Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Freemasonry Connection


Few Mormons realize that the LDS temple ceremony is not of ancient origin, nor of modern revelation. Instead, the ceremony originated around 1790 when the Masons first conceived it for use in their secret society. Until 1990 the Mormon Temple Ceremony closely resembled the Masonic Initiators Ceremony, signs, tokens and penalties included.

In 1827 Capt. W. M. Morgan, a disillusioned Mason, published a book entitled Freemasonry Exposed, which reveals a detailed description of their ceremonies in word and illustration. Because of this exposé, Morgan was murdered three months later by members of his lodge. After Morgan's death, his widow, Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, a very pretty and intelligent woman married George W. Harris on January 12, 1831. While married to Harris, Lucinda became one of the first plural wives of the prophet Joseph Smith in 1838. It seems likely that Smith married her while living at the Harris home. This circumstance would seem to corroborate the story of Mrs. Sarah Pratt, who related in an interview with W. Wyl, "Mrs. Harris was a married lady, a very great friend of mine. When Joseph made his dastardly attempt on me [in 1842], I went to Mrs. Harris to unbosom my grief to her. To my utter astonishment, she said, laughing heartily: "How foolish you are! Why, I am his mistress since four years.'" (No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie, p. 460.)

Joseph Smith became a Mason on March 15, 1842 and rose to the sublime degree the following day. This initiation took place in his upper business office or Masonic lodge room (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 550-551). Only a few weeks after Joseph's initiation into Masonry, he taught the other LDS Church leaders in the same Masonic lodge room. Joseph's interest in Masonry became so infectious that many Mormon elders hastened to follow his lead, and within six months the lodge had 286 candidates. He gave instructions on the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to washings, anointing, endowments, and the communication of keys. (Ibid. vol. 5, p. 2) There is no doubt that Joseph's primary interest in Masonry was because of its ritual. Like Solomon, he became a temple builder. Joseph Smith's own temple records indicate his temple endowment took place on May 4, 1842, just seven weeks after his Masonic initiation. In Smith's own words he said: "In the evening I received the first degree in Freemasonry in the Nauvoo Lodge." The next day he stated: "I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree." This qualified Joseph to be a Master Mason. (Ibid. 1842 vol. 4, p. 552)

The Temple Endowment ceremony is simply a modified version of the Freemasonry ceremony which existed long before Joseph Smith was born. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were both active Masons. Many parts of the Temple Endowment Ceremony (verbiage, handgrips, arm positions, whispering in ear, fig-leaf apron, secret passwords, chanting, etc.) were plagiarized from Freemasonry ceremonies. Joseph Smith introduced the Mormon Temple ceremony within 2 months of becoming a Mason. There were Masons in the mob that killed Joseph as he had his arms raised in the Masonic distress call, "Oh Lord, my God! Is there no help for the poor widow's son?" when he was shot. They had a problem with him plagiarizing the Masonic ceremony in the Mormon Temple ceremony. Please note that neither the Freemasonry ceremony nor the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony are secret, as all details of both are in the public domain. [Mormon version can be found here]

* Heber C. Kimball wrote to Parley P. Pratt: "We have organized a Lodge here of Masons ... near 200 have been made Masons. Brother Joseph and Sidney [Rigdon] were the first that were received into the Lodge. All of the twelve have become members except Orson P. [Pratt] ... Brother Joseph says Masonry was taken from the Priesthood, but has become degenerated .... We have the true Masonry." (From an underground typewritten copy of Dr. Durham's talk carefully compared with a tape recording thereof and certified to be accurate by Mervin B. Hogan, Secretary of the Masonic Research Lodge of Utah in Salt Lake City, No Help For the Widow's Son, by Reed C. Durham, p. 25.)

The Mormon term "Celestial Kingdom" is disturbingly similar to the older Freemasonry term "Celestial Lodge Above."

Freemasonry is a religion

"Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion, and its teachings are instructions in ... the universal, eternal, immutable religion...." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, pp. 213, 219.
"[Masonry is] ... the custodian and depository (since Enoch) of the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large...." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p. 210.
* "Without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good...." An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, 1921, pp. 618-619.

Freemasonry's god is a triune deity called JaoBulOn. It is a form of Baal. It's Lucifer worship. Note in the third quotation below that Freemasonry reverses the roles of God and Satan. And remember that Joseph Smith embraced Freemasonry when he plagiarized it for the Mormon Temple ceremony.

* "Masonry, like all the religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls light, from them.... Truth is not for those that are unworthy...." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p 104-105.

"The Blue Degrees are but the outer court...of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the [lower] Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them, but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p. 819.

"God is known as "the nameless one of a hundred names." Henry Wilson Coil, "A Comprehensive View of Freemasonry," Richmond: Macoy Publishing, 1973, p. 192.

"God is equally present with the pious Hindu in the temple, the Jew in the synagogue, the Mohammedan in the mosque, and the Christian in the church." Albert Mackey, "Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry," Richmond: Macoy Publishing, 1966, 1:409-410.

Freemasonry is not Christian. If it's not Christian, but it is a religion (which Masons have confirmed above), then it by definition conflicts with Christianity. Thus one can't simultaneously be a Christian and a Mason.

"Freemasonry is not Christianity ... it admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom...."An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, 1921, pp. 618-619.

"[Masonry] ... sees in Moses ... in Confucius and Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in [Mohammed] great teachers of morality and eminent reformers...." Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, pp. 277, 525.

The Counterfeit Jesus Of Freemasonry

NOTE: All page and paragraph numbers are from the Masonic Doctrinal book, 'Morals and Dogma' by Albert Pike who is considered to be the 'Father' of American Freemasonry.

The Jesus of Masonry did not create the universe, instead Ormuzd from the Zend-Avesta did. "Creations took place by emanation from Him. The first emanation was the primitive Light, and from that the King of Light, Ormuzd." Page 256, p. 3

The star that guided the Magi was actually a pentagram and a pagan god. "The Blazing Star of five points is an allusion to the Star that is said to have guided the Magi…the forerunner of the inundation of the Nile; the God Anubis, companion of Isis in her search of the body of Osiris, her brother and husband. Then it became the image of Horus, (the Sun god), the son of Osiris, himself symbolized also by the Sun, the author of the Seasons, and the God of Time." Page 14, p. 4

The Jesus of Masonry is only a great teacher of morality. "It reverences all the great reformers. It sees in Moses, the Law-giver of the Jews, in Confucius and Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in the Arabian Iconoclast, Great Teachers of Morality, and Eminent Reformers, if no more: and allows every brother of the Order to assign to each such higher and even Divine Character as his Creed and Truth require." Page 525, p. 3

The Jesus of Masonry suffered in appearance only when on the cross. "But the Chief of the Empire of Darkness caused Him to be crucified by the Jews. Still He suffered in appearance only…" Page 567, p. 1

The Jesus of Masonry is equated with the pagan Sun-god. "The cross of Light is called…Christ, the SUN." Page 567, p. 1

The Jesus of Masonry is also said to be Hercules. "God," says Maximus Tyrius, "did not spare His own Son [Hercules], or exempt Him from the calamities incidental to humanity." Page 592, p. 2

Early Masons, "Templars were gravely accused of spitting upon Christ and denying God at their receptions, of gross obscenities, conversations with female devils, and the worship of a monstrous idol. The end of the drama is well known, and how Jacques de Molai and his fellows perished in the flames. But before his execution, the Chief of the doomed Order organized and instituted what afterward came to be called the Occult, Hermetic, or Scottish Masonry." Page 820, p. 1-2

Jesus used and revealed the Kaballah, which is a book of ancient Jewish mysticism and magic, to John the Apostle. "The Holy Kaballah… was revealed by the Saviour to Saint John." Page 97, p. 9

The Jesus of Masonry founded the religion of hate. "Christ, teaching the Religion of Love, was crucified, that it might become a Religion of Hate;" Page 294, p. 1

The Jesus of Masonry was an Atheist. "Jesus of Nazareth was crucified as an unbelieving blasphemer, by the Jews." Page 643, p. 2

Masonic ritual is concerned with the recovery of the "Lost Word," presumed to be the name of God—supposedly lost through the murder of the architect, Hiram Abiff, during the building of Solomon’s Temple. This quest is attained during the ritual of the Royal Arch Degree. It is here that the Secret Name of the Deity of Masonry is revealed. That name is "JAOBULON." "JAO" is the Greek word for Jehovah. "BUL" is a rendering of the name, BAAL. "ON" is the term used in the Babylonian mysteries to call upon the deity "OSIRIS"!

Masonry advocates worship to Lucifer. "To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st, and 30th degrees—The Masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian Doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay (The God of the Bible) whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonay and his priests, calumniate him? Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god…Thus, …the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil." (Instructions to the 23 Supreme Councils of the World, Albert Pike, Grand Commander, Sovereign Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, July 14, 1889.)

Masons can become God and actually stand in the place of Jesus. "Man is a god in the making, and as in the mystic myths of Egypt, on the potter’s wheel he is being molded. When his light shines out to lift and preserve all things, he receives the triple crown of god-hood and joins that throng of Master Masons who, their robes of Blue and Gold, are seeking to dispel the darkness of night with the triple light of the Masonic Lodge…The voice speaks from the Heavens, its power thrilling the Master until his own being seems filled with its divinity, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ He [The Master Mason], in truth has become the spokesman of the Most High. He stands between the glowing fire light and the world. Through him passes Hydra, the great snake, and from its mouth there pours to man the light of God." (The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, Manly P. Hall, pages 92, 54-55, Macoy Publishing and Supply Co., Richmond, Va., 1976)

Masonry usurps the priesthood of Jesus. In the 19th level of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the Initiate receives the degree of Grand Pontiff. The initiate then gets anointed with oil on his head and is told, "Be Thou a Priest Forever, after the order of Melchizedek."

