comments are so bigoted, I'm having a hard time even responding to you. I'll give you credit for understanding that your arguments are not "ecumenical". Rather they are just completely bigoted.

If similar comments were made about Jews, they would be considered anti-semitic. Jesse Jackson was lambasted for less hostile remarks about Jews. Al Sharpton got plenty criticism for his comment, "As for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry about that." Wouldn't it have been interesting if we inserted these mafia comments in his mouth? What if Al made made such dismissive comments about the Parley Pratt murder?

Perhaps you think it is acceptable to make these types of claims because you're basically anonymous? Shame on anyone for endorsing these. These types of inflammatory statements are far from "enlightened."

----------------

BR

I'm really disappointed. What happened to "non-combative civility?" I guess my points touched a nerve. I'm not sure why you gave such a virulent response.

Earlier you said, "If the comments here show a lack of understanding, then please enlighten those who make the comments."

I tried to "enlighten" you. Can you explain to me why my comments were dismissed as "ridiculous" with often no, or little explanation? I give you a thesis, and you come back with bullet points distorting what I said? Come on, you're better than that.

I'm surprised to see you took my wards so far out of context. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not. I'm really trying to be charitable and turn the other cheek here, as I would love to blast you, as you blasted me.

I'm going to try to give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you read them too quickly, or were just geared for an argument. You did notice that I misspoke concerning Lot and Noah, although my lapse in accuracy really didn't reflect a difference in my overall argument. Still, why were you so insulting when we had seemingly just agreed to a cease-fire?

I'll try to explain this concept a final time, without using scriptures, since they are obviously "mythical" to you anyway.

With many members of the church, there is right/wrong, good/bad, black/white. Theology seems to be very 2-dimensional. Since you've discovered Joseph wasn't always good, then he must be bad. This makes sense in a 2-dimensional world. I find this kind of thinking to be a very seminary level way of thinking, and I think a majority of active church members fall into this category. Depending on one's point of view, this is either a good thing, or a bad thing.

If we were talking about Pete Rose and/or Barry Bonds instead of Joseph Smith, it seems to me that if there was a choice between the statements, "Pete is a hall of fame player", and "Pete is a cheater and fraud, undeserving of the hall", you would take the second option. Now that may not be true of your position, but let's assume that it is.

I am trying to say that Pete is both a hall of fame player, and a cheater, just as Barry Bonds is. Now in this 2-dimensional world, there is no compromise. But in a 3-dimensional world, the compromise exists. Barry and Pete can be hall-of-fame players and cheaters.

Is it possible to call Pete a cheater, yet acknowledge his greatness? Does this mean I'm excusing the cheating?

I just don't understand why this concept is so difficult for you to accept. I'm not trying to be condescending, but surely you must be able to understand where I am coming from. Perhaps you prefer your 2-dimensional world, and want to throw them both under the bus for cheating, but can you at least acknowledge a 3rd option might exist? You are welcome to disagree with the 3rd option as relating to JS, Barry, or Pete. But CAN this option exist, and can you think of any places in baseball, religion, or life where the 3rd option exists? Or is life simply 2-dimensional--good/bad, right/wrong?

Finally, my "objective" comments were really directed at Brother Zelph, not BR. I'm sorry for the confusion, but still perplexed why they were so offensive to BR. When I didn't appreciate being assigned to Cel/Ter/Tel kingdom, you said I was blowing things out of proportion. It seems you didn't mind judging me. So when I turn around a judge "objectivity" of non-TBM's, I get a virulent response? It seems you're being a little paradoxical here.

BR, I think my comments have been pretty critical of the Bible, and biblical prophets. I know that comments I make about the bible make my family and church members squirm. I call Joshua's genocide wrong, Abraham's sacrifice wrong, biblical polygamy wrong.... (And they defend it.)

On the other hand, I uphold Joshua and Abraham as a prophet, as well as allow David to write Psalms. It seems that I take the good and the bad from them. Now, you say I'm excusing the sinfulness, but I'm not. I'm calling a spade, a spade, but I'm still using the spade as a tool.

IMO, this seems more objective than throwing the spade away as a myth, or a sinner. This seems objective to me. Then again, I'm biased.

-------------

Now, back to Brother Zelph. I think that when one desires to be objective, it is important to talk about both positive and negative aspects of an issue. In quickly reviewing the 10 posts on your homepage, 8 lean toward a negative slant, and 2 were neutral (What Kind of Mormon Are You?, and Mormon Biologists and Human Evolution).

If you're interested in objectivity, perhaps some church affirming topics might be in order. Of course, these probably won't be controversial. King Benjamin's sermon, Alma 32, church's emphasis on being a good person....

Of course, these might not be as interesting as showing the skeptical topics. Anyway, I don't want to be accused of blog-jacking again, but just wanted to know if "An objective look at the Mormon Church" is really what this blog is about, or is it rather "An [please use another term here] look at the Mormon Church". I'm fine with looking at topics disturbing to the mormon church, but I just think there should be a little more "truth in advertising."

What do you think? It's a serious question from me, and I'm not trying to be critical. Perhaps we have a different definition for "objective." I know that I have a different definition of prophet and scripture than non-TBM's here. Do you really think this blog is objective, or is it more a reaction to the bias of what the church teaches on Sunday? (This comment might rile up some people, but please know that is not my intention.)

tatabug said...

EJ,

So then, since you don't wish to be ecumenical with me/us (mormons), meaning you don't wish there to be any Christian unity between us, then I must assume that your are intent on creating division. If that's the case, then there isn't any point in me talking to you, because you are, by definition, only looking for a fight. You are, by definition, an anti-mormon: "The hallmark of anti-Mormonism is an agenda, whether covert or openly expressed, of combating the faith of the Latter-day Saints and opposing their church."

And just thinking of Zeezrom does not reduce my anger toward you, unless of course you have been convinced of your evil ways and have repented and decided to stop fighting against the truth. Because if you haven't, the Book of Mormon character that fits you best, in my mind, is Nehor.

I am declining to respond to your other comments, since your intent is only geared towards tearing down my faith, and such an agenda does not lend itself to any form of objectivity. I don't claim to be objective, since I am defending my beliefs. But if you are only interested in the truth, then you should be the one who is objective. Unfortunately, you are only defending your belief that the church ISN'T true, therefore you can't be objective.

MH,

Don't feel bad. I have just about reached the limits of my patience threshhold, at least with EJ. But I do feel like I am banging my head against a wall with BR.

Brother Zelph said...

MH- I see your point. Although I believe the objectivity comes from allowing all viewpoints, the posts are not objective and are quite critical. Perhaps it would be a more accurate statement to read "a critical look at the Mormon church and its claims."

Mormon Heretic said...

