Wednesday, August 29, 2007
"When one reflects on the persecution of the early Saints, it can lead to a clearer understanding of why the MMM happened. The Saints were whipped into a frenzy based on fear that they were going to be driven out of Utah. This frenzy grew to the point where the individuals who participated in the massacre had lost their ability to reason. The end result was the slaughter of innocent men, women and children."
So goes the attitude of the faithful LDS. All over the Internet, on message boards and an article in the latest Ensign magazine, the church takes the stance that it was a horrible tragedy, but there were reasons why it happened. In the which-came-first drama, we are to believe that the first strike was laid against the Mormons, way back in Palmyra, New York in 1830. They have always been persecuted unfairly, they have always been the victims. They would have you believe that every instance of disagreement with their neighboring Non-Mormon communities resulted in unfair persecution because of their faith. If you are Mormon, and looking into this historical event for the very first time ever, you'll need to hang on to this persecution complex as much as possible in order to maintain your testimony that the church is what is proclaims to be: a victim of persecution and hostility. This is designed to prove to you that your church is true, because of the belief that the more persecution it receives, the more evidence of it's truthiness.
I am now going to share several links that will uncover these incidents of unfair persecution. Among these will undoubtedly be stories most rank-and-file Mormons have never heard about. And that is to be expected in a church that wouldn't willingly hand over information to their enemies, just so it could be used against them later. It's amazing what you can learn when you no longer have to limit your reach and keep only accounts written by LDS spin doctors.
***Most of these links will take you to Wikipedia listings for these topics. The purpose to linking these articles is not because I believe them to be 100% accurate by any means. I am certain that there is room for correction, and additional information. The intent is to show an unbiased account of these occurrences, for they are neither pro- or anti- Mormon in nature. Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia and can be altered and corrected by anyone who can cite their sources and document their reasoning, likewise, information posted can be challenged by anyone else who can show their documentation. This is to encourage Mormon readers to look up information on their own, independent of the church, and decide for themselves what facts are true and what facts are 'not useful' for promoting a testimony of truth.***
An Introduction to Joseph Smith
Persecution in New York
The Kirtland Safety Society
Settling in Missouri
The Mormon War
The Salt Sermon
Gallatin Election Day Battle
Expelled from DeWitt County
Battle of Crooked River
Haun's Mill Massacre
Seige of Far West
Nauvoo and Theocracy
Joseph Smith's Political Ideal
Polygamy in Nauvoo
The Quorum of the Anointed
The Nauvoo Expositor
Why Joseph Smith was murdered
Saturday, August 25, 2007
What would it have taken to stir up the Mormons to do such a hateful, vile thing if it wasn't the frenzied speeches of their leaders and their call to duty to perform the acts of vengeance they covenanted to do in the temple?
Does anyone really believe that they calmly sat around a campfire sipping Ovaltine and discussing the pros and cons? Did they spend three days and nights praying in the temple, waiting for a vision from God and a confirmation that this is what they were to do?
Mormons no doubt would like us to believe that this was just an isolated group of religious zealots who had blood lust and were just looking for an excuse to show the rest of the U.S. not to mess with the Mormon Empire. After all, weren't the U.S. troops supposedly on their way to start a war with the Mormons? One wouldn't have to look very far into the history books to discover why that is, yet Mormons would have everyone thinking that they were only protecting themselves from a first strike. They want us to believe that they have been unfairly persecuted and cast out from their homes everywhere they settled, but a closer look would uncover the true facts of why they were treated harshly. Polygamy, claiming absolute authority of God, marching about proclaiming that all they see will eventually belong to them because they are God's chosen people, Joseph Smith boasting himself as the new Mohammed and claiming that no other man ever did such a great work as he did; these are the reasons the Mormons were driven out of Ohio, out of Missouri, and eventually out of Illinois, not "religious persecution" but 'religious zealousness".
The "poor me" attitude only get them so far. Those of us who care to really look into the history surrounding Joseph's Kirtland Banking business in Ohio, his Zion's camp activities and pompousness in Missouri, the development and deployment of the Danites, his self-grandiose stylings as General of the Nauvoo Legion and presidential candidate of the Mormons, (even to the extent of being proclaimed King) is what brought persecution on the heads of the Mormons. Not wearing funny underwear and abstaining from coffee.
Imagine how it would feel if we had a Muslim family move into your all-white Christian neighborhood, and told everyone they met that eventually everything they owned and all their land would belong to them, because God was coming to restore his kingdom on earth right in your backyard. How long would it take before that family was run out of town? Likewise, imagine a single Christian family in a Taliban state. Would it be wise for them to walk about preaching superiority and denouncing all others apostates?
I would love to hear some staunch Mormon explain ANY OTHER WAY these men could have been stirred up in such a way as to kill women and children who obviously would not have been involved (directly or indirectly) with the murder of Joseph Smith, or any of the attacks on the Mormon people in Missouri or Illinois. Whether or not they were the spouses or children of the men who perpetrated the crimes, THEY did not need to be slaughtered to atone for those sins in any case. EVEN IF it could be proved that the Fancher-Baker party had the original gun that killed Joseph Smith, where was the trial by jury? Where was the evidence, or the eye-witness accounts? And why would the women and children be just as guilty, and in just as much need of 'blood atonement'?
