Google
 

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Smithsonian Institue Considers the Book of Mormon a Historical Document

The Smithsonian Institute Considers the Book of Mormon a Historical Document

Well, sort of. The Smithsonian Institute considers the Book of Mormon a very important historical document of 19th century American religious history. However, the Smithsonian Institute is very clear that they do not consider the Book of Mormon to be a translation of ancient American texts.

I remember hearing rumors from other missionaries on my mission that the Smithsonian Institute used the Book of Mormon as a guide to help find archaeological digs. However, this is just Mormon folklore. Thanks to Shawn Landis for pointing this out, as I think it is important for everyone ,regardless of your belief in the Book of Mormon, to dispel untruthful rumors.

Smithsonian Letter Regarding Book of Mormon

I think it is important for everyone to read the Smithsonian Letter about the Book of Mormon. Here is the text of the letter as referenced from this site.

Information from the
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. 20560

Your recent inquiry concerning the Smithsonian Institution's alleged use of the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide has been received in the Smithsonians Department of Anthropology.

The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. The Smithsonian Institution has never used it in archaeological research and any information that you have received to the contrary is incorrect. Accurate information about the Smithsonians position is contained in the enclosed Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon, which was prepared to respond to the numerous inquiries that the Smithsonian receives on this topic.

Because the Smithsonian regards the unauthorized use of its name to disseminate inaccurate information as unlawful, we would appreciate your assistance in providing us with the names of any individuals who are misusing the Smithsonians name. Please address any correspondence to:

Public Information Officer
Department of Anthropology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution, MRC 112
Washington, DC 20560

Prepared by
THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

STATEMENT REGARDING THE BOOK OF MORMON

1. The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.

2. The physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and northeastern Asia. Archaeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World--probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age--in a continuing series of small migrations beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.

3. Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach this continent from the East were the Norsemen, who briefly visited the northeastern part of North America around 1000 A.D. and then settled in Greenland. There is no evidence to show that they reached Mexico or Central America.

4. None of the principal Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the dog) occurred in the New World in pre- Columbian times. This is one of the main lines of evidence supporting the scientific premise that contacts with Old World civilizations, if they occurred, were of very little significance for the development of American Indian civilizations. American Indians had no wheat, barley, oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, or camels before 1492. (Camels and horses were in the Americas, along with the bison, mammoth, and mastodon, bat all these animals became extinct around 10,000 B.C. at the time the early big game hunters traveled across the Americas.)

5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492 (except for occasional use of unsmelted meteroic iron). Native copper was worked in various locations in pre- Columbian times, but true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region, where its occurrence in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver, copper, and their alloys, but not iron.

6. There is a possibility that the spread of cultural traits across the Pacific to Mesoamerica and the northwestern coast of South America began several hundred years before the Christian era. However, any such inter-hemispheric contacts appear to have been the results of accidental voyages originating in eastern and southern Asia. It is by no means certain that even such contacts occurred with the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, or other peoples of Western Asia and the Near East.

7. No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World archeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archeological remains in Mexico and archeological remains in Egypt.

8. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.

9. There are copies of the Book of Mormon in the library of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

I believe that the last statement is the basis for the origin of the rumor that the Smithsonian Institute considers the Book of Mormon a historical document. However, anyone that has read the letter understands that it is very clear that the Smithsonian does not consider the Book of Mormon a historical document of ancient America, but one of 19th century America. They emphasize their frustrations and even the illegality of people mis-using the Smithsonian name.

Mormon Folklore

Mormon folklore are stories or things that are meant to be spiritually uplifting and faith promoting, but are essentially not true. I believe that it does more harm as people are crushed or disappointed when they realize that it isn't true. However, what is amazing to me is how confident someone can sound when they spread stories that are simply not the case.

I am confident that the missionary that told me about the Smithsonian Institute using the Book of Mormon as a guide really believed it. He sounded so confident and so 'matter of fact' that I believed that he had done thorough research on the subject, so I believed it. Turns out that my missionary companion had heard it from someone else that told it to him in such a way that he assumed that that person had looked into it and had checked the facts.

Disillusioned Mormon

185 comments:

Jeremy said...

I heard the three Nephites help guard the Books of Mormon that are in the possession of the Smithsonian.......

;)

Salomander God said...

That can't be right, because everyone knows that the three Nephites were spotted at Hinckley's funeral :)

(no disrespect to Hinckley intended)

Jeremy said...

They aren't held to the "must have a companion with you at all times" rule... they leave one behind and the other two head out to save and protect all things mormon.

Shawn Guy said...

fairlds.org has some pretty interesting research on the subject. Although, I agree that one should not spread false doctrine even if it sounds neat.

Elder Joseph said...

The Book Of Mormon is not a translation of any documents/writings of any ancient civilisations .

All the evidence clearly shows Joseph Smith as the Author and most of it can be accounted for in various plageurisms of his time including the KJV bible .....

This is becoming widespread and causing members to reconsider what they have committed their lives to.

Put together with all the other problems and its becoming clear the Joseph Smith made it all up.

A classic Cult leader ....in the same way as Ron Hubbard and his Dianetics books which started Scientology .....

....and the Prophetess Ellen G White who wrote books claiming revelation and founded the 7th day Adventists .They have since admitted that alot in her books were plageurised and now downplay her importance ..
The same will happen to Joseph Smith if the LDS wants to survive ... although I notice that Mormons are now claiming the validity of the LDS church rests on whether Joseph Smith saw his first vision whereas in Ezra Taft Bensons time it was claimed the church's claims rested on the validity of The Book Of Mormon !
Now that,that book is being shown to be not what it claims to be , the church has decided to switch to the first vison because it can't easily be proved false like the Book Of Mormon can and has been.

In a similar way it can't be proved false that I saw the Angel Malmoa and he told me Smith was sent by Satan to ruin peoples lives.

ExMo said...

The Book of Mormon is a piece of early 1800's religious fiction and is not a translation of ancient texts. Just sent in my resignation letter a few weeks ago, so even though I haven't received a confirmation letter, I no longer consider myself a member of the church. The thing I resent the most about the church is how it proclaims to be one that unites families, until you have a family member that doesn't believe in the doctrines of the church. Then the church drives a massive wedge in the family and tears it apart.

My wife and I are divorcing not just over the church, but I think it has a lot to do with it because ever since I learned the truth about church history, we started going down different paths and now we have such different outlooks on life, it is incompatible, it is like we are living in different wolds now. All this over a man-made church.

My wife pays tithing for both of us even though I told her I don't want to pay tithing for myself and it is fine if she wants to pay for her own income, but stop writing checks to cover both of us. We are in massive credit card debt and have a large mortgage that is more than we could sell our house if we tried. I told her we shouldn't pay tithing if we aren't really making any money, we are drowning in debt and the divorce will force us into bankruptcy. Yet, the church ends up getting the money. It doesn't make sense to me and my wife believes she will tithe her way out of bankruptcy. I am a realist and know paying tithing didn't prevent our credit scores from dropping and we will face bankruptcy.

Sorry for going off, but I feel better now that I got these things off my chest.

Adam Gonnerman said...

There are a lot of folks in the Community of Christ who view the Book of Mormon as little more than fiction, yet remain with their church because they love the fellowship. That group doesn't require anyone to hold to a particular view of the Book of Mormon. I'd have a hard time there, though, as I'd always know that the book being used from time to time was in no way equal to the Bible.

Bishop Rick said...

Sadly, I believe that the BofM is comparable to the Bible as we know it...especially the OT. There is just too much man-made gibberish in there to think that it is completely literal. That said, I think the Bible contains more actual history than the BofM.

tatabug said...

EJ,

All the evidence clearly shows Joseph Smith as the Author and most of it can be accounted for in various plageurisms of his time including the KJV bible .....

Put together with all the other problems and its becoming clear the Joseph Smith made it all up.


I don't see how you can use the word "clearly" so loosely. It is not at all clear to me and millions of others who have a firm testimony that the Church IS true and that Joseph Smith was indeed a true prophet. It is truly a matter of perspective and not everyone shares yours, and it is just as likely that you are the one who's been duped as it is me.

although I notice that Mormons are now claiming the validity of the LDS church rests on whether Joseph Smith saw his first vision whereas in Ezra Taft Bensons time it was claimed the church's claims rested on the validity of The Book Of Mormon !

Please show me where I can find this information, and explain to me how the validity of the First Vision is any more "proveable" than the BOM's validity. Just as much effort has gone into proving that a fraud as well.

EXMO,

The thing I resent the most about the church is how it proclaims to be one that unites families, until you have a family member that doesn't believe in the doctrines of the church. Then the church drives a massive wedge in the family and tears it apart.

I'm truly sorry for the pain that you and your family are going through, but I must comment that the Church doesn't drive any wedges between families. In fact, it does a great deal to prevent wedges being driven in by such things as not allowing a woman to receive temple covenants without her non-member husband's consent, asking the husband before extending a calling to his wife, not allowing teenagers and children to be baptized without their parent's consent. There are probably more examples as well, but those are the ones I came up with quickly.

The only wedges that get driven in are the ones that a couple or a family allow to be driven in by their own selfishness or stubborness, and it is only natural that when a couple has serious differences of opinion over something as personal as religion, then there will be huge difficulties unless there is a great deal of patience and understanding from both sides.

Don't forget that you at one time (I assume) didn't view the Church as man-made, but you've changed, while your wife hasn't. I think you need to see from her perspective how difficult it must be for her to have "lost" you, in that sense, and then have to adapt to something completely different that she probably never bargained for when she married you (assuming you were both members at the time).

But I do agree that she shouldn't be paying tithing on your money if it is your desire not to have it spent that way. I think you are on the right track by allowing her to pay tithing on her income though.

tatabug said...

Sorry, I forgot to hit the "Email follow-up comments to ..." button. Hee Hee :)

Alex Owen said...

I agree with Tatabug.

Elder Joseph, please show me where this evidence clearly shows Joseph Smith as the author that you are referring to.

If you are talking about what has been mentioned on the blog, there are some things to think about, but I would hardly call any of it "clear evidence" of anything. People can look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions based on the same facts using the same system of reason and logic.

I think some of the criticisms of the church have somewhat valid points where I can see where they are coming from, yet most criticisms are speculation and often times are really grasping straws.

Most people simply look at things on the surface when they appear to agree with their way of thinking, and so they leave it at that. They don't look any deeper because they see no need to look any deeper.

Archeology is just one example. As our understanding of archeology improves, we are finding new discoveries every day and non-LDS archaeologists are learning that the ancient American cultures were much more diverse than anyone had imagined before.

Many people also make the mistake of thinking that we have excavated every building that ever existed, which is simply not the case. The truth is that there is still much to learn about Native American cultures and we have only begun to scratch the surface.

Skeptics or non-believers in the Book of Mormon might look at the surface and say that it is "proof" that the Book of Mormon isn't a historical record, but I think that is intellectually dishonest. In order to prove that the Book of Mormon is not true, you would have to have an absolute knowledge of all of Ancient America. So the burden of proof lies on someone trying to disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

Although, we can find common ground that I agree that we should not falsely invoke the Smithsonian's name and reputation.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

You said

"Please show me where I can find this information, and explain to me how the validity of the First Vision is any more "proveable" than the BOM's validity. Just as much effort has gone into proving that a fraud as well."

I'll dig up the information soon as possible but meantime I want to explain why disproving the Book of Mormon is easier than disproving the first vision and this is why the church has backtracked to the first vision...

Firstly If I said that I have seen the Angel Bologni and he told me all the LDS church's supposed restored doctrines are an abomination and its leaders a bunch of idiots , then you could not prove that I didn't see that Angel and the subsequent message given to me....

But If I wrote a book having translated Angel Bologni's Titanium plates and called it 'Mere Christianity' and had a chapter entitled S L Cewis and sections of verses from some author called CS Lewis in them , then you could start to put a case against that claim of Titanium plates Translation etc..

See the point ....

Archeology , DNA, Linguistics , Anachronisms , KJV plageurisms and errors etc etc all indicate the book of mormon is not an ancient history ( whether you agree or not ), but the amount of once faithfull TBM tithe payers quitting the church seem to agree that the evidence is against that book's authenticity .

Though members tend to quit because of all the problems including ,the Book Of Abraham Fraud,Polygamy with teens and married women etc and all the rest of what gets discussed and especially revealed on the internet...

Elder Joseph said...

alex owen

you said

"Elder Joseph, please show me where this evidence clearly shows Joseph Smith as the author that you are referring to."

Reading Zelphs Blog would be a good start! and incase you don't know who he is , you are on his blog right now ! :)

you also said

"Many people also make the mistake of thinking that we have excavated every building that ever existed, which is simply not the case."

As far as the Book Of Mormon is concerned no one has excavated anything whatsoever.And even when we are told the locations like Hill Cumorah !

So what do LDS Apologists do?

They say it must be somewhere else.

And when that somewhere else has been looked over , they will say it must actually be somewhere else !

Meanwhile The Prophet who suposedly speaks with God hasn't a clue himself and doesn't even seem to think to ask God.Well because he never hears from him.

Why waste all that money with LDS archeological studies when he claims to speak with God direct ? Think how many people could be fed with money being used on a wild goose chase from BYU.

Zelph said...

Alex- Thank you for your comments.

You said:
"In order to prove that the Book of Mormon is not true, you would have to have an absolute knowledge of all of Ancient America."

I agree with you. If it were my goal to prove that the BoM is not true, I would have to be all-knowing, almost Godlike, at least regarding ancient America. However, my purpose is not to prove that the BoM is not true. I think it is a mistake for anyone to try to prove that something is not true. I can't disprove the Book of Mormon anymore than I can disprove the existence of purple goblins that live underground.

The point I am making is that I haven't seen any real convincing evidence to support the Book of Mormon.

you said "So the burden of proof lies on someone trying to disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

I disagree with this statement. I believe that the burden of proof lies on people that are trying to use archeology to prove that the BoM is true with evidence.

Once again, that would be like if I said that purple goblins live underground, and this is true unless you can prove otherwise. Oh, and the only way you could prove that purple goblins don't live underground is to have a complete knowledge of every particle underground.

What it comes down to for me is asking myself what is more reasonable. That is when the paradigm shift took place. I went from a belief in the BoM grasping onto any kind of plausibility, no matter how unlikely or far fetched to asking myself what is more likely. However, don't make the mistake in thinking that I am out trying to disprove the BoM, I am simply saying that I do not believe there is any substantial proof.

Alex Owen said...

Zelph, do you believe that God answers prayers? I think the best source for finding truth is by asking God. The scriptures have indicated this many times.

Bishop Rick said...

Alex,

That is circular logic.

The scriptures say to pray to see if the scriptures are true.

Not a very good method if you ask me.

Joshua said...

Alex:

The most difficult thing I have had when talking to Mormons is getting them to realize that they don't worship or pray to the real Jesus. If you pray to the Mormon Jesus, you are not praying to the real Jesus of the bible, you are praying to an idol. If you pray to the God of Mormon if the book of Mormon is true, then what do you think he will say? Think, man.

Mormons typically revert to either tearing down the bible or when they are really cornered they just say that they know the book of Mormon is true because they feel it in their heart. But the bible says that the hearts of men are corrupt.

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?"

Mark 7:21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries"

You are going to say that these verses are mis-translations, but God wouldn't allow that to happen that is why the bible is the perfect word of God. Give up your false counterfeit Jesus of Mormonism and come to the real Jesus of the Bible.

Jeremy said...

Joshua,

The bible isn't "the perfect word of god" like you say. It appears that you are as hard nosed about it as mormon is their book of mormon.

In the previous post (in the comments) the bible translations and differences are discussed which you DIDN'T read but you probably should.

Bishop Rick said...

"If you pray to the God of Mormon if the book of Mormon is true, then what do you think he will say? Think, man. "

If I pray to the god of underground purple goblins and get an answer, I'm listening...or going to the hospital.

"You are going to say that these verses are mis-translations, but God wouldn't allow that to happen that is why the bible is the perfect word of God."

You can't be serious. If God will not allow the Bible to be mistranslated then why is the Bible mistranslated?..scratching head.

For that matter, why would God allow all these alternative scriptures like the BofM, the Koran, etc. to exist and lead people away from the perfect Bible, if they are false?

Joshua, if there is a God, he doesn't interfere with anything going on down here. I've said this a million times (I counted). If God does interfere with earthly goings on, then he/she is a prejudice, non-caring, selective SOB, that warns "worthy" people to fasten their seat belt prior to a crash, while ignoring "unworthy" starving children in 3rd world countries.

It really amazes me that fat and happy "Christians" of any denomination (LDS included) believe that they have a personal God. How can you be so arrogant to think you are special and receive personal revelation, while SO MANY others receive nothing and for no other reason than the circumstances they were born into.

I'm here to tell you that there is no personal God. If there actually is, then he/she can kiss my ass.

I know I just offended many, but I'm only speaking how I believe.

tatabug said...

EJ,

Guess what president Hinckley was teaching as early as 1985? There are four cornerstones of the church. The first and chief cornerstone is, of course, Jesus Christ. Can you guess the second one? I bet you are going to guess the BOM. If so, you are wrong. The second cornerstone is the First Vision. The third cornerstone? Yes, the BOM. And last but not least, the priesthood is the fourth cornerstone.

Now, it is probably true that the second, third, and fourth cornerstones really don't outweigh each other in importance, so the ranking really doesn't mean anything in these cases. However, I still find it interesting that he chose to put the First Vision second. Why? Because it is what began the restoration. Everything hinges on the First Vision as much as it does the BOM.

In doing a search on lds.org, I was quickly able to come up with a large number of recent Ensign articles which referred to the quote by Joseph Smith in which he called the BOM, "the keystone of our religion." In case you don't already know what a keystone is,
Wikipedia describes it this way:

A keystone is the architectural piece at the crown of a vault or arch and marks its apex, locking the other pieces into position. This makes a keystone very important structurally.

So, in theory at least, the keystone is the piece which locks all other pieces of the arch or other structure in place, and if removed the structure would crumble. This signifies to me that the Book of Mormon is crucial to establishing the Church as being true, and I haven't see any indication from recent teachings that the status of the Book of Mormon in the Church has been diminished in any way.

Now I see your point in that it is easier to put together a case against something tangible, like the BOM. However, anyone can claim to have seen an angel, but it doesn't make it true. You can't prove it or disprove it simply because there is no tangible evidence to work with. So you are left with believing it because you trust the person, or you don't believe because you don't trust the person. That's where the part about disparaging a person's character comes in, and that's exactly what has been done to Joseph Smith, and in my opinion, unfairly so.

You said:

Archeology , DNA, Linguistics , Anachronisms , KJV plageurisms and errors etc etc all indicate the book of mormon is not an ancient history

These things do not prove anything with regard to the BOM. Even if archaeology, DNA, linguistics all showed undeniably that alleged anachronisms in the BOM were no longer anachronistic, that would not prove the BOM true. The only thing such evidence does is to lend plausibility. This means that at that point, the BOM would appear to merit belief, but it can't establish conclusively that the BOM is true. The only way to prove the BOM is true, and the Church has always taught this, is to pray to know it is true by the witness of the Holy Ghost. The Church has never claimed that there is any proof, other than a spiritual witness which will sufficiently prove the BOM is true, and unless someone is willing to accept that as the only means possible to reach that conclusion, then they will probably never receive the necessary proof.

tatabug said...

Joshua,

Please tell me which version of the Bible is perfect so that I can be sure to pick up a copy. Thanks.

Joshua said...

Tatabug, you are making the mistake of thinking that there is only one correct version of the bible in the sense that one has to choose among hundreds of different translations the one correct translation.

There is only one bible. What that means is that there is only one author, God, and there is only one correct meaning. How do we know if we are reading a correct translation? Easy. Anything that disagrees or contradicts with scripture is not part of the bible.

2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness"

There it is in black and white. Scripture is inspired by God, not man. This means that there is only one author and therefore anything that is preported to be scripture that is not congrewent with the bible is not inspired by God. God wouldn't contradict himself, or would he lie. That is why the bible can be trusted. See what I mean?

Elder Joseph said...

tata
You said

"However, anyone can claim to have seen an angel, but it doesn't make it true. You can't prove it or disprove it simply because there is no tangible evidence to work with. So you are left with believing it because you trust the person, or you don't believe because you don't trust the person. That's where the part about disparaging a person's character comes in, and that's exactly what has been done to Joseph Smith, and in my opinion, unfairly so. "

So you trust Joseph Smith then.

I don't and for very good reason.Those who trusted him ended up paying him for NOT finding any treasure with his hat and stone .... they ended up building a house for him , building a boarding( Nauvoo) house for him , giving him whatever he wanted including their own wives and teen daughters.

Do you tust him enough to give your teen daughter in marriage ? or even marry him yourself secretly in Polygamy ?and whilst still being married to your husband.... maybe your husband could even attend the wedding !

you said

"The Church has never claimed that there is any proof, other than a spiritual witness which will sufficiently prove the BOM is true,"

Its spent a long time trying to find proof via its church funded Archeological Foundation and not found any thats why it has to stick with its spiritual witness claim...

I read the BOM and prayed about it and it was confirmed false.

This is the same book which gives Warren Jeffs his Authority to Marry his teen girls polygamously .They have afterall prayed and got the truth of it confirmed via the Spirit also.

you said

"I haven't see any indication from recent teachings that the status of the Book of Mormon in the Church has been diminished in any way."

Its the same with Hardened criminals and liars too , they never own up because they would be in the Cra* house.

Does that mean that when the church finally admits the BOM is not literally true but just a spiritual parable of sort , then thats when you will finally quit?

tatabug said...

Joshua,

I would really like to have an intelligent conversation with you, but when one side of the conversation does not think logically, that is rather hard to do.

You said:

"Anything that disagrees or contradicts with scripture is not part of the bible."

Huh? So if one Bible translation disagrees with another Bible translation, which one is right? Which is the perfect Biblical standard, in your opinion, is what I am curious to know?

You also said:

Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness"

There it is in black and white. Scripture is inspired by God, not man. This means that there is only one author and therefore anything that is preported to be scripture that is not congrewent with the bible is not inspired by God. God wouldn't contradict himself, or would he lie. That is why the bible can be trusted. See what I mean?


I completely agree with you. I truly do believe that the Bible is the word of God as equally as I believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Book of Mormon does not contradict the Bible, although you've assumed that it does. (All of you BOM critics: feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on that one.)

Zelph said...

Tata,

I will back you up that the Book of Mormon doesn't contradict the Bible any more than the Bible contradicts itself.

Gen 32:30 states, “…for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

However, John 1:18 states, “No man hath seen God at any time…”

Both statements cannot be true. So according to Joshua's reasoning, either John or Genesis is not actually part of "the Bible" since they have contradicting passages. So which one is the actual Bible and how are we to know the difference?

tatabug said...

EJ,

Yes, I trust Joseph Smith.

Do you tust him enough to give your teen daughter in marriage ? or even marry him yourself secretly in Polygamy ?and whilst still being married to your husband.... maybe your husband could even attend the wedding !

Sounds like great fun!

I read the BOM and prayed about it and it was confirmed false.

You are so lying, and I can't respect that.

Does that mean that when the church finally admits the BOM is not literally true but just a spiritual parable of sort , then thats when you will finally quit?

Yup.

What a truly meaningful conversation, Elder Joseph. Thank you.

tatabug said...

Excellent point Zelph! I love it. Some intelligence finally.

Joshua said...

Zelph: Genesis and John are both in the bible. I have the bible right here in my hand and there they both are. Now don't you think that if one of them were not part of the bible that God would have prevented it to be included in the bible?

There is no contradiction in those two scriptures. We know that they aren't contradictory because they are both in the bible and therefore were written by the same author ultimately God.

The “contradiction” is the result of the passages being taken out of the context in which they were written originally. For example, consider the following two statements. Joe is rich; Joe is poor. Do these statements contradict one another? Not necessarily. Is it not possible that Joe could be rich spiritually but poor physically?

That is exactly what has happened in texts such as John 1:18 and Genesis 32:30. The passages seem to contradict one another, but when considered in their appropriate context they do not because they are not speaking of God being “seen” in the same sense. Several illustrations of this principle can be found in Scripture.

First, consider Moses “seeing” God in a burning bush (Exodus 3:2ff.). He saw a fire on the side of a mountain. When he went to investigate, he saw a bush that burned but was not consumed. As he observed this unusual sight, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” Then the voice from the burning bush echoed: “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6a). The text indicates that “Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (3:6b).

As Moses spoke to the burning bush on the mountainside, was he addressing God? Indeed he was, as the passage clearly teaches. But does the passage also teach that as he looked at the bush, Moses was fearful because he considered it “seeing” God? Yes, Exodus 3:6b so states.

When Moses looked upon the burning bush, did he actually “see” God? No. He saw an image that we as humans can comprehend. The bush was a representation of God—an occasion where something took God’s place.

Second, consider Job’s “seeing” God in a whirlwind (Job 38:1ff.). Job made a wrongful boast that landed him in serious trouble with God. Suddenly (and unexpectedly) a whirlwind appeared before Job—from which the voice of God echoed: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” (Job 38:2-3). Job looked at the whirlwind and heard God. But was God really in the whirlwind? Did Job actually see God when he looked into this magnificent force of nature? No. Instead, Job saw a manifestation of God that a human could comprehend. The whirlwind “took God’s place.”