Brother Zelph, thanks for the acknowledgment. It sure is nice to make a point, where the receiver doesn't take offense, or resort to inflammatory tactics. Thank you.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

I don't know who is giving you your temple recommend interviews (assumption made) but I can tell you that it is impossible to answer ALL the TR questions HONESTLY and get said recommend without being perfect.

ALL temple recommend holders are either perfect, liars, or their interviewers are letting some of the answers slide.

You refuse to discuss this other than to dismiss it. This is exactly the tactic that MH uses only sometimes he diverts rather than dismissing to give the appearance of responding. This makes having a civil conversation impossible. I'm talking about one thing, and you guys either ignore, dismiss or divert.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

Your points haven't touched a nerve. That would be impossible, because you haven't made any points.

You want to know what it is about you that riles me? It is simple. You are pompous, constantly putting yourself above others here. You avoid topics through diversionary tactics or dismissal. You constantly put words into my mouth (and others) quoting things that were NEVER said. You just make crap up constantly. I'll give you a few examples:

Putting words in my mouth
"If you want to throw Joseph, Jesus, and Noah under the bus for their misdeeds, then you are welcome to do it, but you will certainly have a hard time calling yourself a Christian, or even a Jew."

misquoting
"Now, regarding your comment that Joseph smoked a cigar, and drank wine the night prior to his murder."

diversion
"As as a Deist, why do these definitions even matter to you?"

insensitive
"If a Hindu wants to call a cow his god, I couldn't care less."

pompous diversion
"Have non-TBM's acknowledged the horrific crimes of mormon persecutors? No (ok BR grudgingly has..."

pompous
"I think I'm much more objective than any of the non-TBM's here."

These aren't even all the inflammatory comments made in this single post. You continue to make underhanded pompous and insensitive comments while at the same time pointing the finger at others.

I have just had enough of it.
My assessment was spot on, but maybe I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here. It is entirely possible that you can't see your own self-righteous pomposity, your insensitivity, or even your diversionary tactics. This would at least explain your surprise when people fire back for seemingly no reason...regardless, it is your MO. Tata is just too giddy that she has someone with a similar stance that she can't see it.

Like it or not, the stories of the Bible and the Book of Mormon are myths...look up the definition. Categorizing something as a myth is not throwing it away, but since it cannot be proven one has the option to accept or not accept. You accept, I don't accept. This does not change the fact the stories contained in these unprovable documents are myths.

Using an unprovable example to condone a provable one does not work. The 2 instances are inequitable. You need to use a different tactic that is equitable before you will be taken serious by me.

I keep talking about the WoW not being revelation. You keep defending JS as a prophet because his faults mirror OT prophets.

Not only are you talking about something entirely different, you are using bad examples to do so.

By your logic, the WoW could be made up and JS still be a prophet, but even you ignore your own possibility and start defending something that is not even being discussed.

You simply can't stick to the topic at hand...I have to believe it is because you have no explanation which leads you to do what you do.

Mormon Heretic said...

BR,

Your comments about me being pompous are a little like the pot calling the kettle black. Ok, after the name calling, we're both sinners. Let's please move on with some civility.

(1) Since I didn't use any myths this time, can you comment on my Pete Rose example?

(2) Are you saying EJ's mafia comments are not bigoted?

vballrh said...

Although there are already 162 comments I would still like to chime in! I have finally made it to a point where it might actually be relevant (I have read every post and comment since the beginning! EVEN the long ones!)

Anyway, here goes!

MH-
I can see what you are saying for the Pete Rose example and I want to explain why a lot of members don't see it that way, this goes for Tata and Russell if he still reads this too!

All of you seem to have grown up or now reside in what I would consider "liberal" wards. I grew up in the church and was always presented pretty much the "2 dimentional" view. I think that is why many of the arguments you have made in support of the church and church leaders no longer hold water (or at least as much water) with me anymore. I have always been taught that the BOM is a literal history of real people as if there were never any doubt. I have always been taught to revere prophets (seers and revelators) as having a direct line of communication to God so as not to ever lead us astray. And yes, there were many many many things I never knew about church history because I only knew the "glossy" version provided for "faith promoting". I also was taught that whatever came out of a prophet's mouth over the pulpit, especially at conference, was scripture, as well as anything they published in the Ensign.

I don't mean that to sound harsh, but from all of the comments I have read from the "TBM's" I am not sure that you get it. You seem to have had better experiences than I have and as a result are still able to defend the church. I still struggle with a lot of things, part of my "cognitive dissonance" but I think it comes down to that I don't want to believe in a God that would have me live in a lesser heaven because I have followed my own conscience, or who would be the author of so much confusion. I have a lot more to say but I think that is enough to get started. And, does anyone know what happened to Sister Mary Lisa?

vballrh said...

I also wanted to add one more thing. Since BZ was called out for not being objective with his blog. To his credit, I think, and as evidence of objectivity he does have links to pro-lds sites that anyone who visited would have a hard time missing.

Mormon Heretic said...

Vballrh,

I assure you that I currently live in a very conservative ward, and I have never lived in a liberal ward. However, I do remember attending a ward in Arizona about 15 years ago where they were all ready to get their guns and declare revolution against the US because the constitution might soon be hanging by a thread, and the quorum members were going to need to defend the churches and the temples. Frankly, some of the comments frightened me, and I'm a little concerned about a state that elected Evan Mecham as governor. I almost felt like I was at a mormon NRA convention, instead of priesthood meeting.

Ever since I returned from my mission, I have been a little frustrated that church members don't delve more deeply into the scriptures. I can understand why you'd see my views as liberal, but apparently, I'm still too conservative for the non-TBM's here. I must say being called a TBM on this blog is quite a compliment for me, as I don't really think the title fits me that well, but I guess that compared to some of the opinions here, I'm a TBM.

Anyway, thanks for your comments--I'm quite impressed that you read them all.

I realize that many people have bad church experiences that lead them to disillusionment. Frankly, my church experience hasn't been all roses either. But I had a bishop in Georgia who had 2 sayings that I always loved. One was part of a joke. When he would hear someone complain about all the hypocrites that attended church, he would respond, "Well, come on down! We've got room for one more!"

His other saying was not to put your trust in the arm of the flesh, but in the arm of the Lord. I think this scripture is much easier said than done, especially when church leaders behave harshly, or with indifference. I do believe that church leaders make mistakes. I have been monitoring Cr@ig's blog lately as well, and think his story might be a good example of some church leaders poor leadership.

Now I think Cr@ig's leaders were probably doing the best they could, but they probably should have handled his situation differently. I wish I could apologize for all the injustices, and I'm sorry for the disillusionment it causes.

My brother passed away 2 years ago in an auto accident, leaving behind a badly injured wife, 2 (out of 4) badly injured children, and 4 emotionally scarred children. The scripture about not being tempted above that which we are able to bear came to mind, but when I viewed a 7 year old girl who missed her daddy so much that she ran away, pulled out her hair, and had other outbursts, I'll have to admit that I do not have a testimony of that particular scripture. It sure seems she is being tempted above her ability. My brother was driving the speed limit, was wearing a seat belt, and I do not believe it was my brother's time to go. Many church members attempted to make me feel better by telling me that by brother must have a different mission, but I found these to be trite phrases, and I just don't agree with them.

