Tuesday, June 26, 2007

LDS Church Breaks Silence About Mountain Meadows

In what is being called unprecedented terms, the LDS Church is talking openly about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. On the Church's website, there is a new article and account of the infamous 1857 event. The article will also be published in September in the LDS Church's Ensign Magazine.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre remains one of the darkest moments in Utah and LDS Church history. 120 California bound settlers were attacked and killed by Mormons and Paiutes. Ironically, it took place on 9-11, 1857.

And while the LDS Church has expressed sympathy for the Mountain Meadows slayings, it hasn't always been anxious to talk about it. At a memorial service there in 1999, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "We have a Christian duty to honor, to respect and to do all feasible to remember and recognize those who died here."

But now, in this article, the church is openly discussing what happened. The article asks, "How could this have happened? How could members of the Church have participated in such a crime?"

This article originally came just days before the opening of the controversial movie, "September Dawn," but now filmmakers have once again delayed it's release. The film is a fictionalized version of the darkest day in Utah history. In retelling the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, it paints all Mormons especially their leader Brigham Young as dangerous religious zealots. It was originally set to release in early May. Then it was June 22. Now the target date is August 24.

The only explanation is that August will be "a less competitive time." Filmmakers are apparently referring to summer blockbusters. If "September Dawn" had been released Friday, it would have been up against the opening of "Evan Almighty" as well as "Pirates of the Caribbean" and other movies already in general release.

This September 11 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. LDS Church Leaders are expected to take part in special memorial services at the Mountain Meadows site.

Will Bagley
, on the involvement of the Church in the Mountain Meadows Massacre:

As is the case of many other dark, malevolent deeds, the true facts of the tragedy were at first suppressed and later deliberately falsified, distorted, and confused. Though some important details relating to the initiation, planning, and actual execution of the massacre still remain obscure, the evidence shows clearly enough that a number of authorities of the Mormon Church in southern Utah were directly responsible for the tragedy and authorized or perhaps even planned its most revolting features.

The Mormon leaders in Salt Lake, moreover, not only failed to bring the murderers to justice but for nearly twenty years effectively used their authority and influence to prevent the federal officers from arresting the offenders. It is obvious, moreover, that Brigham Young and his highest advisers were fully informed of the massacre soon after it occurred and knew to what degree each participant was accountable for its initiation and execution.

To deny that Young had at least full ex post facto knowledge of the appalling business of the massacre is to deny the supreme and minute control that he habitually exercised over all the affairs of church and state in Utah, and to take the naïve position that a man who kept himself as fully and completely informed on all matters that went on in the "Kingdom of the Saints" as absolute authority and human ingenuity made possible would choose to remain complacently ignorant of an incident that threatened to bring stark ruin to the whole Mormon dream of spiritual and temporal sovereignty in the State of Deseret.

Brigham Young was not a credulous simpleton: he was not duped or hoodwinked: he was not misinformed. He knew the true story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, about which the most damning reports were soon published in the hostile Gentile world and widely circulated even among the Mormons themselves, as well as any man in Utah; and he knew the names of the individual Mormons, whether prominent or obscure, who participated in the wholesale atrocities.

*****My Thoughts*****

I have to wonder about the approach that the church is taking when talking about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. It's not as if this event is common knowledge throughout the ranks of the faithful, so why are they treating it as if it is? One of the lines I noticed in the article:

For a century and a half the Mountain Meadows Massacre has shocked and distressed those who have learned of it.

This, to me, says that they had no active part in making sure ANYONE learned of it.

The article goes on to say:

The tragedy has deeply grieved the victims’ relatives, burdened the perpetrators’ descendants and Church members generally with sorrow and feelings of collective guilt, unleashed criticism on the Church, and raised painful, difficult questions. How could this have happened? How could members of the Church have participated in such a crime?

Up until the announcement that September Dawn was about to be released, the church has NEVER claimed to have "feelings of collective guilt". The wording here is that the DESCENDANTS and the church MEMBERS have been the ones burdened with the sorrow and guilt, as a result of what happened. Not the church. As a matter of fact, Gordon Hinckley has gone OUT OF HIS WAY to make the point that the church does not admit fault!!!

At the 1999 dedication of the Mountain Meadows Monument:

"I come as a peacemaker. This is not a time for recrimination or the assigning of blame," he said at the ceremony that was broadcast to LDS Church buildings in Utah and Arkansas.

"No one can explain what happened in these meadows 142 years ago. We may speculate, but we do not know," Hinckley said. "We do not understand it. We cannot comprehend it. We can only say that the past is long since gone."

Hinckley said the church was not involved in the killings, and, "That which we have done here must never be construed as an acknowledgment on the part of the church of any complicity in the occurrences of that fateful and tragic day."

Did you know THAT? Is the world spinning, or is it just me?

And of course, the church is being PERSECUTED by critics and forced to answer "painful, difficult questions". Who made this bed, the critics or the church? Maybe if those bones hadn't accidentally been dug up in the first place, you wouldn't have to deal with the aftermath!!! Here's a thought: maybe if Brigham Young had been punished for his crimes of treason against the United States, for his acts of TERRORISM, then the church wouldn't have anything to apologize for!!