The only logical answer to that is that they would be witnesses to THIS CRIME and needed to be permanently silenced. If the Mormons had been justified in their murderous acts, the women and children could have been spared. Instead they were 'done away with' and butchered on the prairie. And the Mormons kept the 'spoils of war': the wagons, horses, cattle, gold, weapons, clothing and furniture, and even the personal jewelry of the slain. And the babies were adopted into 'proper' Mormon homes, away from the evil influences of their 'gentile' birth.
Can any Mormon faithful man or woman please explain it to me so that my eyes can see the hand of God in this dastardly, cowardly act of vengence?
Friday, August 24, 2007
I couldn't really tell by looking at the others in attendance what their motivations could possibly be for seeing this movie. One was an elderly lady, alone, about 68 or so. The others were men: a farmer type, a clean cut young yuppie type, and a white t-shirted man who smelled of oil changes. I couldn't even guess what their backgrounds were, but one thing was probably certain, they aren't Mormons. No garment lines, no nervous looks about the shoulder. I was probably the only one there who knew anything beforehand of the history surrounding this event. I wanted to see how it could possibly be turned about as "lies, and vicious attacks against a peaceful Mormon religion".
My Opinion: 90% correct.
I have read enough historical accounts and participated in enough temple rituals to testify that the anointings and washings were depicted correctly (for 1857 time period) that the words of the temple oath were correct, and not out of context (again for the 1857 time period) and that Brigham Young's speeches were correctly quoted, word for word, right out of the Journal of Discourses. The only argument that can be made against this is that the Journal of Discourses is a book of recorded sayings made by Brigham Young, not actual writings of Brigham Young. But the same can be said for the Bible, since Jesus was never proven to have written a gospel either. Or the Book of Mormon for that matter, Joseph claimed to have translated Reformed Egyptian text written on gold plates, but there is no evidence other than his own claim of ability. There is ample evidence to show that he mistranslated other documents, but I digress. Anyway the point I'm trying to make here is that I can mostly agree with the culture and the climate of fear that was cultivated by Brigham Young's words and the strict obedience of each apostle and bishop on down the chain of command. Loyalty was the same as worshiping and honoring their God.
Understandably, Mormons do not want their prophet to be depicted in this manner. If they have to admit that Brigham Young was not a 'divinely inspired leader', then they cannot claim to have the correct version of 'restored truth'. Their whole religion traces back from prophet to prophet in an unbroken line of priesthood authority since the claim of Joseph Smith to have been hand picked by God himself, and having received the priesthood keys directly from Peter, James and John. In this manner, Mormons holding priesthood authority from their church, have been given this authority (even if indirectly) from Jesus and his apostles. A break in the chain means authority has been lost. If Brigham didn't have it, or had it and lost it due to sin, then nobody after him can claim authority of the priesthood. The whole structure of the Mormon church depends upon Brigham Young more than it does Joseph Smith. There were many different breaks off of Joseph's original church after he died, and most of it was due to arguing amongst the apostles over which of them had the right to carry on the church. The RLDS is NOT the only break-away sect of the original Mormon church.
Getting back to the movie...
Much of the movie is based on actual events. Thus, it cannot be called 'a complete fabrication designed to hurt and destroy the Mormon church'. Just like the Titanic movie, with the love story of Rose and Jack, this movie weaves a possible love story between two worlds, Mormon and Gentile, in the characters of Emily and Jonathan. The fact that Mormon critics would rather focus on this subplot as if it were the real story, or pick apart the cinematography or the dialogue as if it negates the actual event, goes to show what lengths the church and it's members will go through to obfuscate and blur the actual message of the movie. Does Jack and Rose's love story have to be proven plausible in order to prove that the Titanic sank? Of course not. And do we really have to spend time trying to demonstrate how unlikely it was that Emily and Jonathan were ever real people and could have fallen in love in 10 days and vowed to be together no matter what? Does that make the ENTIRE MOVIE false? No!!! Mountain Meadows was the site of a massacre, a fact that laid hidden for over a hundred and thirty years till someone accidentally uncovered the bones with a backhoe. Ever since then the church has done nothing to try to solve the unanswered questions, get to the truth, admit fault, or even widely discuss it among the members. And in 1999 when the current prophet had his chance to do so when dedicating a monument to those innocents slaughtered, he explicity told the crowd gathered, "that which we do here must never be construed as an admission of fault or complicity in the events that ocurred here". Wow, what a guy.