Masonry’s saying upon initiation is "From Darkness to Light" (Acts 26:18). However, Lucifer is the light and God of Freemasonry. "Lucifer, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not!" Page 321, p. 1

Joseph and Hyrum's Freemasonry Lodge was becoming the largest Freemasonry Lodge in Illinois. The non-LDS Masons in the state felt threatened by the LDS takeover of Masonry.

The "sacred" garments only 'worthy' Mormons wear have pagan Freemasonry symbols sewn into it, such as the compass and the square.

Until they were removed from the Mormon Temple ceremony, (around 1990), Temple patrons swore an oath to:

1. bind themselves to the penalty of having their throats cut from ear to ear

2. bind themselves to the penalty of having their hearts plucked out of their chests

3. bind themselves to the penalty of having their bodies disemboweled.

These three former-Mormon Temple Endowment ceremony oaths were copied directly from Freemasonry ceremonies.

Freemasonry is a religion that preaches another gospel--a gospel of good works--which is condemned in Galatians 1:6-8. It is a spiritual counterfeit that endorses and practices beliefs which have nothing to do with Christianity, and are in direct violation of the teachings of Christ.

*My Thoughts*


What the hell does this have to do with Mormons?

Simple. They are taught, (and most believe) that the ONLY reason Joseph Smith became a Mason was to learn the temple ceremonies so that God could reveal to him what changes needed to be made in order to conform to the restoration of Christ's church.

Even if I could believe that, there are several questions left unanswered by Mormon leadership:

Why would Joseph continue his affiliation with the Masons even after attaining the 33rd degree? This he did rather quickly, and even retained his membership and began lodges wherever the Mormons moved to, eventually creating a Grand Lodge right in Nauvoo. He and many other prominent members of the church were also Freemasons, and made no secret of it. There are tons of records and historical documents proving the affiliation [GOOGLE is your friend...]

Why is this a big deal? Because the AVERAGE member has no idea HOW prominently the Freemason theology is involved with their own temple endowment ceremony. The handclasps, the words and phraselogy of the ceremony itself is almost word for word, with few variations to it. [I know because I have been to the temple and participated in the endowment ceremonies myself....more than once, and I have also bothered to learn what the masonic connection is]

Why should the average member care? Because the LDS church goes through GREAT efforts to conceal this 'not very useful' but true fact. It reveals more about their prophet Joseph Smith than they would like the average member to know. It takes away from his 'mystique' and has him appear to be just an ordinary man, borrowing ideas from others. And the members can't be allowed to see him as a man who borrows ideas, because it would become apparent that it isn't the only time he has borrowed philosophies of previous writers.

Case in point: Ethan Smith's A View of the Hebrews

"View of the Hebrews" was published in 1823 and a second edition was published in 1825.

The Book of Mormon was published in 1830.

View of the Hebrews" flooded the area in which Joseph Smith lived.

The author (Ethan Smith) was the pastor of the religious congregation in which the (Oliver) Cowdery's family attended.

The (Oliver) Cowdrey family was related to the (Joseph) Smith family, and Oliver Cowdrey assisted in the "translation" of the Book of Mormon.

On what was probably a promotional tour for his book, Ethan Smith visited the small hometown (Palmyra) of Joseph Smith in late 1826.

Case #2 : Josiah Priest's The Wonders of Nature and Providence Displayed (1825),

This book also includes numerous parallels to the Book of Mormon, quotes extensively from Ethan Smith's book and is known to have been available in the local Manchester Rental Library when Joseph Smith lived in the village.

Case #3: E.T.A Hoffman's The Golden Pot

The magical worldview of the Smith family and the mystical world of the "The Golden Pot" story are remarkably similar. Archivarius (meaning archivist) Lindhorst is the principle guardian of the treasures at his "ancient residence," just as Moroni is the primary guardian of Cumorah's treasures. Young Anselmus has a working relationship with Lindhorst that centers around his house. Joseph Smith has a recurring relationship with Moroni at the latter's cave headquarters. Anselmus and Joseph Smith can conveniently walk to their nearby house and cave in a short time. The house and cave both open upon their approach. Anselmus is greeted by Lindhorst and Smith is greeted by Moroni. Both of these beings are the last archivists of their respective civilizations. They are in charge of vast treasures including numerous "rolls of parchment" and from the destroyed civilization of Atlantis on one hand and plates of precious metal from the Jaredites and Nephites on the other hand.

Still wondering why it matters so much? Think about it! Joseph used his authority and power as a high level Freemason AND prophet of the church to abuse and control his "flock" to the extent that he was finally lynched for it.

He was general of the Nauvoo Legion, prophet of the church, Grand Mason of the Lodge, and was a candidate for the presidency (and had a large voting block backing him). He was definitely a force to be reckoned with. When he made the decision to have the Nauvoo Expositor ransacked, and the printing press destroyed (because they were about to reveal his true nature and identity as a secret polygamist), he was arrested for treason.

The LDS church would have its members still believing that Joseph Smith was an innocent man, a martyred saint. The truth is, he made it all up. He gathered his ideas from the world around him, created a following, exploited them and their labors, and then finally crossed the line when he interfered with the laws of the United States. He couldn't control the flow of information any longer, and he was killed because a mob of Freemasons had discovered that he lied about who he was. He was murdered, to be sure, but it wasn't "like a lamb to the slaughter". Joseph actually prophesied that it would happen, (though I doubt he realized who he was talking about at the time).

D&C 3:4. "For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him."

FULFILLMENT: On May 26, 1844, Joseph Smith made the following statement in a public sermon (Brodie p 374, HC 6:408-412):

"Come on, ye persecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! For I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet."

At this time he was secretly married polygamously to over 40 women, some of them wives of men still living. Many who knew of these secret marriages accused him of changing the doctrine of the church to satisfy his own carnal desires, in violation of the Book of Mormon (Jacob 2:23-29, 3:5) and D&C 49:16.

Almost exactly one month after this boast, on June 27, 1844, he was killed by his enemies in a gun battle at Carthage Jail.

Wow, he actually got one right...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

September Dawn in theaters May 4th (moved to June 22)

To see the movie trailer, you will need Quicktime Player installed on your computer.


This movie is about the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the role that the Mormons played in it, particularly what Brigham Young had to do with it. Based on and inspired by actual events, this movie will also portray the temple endowment ceremonies, washings and anointings, the temple clothing,and reveal the signs and tokens given the saints in 1857. There will be major fallout from this movie, as thousands of non-Mormon, and never-Mormons see it, and connect it to the current LDS church, and the Fundamentalist Mormons living in Southern Utah. The fact that the LDS church has hidden this from its members, and downplayed Brigham Young's involvement, and even outright denied any blame for this massacre, (which coincidentally happened on Sept 11 by the way) is not going to help the current members remain faithful to their church and to their belief that Brigham Young was a prophet of God.

In my small town, when the Da Vinci Code came through here, the Catholic church printed information sheets and distributed them out to attendees, (after attempting to thwart its viewing by purchasing all of the seats available so that no one would be able to view it). The result of their involvement was to cause this movie to play an ADDITIONAL week!!! Boy, I really hope to see this movie played here in my home town. I wonder what the members will do here in this state so far removed from Utah, where it is UNLIKELY to see the light of day. Maybe they will try the same tactics here, purchase up all the seats, distribute information setting the record straight, etc. The thing about this is: it is based on historical events, diaries and first hand accounts of those who lived there and were subject to the rule of Brigham Young. It is NOT "poetic license". It is not a fabrication of events. 120 men women and children REALLY died and Mormons really participated in it. The only thing that can possibly be spun about this historical event is the WHY it happened. I can't WAIT to see how the Mormon church tries to justify the murder of women and children over the age of 8. (viable witnesses) The rest of the babies were adopted by Mormon families, and the whole mess caused a U.S. military inquiry to determine if Utah should be invaded and brought under control, and Brigham Young removed as territorial governor. The only thing that saved him was the silence of the church, and the unwillingness to rat out their fellow members in what can be called the first event of domestic terrorism in the U.S. (and it was perpetuated by a religion!)

The official stance of the LDS church is that, allegedly, Brigham Young sent a horseback rider messenger to call off the attack, but alas, he arrived too late to stop the bloody siege. My question is, why were the Mormons set to attack the wagon train in the first place, after they had shown no aggression towards the Mormons the whole time they travelled through Utah?

The Occam's Razor answer: Brigham Young saw the wealth of the wagon train, and wanted it. He told the members that these people were from Arkansas and Missouri and were loudly bragging about chasing the Mormons out of Missouri. He incensed the members into mob violence and then commanded their silence and obedience to the blood atonement and vengeance oaths they promised in their temple ordinances.

Still think the Branch Davidians might of had it coming when they hunkered down and refused to surrender? Maybe the Scientologists are a little wacko when they talk about Xenu? Oh, sure, they are REAL cults aren't they? Well, let's see what folks think when this movie starts playing all around the country.

I think the Mormons have some 'splainin' to do...