How about checking out what the descendants of those murdered by the Mormons in that valley have to say? Seems like they explain it pretty well, even if Hinckley claims they can't understand or comprehend what happened on that fateful day. All you have to do is read the personal accounts, read the history, follow-up on the events of the trial that followed, learn how long the cover-ups lasted and the efforts Brigham Young made to make sure the true story would never be heard. I don't think it's time to put it in the past and move on, I think it's time to finally deal with the past, make your proper apologies and explanations to the people from whom you have withheld information, and THEN move on.

Treating this as if they have already dealt with it, and they are being mercilessly persecuted for something that happened 150 years ago gives the false impression that they are open about their history, and all the members of their church know their side of the story. Well, if that were true, why are they just now coming out with an article about it, telling their members about the tragedy for the first time ever? And every member who reads this will be asking the same things: "Why didn't I know about this before?", "What else have they 'not' mentioned to me?" , "Can I trust them to tell me the truth about everything, when they hid this from me?"

Yep, it's time for them to squirm uncomfortably in their seats...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Too Little, Too Late: LDS Church FINALLY Admits that Mountain Meadows Massacre DID Occur After All

Just before the release of September Dawn, (opening has been pushed to August 24th as of today), The Mormons decide its time to finally talk about the matter and admit involvement, by publishing (and spinning) their own version of events in the July issue of the widely distributed Ensign magazine, to which thousands of faithful members subscribe to, and treat with the same reverence as the BoM.

For those members who have NEVER heard of such an event, it's going to be an eye-opener for sure. They should wonder why the church never openly spoke of this event before, instead preferring to let it fade into memory and the back annals of history, just like polygamy and racial prejudice against Blacks obtaining priesthood authority.

For those who have heard about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, but vehemently denied that the church had any involvement, and it was ALL Indians... surely you must realize by now that limiting yourself to church sources for information will never give you the full picture, and believing everything that issues forth from Church Authority lets them control your world view and your beliefs. You might as well hand over the keys to your house too...

The church is afraid of this movie. The information on the Mountain Meadows Massacre is all over the web and is just one Google away...

I'll get you started:

link here

and here

another here

one more here

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mormon church, foundation at odds over Mountain Meadows monument

from: The Associated Press

Descendants of a 120-member Arkansas immigrant party say their plea for federal stewardship of the Mountain Meadows mass grave site has been rejected by LDS Church.

Phil Bolinger and Scott Fancher of the Arkansas-based Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation say they got the news June 6 in a telephone call from Elder Marlin Jensen, who oversees the church history department.

"He told us that President (Gordon B.) Hinckley had turned us down. He doesn't think it's in the best interests of the church to allow federal stewardship in the meadows," said Bolinger, the foundation president who is related to 30 of those killed. "That really bit me bad."

Jensen declined an interview, but confirmed through spokeswoman Kim Farah that the church will not pursue federal stewardship of the site. A similar request was also rejected in 1999.

Descendants want the site in the hands of a neutral third party because they believe the institutional church is complicit in the murders.

"It's not right for the people who had complicity to the killings to be the grave owner," said Bolinger, who discussed the issue with Jensen on April 25 in Salt Lake City.

"I asked him, 'How you do you think the Kennedy family would feel if the Lee Harvey Oswald family had control of the Kennedy tomb?'"

History hangs the Sept. 11, 1857, event on southern Utah Mormon leaders and a small band of Paiute Indians, leaving the culpability of then-church president Brigham Young up for debate. An upcoming book from church historians takes the same position.

Headed to California, the wagon train led by Capt. Alexander Fancher and John Baker arrived in the Utah territory at the same time the federal government was mounting pressure on the Mormon church for its practice of polygamy and disregard for federal oversight.

They camped first near Salt Lake City and then headed south to the meadow, a well-known stopover on the old Spanish Trail. The immigrants were attacked and spent a week engaged in gun skirmishes before local Mormon Elder John D. Lee rode in on horseback with a white flag to negotiate their rescue.

Persuaded to walk single-file and unarmed from the valley, the immigrants were shot at close range, stabbed or beaten to death. Their bodies were not buried.

Seventeen children were spared, all of them under age six _ young enough, some said, not to remember or speak of what they saw. The youngsters were adopted by local families and later returned to their relatives in Arkansas.

Lee was tried, convicted and executed for the massacre 20 years later and is the only person ever held responsible.

Today, the Mountain Meadows monument site is a 2,500-acre parcel in a rolling scrub-pine and sagebrush valley about 35 miles northwest of St. George.

The land is a patchwork of public and private holdings, some of which was passed down through families from pioneer ancestors.

There are four known mass grave sites and two memorials _ the rock pyramid known as the Carelton Cairn on the valley floor and a memorial wall on Dan Sill Hill, which overlooks the valley and is inscribed with the known names of victims from the 29 different families on the wagon train.

The monument is already on the National Park Service's Register of Historic Places, but the designation doesn't guarantee public access or public input before construction or other site changes, foundation attorney Scott Fancher said.