Third, consider Jacob’s “seeing” God as he wrestled with an angel (Genesis 32:24-30). He wrestled from night until daybreak with this heavenly being and eventually said: “I have seen God face to face.” Was it really God that Jacob saw? No, he did not see God but instead witnessed a representative of God. A similar example can be found in the case of Manoah (the father of Samson), recorded in Judges 13. In this instance, the text says that Manoah and his wife were visited by the “Angel of the Lord” (13:13) who informed them of their son’s impending birth. Afterwards, Manoah said: “We shall surely die because we have seen God! (13:22). Again, it is necessary to ask: Was it really God that Manoah and his wife saw? No, they did not see God but instead witnessed (just as Jacob had) a manifestation of God via the angel. [NOTE: A fascinating parallel can be seen in Gideon’s statement in Judges 6:22 when he cried: “I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.”]

What, then is the explanation of the alleged contradiction between passages such as John 1:18, Exodus 33:20, and Genesis 32:30? How can the Scriptures state that “no man hath seen God” (John 1:1 8) or that “no man shall see Me and live” (Exodus 33:20), while stating elsewhere that Jacob saw God “face to face” (Genesis 32:30) and that Manoah and his wife had “seen God” (Judges 6:22)? E.G. Sewell provided a partial answer to this kind of question when he wrote:

When Jacob is represented as saying he saw God, it was only an angel of God that appeared to him in the form of a man. In Hosea it is called an angel so that in that case Jacob did not see the face of God at all, but only an angel of God (1921, p. 274, emp. in orig.).

An illustration of this very point can be found in the incarnation of Jesus. The apostle Paul, in discussing Christ’s deity, noted that as a member of the Godhead, Jesus had existed throughout eternity and possessed “equality with God” (Philippians 2:5-6). He also discussed the fact, however, that Christ—Who had existed in heaven “in the form of God”—took on the “likeness of men” (1:7) while He was on Earth. Was Christ equal to God? Yes, He was. Did men see Christ during His earthly ministry? Yes, they did. Did they therefore “see” God? Yes, indeed. But did they see God’s true image (i.e., as a spirit Being—John 4:24), or did they see instead an embodiment of God as Jesus dwelt here in a fleshly form? The answer is obvious from John’s explanation in the first few verses of the first chapter of his Gospel. All this makes it clear that while Jesus is God, He also became a man “so that in history he might reveal the God whom no man has ever seen” (Pack, 1975, p. 39).

So the next time someone takes a two- or three-word quote from the Bible in an attempt to make the point that the text contains contradictions, we can be sure that in all likelihood it is not a proper quote (i.e., considered in its context). We can keep the improper interpretation from spreading by studying the “problem passage” and pointing out the correct context. When we prevent the interpretation offered by atheists, then they have nothing to use to prove their point that the Bible has contradicted itself.

Zelph said...

Joshua, holy cow, that is a lot of research and typing in such a small amount of time. Once again, I goggled the phrase "That is exactly what has happened in texts such as John 1:18 and Genesis 32:30"

And sure enough, once again, guess what is the the first thing that popped up? Don't mean to embarrass you, but this is the SECOND time you are caught copying and pasting from an apologist website without giving them credit.

Nothing wrong or illegal about not having the ability to think for yourself, just make sure you give credit to the people that are doing the thinking for you.

tatabug said...

Joshua,

I did some research on this topic a while back, and I read the exact same thing that you cut and pasted into your comment. I don't remember now where I saw it, but there's no doubt that I read it.

Zelph said...

Joshua- I will even out do you.

according to this site It resolves the contradiction by saying the following:

"The Hebrew term "face" has an idiomatic twist which refers to awareness and direct knowledge of presence, without the help or hindrance of a mediator"

So your explanation says that Jacob saw the face of God through a mediator being an angel. Then, the next explanation redefines the word term "face to face" and says it just means an awareness and no mediator is necessary.

So did Jacob actually see the face of God through an angel? Or did he not actually physically see anything and just had a spiritual awakening? Even the explanations are contradictory.

Yet, this demonstrates that the Bible is not the perfect word of God. If it was the perfect word of God, there would be no more explanation needed. If God had a hand in translation, you wouldn't need to go to any apologist website for an explanation.

This brings up another point. Joshua, you seem to put a lot of blind faith in men for their interpretation of scripture.

I hope you don't take too much offense, but I just want people to start thinking.

Bishop Rick said...

Joshua,

Not sure how you take seeing God face to face out of context. Face to face is not face to bush or face to angel's face or face to whirlwind.

Plus that example is but one of hundreds.

I might also point out that the verse you quoted in Timothy is referring to the scriptures as they existed at that time (OT only) and not the Bible as it did not exist yet.

You realize that Timothy was Jewish right? He would not recognize the NT as scripture.

Don't confuse the Bible with Scripture. They are not the same thing. The bible contains scripture but is not scripture. Man created the Bible. Man decided what books were to be included in the Bible. If God made those decisions there would be only one Bible as you state, but we all know that is not the case.

You need to come up with a different angle. This one is just not working.

Joshua said...

It seems the greatest confusion here stems from people that do not understand why we should put trust in the bible. The bible can be trusted because it is the word of God. This can be proven because it was written by different people over thousands of years in different parts of the world and doesn't contradict itself. The other proof that we can trust the bible is that it is a record of Jesus. Jesus preformed miracles and these miracles were recorded by multiple eye witnesses. Don't you think that if someone made it up that it would only be one person that wrote it down? What we have are different eye witnesses that tell the same story, so that is evidence that we can trust the bible.

Now that we have that squared away, the reason we can't trust the book of Mormon is because it is not in the bible. But see, you wouldn't know that because you don't trust in the bible.

There are lost of contradictions from the book of Mormon and the bible. The book of Mormon says after Jesus' crucifixion, darkness covered the earth for 3 days. But the bible says darkness covered the earth for only 3 hours.

The bible doesn't contradict itself internally. It is just a matter of understanding the verses in context.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

I read the BOM and prayed about it and it was confirmed false.

your response

"You are so lying, and I can't respect that."

Is that your " Discernment " at work ?If it is then its not very good...

What do you 'think' that am I lying about , the fact that I read the Book of Mormon or that it was 'confirmed false' ?

I can scan and email you my BOM study notes, lots of them.I read it more deeply than any person who I saw joining the church in baptism. In fact between them then they didn't read more than a dozen pages .Thats because the missionaries just wanted a baptism , so they could prove their 'worthiness' to mission President, they couldn't care less if the 'investigator' read the thing or even understood it. so what is the point of it?

I was taught to go on feelings with the BOM and I did , every time I prayed I felt that God knew I didn't need to hear extra terrestrially from him .... I was told we all have the Light Of Christ with us and it works well.

Of course I knew the real truth of its origin by then,Truth is Light etc ,that was my advantage over those who got sucked into baptism and approx 80-90% of them have dissappeared!

I will be contacting them soon and asking if they want to resign rather than be classed inactive.

PS I like to help JW's out in a similar way as well ..

and ..........

Does that mean that when the church finally admits the BOM is not literally true but just a spiritual parable of sort , then thats when you will finally quit?

""Yup.""

I hope you are true to your word something which no mormon has ever been with me to date... you could be 'lying for the Lord'.The church has a history of it.

PS 2

A quick comment on those who believe the scrpitures/bible are Gods word ....

The early Church ( catholic) put together the New Testament cannon and chose 4 gospels out of approx 30 I think . No one to date has challenged whether they chose the corrrect ones,not even the LDS who claim a living prophet.

So I guess they must have had appropriate Authority at the time.So no apostasy just yet ?

Bishop Rick said...

EJ,

I have my own authority on no apostacy. Since the authority existed within the Jewish sects (Melchizidek and Aaronic priesthoods) before and after the death of Jesus and his apostles, there never was an apostacy and no need to restore the priesthood.

Think about that.

Bishop Rick said...

sorry, my own oppinion.
I have no authority.(

Elder Joseph said...

BR

I know what you mean concerning those Israelite Priesthoods.It makes sense what you say.

Though everyone(religious denominations)have their own apologists to make things fit.

For instance I was told as a catholic kid by protestants that the priesthood is not needed ( ie Catholic Priest to confess to etc )since Jesus is the only High Priest so the prior Priesthoods done away with , having been only a temporary solution forgiveness of sins( ie animal sacrifice etc) until Jesus came and died and was ressurected and the temple veil split.

I think the LDS church teaches Apostasy because it needs to present itself as a restoration from Apostasy.I guess from their point of view they believe this at least.

No Apostasy would mean no restoration.

I can understand Tata's frustration at me and anyone who opposes the LDS church. She was brought up in it , has devoted time and money to it and her life to it , probably likes it and its in her interest I suppose to protect that belief and sacrifice at all cost.

I think that you want to believe in a Jesus centered Gospel( like myself ) but we don't want to be duped by a con artist !

And now I find myself also doubting and challenging anything biblically based .

I actually used to have a testimony before I started with LDS church.I just didn't know what it was back then.I believed in Adam and Eve etc Jesus death and ressurection , salvation from our sins because of what he did ..

In my first few months of LDS investigation it got stronger and then when real LDS history and real LDS doctrine came into my life it all went downhill including my prior testimony. :(

I'm more skeptical than ever before,though I want to believe that all is going to be well after we die.

I couldn't face the creator ( just in case he is really there ) and explain how on earth I believed that Joseph Smith's behaviour was all supposedly from him !

Jeremy said...

Just two comments...

First, even though it's just a waste of time:

Joshua: Is it lonely all the way up there on your pedestal of righteousness? Seems like you would be more like Jesus and listen to the valid arguments being made.

Tata: you said "You are so lying, and I can't respect that."

You assume that everyone who prays about the book will get the same response. I may not have studied the BoM as much as EJ says he did but I have read it cover to cover at least 6 times. I still have it, marked up and used more than any other book I own. EACH and EVERY time I did exactly what I was told to do, kneel down and pray with a sincere and open heart. You know, I can honestly say that I've been told it's false too in the sense that I've never received any sort of indication, in fact quite the opposite, an emptiness or a "stupor in thought". From those experiences and prays led me to the point i'm at now. I tried to prove the church true to myself. The more I researched and prayed the more it felt wrong and opposite of what everyone told me I should feel.

You can think what you want but that's my experience and respect it or not I did EVERYTHING i was told to do to find out the "truth" and... I did.

Zelph said...

Tata-

"(EJ)I read the BOM and prayed about it and it was confirmed false.

(Tata)You are so lying, and I can't respect that."


I would have to go with Elder Joseph on this one. How do you know he is lying? How would you know? He could just as easily turn around and tell you that you have never really felt the spirit when you prayed about the Book of Mormon. How would you ever be able to prove him otherwise? You couldn't and that is the point.

That is why I believe that just praying about something and feeling the spirit is not the best and most accurate way of determining truth. The spirit is something personal and subjective to the individual. Then, we also discover that sometimes we confuse the spirit with just our feelings, but we don't really know how to tell the difference.

That is why I have changed the way I determine what is true for me. I like to look at evidence and draw conclusions from what can be observed in nature. I know that people can come away with different conclusions based on the same evidence, but at least it is based on tangible evidence. People can read the Qur'an and pray about it and still feel the spirit confirm to them that it is true, so I don't see much difference. That is what led to my skepticism and ultimately my disillusionment. There was a change in the way I determined truth.

tatabug said...

EJ,

What do you 'think' that am I lying about , the fact that I read the Book of Mormon or that it was 'confirmed false' ?

I have no doubt that you have read and studied the Book of Mormon. What I don't believe is that you received an answer confirming it false. You've told me yourself in emails that you never received an answer. That is a big part of the reason I don't believe you now. I shouldn't have called you a liar, but that was me opening my big mouth.

I also have a hard time believing you because I don't believe that God would give you an answer stating that the Book of Mormon is false. Sorry, just can't believe that He would give me and many others I know personally an answer that it is true, but give you a completely different answer. That would make God a liar now wouldn't it?

BR,

No keys of authority. All gone with the death of the apostles.

Jeremy,

I can respect that you are honest when you say you didn't receive an answer, and you can draw the conclusion that your answer was false based on that fact. I would disagree with you on that, but I can respect how you would see it that way. I imagine that would be very difficult and frustrating for me too.

Zelph,

How can I know he's lying? I honestly can't. I can only go off of what he's told me in our personal correspondences, and that is not what he's told me.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

How can God give you an answer that the BofM is true and give Ahmad Raashad an answer that the Koran is true? Wouldn't that also make God a liar? The way I reconcile this is that God gave neither of you an answer but rather you both came to your own conclusion.

Are you saying that the keys and authority did not exist prior to Jesus? So the Jewish church never had this? Remember that originally Christianity was just another Jewish sect. It was not a separate Church. This is why there was such an uproar when Paul started letting gentiles into the fold.

Regarding EJ, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt. I just assumed that when he said he got an answer from God that it was false, that he was treating no answer or the fact that his questioning did not change as a confirmation of falsehood. I don't think he meant that he actually received an answer from God...though I could be wrong.

Zelph said...

BR- You stole the words right out of my mouth. I will even take it a step further. I have spoken with Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints who used the same process and came to conclude that Warren Jeffs is the true prophet. They say it with just as much conviction and say that the holy ghost has confirmed to them that Warren Jeffs is the only living prophet today. Now how can God testify of that? Or are they lying?

I do not believe they are lying. I believe that they are sincere in their beliefs. However, I just don't believe that it was actually God telling them that it is true, I think they are simply convincing themselves which eventually triggers an emotional response and people interpret this as being touched by God.

Contrary to what we are taught in church, people of other religions pray to God all the time to ask him if they are truly following his word. Guess what kind of answer they get?

I think that it is unfair to say that God only correctly answers the prayers of .02% and would ignore the other 99.98%.

Elder Joseph said...

tata,

Yes you are right ,I did say that I never got an answer !

I was told that that' God will manisfest the truth of it unto me' as the answer .Thats the answer I never got , that it was true.I wasn't told that an alternative answer was possible.

The answer I relate to confirming that its false was like I said nothing 'Supernatural' but just a 'feeling' after reading it and knowing what I know about its contents.

It took many occasions of asking , but finally the answer and surety came when the missionaries were bullying me over it. I prayed with them but knew then that the whole thing is problematic.The book , the way people are rushed into baptism and don't know what they have joined , the way missionaries pressure and manipulate people via love bombing.Non of it made sense.It's all just like high pressure selling.I experienced it all and saw it for myself how it all works.

At times I have wondered if its true , I certainly can relate to alot of the Book Of Mormon .I myself have thought many times that 'The Fall' maybe was a 'good thing'.I was surprised to see that Joseph Smith thought the same way and included it in his book.

Also those characters like Nehor, Korihor and Zeezrom .I have met similar myself in real life when I was a 'believer' and couldn't understand why anyone would object to the Gospel (as I understood it at the time ) and felt like an 'Alma ' type myself in the past !

It seemed to me that Joseph Smnith was writing his own experiences in life through these characters.The Book Of Mormon in my opinion is really Joseph Smiths own Spiritual Autobiography and his own Theological battles with Gods nature as its very Trinitarian Influenced as well.

I think its a clever book in a way and shows his skill and expertise on scriptural things but flawed at the same time.He got caught out with the Anachronisms , he didn't know that The Indians were Asian or that Steel never existed in supposed Nephite times or that Egyptian would be understood one day ( or at least not in his era).

But what happened after he got his church going was abuses against fellow humans via his polygamy , asking for mens wives , asking for money , having a house built for him etc .Power corrupts etc .

If all I had to go was the Book of Mormon and what I was told by the missionaries and the friendliness of the good church members then I may have fallen for it .....

But when you know the full story ,and even the real doctrines then the decision has to go the other way and thats what I object to about the church .It can't tell the full truth because no one would join so it has to subtly deceive people into it and hope no one discovers its past or at least not until they have been 'conditioned' enough to be able to put aside the difficulties as they come along.

I've read alot of experiences which cause once good tithe paying committed church members to leave and quit and they are for the very reasons I didn't join in the first place.
I have family I love , young nephews I love .If I thought it was true I wouldn't want to hold back from it , but I can't present it to them as a true religion restored.

I would feel terrible hiding the things I know from them all ... and its not easy to talk about when my family asks about My Mormon experience.I try to stick to how I saw the current church members to be .... sincere and dedicated.

I'm satisfied in my own mind that its just a man made organisation that Started as a fanatical cult with a cult leader who took advantage of his followers like they all do and is slowly being 'reformed' by society and science and not from revelation from God.....

I've told church members that they are welcome to try and teach me if they think it will help or show me where I am wrong , but they end up learning things they never knew themselves and are shocked and then tend to blame me for it and charge me with insincerity etc :(

Its not my fault the history is bad or what they have been taught( or not taught as the case seems to be )throughout their lives in church about the foundational events is not quite what really happened...

sotmg said...

Elder Joseph,

"Yes you are right ,I did say that I never got an answer !

I was told that that' God will manisfest the truth of it unto me' as the answer .Thats the answer I never got , that it was true"

Moroni 10:4 promises that if you ask God with a sincere and real intent that the holy ghost will manifest the truthfulness to you.

If you didn't get the confirmation of the holy ghost, then you probably aren't being sincere. The lord has his own time table and he will always answer prayers, just sometimes we have to humble ourselves and be patient.

Bishop Rick said...

sotmg,

That is a viewpoint that is common among LDS. If someone doesn't get the LDS answer then they are not sincere. If someone leaves the church, then its because they can't keep the commandments.

Surely you can see how this is a conditioned response. In your mind, the alternative answer is not possible. You have a closed mind about this. Just this once, open your mind to the possibility that the correct answer might not be the LDS answer.

Elder Joseph said...

sotmg

If I read the book Of Mormon after Warren Jeffs presented it to me , would the Angel Moroni promise work then too and should I then join his FLDS church ?

That have D&C too and a living prophet going back to Joseph Smith and better still continue the original LDS polygamous teen marriage callings to old Priesthood Leaders.

Zelph said...

Elder Joseph, I think that is a very valid point to bring up, and I hope you don't mind if I use this example in the future.

Let's suppose that a member of the FLDS church presents a copy of the Book of Mormon to someone, they read it and pray about it and get confirmation that the Book is true. Does that mean they should join the FLDS church?

tatabug said...

This topic (spiritual confirmation) seems to pop up a lot around here. I was all out of fresh insight into the topic, and had some questions of my own, so I went looking. I found a very interesting article I would like to recommend.

I learned a great deal from it but one thing that stood out to me was that disillusionment is a good thing. Who knew?

Anyway the title of the article is "Believest thou...?": Faith, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Psychology of Religious Experience.

tatabug said...

Oh, and Zelph, if you happen to read it, let me know what you think. I think the article may even lend itself to interesting discussion in a post of its own.

Elder Joseph said...

tata

I had a read but I must admit it was only a speed read ! Those FAIRS article always confuse my head !

So I hope I am in context ?
You will correct me if I'm not and I will be grateful ...and I know that my delivery is not always too polite ! Its just the way it comes out.Like I said in real life the church as a religion gets me mad, but the members I would help if they needed me :) though they might be a little afraid of me these days ! lol

The writer of the article says

"I have noticed that many of the people I have known who have left the Church did not do so because they believed too little, but because they believed too much"

This is a good point but really the church is responsible for how they came to believe too much .The " I know " and " without a shadow of a doubt " "the church is true " and "the only true church" stuff is partly to blame .Why not be honest and say ;I believe' or 'I want to believe 'or 'I hope its True' or even 'I don't believe everything (or anything) but I'll keep learning and praying' etc

They believed too much and when they found they had been mislead ( whether on purpose or by misinformed members ) they quit.

she also said

"They have been angry at God or other Church leaders for not keeping promises which God has not, in fact, made."


I'm not suprised and I'm certain that God has promised nothing at all through those LDS church leaders, simply because they do not have contact with him any more or less than any other person.

I too am angry reading things which Joseph Smith said God has promised the saints only to find it failed and then he blames his members for the failure for supposedly not being obedient enough.And its the same blame culture today in LDS church .Our ward members are always being blamed for lack of baptismal converts , but the real reason for that is the fact that people are not interested in Mormonism.And with the advent of the Internet baptisms will slow down even more.

I was told that the reason there is no new revelations is for the fact that church members are not obedient to the ones we already have!But the real reason is that Hinckley or Monson don't really speak with God anymore convincingly than an average person.

Revelation comes when people protest ... If the issue of women being second class citizens in church starts and society starts pointing the finger at the Mormon Church then hey presto Revelation will come to give them the Priesthood , just like it did with Polygamy and Blacks.


and just one more quote which is my favourite :) I can hardly believe she even said this ...


"I do see people stick with beliefs that no longer hold water, and I worry about doing that, as when a woman talks herself into staying with an abusive partner because she cannot tolerate the cognitive dissonance of imagining herself divorced, or because she has already devoted so much to the marriage that it feels like it must be worth perpetuating and that any day it will get better in proportion to all she has sacrificed for it."

Elder Joseph said...

Zelph

Of course you can use any comments I have made that you find usefull....
and Tata can use them too :)

BR

You know exactly what I am saying or trying to say all the time,as sometimes my comments need a little 'interpretation'.... Thanks for clarifying for me on a few occasions.

Bill said...

I know a Mormon family. They are nice people and mostly keep to themselves. There are a few things I find strange, like they think that coffee is a sin, but to each his own. After reading the posts and the comments, I find it very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone will answer this question:

The FLDS has been in the news a lot lately. What is the difference between the LDS and FLDS?

Eric said...

anonymous,

Your question:
"The FLDS has been in the news a lot lately. What is the difference between the LDS and FLDS?"

The difference is that the FLDS chooses to practice the ORIGINAL teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and the LDS church makes up their own doctrines that are contrary to the actual teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith.

Mormon Heretic said...

Anonymous, I'd like to give you a better answer on differences between FLDS and LDS.

Joseph Smith started the LDS church. Polygamy was one of his teachings. He was murdered in 1844. There was no obvious succession plan.

About 5 different church leaders vied for control of the church. The largest group followed Brigham Young, and headed west to avoid persecution. When they settled in the Salt Lake Valley, the area now known as Utah was actually part of Mexico. However, within a year or so after arrival, the Mexican-American war started and ended, and much of Mexico was claimed by America. Essentially, the western territories, including Utah, became part of the US.

Anyway, contrary to Eric's implications, polygamy was endorsed and practiced by Brigham Young and the LDS church until the late 1800's. The practice of polygamy was officially renounced in 1890.

It was secretly practiced into the early 1900's. In 1904, the LDS church issued a 2nd Manifesto stating that any member found entering into or performing polygamist marriages would be excommunicated. (Incidentally 2 apostles either resigned or were exed.)

There are some who believed that polygamy was essential to salvation, and there are several groups who have broken with the LDS church. The FLDS church is among the different churches who retain a belief in polygamy. So, in essence, the FLDS church is a "breakaway" church from the LDS church. Of course, there are other offshoots who have different beliefs regarding polygamy.

Incidentally, the RLDS church was established by Joseph's son, Joseph III in the 1860's, and was greatly opposed to polygamy. The RLDS church has been renamed the Community of Christ (CoC), and is the 2nd largest denomination tracing it's origin's to Joseph Smith. I believe the LDS church membership is approx 13 million, CoC is around 250,000, and the FLDS is probably less than 30,000, so you can see a huge difference in numbers. (Of course, these numbers are my estimates, so if you find other numbers elsewhere, they are probably correct.)

Bishop Rick said...

Anonymous,

Let me expound a little on what Eric said. The LDS church used to practice polygamy. Approximately 100 years ago, they stopped the practice for the most part. There were still a few rogues that continued to practice but eventually polygamy stopped being practiced completely in the LDS church. There was a group of LDS followers that did not agree with the decision to cease practicing polygamy. That group broke away from the LDS church and claimed authority and keys had been passed to them by current LDS Apostles as a backup measure. Whether this actually happened (the passing of keys and authority) is speculation, but they claim it just the same. This group called themselves Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS). So even though the origins of LDS and FLDS are the same, the two groups function separately and neither group recognizes the other as a valid organization.

So the things that Eric referred to, like polygamy and the law of consecration as instituted by Joseph Smith, are continued to be practiced by FLDS even though the LDS abandoned both. The law of consecration is similar to pure communism where all things are shared equally among the members...at least in theory.

Levels of corruption as practiced within both groups are debated quite a bit, but don't confuse the 2 organizations. They are not affiliated.

Zelph said...

anonymous,

Mormon Heretic and Bishop Rick gave I think a better and clear definition. The FLDS is a splinter group that broke off of the mainstream LDS church almost completely over the issue of polygamy. The LDS church is the the mainstream church under Mormonism.

The LDS church considers the FLDS church apostates, and the FLDS believes that the LDS church is in apostasy. However, in my opinion, the mainstream LDS church has evolved more along conventional society, whereas the FLDS church believes in the idea that true Mormons ought to follow the same principals and doctrines as taught by the early leaders of the church,(particularly the earthly practice of plural marriage) as Eric pointed out, and I think there is an element of truth in what Eric is saying.

Here is an easier way to think about it. Anyone that practices polygamy is not a member of the LDS church. The people you see in prairie clothes are members of the FLDS.

People like Ken Jennings, Mitt Romney, or Steve Young are members of the LDS church.

The LDS and FLDS are almost analogous to Catholics and Protestants. Both groups would consider themselves "Christian", but one is Catholic and the other is Protestant.

The LDS and FLDS would each consider themselves the true "Mormons", but one is FLDS and the other is LDS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the responses; it's refreshing to see an honest discussion without accusations flying around, as is so often the case by both TBM and wacko Evangelicals. I had heard the main difference is the practice of polygamy.