New York Times has some remarks about the film and its director Christopher Cain and his reasons for bringing this story to the public view. Like the Da Vinci code, this will bring some controversy in its wake, and also create even more staunch believers from within the system. Those most completely devout will most certainly never see the movie, and try to sway all others from seeing it. They will choose to believe their leaders and their sanitized whitewashed version of events, calling this movie an Anti-Mormon portrayal. The thing is, it isn't made specifically to call the Mormon church a fraud in its entirety. This is only one historical event, an example of what the LDS church tries to call "not useful" truth and place all the blame on one man, so that their beloved prophet Brigham Young continues to be portrayed in a good light.

The members that see this movie will be those who aren't satisfied with the explanation of the church, or those who simply insist on discovering the truth on their own, without settling for a steady diet of milk...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Should we judge Joseph Smith by present-day standards?

From the RfM board:

Many Mormons are not aware that Joseph Smith married other men's wives. In several cases he sent their husbands on missions and then married these women while the husbands were gone. Mormons generally are not aware he married girls as young as 14. These relationships were conjugal, including the young girls. That's what many Mormon apologists, and even some people who claim to be Ex-Mormons argue, when discussing Smith's relationships with teenage girls. One Mopologist, [Mormon Apologist] Russell McGregor, whose internet alias is "Pahoran", called that "presentism"---the act of holding historical figures, particularly Mormon leaders, to present-day standards.

For those people, I would ask a rhetorical question: When has it ever been a "standard" in the history of the U.S. for a married man in his 30s, who is an alleged Christian minister, to engage in sexual relationships with women and teenage girls to whom he was not legally married?

Another question for those who claim to no longer believe in Mormonism, but still defend Smith's polygamous behavior: Does not the fact that:

*polygamy was illegal in Smith's day

*Smith desperately tried to keep his polygamy teachings and practices secret, and denied them to his dying day

*Smith and his fellow polygamists viciously attacked and slandered people who tried to expose his secret polygamy practice

...tell us that Smith's sexual behavior was *anything* but "standard" for his time?

"Fabricated stories designed to protect the [Nauvoo polygamous] individuals are seen elsewhere:

Sidney Rigdon in the 18 June 1845 'Messenger and Advocate' reported that Parley P. Pratt, in speaking of the means by which church leaders should sustain Smith, advised that 'we must lie to protect brother Joseph, it is our duty to do so.'

Not only were church leaders willing to violate the law to promote polygamy, they did not hesitate to blacken the character of individuals who threatened to expose the secret practice of plural marriage:

Sarah Pratt was not the only woman to suffer from this policy. The 27 August 1842 'Wasp,' for example, branded Martha H. Brotherton a 'mean harlot,' and Nancy Rigdon suffered the same treatment after she opposed Smith's polygamous proposals.....Jane Law, wife of Smith's counselor William Law, was also blacklisted for rejecting Smith's polyandrous proposal." ("Mormon Polygamy: A History," Richard van Wagoner, pp. 38-39.)

Does this behavior paint Joseph Smith as a "pious" man whose extra-marital relationships did not violate the "standards" of his day?

Or does it paint him as a deceitful libertine who make deplorable and false character assassinations against his own disciples in order to cover up his illicit and immoral, sexual proposals and behavior?

Some of Joseph's defenders claim that his modern critics are judging him unfairly by holding him to today's standards of behavior. In fact, the opposite is true, and that any adult could make such an assertion, is only testament to how deeply our capacity for rational thought can be corrupted by emotional attachment to ideology.

Mormon defenders cannot have it both ways. Either, as say Mormon GA's, [General Authorities] society has fallen from a far superior moral state, and we now live in an era characterized by shockingly loose morals, where chastity is denigrated and mocked, where "traditional family units" are under threat "as never before", where sexual anarchy appears to be a possibility, etc. ad nauseam - OR, our era is in no way superior in sexual restraint and order to past eras. We will call the first proposition "F" (for "fallen"), and the second, "S", for "the same".

If "S", then Mormon GA's cannot be believed when they claim "F". And if they cannot be believed, then they are in fact "leading the church astray", and if that is the case, a canonized item of official doctrine is not true (see the Manifesto page in the D&C), and if that is the case, then Joseph's church isn't the only true religion in the world.

But if "F", then illegitimacy, immodesty, sexual "looseness" and "experimentation", promiscuity, etc., were ALL far RARER in Joseph Smith's era, than now - meaning that his era was far stricter sexually, than ours is. But if that is the case, and as church defenders ask, we judge Joseph Smith according to the "standards of his time", then modern critics are NOT JUDGING HIM HARSHLY ENOUGH. And in fact, history suggests exactly this.

For, who do these genius church defenders think would best be in a position to judge Joseph according to the standards of his own time, other than THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN HIS OWN TIME? And how did THEY judge him?

THEY FINALLY ASSASSINATED HIM. They drove Joseph's treasonous band of cult fanatics OUT OF THE UNITED STATES. And before that, they chased Joseph out of area after area. And why? "Because Joseph's church was the only true church, and Satan wanted to destroy it!"?

My member friend, just consider one other possibility.

Maybe...just maybe...Joseph wasn't exactly precise with his storytelling....and maybe, just maybe, he didn't actually meet up with back-from-the-dead Peter, James and John, etc....Maybe, like hundreds of other religious men of the time, Joseph didn't really have the experiences he claimed to have had...and keep in mind, that antebellum America was rife with innovative religious societies, most of which were patiently tolerated by their neighbours...

So maybe, all that expulsion had something to do with this:

That everywhere Joseph Smith went, in the service of his cult of self-aggrandizement, he gave the finger to American law, American religion, American tradition, American mores, American culture, everything that those "in his own time" regarded as sacred and necessary. And as a consequence, everywhere he went, almost EVERYONE got totally sick of him and his band of deluded, obedient followers. The illegal banking,[In Kirtland, Ohio] the vigilantes, [Danites] the false prophecies, the mockery of a religion most Americans thought true (Christianity), the bloc voting,[when Joseph ran for president of the U.S.] the occultism, the furtive sexcapades, the shameless public lying, the destruction of other's private property, the delusions of grandeur ("God is my right hand man", "I have no law", etc.), announcing other's people property belonged to "the Saints" by divine right, etc., etc...

And let's keep in mind, since we're talking about judging according to the "standards of the day" - for those totally dependent on what their own farms could produce for sustenance, and the good will of their neighbours for safety and stability, dependent on the preservation of property laws, with disaster and death never seeming very far, Joseph and his [church] - with their disregard for so many things their neighbours thought necessary for survival and happiness (including respect for contemporary sexual standards) - appeared to pose a danger.

Like...DANGER. Like, their livestock start getting stolen because JS [Joseph Smith] and his sidekick Sidney start telling members that everything around them properly belongs to Zion (it's not like locals could run down to Costco to get replacement food for the winter); like, their civil institutions start getting overtaken by religious voting blocs (how'd you like your school board taken over by devout Muslims who start reconstructing everything according to Muslim law? Now you know how local Missourians might have felt); like their sisters - AND WIVES - getting hit on by "the prophet"...

The truth is that church defenders ought to be GRATEFUL that Joseph Smith's modern critics may be judging him by the standards of today. After all, how many RFM posters are big fans of vigilante castration and assassination? Most of us would be more than happy to just see Joseph's bad behaviour exposed and reproached, and then see his lies fade into the oblivion they - and all other lies - deserve.

Joseph's contemporaries were a little more pro-active. When Joseph supposedly hit on (or actually had sex with) fifteen year old Nancy Marinda Johnson, Dr. Dennison, with the encouragement of a neighbourhood mob, nearly castrated him. THAT'S how people IN his his own time judged him "according to their standards". So, I guess by the "logic" of church defenders, who say we ought to judge Joseph by 1840 standards of right and wrong, the RIGHT thing for us - AND them - to all be saying now about Joseph Smith is, that he deserved to be dragged out of the Johnson farm house in the middle of night, nearly castrated, then tarred and feathered by a bunch of angry townspeople. No wonder Mormon defenders are confined to publishing their inanities in church-subsidized publications - it's only there that the accidental comedy can go unrecognized...

Of course, it is too much to hope, that some church member, just as sincere as I was, could ever read this, and begin to think, "Maybe...maybe I've missed something....". But in the miraculous case that someone does, here is a final comment:

It was not considered proper in 1840's America for a foster father to secretly have sex with his teenage foster daughters - and Joseph did that TWICE (with both the Lawrence and Partridge sisters).

It was not considered proper for a self-proclaimed religious pastor to secretly have sex with his housemaids.

It was not considered proper for ANYONE, let alone a "prophet" who had publicly BANNED polygamy in his church charter, to secretly proposition other men's wives, even telling them that unless he could "marry" (have intercourse with) them, that an angel would murder him.

It was not considered proper for ANY MAN to slander women who rejected his sexual advances, as Joseph did with Nancy Rigdon and Sarah Pratt.

It was not considered proper for ANY 38 year old to secretly have sex with a fourteen year old, and in so doing, consign her to a life of loneliness, devoid of love.

The truth is, according to the standards of the time, Joseph's character must be - and was - regarded by most as nothing short of loathsome.

And in case you don't believe me, my member friend, I suggest you read "Mormon Enigma", recommended by the official church historian, Leonard Arrington. It is on sale at your local Deseret Books. [I have a copy of this book]

In it, you will find another judgment made of Joseph, one made in accordance with "the standards of his time" by one of Joseph's contemporaries. In fact, that contemporary was none other than his wife, Emma. And her judgment, after finding out later from a mutual friend that Joseph's tomcatting was greater than she had known, was that - "he was worthy of the death he died!" (see "Mormon Enigma", page 292).