Foundation members believe a higher designation, such as national monument status, would better protect the interests of all and salve the wounds of many Fancher party descendants, said Bolinger, of Hindsville, Ark.

"Federal stewardship of this grave site ... that's all it would take to put this to bed," he said.

Federal oversight might also have prevented the Aug. 3, 1999, maintenance work on the cairn when a church crew accidentally unearthed the remains of at least 28 men, women and children. A forensic evaluation was begun, but cut short on an order from Utah's then-Gov. Mike Leavitt, a descendant of some who participated in the massacre.

At a dedication ceremony of the rebuilt cairn that September, Hinckley said the church carries a moral responsibility to remember the victims, but fell short of acknowledging church complicity to the crime.

Mormon church leaders are committed to appropriately preserving the Mountain Meadows site, Farah said.

"The church has owned the monument site at Mountain Meadows for many years. The property is open to the public and considerable time and resources are allocated to ensure that the property is well-maintained, open to the public and that those who perished there are appropriately remembered," she said.

Farah also confirmed what Washington County recorder's office records show - over the past few months, the church has increased its holdings in the meadow. Since March at least two families have deeded their property over to the church.

"The church intends to administer and maintain this property in like manner, thereby preserving it from either residential or commercial development," said Farah.

Bolinger said the foundation, one of three descendant groups, shared concerns that residential development in fast-growing Washington County would damage the site. But he's rankled by the church's acquisition of more land and says he'll continue to push for federal stewardship.

"It's the highest honor we could pay these people," Bolinger said.

*****My Thoughts*****

Just in time for September Dawn to be released this Friday....

Should we judge Joseph Smith by present-day standards?

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 "fallen", and the second, "the same".

If "the same", then Mormon GA's cannot be believed when they claim "fallen". 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 "fallen", 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!"?

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.

Friday, June 15, 2007

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

Reposting for Kullervo, for enlightenment

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 skeptical-one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast her off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right. I knew that he loved me too well to teach me anything that was not strictly pure, virtuous and exalting in its tendencies; and no one else could have influenced me at that time or brought me to accept of a doctrine so utterly repugnant and so contrary to all of our former ideas and traditions.”

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If your daughter was Helen Mar Kimball...

As Mormons encounter greater media attention and scrutiny, Reuters spoke with Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, a church leadership body, in his office at the headquarters of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. The following [is an] excerpt from the interview [found on the last page]:

Q: There is historical evidence that suggests Joseph Smith took a 14-year-old bride, Helen Mar Kimball, when he was 38 years old. In today's terms, that would make him a pedophile. Does this bother you or other LDS church members?

CHRISTOFFERSON: It would depend on what all the facts were and the context. In those days, of course, was that it was not so uncommon in the society of the time. Today that would be statutory rape. A different standard applies. What I look to, I'm telling you about my personal approach, is: what do I know through study and through prayer concerning Joseph Smith and at root my witness is that he was divinely called. That's the foundation. Now whatever questions might arise -- as to whether he erred or stumbled in a certain matter -- throughout his life he wasn't perfect. We don't claim perfection in the human being. I don't know what he was responsible to before -- God I don't know frankly. But as to his prophetic calling, his prophetic mission and what he achieved in that goal, I'm convinced of that. So the fruits of what he accomplished I think are evident.

from Jeff Ricks, Administrator and Founder of Postmormon.org

Mr. Christofferson, there's a reason that having sex with a 14 year old girl is considered statutory rape -- because it's morally wrong! It's morally wrong because anyone that young is too young and too impressionable and too easily manipulated but an adult. It is morally wrong today and it was morally wrong then. Mr. Christofferson is trying to rationalize in his statement that because he knows through prayer and personal conviction that Joseph Smith was a prophet, when Joe took advantage of the 14 year old girl it was somehow okay. Apparently Mr. Christofferson has a lower standard of morality than I do.


And I think Christofferson illustrates one of the fundamental inconsistencies of Mormonism: if the powers of heaven are intrinsically tied to personal righteousness, and, as he states, Joseph may be "responsible to before God" for his failings, how can any of his allegedly prophetic statements, revelations, and sealing powers be considered valid if he was in a state of serious sin? Maybe he considers committing statutory rape a minor "stumbling," but I certainly do not. Any God that sets one set of rules for the leaders and another for the followers simply is not worth my time. It is amazing how the LDS leadership continues to downplay behaviors that would get someone excommunicated today (or thrown in jail) as "imperfections."


Personally I am disgusted by Joseph Smith. He used his position to coerce young women into quick marriages and he consummated them. Did he have sexual relations with Helen Mar Kimball? Considering that he did with his other wives, what evidence is there to assert that he did not? There is none, and my guess is that as a 38 year old man, Prophet of God, Mayor of Nauvoo, General of the Nauvoo Legion, King of the Council of Fifty, Joseph Smith also enjoyed a sexual relationship with this underage girl for no other reason than personal gratification.