As a follow up, why does the current LDS church maintain D&C 132 since they condemn the practice? A logical guess is they believe in polygamy, just don't currently practice it, but should it become legal the doctrine remains to allow for it's practice.

tatabug said...

Excellent reasoning, Anonymous. I would only add that even if it were to become legal, it would only be allowable to practice it if the Lord revealed it to be so for us now. The original commandment was repealed through revelation, and as such can only be reinstated through revelation from the Lord. The practice of plural marriage has strict guidelines and is a sin if it is not sanctioned by the Lord. At this current time, it does not enjoy the Lord's sanction.

Zelph said...

Tata- Thank you for that link, I have only skimmed through it and want to make sure to read it before I comment on it, but you have sparked my interest.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

Concerning reinstating Polygamy :

It doesn't even need to be legal because Joseph Smith and early LDS leaders did it when it was illegal anyway ..Joseph Smith believed he was above mans Law in the same way as Warren Jeffs.

How would you know the Lord has revealed it, because when the Joseph Smith practiced it,he was lying to the church members all his life about it.His brother Hyrum was lying.John Taylor was lying and all the others at that time.They even had some of their secret wives testify that non of it was happening through the Times and Seasons newspapers.

So you wouldn't know it was being practiced now or even if it was introduced in that secret manner at a later date again.

Here is Joseph Smith and crew conspiring to deceive everyone after J C Bennet had blown the whistle on Polygamy having been excommunicated for picking his own girls and that upset Joseph Smith as he wanted total control.... this time the lying included sworn affidavits denying its practice

TIMES AND SEASONS
"TRUTH WILL PREVAIL."
VOL. III. NO. 23.] NAUVOO, ILLINOIS, OCT. 1, 1842.
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. ……………………………………………….We have given the above rule of marriage as the only one practiced in this church, to show that Dr. J. C. Bennett's "secret wife system" is a matter of his own manufacture; and further to disabuse the public ear, and shew [show] that the said Bennett and his misanthropic friend Origen Bachelor, are perpetrating a foul and infamous slander upon an innocent people, and need but be known to be hated and despise. In support of this position, we present the following certificates:-

We the undersigned members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and residents of the city of Nauvoo, persons of families do hereby certify and declare that we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and we give this certificate to show that Dr. J. C. Bennett's "secret wife system" is a creature of his own make as we know of no such society in this place nor never did.

S. Bennett, N. K. Whitney,

EJ COMMENT( Bishop Whitney Knew about Polygamy –He already gave his daughter to Joseph Smith in polygamy 15 months ago )

George Miller, Albert Pettey,
Alpheus Cutler, Elias Higbee,
Reynolds Cahoon, John Taylor,

EJ COMMENT( Taylor Knew about Polygamy )

Wilson Law, E. Robinson, Aaron Johnson.
W. Woodruff,

EJ COMMENT( Woodruff Knew about Polygamy )

We the undersigned members of the ladies' relief society, and married females do certify and declare that we know of no system of marriage being practised [practiced] in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints save the one contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and we give this certificate to the public to show that J. C. Bennett's "secret wife system" is a disclosure of his own make.
Emma Smith, President,

Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Counsellor [Counselor],
EJ COMMENT( Knew of Polygamy )

Sarah M. Cleveland, Counsellor [Counselor],
EJ COMMENT( one of Joseph Smiths polygamous wives)

Eliza R. Snow, Secretary,
EJ COMMENT(she married Joseph Smith just 4 Months earlier on 29th June 1842)

Mary C. Miller, Catharine Pettey,
Lois Cutler, Sarah Higbee,
Thirza Cahoon, Phebe Woodruff
Ann Hunter, Leonora Taylor,
Jane Law, Sarah Hillman,
Sophia R. Marks, Rosannah Marks,
Polly Z. Johnson, Angeline Robinson,
Abigail Works.

you said
"The original commandment was repealed through revelation"

I'd say it was repealed through fear of The Law coming down hard on them as God wasn't going to protect the early Saints over it or at least Wilford Woodruff didn't hang around for God to protect them ...... He even declared earlier in JOD that if polygamy ended so would prophets and apostles !

Wilford Woodruff, JOD 13:165 - p.166 ,1869.

"If we were to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and kingdom. DO AWAY WITH THAT, THEN WE MUST DO AWAY WITH PROPHETS AND APOSTLES, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians and do as the world does, then all would be right. We just can't do that, for God has commanded us to build up His kingdom and to bear our testimony to the nations of the earth, and we are going to do it, come life or come death. He has told us to do thus, and we shall obey Him in days to come as we have in days past ."


Many Apostles and other LDS polygamists ignored Woodruffs so called 'revelation' and it was 12 years later through Joseph Fielding Smith that excommunications started over the continued practice of polygamy as he wanted it to end for statehood for Utah.

Anonymous said...

Tata,

Thanks for the response and info. Elder J brings up some good points as well.

As a personal note to the discussions, while I might question or challenge LDS doctrine, I do not "bash" Mormons or diminish their right to believe what they choose.

Elder Joseph said...

I read carefully now the FAIRS article Tata suggested may be of Interest entitled :

"Believest thou...?": Faith, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Psychology of Religious Experience"

Not wanting to be much of a 'Korihor' but here is what I think

1 It seems that FAIRS is trying to address increasing disillusionment amongst members with the church's past and difficult doctrines etc ....

2 It sounds almost like something an AntiMormon could have written in places as it is very explicit in its charges 'against the church' , but then wants to reconcile in the end saying, quote :

"So we deal with doubt, disillusionment, and betrayal by recognizing that they are inevitable, facing our own history and searching for healing so that our past losses and traumas do not overly influence our current sight,"

and trying to relate it all to a cycle within a relationship between spouses.Basically saying just make the most of the church or something as we are never going to have valid answers !

3 This article is simultaneousley equating loosing belief in the LDS church with loosing belief in God .
This is a little unfair , though its an inevitable consequence for many former members.Though many go on to continue in faith in God via one of the more 'mainstream' Christian Denominations but without in their 'opinion' the Fraudster Joseph Smiths false teachings and unpalatable behaviour which accompanied them.

4 Jehovahs Witnesses could use this same article with a little tweaking to bolster the doubters amongst themselves when they too find a more realistic uncomfortable and accurate History of the JW movement....

And I hope I'm not coming across as a Mormon Basher ? I like Mormons.
If I ever could connect to a congregation of people religiously then Mormons were it !
But that doesn't make it true :) It just makes it my choice, but that was before I discovered the real truth .

Eric said...

People must be able to live a celestial law on earth to be able to get into the celestial kingdom.

D&C 88:22
For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory

D&C 105:5
And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

Those living a lesser law cannot preside over those living a higher laws

"For it is not meet that men who will not abide My law shall preside over My Priesthood;"
(Revelation to John Taylor, 1882)

Members of the LDS church live under a lower law of the priesthood called the law of tithing, therefore they can not preside over those that are living the higher law of the priesthood called the law of consecration.

“The Journal of Discourses deservedly ranks as one of the standard works of the Church, and every rightminded Saint will certainly welcome with joy every Number as it comes forth from the press as an additional reflector of “the light that shines from Zion’s hill.” (Journal of Discourses Preface)

The law of celestial plural marriage is a celestial law of the PRIESTHOOD. Individuals can't just decide they are going to marry multiple women, it is done through proper priesthood authority as given through the council of the fifty.

Zelph said...

Tata- Thank you once again for the link.

The writer sounds reasonable to me. A large portion of what he said could easily be taken directly from some of my blog posts.

I also found this quote very interesting ". I have noticed that many of the people I have known who have left the Church did not do so because they believed too little, but because they believed too much. In their excessive idealism, they have held Church leaders or God to expectations which were inevitably disappointed, and they have felt betrayed."

Tata- Maybe this would be a good topic for your first blog post

=8^D>

tatabug said...

Zelph,

First off, it was a "she" who wrote the article.

Secondly, I won't be starting my own blog. Sorry to disappoint...%=)

But anyway, just so I'm not "misunderstood" here, it wasn't a directive when I suggested it would make an interesting topic for another post. I just imagine that it isn't always easy to come up with new and/or fresh topics, and the article I suggested seemed like there was material there which would make for interesting discussion. But it doesn't matter one way or the other to me.

tatabug said...

EJ,

I am fully aware that it wasn’t legal (at least in the state of Illinois) when the Saints practiced polygamy. However, you completely missed my point. The legality issue was raised by “Anonymous.” My comment was in response to that issue, that EVEN IF polygamy were made legal, it would only be permitted if the Lord reissued the commandment. I never said it NEEDED to be legal in order for the Lord to give the command to practice it. Incidentally, the practice was banned as a result of its legality, so it is very unlikely that it would be reinstated at this point, so long as the law prohibits it.

I have a request, but before I ask it, please keep in mind that I am not asking you to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, nor that anything he ever said was true, and I am certainly not asking you to accept polygamy as moral. All I am asking you to do is to be completely honest with how you would handle a situation in which you had been visited by God, and you knew without doubt that it was God, and he commanded you to take multiple wives, otherwise you would be sent to hell. After all, Abraham and other Biblical figures had multiple wives with the apparent consent of God. The only issue today is that it offends the so-called moral sensibilities of the day and it is illegal. Consider also the fact that men and women today are allowed to have sexual relationships with however many people they choose to, whenever they choose without legal consequences. They are also allowed to have as many children as they want with as many different partners as they want, again without any legal recourse. And there is nothing illegal about simply LIVING with as many partners as one chooses. But if someone wanted to MARRY all of those different partners with whom they had children, and were completely willing and able to support all of those people and/or children, they would be forbidden to do so by law. Now does that make any sense? Please tell me which situation is more moral.

Polygamy was made illegal because it offended the moral sensibilities of the time, but polygamy has been practiced all throughout history, and has been practiced successfully by righteous people. It wasn’t just a practice devised by evil men to perpetrate evil as you may suppose. But consider the fact that homosexuality is a sin, and for so long, it has offended the moral sensibilities of many. However, in the U.S., we are on the verge of sanctioning marriage between homosexual couples. Homosexuals are free to engage in whatever sexual behavior they choose to, and are even allowed to cohabitate and enter into civil unions, but now they want their unions to be recognized and legitimized. We are about to do that now. But when the Church engaged in plural marriage, they didn’t ask to have their unions recognized or endorsed by the state, but it was still considered illegal, and drastic means were taken to enforce the law in that regard. However now we see promiscuous and adulterous behavior rampant in our society, but a large and ever growing portion of our society see it as perfectly acceptable so long as the word or the institution of marriage isn’t involved—whether or not the marriage was sanctioned by the state. This just raises questions in my mind about the morality imposed by society.

So anyway, keeping all of these things in mind, what would you do if God himself commanded you to practice plural marriage?

Regarding the Church leaders/members lying about polygamy, you are correct. Remember civil disobedience. We’ve talked about that a little before. Because of the command to practice plural marriage, Joseph was obligated to teach the doctrine and practice it himself. Whether or not you believe he was a prophet called of God, he believed he was, I believe he was, and many others believed then and now that he was a prophet following the command of God. Anyway, because it was required by God, and the Saints (at least the ones who accepted and practiced it) believed they were duty bound to live and accept it, they had no good options to choose from. 1. They could admit they were practicing it and face severe legal action from the government and illegal action through mob violence, as well as outrage by many members, or 2. they could lie and keep it hidden so that they could protect themselves from the consequences of disobedience to state enforced morality. If they were going to lie to the public and the government, they would also have to lie to the members who were not taught the doctrine in private so that they would not be exposed.

Now you may disagree with the civil disobedience argument, but there are many instances from history in which civil disobedience was employed, and rightly so. Take for instance this real-life scenario. Suppose a Church member is living in Holland in the 1940s. Established laws command the deportation of all Jews to a grisly fate. A Church member might (as many brave Dutch did) decide that such a law has no moral force—indeed, it would be immoral to obey it. The Church member might further decide that he is morally bound to hide a family of Jews in his attic. One day, an SS team arrives, knocks at the door, and demands to know if the Church member knows of the whereabouts of any Jews.
The member has several choices:
1. he can decide that “honesty” is the highest moral value, and reveal the location of his Jewish guests
2. he can refuse to answer the question, by remaining silent
3. he can declare that he is not willing to comply with the request, and will not answer the question
4. he can lie to the German SS, and may also have to lie to his friends and neighbors to keep them from revealing the secret
Which is the correct moral choice? It is difficult to see how honesty can trump the lives of the Jews—so, option (1) is out. The SS officer is unlikely to go meekly on his way should one remain silent or verbally refuse to answer, so choosing either (2) or (3) will simply result in the Jews being found and the Church member and his family suffering the consequences of their disobedience to civil law. It seems to me that the most moral option—fulfilling the member’s duty to his Jewish guests, his conscience, and his family—requires that the member lie to the SS.
Remember, someone who opts for civil disobedience must accept the risk of punishment. The Dutch who were caught harboring Jews suffered greatly for their integrity—but, they apparently considered the risk of that suffering to be worth retaining that integrity. One cannot complain if one’s deception of the civil authorities is found out and punished—that is the price of civil disobedience on moral grounds. But, one is not morally obligated to participate in the prosecution of oneself or others for breaking laws one considers immoral.
--From Fairlds.org, “Polygamy, Prophets, and Prevarication” by George L. Smith, M.D.

You said:

I'd say it was repealed through fear of The Law coming down hard on them as God wasn't going to protect the early Saints over it or at least Wilford Woodruff didn't hang around for God to protect them ...... He even declared earlier in JOD that if polygamy ended so would prophets and apostles !

Certainly the law and the threats faced by the Saints led to the ending of the practice of plural marriage, but the Saints suffered a great deal during the Nauvoo period, probably even more so than they did during the Utah period, but it wasn’t repealed when persecution was at its greatest. It was repealed MUCH later. This could suggest that it was genuinely repealed because the Lord accepted the willingness of the Saints to obey the law of plural marriage and accept their sacrifice as sufficient.

In regards to the quote by Wilford Woodruff, you must surely understand by now that the Saints and leaders of the Church cannot just accept and discard commandments at their own will and pleasure without facing severe consequences. We are subject to God’s laws and He alone has the authority to change those commandments. That is precisely what Wilford Woodruff was referring to when he said, “If WE were to do away with polygamy,…” (emphasis mine). The WE in this statement refers to the leaders and members of the Church, doing away with polygamy without the express command of God.

tatabug said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for your thoughtfullness and tolerance.

tatabug said...

BR,

I said earlier that I wanted to comment further about the apostasy/priesthood issue, but I'm finding that I really am not sure how to respond without first getting some more information from you so that I understand your theory and your thoughts on the issue. I've never heard this one before, so I really don't know what evidence there is to back up your theory. Yes, I understand that the priesthood was present among the Jews before and after Christ, but my contention is that in the event of an apostasy, if worthy priesthood holders either died or apostatized, then eventually the true priesthood would no longer exist on the earth. And if the keys were taken from the earth at the death of the apostles, then the authority to confer the priesthood upon members would, not be possible or at the very least, would be diminished in some way. Holding the priesthood is different than holding priesthood keys, and in order to confer priesthood authority, one would have to hold the keys to be able to do so. My understanding is that if there are no apostles or prophets with keys of authority, then the authority to pass on priesthood authority does not exist either. So, at some point the priesthood would be lost completely in such a case. I understand that the Bible is somewhat silent and very unclear on this issue, but a lack of Biblical evidence does not negate these facts, nor does it prove it. But we know the problems that exist with the Bible, due to translation issues and selective inclusion and exclusion of books within the canon, so we can't conclusively decide this issue one way or another using the Bible alone. But I am interested to know your thoughts on it.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

There are a couple of things to consider regarding the priesthood and the apostasy.

First the LDS make the claim that when the Apostles died/were killed, that all keys and authority (including priesthood) were taken from the earth essentially putting the earth into the dark/silent ages until all was restored through JS in the 1800s.

This claim makes alot of assumptions.

1. That the Apostles actually had keys and authority
2. That Jesus created a seperate church/religion not just another Jewish sect
3. That the Apostles did not pass the authority/keys to anyone else
4. That no one else on the earth had the same authority/keys
5. That the Aaronic priesthood was something that could be conferred upon a non-descendant of Aaron (or at all for that matter)
6. That the Melchizadek priesthood could be conferred upon a Gentile
7. That there is more than one High Priest at a time
8. There are many more assumptions but these will suffice

So essentially, outside the word of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, there is nothing to back up the claims that the LDS make about the Apostacy. In fact, I will go as far as to state that if there even was an Apostacy (which I don't believe there was) it didn't happen after the death of the Apostles; it happened with Paul.

I'm not sure what evidence you are looking for. I am merely stating that the priesthood and and related keys existed before Jesus so the claim that the death of the Apostles ended that authority is invalid. The onus is really on the LDS to back up their claims.

I mean there are literally so many problems with the LDS stance that a book could be written...hmm wheels turning.

A few parting statements:

The problems that we see with the Bible regarding books included/not included deal primarily with the New Testament. The Jewish scriptures have been compiled for thousands of years. I have other issues with them, but not which books are missing/included. But I think the Bible sets plenty of precidence to be used as supporting evidence.

Please show me scriptural references stating the separation of keys and priesthood.

Zelph said...

BR- There could never have been an apostasy since the three Nephites had priesthood authority and were never taken off the earth.

;'p

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

I know your polygamy comment was directed at EJ, but I have to chime in. First let me start by asking, "Are you kidding me?" There got that out of my system.

You brought up, by my estimation, 13 articles of polygamy. I will state them below and comment on each. Please note that my sarcasm is not necesarily directed at you:

1. Since the legality of polygamy caused God to revoke his commandment regarding polygamy, God can be swayed by man.

You state "the practice was banned as a result of its legality, so it is very unlikely that it would be reinstated at this point, so long as the law prohibits it."

It was illegal when God supposedly issued the commandment the first time. Legality isn't even an issue here.

2. God commands people to take multiple wives.

There is absolutely no precedence for this. Why would God make such a commandment? He never has in the history of world. Why now? To test the resolve of his people? Are you kidding me? Packing up your family and walking to UT while losing half you loved ones in the process isn't test enough? Give me a break.

3. Presumed consent from God is equivilent to a commandment.

The OT does appear to look the other way regarding adultry er polygamy, but this is not even remotely the same as a commandment.

4. The only problem with polygamy is that it offends the moral judgement of today...and is illegal.

Hmm kind of like prostitution. Prostitution offends the moral judgement of today. It is illegal and involves having sex outside of marriage. conclusion: polygamy = prostitution.

5. Polygamy is more moral than extramarital sex.

Extramarital sex is more moral than rape. Rape is more moral than murder. Murder is more moral than mass murder. Not sure I like the "more moral" argument. Besides, polygamy IS extramarital sex.

6. Billy has done it for thousands of years and the Bible appears to sanction it. There can't be anything wrong with it.

Hmmm...kinda like slavery.

7. LDS should question societal morality.

It is always a safer bet to side with a fringe group with regards to issues on morality, than to follow the moral compass of society...not.

8. You must do what God asks you to do.

Wow, this one is really scary. Billy thought God told him to kill everyone at the mall. God told Billy to drink poison koolaid.

9. Civil disobedience sanctions lying for the Lord.

This one is just wrong on too many levels. First the civil disobedience argument was attached 150 years after the fact. That is revisionist history. Are you trying to tell me that God commands people to break the law in a way that offends the moral compass of society, and to lie about it, but can't tell you what purpose any of this provides?

10. Polygamy is like unto the holocaust.

Again, are you kidding me? Lying about something you did that would be percieved as immoral is the same as lying to save someone's life? That has to be the most offensive comparative example I've seen...not surprised it is from FAIR.

11. Polygamy was repealed MUCH later than the height of its persecution.

So the gunfights and raids were MUCH worse than empending war with the U.S.?

12. God repealed the commandment because he saw that the churches sacrafice was sufficient.

See response to #2.

13. (more of a question than article) What would you do if God commanded you to break the law in such a way that was contrary to the moral compass of today's society?

I would ask him/her what is the purpose of this commandment. How will the church benefit from me breaking the law in a fashion that runs contrary to the moral compass of society?

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

Briefly to round up

you said

"So anyway, keeping all of these things in mind, what would you do if God himself commanded you to practice plural marriage?"

What kind of a question is this ?

You could also ask me what would I do if God told me to kill all LDS Mormons , then you would seemingly only accept one answer !

are you kidding me ??

Joseph Smith suggesting he had to have sexual relations with numerous girls and other mens wives and daughters or else an Angel with a flaming sword was going to kill him ?????

Goodness Tata think about what you are saying here .

This is exactly how Warren Jeffs is able to get away with his polygamous practices..... would you let your daughter get indoctrinated by this sect or would you do something about it ? This is the kind of nuiscance Joseph Smith was.

The point is God would not command Joseph Smith to go marrying teen girls including 14 year olds and seemingly by threatening them and their family's eternal well being if they didn't.Neither would God command him to marry his followers wives.

What was the purpose of it all ? Its absolutely senseless and ridiculous that religion had got to this level where women were 'called' into polygamous marriages.Followers sent away on missions and told not to pick from the female flock they bring home until all have had a fair share of choosing from them. Seemingly a command from the OLD Apostles back home sending out the young men on missions whilst they married the teen girls back home.

Women were simply treated as some kind of commodity as reward for obedience to the Priesthood Authority figure.

We don't know what the Biblical Patriarchs did for their Polygamy .Joseph Smith just saw his opportunity amongst his gullible followers ( just like the FLDS followers of today ).

Who in their right mind would give their teen daughters to Warren Jeffs to marry and yet they do it !

You also suggest that Polygamy is better than promiscous society ?

In promiscuous society people are excercising their freedom and not being thgreatened with Gods wrath to marry and concieve with OLD men that they would NOT WANT TO !

Women can chose their own partners and how many they want and not be tied in obedience to ONE OLD MAN under the wrath of God!

How many of those early LDS girls would marry and live Polygamy if they had a choice to excercise their free agency ? They were manipulated and had little choice living under those Bullies and Tyrants masquerading as apostles and prophets who threatened their followers into obedience to them .

The JOD's are very revealing about the discontent amongst the LDS women and threats of Hell to them from those in Charge over polygamy...

Joseph Smith never was what he claimed to be and thats the whole point.His behaviour does not fit with what we see in the early New Testament church or with the teachings of Jesus Christ of the new testament.

You open yourself up to being taken advantage of when you say you believe him .I'm sure you are glad he is not around today ,He would have rich pickings with you.

If you had to live Polygamy like those early LDS women then I don't think you would be as enthusiastic to defend it all.

Jeremy said...

Wow, a lot has been posted over the weekend. Been out of town... I only have one thing to say:

Thanks Zelph for bringing us back to the 3 Nephites :)

Zelph said: "BR- There could never have been an apostasy since the three Nephites had priesthood authority and were never taken off the earth."

Steve P. said...

I think all religions are man-made. This does not mean I can't believe in God, but I can see past all the scams.

When you are a slave to a religion, to be a faithful member, you have to follow their doctrines. When you don't have to follow a religion, you can make your own moral judgments.

If you want to be a good Mormon, you have to follow the church leadership, even if deep down you think it is wrong. Polygamy is one such example. If the Mormon church says you have to follow polygamy, you have no choice but to follow it. However, if you aren't a member of a religion, you can make your own moral judgment if polygamy is right for you and your family.

It is this kind of blind obedience that led normal Mormon members to committing the Mountain Meadows Massacre by following church leadership without questioning them.

The Mormons that committed the atrocities at Mountain Meadows probably thought that God commanded them to do so, just like Nephi was commanded to kill Laban.

I am no longer LDS and am currently an agnostic. I do not believe in any religion.

Steve P. said...

"There could never have been an apostasy since the three Nephites had priesthood authority and were never taken off the earth."

Plot hole perhaps?

Bishop Rick said...

That brings up another good question. Why wasn't it 3 Nephites that "restored" the priesthood and keys? They were already here. Why the dramatic angelic visits that no one saw with physical eyes?

Elder Joseph said...

BR
We all know the real answer to all questions that Mormonism has thrown up on all those who have woken up noticed, thats why we are here!

Bishop Rick said...

I'm just trying to be fair an give an opportunity for opposing opinions.

Zelph said...

BR- That is a good question and I believe I asked someone about it either on my mission or before my mission, but I don't remember the explanation. Perhaps I never got an explanation, but I am sure it is not the first time this has been asked. It is also my understanding that John the beloved would also walk the earth until the millennium, the BoM says something about it and would have to look it up specifically, but that would contradict the idea that all the apostles were killed.

Zelph said...

BR- That might make for an interesting post on its own. Before making a new post, I usually try to find what the other side of the argument says, so it might be worth looking into.

tatabug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tatabug said...

There's a lot for me to sigle-handedly respond to, so please be patient. I wasn't available yesterday, and I don't have a lot of time today so it may be a couple days before I can get to everything.

Briefly though, I would like to respond to a few things.

EJ (cc. BR),

Polygamy...Murder. Not hardly in the same category. Not even close. I am not asking you to practice polygamy, nor am I asking you to accept the practice. I am merely asking you to honestly answer a question based off of the fact that God did not consider it to be an unrighteous practice, and in fact condoned it in the Bible. You can say that God just "put up" with polygamy rather than commanding it, but consider this: If polygamy is as bad and as evil as you and others insist it is, then why would God have just turned a blind eye to it? Did he turn a blind eye to murder, or idol worship, or adultery? No he didn't. Such sinful behavior was punishable by death in many instances in the Bible. To say, as BR has said, that the Bible just tends to look away at the practice of plural marriage is not quite accurate.