When's the last time you read THAT on the special Joseph website run by the church? Joseph Smith's OWN wife - that "elect lady" - the first president of the Relief Society, whose portrait can still be seen in church buildings all over the world, stated that Joseph's behaviour was such, *according to the standards of his day*, that HE WAS WORTHY OF BEING ASSASSINATED by a mob.

My suggestion to Mormon church defenders: Stop asking modern critics to judge Joseph Smith by the "standards of his day"; according to your own modern prophets and apostles, Joseph Smith's day was far superior in morality, chastity, sexual standards, modesty, etc., than today, so all you're doing is highlighting just how obnoxious and loathsome was the behaviour of the Mormon founder according to the standards of HIS day (as if the censure and violent retaliation of his contemporaries wasn't enough to prove it...Even his own widow thought he deserved to be lynched!).

There is simply no excuse for a married man in his mid-thirties to be propositioning any woman - let alone teenagers as young as twelve. Those who try and justify it are just as wrong as Smith.

Was there once a time when it was ok for 38 year old men to have sex with 14 year old girls?

*My thoughts*

I don't care if it isn't practiced anymore by members of the LDS church. The fact remains that it IS practiced by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and it is the main reason that their prophet, seer and revelator, Warren Jeffs has been arrested for. His behavior is a model of those prophets before him, and if it is wrong today, it was certainly wrong 170 years ago, in Joseph Smith's time.

Or are we saying that morals were "looser" in those days?

It seems that the argument goes something like: girls matured faster back then, they married sooner, they didn't live as long so they split from their families much earlier, etc. If all of those things are true, and they certainly are not, it should be noticed that Joseph was a full 24 years older than his youngest bride, and was ALREADY married to other women, some of whom were already married to other men. Is there any justification for an older man to take a teenager for a wife, especially if that teenager is already living in his household as kind of a foster child?

We arrest and punish men in this day and age for such lewd behavior, and yet I hear of members trying to excuse Joseph's actions as "ordained of God". What a bunch of crap. He had no more excuse for taking these young girls for wives than Warren Jeffs, and tell me who isn't happy he is behind bars.

For those of you with a 12-16 year old daughter...would you let her be married to a 38 year old man FOR ANY REASON? Angel or no angel, commandment or no commandment, I would go straight to HELL first, before I let any man claiming God's authority to take my child from my home and make her his plural wife, ESPECIALLY if I knew he intended to take full advantage of that marriage and consummate it, which of course he did with each wife he took, in fulfillment of the commandment to bring forth righteous seed. Tell me that they were only "spiritual wives"...oh please, you don't really believe that do you?

Warren Jeffs doesn't think that's what the 'principle' means and neither did Joseph Smith. He took those young girls to his bed, or stayed with them in theirs to avoid Emma's discovering him, and he did more than just preach, just like Warren Jeffs did to all his victims. Joseph was a pedophile, he had sex with underage girls, pretending that he was commanded to by God, and he hid all of his lewdness from public scrutiny, and his wife. He was lying, hiding, scheming, and strategizing for his next victims, and he threatened those who resisted with eternal damnation, excommunication, and public humiliation for failure to submit to the principle. The fact that the current LDS church denounced the practice in 1890 doesn't change the fact that they didn't oppose it's practice and would have continued to do so if the U.S. government hadn't insisted on it. The church sees nothing wrong with the actions of Joseph or Brigham, or any other of the early prophets, and have even allowed the likes of Warren Jeffs to go unchecked and unpoliced for decades. If that doesn't spell support for the 'principle', they could do little else to show their agreement with it. The church can't go on denying that this is a PRIME teaching of God's restored church, and all the members of the LDS faction are the ones who have failed to adhere to the original teachings, not the fanatical Fundamentalists.

Joseph Smith was judged by his own day's standards.....that's why he was MURDERED.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Second Anointing

Link embedded in the title above. My comments are in [brackets]

Most people are aware of the LDS Church's expanding temple building program. To date, there are over 100 temples in operation around the world. Through the years there have been numerous published exposés of the endowment ritual. However, there is another little known ceremony given by invitation from church leadership called the Second Anointing. In order to qualify for this anointing one must have proven him/herself worthy and already participated in the endowment ceremony.

This ordinance is so rare that many good Mormons do not even know that it exists. It is done only by invitation from the president of the church, to one married couple at a time. It is performed in the Holy of Holies room of the temple by one of the apostles of the church. Those who receive this ordinance are guaranteed of their salvation and exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. The man is anointed as "priest and king" (the wife is anointed "priestess and queen") and their "calling and election [to exaltation] is made sure." Part of the ceremony is performed by the couple in private in their own home, following instructions given during the temple ceremony, and includes the ceremonial washing of feet. One implication of the ceremony is that the recipients will have a personal visitation of Christ. In earlier days many devout Mormons received this ordinance, but since the 1920s it is extremely rare, and probably only given to those in high leadership positions in the church.

[From a personal contact who shall remain anonymous:]

It still exists. The washing and anointing of the feet is done by the prophet and the women take the temple clothes home, wash their husbands feet and give them a blessing. With a little research, I believe the only one who is to give the endowment is Christ and he was not there at mine. There were about 10 couples involved. Can you think of a better way to get someone hooked in to the organization? Packer asked if we had any questions. When my (then) husband asked a question Boyd answered: "You will know." My invitation from the prophet was burned so that I don't have evidence and I was required to sign a paper accepting the opportunity... From what I understand, if I don't spill innocent blood, including my own, the blessing holds as far as the organization is concerned. The reason I answered you is because of a friend who checks the sites [Recovery from Mormonism]and asked if I would be willing to answer you... I am looking forward to the day when the truth comes out about what goes on in the basements of the temples.

LDS researcher David Buerger pointed out:

The higher ordinance was necessary to confirm the revealed promises of "kingly powers" (i.e., godhood) received in the endowment's initiatory ordinances. Godhood was therefore the meaning of this higher ordinance, or second anointing... (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1983, p. 21).

The couple receiving their second anointing were to go to the temple, and then dress in their temple robes. On December 26, 1866, LDS Apostle Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal:

I met with The Presidency and Twelve at President Youngs Office at about 12 o’clock. The subject of the Endowments & 2d Anointings was presented when President Young said that the order of the 2nd anointing was for the persons to be anointed to be clothed in their Priestly robes the man upon the right hand and wife or wives upon the left hand. The Administrator may be dressed in his usual Clothing or in his Priestly Robes as he may see fit. The meeting should be opened by prayer then the Administrator should Anoint the man A King & Priest unto the Most High God. Then he should anoint his wife or wives Queens & Priestess unto her husband. (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, vol. 6, p.307)

On Jan. 11, 1846, Brigham Young and his wife received their second anointing. Part of their anointing reads:

Brother Brigham Young, I pour this holy, consecrated oil upon your head, and anoint thee a King and a Priest of the Most High God... for princes shall bow at thy feet and deliver unto thee their treasures; ...And I seal thee up unto Eternal Life,...And thou shalt attain unto [the] Eternal Godhead... that thou mayest... create worlds and redeem them; so shall thy joy be full...

Elder Heber Chase Kimble then anointed Mary An Young, a Queen & Priestess unto her husband (Brigham Young) in the Church...Sister Mary Ann Young, I pour upon thy head this holy, consecrated oil, and seal upon thee all the blessings of the everlasting priesthood, in conjunction with thy husband: and I anoint thee to be a Queen and Priestess unto thy husband,... inasmuch as thou dost obey his counsel;... And I seal thee up unto Eternal Life, thou shalt come forth in the morning of the first resurrection and inherit with him all the honors, glories, and power of Eternal Lives, and that thou shalt attain unto the eternal Godhead, so thy exaltation shall be perfect,... (Book of Anointings, as quoted in The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship, by David John Buerger, Smith Research Associates, 1994, pp. 88-90)

Originally, this ceremony seemed to be a guarantee of godhood. Mr. Buerger observed:

Because of the strict confidentiality surrounding second anointings, it is unclear precisely what long-term effect they had on recipients nor, for that matter, the degree to which the conferral of godhood was held to be conditional or unconditional. Most early nineteenth-century statements imply that the ordinance was unconditional. (The Mysteries of Godliness, p.112-3)

Today, the church leaders seem to be minimizing the importance of the second anointing and refer to it as a "special blessing" but not necessary for exaltation (godhood) (see The Mysteries of Godliness, p.165). The official LDS magazine Ensign, March 2002, p.18, emphasized the necessity of the endowment (as opposed to the second anointing) for "eternal exaltation." The article went on to state: "Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life..." According to Mormonism, a person's endowment and temple marriage starts one on the road to godhood (D&C 132:20 - "Then shall they be gods"). While some Mormons emphasize that the word "gods" in the revelation is not capitalized, editions prior to 1900 have it capitalized. Also an official statement of the LDS First Presidency used the capitalized form, and declared that man's ultimate goal was to evolve "into a God." (Ensign, Feb. 2002, p. 30)

Joseph Smith taught that men had the capacity to achieve Godhood and rule their own planets. He also taught that our God was originally a mortal who achieved Godhood under the direction of another God. (see History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 305-6, 474) While Mormons say they worship only one God, they believe there are countless Gods in the universe.

[So much for the couplet, right, Mr. Hinckley?]

*My Thoughts*

This ordinance still exists, which can only mean one thing: somebody thinks it is of value to the membership of the church to continue to set aside certain married couples and invite them to receive this ‘rare’ ordinance to have their calling and election made sure.