It would be really easy for me to be mad at God, and I'll admit that my faith has been shaken, and it is still something that I struggle with. I have not had any revelations to make me feel better, even though my church teaches me that I can, and probably should be able to receive these experiences, and receive a calming influence of the Holy Spirit.

Regardless, I have faith that Jesus did die on the cross, was resurrected, and I will see my brother again, in spite of all the "evidence" I have seen of scholars who reject Christ's virgin birth, have found the Jesus Tomb, or who contend that the reason Jesus bones aren't found it because they were either scattered by dogs, or that his body was in fact stolen by his followers as it says in the bible. These scholars contend the Jesus of the Bible is just a bunch of myths: and they use the miracles (walking on water, turning water to wine, feeding the 3000) as evidence of the myth making.

So maybe I haven't had your experiences, but I assure you that my church life hasn't been the Garden of Eden either. And yes, I have had a bishop or two I didn't like, though currently I have a bishop who I really respect (even if he is concerned about my liberal comments in Sunday School, and I have even been pulled into his office for my comments.)

So, I hope you can better appreciate where I am coming from too.

700 years ago, Rabbi Nachmanides "directed the person of faith to realize that there is much more hidden than revealed, both in the traditional Biblical writings and also in the natural world. Our challenge is to continually study and investigate both realms, with the realization that apparent conflicts are merely artifacts of temporary incomplete understanding in one or both realms. This avoidance of intellectual pride, allows the person of traditional religious faith to work comfortably within the framework of rigorous scientific hypothesis and empiricism." (quoted from DNA and Tradition, by Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman)

I'm trying to emulate this the best I can.

And I don't think I "called out" Brother Zelph. Yes he does have pro-LDS sites here, but these sites don't select the topics for discussion. I think BZ took my observation in the spirit it was intended.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

I don't agree that Pete Rose was a cheater. There is no evidence that he ever cheated or threw a game to win a bet, so I will refer to the Barry Bonds example instead.

There is ample evidence against Barry Bonds for using steroids which gives him a distinct advantage over other players. This is cheating. Does he have talent? Yes. Is his talent of the hall of fame caliber? That is hard to tell because his numbers before being juiced, though great, were nothing compared to numbers after so the question can always be asked, "could he be a hall of fame player without cheating?" I don't know.

Regardless, the point you are trying to make is that Joseph can be a sinner and still be a prophet. According to scriptures, this would certainly be the case, since "all men are sinners" and there have been prophets, therefore men who have sinned have been prophets. Easy enough. I don't have a problem with that, in principle and with limits. It depends on the sin and the circumstances. (that doesn't sound black and white at all)

You tell me I paint a cartoon prophet. I say the church paints a cartoon member with the temple recommend interview. I'm still not sure why I can't hold a prophet to the same standard I am expected to hold.

JS receives advice from God. He passes this advice on to his followers, and it even becomes scripture and doctrine. He however chooses to ignore it. TBMs excuse this with "it wasn't a commandment" or "times were different then". Those excuses just don't hold water with me. I've already explained why.

Brother Zelph said...

What is objective anyways? Perhaps the very definition is very subjective? I admit that my view of the church is very critical, but the purpose of the blog is an attempt to look at things as objectively as possible. Or perhaps take a more objective approach to the criticisms. I know that sounds a bit oxymoronic, but that is why I have links to both critical sites and pro-LDS sites, because what I want is for people to look at both sides of the argument and make decisions based on all the information available.

I just believe that it is unfair to base your entire belief system on the "white-washed" version of history. If someone reads and understands all of the issues and still decides the church is true, that is fine. I just want that belief to be based on all the information. That is why I used the word objective when I started the blog.

However, as I said previously, I admit that my posts and comments are quite critical of the church.

Mormon Heretic said...

Bishop Rick,

Fair enough. I see we aren't able to change each other's point of view regarding prophecy and revelation, and I respect your point of view.

You did not answer my question regarding EJ's mafia comments, and I am still unclear on your position there. Are EJ's mafia comments bigoted?

Brother Zelph,

I see where you're coming from, and I empathize. I guess I was always a little skeptical of the "white-washed" version of events, and have tried to find out the real truth. I know others haven't done so, and it can be quite surprising to learn these facts.

I still think objectivity requires one to look at both positive and negative, and I don't think the posts have done that.

Anyway, I know that objectivity was a tangent, and I'm welcome to return the conversation back to revelation. But I also say that I think we've exhausted the subject for the time being.

tatabug said...

BR,

So sorry. I thought the question was rhetorical, especially since you answered it.

Below are the temple recommend interview questions. I've added comments to some of them when I could think of ways that one could not be perfect in every area, but still be considered worthy. Some of the examples are from my own life and others I just made up as possible scenarios.

1. Do you believe in God, the Eternal Father, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost; and do you have a firm testimony of the restored gospel?

2. Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator; and do you recognize him as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?

3. Do you sustain the other General Authorities and the local authorities of the Church?

4. Do you live the law of chastity?

One could live the law of chastity, but still struggle with impure thoughts. They could also watch inappropriate movies. Not pornos, but like R and PG-13 movies and shows which have inappropriate sexual content. I don't know if that would be okay, but I don't know that it would necessarily disqualify a person from being temple worthy.

5. Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?

You could have a situation here where there wasn't a clear-cut abusive atmosphere in the home, but there could be a great deal of turmoil and contention. Would that necessarily cause someone to not meet the standard? I don't know, and I think only that person can answer that, and different people may see it differently. It is ultimately a judgement call. Even if one answers no to this question, that doesn't mean they are perfect in this area. A person can still have weaknesses they need to work on.

6. Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?

Does commenting on this blog count? :)

7. Do you earnestly strive to do your duty in the Church; to attend your sacrament, priesthood, and other meetings; and to obey the rules, laws, and commandments of the gospel?

Yes, but sometimes I skip Sunday School because I'm talking in the hall or taking care of other business. I'm not always 100% with my V.T. And sometimes I slack-off in my calling a bit. I don't always pray and read my scriptures as often as I should, and occasionally I might tell a small lie. But taking everything into consideration, I do a good job and I try hard, even though I am not perfect in all things.

8. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?