Grape Nephi

Apologists are quick to come to Smith's defense saying that these marriages were platonic and just there to seal them together. However, if you read D&C 132 carefully you will note that it is for expanding the Kingdom by having more kids! And when you add in the journal entries for a number of these brides, you can see through the innocent mask and see Smith for what he truly was: a sexual predator.

Crime Dog

A more important point here is that this is another of those instances where the interviewer is either providing a pass, or simply does not know enough about church history and doctrine to ask the appropriate follow up question.

REUTERS: Joseph Smith ran for president. Brigham Young was head of the Utah territory and once said he intended to make Utah a sovereign state. The early church history is very political. Given that this was just 170 years ago, what relationship does the church have with politics today?

CHRISTOFFERSON: In our view, the first loyalty of a member of the church in his role as a government official is to the nation and his constituency.

At this point, Reuters should have known to follow up with,"But what of the sacred oath of consecration, taken in the Temple? Does whatever oath of office an elected official takes trump this commitment? Can an earthly office possibly outrank an oath and commitment so sacred, so important that it was taken in the Church's holiest place, in a ritual so secret that participants at one time were required to take death oaths to protect those secrets? Wouldn't Governor Romney have taken such an oath?"

Continuing his response:

I think it's important to distinguish the church's role as an
institution and the roles of its members as individuals.

Reuters should have known enough to challenge this statement by asking "But hold on here, didn't Joseph Smith teach that the US constitution would hang by a thread, and the Latter Day Saints would save it? Didn't he believe in an LDS theocracy, so strongly in fact that he not only ran for President, but raised his own army? And wasn't that type of activity among the chief causes of the Mormon persecution, wherein they were driven from place to place in the Church's early years?

I am confident to say there is no secret document that would blow the church out of the water that's been held at a secret vault.
A good follow-up would have been, "Fair enough, but what of the so-called 'salamander letter' that Church officials purchased, that later turned out to be a hoax? Why would they believe it even remotely possible that such a wacky story could be anything but a scam? And did they buy it with the intention of displaying it to the world, or did they intend to bury it? And, had the Book of Abraham facsimiles been in the Church's possession, rather than in the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art when they were rediscovered in 1966, knowing what they know now, would those facsimiles ever have seen the light of day?


Of course Joseph Smith consummated his plural marriages. There is a bit of ostriching among the Latter Day Saints in that they don't want to picture their prophet sexing up a 14, 15, and 16 year old girl. It's repulsive as the day is long.

But we know it happened because EVERY single polygamist in the church who was taught by Joseph Smith himself how to behave sexually in their marriages was having sex with and bearing children with their plural wives. They learned to do it from the founder of the religion. Besides, read section 132-- it's all there... "do the works of Abraham" (i.e. have sex, have children).

There is no escaping that.

Smith had sex with teens. End of story. Makes you just want to run off and go do an endowment session now doesn't it??


My main problem with Christofferson's response is the assertion that marriage this young was common at the time. It was not. JS was 19 when he first married to Emma Hale who was 17 (that is NOT 14, in case you missed that) and her dad was STILL pissed that they ran off together. He did not have a "Well she's old enough to make those decisions for herself," attitude you might expect if it was common place to marry extremely young. At the time it wasn't considered statutory rape, but women were still considered chattel, could not own land, and it was thought impossible to rape a spouse. My polygamous ancestor didn't marry anyone under the age of 20 - why not if it was common? His hottie wife that Ole Joe wanted, but she turned him down, married Orson at 21 and was his first wife. It wasn't "just the way of the time." It was actually much more despicable when you realize women didn't usually hit menses until around 17 back then - today girls hit menses around 12-14 - so we are talking about someone that was not even fully sexually developed.


Occasionally, I run into a block, unable to bring up points that I haven't brought up before. After 140 posts about Mormonism, I thought I had pretty much come up with the main hitting points. But then things like this interview come up, and I just have to share it with the Outer Darkness.

As I was reading the reactions posted by members of the PostMormon.org, I just got that sick twisted feeling all over, trying to picture what it would be like to allow my 14 year old daughter, no, make that SACRIFICE my only daughter in order to ensure my place in the Celestial Kingdom. Read Helen Mar Kimball's own story, and then substitute your own daughter or niece or granddaughter in her place. Would there be ANYTHING that could convince you that selling her virginity to a man 24 years her senior would be justified by God?

Another thing that was brought up recently {and I can't pinpoint where} was that polygamy as a device to raise up seed is completely absurd when you consider that a woman can only be pregnant once at a time, and there is no reason she couldn't fulfill the law with her OWN lawfully wedded husband, without also having to be married in secret to Joseph Smith, via 'celestial marriage". Some of these men came home from two years abroad [missions to England] to find their wives had been taken by Joseph as plural wives, and pregnant by him upon their arrival! But, lest Emma would find out, these husbands kept their wives home with them and raised up Joseph's kids as their own. How was this populating the Earth any faster? Making these women pregnant without any breaks in between, THAT'S GOD'S PLAN???? Pardon me while I sneeze: BULLSHIT!