Think about that the next time you go through the temple for some dead person and only receive the first part of the endowment, where you are only ordained to BECOME priests and kings (or priestesses and queens unto your husbands) sometime off in the future. These folks who participate in the Second Anointing, get to have their calling and election sealed in the Celestial Kingdom, and only the spilling of innocent blood can prevent them from attaining that highest level of celestial glory—the Holy of Holies.

Salt Lake City Temple Holy of Holies, where Second Anointings are performed.

No matter what you do, no matter how you raise your kids, no matter how many callings you fulfill or how much time you spend doing church work, no matter how much you tithe or how many interviews you pass to gain your temple recommend each year, unless you are a General Authority or a family member of one, you will not be given the second anointing, and you will not have your calling and election made sure, like some of the other choice souls get the privelege to do.

If you’re not living in Utah with multiple generations of Mormons on your family history sheets, if you haven’t gotten in with the upper General Authorities, or haven’t done anything special for them to notice you, they will not extend this invitation to come to the temple, receive this special reserved ordinance and ensure your place in heaven. All your efforts in the church won’t get you to the Celestial Kingdom without this ordinance, according to the prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and all the way down the pike, right down to Gordon Hinckley, who you can bet has made sure his own family has received this ordinance, as well as the families of the current twelve apostles.

Isn’t it nice to know that no matter how good you are, you still won’t be good enough to get this ordinance? Try writing a letter or two to your bishop, stake president, area authority, or the first presidency about this, ask them why only a select few will receive this second anointing and what makes them so special just because they were born to General Authority members?

Kind of makes you feel like a red-headed stepchild, doesn’t it?

Actually they will probably deny that this ordinance even exists, at least your bishop might, because it's unlikely that he has ever heard of it. But the fact is, it is a documented fact that it has indeed existed at least in the early days of the church, and if it is going to be denied today, someone needs to stand up and ask how can God’s true restoration be complete if this sacred ordinance is not in practice today? And the other question is, how can a regular member ever hope to achieve it?

Recommended Reading: The Mysteries of Godliness, A History of Temple Worship

Having been to the temple I can vouch for its completeness and accuracy. Very informative, lots of documentation worth consideration. I own this book by the way, and I am about halfway through it.

I can't go back to the Mormon church knowing I will never be good enough to reach the ears of the prophet and receive the second anointing, I will forever be jumping through hoops proving my worthiness and working my ass off trying to prove myself to everyone around me, just to be included in their temple recommend club. It's completely absurd to waste your life conforming to their rules, when they can give you nothing in return, not even the promise of a golden hereafter. They can't give you what they don't have.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The missing 116 pages of manuscript

Click on title above for original link

In 1828, Martin Harris, acting as scribe for Joseph Smith, recorded the first 116 pages of The Book of Mormon. He asked permission of Joseph Smith to let him borrow these pages to take home with him so he could show them to his wife. Martin’s wife was very skeptical and feared that her wealthy husband was being conned out of his money in order to get the Book of Mormon published for Joseph. Joseph inquired of the Lord to know if he might do as Martin Harris had requested, but was refused. Joseph inquired again, but received a second refusal. Still, Martin Harris persisted as before, and Joseph applied again, but the last answer was not like the two former ones. In this the Lord permitted Martin Harris to take the manuscript home with him. Three weeks later Mr. Harris returned to Joseph and told him that he had lost the 116 pages.

Joseph was very distraught over this, exclaiming "Oh, my God! All is lost! All is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned." It is widely believed that Martin Harris’ wife had taken the pages. The reasoning was that if Joseph was indeed a prophet he could retranslate those same pages exactly as before and that would prove he was actually translating instead of just making up the Book of Mormon story as he dictated to Martin. Finally, Joseph inquired of the Lord as to what he should do; in response, he received a revelation, which is recorded in section 10 of the Doctrine & Covenants. He was told that he should not retranslate those lost pages because Satan’s cunning plan was to have evil men alter the words in the original translation and wait until Joseph retranslated those pages. The evil men would then produce the original lost 116 pages with the alterations to prove that Joseph was a fraud.

God, of course, knew of Satan’s eventual plan and had Nephi make two sets of plates that cover essentially the same material but written a little differently. Joseph was instructed to now translate from the large plates of Nephi, instead of the smaller, abridged plates of Nephi that he had translated from earlier. This way the same basic information that should be included in the Book of Mormon was there, but it would not be expected to match exactly the original lost 116 pages that were first translated by Joseph.

Significant details & problems that most Latter-day Saints are not aware of.

The official story taught and recorded by the church is non-sensical for the following reasons:

1)The evil men that were conspiring to alter the original documents could not have done so without it being very obvious that the original document was altered. When Martin Harris was scribing for Joseph, he didn’t use a pencil and paper. Martin wrote with ink on foolscap. Any alteration would be very noticeable and not convincing to anyone.

In addition to the rubbing out of old words and rewriting of new words, the handwriting would have been different. Any rudimentary handwriting inspection would have determined that it had been altered, especially easy to determine given that the new handwriting would have occurred in the same spot as the rubbed out and re-written words.

2)If the evil men that were planning on changing the stolen 116 pages thought their plan of changing some words from these pages would work to discredit Joseph they would not have been completely foiled by Joseph translating from different plates to tell the first part of the Book of Mormon story. If they thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed then they would have still tried to alter the 116 pages to discredit his work.

For example, they could have changed some names of people or places or altered events that are central to the beginning of the Book of Mormon and thereby prove that Joseph’s new translation was in error. If they really thought their alterations would have gone unnoticed they could have changed the names of Nephi’s brothers or the cities they came from or many other items that would have been included in both sets of plates. But they never did this – why? If opponents of the Church really had the lost 116 pages as Joseph claimed they would have resurfaced in some form to at least attempt to discredit Joseph, even if they would not have been successful.

3)The general belief at the time was that Martin Harris’s wife burned the 116 pages. If she destroyed them, then this entire story is simply made up by Joseph Smith. But the prophet Joseph evidently was afraid she had not, but had secretly hidden them, for the purpose of entrapping him, should he ever attempt to reproduce the pages. If the work was really of God, the manuscript could be reproduced word for word without a mistake. If, however, Joseph created it himself, his memory would hardly be adequate to such a task, without numberless changes or verbal differences—and thus "give himself away," since he loudly professed to be all the time aided "by the gift and power of God." Since the lost pages never surfaced in any form, it is likely that they were destroyed immediately by Martin Harris’s wife. Therefore, the entire story about someone altering pages is impossible and just made up by Joseph because he knew he could not reproduce those same pages as he was not really translating the Book of Mormon story.

4)It is convenient that the prophets of old just happened to make an extra set of plates 1500 years ago to cover this contingency, isn’t it?

See also this link

Excerpt from The Golden Bible
by Rev. M. T. Lamb,
1887, p. 118-126

Strangely enough we find inserted in the middle of the Book of Mormon, pages 141-143 [BOM p. 143-45, 1981 ed.] a little book entitled the "Book of Mormon," or "Words of Mormon." It is by the supposed author or compiler of the entire work, the prophet Mormon. He has a book of his own, in its proper place, near the close of the work, recording his own life, and his connection with Nephite history. And this little affair of only two pages, having nothing whatever to do with the thread of the history that is being recorded, is to an ordinary reader of the Book of Mormon, wholly inexplicable. It becomes, intelligible, however, when read in connection with a certain untoward event that occurred in connection with the translation of the book by Joseph Smith. This event, as related by Mr. Smith's friends, is something like this:

Mr. Martin Harris, who was employed as Mr. Smith's scribe at the beginning of the translation, had written out with his own hand 116 pages of manuscript. By long and persistent coaxing, and the most faithful promises of secrecy, he secured Mr. Smith's permission to carry said manuscript to his own house for his wife's inspection—a woman who is accredited with a very irascible temper. Before the precious treasure was returned to its owner, a sad domestic quarrel so thoroughly provoked Mrs. Harris, that in an evil hour she put said manuscript forever out of the way. The general belief was that she burned it. But the prophet Joseph evidently was afraid she had not, but had secretly hid it, for the purpose of entrapping him, should he ever attempt to reproduce the pages. [Why not put the powers of discernment into use here, if he was a prophet of God?] If the work was really of God, the manuscript could be reproduced word for word without a mistake. If, however, Joseph inspired it himself, his memory would hardly be adequate to such a task, without numberless changes or verbal differences—and thus "give himself away," since he loudly professed to be all the time aided "by the gift and power of God."

The result was, that, in due course of time, there appeared a lengthy revelation purporting to come from God, the substance of which (see Doctrines and Covenants, p. 178-183—Liverpool Edition [D&C Section 10]) is that Satan has put it into the hearts of the enemies of the truth to alter the words of that stolen manuscript so that should Mr. Smith reproduce them, they would lie about it, and say the two did not agree together. Therefore, to circumvent said enemies of the truth, the Lord gave Mr. Smith a bit of very precious information.
And now, verily I say unto you, that an account of those things that you have written, which have gone out of your hands, is engraven upon the plates of Nephi;

Yea, and you remember it was said in those writings that a more particular account was given of these things upon the plates of Nephi.

And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi is more particular concerning the things which, in my wisdom, I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account—

Therefore, you shall translate the engravings which are on the plates of Nephi, down even till you come to the reign of king Benjamin, or until you come to that which you have translated, which you have retained;

And behold, you shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words.

I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

It may be necessary to explain that Nephi is supposed to have recorded his history upon two sets of plates, the one was a short abridged record containing the "more part of the ministry," the other set of plates contained a fuller unabridged account of the reigns of the kings, the wars, etc. The first set contained the religious history mainly, the second, the secular.