People can interpret this differently. After I graduated from high school, I worked as a waitress, earning tips. We were supposed to report what we made each night, for tax purposes and also for pay reasons. If we didn't earn enough tips by the end of the pay period to equal minimum wage (since we were only paid $2.13 an hour), we were paid more by our employer to make up the difference. If we ended up making a lot in tips, our checks would be very small, because of taxes. All of the girls I worked with only reported a fraction of what they actually earned so that their checks would be bigger. I struggled with this because it seemed dishonest, but at the same time, it seemed harmless enough. It could also get the girls I worked with in trouble if someone happened to notice the huge discrepancy in my reported tips as compared to theirs. I ultimately decided to report all of my tips, and the other girls thought I was a goody two-shoes. My conscience was clear, but I still wonder if it really was that big of a deal. Someone else could easily feel perfectly justified in not reporting all of their tips, and may be able to answer this question with a clear conscience. There are probably other and better examples that could apply here.

9. Are you a full-tithe payer?

Some people pay on the net and others on the gross and both can interpret this differently and still be obedient. I had a bishop once who felt perfectly justified in only paying on the net, even encouraging others to do the same.

10. Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?

Yes, but I don't always eat as healthy as I should, and I don't always exercise regularly. Sometimes I over-indulge in sweets. I even cook with wine occasionally. However, I don't drink sodas very often, and when I do, they are uncaffeinated. No, I don't live the WoW perfectly, but I live it well enough to say yes.

11. Have you ever been divorced or are you now separated from your spouse under order of a civil court? If yes, (a) - Are you current in your support payments and other financial obligations for family members, as specified by court order or in other written, binding commitments? (b) Were there any circumstances of transgression in connection
with your divorce or separation that have not been previously resolved with your bishop?


12. If you have received your temple endowment -- (a) Do you keep all the covenants that you made in the temple? (b) Do you wear the authorized garments both day and night?

13. Has there been any sin or misdeed in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but has not?

14. Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the temple and participate in temple ordinances?

Notice that is says worthy, not perfect. This is always a difficult question for me, because it is difficult not to equate worthy with perfect. I know I am not perfect, and I am very aware of my weaknesses. But I know that I don't have to be perfect in order to be worthy to enter the temple.

You said: "You tell me I paint a cartoon prophet. I say the church paints a cartoon member with the temple recommend interview. I'm still not sure why I can't hold a prophet to the same standard I am expected to hold."

Show me an instance where a member during Joseph's time was expected to live a higher standard than Joseph was. Show me any instance where any member has been expected to live a higher standard than the current prophet.

And if you think that the barley-based drinks in the WoW referred to "Postum" or something other than an alcoholic beverage, you are kidding yourself. What point would there be in including that if it didn't mean alcoholic drinks? Are we to believe that since grains such as barley were already prescribed that we also needed permission to make barley into a beverage that was non-alcoholic, as if we couldn't have figured that out on our own? It seems that would be a bit redundant.

Oh, and I went back and read all of the comments after the new civil tone took effect. I set asside my "giddiness" over actually having someone on my side for a change, and I put on my objective glasses, and your comments are the only ones which could honestly be labeled as pompous, starting with the one where you labeled MH's comments as ridiculous, where you twisted the meaning and intent of his comments into something of your own divining, and where you laughed at and ridiculed his line of reasoning. That's not all either.

I'm sorry, but you are the one who initiated the "new tone" and now you are being hypocritical. Not only that, but you are characterizing MH unjustly with labels that are more befitting of your own attitude as evidenced by your comments.

Kudos to MH for being a man enough to accept responsibility, even if he didn't own most of it.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

Your comment can be broken down into 3 basic topics: Temple Recommend, WoW, and Civility.

I'll address each of them separately.

Bishop Rick said...

Temple Recommend

I think the examples you give are spot on in regards to how members answer those questions, and why...including me.

I always felt like a liar after going thru the recommend process and for no worse things that what you mentioned...that is until a recent bishop approached the interview differently. When asked those questions, I would answer them similar to how you describe. Yes, but with qualifiers. He said "other than the actual times that you fall short, are you trying to improve in those areas?" I said yes to which his reply was that is all it takes to meet the spirit of the law. The Stake Presidency at the time had a similar view. That was the only time in my LDS life that I didn't feel like a liar or unworthy to have a recommend. Of course life goes on and new bishops and Stake presidencies are called. A few years ago I went into the new Stake President for the 2nd half of the interview process and answered the questions essentially the same way.
Q: Are you striving...
A: I am trying...
At that point the whole tone of the interview changed as I was reprimanded for answering in that way. "NO" he said quite sternly. "YOU ARE DOING, NOT TRYING"
Taken quite by surprise I sat there in stunned silence. He repeated himself. "NO, YOU ARE DOING, NOT TRYING". The rest of the interview was stern and probing. I realize that SP was out of line, but that session taught me a big lesson. If you simply answer the questions yes or no, you don't have to go through that and the end result is the same. Though not all experiences were like that, I realized that it was a brief period where I was made to feel comfortable with myself instead of guilty and that spirit of the law does not always cut it, but letter of the law does. JS would not have had an easy time getting a recommend from that guy.

In short, the church puts us in a position where we have to rationalize in order to thru that interview. Regarding #6. You would have to answer YES to that question. I don't think it would keep you from getting a recommend, because you would be required to expound, but I guarantee you would be asked to cease and desist. #8 - only vegetarians can honestly answer this one in the affirmative. #10 The way I remember this one is, "Are you totally honest in all your dealings... Who can answer that question honestly in the affirmative?

Bishop Rick said...

Word of Wisdom

All your arguments for the WoW actually turn out to be against it. Postum is the only answer to barley drinks that supports both the original interpretation and the revised interpretation. If it is actually beer that is good for the belly, then why is it now banned? Jesus drank wine (after Noah, Lot and others) got drunk, but it didn't seem to be a problem. Pay attention to this part...JESUS, our supreme example. The God of the OT, the creator of this world. The only perfect being to walk this planet (over the age of 8 that is). He that fulfilled the Law of Moses. Are we to go back to the Law of Moses now with the WoW? I thought it was fulfilled, I'm confused. The only thing that actually makes sense is that the WoW was never revelation, it was just something that JS conjured up in his own mind.

Bishop Rick said...

Civility

I freely admit that I have made very combative comments on this blog, but in the time frame you are referring to, none of them were initiatory. They were all reactionary. If you honestly feel that this has been one sided or at least overwhelmingly one-sided, then that speaks VOLUMES about you and your perception...VOLUMES.

And I have to add that you and MH have EJ totally pegged wrong. I can understand MH because he is new to dealing with EJ, but you are not. You know exactly where EJ is coming from. You know his MO and his intent, but yet you continuously take his comments the wrong way. I have always been shocked at your reaction to EJ. Things that should be taken with a grain of salt are taken personal, but now I have a better understanding in light of how you view things on this blog. My eyes have been opened.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

By the strict definition of the word Bigot, EJ's mafia comments would definitely fall into that category...as would the majority of comments made on this blog. Why are you singling those particular comments out?

tatabug said...

BR,

I only have one comment in response to temple recommend questions. I've never been asked the question, "Are you totally honest in all your dealings..." It's always been just the way it appears in my comment.