In 2 Samuel 12:7-9, God says that he "GAVE" Saul's wives to David. Now why would God do this if having multiple wives was really not what He had in mind, but was willing to overlook?

In the OT and NT, Abraham is referred to as the "friend of God." How could Abraham be referred to in such a way if plural marriage was offensive to God? Why wouldn't Christ point out that Abraham was a fallen prophet or a poor role model rather than speak so highly of him? If Abraham could be considered a true prophet and a praiseworthy "friend of God," then could not the same be said of Joseph Smith?

In Exodus 21:10, there is a provision condoning a man taking a second wife after receiving a first. It seems like this would've been a great opportunity for God to forbid the practice of plural marriage rather than condoning it.

Consider also that in Deuteronomy 25:5-7; see also Mark 12:19-23; Matthew 22:24-28; and Gen. 38:8, there is the biblical practice called the levirate, given as a divine commandment to Moses. In this practice, if a married man dies without children, his brother must take the deceased man's wife as a wife and raise up children to ensure that the deceased man has successors. This duty appears to remain in force whether the living brother is already married or not.

You said (in italics):

Joseph Smith suggesting he had to have sexual relations with numerous girls and other mens wives and daughters or else an Angel with a flaming sword was going to kill him ?????

I rather wish you would stick with the story here rather than sensationalizing it with such lies. He was commanded to take multiple wives. He was not commanded to have sexual relations with them. In fact, there is ample evidence to suggest that he did not have sexual relations with all of his wives, particularly the ones who were still very young, or who were very old. Oh, and speaking of old wives, so much for your theory that it was all about dirty old men taking underage teen girls.

Joseph Smith never was what he claimed to be and thats the whole point.His behaviour does not fit with what we see in the early New Testament church or with the teachings of Jesus Christ of the new testament.

Again I ask, why would Christ refer to Abraham as a "friend of God" if plural marriage was not appropriate behavior with what Christ expected at that time? Why didn't he try to portray Abraham as a poor example to be followed if plural marriage were really so bad?

Also, did you know that Martin Luther advocated plural marriage in a few specific situations and used the OT as justification? Here is what Luther said on one occasion regarding monogamy and plural marriage: "a Christian is not free to marry several wives unless God commands him to go beyond the liberty which is conditioned by love." Hmmm. Only allowed to marry several wives if God commands it. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

Guess what else? He said, "I am not ashamed of the counsel I gave even if it should become known throughout the world. Because it is unpleasant, however, I should prefer, if possible, to have it kept quiet." Hmmm. Sounds exactly like what Joseph Smith did in trying to keep polygamy secret.

Did you know that there were some early Christian kings who were polygamists and that Pope Clement VII recommended plural marriage as a solution for Henry VIII rather than divorce?

I could go on.

You open yourself up to being taken advantage of when you say you believe him .I'm sure you are glad he is not around today ,He would have rich pickings with you.

No I'm not glad he isn't around today. Please don't assume you know what I think.

If you had to live Polygamy like those early LDS women then I don't think you would be as enthusiastic to defend it all.

You don't know this either. There were MANY women who enthusiastically defended plural marriage when they could've easily said nothing. And please don't tell me that they were forced into defending it by their OLD husbands. That is an assumption, not a fact, and it is one you cannot prove. Yes, there were women who hated plural marriage, but there were those who saw it as a blessing.

BR,

I carbon copied you in my response to EJ, because my response to him also covered articles #2 and #3 that you brought up.

Without actually quoting you, I will try to respond to your articles individually.

1. It was not illegal in the U.S. It was, however, illegal in Illinois. My point was not so much with the legality issue per se, but with the fact that the legality of polygamy resulted in dire consequences for the Saints. They, of course, faced serious threats from polygamy's very beginnings, but the Saints had endured and been obedient, and the consequences became so great that they stood in danger of losing everything if they continued the practice.

4. Prostitution is paid sex. Promiscuousness only differs from prostitution because one involves the exchange of money, while the other doesn't. So, in other words, it's only illegal if you are paying/getting paid for it, but really, it is basically the same. If laws are based on societal morality, then this is where I have to question societal morality.

5. Polygamy is not extramarital sex. Extramarital sex is sex outside the bonds of marriage. If one is married to multiple partners, it is not extramarital, because they are in fact...married.

6. Slavery in the Bible (where it was advocated by God) was a means for people to pay debts, make restitution, or as a means of support. It was instituted with strict guidelines and slaves were treated humanely and fairly. It wasn't the barbaric and inhumane kind of slavery we've been trained to envision. The Bible does not condone that kind of slavery, even if it did exist and was made mention of in the Bible.

7. We should all question societal morality and not just leap, like lemmings to the sea, and assume that all is fair. That is rather ridiculous. That is akin to non-LDS belief that we are idiots to blindly follow our prophets.

Anyway, LDS are not a "fringe group." If we are, then we are in good company. Let's see, there's Abraham, Jacob, David...

8. Yes, you should. Just because there are people who are deceived into thinking God commanded them to do something whacko and unthinkable, doesn't mean that God doesn't give commandments and that we shouldn't obey them because we are setting ourselves up for deception. That is not a fair assumption.

God has given many great and important commandments, but polygamy cannot even be compared with the example you gave.

9. Just because the term was not attached to the act until much later, does not mean that it wasn't in fact the very same thing. What a lame argument.

Are you trying to tell me that God commands people to break the law in a way that offends the moral compass of society, and to lie about it, but can't tell you what purpose any of this provides?

Uhh, yeah. There are plenty of examples of civil disobedience throughout the Bible, which I think we could all feel comfortable with.

10. I did not "liken" polygamy to the holocaust. I gave an example of a time when it was the right thing to do, morally speaking, to lie. Whether or not your moral compass agrees with polygamy, it was a practice which the Saints felt duty-bound to uphold, and they lied about it to protect their lives, their families, and their property. Yes, I think in this instance, the two compare quite nicely.

11. The gun fights and raids represented an immediate threat. The Saints were not allowed to freely and openly practice plural marriage until they were safely out of society's immediate reach in Utah. They didn't face the threat of death in Utah. While in Utah, measures were taken by the U.S. government which threatened the Church's existence and the breaking up of families, but this threat was not as imminent as what they faced in Illinois. They at least knew the army was coming and were able to prepare. Mob assaults generally came without warning.

12. Apparently it wasn't enough of a sacrifice. But I'm sure you're a better judge of that than me.

13. I plead the fifth, only because any way I respond, I would be indicted. There's no way I can win this one. I would either be a hypocrite or I would be a crazy "fringe" cultist.

Lilith said...

Bishop Rick: Why wasn't it 3 Nephites that "restored" the priesthood and keys?

Possibly because Joseph Smith knew people were going to compare his gospel account to the ones in the King James, and such a glaring new doctrine like "keys" would stick out like a sore thumb.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

Let me respond to your responses.

1. You stated that polygamy was revoked due to legality issues. I questioned this since it was instituted while being illegal...stating that because of this, legality could not have been the issue.

2/3. Your arguments have convinced me that the OT is nothing more than a collection of nonsense. I do not accept the OT as proof that immoral acts are in fact moral...sorry.

4. I don't really think that polygamy = prostitution, but my point here is that there are many more problems with polygamy than just being illegal and outside the moral compass of society..as if that wasn't enough.

5. Sorry, but polygamy is extramarital sex. When plural wives are taken as "spiritual" wives, there is no binding contract as in a legally recognized marriage. That makes it extramarital sex. No way around this one.

6. I would like to know where you got your information regarding slavery and the bible. I have not heard this argument before and would like to investigate.

7. I agree with you that we should question morality on all levels, but you will not get me to agree that something immoral like polygamy is in fact moral...regardless of who accepts it. Also, we are talking about polygamy which concerns the early church. If you don't think the early church was a fringe group, then I'm wasting my time.

8. God has never commanded me to do anything.

Reading something in a book written by man or hearing someone make claims from the pulpit means nothing. Neither is proof of any supposed commandment.

9. A charge of revisionist history is not a lame argument. You can't state an opinion of what you think could have been the case 150 years ago and call it proof...that would be lame.

10. WOW, you can't see the huge difference between lying to save an innocent person's life and lying to cover your own immorality? Those 2 examples are so diametrically opposed that grouping them together shows total disregard for what the Jewish people went through. Try to come up with a better example.

11. This one really isn't important.

12. Apparently I am a better judge of this.

13. You are right. That one is not winnable regardless of your answer, but I would not consider LDS of today a fringe group since it has ceased most of the crazy practices, but it certainly was in the 1800s.

Also, you asked if God ever turned a blind eye to murder. The answer is yes; not only murder but genocide. Moses and Nephi come to mind quickly.

Bishop Rick said...

Lilith,

Good point. When introducing new doctrine it is best to do so with angelic support.

Lilith said...

Bishop Rick:Good point. When introducing new doctrine it is best to do so with angelic support.

After further reflection, I think the answer was simply that Joseph Smith wasn't thinking that far ahead. The Book of Mormon is a monotheistic document because Joseph Smith was a monotheist when he cranked it out. There was no priesthood revealed in 3 Nephi because he was budding off from US Protestantism, which rejected the very idea of priests as PURE ROMANIST SACERDOTAL PAPIST HUMBUGGERY!

tatabug said...

Lilith,

Not quite sure what book you are reading, but there are plenty of references to priests, authority, and ordination throughout the Book of Mormon. Now granted there isn't the volume found in other scriptures, even the Bible, but it is still there, although, admittedly there is very little from 3 Nephi on.

My question is, why would Joseph Smith, according to your reasoning, decide in the beginning to not go the whole priesthood route with the Book of Mormon, a book which he would term "the keystone of our religion" and "the most correct book," and then decide later that he was going to go all out with the priesthood thing in D&C? That is really puzzling to me. I suppose we can just chalk it up to Joseph being a very bad con artist, right?

tatabug said...

BR,

1. Yes, I did. And it was purely speculation on my part, because the Lord can command plural marriage regardless of its legality, so I really can't be sure, but I just find it highly unlikely that it would ever be commanded again, so long as it is illegal, and the Church stands to lose big as a result of disobedience to the law. Wilford Woodruff saw in vision the consequences that would befall the Church if the practice of plural marriage didn't cease. Look at what the government can do, illegally, to those who practice plural marriage. They can rip families apart before they've been tried and found guilty, and they can seize property and assets just as easily. I just don't think the Lord would take away the commandment because of the consequences the early Church faced, only to reinstitute it and put the Church right back into jeopardy.

2/3. Here we go again. You decided that long ago. Don't blame me.

4. Yes, there can be huge problems with polygamy. That is why only a very small percentage of the early Saints were even allowed to practice it.

5. No, I still have to disagree on that one. Do you think God needs to see a marriage license before He will accept a marriage as being valid? No. That's man's law, not God's law, and I personally think God's law trumps. Marriages in the Church do not need marriage licenses to be valid, but we have to apply to the state in order to receive a marriage license so that the marriage can be recognized by the state.

6. Just very quickly, what I was able to find is found in Leviticus 25:35-55, Deuteronomy 23:15-16 and 24:14-15. I will look for more information later and give it to you.

7. Compared to the existing Churches at the time, I guess you could say that it was a fringe group. But truly, it resembled the Church which Christ established more closely than the other religions of the time. I guess it really isn't all that bad to be considered a fringe group if that's what it means.

8. That's too bad. I guess what you require is for God to come down physically and smack you on the forehead and say, "Wake up, Bishop Rick. I've been trying to talk to you, but you've just been too boneheaded to listen."

9. So in order for it to be considered civil disobedience, they would've had to explicitly call it that? Considering the fact that the term wasn't even coined until 1848, how could Joseph have labeled his actions as such? Anyway, I didn't know there was a rule about it only being considered civil disobedience if it was referred to as that. It seems quite logical to conclude that you can look at evidence and put all the pieces together and say that is exactly what took place. I'll bet those who protected the Jews didn't necessarily have to call it civil disobedience for it to be considered civil disobedience. I'll bet the thought never really crossed their minds. They were probably just doing what they thought was right.

10. Yes, I can see the difference in protecting innocent life and covering up one's immorality. But I still think the example I gave parallels quite nicely. There is much evidence to suggest that Joseph tried on several occasions to teach the doctrine of plural marriage openly, but it was rejected with great hostility. This hostility, manifest in different forms (the extreme being mob violence and murder), is why the practice had to be kept secret. It was absolutely wrong for the Saints to be assaulted and killed because of their religious beliefs. It was absolutely wrong for the Nazi's to try to exterminate an entire group of people simply because of racial prejudice, or for any reason.

The government had every right to prosecute the Saints in a legal manner, but many times they didn't, and mobs unlawfully combined against them, threatening their very lives. If you don't see the parallels here, then you must be blinded by your antipathy towards Mormonism.

If plural marriage were immoral it would not have received the consent of God. You can decide for yourself what you think is moral, but don't impose your morality on me or the rest of the world. (Does that sound familiar?) You have no basis for your beliefs other than what society judges to be moral/immoral. Guess what? Comparably, your brand of morality is probably in the minority if you look at history. Your morality may prevail now, but it has not always been so.

Now in saying that, I prefer monogamy, naturally. That is all I've ever known, and I can't imagine it being any other way. It would be very scary for me. I am just trying to get you to open your eyes and try to get past your preconceived notions of how things are and how things should be in order to see that it is possible for a practice, such as plural marriage, to be perfectly moral. We may not prefer it, but I think that we should try to be more understanding of the religious beliefs of others, and not label them as adulterers, or immoral, or evil, just because they offend our moral sensibilities, which are often subjective. While polygamy is subject to all kinds of abuses and problems, so is monogamy. But both CAN be practiced righteously and neither should be banned because of the possibility of abuse. The crime itself should be punished, not the institution.

In response to your final statement, those are not instances where God turned a blind eye to murder, since he was the one who gave the commandment. He didn't turn a blind eye by not punishing wrong-doing. He authorized killing for His own purposes. Similarly, murder is breaking the laws of the land, but the government can decide when it is justifiable to murder, and even allows execution for criminals. And let's not forget the military.

Now, you can choose not to believe the Bible record or the Book of Mormon on this, but those are the stated facts, and only God can give permission to override His law.

tatabug said...

EJ,

I thought you might like this little piece of scandalous information about the discovery of Mark Twain when he visited Utah during the days of polygamy. He went there to see the debauchery for himself.

He assumed it was all about lust for women, and thought the Utah men were scoundrels - until he visited Utah and saw what the rough, tough pioneer women looked like. Then he praised Mormon men as being true saints.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

I think lilith's comment on 3rd Nephi has to do with Jesus setting up the church in the new world but did not clearly set up the priesthood...at least not in a manner that mirrors what JS set up in the LDS church. She has a very good point there.

If you read 3rd Nephi you find that Jesus calls the 12 disciples or apostles (the terms are incorrectly used interchangeably in 3rd Nephi) together and tells them they now have the power to baptize. No ordaining, conferring or laying on of hands. Now this would have had to be the Aaronic priesthood with the office of priest, but later he tells the multitude that only one among them will be ordained to administer the sacrament. This again is odd since anyone with authority to baptize can also administer the sacrament. This is also odd because none of them had been baptized yet by someone with authority, but here they are with the authority themselves.

3rd Nephi is so mixed up that it hardly resembles the LDS church.

At least Jesus does touch all the disciples or apostles (whatever they are) and give them the ability to give the gift of the HG. I have to assume that this means Jesus conferred the Melchizekek priesthood since only the MP has authority to give the gift of the HG.

There are many other problems with 3rd Nephi that I won't mention here. This is enough.

tatabug said...

BR,

First of all, the Book of Mormon was never intended to be an instruction manual outlining the specifics of Church doctrine and practice. It is primarily a testament of Jesus Christ and outlines the basic framework of the Gospel.

Secondly, in 3 Nephi 11, the Lord does certainly call his disciples and gave them power to baptize, but your assumption that they weren't ordained is unfounded. Simply because it wasn't mentioned does not mean it didn't happen.

However, there are instances previous to 3 Nephi where priesthood ordinations took place, and in 4 Nephi 1:14, it talks about other disciples who were ordained to take the place of the original twelve. Moroni 3:1 and 3:4 talks about ordaining priests.

So now my question is, why would Joseph purposely leave out the whole priesthood thing in 3 Nephi, only to have evidences of it throughout the Book of Mormon if his intent was to follow Protestantism which rejected the idea of priests? Her conclusion was that he didn't have enough foresight? So what, he had a few weeks there where he thought the whole priesthood thing wasn't going to fly, but then changed his mind immediately after he finished with 3 Nephi? That's very strange indeed because it was in April of 1829, when the process of translation started up again and they were basically back to square one, when the revelation in D&C 7 was received which talks about giving power and the keys of the ministry. Then the following month, Joseph and Oliver were ordained to the Aaronic priesthood. Oh, and what about D&C 5:6 which talks about being ordained to preach, and also D&C 5:17 which says, "And ye must wait yet a little while, for ye are not yet ordained--." This revelation was received in MARCH of 1829, even before the translation had started up again, which was likely before anything in 3 Nephi had been translated. There is much evidence that Joseph was going the whole priesthood route before and after 3 Nephi was ever translated.

Brother Zelph said...

Tata-

Consider the following scriptures:

D&C 42:12"And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel."

D&C 27:5 "Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel..."

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

You do realize that ordination has nothing to do with the priesthood right? It is merely the act of setting one apart. Women are ordained.

Bishop Rick said...

Zelph, how could the Book of Mormon contain the fullness of the Gospel when it talks nothing of temple ordinances, eternal marriage, purpose of the priesthood, or the organization of the church, etc. etc.?

Brother Zelph said...

BR, that is a good question, The BoM does not say anything about the three kingdoms, the pre-existence nor does it say that God and Jesus are separate beings.

tatabug said...

BZ and BR,

The definition of the gospel is outlined in 3 Nephi 27:13-19, and what it basically defines it as is this:

1. Christ came into the world to do the Father's will.
2. The Father sent Christ to be crucified.
3. Because of Christ's atonement, all men will be judged by him according to their works (as opposed to not receiving a judgment at all and being cast out of God's presence by default; 2_Ne. 9:8-9).
4. Those who repent and are baptized shall be filled (with the Holy Ghost, see 3_Ne. 12:6), and
5. if they continue in faith by enduring to the end they will be justified (declared "not guilty") by Christ before the Father, but
6. if they don't endure they will be subject to the justice of God and cast out of his presence.
7. The Father's words will all be fulfilled.
8. Because no unclean thing can enter the Father's heavenly kingdom, only those who rely in faith on the atonement of Christ, repent, and are faithful to the end can be saved.

This is the gospel, and the Book of Mormon teaches the gospel in its fulness. We also believe that the Bible contains the fulness of the Gospel, because the gospel is about the atonement of Jesus Christ. That they both contain the fulness of the gospel does not mean that they must necessarily outline every iota of church practice and teachings. That is what modern-day revelation is for. Doctrines and practices can vary in some or in many instances depeding on what the Lord deems necessary for the members of His church during a particular time period. For the church in these days, the D&C functions in much the same way that books in the OT, such as Leviticus and Deuteronomy functioned in ancient times, in order to establish doctrine and practice.

BR,

I've never been ordained to anything. I've been set apart, but I've never been ordained. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ordain is, "to invest officially (as by the laying on of hands) with ministerial or priestly authority."

In a 1993 Ensign article by Boyd K. Packer, he outlines some of the differences in ordination and setting apart. Here is an exerpt from the article:

There are two ways authority is conferred in the Church: by ordination and by setting apart. Offices in the priesthood—deacon, teacher, priest, elder, high priest, patriarch, seventy, and Apostle—always come by ordination. The keys of presidency and the authority to act in callings in the priesthood are received by setting apart.

For instance, the office of elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood is an ordained office, but the office of president of an elders quorum is an office to which one is set apart rather than ordained. In either case, he is given a blessing to accompany his service in an office to which he is ordained or set apart.

There are many “set apart” offices in the Church in both the priesthood and the auxiliary organizations. Some duties are inherent in the priesthood, and one need not be set apart to do them. Visiting the homes of members (home teaching) is an example.

Because women are not ordained to the priesthood, when sisters are set apart to offices, including the office of president in an auxiliary, they receive authority, responsibility, and blessings connected with the office, but they do not receive keys.

Bishop Rick said...

3rd Nephi does show Jesus praying to the father, but then shows the disciples or apostles (whatever they are) praying to Jesus while he is yet with them...confusing.

Then as I mentioned before, the 12 were given the power to baptize before they were baptized themselves. Not sure how that works.

Then Nephi baptized himself and the rest of the 12 after the fact.

Very confusing.

Elder Joseph said...

tata

I'm here and following the events .

I just don't have time to respond just yet ....but will do as soon as possible ...

I would like to ask something .

How do you feel if you should die before your husband ?

So Just in case, would you consider encouraging him to marry and seal a second or more wife( wives)in that event or would you rather he didn't ?

Just wondered :)

PS You should consider being the PR Guru for Warren Jeffs.You might even find yourself sealed to a very 'older' additional hubby !( Joseph Smith style ) lol

Bishop Rick said...

tata, upon further research, I concede on the point of ordination. I was incorrect in grouping ordination and setting apart together.

I do not concede on the fullness of the gospel. This is nothing more than a bait and switch.

Fullness of the Gospel? sign me up.

Pearly Gates

What do you mean I can't get to the C Kingdom? I have the fullness of the gospel.

St. Peter (or whomever)

Sorry, the fullness of the gospel only has what it takes for salvation. In order to make it into the C Kingdom, you need the fullness of the Doctrine including temple ordinances, eternal marriage, etc. etc.

Bruno, take this person to the second floor.

tatabug said...

BR,

I'm not sure about the praying to Christ while he's present thing, but I don't see a problem with it. Prayer is about expressing gratitude, its about repentance, and its about securing blessings for ourselves that God is willing to grant to us, but are made conditional upon our asking for them.

So what about them praying to Christ while in his presence? God knows our thoughts, so why must we pray? The Nephites were apparently in spiritual overdrive at the time, and that is how they chose to express it. I can see how they might do that. Isn't prayer also a form of worship?

Regarding ordination before baptism, you might recall that Joseph was ordained before he was baptized in order that he might have authority to baptize Oliver. This is likely the same scenario. Apparently, resurrected beings can ordain, but they can't perform ordinances, otherwise Christ would have been able to baptize the Nephites and John the Baptist could've just baptized Joseph and Oliver.

tatabug said...

BR,

Yes, salvation differs from exaltation. The teachings outlined in Book of Mormon is what is needed for salvation. More is required for exaltation.

tatabug said...

EJ,

I don't like your comment. Very insensitive. (Sorry if you don't appreciate my criticism of EJ's comment, Cr@ig.)

Bishop Rick said...

sure, but I'm still stuck on the second floor (with all the Nephites I might add) because we thought having the fullness of the gospel was enough.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

President Ezra Taft Benson explains: "The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 20:9). That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation" (Benson, pp. 18-19).

Seems exaltation is contained.

tatabug said...

Don't forget that there were many things which were taught to the Nephites that they were not allowed to write. Just because it isn't in the scriptures doesn't mean it didn't happen. Perhaps they received revelation regarding the requirements for exaltation.

Don't worry BR, there's hope for you and for those who did not have an opportunity to receive the necessary ordinances for salvation and exaltation, such as in the case of them not being revealed. It's called ordinance work for the dead. Oh, wait. You've had an opportunity to receive those ordinances, and perhaps have received them all, but you've rejected them through apostasy. So unless you have a change of heart....:)

Bishop Rick said...

3rd Nephi 11: 38-40

38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little achild, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my adoctrine, and whoso bbuildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the cgates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40
And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a bsandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

I don't know about you, but this seems to state that all the doctrine is contained.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

All I have to go by is what is written in the BoM. You can't just make stuff up after the fact and say it happened when there is no proof of that. The burden of proof is not on me here.

Bishop Rick said...

"You can get closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book." Joseph Smith

I guess the key word here is closer because you can't actually get TO God without the D&C.

Bible gets you close.
Book of Mormon gets you closer.
D&C gets you there.

What does it all mean?

tatabug said...

BR,

I guess you missed the part where it said, "That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed."

He also does not say that it contains what is needed for exaltation. He says, "in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation." Then he says, "And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation." Notice he says they can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation. He doesn't say that the Book of Mormon teaches all things necessary for exaltation. But even where the Book of Mormon is apparently silent on many issues, there are hints of certain doctrines, and the concept of continuing continuing revelation is taught as well. Continuing revelation is fundamental to learning what is necessary for exaltation.

tatabug said...

Why would you tell me to go by the Book of Mormon when you don't even believe in it yourself?

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

You are starting to sound like a typical apologist now. Inserting meaning where none was intended.

Benson clearly states that the fullness of doctrines are contained in the BoM needed for salvation. Then he immediately follows that with and they (referring to the doctrines) are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation.

The way you explain it is not plain and simple at all. In fact you have to read things into the words that don't exist to retrofit it to the current doctrine.

Is it simple enough for a child or not?

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

You believe in the truthfulness of the BoM. I use it to show that it contradicts itself, the Bible, and LDS doctrine.

tatabug said...

I stated very clearly that the Book of Mormon teaches continuing revelation. So long as one accepts and follows that concept, then they will be able to receive all things necessary for exaltation.

tatabug said...