The old prophet Mormon had taken this second set of plates, the fuller or more secular account, and had condensed it to a very small compass, making it about one hundred times briefer than the original. And it was this abridged record of the secular history of the Nephites that Joseph Smith had laboriously translated with Martin Harris as his scribe. The record was so brief that the 116 pages of the manuscript written by hand brought the Nephite history quite down to King Benjamin's time, whereas the history as now found in the Book of Mormon requires 141 pages of closely printed matter to bring the record down to the same period, King Benjamin's time. But now that these 116 pages containing Mormon's abridgement of Nephi's secular history have been stolen and put out of reach, Joseph is informed in this precious revelation that there is another record he may use, abridged not by Mormon but by Nephi, and that is after all a great deal better and more desirable than the stolen record:

Behold, they have only got a part, or an abridgment of the account of Nephi.

Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.

And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.

Now several queries naturally suggest themselves:

1. How could Satan so easily circumvent the Lord? The golden plates from which these 116 pages were translated had been preserved for 1400 years by the special providence of God—been carefully translated by the gift and power of God. But now, after all this trouble and pains, the Lord is beaten by a wrathful woman, and all this trouble, labor and watchcare proves "love's labor lost" !

2. HOW does it happen that neither God himself nor his angel found out Mr. Smith was translating the wrong plates until Martin Harris (lost) those 116 pages?

3. If Joseph Smith was making a sad blunder in translating a second-rate, discarded set of plates, why should the Lord so terribly scold him and punish him for letting Mr. Harris take that manuscript home—since it was the best thing that could have happened for the cause of truth?

4. Does the Lord Himself come out of this affair entirely unscathed? Either He made a mistake in the first instance, and had to back out and do His work over again—or he perpetrated a fraud in the second case, a trick, a silly trick that has not even the merit of being a sharp one, so "thin," in fact, that no special acuteness is required to see through it.

But now, dear reader, after learning all these facts, would you suppose Mr. Smith so far lacking in common sense and good judgment as to give himself completely away in the Book of Mormon itself, by making the old prophet Mormon a party to the fraud? This is precisely what he does by inserting after page 141 [BOM p. 143-145, 1981 ed.] two pages, entitled the "Words of Mormon," at the precise point in the translation where he had arrived when Martin Harris carried away those one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript! Hear what Mormon says:

And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake, I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi.

And the things which are upon these plates pleasing me, because of the prophecies of the coming of Christ; and my fathers knowing that many of them have been fulfilled; yea, and I also know that as many things as have been prophesied concerning us down to this day have been fulfilled, and as many as go beyond this day must surely come to pass—

Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them, which remainder of my record I shall take from the plates of Nephi; and I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people.

But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren.

And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people.

And now I, Mormon, proceed to finish out my record, which I take from the plates of Nephi; and I make it according to the knowledge and the understanding which God has given me.

From all this we learn that Mormon himself, a prophet of the Lord, and led all the time and inspired by the spirit of God, helped too, by an angel from heaven, makes the same mistake that Joseph Smith made. He wearily plods on with his engraving tool, through the larger set of Nephi's plates, abridging them until he reaches the period of King Benjamin's reign, when he discovers, what he had not before known, the existence of other and briefer plates of Nephi, more religious in their character, and notably fuller in their statement of Christian doctrine and prophecies relating to Christ. And so laying aside all his previous work, he adopts this newly discovered treasure as part first of his great book. But very strangely, from this point forward down to his own time there are no double sets of plates to select from; and therefore, as he tells us, he has to go back to his first plan, the laborious work of abridging the fuller but more secular history. Singular, isn't it, reader, that this old prophet Mormon, fifteen hundred years ago should happen to discover these other plates of Nephi, and thus change the entire first part of his book, at the precise spot in King Benjamin's history where Martin Harris (lost) the 116 pages of manuscript? And quite as singular is another fact, that from the beginning of the Book of Mormon, in a large number of places, these two sets of plates are carefully distinguished from each other, and very much said about them up to the very same period, the point in the history of King Benjamin where Mr. Harris (lost) those 116 pages, and from that point onward nothing more is said of a double set of plates, so that Nephi himself, his brother Jacob, and all the writers down to King Benjamin were, as it were, preparing the way for this same great change made necessary by Mr. Harris' (loss)! But although these double sets of plates are so often mentioned in part first of the Book of Mormon, and the specific character of each clearly stated, yet strangely enough the prophet Mormon did not know of the existence of the one set containing "the more part of the ministry" until he happened to reach that same dangerous point in the history of his nation where where (the missing) 116 pages ended!

See the South Park version of this story here

*My Thoughts*

First, I would like to point out that the common member doesn't know that Joseph Smith put a seer stone in a hat and translated with "spiritual light" without the plates physically present. This is very shocking to some members to learn, and when it is collaborated with first hand accounts written by early members and witnesses of the translation process, it instantly becomes subject to the Mormon mental gymnastics, in order to make it conform with what they had previously believed. Some members who had previously vehemently denied such a possibility are left scrambling to come up with possible explanations for it, all the while having to realize that their own church is to blame for leaving them unprepared for this kind of confrontation. If the church could have been honest with its members in the first place, this kind of cognitive dissonance wouldn't have to happen.

Second, I have a really difficult time believing that an angel of light appeared to Joseph Smith, told him about golden plates, allowed him to find them but refused to let him remove them for four whole years, (which in my opinion would be long enough to fabricate something similar to pass off as gold plates bound with rings and engraved with strange markings) [See Kinderhoook Plates ], and then after finally allowing Joseph to take them and "translate" them, when it seems that he didn't even need the plates to be present in order to use his peep stone in a hat, this same angel came back and 'took' the plates away, (to where, heaven I suppose? And how was this done, magic?) What if we still had the gold plates? What would be the harm in having them if they weren't made of pure gold after all?

And finally, the whole story of how Joseph came to obtain the plates is remarkably similar to a story written by E.T.A. Hoffman called The Golden Pot:

Archivarius (meaning archivist) Lindhorst is the principle guardian of the treasures at his "ancient residence," just as Moroni is the primary guardian of Cumorah's treasures. Young Anselmus has a working relationship with Lindhorst that centers around his house. Joseph Smith has a recurring relationship with Moroni at the latter's cave headquarters. Anselmus and Joseph Smith can conveniently walk to their nearby house and cave in a short time. The house and cave both open upon their approach. Anselmus is greeted by Lindhorst and Smith is greeted by Moroni. Both of these beings are the last archivists of their respective civilizations. They are in charge of vast treasures including numerous "rolls of parchment" and from the destroyed civilization of Atlantis on one hand and plates of precious metal from the Jaredites and Nephites on the other hand.

There are many more similarities that are mentioned in Grant Palmer's book, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins.

Just add this to the shelf, and try to turn away from it. Pretty soon, though, that shelf is not going to hold all of the evidence that is piled upon it...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Things I wish I had known when I first questioned the church

by Matt Berry

1. God will not condemn an honest and sincere thought or question.
2. Truth does not BEGIN with an answer on behalf of which all questions must constantly rearrange themselves. If I want the truth I must begin with QUESTIONS, fearlessly, and let the answers arrive accordingly.
3. One of the most fearless Mormon assertions: "Choose/Do what is right, let the consequence follow."
4. Watch, don't listen. "Actions speak louder than words."
5. Fear, guilt, and filtered information are not means toward truth and a SPIRITUAL Testimony.
6. "Even if [fill-in ANY fear here], I will pursue Clarity and the Integrity of my own Mind."

Follow Mormon doctrine: become like God and you will understand God. As you pursue Truth and Integrity answers will arrive. Moreover, your ability to solve problems will improve as your understanding improves.
It is a very effective method of "proving" the church. However, as a warning, such an attempt could leave you emotionally ill: you cannot reconcile the ever-widening contradictions and at the same time keep the integrity of your own mind. Fearless honesty becomes a traumatic experience. Mormonism was not meant to be taken seriously.

Free Agency as taught by the church: "I am free to choose good or evil." Again, watch, don't listen. In practice, Mormon free agency is a sort of bondage. It amounts to: "If I obey authority and do not think for myself then I have "chosen" Good. If I do not obey authority and think for myself then I have chosen Evil." In short, Free Agency becomes: "I am free to arrive at authorized, ready-made answers, or free to fail."

If it is not true that the physical environment, as engineered by the church, is keeping your testimony intact, then you should have no qualms about leaving that environment for a brief span of time. If you are worried that a physical separation might "lead you into temptation," then ask your bishop this question: Should a prospect for baptism go back to his/her Catholic priest to sort things out first or should that convert temporarily cut off all ties with Catholicism in order to make a free and unbiased choice? Follow his advice in your own decision-making.

Trust your own thoughts. Only time alone with your own thoughts will give you true Free Agency. Do not expect to hear a voice ... or receive a "sign" from God. This is no time to speculate about possible coincidences. Trust in reason, trust in beautiful thoughts, and trust in yourself. Remember God does not condemn your honest and sincere thoughts ... they are NOT evil.

No number of testimonies, no volume of tears or sobs, no number of signatures ... not the prophet of God, not Joseph Smith, not Donny and Marie, not Steve Young .... can change the fact that two plus two equals four ... and no number of testimonies can change the fact that "Truth can withstand scrutiny."When you have THIS TYPE OF TRUTH in your OWN understanding and have confirmed it within yourself, you do not need an external authority or celebrity to confirm or deny it.