Also, I've come to the point where I just say yes or no and don't elaborate unless I have a question. I know in my own mind whether or not I'm being honest with myself and others, and I don't need others making judgement calls for me.

Regarding WoW, I am astounded that you just don't get it. It's hard liquor that's the problem. Mild drinks/liquors like beer are not so much of a health problem, except for the fact that they are addictive, and as the revelation spells out, the conspiracies of men in the last-days (which includes the enticing advertising of it) are why it was forbidden. Of course, this is a lot of speculation on my part, but that is how I see it, and I've seen plenty to support this.

Regarding civility, your combative comments may have been reactionary, but I think you over-reacted. I didn't see MH's comments as being pompous. Nor were they diversionary. Nor were they a lot of other things which you accused them of being. As I have discovered from you, you don't like it when someone actually presents good arguments that disagree with your point of view. You reacted harshly to Russell. You weren't very nice to me in the beginning either. And whenever I disagree with you on something that you are dead set on, and you can't budge me, you can get a bit ugly with me. When you get frustrated, you get snarky and sarcastic. I do too, and that's fine if you want to play it that way, but don't be hypocritical about it. That's all I'm saying.

And no, I don't see MH's comments as being pompous, but yours appear that way to me. You can show me what you consider to be pompous, and we can discuss it. I'd be happy to. I'm not out to get you and I want to be fair in my assessment.

As far as EJ, I've never completely understood him. It's almost like he is two different people. He can have differences with me, and disagree with me, and that's fine, but sometimes, he is just outright abrasive and inconsiderate. I've just had all I can take of him at the moment. I love him one minute, and just can't stand him the next. I'm sick of not knowing what to expect from him. Perhaps you would understand where I'm coming from if the tables were turned and he were attacking your beliefs. I just think his comments are hurtful and have gotten to be more and more so, and it's sad to me that you don't see it even a little.

vballrh said...

MH-

Your response made me chuckle, at first anyway, and then think, which is always a good thing. I appreciate the story and the quote from the Rabbi, I really like that.

I think for me it isn't the people of the church necessarily just how I was raised and taught in the church. I am just starting this journey really so I have a lot of studying to do myself. A part of me hopes that I will just be able to come full circle and be a TBM again, but right now it doesn't seem very likely. I think I would label you not a TBM or a NOM, but maybe a NOM+ meaning you don't necessarily have a traditional view, but don't attend for social/cultural reasons either? Is that a better label than TBM?

Elder Joseph said...

Just Briefly now I've caught up with all the new posts...

MH

You called me a Bigot? Were any LDS Prophets and Apostles Bigots too?

BR

Thank you for understanding me.I'm not very good at communicating my thoughts/beliefs on The Mormon Church and especialy its past and I'm always suprised when Tata or now also MH get 'offended'?



Tata
I'll get back to some comments you made,I'm just short of time at the moment.

can I ask though :

Did Danites threaten people or not,or were they just a bunch of charitable guys who handed out bread and clothes to the poor?

Have I been misled by the whole nature and purpose of the Danites ?

Orrin Porter Rockwell? Why is he known as the Destroying Angel?

I can dig out threats recorded in JOD to church members thinking of quitting and speaking out against the church.

I would like to say that this blog is not 'Fast and Testimony' meeting.

I'm here to reveal the reality of what I believe is a fraudulent and deceptive religion which turned once probably decent men into Dangerous Megalomaniacs and is still a church with potential danger to families and individuals alike.

Likewise you are here to defend what you believe is the only true church on the face of the earth.

vballrh said...

Also, I have a question to throw out there regarding the WOW and polygamy. I read both "revelations" today, and from the wording it does seem that neither is absolutely binding. My question is this, and I think it works for both, Why aren't the revelations which make the WOW a commandment and obedience necessary for temple attendance, and the Official Declaration that stated practicing members of polygamy would be excommunicated, not in the D&C?

I ask because it seems because of the stance the church has taken that not having them in the scriptures would mean the original are still valid, and therefore drinking beer/wine would not be prohibited, nor would polygamy be prohibited unless it is against the law of the land (which it is not in some countries where members currently are).

Bishop Rick said...

vballrh,

I don't think MH is any form of a NOM. NOMs no longer believe. MH still believes. He is a TBM with heretical views. Perhaps his moniker should be TBMH.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

I totally understand the point you are making, but if "getting it" means I have to agree with you, then you are right. I don't get it. I don't get why I am expected, as a member of the LDS church, to constantly rationalize things to deal with all the stuff that makes no sense.

Mormon Heretic said...

BR,

TBMH, I like it. Seems to fit me much better. I believe Galileo was probably a TBCH.

-------------

All, I much prefer to converse without the rancor. It seems EJ thinks his bigoted comments are justified if he can find bigoted comments from past mormons. I'm not trying to puts words in others' mouths, but I think BR, Tata, Zelph, and I can all agree that just because Joshua, Elijah, Joseph, or Brigham made inelegant (bigoted if you prefer) comments concerning race, doesn't make bigotry correct, or acceptable, especially in the 21st century.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Don Imus, Trent Lott all made apologies when their bigoted comments were pointed out. But EJ still thinks bigotry is ok, if he can point to a mormon. EJ, earlier you said, "I give No Credibility Whatsoever to any LDS leadership claims."

Until you can recognize, and apologize for your bigoted comments, I give your opinions "No Credibility Whatsoever."

BR, I'm certainly not just singling EJ out. Remember post #105, where I quoted several people's insensitive comments? While I agree that we all get heated and can say some inflammatory things (myself included), EJ has certainly crossed into bigoted territory. I don't think anyone else has, but I am puzzled by the sympathetic support he has been getting.

BR, I also find it ironic (hypocritical if you prefer) that you say that I excuse JS's sins. But your original positions on EJ's comments were supportive of EJ, and seemed to be excusing his comments.

I don't consider your mafia comment to be ridiculous, absurd, laughable, appalling, disgusting, and worth no response at this point, but I would like to better understand the point you were making.

and

I understand exactly what he is saying and don't find it absurd at all. The mafia got what they wanted through intimidation and fear tactics. EJ has pointed to several incidents that fall directly into this category.

When I pointed out the similarities to anti-semitism you finally backed off and threw EJ under the bus, where he rightfully belongs. EJ continues to be defiant. I just don't get it, and frankly, I have a hard time taking anything EJ says seriously when he resorts to such inelegant (bigoted) tactics.

While it may be more difficult, I think we will all be better people by writing without inflammatory rancor. This will give us all more credibility with each other.

Brother Zelph said...

I believe maybe a better label for MH might be BMH not quite TBMH. I agree with you that Galileo was very much a TBCH.

Bishop Rick said...

Keep in mind that just because a comment is bigoted that does not make it false. It just makes it bigoted.

tatabug said...