3 Nephi 29:6, "Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation,...or by the power of the Holy Ghost!"

Additionally, the Book of Mormon doesn't contradict itself, the Bible or LDS doctrine.

Bishop Rick said...

you can get closer to God by reading a book (which contains the fullness of the gospel) that states you must read another book, which BTW is not plain and simple.

Again. Is it simple enough for a child or not?

Bishop Rick said...

The whole premise of the Book of Mormon is that continuing revelation exists. Without it the Book of Mormon, LDS church or Joseph Smith don't have a leg to stand on.

That is like the Book of Mormon stating that the Book of Mormon is true, or like a book produced by Joseph Smith stating that there will be a book produced by Joseph Smith.

Laughable.

tatabug said...

In the rapid exchange, I missed this comment and am confused about what you mean by it or rather what did I specifically say which sparked this comment?

All I have to go by is what is written in the BoM. You can't just make stuff up after the fact and say it happened when there is no proof of that. The burden of proof is not on me here.

Primary children all over are learning the fulness of the Gospel. Have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, keep the commandments, follow the prophet. Seems simple enough.

tatabug said...

The whole premise of the Book of Mormon is that continuing revelation exists.

Another inconvenient truth...for some.

tatabug said...

When you said I was starting to sound like a typical apologist because I was finding meaning where none was intended, I beg to differ. Did President Benson or did he not say that not every doctrine or teaching was contained in the Book of Mormon? So, if I'm not mistaken, and he did in fact say this, and we have doctrines that were revealed in the D&C which we are obligated to follow in order to achieve salvation, then it stands to reason that the Book of Mormon doesn't contain all that we need to obtain exaltation (and I am very sure that President Benson was fully aware of that fact when he made that statement), but that they keys to obtaining that necessary knowledge can be found within the Book of Mormon, i.e. revelation.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

You stated that there were many things taught to the Nephites that were not written down. That is what prompted my statement.

Regarding primary children, you didn't mention anything about exaltation.

I was in Primary for several years. I know what is taught and how it is taught. I also know that the only thing the kids take away from it is the songs. They learn very little else.

Bishop Rick said...

Of course Benson was aware of it. That is the reason he was apologizing. He had to revise yet another misstatement by the LDS church.

Lilith said...

Bishop Rick: That is like the Book of Mormon stating that the Book of Mormon is true, or like a book produced by Joseph Smith stating that there will be a book produced by Joseph Smith.

Actually, we do read exactly that about Joseph Smith Jr. in 2 Nephi 3:14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;

3:15 And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.


Gosh, that's an amazing prophesy. I wonder if Joseph Smith Jr.'s heart skipped a beat when he translated that part.

Bishop Rick said...

mine just skipped a beat reading it again.

Brother Zelph said...

Tata- You bring up an excellent point and that is we are to believe in continual revelation and have given me inspiration for the next post as I have quite a bit to say on the subject, way too much to respond in one comment.

tatabug said...

BR,

Following the prophet and continuing revelation are necessary to obtaining what we need in order to gain exaltation. So, yes I did include exaltation with regard to what primary children learn.

Now I didn't attend primary much when I was a child since we were in-active for the most part, but I did learn a lot of the basics in the short period of time that I was there. When I began attending Young Women I learned a great deal more, and I suppose you could still consider a YW a child.

I have been a primary teacher several times and have served as primary chorister, and these kids know A LOT. They pick this stuff up easily. Now they may not have the depth of understanding that adults have, but that comes with time.

And even if all they come away with is the primary songs, then guess what they learn? Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, don't go astray. They also learn, faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day. Faith is knowing the Lord will hear, my prayers each time I pray. Faith is like a little seed; if planted it will grow. Faith is a swelling within my heart; when I do right I know. Oh and another favorite, now we know that we must also witness faith in Jesus' word, be baptized to show obedience, as was Jesus Christ, our Lord. Then don't forget about, Help me dear Father to truly repent, making things right, and changing my ways. Help me each day, Father I pray. Help me live nearer, nearer to thee. Oh and the classic, I'm trying to be like Jesus, I'm following in his ways. I'm trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say. At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice, but I try to listen as the still small voice whispers, love one another as Jesus loves you, try to show kindness in all that you do, be gentle and loving in deed and in thought, for these are the things Jesus taught.

I could go on, but hopefully you get my point. Even if all the kids come away with is the songs, the songs teach as well, if not better, the principles and teachings of the Gospel, including many of the things necessary for exaltation, including the temple.


Regarding the fulness of the gospel, here is a quote by Charles W. Penrose:

Now, some of our brethren have taken up quite a discussion as to the fulness of the everlasting gospel, that those who like to get up a dispute, say that the Book of Mormon does not contain any reference to the work of salvation for the dead, and that there are many other things pertaining to the gospel that are not developed in that book, and yet we are told that the book contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. Well, what is the fulness of the gospel? You read carefully the revelation in regard to the three glories, section 76, in the D&C, and you find there defined what the gospel is. There God, the Eternal Father, and Jesus Christ, his Son, and the Holy Ghost, are held up as the three Persons in the Trinity--the one God, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, all three being one God. When people believe in that doctrine and obey the ordinances which are spoken of in the same list of principles, you get the fulness of the gospel for this reason: If you really believe so as to have faith in our Eternal Father and in his Son, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, and will hear him, you will learn all about what is needed to be done for the salvation of the living and redemption of the dead.

When people believe and repent and are baptized by divine authority, and the Holy Ghost is conferred upon them as a gift, they receive the everlasting gospel. We used to call it, and it is now called in the revelations, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit that proceeds from the Father through the immensity of space, which guides, directs, enlightens, which is light in and of itself, which is the Spirit of intelligence, the light of truth.


This is from John A. Tvedtnes:

Although Latter-day Saints frequently use the term gospel to refer to the whole body of truth to be learned through the restored Church, this is not the real meaning of the term. The gospel is the "good news" of Christ's atonement, and its first principles are faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost. This is the definition followed in the Book of Mormon as well as in the Doctrine and Covenants and other inspired sources, as in 1 Nephi 10:14; 15:13–14; 3 Nephi 27:13–21; Ether 4:18; D&C 3:20; 13:1; 20:9; 27:5 and so on. D&C 93:51 uses the term the gospel of salvation, while Abraham 2:11 speaks of "the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal." In Jacob 7:6 the gospel is defined as "the doctrine of Christ," referring to the doctrine concerning Christ's death, atonement, and resurrection to provide the means by which we can be saved from death, sin, and hell. This reference was before the Savior lived on earth in the flesh, thus it did not refer to the totality of what he would teach. Elsewhere the Book of Mormon equates the "fulness of the gospel" with coming "to the knowledge of the true Messiah" (1 Nephi 10:14; 15:13–14; 3 Nephi 20:30–31). The Book of Mormon contains the most lucid explanation of the atonement of Christ and its consequences for humans (see especially 2 Nephi 2, 9; Mosiah 15; Alma 34, 42) and therefore qualifies as containing "the fulness of the gospel."

Regarding the Book of Mormon prophesying of itself and Joseph Smith, the Bible also prophesies of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and even Charles Anthon.

tatabug said...

3rd Nephi 11: 38-40...I don't know about you, but this seems to state that all the doctrine is contained.

Like I've been trying to tell you, the gospel specifically refers to Christ's atoning sacrifice and the salvation made available to all mankind through faith, repentance, baptism, and obedience--nothing more, nothing less. The Book of Mormon explicitly spells out what the gospel is. The additional teachings and ordinances and such are necessary, but they are not a part of the basic gospel message, which has been the same from the beginning, even though some of the practices and teachings have been changed and/or added to throughout history.

Bishop Rick said...

I think we all know what "fullness of the gospel" was intended to mean and does mean. It never ceases to amaze me how the LDS make things up to twist the Book of Mormon around to fit the current doctrine.

Absolutely amazing. And even more amazing, the members buy it for the most part.

I do find it interesting that the LDS church believes in the Trinity. Maybe the evangelicals have LDS pegged incorrectly.

Brother Zelph said...

Tata- according to D&C 76, honorable men of the earth that were blinded by the craftiness of men still get to enter the terrestrial kingdom. Even people that reject Jesus in this life but accept him in the next still get to go into the second degree.

So my point is I don't see how the Book of Mormon helps with salvation. Salvation simply comes by good works.

The only ones that make it into the celestial kingdom are those that receive the fullness of the ordinances of his kingdom

"Joseph Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith (ed.) (1976). Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book) p. 309: "All men who become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ will have to receive the fulness of the ordinances of his kingdom; and those who will not receive all the ordinances will come short of the fulness of that glory"; see also p. 362 where Smith said that without temple ordinances "we cannot obtain celestial thrones."

My point is I don't see how the Book of Mormon gets people any closer to God just by following its precepts. You can have someone that follows the Bible precepts and lives an honorable life and he can get into the Terrestrial kingdom, so he is in essence "saved" and lives with the glory of Jesus. You can even have someone that doesn't even believe in Jesus like a Hindu that lived an honorable life, but had a chance to accept Jesus but because he was mislead he can still get into the Terrestrial Kingdom.

People that never had a chance to hear the message can still get into the celestial kingdom as well as everyone that dies before the age of 8.

D&C 137:7-8,10

"Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom...And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven."

So it would appear to me that the best thing we can do to ensure the exaltation of our fellow beings is either kill them before they turn 8 or make sure they never get a chance to hear the message.

I have a point, I promise. My point is that just reading the Book of Mormon and abiding by its precepts is not enough to get into the celestial kingdom, so it doesn't get you any closer to God than other books.

Let me give you an example. Let's say a member of the CoC (formerly the RLDS) reads and follows the Book of Mormon. Studies it daily and applies its teachings to life. Do you believe that faithful members of the CoC will get into the celestial kingdom? What about faithful people of the FLDS church? Will they get into the celestial kingdom?

Bishop Rick said...

Zelph,

You bring up several good points. If God's plan is bring people to Christ through the LDS church, it is failing miserably. They even have to have a contingency plan for the gajillions that never did or will hear the message of "truth"...why bother?

Another point is in regards to the Hindu that was "mislead". So if you are mislead, that's just tough luck? Bruno escort this man to the second floor? Boy now that's a just God.

Mormon Lite said...

I have been lurking here for a while and decided to put in my two cents. The church certainly has all kinds of holes and flawed logic, but looking around, so do most religions. It is like realizing that your cell phone company doesn't have great service, but you look around and realize that it isn't any worse than the competition so you stay with them unless a better one comes along.

If there is a God, I don't think he cares if you are Mormon, Christian, Hindu, or Islam as long as you are productive in your community and treat your fellow men with respect.

Bishop Rick said...

ml,

I couldn't agree with you more.

Why would God care about man-made religions. It makes no sense.

It would make sense for God to care about one's spiritual development. What they do with this life, not how many secret handshakes/names you memorize.

tatabug said...

Zelph,

I think I understand the point you are trying to make. Let me just try to address a few things. Let me know if I'm off-base regarding your intent.

What I've been trying to explain, and either no one wants to listen or I'm just not being very clear, is that while the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel as presented in all ages, the teachings contained therein lead those who are prepared to hear and accept towards greater light and knowledge. For those who don't lead decent lives, the Book of Mormon could certainly bring them closer to God by leading them to good works. Even those who do lead decent lives can be brought closer to God, in a spiritual sense at least, but also in a real sense because it teaches baptism through those with proper authority. It also teaches about heeding prophets whose teachings can bring one closer to God.

The Book of Mormon itself condemns the notion that any one book of scripture, or even a collection of scriptural works would be sufficient for salvation. "Wo be unto him that saith: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear to my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have" (2 Nephi 28:27, 29-30).

In saying that the Book of Mormon contains "the fulness of the gospel," what is meant is that it contains those fundamental truths upon which all saving principles must build. These are the principles one should understand before baptism. To be baptized we need not understand all there is to know about the gospel. We simply need to have laid a foundation of faith and understanding upon which we can continue to build until we have received a fulness of all that the Father has.

"I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
"For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace" (D&C 93:19-20).

At this point, I doubt anything I say will serve to clarify or convince. It is very difficult to sway opinions of those who are bent on fault-finding, because there will always be fault to be found, not matter how insignificant.

Bishop Rick said...

It is not about fault finding. It is about statements made regarding the Greatness of the Book of Mormon.

"A man can get closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book."

"The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the Gospel."


When called on this type of bold statement, the words are softened, the story changes, the "real" meanings have to be clarified, they were speaking as men not prophets, etc. It just gets old after awhile.

It is obvious to almost everyone on this blog that the LDS church is based on the imagination of Joseph Smith, and it is obvious to a great deal on this blog that religion, as an institution, is man-made.

There cannot be a personal God unless that God is prejudiced, uncaring, selective, immoral, unjust and self-important.

I don't want anything to do with such a God or any institution that propagates such a God.

That is what it boils down to with me.

tatabug said...

I don't consider it to be changing the story or softening it in any way. It is a matter of a lack of understanding of meaning, and wrong assumptions have been made about what the fulness of the gospel means. You assume that the gospel means anything to do with the Church, when in reality it is all about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the salvation that his sacrifice makes possible. All other things are secondary. Joseph Smith taught that, "the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."

I consider it to be fault-finding because it isn't enough to disagree with major issues, because it eventually comes down to minutia, including dates, which really don't mean that much in the grand scheme. Human error is not an allowable excuse. I also consider it fault-finding because reasonable explanations are not accepted because what it all boils down to is that those of us TBM's and apologists are just making excuses and trying to cover-up flaws. That isn't it at all, but that is the charge, and I don't appreciate my intentions being assumed as such.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

I don't for a second think you are trying to cover anything up or change meanings. I think you sincerely believe what you state. I have said this before and shouldn't have to repeat it.

However, what it boils down to is you are merely echoing those who ARE changing the meaning and covering up. My charges are not against you, but against those that know/knew they don't/didn't speak to God, but still claim it.

Minutia is your opinion. But, when small things call big claims into question, I call that pertinent.

LDS Apologists use faith and supposition to back up fantastic claims. Other religions do as well. You know I roll them into the same group. But, the tired "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence" argument just doesn't cut it when trying to explain away fantastic claims.

You choose to believe these unfounded, unprovable claims and that is fine, but I will never accept anything on faith alone again.

Do you really not see the side that isn't convinced by faith alone? Why should I trust a man? A warm fuzzy feeling (I use that description for lack of a better one) is still left to man's interpretation.

It is unreasonable to expect anyone to accept anything on faith alone or to have to take the word of someone with a questionable background (money digging) or witnesses that all have some stake in the claim (relative or investor).

Surely you can see that every religion can make that same claim; has those same feelings.

Mormon has feelings = God
Jew has same feelings = Satan
Baptist has same feelings = Satan
Hindu has same feelings = Satan
Muslim has same feelings = Satan

Surely this cannot be.
You shake your head and say I just don't understand. I just don't get it.

If that is what I have to get, then you are right...I don't get it.

Elder Joseph said...

Just have a few things for Tata :) because she is the only person I seem to disagree with on here :))

Tata you said


"It was absolutely wrong for the Saints to be assaulted and killed because of their religious beliefs. It was absolutely wrong for the Nazi's to try to exterminate an entire group of people simply because of racial prejudice, or for any reason."

First of all I don’t think its that simplistic to suggest that Mormons were killed simply for their religious beliefs . Its some while back since I looked at this , but everwhere Joseph Smith and the Saints tried to settle he/the leaders seem to anger and threaten their neighbours .. David Whitmer speaks about this in his Address To All Believers In Christ….
....and to be honest if Warren Jeffs was settling in our area and threatening the residents through revelation then we too would do something about it ….. further more if secretly practicing polygamy whilst denying it to us and converting people while using this deception and especially the young females having lied to them, then I would want to expose and persecute Warren Jeffs and his followers ( meaning violence and force if necessary, not rape or unnecessary killing etc) to protect my family and community from him and his lying cult.



You said
"4. Yes, there can be huge problems with polygamy. That is why only a very small percentage of the early Saints were even allowed to practice it."

It could only work that way practically anyway .The reason only a small percentage were practicing it is because it would be impossible for all the members to practice it as you would run out of women and choice of them.So only the elect leaders who were obedient to the church leaders got to pick up extra young teen brides and have sex with them whilst leaving the rest of the single young men to struggle ......there is even a documented case where an OLD bishop (Warren Snow - Bishop of the Church at Manti, San Pete County, Utah.) has a young man castrated because the Bishop wanted his young fiancée as his next polygamous wife and the young couple resisted.

Warren Snow had him castrated and hung his testicles up in the school-house on a nail, so that it could be seen by all who visited the house afterwards.

They similarly sent out the young Mormon men on missions and told them not to pick of the convert female flocks until all are brought back to base (to the old polygamists in charge ) so they can have a fair share at grabbing from them !

you said
"Primary children all over are learning the fulness of the Gospel. Have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, keep the commandments, follow the prophet. Seems simple enough."


you say that Follow The prophet is simple ?

Should they have followed Brigham Youngs teaching on Blacks being cursed and Less Valiant? or what about Adam Is God ? Or what about Blood Atoning someone to save them etc etc
or all his other nonsenses?

Exactly what does follow the prophet actually mean ? because they were wrong and seem to want to lead the saints astray with wrong teachings...

And the most stupid thing I ever heard from My Stake Patriarch was that If we follow the prophet and he is wrong,we will still be blessed ? !?!? My response to that is of you follow the prophet and he is wrong then you are the bigger idiot for doing so ! Jesus warned about the blind following the blind and that they both would fall in to the pit !

Later in the same conversation he was telling me about his great friend and most Inspiring Speaker called Paul Dunn !

Enough Said … the whole conversation with him was simply ridiculous and his Patriarchal Blessings can't be worth the paper they are printed on ,They are simply a waste of words.

How members can believe those glorified Horoscopes is beyond me.They are simply another control tool to keep naive members trapped and dependant on the LDS organisation.

Bishop Rick said...

I think we may be piling up a bit on Tata. At least me. Too bad she seems to be alone here. Doesn't quite seem fair.

Elder Joseph said...

BR

What does one expect when Gods 'Special Witnesses' prefer to keep quiet and away from the controversy they are responsible for creating with their bogus claims and instead prefer to rehearse crying in front of a mirror.

Its simply ridiculous.

tatabug said...

BR,

When you say that I am only echoing what apologists or LDS leaders say regarding difficult issues, and you say that they are only trying to cover-up (which to me says they know the truth but continue to lie about it), is the same as saying I am either a duped idiot, or if I'm not an idiot, then I am part of the cover-up.

Your immediate assumption is that everyone "in the know" is engaged in some huge deceptive plot. I just don't think that is fair because there is no way to prove or disprove that, at least not at this point.

I have no problem with raising issues and discussing them, but there are many things that just cannot be proven or disproven, so it seems to me then that the right thing to do would be to take the stance of "innocent until proven guilty." Now I'm not saying that you should believe that the Church is true until it is proven that it isn't or that Joseph Smith saw God until it's proven that he didn't. What I am saying is that when confronted with a topic such as the topic of "fulness of the gospel," don't automatically assume that the meaning of "fulness of the gospel" is anything other than what the prophets and other church leaders or the scriptures themselves define it to be.

Your stance is to automatically assume that someone is lying. It's fine if you want to believe that the church is untrue, but to question the sincerity of the prophets and other church leaders and members is to possibly cast stones at innocent people. You don't know these people personally and so you really have no basis to question their sincerity, other than a possibly warped account of history or a lack of true understanding.

I suppose what I am getting at, is are you really being objective, which I'm sure you would like me to believe, or are you just trying as hard as you can to hang on to any little thread of doubt that you possibly can in order to continue to bolster your beliefs regarding the church? You don't have to answer that, but I hope that you will make an honest evaluation.

Regarding faith, I am not asking you to take anything on faith. I try my best to avoid the issue of faith here because I know it isn't acceptable. Sometimes it comes up when there really is no good answer and I have to use it to justify my beliefs, but I know it doesn't wash with you and others here.

But you also claim that you don't buy the claim that "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence," but in the example of our current discussion, I believe that more than likely, not everything that was done during Christ's visit to the Americas was recorded, and of the things that were recorded, it is quite likely that many details were left out. The same situation applies to the Bible. Of that I have no doubt. In this type of situation, it seems to me that the right stance to take is that there just isn't enough information available to make an informed decision. Your initial assumption was to say that Christ just "gave" the disciples power rather than actually ordain them. Because it isn't actually spelled out that he laid hands on them and ordained them in officially, then that means he just said that they were given power in a manner not consistent with standard church practice, instead of conceding that it is quite possible that that particular information was just left out. What more than likely happened, was that whoever wrote the record after the fact, just overlooked some details. (I know, I know, that isn't possible since the Book of Mormon is just a forgery anyway. Don't think I don't try to look at things from your perspective too.)

I'm not upset or angry or even frustrated. I guess I'm just a little sad because of all of the hit-and-run accusations, the cute little jabs, and the side swipes at me. I say me, but I know that they aren't directed at me, but at the church. It just feels like it's me because the church is part of me. I do realize that it is just part of you and others being able to vent your anger and frustration, and so I've gotten better at not getting so worked up over things, but sometimes I just need to vent too, and I guess this is how I'm doing it. I think I am learning to handle it all with more patience though (up until people start telling me I'm arrogant).

Maybe I'm wrong, but can you see where I'm coming from?

tatabug said...

Oh, I forgot. Happy Birthday to me.

EJ,

I started to read your last post, but right now, I'm just not in the mood to defend against your relentless assaults. It's my birthday, I'm not upset, and I prefer it to stay that way. Maybe I will read it later.

Brother Zelph said...

Happy B-Day, Tata!

Bishop Rick said...

Hope you had a good. Ok, now its time to read EJ's comment. EJ's comments usually make me laugh. Not sure why they bring you down.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

We all Love you :)

tatabug said...

EJ,

Yes, it was as simple as them being killed because of their religious belief. The majority of the persecution (including violence and killing) was unprovoked. Even if the Saints were "making threats" as you say, that is no excuse to go and kill them. So long as the Saints were not going around mobbing and killing people, there was NO excuse for the violence and murder which was perpetrated on them. And yes, it was all because of their beliefs. They were persecuted because of their beliefs about many things, including their belief that plural marriage was a commandment, and the fact that they exercised that belief. It's fine if people didn't like it and tried to deal with any problems or issues in a legal manner, but that isn't the case at all.

You said:

"It could only work that way practically anyway .The reason only a small percentage were practicing it is because it would be impossible for all the members to practice it as you would run out of women and choice of them.So only the elect leaders who were obedient to the church leaders got to pick up extra young teen brides and have sex with them whilst leaving the rest of the single young men to struggle...."

This is exactly the reason I have so much problem with your comments. There is no evidence or intelligence to comments such as these. Just your own opinion about what may have been the motivating reasons. This is the kind of ugliness that offends me in your comments.

So I guess I'm just a naive idiot because I follow the prophet and my "glorified horoscope." Is that about right. You just have a way of insulting, and what is sad is that you probably don't even realize it.

tatabug said...

BR,

EJ's comments probably make you laugh because they make the church that you dislike so much look bad. He makes a lot of really stupid comments, but they don't offend you because you don't care about the object of his ridicule.

I think one of the big reasons that EJ's comments make me so mad is that he will just say anything, and I don't think he cares if it is true or not. If it fits his agenda of tearing the church down, it's fair game.

Also, he can't be reasoned with. Like the last disagreement we had where you conceded, he would never concede the point, even if it were absolutely clear that he was wrong. He would just say something like the church just made up ordaining anyway, so in that way, they were lying...or something like that.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata
you said
"They were persecuted because of their beliefs about many things, including their belief that plural marriage was a commandment,"

I can believe maybe the ordinary members were innocent as you claim but NOT the church leaders .Those threats were very real and written down as if from God , see David Whitmers statement about it .....I do not trust anything anymore from official LDS sources... I see those early LDS saints as victims themselves of Joseph Smith.

I can agree that the killings were over the top (and rapes?) .. Its despicable yes .
... again I ask what were the mormon leaders threatening at the time to annoy their neighbours so much? they should have known better than to jeopordise the safety of their followers..

In a later episode of Mormon History :

What about the story of Martha Brotherton ? and many others like her .She was converted here in England and at that time the church was denying Polygamy in its Millenial Star publication and claiming It was all apostate lies .


Here is a quote from Millenial Star
No. 4. Liverpool, August, 1842. Vol. III.


"But, for the information of those who may be assailed by those foolish tales about the two wives, we would say that no such principle ever existed among the Latter-day Saints, and never will; this is well known to all who are acquainted with our books and actions, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants; and also all our periodicals are very strict and explicit on that subject, indeed far more so than the bible. "


This is absolutely despicable .Think of all those british single ( even married ) female converts who believed this deception and subsequently became trapped in Nauvoo and vulnerable to the polygamy which they were assured didn't exist and never would.

They were only given ONE WAY tickets from the church....

What faith can anyone have in such a blatant lying organisation.They had no respect or concern whatsover for those they were duping.Promising them Zion whilst in reality many would likley end up Polygamy Victims and they KNEW it !

Thats the real issue.I don't delight in tearing down a church for the sake of it .The real issues are their.If you abandoned the mormon claim and scrapped D&C and all the mormon Doctrines then I would not have anything to challenge you about .

I believe that Mormonism is potentially destructive and I have read many examples of how it effectively destroys families just in the same way as JW's ...


you said "So I guess I'm just a naive idiot because I follow the prophet and my "glorified horoscope." Is that about right."