Polygamy was NOT used to 'care for' the widowed, orphaned, or homeless women!!! It was used to purchase a 'glorious reward', namely being included in Joseph Smith's celestial harem of wives. This was going on LONG before the trek out west, and it was the underlying reason for the invention of the temple endowments and the oaths taken by those secret members of Joseph's circle of polygamists.

They weren't merely promising to never reveal handshakes, they promised never to rat out each other, or Joseph. If they attempted to do so, they were promptly disavowed, excommunicated, blacklisted and run out of town, their wives and daughters cast out with them and their reputations completely raked through from the pulpit.

One read through of the Nauvoo Expositor, the one and only issue that threatened to expose Joseph Smith of his lascivious acts should be convincing enough, and that is precisely why Joseph ordered the press destroyed and the issues burned. He was taken to jail to face charges of TREASON and RIOTING for using the Nauvoo Legion to do his bidding. He was killed by a mob for being a child molester, and for breaking oaths of Freemasonry. There was no 'religious persecution' to escape from. There was only the legacy of a twisted, sick pedophile.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Gordon B. Hinckley Building
Brigham Young University
Funding Goal: $35 Million

What It Is

Construction has commenced for the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center, situated at the entrance to campus where the Alumni House formerly stood. The building will serve as an introduction to Brigham Young University for visitors, as an on-campus gathering place for alumni, and as a state-of-the-art facility for other functions as needed.

Why [They Think] It Is a Priority
Each year thousands of visitors from around the world—scholars, government leaders, dignitaries, invited guests, and people simply wanting to see BYU—come to campus; this new building will be a facility to introduce them to the university and the spiritual foundations that anchor it. The building will be a front gate to campus, a place to feel the BYU experience.

BYU strives to maintain a relationship with its alumni. In this building, alumni and friends will be able to gather before campus events or participate in reunions and other meetings. There will be a reading room and a business center to send faxes, check e-mail, and use the Internet. This building will serve as an on-campus home for alumni.

President Hinckley’s unflagging support of BYU and his ambassadorial outreach as leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints typify the purposes of this new building. It will be a place that reaches out to and embraces—as President Hinckley has—people everywhere. Contributing is a wonderful opportunity to leave a legacy on the campus of BYU in honor of President Hinckley.

What It Does and How It Helps
With 80,000 square feet and three levels, the building will be a highly visible, welcoming, and practical facility where guests and newcomers will be introduced to the university—its history, mission, accomplishments, and destiny; where alumni will remember and reconnect to BYU; and where friends of the university and the Church can honor President Hinckley.

Brother Beehive from PostMormon.com--
So much for God's humble prophet, not seeking the honors of men. This makes him look like a bloated goat seeking an earthly legacy. When I think about those Central American saints who gave their gold fillings to the church I want to vomit.

****My Thoughts****

35 million dollars to build an 'absolutely necessary' shrine/memorial to Gordon Hinckley. Why is it that Mormons feel proud to honor their prophet in this manner, when Jesus wanted his followers to feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the elderly, and bring hope to the imprisoned. No mention of 'thou shalt build many great and spacious buildings' all over the world...

The Church of Jesus Christ (my ass)...

Should be renamed:

Church of Tithing

Church of Building Memorials

Church of Prophet Worship

Church of Unaccountability

Church of Looking Good to Others

I did notice one thing about the announcement: Jesus's name was mentioned ONCE {in the title of the church's name} and Gordo's was mentioned four times. So much for projecting "christianity" to the world. Gordo would make a helluva televangelist...he's hanging with the wrong crowd.

GBH will be remembered ONLY BECAUSE he is making sure everything he touches has his initials all over it. [That stupid pulpit from "his tree" in the Conference Center comes to mind here] He will be remembered as "Sir Spend Alot" in the next generation, as all the temples fall into disrepair and members leave in droves after tithing requirements bump to 15%.

Nobody should wonder where the tithing money goes. It's pure delusion to think that the church uses it for 'humanitarian purposes'.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What is Heaven like for a Mormon?


I just had to share this post from Sister Mary Lisa's blog. Just blew me away.

The Three Levels of Heaven

Personally, I can respect the LDS belief system just fine, and am glad that many people find comfort in the knowledge that they will enjoy having families and eternal glory in the Celestial Kingdom if/when they make it there. They have every right to believe this for themselves.

Here is why it can easily seem kind of strange to others. If I were to become a Goddess and follow God's example (as described in Mormon theology), here's what it would entail:

I buy a new house. I have four children, and the house has four bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms (one being the master bedroom) are located on the top floor of the house. I decorate my bedroom and the bedroom beside it in totally lavish decorations, the best money can buy. Large and comfortable couches, chairs, silks, lights everywhere, and a king sized bed for each of these rooms. Solid gold fixtures and beauty abounds. Walk-in closets and plenty of light and space and beauty. A special intercom connects the two rooms for constant communication, and I include a big double door that swings open to connect the two rooms whenever necessary. Togetherness abounds.

The third bedroom is found on the main level, and I decorate it tastefully, but spend an eighth of what I spent on the bedroom upstairs when I decorate it. It is comfortable but not great. Single bed. Desk with one wooden chair. It is comfortably large but rather sparse in furnishings. No phone or intercom to connect to other parts of the house.