Others are not so concerned with your eternal salvation as they are afraid of their own doubts. The individuation of a mind comes across as a threat to the group-mind. The reliance on authority and the testimony of others is largely responsible for this insecurity -- for which the "concern" is only a mask.

Mormonism presents itself as an "all or nothing" proposal. "Mormonism is true or nothing else could possibly be true." The illusion is presented so unrelentingly that soon I begin to believe that reality itself is at stake.

"If the Mormon doctrine is True, then I am saved. If it is not true, then what have I lost?"
Answer: You have lost your time on this Earth, your authenticity, your chance for happiness, your self-esteem, your chance to cultivate your intelligence, and more importantly, the integrity of your own mind.

The Truth does not arrive through resentment or anger against the church. One of the greatest obstacles to clarity of thought and a constructive set of beliefs is resentment.

I see no real difference between participating in the temple ceremony and that of bowing to Mecca. Truth is expressed poetically. I must not confuse the metaphor with the significance of the metaphor. A "Rose" may help express Beauty, but it is not Beauty itself. A ritual, a spiritual symbol might point out the truth to me .... but that ritual, that material symbol is not itself the truth. If the church, like a metaphor, is a vehicle, then I am free to choose another vehicle. I am only concerned with the goal signified, not with the signifier itself ... and such progression requires a joyful and clear state of mind, not a secret handshake.

*My Thoughts*

I chose to share this post with my readers here, to demonstrate that this is very similar to the path I took when searching for the truth. At one point, I lost the fear of discovering what I had believed was not true. I became prepared to receive the truth from whatever source, and once I committed to that, the dam burst, the windows blew out, and the walls crumbled. It was as if the keeper of the truth was waiting for my realization that I was no longer afraid to learn, to change my perspective and to accept the truth in its proper form and context, without having to mold it to my personal belief system or discard it as "not useful".

And I did ask for a confirmation, like I had been taught all throughout my youth as a Mormon. And I got what I asked for. I have more of a testimony that the church is NOT true than I ever had trying to force myself to believe the church MUST be true. Nobody wants to admit they were tricked, and nobody wants to have to deal with the consequences of devoting so much time and energy to an organization based on "omissions" of truth. I just got to the point where I wanted to know the answers at whatever the price, my own integrity and the health of my mind were at stake. I am healthier, stronger, and wiser now than I have ever been, or could have been if I had stayed within that space.

I know that a few people will see me as an angry, vengeful, resentful former member. And the only reason I appear that way is because of the one-sided nature of these posts. This is a burial-ground...sacred space to me. This is where I get to empty out all my hostility towards the ENTITY that is the church. The members are human, and fallible like we all are to some degree. And I know I cannot tear down the church with my pitiful little blog. But if you are reading my blog....don't just skip down to the My Thoughts portion and look for your signals and traces of personal attacks. Don't gloss over the pages looking for me to mention family members or specific situations so you can hold a grudge against me. There are real reasons why I left, real information they don't want you to read, and real possibilities that I COULD BE RIGHT.

Does the thought of that scare you? Why should it? They have no authority, no control over you unless YOU GIVE IT TO THEM. Quit shaking in fear when called to the bishop's office, he has no spiritual guidance, just gut feelings and a Church Handbook. Don't get all nervous when the Stake Presidency comes to interview you, they are just men who get no time to be with their families because they have this huge responsibility. They have no power to see into your mind or soul. Stop letting the Home teachers walk all over you when they come to check in on you. It's your house, you make the rules.

Take back your life, it's yours to live! Only those who submit can be ruled!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Question They Should Have Asked...

Link for this post is embedded in the title above.

Robert Millet spoke to the Mission Prep Club about how to handle the tough anti-Mormon questions missionaries may face while on their missions or afterward.

As Boyd K. Packer once said, in quoting Henry D. Moyle, "I never pay any attention to the questions... If he doesn't ask the right questions [the questions I like to be asked], I give answers to questions he should have asked."

Packer added, "That short statement from President Moyle held great wisdom, and on a number of occasions I have been rescued in difficult situations by referring back in my mind to his comment." (source: Boyd K. Packer, p.63, Teach Ye Diligently)

[I found an excellent summary of Robert Millet's presentation here]:

Do not answer the questions of polygamy. Do not talk about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Don’t address Adam-God Doctrine or blood atonement.

Instead, he suggests countering any question with the story of 14 year-old Joseph Smith and his humble beginnings (aside from the treasure seeking, peepstones, and marrying of teenage girls, of course).

“What did I just do?” Millet says. “ I just answered the question he should have asked.”

Millet also says the issue isn’t Adam-God, Mountain Meadows Massacre, etc. the ISSUE is, “ Was Joseph Smith called of God? The only way to find that out is by learning a little bit and praying a lot.”

Another Millet quote: “We never provide MEAT when milk will do.”

The only true church? How can you even BEGIN to claim this, when such deception is practiced to LURE people in? It’s like a big scam.

Common sense tells you to RESEARCH something before you invest in it. Even parents USUALLY tell you to make sure you have all the facts before you invest in something, or join something. My parents have said this time and time again, and yet they WHOLEHEARTLY believe in this fabrication, this scam.

Here is concrete proof that MISSIONARIES are taught to be deceptive and to practice avoidance when trying to get members to join. They do NOT tell you the truth until after you’re a member, and even then it is watered down.

*My Thoughts*

I have used a reference from the BYU website for this post. I am reposting the link here to this site so you can see for yourself what the training program is all about for new missionaries. Remember, just because I post it here, doesn't make it false. If it can be found on the Mormon websites, and in the church archives, and was once taught and believed by thousands of members, then it can't be called a pack of lies dreamed up by Anti-Mormons. I think some of the best material comes from the church itself. That's what started me on the long voyage out of the church, and it can happen to anyone who cares to compare the past with the present.

"The future can only be determined by what has happened in the past" Kramer vs. Kramer

Friday, January 19, 2007

Was it normal to marry 14 year-old girls in Joseph Smith's time?

Original link here

"And I will bless Joseph Smith and multiply him and give unto him an hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds."

"And if he have ten 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."

"But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused [to Joseph Smith], shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto Joseph Smith to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill 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 glorified."
- Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:55, 62-63

Many LDS Church leaders and historians suggest that sexual relations and the marriage of Joseph Smith and his youngest wife, Helen Mar Kimball, fourteen at the time, was "approaching eligibility."

There is no documentation to support the idea that marriage at fourteen was "approaching eligibility." Actually, marriages even two years later, at the age of sixteen, occurred occasionally but infrequently in Helen Mar's culture. Thus, girls marrying at fourteen, even fifteen, were very much out of the ordinary. Sixteen was comparatively rare, but not unheard of. American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three.

In the United States the average age of menarche (first menstruation) dropped from 16.5 in 1840 to 12.9 in 1950. More recent figures indicate that it now occurs on average at 12.8 years of age. The mean age of first marriages in colonial America was between 19.8 years to 23.7, most women were married during the age period of peak fecundity (fertility).

Mean pubertal age has declined by some 3.7 years from the 1840’s.

The psychological sexual maturity of Helen Mar Kimball in today’s average age of menarche (first menstruation) would put her psychological age of sexual maturity at the time of the marriage of Joseph Smith at 9.1 years old. (16.5 years-12.8 years =3.7 years) (12.8 years-3.7 years=9.1 years)

The fact is Helen Mar Kimball's sexual development was still far from complete. Her psychological sexual maturity was not competent for procreation. The coming of puberty is regarded as the termination of childhood; in fact the term child is usually defined as the human being from the time of birth to the on-coming of puberty. Puberty the point of time at which the sexual development is completed. In young women, from the date of the first menstruation to the time at which she has become fitted for marriage, the average lapse of time is assumed by researchers to be two years.

Age of eligibility for women in Joseph Smith’s time-frame would start at a minimum of 19 ½ years old.

This would suggest that Joseph Smith had sexual relations and married several women before the age of eligibility, and some very close to the age of eligibility including:

Fanny Alger 16
Sarah Ann Whitney 17
Lucy Walker 17
Flora Ann Woodworth 16
Emily Dow Partridge 19
Sarah Lawrence 17
Maria Lawrence 19
Helen Mar Kimball 14
Melissa Lott 19
Nancy M. Winchester [14?]

And then we have these testimonies:

"Joseph was very free in his talk about his women. He told me one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was horrible to talk like this."
- Joseph Smith's close confidant and LDS Church First Councilor, William Law, Interview in Salt Lake Tribune, July 31, 1887

When Heber C. Kimball asked Sister Eliza R. Snow the question if she was not a virgin although married to Joseph Smith, she replied, "I thought you knew Joseph Smith better than that."
- Stake President Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph III, 23, LDS archives.

Go here to read Short Bios of Smith's wives, and if Smith did have sex with his wives

Whatever the average age of menarche might have been in the mid 19th-century, the average age of marriage was around 20 for women and 22 for men. And a gap of 15 to 20 years or more between partners was very unusual, not typical. Whatever biology might have to say, according to the morals of his time, several of Joseph Smith's wives were still inappropriately young for him.

It is a pure myth that 19th-century American girls married at age 12-14.

For example, Laura Ingalls Wilder, from Little House on the Prairie fame, was born in 1867, which puts her later than Joseph Smith but still in the 1800s. She tells of hearing of the marriage of a 13-year-old girl, and being shocked. She also notes that the girl's mother 'takes in laundry,' and is sloppy and unkempt--implying that "nice" people don't marry off their teenaged daughters. Laura, herself, became engaged at 17--but her parents asked her to wait until she was 18 to marry.