Well thats what I believe it is.I've spoken with my Stake Patriarch and he can't be trusted to even tell the truth when I asked him about Paul Dunn.This is the kind of deception I find abominable amongst mormon leadership.They really believe that lying is OK to protect the church and its validity.

If those PB blessings are true then you shouldn't even get offended in the first place as it will be me who ends up in a worse kingdom or even outer darkness whilst you are in CK glory unless you are concerned for my welfare and my eternal fate is upsetting you :)If that is case then Thank you .

you said "There is no evidence or intelligence to comments such as these." concerning my view on why only a few mormon men practiced polygamy ?

Well how could every male practice it ? its a fact that it would be impossible ....Its simple mathematics .When you get a few leaders like Brigham Young and Heber Kimball marrying goodness knows how many girls,its only common sense to see that you'll run out of women very soon if it gets extended to the rest of the church's males.

Its impossible for them all to practice it ... unless they took a leaf out of Joseph Smiths practice of marrying already married women !

And if you have the Old leaders marrying lots of young girls like they did ( fact ! ) then its only obvious that they would not be available for the men of their own age .

you said " he would never concede the point, even if it were absolutely clear that he was wrong."

Show me a point and I'll officially concede :)I think you probably even think you have corrected me on many occasions when you have just chosen to interprete what I have said differently to make the church look less sinister ...

I'm not on here to actively support Mormonism .

If I'm wrong and the church never published those sinister lies in its Newspapers I will JOIN at once in Baptism and thats worse than eating my Hat ...... and stone !

Anonymous said...

I just have one question to the person that set up this blog. Just who do you think you are? What makes you think you have the right to try to tear down God's one true church? Don't you have anything better to do than try to tear down people's faith? Can't you do something more positive with your life?

You are scum and maybe if you actually did some real research from legitimate sites instead of anti-Mormon sites, you wouldn't be so ignorant. You sound so ignorant, I actually feel sorry for you.

The church is a beautiful organization and you don't have the right to try to attack it and tear it down.

Bishop Rick said...

Anyone who only posts anonymously cannot be taken serious. Their motives are only to shake things up and conjure up responses. They likely don't even believe what they write. They just say outrageous things for effect.

Bishop Rick said...

Tata,

EJ always gives sources for his statements. Sometimes he leaves off a source because he has given it previously. I really don't think any apologist would agree with you that the violence against LDS was for the most part one-sided. I have read posts on Mormanity that stated there was plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

You realize that JS was tarred and feathered as a response to him trying to convince one of the perpetrator's daughters into a polygamous union? The intent was also to castrate him. They even brought along a doctor who at the last minute refused to carry out the deed. Then they tried to get him to drink poison and broke one of his teeth in the process. These were angry men. They were not doing this because they disagreed with the religion. This was in response to LDS actions that hit home in a personal matter. It was common for LDS to recruit women outside the faith. One would have to believe it was a numbers game.

These things sound ugly because they were. These things happened. They are well documented. I would conservatively state that the blame was equal on both sides.

Brother Zelph said...

BR- I tend to agree with you and I am considering only allowing registered users. People that come on here that don't really want to engage in a discussion or add anything meaningful to the post or the conversation I just ignore.

Mormon Lite said...

Elder Joseph,

I would like to ask you a few questions and don't take this the wrong way, but you sound the most negative towards the church. I don't mean to single you out, but why so combative all the time? Don't you get exhausted? There is a saying that goes "pick your battles" meaning let some things go so that when the more important battle comes you will have the strength to fight.

I am completely serious and I am just wondering if there is a particular reason you come across as especially negative and/or combative. Is that just how it comes across?

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

EJ's comments make me laugh because I pick up on subtle humor. Many people here say things that make the church look bad, but they don't make me laugh.

That has nothing to do with it.
I have a lot of close friends and relatives in the church. Making the church look bad is not my goal. My goal is to expose the church for what it is...a man-made religion based on the imagination of JS.

tatabug said...

Sorry guys. I think anonymous is my sister. She gets very emotional when people talk bad about the church.

Hey Sis, if you are still reading, calm down. Most of the guys here are not all that bad. They just happen to disagree with us. Disagreement is allowable and everyone has a right to their own opinion. Calling names is not productive and it's not going to sway anyone's opinion. We just need to be reasonable with each other, respect each other's beliefs, and try to see things from other perspectives.

tatabug said...

EJ,

You are bringing up too many issues to try and address them all (another issue I have with your comments). I just don't have the time.

Anyway, I will try to address the issues we were on without piling on.

Regarding plural marriage and violence:

Okay so if the members were innocent as you say, then there was absolutely no excuse for the violence and killing perpetrated against them and they had a very good reason to lie about plural marriage in order to protect themselves and their families.

I'm not even going to argue the rest of this issue with you because it will be never-ending.

Regarding me being a naive idiot:

So you have no problem calling me a naive idiot. But then you shift the blame to your stake patriarch. Most of your comment made very little discernable sense.

Regarding your comments about why only a few men practiced plural marriage:

I said that comments such as this one contain no intelligence because you make assumptions that are not necessarily based in fact. You assume that plural marriage served no practical purpose and that it was all about satisfying the lustful desires of "old men."

Then you use the example of a castration to make a point that it was really all about sex and the old men wanting all the women for themselves. Well, I shouldn't be suprised that you would just automatically believe the story, but in the short amount of research I've done on it, I found evidence which puts the entire story into question. Not that some of the story isn't true, but a lot of the story that you told, as well as versions on the internet which echo yours, leave out a lot of important information. Like for instance, it might be important to the story to note that the young man who was castrated may have been castrated because he was a sex offender, and was being hauled off to prison.

Regarding you not conceding a point:

The first one that comes to mind is your belief that the church doesn't publish any pictures that show Joseph translating the BOM with his head in a hat, your conclusion being that the church is trying to cover it up. I asked you to show me any pictures put out by the church which show Joseph using the urim and thummim since it doesn't seem as though the church is trying to cover that up. The only picture you could produce was some obscure picture which you couldn't give me a source for and which I had never seen before and couldn't find anywhere. It looked as though it may have come from a 1970's Friend magazine. You have yet to concede that there is no reason to assume that the church is trying to cover up anything in its pictures.

Another example is with the issue of the first vision and your assertion that Joseph never mentioned seeing God before 1938. I gave you a credible newspaper article from the 14 February 1931 issue of "The Reflector" which states quite clearly that people were very aware that Joseph had made claims to having seen God, "frequently and personally." You never conceded on this one.

More recently, you've stated that that Joseph Smith was commanded to have sex with teenage girls or he would be killed by an angel. I think you know this isn't true, but you didn't concede when I called you on it. You continue to paint a picture that the "old men" in the church have been commanded to go and have sex with as many teenage girls as possible.

This level of discussion is just disgusting to me EJ. It would be one thing if it were true, but it isn't. You are free to have your opinion on the matter, but you've made statements that are just patently false.

Elder Joseph said...

tata

you said

"You have yet to concede that there is no reason to assume that the church is trying to cover up anything in its pictures."

The church pictures and sunday school articles really are misleading/deceptive.They have never shown or discussed him translating with his face in the hat and yet its certain that he did it this way or at least some of it ( or maybe most of it ).

I attended for two years virtually every week,I know what I was taught.(I missed about 3 weeks of church only when the fanatical ward mission Leader said I was insincere otherwise I would have got the Moroni answer by then ).He obviously was just a self pompous uneducated individual because Brigham Young took two years before his answer came and subsequent baptism and I had only done a year at that time.



Similarly the picture Of Joseph Smith alone in his bedroom with the Angel Moroni is equally deceptive because he shared his bed with two brothers and close by were his other 3 brothers in a shared bed.How did Moroni in a Bright Light talk with Joseph Smith all night without awakening being noticed by his brothers.

The church doesn't want anyone to ask that question as the real conclusion could be that it never happened as Joseph Smith and the church wants us to believe.

So Yes I believe they are knowingly and purposely not wanting us to know these things.( ie being deceptive ).

Who would convert if they knew all this and more and how many leave the church or struggle when they find out these things amongst all the other things as well?

I know what I was taught by my missionaries and I know what I discovered a few months later thanks to the Internet.I know by my own experience how the church operates to get converts and its misleading at best and dishonest at worst....



My conclusion comes from all the eye witness statements who were there at the time and even acted as scribes.

I only have Oliver Cowdery's description as published in D&C which calls the process using the Urim and Thummim. I don't believe he meant anything other than the seer stone as the seer stone was then reffered to as the Urim and Thummim in church publications.

So I am not conceding anything here yet ....

You said

"Another example is with the issue of the first vision and your assertion that Joseph never mentioned seeing God before 1938. I gave you a credible newspaper article from the 14 February 1931 issue of "The Reflector" which states quite clearly that people were very aware that Joseph had made claims to having seen God, "frequently and personally." You never conceded on this one."

I can't remember this one , are you sure ? I have kept all your emails so i'll look again unless it was on this blog ?



You said

"More recently, you've stated that that Joseph Smith was commanded to have sex with teenage girls or he would be killed by an angel. I think you know this isn't true, but you didn't concede when I called you on it."

He was commanded to marry them or an angel with a flaming sword would slay him ...If you check D&C 132 The law of this plural mariage was all about SEX otherwise why use the terms Virgins and Adultery

Read for yourself, especially verse62

D&C
60 Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.
61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse aanother, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
62 And if he have aten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.


you said
"You continue to paint a picture that the "old men" in the church have been commanded to go and have sex with as many teenage girls as possible."

They were not commanded to do it , they said they were commanded to do it or how else would they have ben able to marry and have sexual relationships with teen girls in old age ?

It doesn't matter whether it was for procreation only ,its still sexual relations that those young girls had to go through with very OLD men.


Orson Pratts wives , see how they seem to get younger as he got older ...

All information from www.familySearch.org


Orson PRATT - Ancestral File
Gender: M Birth/Christening: 19 Sep 1811 Hartford, Washington, New York

Marriages :

Sarah Marinda BATES Marriage: 4 Jul 1836 age 19 Orson Pratt aged 25

Charlatte BISHOP Marriage: 1844 age 31 Orson Pratt aged 33

Mary Ann MERRILL Marriage: 27 Mar 1845 age 26 Orson Pratt aged 34

Louisa CHANDLER Marriage: 1846 age 23 Orson Pratt aged 35

Adelia Ann BISHOP Marriage: 13 Jan 1846 age 30 Orson Pratt aged 35

Marian ROSS Marriage: 19 Feb 1852 age 23 Orson Pratt aged 41* age difference

Sarah Louisa LEWIS Marriage: 21 Jun 1853 age 22 Orson Pratt aged 42* age difference

Juliett Ann PHELPS Marriage: 14 Dec 1855 age 16 Orson Pratt aged 44* age difference

Eliza CROOKS Marriage: 24 Jul 1857 age 28 Orson Pratt aged 46* age difference

Margaret GRAHAM Marriage: 28 Dec 1868 age 16 Orson Pratt aged 57 * age difference

Children with 16 year old Margaret GRAHAM Orson Pratt aged 57 was conceiving at once with 16 year old Margaret Graham, first child born to her just 9 months later

1 Sex Name M Orlon Graham PRATT (AFN:1XDL-5J) Pedigree
Born: 14 Sep 1869 Place: Salt Lake City, S-Lk, Ut
Died: 5 Oct 1932 Place: El Cerriot, Ca
Buried: Place: Sunset Veiw Cem, Berkerley, Ca

you said
" This level of discussion is just disgusting to me EJ. It would be one thing if it were true, but it isn't. You are free to have your opinion on the matter, but you've made statements that are just patently false."

I know what you mean :) I feel the same way about what I have discovered in church history.

and my statements and not false as I don't recognise LDS polygamy as marriage or with any Gods authority let alone an express commandment.So its no different from the FLDS and their prophet Warren Jeffs.They too would find me or my comments 'disgusting' :(

Now please don't be mad at me.

Brother Zelph said...

Tata- Your sister is welcome to post if that is really how she feels. However, I have been called all kinds of things and sometimes I get the feeling that people are just trying to get a reaction like hitting a hornets nest with a stick and hiding. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference. Even though some comments seem inflammatory, for some reason they don't bother me too much, I just can't take them seriously. To strengthen your position, she might want to get some better arguments. Just sayin' :)

tatabug said...

EJ,

Sorry it's taken so long to respond. I've been busy.

I'm not mad at you. It isn't personal. I just have a really big problem with your comments. They are very negative and provocative, like you are looking for a fight, or looking to stir up contention. I just wish we could disagree without getting ugly about it. In the future, if you would like me to respond to you, then I must ask you to be more respectful.

EJ: The church pictures and sunday school articles really are misleading/deceptive.They have never shown or discussed him translating with his face in the hat and yet its certain that he did it this way or at least some of it ( or maybe most of it ).

Let's just stick with the pictures, since that was your original point of contention. You have yet to answer to me why there would be no pictures of the Urim and Thummim in any of the pictures used to depict the translation of the BOM plates. IMO, if this were truly an attempt to portray only what the church leaders want us to see, it seems there would be pictures of Joseph using the Urim and Thummim.

Regarding the Moroni picture to which you are referring to, as far as I remember, that picture does not show the whole bedroom, but only the corner where Joseph was in his bed.

The bottom line is that the church probably has very little involvement in the development of the pictures it uses. The only one I think they may have been involved in was the picture of the Savior that is used so frequently. In my understanding, it is basically left up to individual artists to portray events as they envision them, and with my limited understanding of art, it seems that they go for effect more than they go for detailed historical accuracy.

Regarding the First Vision, it was during our email correspondence that I sent you that newspaper article. The email was dated 10/30/07.

Regarding plural marriage, did you know that the term virgin has more than one meaning? Not having had sex is not the only meaning. It also means a woman who is unmarried, or an unmarried woman devoted to religion. But of course, sex is a natural part of being married, but I don't believe people (most) only get married for sex.

There is evidence to suggest that Joseph didn't have sex with all of his wives either, one of which is that there were so few children born to his wives.

Also, you never responded when I quoted Mark Twain earlier in one of my comments here. He too thought it was all about sex until he saw the women.

You need to realize that there is a lot more to marriage than having sex. Now there are perverts out there, I won't deny that, but I think most men would prefer not to take on the huge responsibility of taking care of numerous wives and children primarily for the sake of sex. Realistically speaking, just think of all the problems. Think of all the problems with just one wife, and then multiply that by however many.

You also didn't reply to my comment about Warren Snow.

Elder Joseph said...

tata

Just time to respond briefly for this Castration event, then will get back on the other things..

About the sex offender castrated by Bishop Warren Snow ?

I've read some FAIRS things and its possible that they are just articles to put doubt and alternative even if untrue possiblities , a bit like suggesting Tapirs for horses , they are good at that kind of thing.

If Brigham Young's brother of the 70's really was incenced by it all and Brigham dissaproved then did anyone excommunicate the Bishop Warren Snow or not ?

and if they didn't what does that really say about it ?

Cutting off a mans testicles is serious .I've not seen a precedent for that kind of violence in the early New testament church or behaviour anything like.

And I would like to ask was the young girl who Warren Snow wanted associated with the young victim Lewis ? was she courting him ?

And did she end up maryying Warren Snow ?

what might I find when I dig deeper ?

When I have time I will look into it more.

Elder Joseph said...

EJ,

Tata your comments inside “ … “

”Sorry it's taken so long to respond. I've been busy.”

Its ok... You haven’t done anything which needs an apology. I'm very grateful that you challenge me,though I've not been seen to concede, you have made some points which have been valid.

Before you read this post let me assure you that I don't delight in pitching against you,in fact I feel awful many times and wonder if I'm doing the wrong thing and should just let things be.I like Mormons as a club of sincere believers ,thats the agonising part :)
I spent two years with you here in my ward and its quite sad in a way that I've ended up objecting to it all and am being seen as an 'anti' as I really don't want to be.I just don't know what the end game will be for me.I'm certain Joseph Smith is a fraud . I wish that controversial history was not there (though it would mean I probably would have converted ) as its now costing me church member friends/associations and the break up of a very close Mormon friend for the same things I've been posting to you.

I've been praying and 'repenting' that I asked so many deep things from them :(

I promised my close friend that I would never do it again and hope she is still in church and that I admire that part about her very much. I've had to plead her for forgiveness and I fear that it won't come.

I now wish I had just kept quite.Her reluctance (current refusal) to communicate with me is a terrible trial for me.


”I'm not mad at you. It isn't personal. I just have a really big problem with your comments. They are very negative and provocative, like you are looking for a fight, or looking to stir up contention. I just wish we could disagree without getting ugly about it. In the future, if you would like me to respond to you, then I must ask you to be more respectful.”

Ok………. Its just the way it comes across and my limited command of the English Language …. I’m sorry ….

” You have yet to answer to me why there would be no pictures of the Urim and Thummim in any of the pictures used to depict the translation of the BOM plates.”

I think the reason for this is that no one really knows what the Urim and Thummim looked like and that’s surprising considering there were supposed to be three witnesses to this .I would have thought they would have given great talks and interviews on the marvel of seeing such a thing , but the reality is very scant or nil detail from them .If I had witnessed an Urimm and Thummim and Angels etc then I'm certain I would be shouting to the hill tops about what I witnessed and give detailed descriptions .

I think we only have what others have heard Joseph Smith say about the Urim and Thummim.Oliver Cowdery was supposed to have tried translating the Book Of Mormon as we have discussed before and yet he never described exactly how and what the Urim and Thummim were or looked like .I suspect this is because he simply put his face in the hat as Joseph was doing and saw nothing or he was‘in’ on the whole thing and didn't want to let on about the hat and stone!


”Regarding the Moroni picture to which you are referring to, as far as I remember, that picture does not show the whole bedroom, but only the corner where Joseph was in his bed.”

Yes but it shows Joseph with a bed to himself ( a single one ) see the bed post bottom left which shows it as only a narrow single bed. The artist may not have known himself that there were two brothers in the same bed and three others in the next one , probably because no one knew or would let on ...and the church would rather we didn't know IMO as it raises the question like

Why weren't the brothers awakened at Moroni's all night visit , voice and bright light in the room ?

Was it a literal event or just a dream ?

”The bottom line is that the church probably has very little involvement in the development of the pictures it uses. The only one I think they may have been involved in was the picture of the Savior that is used so frequently. In my understanding, it is basically left up to individual artists to portray events as they envision them, and with my limited understanding of art, it seems that they go for effect more than they go for detailed historical accuracy.”

The church is responsible for what they portray to ordinary members information wise and to those who do the illustrations.Though If I was a member and wanted to earn a living in LDS art then I wouldn’t show the crowded bedroom or the face in the hat either. The reality just doesn’t look or feel right .

”Regarding the First Vision, it was during our email correspondence that I sent you that newspaper article. The email was dated 10/30/07.”

I’ll take a look at this very soon separately and see what we were discussing about it .I have all your emails saved ….


”Regarding plural marriage, did you know that the term virgin has more than one meaning? Not having had sex is not the only meaning. It also means a woman who is unmarried, or an unmarried woman devoted to religion. But of course, sex is a natural part of being married, but I don't believe people (most) only get married for sex.”

Not sure I trust your widening definition of virgin !?!?!? But anyway that doesn’t cover Joseph Smith marrying already married women and breaking his own D&C scripture at verse 63.They should have been destroyed according to that D&C verse.

D&C 132:62-63

62 And if he have aten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.
63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, SHALL BE WITH ANOTHER MAN, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to amultiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be bglorified.


“There is evidence to suggest that Joseph didn't have sex with all of his wives either, one of which is that there were so few children born to his wives.”

I’m not sure this is of importance as the D&C already sets the stage for the purpose of polygamy to multiply etc , so sex is a part of these marriages … and I’m not aware of any children born to his polygamous wives , so that’s new to me that you think he may have some children from them ?

“Also, you never responded when I quoted Mark Twain earlier in one of my comments here. He too thought it was all about sex until he saw the women.”

I don’t actually believe it was all about sex .I think they just made a massive doctrinal blunder deep in their deluded EGO trips as ‘Gods in the making’ which IMO is another theological blunder and this is what you get under all the arrogance that kind of thinking created…… Never the less they were picking and marrying teen girls as young as 16 ( possibly younger) when in their very old ages and conceiving with them.Its still sex .And if you will forgive me and my sinful momentary carnal lapse , I can understand why they preferred the young ones as they got older , especially if they were going to conceive....


”You need to realize that there is a lot more to marriage than having sex. Now there are perverts out there, I won't deny that, but I think most men would prefer not to take on the huge responsibility of taking care of numerous wives and children primarily for the sake of sex. Realistically speaking, just think of all the problems. Think of all the problems with just one wife, and then multiply that by however many.”

I agree with you , however when you are ruling over those wives and they are subject to the commands of God through the Priesthood Holder Husband then it becomes a different scenario .I don’t believe they had a normal marriage as we would associate with couples now .They had to Obey .It was even a temple oath for them to Obey their husband.I think that’s been softened now.They were told that if they didn’t accept polygamy then they would end up in a lesser kingdom.I've seen this threat somewhere ( probably JOD).

And really how can these even be marriages in the normal sense when those women were ‘called’ into them ! The woman generally complained and suffered under polygamy as evidenced by the statements and eternal welfare threats made to them in JOD’s .

What makes me very uneasy is that the church prefers to have their memories blotted out for the sake of PR and Marketing the faith.

I have lots of church DVD's and priesthood manuals and they portray the polygamist Leaders as monogomists.

How would Wilford Woodruff feel about having lots of his wives and children excluded from church books ?

tatabug said...

EJ,

I truly appreciate your last comment. It had a much kinder, gentler tone. It means a great deal to me that you expressed the difficulty you face in your decision to oppose the church, and that you don't delight in it.

I'm sorry for the loss of friendships that you've had to suffer, and I'm sure your motivations for sharing your knowledge and understanding with others were sincere and not meant to be malicious. But I'm sure that isn't how it comes across to those members whom you've tried to inform. For those who are firm in their testimonies though not well informed about the controversies, it can be taken very personally and it can be very distressing for different reasons. If you value those friendships, I suggest you back off. If you try to push it, it would be similar to them trying to push their beliefs on you even after you've made clear you don't accept them.

"Ok………. Its just the way it comes across and my limited command of the English Language …. I’m sorry …."

Well, you've done quite well this time, so I know you are capable.

"I think we only have what others have heard Joseph Smith say about the Urim and Thummim. Oliver Cowdery was supposed to have tried translating the Book Of Mormon as we have discussed before and yet he never described exactly how and what the Urim and Thummim were or looked like ."

There have been descriptions given by Lucy Mack Smith, William Smith, and Joseph himself. Lucy and William claim to have seen the Urim and Thummim themselves, and relate their experience, not what Joseph told them, unless you want to suggest that they are lying.

I'm not suprised that there hasn't been more information from Oliver because he seemed to always be very hesitant to get into much detail when it came to the translation process, perhaps because he knew as well as Joseph that the particulars of translation were not to be revealed to the world.

"Why weren't the brothers awakened at Moroni's all night visit , voice and bright light in the room ?"

I don't know for sure, but I believe it is possible that the brothers could have been prevented from waking up through the power of God.

"Not sure I trust your widening definition of virgin !?!?!?"

Sorry. Check it out in a dictionary if you don't believe me.

"But anyway that doesn’t cover Joseph Smith marrying already married women and breaking his own D&C scripture at verse 63."

Notice that the scripture says "be with another man." I think that one strictly relates to having sexual relations. What it basically says to me is that if a woman is married and has sex with another man, she has committed adultery. From what I understand, there is evidence to suggest that in all probability, Joseph did not have sexual relations with any of the women he married who were already married, though its possible that I'm wrong.

"I’m not sure this is of importance as the D&C already sets the stage for the purpose of polygamy to multiply etc , so sex is a part of these marriages … and I’m not aware of any children born to his polygamous wives , so that’s new to me that you think he may have some children from them ?"

I'm not saying that sex wasn't a part of it, I'm just saying that sex wasn't a part of all of the marriages, at least in the case of Joseph, and even the wives he married who were very young, there is evidence to suggest that he didn't have sex with them at least until they were older. And yes, if memory serves, there was at least one child born to one of Joseph's plural wives, and perhaps maybe a few more, though not many at all as I recall.

"I think they just made a massive doctrinal blunder deep in their deluded EGO trips as ‘Gods in the making’ which IMO is another theological blunder and this is what you get under all the arrogance that kind of thinking created…… "

Spoken with a true lack of understanding about what the doctrine is or what it means to an individual. It is not a doctrine which creates arrogance, but creates quite the opposite effect. I truly wish you had the ability to understand the doctrine. You speak of how you feel so at home among the members of the church, and that if it weren't for the history of the church, you would probably be a member. Well, the members you love so much believe likely understand the doctrine of godhood, but do you think that makes them arrogant?

"I don’t believe they had a normal marriage as we would associate with couples now .They had to Obey .It was even a temple oath for them to Obey their husband.I think that’s been softened now.They were told that if they didn’t accept polygamy then they would end up in a lesser kingdom.I've seen this threat somewhere ( probably JOD)."

It's still a part of the temple covenant. I don't know that it has softened any.

As I recall, the men were also warned that if they didn't accept polygamy (which many didn't), they would inherit a lesser kingdom as well. The church has always taught that exhaltation is only possible if a man and woman are sealed together. Neither can acheive exhaltation without the other.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

Ok I found the lucy Mack Smith quote from her journal where she says she saw the Urim and Thummim ( two smooth three-cornered diamonds set in glass, and the glasses were set in silver bows, ) and breastplate wrapped in a thin muslin handkerchief....