The fourth bedroom is in the basement, and the lighting is bad in there, but I don't mind. I spend about 1/20 of what I spend on the upstairs rooms, and I furnish it with a single bed but no desk, chair, or lamp. It is a small room, just large enough to fit the bed and dresser, but nothing else. I don't include any extra lamps for light, and the window is small and near the ceiling. No phone or intercom to connect to the other parts of the house.

Then I sit down and decide of my four children, which one has been most obedient and followed to the letter all the things I outlined on my posted fridge chart of rules to live by, including bathing in my special pool and believing in my Special Ghost. That one is the one who gets the nice room upstairs with me. We play, live, and have a good ol' time up there every day, all day.

My child who was also obedient, and honorable, and had a testimony of the truthfulness of my charted plan, but failed to be valiant that one time after having taken the required bath in my special pool...may only ever be visited by The Chosen Son but not by me. Ever. He will live separately and singly forever in the room on the main level. I have no intention of visiting him.

The third child is the one who did not receive the testimony of The Chosen Son at all, and who refused to even look at my posted fridge chart of rules to live by. This is he who is a liar, a sorcerer, an adulterer, a whoremonger, and he who loves and makes a lie. He will only be visited by the Special Ghost I send, but never by The Chosen Son and never by me. He is grounded in the basement in semi-darkness alone for a thousand years, after which I will allow him to emerge, and only then will he be allowed a second chance.

The fourth child is the one who once had a testimony of my Special Ghost and Chosen Son, and was once as obedient and faithful as the first child...but instead of constantly following the fridge chart rules, one day thought about it and decided that he didn't believe that a Special Ghost gave him the good feelings he felt sometimes. He felt them when he heard the national anthem, or when he watched Anne of Green Gables, or when he heard Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. I knew he must be following the Evil One when he told me this, and I can allow no forgiveness for him, for he denied the Special Ghost after having received it when he was eight. He will live in eternal darkness, torment, and misery with the Evil One and his angels forever.

And this is precisely how I want it to be for all of my children I love equally.

*****My Thoughts*****

If Mormonism were explained to 'new converts' in this fashion, I doubt that many would join up. Yet, this is how Mormons perceive Heaven, in a nutshell. I guess there is something to Boyd Packer's insistence that truth should be given in the proper spirit, with the proper authority or they risk loosing a 'testimony'. True that. It happened to me, and I am grateful to never have to be spoon-fed like a child anymore.

I used to be worried about not being worthy enough. I used to fear that I would be the one standing outside the house while my more worthy sister got the comfy room next to 'mom'. Now I know that its their perception, not mine. They think they'll be the only ones up there. That's what makes some of them so high-and-mighty in this life, judging others through their own lens. Meanwhile, they continue to tread the 'Mormon Hampster Wheel', wasting the one life they DO have, in hopes of being rewarded in the next life.

I think now I have a better appreciation for things that I experience in the present. I don't blame a devil when things go wrong, and I don't hand over 10% of my income to make sure I continue to have good things happen for me, like keeping a job or having my car run. I don't measure my worth against anyone else around me, and I certainly don't have the guilt I used to carry around for making human errors, like drinking iced tea or having a swear word fall out.

Most importantly, I don't have to guilt my children into feeling inadequate, or claim that they don't want to be with me in the CK because they won't go back to church and make their lives right before God. I don't want my children to avoid being around me for fear that I will judge them based on their church attendance, or their lack of temple work being performed. And I can't imagine that my own mother sees herself as a mother Goddess that would actually approve of such segregation for her children and grandchildren based solely on their belief in the LDS church. I can't see my very TBM sister actually choosing which of her children get to be with her in the CK and which ones she would keep below her in a lesser 'living quarters' just because they didn't keep ALL the little suggestions like the Word of Wisdom or wearing two pairs of earrings and getting a tatoo.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Using Faith as a Substitute for Knowledge

[If you are looking to avoid anything 'non-faith promoting', I definitely wouldn't check out the book review section of the Book of Mormon at Amazon.com. In between all the glowing "faith promoting" testimonies of the truthfulness of the book, there are actual BOOK REVIEWS from people who READ. You might stumble across some things that are true, but not very useful...]

from Scott Tippetts via this site

Before I excerpt what [one reviewer] said about the nature of Doubt, please take a moment to recall the principles of brain-numbing as satirized in George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm..... Ready? Now for [this reviewer's] nuggets of wisdom:
There is one thing, a warning that I will leave to any half-hearted browser of this book. That is the corrupting influence of doubt that can cause one to forget the reason for pursuing truth and righteousness.

Satan has many masks, and through doubt, and outside influences he tries to keep even the most sincere reader out of the habit of regular study. I saw this influence at work every day when I gave away free copies of this precious book. Those initially contacted would feel and recognize the beauty of the Gospel contained in it, but would later let criticism and doubt creep in and lose their faith.