BR,

By "getting it" I don't mean agreeing with me. It just seems that I've had to restate the same things over and over because you aren't "getting it" or you are just not paying attention. I feel like it is possible for you to understand where I am coming from and still not agree with me.

Mormon Heretic said...

My problem is with bigoted statements, not true statements. Sometimes they are true, but EJ's are mostly bigoted.

Look BR, you are much more willing to overlook EJ's sins than JS's. I think I documented this pretty well. I know you think you have justifications to do so, but you sure discount my justifications. You're not being very consistent here. Call a spade, a spade, as I have been doing. I find bigoted statements reprehensible, whether spoken by Biblical prophets, modern prophets, Al Sharpton, or Elder Joseph.

Elder Joseph said...

MH

"Until you can recognize, and apologize for your bigoted comments, I give your opinions "No Credibility Whatsoever."

I still don't know what you call Bigoted.If what I'm saying is true then its true.

Were the early church leaders violent and threatening or not ?

Its behaviour which reminds of the Mafia.They even would threaten women into obeying the polyamy callings.They were just bullies and cowards.Anyone can read it in Journal Of Discourses.These men became Arrogant Megalomaniacs.

An absolute embarrassment to myself that I was trusting( stupid) enough to even take them serious for the first 6 months of investigating.

I fell into the trap what most converts are lured into with false information and a false depiction of the church foundational events.

If what I am saying is not true, then why are there lots of once faithfull lifelong TBM's leaving the church ?

Its nothing to do with sin/standards in most of the cases.Its to do with sheer ethics and honesty and dignity.
For the very reason,their faith was based on a false innacurate and deceptive depiction of events.

Reading the amount of times you wrote 'Bigoted' reminds me of attending church and the amount of times I heard repeated during the 3 hours

" Only we have authority to act for God"
"Priesthood Power"
" Pay Tithe"
" This is the only true church"
" Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God"
" Restored Gospel"

I can't believe I even sat in for two years of that total repetitive indoctrination.

You remind of that.

In fact I probably learned my Bigotry amongst the fanatical members in my Ward, the amount of times I heard how all the other churches were without any Authority and false and how Gays are choosing to want to sin that way ,how blacks are the less valiants and much more uneducated claptrap.

I brought my good with me and got added this load of arrogant Trash !

I nearly threw up physically when my missionaries admitted to me with prompting that God was a White skinned man!

I just feel sorry for the genuine folk in my Ward.

I've helped a few recent converts learn the real history at their own request(they wanted to know why I stopped attending )and they thanked me and I've NEVER suggested or Dissuaded them from going to church unlike the 'Bishop' who advises recent converts who are questioning not to associate with me.......

Stick to the subject matter and stop trying to steer away from reality crying out persecution.

This is not a Fast and Testimony Blog.

Mormon Heretic said...

EJ,

"Until you can recognize, and apologize for your bigoted comments, I give your opinions "No Credibility Whatsoever."

If you would like me to comment on your points, I'll be happy to do so, once you recognize how hateful your comments are. Until then, I will stand behind your previous words: "No Credibility Whatsoever."

Do Jews talk to Nazi's?

tatabug said...

EJ,

The definition of bigoted is "blindly and obstinately attached to some creed or opinion and intolerant toward others." The definition of obstinate is "stubbornly adhering to an attitude, opinion, or course of action."

Your words definitely meet this criteria in my opinion.

And just because I tell you that your mother is fat, and it turns out to be true, doesn't mean that it is okay for me to say it. I could say a lot of mean things about you which may be true, but I don't say them out of respect. You words, regardless of if they are true or not, are mean, unkind, judgemental, and show a great lack of understanding and lack of respect for the feelings and beliefs of others. You can disagree with the church and with me, and that's fine. I only ask that you do it with civility. Zelph and others here are quite capable of doing it, so I don't see why you can't do it either.

I have one other thing I would like to say regarding your statement "If what I'm saying is true then its true." The conclusions you come to are not facts, they are your opinions based on what you've read and experienced, just as a lot of what I say is my opinion based on what I've seen and read and experienced. That is why it is not appropriate to make such biggoted and inflamatory comments, because we are all dealing with our own personal beliefs and opinions here. In any event, regardless of who is right and who is wrong, it is not Christ-like to condemn others, act like bigots, treat each other unkindly and with a lack of respect. But it appears that you feel perfectly justified in your words. Well...so did the mob.

I didn't want to respond previously to any of your comments, but I have calmed down just a bit and decided I couldn't ignore this particular comment any longer. You said:

"The whole point about the Carthage Jail incident is that I was taught that he went like a Lamb to The Slaughter, thats patently false as he was pre-prepared with a gun."

Do you have any idea what is meant by the phrase "like a lamb to the slaughter?" Anyone who works on a farm or in a slaughterhouse knows that sheep do not go willingly to the slaughter. They kick and buck, bleat, scream, and make every attempt to escape their fate. The term "lamb to the slaughter" simply refers to the inevitability of the final outcome. If you will recall, Joseph's complete statement was, "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning." If the phrase "like a lamb to the slaughter" was intended to mean going down without a fight, why would Joseph need to qualify his statement by saying that he was calm? He only meant that his fate was sealed.

"If I had seen God and spoke with him then I would not need a gun.Is God not more poweful than a man made gun.Did Joseph Smith have no Faith himself.If it was the Lords will then they could have been spared.A God who created the world , created man , parted the red sea , ressurrected dead people can very simply have thwarted the mob supernaturally if Joseph Smith was his prophet of Restoration."

If that's the case, then why would the apostle Paul try to escape being tortured and killed by using his Roman credentials (Acts22:25)? Why didn't he instead just have faith that he would be freed if it was God's will? I mean, God could have supernaturally thwarted Paul's captors without Paul having to resort to legal tactics to save himself, that is if Paul reaaly did see God and was a true prophet.

"I don't buy Tata'a apologetic line that Joseph was protecting his brother and friends.He was trying to save his own skin and didn't want to go to The Spirit world because he didn't know himself it really existed.He simply wanted to STAY in the world."

If Joseph truly was only trying to save his own skin because he was afraid to go to the spirit world because it might not exist, then why didn't he follow through with his original plan to escape west to avoid being killed? I mean, he was already on the run, and well out of the hands of his enemies on the west side of the Mississippi River when he turned back and gave himself willingly over to authorities, knowing that he would be killed. This is not the action of a man who's only thought or concern is saving his own skin.

BR,

I'm just curious about your thoughts, as you never responded to me regarding this statement: "Regarding the fact that he [Joseph Smith] saw God, I don't [agree with] your logic that such an experience should've guaranteed his absolute perfect obedience. If so, it would mean he should've been absolutely perfect in all things, not just the WoW. But such a thing just isn't the norm. I do believe that such an experience would ellicit more obedience than normal, but not perfection. Even the great prophets in the Bible who saw God did not become perfect as a result.