I couldn't find a source yet for Wiliam Smith seeing the Urim and Thummim but found this quote attributed to him when speaking of the translation method:

"The manner in which this was done was by looking into the Urim and Thummim, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light, (the plates lying near by covered up), and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone by the power of God"
("A New Witness for Christ in America," Francis W. Kirkham,
2:417.)

what puzzles me is he speaks of the Urim and Thummim and then says " and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone " STONE singular ??

This type of loose interchange between Urim and Thummim and Seer Stone seems to indicate that the Seer Stone became the Urim and Thummim with no attempt to distinguish between the two. I believe this is the same for Oliver Cowdery's use of Urim and Thummim in D&C.

If Joseph Smith put a sausage in his hat then that too would have been referred to as the Urim and Thummim :)

I don't know what to think of Lucy Mack Smiths account ? Its strange why the breastplate was wrapped. Could it have been a prop of sort from Joseph if she really did hold something ?

Would he go as far as to dupe his family with home made props if he was a con man ? I believe so.Thats the nature of con men.
Mark Hoffman duped and used his wife with his mormon antiquity forgeries.

Lucy claims she saw two smooth three-cornered diamonds set in glass, and the glasses were set in silver bows,!

Did they ever get used,did he put them in the hat ?

What puzzles me is all these eye witness accounts which follow : What does this first account from Joseph knight actually tell us about ?
is it really the 'seer stone' or is it the intricate' two smooth three-cornered diamonds set in glass, and the glasses were set in silver bows' ?


"Now the way he translated was he put the urim and thummim into his hat and Darkned his Eyes than he would take a sentance and it would apper in Brite Roman Letters. Then he would tell the writer and he would write it. Then that would go away the next sentance would Come and so on. But if it was not Spelt
rite it would not go away till it was rite, so we see it was marvelous. Thus was the hol [whole] translated."---Joseph Knight's journal.


"In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the
stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us."
(History of the RLDS Church, 8 vols. (Independence, Missouri: Herald House,
1951), "Last Testimony of Sister Emma [Smith Bidamon]," 3:356.


"I, as well as all of my father's family, Smith's wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the
translation. . . . He [Joseph Smith] did not use the plates in translation."
(David Whitmer, as published in the "Kansas City Journal," June 5, 1881, and reprinted in the RLDS "Journal of History", vol. 8, (1910), pp. 299-300.


In an 1885 interview, Zenas H. Gurley, then the editor of the RLDS Saints Herald, asked Whitmer if Joseph had used his "Peep stone" to do the translation. Whitmer replied:
"... he used a stone called a "Seers stone,"the "Interpreters" having been taken away from him because of transgression. The "Interpreters" were taken
from Joseph after he allowed Martin Harris to carry away the 116 pages of Ms [manuscript] of the Book of Mormon as a punishment, but he was allowed to go on
and translate by use of a "Seers stone" which he had, and which he placed in a hat into which he buried his face, stating to me and others that the original character appeared upon parchment and under it the translation in English."


"Martin Harris related an incident that occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone,
Martin explained the translation as follows: By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin and
when finished he would say 'Written,' and if correctly written that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used."
(Edward Stevenson, "One of the Three Witnesses," reprinted from Deseret News,
30 Nov. 1881 in Millennial Star, 44 (6 Feb. 1882): 86-87.)


In 1879, Michael Morse, Emma Smith's brother-in-law, stated: "When Joseph was
translating the Book of Mormon [I] had occasion more than once to go into his immediate presence, and saw him engaged at his work of translation. The mode of
procedure consisted in Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting
his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating word after word, while the scribes Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other wrote it down."
(W.W. Blair interview with Michael Morse, Saints Herald, vol. 26, no. 12 (June
15, 1879), pp. 190-91.)


Joseph Smith's brother William also testified to the "face in the hat" version:
"The manner in which this was done was by looking into the Urim and Thummim, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light, (the plates lying near by covered up), and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone by
the power of God" ("A New Witness for Christ in America," Francis W. Kirkham,
2:417.)


"The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret was the same manner as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, while the book
of plates were at the same time hid in the woods."---Isaac Hale (Emma Smith's
father's) affidavit, 1834.


LDS scholar Stephen Ricks concurred with these witnesses' "seer stone" version
of the "translation":


"According to most accounts, the seer stone was used during all stages of the translation of the Book of Mormon, both before and after the loss of the first
116 manuscript pages. Edward Stevenson reported that Martin Harris (who served as Joseph's scribe between April and June of 1828) testified to him that "the
Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he used the seer stone."
("The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon")


And the modern LDS apostle Russell M. Nelson also admitted to the "seer stone in the hat" version of the "translation":


"The details of this miraculous method of translation are still not fully known. Yet we do have a few precious insights. David Whitmer wrote:
'Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness
the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would
appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when
it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would
appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.' ” (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers
in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887.)
---"A Treasured Testament," By Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Adapted from an address given 25 June 1992 at a seminar for new mission presidents, Missionary Training Center,
Provo, Utah.

and POLYGAMY :( :(

Again ....about polygamy and how the women were threatened that if they didn't accept this they would end up in a lesser kingdom .

What kind of a command is this where teen girls have to marry these old leaders ?

Its pretty gruesome and I can't accept this is what Jesus wanted from those girls and can't see any reason/justification for it .I have read how the early leaders concluded and taught that God was a polygamist and so they must be as well and made one big tragic blunder with dire consequences ( similar to the teaching of less valiant negroes and banning them from the priesthood and temple).

Two huge doctrinal U turns which when you read what they taught at the pulpit, would seem impossible.

From what I have seen those leaders participating in polygamy were not having any real difficulty with it but very adamant that it will continue come what may on them with no reservation or request to God to release them from the so called 'burden' , though I think those women involved would have prayed for its demise and the JOD's do indicate they hated it and that why they were being chastised over it through the sermons......

In contrast the LDS leaders bragged about the polygamy and how wonderful it was and kept them young and sprightly whilst monogomists looked old and wrinkled.....

Polygamy is one thing but being able to call(command) whoever you wanted to be your wife is quite sinister and I'm not suprised they were choosing the young teens.The age gaps are very disturbing.

Have you seen the pics Warren Jeffs kissing his child brides on the Internet ? Its harrowing and sinister and thats the reality of how I see the early LDS leaders behaviour as far as polygamy goes.

Exhaltation ? Thats another controversial teaching!

tatabug said...

EJ,

Here's what William has said regarding the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate in an interview. The source of the information is "Smith, William P. Interview by J.W. Peterson and W.S. Pender. The Rod of Iron 1, no. 3 (February 1924): 7."

"Among other things we inquired minutely about the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate. We asked him what was meant by the expression "two rims of a bow," which held the former. He said a double silver bow was twisted into the shape of the figure eight, and the two stones were placed literally between the two rims of a bow. At one end was attached a rod which was connected with the outer edge of the right shoulder of the breast-plate. By pressing the head a little forward, the rod held the Urim and Thummim before the eyes much like a pair of spectacles. A pocket was prepared in the breastplate on the left side, immediately over the heart. When not in use the Urim and Thummim was placed in this pocket, the rod being of just the right length to allow it to be so deposited. This instrument could, however, be detached from the breastplate and his brother said Joseph often wore it detached when away from home, but always used it in connection with the breastplate when receiving official communications, and usually so when translating as it permitted him to have both hands free to hold the plates."

"Further, regarding the use of a hat in translation, Joseph's brother William Smith explained that the Prophet used the Urim and Thummim attached to the breastplate by a rod that held the seer stones set in the rims of a bow before his eyes. 'The instrument caused a strain on Joseph's eyes, and he sometimes resorted to covering his eyes with a hat to exclude the light in part."


I have more to say in response to your comment, but I've got to go for now.

tatabug said...

EJ,

You said:

"Would he go as far as to dupe his family with home made props if he was a con man ? I believe so.Thats the nature of con men."

Okay, let's suppose that the breastplate was a prop. That would mean the gold plates were also a prop.

Let's examine that shall we? So Joseph Smith, the con man, fashioned a set of plates, gold ones at that. That must have seemed very strange back in the 1830's because such a thing as ancient writings on metal plates wasn't heard of, and would've been a ludicrous thought. No, Joseph didn't fabricate a book that was actually made of something more believable, but out of metal plates. I'm curious to know where he got all of that gold, or some sort of metal that looked like gold.

Then, amazingly enough, he showed them to the 8 witnesses who actually touched them, testified of their truthfulness, and maintained their testimonies even though some of them became disaffected with Joseph Smith or with the church, and suffered great persecution because of their witness. They made no money and gained no power, yet they insisted on the truthfulness of it, even on their deathbed. Few frauds could achieve such dedication. Surely if the Book of Mormon were a forgery, fabricated out of thin air rather than translated from ancient metal plates, surely Joseph would have kept the secret to himself. Joseph was very bold indeed (or very stupid) to trust 11 witnesses with his fraud, knowing that if even one of them spilled the beans, it would all be over with. Amazingly enough, even after many had become disaffected, none of them ever even came close to denying their testimonies.

On top of that, Joseph was even stupid enough to say that the Book of Mormon was written in Reformed Egyptian. He actually expected that people would believe a book, written by Jews, would be written in Reformed Egyptian rather than in Hebrew. Who would ever believe that?

Critics would have us believe that Joseph was a very clever con man, but yet he did so many things which are completely out of character with true con men. It seems that if he were a true con man, he would've at least try to make it look believable, and then keep a tight lid on his scheme, rather than involve numerous people in the details.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

JS could very well have been a great con man. You actually argue for that point yourself. He would be stupid to trust people (outside his immediate family) with his con, so he had to dupe them too.

It is not unusual to create brass plates that resemble gold, but they could have been tin for all we know since no one ever saw them with natural eyes.

You keep forgetting that point.

Having 11 people sign their name to something written by JS is hardly a testimony. I want to hear their own words and see if they corroborate...actually we have heard many of their own words and guess what? They don't corroborate.

No surprise there. That is what you get when a con man convinces you that you saw a vision. Since you didn't really see anything, it is easy for your story to change.

The reformed Egyptian was just an attempt to conjure up a language no one could translate or refute since no one had heard of it...because it never existed.

No, all the ingredients for a great con exist here. Don't you wonder why so many generations have passed since JS with no new revelation? The inspiration to build a $2B mall is not what I consider revelation.

Let's face it. There is no such thing as continuing revelation. The LDS church just uses that phony premise to practice revisionist history...its embarrassing.

tatabug said...

BR,

You either missed my point entirely or you just chose to ignore it.

That is, that Joseph behaved so uncharacteristically like a con man in his efforts to involve others in so many of the details of his "deception." That is NOT what con men do. He didn't have to allow others to see the plates or have them provide testimony of it.

And no, I didn't forget the part about seeing with their "natural eyes." But you are wrong. The eight witnesses saw the plates and physically touched them--no vision. Also, Emma saw them, or at least touched them and held them while they were covered. She had lifted them and she had also been able to detect the metallic rustling of the leaves as she thumbed them. Also, Mary Whitmer was visited by an angel in the barn who showed her the plates, turning over each leaf. This was not described as a vision. Martin Harris also held them on his knees on a separate occasion for more than an hour. Others saw them as well.

If the plates were just a prop, how did Joseph manage to not only make them, but fashion them in such a way that they were described as having a curious workmanship, which included the engraved characters as well? "Curious" at that time did not mean strange, but rather meaning skillfully constructed. The eight witnessed testified that they handled as many of the leaves of the plates as Joseph translated. That's an awful lot of pages to not only make, but to also engrave in a relatively short period of time, and nobody saw him doing all that work? Strange. Is there any evidence that Joseph had the skills to work metal, or even the means to obtain it and the tools needed to construct them?

I would be curious to know what you consider to be not corroborative about the witness' words. I would say that they might have differences of opinion when it came to small particulars or other larger issues outside of their witness of the Book of Mormon, but I would say that if they all maintained that they saw what they saw, and that the work was of God, then their stories would corroborate on the essential elements of this issue.

I realize that you completely discount the whole notion of the 3 witness' account since they were supposedly in a vision or trance, but how did Joseph manage to get all three of those men to envision the exact same things...and then stand by what they saw to their deathbed in spite of all they suffered as a result of remaining true to their witness? They could've even elected to say nothing, or something entirely different, but instead they were eager to leave their testimonies as part of their final words to the world. What had they to gain at that point? Interestingly, a year after Martin Harris was excommunicated he "bore testimony of its (Book of Mormon) truth and said all would be damned that rejected it." He could've simply affirmed his testimony without adding the part about those who reject it would be damned.

Here is an example of some of the persecution suffered by the witnesses of the Book of Mormon:

"David [Whitmer] occasionally alluded to an ultimatum that he received from many armed men to force him to repudiate his testimony. This incident happened in 1833 at Independence, Missouri. This story was recorded from John P. Green a convert of New York

When the mob again assembled they went to the houses of several of the leading Mormons. And taking Isaac Morley, David Withmer, and others, they told them to bid their families farewell, for they would never see them again. Then driving them at the point of the bayonet to the public square, they stripped and tarred and feathered them, amidst menaces and insults. The commanding officer then called twelve of his men. And ordering them to cock their guns and present them at the prisoners' breasts, and to be ready to fire when he gave the word, he addressed the prisoners, threatening them with instant death unless they denied the Book of Mormon and confessed it to be a fraud; at the same time adding that if they did so, they might enjoy the privileges of citizens. David Whitmer, hereupon, lifted up his hands and bore witness that the Book of Mormon was the Word of God. The mob then let them go."


You said:

"The reformed Egyptian was just an attempt to conjure up a language no one could translate or refute since no one had heard of it...because it never existed."

That isn't true. Charles Anthon called it "shorthand Egyptian." From a FARMS article:

"Shortly afterwards, in 1831 W. W. Phelps wrote a letter in which he reported that Anthon had translated the Book of Mormon characters and declared them to be "the ancient shorthand Egyptian." This is a most telling clue, for where else, except from Anthon, would Harris and hence Phelps have gotten this precise phrase, the phrase shorthand Egyptian? It was not part of Harris's environment or education. Indeed, the phrase is so singular that it appears only this one time in LDS history.

On the other hand, this precise term was known to scholars, Anthon included. In 1824, Champollion had used an equivalent term, "tachygraphie," in his landmark Préçis du système hieroglyphique des anciens Égyptiens (a copy of which Anthon owned), to describe hieratic Egyptian script. In June 1827, this book was reviewed in the American Quarterly Review, calling hieratic Egyptian script "short-hand" Egyptian. Anthon knew this review: He owned a copy and he cited it in his Classical Dictionary. Anthon would have read this review only months before Harris's visit.

Thus it becomes highly probable that Phelps indeed heard this peculiar phrase from Harris, who in turn got it from Anthon, the only person involved who was likely to have known it. Anthon probably mentioned shorthand Egyptian because he was struck by certain obvious similarities in the transcript to hieratic or demotic Egyptian."

No, I don't wonder why so many generations have passed with no new revelation. I simply don't see it that way because I believe that there have been revelations, which you quickly dismiss.

Bishop Rick said...

"If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to ‘separate myself from among the Latter-day Saints, for as they sought to do unto me, so should it be done unto them.’ In the spring of 1838, the heads of the church and many of the members had gone deep into error and blindness. I had been striving with them for a long time to show them the errors into which they were drifting, and for my labors I received only persecutions." (Address to All Believers in Christ: Whitmer, 27.)

Brigham Young said, "Some of the Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who handled the plates and conversed with the angels of God, were afterwards left to doubt and to disbelieve that they had ever seen an angel." (Journal of Discourses, Vol 7, page 164, 1859, Brigham Young.)

Quote from Charles Anthon:

"'The whole story about my pronouncing the Mormon inscription to be reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics is perfectly false. Some years ago, a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer called on me with a note from Dr. Mitchell, of our city, now dead, requesting me to decipher, if possible, the paper which the farmer would hand me. Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to the conclusion that it was all a trick—perhaps a hoax.... I have frequently conversed with friends on the subject since the Mormon excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained anything else but Egyptian hieroglyphics."

Elder Joseph said...

tata

you said

" Here's what William has said regarding the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate in an interview. The source of the information is "Smith, William P. Interview by J.W. Peterson and W.S. Pender. The Rod of Iron 1, no. 3 (February 1924): 7."


It seems that William was not an eye witness to the U&T or Breastplate but instead just recalling what Joseph Smith told him about the U&T.

The clue is in his words : quote

" "Among other things WE inquired minutely about the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate. WE asked him what was meant by the expression "two rims of a bow," which held the former. HE SAID a double silver bow was twisted into the shape of the figure eight,"

This is not an eye witness account but William just recalling what Joseph Smith told him.

you said

"Let's examine that shall we? So Joseph Smith, the con man, fashioned a set of plates, gold ones at that. "

I understand that those who felt something of plates was always when they were covered up.Emma said she moved them sometimes to clean up , they were covered.

Those eye witness accounts you claim from the 11 witnesses are not convincing as Martin Harriss said that no one of the three saw the plates with their physical eyes,it was some kind of spiritual second sight.

David Whitmer also after describing how he handled them said that non of the three touched the real metal.Once again some kind of spiritual second sight experience.

Than again Martin Hariss testfied publicly that neither did the other 8 handle the plates physically.

This even caused some Apostles to quit !

I thought apostles were supposed to be Special Witnesses of Christ , yet these seem to be hinging their belief on the accounts of the BofM witnesses and seemed shocked to hear what Martin Harriss revealed.

I can give you sources for this info if you like.

As far as the reliability of these so called witnesses is concerned .What about James strang who led the initial RLDS he found gold plates and hey presto had witnesses also who handled them ! :)

T E S T I M O N Y .

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, to whom this Book of the Law of the Lord shall come, that James J. Strang has the plates of the ancient Book of the Law of the Lord given to Moses, from which he translated this law, and has shown them to us. We examined them with our eyes, and handled them with our hands. The engravings are beautiful antique workmanship, bearing a striking resemblance to the ancient oriental languages; and those from which the laws in this book were translated are eighteen in number, about seven inches and three-eights wide, by nine inches long, occasionally embellished with beautiful pictures.

And we testify unto you all that the everlasting kingdom of God is established, in which this law shall be kept, till it brings in rest and everlasting righteousness to all the faithful.

SAMUEL GRAHAM,
SAMUEL P. BACON,
WARREN POST,
PHINEAS WRIGHT,
ALBERT N. HOSMER,
EBENEZER PAGE,
JEHIEL SAVAGE.


And all the living Book Of Mormon witnesses including Emma and Lucy Mack , Wiliam etc joined James Strangs church( except Oliver Cowdery).

It shows how these men could be easily swayed by any type of self appointed prophet Leader.

Martin Hariss even became a member of Strangs High Council .In fact Martin Hariss seemed to sign his witness to anything .He even testified of the Shaker Ann Lee's Book ..... quote from an article I found ...

....Harris declared repeatedly that he had as much evidence for a Shaker book he had as for the Book of Mormon. (The Braden and Kelly Debate, page 173)

There is a Mormon source which indicates that Martin Harris even claimed to have a greater testimony to the Shakers than to the Book of Mormon. In a thesis written at Brigham Young University, Wayne Cutler Gunnell stated that on December 31, 1844, "Phineas H. Young [Brigham Young's brother] and other leaders of the Kirtland organization" wrote a letter to Brigham Young in which they stated:

There are in this place all kinds of teaching; Martin Harris is a firm believer in Shakerism, says his testimony is greater than it was of the Book of Mormon. ("Martin Harris - Witness and Benefactor to the Book of Mormon," 1955, page 52)....

Joseph Smith only had three witness who claimed to see an angel. The Shakers, however, had a large number of witnesses who claimed they saw angels and the book. There are over a hundred pages of testimony from "Living Witnesses."

It seems that this kind of thing was an epidemic at the time .

Just one final point , there are no physical signatures of the BofM witnesses.It seems likely to me that Joseph Smith wrote out the text and just assigned their names to it with their consent .

tatabug said...

EJ,

You said, "It seems that William was not an eye witness to the U&T or Breastplate but instead just recalling what Joseph Smith told him about the U&T.

The clue is in his words : quote

" "Among other things WE inquired minutely about the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate. WE asked him what was meant by the expression "two rims of a bow," which held the former. HE SAID a double silver bow was twisted into the shape of the figure eight,"

This is not an eye witness account but William just recalling what Joseph Smith told him."


I'm not sure how you come to that conclusion. The WE in the quote is referring to J.W. Peterson and W.S. Pender. The HE is referring to William Smith. The interviewers, Peterson and Pender, were asking William Smith what was meant by the phrase "two rims of a bow." William's response in no way indicates that the description is only second-hand knowledge. The phrase "two rims of a bow" originated with Joseph, which the interviewers were probably aware of, and is probably the reason the question was asked, and William's description of what the phrase meant does not reflect any statements that I've ever seen given by Joseph. The quote does not give any indication that William gave the description of the Urim and Thummim as looking like "two rims of a bow." Thus, you are only left to conclude, without evidence, that he is only repeating what Joseph told him.

You also said, "Those eye witness accounts you claim from the 11 witnesses are not convincing as Martin Harriss said that no one of the three saw the plates with their physical eyes,it was some kind of spiritual second sight."

How are the testimonies of the 11 witnesses not convincing since the three witnesses only had a spiritual view of the plates? I don't get how you make that connection. In fact, to me, it seems likely that it would be more convincing. First, you have the 8 who saw AND handled the plates (no, they were not covered), then, in case someone wants to suggest that Joseph just fabricated the plates, you have the three witness who had the plates revealed to them by an angel.

You said, "Than again Martin Hariss testfied publicly that neither did the other 8 handle the plates physically."

I haven't heard this one. Please share the quote and the source of this information.

Regarding Martin Harris, below are some quotes from him and others:

On one occasion several of his old acquaintances made an effort to get him [Martin Harris] tipsy by treating him to some wine. When they thought he was in a good mood for talk they put the question very carefully to him, ‘Well, now, Martin, we want you to be frank and candid with us in regard to this story of your seeing an angel and the golden plates of the Book of Mormon that are so much talked about. We have always taken you to be an honest good farmer and neighbor of ours but could not believe that you did see an angel. Now, Martin, do you really believe that you did see an angel, when you were awake?’ ‘No,’ said Martin, ‘I do not believe it.’ The crowd were delighted, but soon a different feeling prevailed, as Martin true to his trust, said, ‘Gentlemen, what I have said is true, from the fact that my belief is swallowed up in knowledge; for I want to say to you that as the Lord lives I do know that I stood with the Prophet Joseph Smith in the presence of the angel, and it was the brightness of day.”

Marin Harris, questioned by George Godfrey:

"A few hours before his death and when he was so weak and enfeebled that he was unable to recognize me or anyone, and knew not to whom he was speaking, I asked him if he did not feel that there was an element at least, of fraudulence and deception in the things that were written and told of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and he replied as he had always done so many, many times in my hearing the same spirit he always manifested when enjoying health and vigor and said: ‘The Book of Mormon is no fake. I know what I know. I have seen what I have seen and I have heard what I have heard. I have seen the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon is written. An angel appeared to me and others and testified to the truthfulness of the record, and had I been willing to have perjured myself and sworn falsely to the testimony I now bear I could have been a rich man, but I could not have testified other than I have done and am now doing for these things are true.”

So if Martin truly believed in Shakerism more so than he believed in the Book of Mormon, why did he not take the opportunity on his death bed to testify to it rather than the Book of Mormon?

So does "visionary" mean "imaginary"? Just because someone claims to have seen a vision doesn't mean that it wasn't real. If you want to discount all visions, including those in the Bible, that's fine. You don't have to believe in visions.

Martin Harris: "Gentlemen, do you see that hand? Are you sure you see it? Are your eyes playing a trick or something? No. Well, as sure as you see my hand so sure did I see the angel and the plates."

David Whitmer helps clear up the “spiritual” vs. “natural” viewing of the plates. Responding to the interviewer who questioned Harris, Whitmer replied,

"Of course we were in the spirit when we had the view, for no man can behold the face of an angel, except in a spiritual view, but we were in the body also, and everything was as natural to us, as it is at any time."

The spiritual state that the three witnesses have described is very likely the state of transfiguration. This allows men the ability to withstand the presence of God and angels.

You also said, "Just one final point , there are no physical signatures of the BofM witnesses.It seems likely to me that Joseph Smith wrote out the text and just assigned their names to it with their consent ."

Have you checked to see if there is an original document to determine if the witnesses in fact didn't sign their names to it? Suppose that they didn't. It seems that if they didn't intend for their names to be assigned to those statements then they would have made statements to that effect, and yet I have not seen any evidence of that.

I just don't know much about James Strang and all that. I would be curious to know if there is any evidence that these witnesses maintained their testimonies throughout their lives and even to their deathbed.

Here is something I was able to find out from Wikipedia:

"Some have insisted that the Voree Plates were forged by Strang. Isaac Scott, an ex-Strangite, claimed that Caleb Barnes, Strang's former law partner, said that he and Strang had fabricated them from a tea kettle belonging to Strang's father-in-law, as part of a land speculation scheme they had hatched.