You merely need to go to your local courthouse and ask to see the old 19th century marriage books. Take a look at and pay attention to the age at marriage. Sure a very few did, but it was far from the norm. The vast majority of women married after the age of twenty.

In fact, look up the marriage ages in the Smith family before polygamy. You'll find that one of the Smith girls was 19. The rest of them, and their sisters-in-law, were in their early 20s when they married. The Smith boys' first wives were in their 20s. The same pattern was true for the various branches of my family and the rest of American society at the time.

On the extremely rare occasions women younger than 17 married, it was to men close to their same age, not 15 to 20 years older.

The case is even true in pioneer Utah among first marriages. Mormon men in their twenties started out marrying someone their own age. Then later these older men married girls under twenty to be their plural wives. But the first wives were the age of the husband and married over the age of twenty. This is still the case is the rural Utah polygamist communities.

Joseph Smith, Menses, Pedophilia, etc.

Author: TLC
From the RfM board

In our efforts to sort through the wasteland that is Mormon history, (fact vs. fiction) it's worthwhile, at least to me, to have some context within which to make our judgments.

A poster on the other thread derided the notion that the age of sexual maturity among women has changed or is still changing. The statistics are very clear on this however: The age of menarche is dropping in virtually all areas of the world. More on that below.

The other claim being disputed is that Joseph Smith was a pedophile. While it's easy to throw that word around in light of today's problems with child abusing priests in the catholic clergy, the fact remains that pedophilia is defined as: "The act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child or children."

Furthermore, the pathology of pedophilia is understood to be an attraction or activity that is limited to prepubescent children. It's been well-established that true pedophiles lose interest almost immediately when a boy or girl exhibits the first signs of sexual maturity.

I don't have access to my library of links on this subject from this computer but a quick Googling of the word pedophilia will take you to the professional community's definitions. They are very clear as to what does and what doesn't constitute pedophilia.

By today's definitions, when it comes to the pathology of pedophilia, Joseph Smith would probably not be considered a true pedophile. That doesn't mean however, that he wasn't a lecherous scumbag who would stop at nothing to bed any young woman who captured his fancy.

About the sexual maturity among women:

As closely as I can tell from investigating the median age of menarche (first menses) in Joseph Smith's time, it is possible that one or two of the girls he married and/or had relations with might not have been sexually mature. All of the research I've been able to find, (and it's not all linked here) indicates that the average age of menarche in the mid 1800s was 17.

What that might tell us about a girl who was 14 or 15 back then is hard to determine because of the nature of averages. In any event, it does make it clear that Joseph Smith was treading a very fine fine when it came to the sexual maturity of the girls he courted and/or married.

There is a lot of research in this arena because of the alarming shift in menarchal age from the 1800s to present day where the median onset of menarche has now dropped to age 12.

In 1840, the average young woman in Europe and the United States menstruated for the first time at the age of 17; her modern counterpart reaches the age of menstruation at about 12. Well known to biological anthropologists as the "secular trend," this crash in the age of sexual maturity has proceeded at the rate of four months per decade, and, in most populations, continues.

See link here
Boys and girls now experience puberty at younger ages than previous generations. In general, girls enter puberty between ages 8 and 13 and reach menarche (first menstruation) several years later, while boys enter puberty between ages 9 and 14 (436, 529). The reasons for earlier menarche in girls are not well understood. Most of the change is attributed to better health and nutrition (160, 185, 529). In North America age at menarche decreased by three to four months each decade after 1850; in 1988 the median age at menarche was 12.5 years among US girls (160, 529). In some developing countries age at menarche appears to be decreasing even faster. For example, in Kenya average age at menarche fell from 14.4 in the late 1970s to 12.9 in the 1980s (185).

See link here
So perhaps more for my own benefit than anyone else's, it helps to understand the context from within which we assess the lecherous scumbag known as Joseph Smith. We don't know if he had sex with prepubescent children, therefore we don't know if he was truly a pedophile. We don't know if the teenaged girls he married and/or had sex with were sexually mature or not.

But regardless of whether they were sexually mature or not, something in us is sickened by the thoughts of them being coerced into any kind of relationship with this lecher who was pretending to use god as his motivator.

Joseph Smith was not the first, nor will he be the last, to prey upon young girls for sexual gratification. And that in no way justifies his actions. But in aiming for accuracy in trying to describe Joseph Smith, there are a lot of words other than pedophile that do the job more saliently and succinctly.

...What one of us as fathers here today, would hesitate for a second to deck a [dirtbag] like J.S. if he so much as glanced in any of our daughter's directions? I know that my response would be visceral and swift.

Makes you wonder what kind of men Smith had around him that they would so willingly hand over their young daughters to him. Therein lies the true pathology of Mormonism.

The story of Helen Mar Kimball

In 1843 Apostle Heber C. Kimball had an important talk with his only daughter, fourteen-year-old Helen Mar. She wrote: “Without any preliminaries [my Father] asked me if I would believe him if he told me that it was right for married men to take other wives...The first impulse was anger...my sensibilities were painfully touched. I felt such a sense of personal injury and displeasure; for to mention such a thing to me I thought altogether unworthy of my father, and as quick as he spoke, I replied to him, short and emphatically, ‘No I wouldn’t!’...This was the first time that I ever openly manifested anger towards him...Then he commenced talking seriously and reasoned and explained the principle, and why it was again to be established upon the earth. [This] had a similar effect to a sudden shock of a small earthquake.”

Then father “asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph...[and] left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty-four hours...I was sceptical-one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast her off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right. I knew that he loved me too well to teach me anything that was not strictly pure, virtuous and exalting in its tendencies; and no one else could have influenced me at that time or brought me to accept of a doctrine so utterly repugnant and so contrary to all of our former ideas and traditions.” Unknown to Helen Mar, Heber and Joseph had already discussed the prospect of Helen Mar becoming one of Joseph’s wives. Heber now sought her agreement. Helen recalls, “Having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet Joseph, he offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet’s own mouth. My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the alter”

The next morning Joseph visited the Kimball home. "[He explained] the principle of Celestial marrage...After which he said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.[‘] This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. None but God & his angels could see my mother’s bleeding heart-when Joseph asked her if she was willing...She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older & who better understood the step they were taking, & to see her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer, following in the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come...; but it was all hidden from me.” Helen’s mother reluctantly agreed and in May of 1843, Helen married Joseph Smith.

During the winter of 1843-44, there were weekly parties at Joseph Smith’s Mansion House. Many of Helen’s friends attended, as well as her sixteen-year-old brother William. Disappointed, Helen wrote, “my father had been warned by the Prophet to keep his daughter away...I felt quite sore over it, and thought it a very unkind act in father to allow [William] to go and enjoy the dance unrestrained with others of my companions, and fettered me down, for no girl loved dancing better than I did...and like a wild bird I longed for the freedom that was denied me; and thought myself an abused child, and that it was pardonable if I did murmur.”

In June 1844, Heber was away from home on a mission and wrote to Helen: “MY DEAR DAUGHTER-...be obedient to the counsel you have given to you...If you should be tempted, or having feelings in your heart, tell them to no one but your father and mother; if you do, you will be betrayed and exposed...You are blessed, but you know it not. You have done that which will be for your everlasting good for this world and that which is to come. I will admit there is not much pleasure in this world...Be true to the covenants that you have made...Be a good girl;...your affectionate father.” A few weeks later Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage. After one year of marriage, Helen was a widow.

Helen’s father would eventually marry thirty-nine wives. She wrote, “I had, in hours of temptation when seeing the trials of my mother, felt to rebel. I hated polygamy in my heart.” Helen later fell victim to a prolonged illness: “For three months I lay a portion of the time like one dead...I tasted of the punishment which is prepared for those who reject any of the principles of this Gospel.” Eventually she was converted to polygamy and recovered from her illness, “I fasted for one week, and every day I gained until I had won the victory...I learned that plural marriage is a celestial principle, and saw... the necessity of obedience to those who hold the priesthood, and the danger of rebelling against or speaking lightly of the Lord’s annointed”. Helen later summarized her experience with plural marriage in a poem:

I thought through this life my time will be my own
The step I now am taking’s for eternity alone,
No one need be the wiser, through time I shall be free,
And as the past hath been the future still will be.
To my guileless heart all free from worldly care
And full of blissful hopes and youthful visions rare
The world seamed bright the thret’ning clouds were kept
From sight and all looked fair...

...but pitying angels wept.
They saw my youthful friends grow shy and cold.
And poisonous darts from sland’rous tongues were hurled,
Untutor’d heart in thy gen’rous sacrafise,
Thou dids’t not weigh the cost nor know the bitter price;
Thy happy dreams all o’er thou’st doom’d also to be
Bar’d out from social scenes by this thy destiny,
And o’er thy sad’nd mem’ries of sweet departed joys
Thy sicken’d heart will brood and imagine future woes,
And like a fetter’d bird with wild and longing heart,
Thou’lt dayly pine for freedom and murmor at thy lot;

But could’st thou see the future & view that glorious crown,
Awaiting you in Heaven you would not weep nor mourn.
Pure and exalted was thy father’s aim, he saw
A glory in obeying this high celestial law,
For to thousands who’ve died without the light
I will bring eternal joy & make thy crown more bright.
I’d been taught to reveire the Prophet of God
And receive every word as the word of the Lord,
But had this not come through my dear father’s mouth,
I should ne’r have received it as God’s sacred truth.

Helen Mar Kimball