"Your line of reasoning says that men are not perfect because they haven't seen God; that if only men could see God, they would then become perfect. That just isn't how it works. I'm not imperfect because I lack knowledge of God's existence or because I haven't seen Him. I'm imperfect because I am weak or because I lack faith. Faith is the motivating factor behind obedience. Example: My children know that I exist (they live with me and see me every day) and they know what I expect of them, yet they either don't believe me, or their desires and weaknesses make perfect obedience difficult for them.

"You believe that if you saw God, you would be perfectly obedient. I certainly hope that I would be, but in all honesty, I don't know that I would be, and since you've never had such an experience, I don't think you can say for sure how you wouuld act either. I'm not saying that such an experience would'nt have profound effects, but that there is no way to know how profound. There isn't a soul on this earth, other than Jesus, who has ever reached the level of perfection, even among those who have seen God, and I don't see why only Joseph Smith is criticized for this."

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by me being more willing to overlook EJ's sins than JS's. I am not aware of EJ's sins. Even if I did, this is just a diversion. EJ is not the topic here.

What do you feel about statements like "dark and loathsome" or "white and delightsome"?

Bishop Rick said...

MH, Tata,

OK, the more comments I read, I realize this has sort of morphed into being about EJ.

Here are my observations:

I don't see why there is an insistence for EJ to apologize. If anyone on this blog should be called to apologize, it should be me, not EJ. Not once has EJ made a derogatory comment towards MH or Tata. His derogatory comments have all been towards the early leaders of the church. He even excuses the current members he knows that commit gaffes in his opinion. He also constantly asks for Tata's forgiveness for the passion with which he delivers his comments, but never gets it.

I'll state it again here. I think you two have EJ pegged wrong. He is the type of guy who (admittedly) would do anything for tata including carrying her shopping. I'm sure he would carry MH's too.

You have to realize that every statement you two make implies that those of us non-TBMs (including EJ) are headed for a lesser kingdom. That somehow we are less righteous, and for the former TBMs on this blog, we are even worse off because we once "had the spirit". These are serious implications that deal with eternity, not just the topic du jour on BZ's blog, yet we don't demand apologies or refuse to address comments made by you.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

I thought I had responded to your comment about JS seeing God should not cause him to become perfect. I stated that I didn't expect JS to be perfect in all things as you misquote me, but I did expect him to be perfect in the things that came directly from God to him.

My line of reasoning is NOT that men are imperfect because they have never seen God. You are making that up. What I said was that if God went to the trouble to advise me (not even commanded, but just advised) not to do something, I wouldn't do it. Even if I fell due to the weakness of man, I would fall to the earth begging forgiveness. I would not trumpet boldly through the streets defying that advise, making the unspoken statement that the advise didn't apply to me because I am like unto the prophets of old who were imperfect.

I'm sorry, but JS claimed to see God, Jesus, many ancient prophets and angels, and that he conversed with them on a regular basis. I expect more from him than from the common man. Apparently so does God, because he condemns men to hell that have a perfect knowledge (like JS supposedly did) and then deny it.

Mormon Heretic said...

Tata, your comments are spot on, but I would like to emphasize one you made in particular.

And just because I tell you that your mother is fat, and it turns out to be true, doesn't mean that it is okay for me to say it. I could say a lot of mean things about you which may be true, but I don't say them out of respect. You[r] words, regardless of if they are true or not, are mean, unkind, judgmental, and show a great lack of understanding and lack of respect for the feelings and beliefs of others. You can disagree with the church and with me, and that's fine. I only ask that you do it with civility. Zelph and others here are quite capable of doing it, so I don't see why you can't do it either.

Look Zelph has actually changed his blog heading, removing the word "objective" when presented with a convincing argument. BR and I have apologized for inflammatory comments. But somehow, EJ is above apologizing. I don't know whether EJ is a Christian or not, but this stubborn refusal to apologize for bigoted remarks, shows him to be quite immature.

The original mafia comment was posted on July 8. Even Don Imus, who frequently offends people with outrageous comments didn't wait 8 days to apologize--he did it within a day or two. Perhaps Don did try to minimize it with "well black people say these things too", but everyone knew that argument just doesn't hold water. It's hard for me to believe the Don Imus is better at apologizing than EJ, but in this case, it is absolutely true.

BR, I'm impressed that you are trying to apologize for EJ. My problem is with EJ's bigoted comments, not yours. Still, I appreciate your willingness to step in for your friend, but I'm not budging on this one. I already have a prepared response for EJ, but I refuse to post it until he apologizes for these toxic comments.

BR, the only sin that I know EJ has committed is bigotry. I did not assign anyone to hell, Cel/Ter/Tel kingdoms. Only non-TBM's have done that--(remember your previous comment that I was upset about?)

Now, I understand that you're paraphrasing the church on this, but please don't try to pin that on me, like you did when you said "You have to realize that every statement you two make implies that those of us non-TBMs (including EJ) are headed for a lesser kingdom."

If you thought I said or implied that, let me correct you. I am no judge for God, and I don't assign anyone to a kingdom. Yes, I am judging EJ's comments as basically anti-semetic (against mormons instead of jews), but I have documented that well. Perhaps he has a good heart, and God can assign him to a kingdom of God's choosing. But if EJ fails to apologize, then he is anti-semitic (in the "mormon" sense.)

Tata, I know it is tempting to want to defend outrageous comments. However, I think it is counter-productive. Of course, you're welcome to do what you want. But by commenting on EJ's outrageous comments, you're giving legitimacy to comments that are illegitimate.

I do my best to turn the other cheek, but I refuse to get my face beaten in.

Come on EJ, if you're really a decent human being as BR suggests, please follow Don Imus' example and apologize for your despicable comments.

Mormon Heretic said...

BR,

I forgot to answer your question,

What do you feel about statements like "dark and loathsome" or "white and delightsome"?

I find them bigoted and wrong. Of course, the history of the earth is full of bigots, so BoM peoples were no different from Bible peoples who are no different than us modern peoples. However, as you are aware, I have a low tolerance for bigoted statements, regardless of the source.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

I'm not apologizing for EJ. I don't think he has anything to apologize for...at least not on this blog.

All his controversial comments have been made about LDS church leaders. Not you. Not tata. Why should he apologize to you or anyone else on this blog? You choose to be offended by his comments even though they are not meant for you. I'm just not getting it.

Plus you have a pre-formed response which indicates that you don't really care what he might say, just that he says something, opening the door for your response. Not sure what to think about that.

Mormon Heretic said...

BR,

EJ's comments are anti-semitic (in the mormon sense.) Past mormon leaders never made mafia comparisons. If they had, they should apologize. Unfortunately, they're dead, so it's going to be pretty hard. I have a feeling that if I meet them on the other side, they'll probably apologize. But I don't think I should have to wait that long for EJ, especially when we're talking about it right now.