The devil is real, and would have anyone believe he is not, and that this book is not worthwhile reading. This alone is reason enough to read it, for the honest seeker after truth is aware of his enemy and stands well armed with any knowledge gained about his tactics....

This type of demonization/Satanization of doubt is worthy of a chapter in Elaine Pagel's book: The Origins of Satan, in which she illustrated how religious partisans [people of faith] have exploited the arch-enemy concept of Satan/Lucifer, applying it to their opponents as a discrediting rhetorical tool.

DOUBT (or, skepticism) is what keeps the average person from investing in a "can't miss / too good to be true" real estate bargain, sight (and property) unseen.

DOUBT is what keeps the average person from believing that blood-letting is a safe cure for most illnesses.

DOUBT is what keeps the average person from letting that sincere, earnest, solicitous street person borrow your ATM card & PIN number, which he will return to you shortly.

DOUBT is what keeps the average person from regularly plunking down large bills to have that palm reader (or astrologer, or numerologist, or tea-leaf reader, etc) make your major life decisions for you.

DOUBT is what keeps the average person from accepting point-blank the convoluted rationalizations of the Holocaust Deniers.

DOUBT is what keeps the average person from thinking that Reverend Moon is the new messiah [Moonies], or from volunteering one's 12 year old daughters to new prophet David Koresh [Branch Davidians], or from committing group suicide so that we can be united with the Alien-Gods in their flying saucer following behind comet Hale-Bopp [Heaven's Gate], or from believing that the evil alien ruler Xenu flew his minions to earth millions of years ago and that we evolved from clams [Scientology].

DOUBT is the opposite of naive credulity, the opposite of blind trust, the opposite of being a stupid imbecile.

Mormons use 'Doubt' all the time - appropriately, even. They'd never suggest that being skeptical of those things I've mentioned above is inappropriate, or even inspired by Satan. So doubt is a good thing, they'd concede. But once you doubt their sacred cows.... well, THEN it's a different story.

Funny that, eh?

"Apply healthy tools of skepticism to everyone except me" is the policy of Mormonism. It's the most dangerous type of conformist authoritarianism -- remember those Orwell examples I mentioned above? Doubt & Skepticism serve as the necessary checks and balances against the tyranny of authoritarianism, as Karl Popper pointed out in his pro-democracy books on 'The Open Society'. Brains and rationality protect us against foolishness and unquestioned tyranny. Being Anti-Doubt is, implicitly, to be Pro-Authoritarianism. And that's exactly what Mormonism wants. Unquestioning Obedience to Authority is what Mormonism considers its greatest virtue; conversely, Doubt becomes Mormon-think's gravest vice. ...In other words, it's OK to use your brain, to be rational, to objectively weigh all sides/claims of an issue or topic, "UNLESS it pertains to our religion." That is the sole exception, the special case, in which it is virtuous to be naive, credulous, blindly trusting, unskeptical, and discount/ignore any and all empirical facts that support 'the other side.'

That, my friends, is a serious psychopathology.

Applied to any other realm of experience, even your average Mormon psychologist will readily tell you that believing something, despite the overwhelming consensus of facts to the contrary, is called DELUSION.
'Faith' is believing in something for which there is little or no evidence one way or the other. It's belief or hope in the unknown. Nothing wrong with that! But I'm not talking about 'Faith'..... given Joseph Smith's claims/teachings, and all the massive amounts of scientific / historical evidence to the contrary, we're not talking about believing in the unknown (as would be the case with many religions). With Mormonism, there IS evidence for believing one way or the other, lots of evidence. And it all falls one way: against. The concept of 'Faith' is no longer relevant. Obstinately continuing to believe in the counter-factual is DELUSION, plain and simple. And, to FEAR 'doubt' as an undesirable mental process, or as somehow indicative of a moral weakness - that, is an unhealthy mental pathology. To go further and demonize objectivity, skepticism, and doubt in a highly selective narrow context (Mormonism only, otherwise they are virtues!) is Cult-Think.

THAT is why Mormonism is bad.

It encourages a dangerous psychopathology.

It warps your brain.

It discourages you from utilizing normal, healthy, necessary mental processes that we need for survival.

Skepticism is good. Always.

Objectivity is good.

Doubt is good.

Anyone who tells you otherwise (Boyd K. Packer comes to mind here), probably has something to hide, and is trying to deceive you.

****My Thoughts***

My favorite part of Scott's response to this reviewer is this:

'Faith' is believing in something for which there is little or no evidence one way or the other.... we're not talking about believing in the unknown. With Mormonism, there IS evidence for believing one way or the other, lots of evidence. And it all falls one way: against. The concept of 'Faith' is no longer relevant.

That's it in a nutshell: Faith is only required when the answer is UNKNOWN, not when the answer is a provable fact, only to be ignored by those who don't want to accept it. The leaders of this church are expecting the members to substitute FAITH for KNOWLEDGE.