According to Scott, Barnes and Strang "made the 'plates' out of Ben [Perce]’s old kettle and engraved them with an old saw file, and...when completed they put acid on them to corrode them and give them an ancient appearance; and that to deposit them under the tree, where they were found, they took a large auger...which Ben [Perce] owned, put a fork handle on the auger and with it bored a long slanting hole under a tree on 'The Hill of Promise,' as they called it, laying the earth in a trail on a cloth as taken out, then put the 'plates' in, tamping in all the earth again, leaving no trace of their work visible.”

...The Voree Plates seem to be definitely written in an unknown alphabet. James Strang authored a personal diary during his youth, parts of which were written in a secret code which was not deciphered until over one-hundred years later (ironically, by Strang's own grandson). Comparison of the script used in the coded portions of Strang's diary and the script used on the Voree Plates shows remarkable similarities between the two."

I thought it was rather funny that there were only three plates and all that was translated amounted to about 18 sentences, some of which were very short.

Also, in Strang's alleged "Letter of Appointment," which was supposed to be Joseph Smith's appointment of Strang as his successor, modern analysts have asserted that Joseph Smith's signature is a forgery.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

The witnesses did NOT claim the BoM was true til their deathbed as you continue to state. You just choose to ignore all evidence that proves otherwise, including the BY quote I provided.

Regarding Strang, where do you think he came up with the idea to con people with phony plates? Everything mirrored JS's story. It stands to reason the phony plates mirrored him as well.

Reading those Q&A sessions you mention with Harris being tipsy reminds me of all the places in the BoM where Nephi, Alma, and others know exactly what is being said in Lamanite camps as if they were there themselves. Fact is they weren't. Only a narrator (JS) would know everything spoken on both sides of a conflict.

It is just a story. It is SOOO FRIGGIN OBVIOUS.

tatabug said...

BR,

Okay, let's suppose that the statement by BY is correct in that the witnesses began to doubt that they saw an angel. That does not necessarily mean that they ever denied it. Doubt and denial are different. But the fact remains that on their actual deathbeds, they firmly testified to what they had seen. But what about the 8 witnesses who saw and handled the plates? I don't recall anything which would amount to them doubting what they saw, and theirs wasn't described as visionary, but rather as an ordinary view.

If you can produce any direct quotes by any of the witnesses which demonstrates the idea that they doubted, or even denied what they had seen, I would appreciate it.

Regarding Strang, I doubt that he needed Joseph to give him the idea of making phony plates. Any idiot with half a brain could come up with that on their own. Now actually pulling it off is another thing. However, if Strang was just copying off of Joseph, well he did a pretty poor job. Only 3 pitiful metal plates, and maybe a page worth of printed material from it. That makes Joseph look like some kind of genius in comparison. His plates didn't even look gold or shiny. They were rough and aged looking. And no one ever even got a look at Strang's Urim and Thummim, even a covered one. His blunder was leaving the plates, or at least facsimiles of them around for people to examine, eventually deciding that they are probably fake.

But anyway, I don't recall any of Joseph's associates ever claiming that he forged the Book of Mormon plates.

You said: "Reading those Q&A sessions you mention with Harris being tipsy reminds me of all the places in the BoM where Nephi, Alma, and others know exactly what is being said in Lamanite camps as if they were there themselves. Fact is they weren't. Only a narrator (JS) would know everything spoken on both sides of a conflict."

Because I like you, I'm going to give you a chance to refresh your memory a little better on this one before I point out the error of this statement.

Elder Joseph said...

Tata

I can only just keep up …… here are a few thoughts , I’ll scan the relevant pages of my Grant Palmer book about the BofM witnesses and email them to you ……..


You said

”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."


I think this out of context.You are supposing Billy Graham was a racist in the same mould as Brigham Young , but he had tried integrating the divisions between blacks and whites .

His comment is more of despair saying that it will only be possible at the return of Christ indicating the marvellous peaceful order this would bring.It seems that Blacks would be just as reluctant as whites to integrate and the sour history between the two colours could make it impossible in this mortal life.

It’s the same in our world now , look at all the divisions and hate and suspicion between blacks whites , Christians , Jews , Muslims etc .I would also say myself its only possible to have integration when Jesus Christ comes again.

You said

”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.”

The reason the church is criticised is because its making the claim to being the only church privileged and chosen to be led by Jesus Christ , so you can understand the other churches being misled , yet the LDs was no role model itself and was influenced by the times and not the teachings Of Jesus Christ.

William Wilberforce abolished slavery by law here in England 50 years before Brigham young was claiming it to be a divine Institution not to be abolished ( JOD).
Who really was inspired of Jesus Christ between the two ?

And don’t forget Brigham’s Young quote of ‘Death On The Spot’ for a white mixing seed with a Black !


You said

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

You are comparing yourself to Satan’s churches by your own definition ?
How about comparing yourself to the church you have claimed to restore?
Would this attitude on Blacks and the LDS church be in line with New Testament Christianity ?

What I’m looking for here is something which would support the Mormon claim to being the only True church and not just like the other churches or a little better than the other churches. There should have been a lead and stance taken if Jesus really was exclusively in charge.

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

FAIRS ? lol

“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."2

This is interesting as it shows where Brigham Young got his ideas from in the first place . he was influenced by his surroundings rather than Jesus Christ or Divine revelation …..
Typically Joseph Smith expounded on the speculation of the mark of Cain and introduced the black skin as the Mark of Cain which fits in with his explanation to why the American Indians had a dark skin too in the book of Mormon ….. both cursed with a mark for disobedience ………..

You said/quoted

"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

……….. Yes but Brigham was saying to keep them slaves alive as they have to serve as slaves as divine punishment … he never advocated freeing them , he believed they were getting their just merits for less valiancy in the pre existence. …….

You said/quoted

"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

This is a good quote … as Joseph Smith ordained blacks to the Priesthood also. The problem and Ban started with Brigham Young and his theology derived from the BofM and Book of Abraham. He put together Joseph Smiths Lamenite skin colour curse teachings and the Priesthood ban in the book of Abraham 1;26 and came up with the next 150 years plus of less valiancy teaching farce , unless you do believe in it as some of my ward members do , especially the older ones.

You said/quoted

”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.

Conmen do charitable things ….. How many scam artists are seen to make big donations to charity and keep 99% for themselves … I m sure Benny Hinn has done some great charitable things also yet it doesn’t excuse his nasty religious scam .

It’s a shame Brigham Young objected to freeing slaves then and told the abolitionists that they have no right to interfere with Gods will (JOD)


You said


”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.”

What I would like to know is how come a church claiming to be the only one true church guided and approved by Jesus and restored personally doesn’t have a better track record than this ? It should be a light to the world and not add to and participate in confusion and injustices.

You said/quoted

EJ,

”You said, "It seems that William was not an eye witness to the U&T or Breastplate but instead just recalling what Joseph Smith told him about the U&T.
I'm not sure how you come to that conclusion.”

Apologies I have totally misunderstood it ! 

“Thus, you are only left to conclude, without evidence, that he is only repeating what Joseph told him.”

I suspect this , though William claimed to have seen the Gold Plates as well so it wouldn’t surprise me that he saw the Urim and Thummim as well .Though his account of the Translation method conflicts as he relates the Urim and Thumimm to a stone.

The manner in which this was done was by looking into the Urim and Thummim, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light, (the plates lying near by covered up), and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone by
the power of God" ("A New Witness for Christ in America," Francis W. Kirkham,
2:417.)’

Why didn’t he say Joseph used a stone instead of the U & T .Its confusing .Which was it ?




You said/quoted


”You said, "Than again Martin Hariss testfied publicly that neither did the other 8 handle the plates physically."
I haven't heard this one. Please share the quote and the source of this information.”

Here is a link

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jgfHAlL2EncC&pg=PA127&lpg=PA127&dq=warren+parrish+to+e+holmes+11+august+1838&source=web&ots=hkbDOQ1pQP&sig=xIY2Ur5ZWFw-5IaB5U8ndy3A5lE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result


You said/quoted

”Regarding Martin Harris, below are some quotes from him and others:”

I’m very suspect of the whole thing regarding these witnesses .Martin Harris’s was very unstable and would give his testimony to anything including Strang and also the Shaker Ann Lee and her sacred book…. To me the BofM witnesses are only as valid as Strangs witnesses or even Mafia family witnesses in a court of law…


You said/quoted

”So if Martin truly believed in Shakerism more so than he believed in the Book of Mormon, why did he not take the opportunity on his death bed to testify to it rather than the Book of Mormon?”

Well he was asked about the Book Of Mormon on his deathbed , Had a Shaker asked him about Ann lee’s book then he may have said the same about that too.


You said/quoted

”So does "visionary" mean "imaginary"? Just because someone claims to have seen a vision doesn't mean that it wasn't real. If you want to discount all visions, including those in the Bible, that's fine. You don't have to believe in visions. “


Why are you so quick to want me to discount the Bible when the BofM is questioned and challenged ??? I don’t know what happened in the bible …. I could easily claim visions and if you didn’t believe me then I could ask you to do the same about equally discounting the bible. Its an unfair comparison .The bible events could be real ( I don’t know ) and Mormonism still a fake ….. Benny Hinn could equally challenge those who say he can’t heal anyone and is just taking money, by claiming they should forget the miracles of the bible equally to his own claims.

You said/quoted

”David Whitmer helps clear up the “spiritual” vs. “natural” viewing of the plates. Responding to the interviewer who questioned Harris, Whitmer replied,
"Of course we were in the spirit when we had the view, for no man can behold the face of an angel, except in a spiritual view, but we were in the body also, and everything was as natural to us, as it is at any time."”


I really don’t know what to make of it … this Spiritual view … I know from JW’s they claim to see that Jesus Christ is actually present in the world now and since 1914 with their ‘Spiritual Eyes’ !




You said/quoted


”Have you checked to see if there is an original document to determine if the witnesses in fact didn't sign their names to it? Suppose that they didn't. It seems that if they didn't intend for their names to be assigned to those statements then they would have made statements to that effect, and yet I have not seen any evidence of that.”


No I haven’t but I’m certain that there is no document otherwise the church would be quick to use it , simple as that ……….. If you find one I will be humbled greatly !


You said/quoted

”I just don't know much about James Strang and all that. I would be curious to know if there is any evidence that these witnesses maintained their testimonies throughout their lives and even to their deathbed.”

Strang also went into polygamy later on and also wound up being killed !

One final thought for you Tara ….. .On 25th March 1838 Martin Harris testified publicly that non of the Book OF Mormon Signatories saw or handled the plates physically …. Apostles Luke S Johnson , Lyman E Johnson and John F Boynton , seventy warren Parrish and High Priest Stephen Burnett exited the church on hearing this ….. Here is Stephen Burnett’s letter to Apostle Lyman E Johnson.


I have reflected long and deliberately upon the history of this church & weighed the evidence for & against it loth (sic) to give it up - but when I came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver [Cowdery] nor David [Whitmer] & that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it, the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundation was sapped & the entire superstructure fell in heap of ruins. (Stephen Burnett letter to Lyman E. Johnson dated April 15, 1838. Typed transcript from Joseph Smith Papers, Letter book, April 20, 1837 - February 9, 1843, microfilm reel 2, pp. 64-66, LDS archives.)


It seems that they were all on edge , relying on the Witnesses for assurance it wasn’t all a con… Didn’t they trust Moroni’s promise ??

How can Apostles have to rely on the witnesses to the Bof M when they are supposed to be Special Witnesses of Christ , they supposedly should have been called by a special witness and not take up the position based on what they thought or heard about the witnesses .

If they can quit so suddenly over information like this , then it doesn’t inspire much confidence in their ‘experiences’ of being a Special Witness of the Saviour .It shows its all man made IMO.

Now I need a rest :)

tatabug said...

EJ,

I think that at least half of your comment belongs on the other post about revelations. However, I will respond to the portion of your comment which is pertinent to this discussion.

You said, regarding William Smith:

"Why didn’t he say Joseph used a stone instead of the U & T .Its confusing .Which was it ?"

Though no one knows today knows the answer to this with absolute clarity, it is believed that Joseph used both the Urim and Thummim and the seer stone, and that sometimes, the seer stone was also referred to as a Urim and Thummim. But it is clear from witness testimony that Joseph did use the "actual" Urim and Thummim during at least a part of the translation.

Regarding the link you gave me about Martin Harris saying that the eight never saw the plates physically, I think you have also misread that quote. Warren Parrish is rephrasing what Martin Harris said when he wrote, "and any man who says he has seen them in any other way is a liar, Joseph [Smith] not excepted." Warren Parrish is not saying that Martin Harris said that anyone who claims to have seen the plates in any other way other than in a vision is lying. He is saying that Martin Harris said that if anyone says that he (Martin Harris) saw the plates in any other way than in vision, he is a liar. The quote also says "Joseph Smith excepted." If you ascribe the meaning that you have ascribed to this quote, it would also mean that Martin Harris said that Joseph Smith didn't get a literal view of the plates either, but that he only saw them in vision. How is this possible, logically speaking?

You said: "Why are you so quick to want me to discount the Bible when the BofM is questioned and challenged ???"

That isn't what I'm asking you to do. What I am saying is that either you believe that visions are real or you don't. You seem to think that just because Joseph and early church members claimed to have seen things in vision, that it means their experiences were only imaginary. If this is the case, then it seems that you would also be skeptical of the visions described in the Bible. But for some reason, I doubt this is the case. You rail against the atrocities of the church and its leaders, but yet you can find the same atrocities in the Bible by righteous men. My question is why do you reject the church because of its atrocities and its imaginary visions, but accept the Bible IN SPITE of its atrocities and visions?

You said, regarding the signatures of the BOM witnesses: "No I haven’t but I’m certain that there is no document otherwise the church would be quick to use it , simple as that ……….. If you find one I will be humbled greatly !"

From what I understand, there is no existing copy of the original signatures, but it existed at one time. Anyway, like I said, if the witnesses didn't consent to having their names associated with the testimonies contained in the BOM, there was plenty of opportunity for them to express that.

You said: "On 25th March 1838 Martin Harris testified publicly that non of the Book OF Mormon Signatories saw or handled the plates physically."

I would like to see the actual statement by Martin Harris if you have access to that. Here is what Stephen Burnett said three weeks after Martin Harris made that statement: "I therefore three weeks since in the Stone Chapel gave a full history of the church since I became acquainted with it, the false preaching & prophecying etc of Joseph together with the reasons why I took the course which I was resolved to do, and renounced the Book of Mormon with the whole scene of lying and deception practiced by J. S & S. R in this church, believing as I verily do, that it is all a wicked deception palmed upon us unawares[.]

I was followed by W. Parrish Luke Johnson & John Boynton all of who Concurred with me, after we were done speaking M. Harris arose & said he was sorry for any man who rejected the Book of Mormon for he knew it was true, he said he had hefted the plates repeatedly in a box with only a tablecloth or handkerchief over them, but he never saw them, only as he saw a city through a mountain. And said that he never should have told that the testimony of the eight was false, if it had not been picked out of h[i]m but should have let it passed as it was."

You said: "How can Apostles have to rely on the witnesses to the Bof M when they are supposed to be Special Witnesses of Christ , they supposedly should have been called by a special witness and not take up the position based on what they thought or heard about the witnesses ."

All I can say is that Apostle or not, they are still men and subject to weaknesses and imperfections just like the rest of us. Just look at Judas. He was a witness to the amazing miracles of Jesus, and yet he later betrayed him for money. Look at Balaam. He was a true prophet who went rogue. Prophets like Moses and Jonah had their problems too. Just because one is called of God to be a prophet or apostle doesn't mean one can't fall or display incredible weakness.

tatabug said...

Sorry, the quote should've said "Joseph Smith NOT excepted." (emphasis mine)

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

Spare me nothing. Please point out my obvious error regarding how only a narrator can know what happens in two camps when he could only have been privy to one.

Regarding the Apostles, EJ is pointing out that Apostles are special witnesses to christ and as such, should not have to lean on other's testimonies. This makes sense to me. Shouldn't they have a sure knowledge? Doesn't sure knowledge trump faith? Hmm...maybe not with this crowd.

Also, Judas didn't betray Jesus. He merely did what Jesus asked him to do. He was the only one Jesus trusted enough to actually go thru with it. He was so distraught afterwards that he hung himself. Please don't continue to propagate the false teaching that Judas was a traitor. It simply is not true.

tatabug said...

BR,

Fine. The only instance in which there is any indication that the Nephites know what was said in the camps of the Lamanites when they were drunken was when the Nephites sent someone from among them who was a descendant of Laman to the Lamanites. This "Lamanite" pretended to be an escaped prisoner of the Nephites who had stolen wine from the Nephites. The only reason the Nephites knew what was said was because their accomplice came back and told them what was said.

Now if you can show me any evidence to support your statement, then I'd be happy to examine it.

Regarding the apostles/prophets, no they shouldn't have to rely on the testimony of others, but like I said, they are human too. Just because they are apostles/prophets doesn't mean they have seen angels or God himself. They still have to rely on the guidance of the Holy Ghost and they can still have doubts just like anyone else. Even when they do have miraculous experiences like seeing angels, as in the case of Balaam, as I pointed out earlier. Such powerful "evidence" or witnesses do not insure their faithfulness or their testimony.

Regarding Judas, I believe you are wrong, but if you can show me any teachings from the church which would support your view, I'd be glad to look at that as well. But from what I've ever seen and read, Judas was truly a traitor to Jesus and the church. Perhaps you are thinking of Peter who WAS commanded by Jesus to deny him three times?

Brother Zelph said...

Tata, I believe that BR is referring to the Gnostic gospel book "The Gospel of Judas"

BR correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this is the text that it is based on.

tatabug said...

Gospel of Judas or not, that is not what the church teaches, so far as I am aware, and if I'm teaching by what is taught in the church, I don't see how that constitutes false doctrine, unless of course it is false doctrine according to the church of BR, or whoever else happens to accept the Gospel of Judas as true. If that is the case, then I suppose I'm teaching all kinds of false doctrine according to a large number of different religions.

Bishop Rick said...

tata,

I think your true self has finally shown its face. You refuse to consider anything that is not taught by the church...wow, very enlightening.

BZ,

That is exactly what I was referring to. Not just the Gospel itself, but all the research that has gone into what Jesus would have done, how he would have treated people, how he treated Judas.

There is plenty there that vindicates Judas.

I never stated that the scriptures in the BoM were related to being drunk. I merely said that your reference to getting Martin Harris tipsy made me think of places in the BoM where on numerous occasions the Nephite author knew what was being discussed on the Lamanite side, and it had nothing to do with a spy or being drunk.

Brother Zelph said...

Tata,

If we are to believe that Joseph Smith restored the gospel as practiced by early Christianity, why don't we study more about early Christianity?

One thing I have learned in the very little I have studied is that when we talk about early Christianity, it was very diverse. There was no single authority directing Christians. In fact there were more than just 4 gospels and each gospel was taught to different people. So in early Christianity, someone that was taught the gospel according to John might not have ever been taught the gospel according to Matthew.

It wasn't until King Constantine came along and established the Catholic church that it was decided which gospels would be included, but according to the church, by that time the earth was already in apostasy. So my question is now that new gospels have resurfaced, why would we not accept them as scriptures taught by early Christianity?

Gnostic or not, these books were considered scripture by early Christians. This begs the question if Joseph Smith restored original Christianity, then which early Christian group held authority, because as I said, there was no Bible, just a bunch of gospels and letters scattered around.

So my point is that I would not be so quick to dismiss the gospel of Judas just because it isn't part of the church canon. It might just be some of the "plain and precious things" that were removed from the stick of Judah.

tatabug said...

MH,

I actually left the door open for the possibility of women holding the priesthood when I said, "maybe." The reasons I think "maybe" are the similar to the reasons Zelph has given. Also, there were prophetesses in the Bible, although I don't know if they had priesthood authority. Now while I did say maybe, I also said that I doubt it, because I do.

BR,

Did I say I refused to consider it? My point was that since the church teaches that Judas was a traitor, I am not teaching false doctrine. I don't know enough about the Gospel of Judas to be able to make a decision one way or the other about it, but I don't believe that every book or piece of literature which was tagged as scripture or "the Gospel of (whatever)" is scripture inspired of God. There is actually one book in the OT, at least, that IMO may not be true scripture and may not even belong in the Bible at all. From what I understand, the people who compiled the Bible as we know it had to make decisions on what was scripture and what wasn't, or at least what they deemed to be important enough to include or not, and I don't know how inspired they were in their decisions.

If you can find me instances in the BOM that support what you are saying, I would like to take a look at those.

Zelph,

I don't know why we don't study early Christianity more, but since we/I don't I can't really comment about the diversity of Christianity except that it appeared that there were a lot of false doctrines that crept in. Could that be a form of the diversity you are referring to :)?

I wouldn't say that it is impossible or heretical to think that the Gospel of Judas is inspired scripture, but I don't know enough about it to make an informed decision about it. However, if it contradicts the doctrine of other canonized scripture, it may be possible that it isn't scripture. As it is, what we have available as accepted scripture would seem to indicate that the idea that Judas was only following Jesus' orders is contradictory. I'm not discounting anything, but like I said, I just don't know enough about it.

Brother Zelph said...

Tata- I understand where you are coming from. It is almost irresponsible to try to make decisions when you have very limited knowledge of a topic like early Christianity, because I feel that I am in the same position. I don't know very much about early Christianity and I know that Mormon Heretic has been studying that area recently and he has brought up some interesting things on his blog.

I honestly don't mind if people refer to their blogs as long as they aren't selling anything, because I consider that spam. The topics change so much I can't keep up.

Elder Joseph said...

tata

You said

"Regarding the link you gave me about Martin Harris saying that the eight never saw the plates physically, I think you have also misread that quote. "

I'll take a look as soon as practical.I've already missed daylight each day trying to keep up with you :)

Just one point to make as it seems appropriate in the discussion.

The New Testament cannon was put together by The Catholic Church who Mormons claim was in Apostasy at this time.

There were 30 Gospels at that time and only 4 were chosen as Authoritive , similarly there were more Letters , yet only those we have in the New Testament were chosen.

Mormons seem to accept the New Testament cannon from what they claim was a church in Apostasy ? That doesn't make sense.

Why doesn't Thomas Monson who claims to be The Prophet and only Authority from God ,go through all the Gospels and letters and choose the correct ones ?

As with all Protestant sects youtoo have to accept that the Catholic Church had Authority and Inspiration atv that time to give us the New Testament Cannon.The history goes back to the original apostles.

JW's have a similar Dilemma .They call the Catholic Church The great Whore Of Babylon , yet they use the very book the Whore Of Babylon arranged and put together.

Were they really stupid enough to put together a book which pointed at them as the Great Church Of Satan ?

Elder Joseph said...

You said

"Regarding the link you gave me about Martin Harris saying that the eight never saw the plates physically, I think you have also misread that quote. "

It’s the wrong quote , though it does affirm That Martin Harris says he never saw the plates except in vision .

You said

“I would like to see the actual statement by Martin Harris if you have access to that. “

I’ve looked again and I think this is the only evidence, The Stephen Burnett letter to Apostle Lyman E Johnson. So here is a fuller quote from adding mine to yours 



"I therefore three weeks since in the Stone Chapel gave a full history of the church since I became acquainted with it, the false preaching & prophecying etc of Joseph together with the reasons why I took the course which I was resolved to do, and renounced the Book of Mormon with the whole scene of lying and deception practiced by J. S & S. R in this church, believing as I verily do, that it is all a wicked deception palmed upon us unawares[.]

I have reflected long and deliberately upon the history of this church & weighed the evidence for & against it loth (sic) to give it up - but when I came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver [Cowdery] nor David [Whitmer] & that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it, the last pedestal gave way, in my view our foundation was sapped & the entire superstructure fell in heap of ruins…….

I was followed by W. Parrish Luke Johnson & John Boynton all of who Concurred with me, after we were done speaking M. Harris arose & said he was sorry for any man who rejected the Book of Mormon for he knew it was true, he said he had hefted the plates repeatedly in a box with only a tablecloth or handkerchief over them, but he never saw them, only as he saw a city through a mountain. And said that he never should have told that the testimony of the eight was false, if it had not been picked out of h[i]m but should have let it passed as it was."


(Stephen Burnett letter to Lyman E. Johnson dated April 15, 1838. Typed transcript from Joseph Smith Papers, Letter book, April 20, 1837 - February 9, 1843, microfilm reel 2, pp. 64-66, LDS archives.)


The part you added is even more damaging I think , though you think Martin Harris is backtracking near the end ? I think he just regretted telling them the full truth seeing what disaffection it caused. There is a similar attitude in LDS leaders today when Packer said ‘ not all truth is useful’ !


This is my favourite statement from LDS Apostle McConkie
CES Religious Educators Symposium on 18 August 1978. All Are Alike unto God
BRUCE R. MCCONKIE


"There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. FORGET EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE SAID, OR WHAT PRESIDENT BRIGHAM YOUNG OR PRESIDENT GEORGE Q. CANNON OR WHOMSOEVER HAS SAID IN DAYS PAST THAT IS CONTRARY TO THE PRESENT REVELATION. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world."

I would like to extend that and say FORGET EVERYTHING ANY LDS LEADER HAS EVER SAID.

They simply don't what they are talking about.The history shows how misguided/deluded they are and worse still taught all these errors with sheer Authority and Arrogance as if from Gods own mouth.

Ho can I trust anything they ever said.What are they teaching today which too will become obsolete and without the 'Light and Knowledge' in the future?

Elder Joseph said...

Can anyone correct my spelling and missing words :(

I was in a rush.