I find controversial statements made by mormon leaders wrong. BR, you use these bad statements to justify your thinking that they are not only not prophets, they are bad people. I don't think it is inconsistent to assume EJ's motives are bad when he engages in reprehensible rhetoric, just as some early church leaders did.

Does this mean EJ is a bad person? By your definition, yes. By my definition, maybe not. However, whether EJ is a good/bad person is really for God to decide. I'm not here assigning EJ to heaven or hell, but the statements he continues to justify are simply wrong-headed and bigoted. I don't think there is any other way to put it. But EJ has the power to repair his image if he wants to do it. So far, he does not seem willing to repair the damage he's done.

Perhaps he should consult with the church PR people to see what he can do about his image? :) (That is meant as a joke.)

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

EJ's comments are not anti-semetic. Mormons are not a race. EJ's comments are not against Mormons as a people. They are against a theology. Not the same thing.

His motives are not bad either. He wishes to forewarn passive readers of this blog that may be considering joining the LDS church, not to join based on the whitewashed view they receive from missionaries and members. He believes the LDS church is a cult and wants everyone to hear his views. This is not a bad motive. He is not disparaging the LDS church because he hates mormons...just the opposite.

Nothing EJ says will repair his image with you. You have already formed an opinion and drafted a response. You are simply not giving him a fair shake.

I don't use controversial statements by LDS leaders to prove they are not prophets or that they are bad people. Their actions bear that out. The statements are just supplementary. You are only seeing what you want to see, not only in people, but their statements. Not very objective.

Mormon Heretic said...

BR,

"He is not disparaging the LDS church because he hates mormons...just the opposite.

So are you implying that it is ok to disparage the LDS church because someone loves mormons? This seems like a really warped sense of logic.

"Nothing EJ says will repair his image with you."

I disagree. An apology will go a long way to repair his image.

"I don't use controversial statements by LDS leaders to prove they are not prophets or that they are bad people. Their actions bear that out."

By this logic, EJ's lack of action bears out that he is a bad person. This is your logic, not mine. I have no opinion as to whether EJ is a good or bad person--not enough data for me to know.

However, he is guilty of anti-semetic remarks (in the mormon sense). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. And you defending him shows that you probably need to take a sensitivity training class, just like him.

BR, which of the comments below is worse?

"As for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry about that." -- Al Sharpton

or this

"This is no different from what Mafia gang members go through for their tyranny and they continue with it also." -- EJ

I dare you to tell me that Al's comments are worse.

First Al said he was mis-quoted, but then he made a special appearance in SLC to apologize. He even met with a few apostles to apologize, and took a tour of Temple Square. Al's comments appear downright benign compared to EJ's.

Yet EJ just keeps digging a hole. Instead of recognizing the repugnant remarks, he piles on with this:

"This is all Mafia/Gangster/Thug style behaviour and has no relation whatsover to the new testament church he purported to have restored."

and this:

The only difference between Smith and the mafia is that Smith claimed God had commanded him to do all this !?!?

Even the mafia could justify lying with your comparison to cover up their own misdeeds.They could argue the same that they have to lie about their crimes as well or they will end up killed or in Jail away from their families.


and this:

My whole Mafia comparison was that the Mormon Church was held together by THREATS and INTIMIDATION and thats a fact.( and still is in a subtle way from my experience in church).

BR, he's not just attacking Joseph Smith--he's attacking CURRENT CHURCH LEADERS. This is not a theology attack, it is a nuclear blast. A theology attack would try to quote some scripture tying the mafia to the LDS church. Good luck finding that one.

He made at least 2 more mafia blasts after that, but my post is already too long.

Finally, I got this.

I still don't know what you call Bigoted.

Well, EJ, I think I have laid it out pretty well. The above quotes from your posts are a good sampling of your bigoted statements--not all of them, but a good, representative sampling.

Don't worry, I don't have a prepared response for EJ's apology. (It seems that would be a waste of time anyway.) My preparations were to challenge his previous non-mafia assertions which have been posted for over a week. I don't think that is out of line. Tata has already commented. EJ has asked me for a response, and I will only oblige him with an apology. You also asked me not to be so dismissive of others' remarks, and now you it appears you don't want me to respond.

I'll put him in the same boat as Howard Stern or Don Imus--shock jocks who say anything to get attention. EJ has nothing serious to say, and I won't take one word he says serious again. I promise.

EJ is simply a bad joke to me: "No Credibility Whatsoever." If he wants me to take him seriously, he can apologize. If he wants to change my opinion of him, the ball is squarely in his court.

BR, I'm done with the tangent. I have beaten this horse beyond recognition, and will gladly return to our previously scheduled topic.

Bishop Rick said...

The only thing I'm implying is that EJ is stating what he believes to be true. Rather than dwelling on whether or not his comments are anti-semitic, you should ask him to back up his statements with references. Then you can accept or refute his references. He is making these statements based on something. Find out what that something is. Call him on that.

In regards to Al Sharpton vs EJ, I would put both statements in the same category. They both made statements based on their frame of reference. Again, discover the frame of reference first. You may change your mind on the intent and level of bigotry.

Mormon Heretic said...

BR,

"discover the frame of reference first."

I have made the similar statements regarding Joseph Smith, and the Bible. You have completely discounted this line of reasoning when I use it. You're being paradoxical.

BR, you're going back and forth. First you say

"EJ, I don't consider your mafia comment to be ridiculous, absurd, laughable, appalling, disgusting,"

followed by

"By the strict definition of the word Bigot, EJ's mafia comments would definitely fall into that category"

followed by

"I don't think he [EJ] has anything to apologize for...at least not on this blog."

followed by

"In regards to Al Sharpton vs EJ, I would put both statements in the same category."

You're sending mixed messages.

Al apologized. If EJ's comments are in the same category, he needs to apologize too.

OK, EJ, what is your frame of reference for the church being related to the mafia? (And please don't dig a deeper hole here. This is my last attempt at turning the cheek here. Apologize first, and answer the question second.)

BR earlier said you are making a theological argument tying the mafia to mormons. Please back up your argument with scriptural references. Up to this point, all mafia references have not been based on scriptures. I'm waiting earnestly for this theological argument.

Bishop Rick said...

MH,

You continue to group two unrelated items to bolster an assumption that doesn't exist.

You take responses to entirely different questions and say I'm flip flopping.

Having meaningful dialogue with you is impossible. This is obviously not me, because I don't have this problem with other posters here...only with you. Either you are deliberately twisting things in an effort to frustrate, or you simply don't put in the effort to pay attention. Quite frankly, I'm not sure which one it is.

I did not say EJ's mafia comments were a theological argument. I really don't think you are that stupid, but when you continue to screw up the meaning of every damn comment made here, I have to wonder. I'm sorry, I just can't have a dialogue with you.

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