They know that there is a danger in exposing too much 'truth' too quickly, that's why they move to control the flow of it, and deliver it in the most 'faith-promoting' way possible. They have to step in and guide each member by telling them what sources are acceptable to learn from, what questions are the correct ones to ask, and how to maintain a testimony in an age of information available to anyone with Google. They teach their members to follow closely to prepared manuals, do not question their 'inspired leaders' and set their unanswered questions aside to be answered 'line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little', thus buying time for the top apostles to come up with acceptable, reasonable explanations for all of those ligitimate questions.

Meanwhile, they can get two or three more years worth of tithing payments and loyalty out of the closet doubter before that member finally leaves the church, [which is inevitable once they realize their questions will never be answered from within the church]. Squishing out the desire to 'know the whole truth' is the only way they can hope to maintain the membership numbers. Calling individuals to repentance for their 'prideful thinking' and 'intellectualism' when they dare to question doctrine or written church history is a short-term bandaid on an ever increasing awareness that the church doesn't always come right out with the truth. If it isn't useful to promote the image of the church, it is swept under the rug and denied.

By the way, September Dawn will open in theaters June 22nd. The church has ALREADY denounced it as 'full of inacuracies' and it hasn't even been SEEN by the general public. I could bet money that it won't hardly get a chance in Utah theaters, but luckily, I DON'T LIVE THERE!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Written by: Joseph Fielding McConkie, son of Bruce R. McConkie and grandson of Joseph Fielding Smith and published by BYU Magazine, April 2007

In finding answers we must find the balance between agency and inspiration. Building upon this foundation, let me teach you a very fundamental but often overlooked principle relative to getting answers to prayers and to questions that trouble you.

Few things facilitate getting the right answer like asking the right question.

Let me illustrate.

A young woman came up to me after a meeting at which I had spoken a few weeks ago. She asked if I could help her with a question dealing with the Old Testament. I told her I would be willing to try. She asked the question, and I did not have an idea in the world how to answer it. I told her so and then asked why the answer to such a question was important to her. She indicated that her husband had raised the issue along with other like questions. Each question he was asking carried with it the spirit of doubt. His questions were intended to challenge, not to build faith.

The real questions here were these: If I had been able to answer each of the questions with which this man was challenging his wife, would it have accomplished anything more than require him to come up with more questions? And why was he so anxious to discredit God and find foolishness in scripture? Perhaps he ought to be asked, “What commandment is it that you don’t want to keep?” or “What blessings would you like to quit receiving?”

I recently received a note from a former student. He requested help in answering questions common to anti-Mormon literature. I know the answers to these questions, but I also know that my answering them will make no difference whatsoever unless there is a change in the purpose and spirit of those asking them.

My questions are these: Is there really a shortage of evidence that Joseph Smith is a prophet? Are the unanswered questions in the Old Testament the real lion in our path?

I have a letter on my desk from a mother who told me a tragic story about the behavior of a man who had been called as a priesthood leader. “How,” she asked, “can I explain to my daughter that callings in this Church are inspired and at the same time explain the behavior of this man?”

While I share her hurt and embarrassment over what took place, I cannot help but wonder if she is not asking the wrong question. Surely her faith and that of her daughter cannot be so fragile that the misdeeds of one man would call the truthfulness of the whole gospel plan into question. At issue is whether our faith should rest in the infallibility of priesthood leaders or on the assurance that if we keep our covenants the Spirit of the Lord will always be our companion.

Again, often what stands between us and answers to our prayers is our failure to ask the right questions. The role of the Holy Ghost is as important in determining what we pray about as it is in bringing the answers we seek."


For all you amateur doubters - Joseph Fielding McConkie doesn't like your questions.

McConkie is tacitly admitting that he can't answer 'challenging' questions about his religion. That's an admission of failure on his part and an indication of just how valid those challenging questions are. He defends himself (and the church) by the age-old Mormon tactic of the ad hominem against the originator of the question (the young woman's husband who has the 'spirit of doubt'). He attempts to dignify this tactic by making the unsupported claim that those who ask challenging questions always have an anti-Mormon agenda.

The question about the priesthood holder with a 'behavior' problem is one that deserves to be answered in good faith, given what Mormons are taught about the power of discernment by those who hold the priesthood. Yet McConkie implicitly attacks the 'spirit' of the mother who asked the question by referring obliquely to the old 'the church (or in this case the priesthood) is perfect, the members aren't' defense. In other words, the mother was exhibiting a lack of faith by even having to ask the question, since anyone with The Spirit would know that when behaving badly, the priesthood holder was acting only as a man, not a man of the priesthood.

Think about it. Any religion that has to erect a facade of such flimsy logic as "you must ask the question in the right spirit" is saying that all of its answers to such questions are conditional. In my opinion, that's a pretty strong indicator that it won't withstand the light of reason. McConkie is basically saying that those who value reason are not welcome in the church unless they keep quiet.

Remember the church's guiding philosophy: "It's YOUR fault"

Don't ask difficult questions, or ANY questions, for that matter. If you do, you have the spirit of contention. There is no such thing as a sincere question about any aspect of church history or doctrine. If you were living the gospel, such questions wouldn't even enter your mind, so the fact that you've asked such a question means you've done something to drive away the Spirit. The church is perfect, and you aren't. And always remember: it's YOUR fault.