Here we are now about 8 years later, and members are STILL just now learning about this dark day in Mormonism's past. How many Catholics have been raised in their faith completely unaware of the crusades? How many protestants have never heard of the Salem Witch trials? Yet thousands of Mormons are still completely ignorant of this historical holocaust right here in the U.S. and why is that? Because it not only makes the church look bad, it makes them look human and fallible, and UNINSPIRED. Never again will anyone see Brigham Young as a humble decent servant of God, like they view Gordon Hinckley. After seeing him portrayed in this light, they will be hard pressed to excuse his fanatical, paranoid views and refer to him as a prophet of God. How could they possibly spin this to make Brigham Young look like the victim of twisted words? They are HIS words!!! Not out of context in any respect. He actually said these things about non-Mormons and how to 'help people obtain celestial glory by killing them.' Does that sound a little reminiscent of Islamic fundamentalism?
I hope that this movie does what it should: scares the piss out of you. To think that we all have the potential to become right-wing nutjobs and force our views upon one another in the name of God is scary shit. We see it overseas and pat ourselves on the back thinking, that would never be us, because we have democracy. Mormons don't operate on that scale, they have leaders and priesthood authority to guide them. Their only duty is to harken to the counsel of the bretheren, and if they have a problem doing that, they are chastised, made examples of, released from callings, denied temple access, disfellowshipped from the church and denied the rights of speaking, praying or taking the sacrament, and in harsher cases fully ex-communicated for failure to adapt themselves fully to the lifestyle of the church. Had some coffee or alcohol over the weekend? Loose your speaking and teaching privileges. Struggling with paying a full tithe? Loose your temple recommend. Question doctrine and tell others about your doubts? Look forward to disfelloshipment. Write an article in a widely distributed magazine that talks about your own views? You can be excommunicated. Every one of these scenarios have happened, even to people I know personally. And loosing your right to attend the temple, especially at critical times like an upcoming wedding for a neice, or chaparoning a youth group is like living along side the Mormons in a ghost world. They see you, but won't acknowledge you. They know you're there, but wish you weren't.
This movie brought out all the vileness of cult-think mentality. I saw a scene where a man was caught with a woman in bed, and his punishment was immediate castration, with his nuts nailed to the doorway as a warning to others. There is an actual historical account of this within the journals of the old saints, newspaper articles and letters to loved ones. This is where the real history is, not in the whitewashed manuals the church prints out. I saw a scene where a wife was killed for attempting to return to her first husband and her children, after being forced to become the wife of another man. This happened MANY times in Brigham Young's church. You know how I know this? Because it is STILL happening in the lives of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ, et al, located in Hilldale, UT and Colorado City, AZ. They still adhere to polygamy, blood atonement, the trading of wives to those higher up on the 'God ladder', and the taking on of young teenage girls as new breeding wives for the old apostles, sometimes men 30-40 years older. Why do you think Warren Jeffs is in jail, stealing art?
I saw scenes of mass murder on the prairie, the men separated from their wives, shot point blank by their Mormon 'protectors'. I saw scenes of women and children being chased about, bludgeoned, shot, stabbed and throats slit, and do you know how I know that's true? Because when the bones where disturbed, actual forensic scientists and archeologists described the many ways in which all of these people were brutally killed. Who squashed that as fast as they possibly could? The church of course, with it's 70% population, it's not hard to find members in every level of government willing to squash the investigation and put these bones back into the ground as quickly as possible EVEN IF IT'S AGAINST THE LAW. And they thought they would make nice with a little dedication ceremony 9 years later. To this day, the church still owns all of that land, the spot where 120 men, women and children were killed in innocent blood, and they adamantly refuse to hand over the site to federal stewardship because it's not in the interest of the church. Damn straight it isn't. Those bones could be dug up all over again and some real answers could be found, or at least all of the evidence could be weighed, like the ratio of arrows to bullets for example. No, it's much better for the church to keep it all buried, wait about 50 years for everyone who ever heard of it to die off, and then walk about as if it never happened like they did for 100 years before.
The U.S. Government held a trial, all the testimony is documented, most everything you would ever want to know about the Mountain Meadows Massacre is in books or online. And the church should be worried. All I can say is that it won't be comfortable calling yourself a Mormon for quite a while. Is that something to be worried about?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Fanatics and a forgotten massacre: September Dawn' tells of a still-controversial 1857 attack attributed to members of the fledgling Mormon faith.
By Chris Lee
DEPENDING upon which version of history you believe, the terrible events of Sept. 11 -- the wholesale massacre of innocent victims -- can be explained as either an act of war or the result of religious fanaticism taken to a horrible extreme.
But some might call it the "other" 9/11. On that day in 1857, in a remote quadrant of southeastern Utah territory, a wagon train consisting of 140 homesteaders -- men, women and children striking west for California from Arkansas -- were gunned down, bludgeoned and stabbed to death in an attack attributed to local Mormon militia.
Approaching the 150th anniversary of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, as this marginalized chapter of U.S. history has come to be known, modern Mormons in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints continue to struggle with its legacy. But "September Dawn," an independently financed historical drama that arrives in 1,000 theaters Friday, takes a critical view of the religious fundamentalism it presents as having precipitated the attack -- most controversially, the alleged influence of the Mormon leader referred to as the "American Moses," Brigham Young.
The movie, originally set for release in May, has reportedly prompted hand-wringing in the Mormon community, where some worry it will perpetuate outdated notions about the homegrown American religion, arriving as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is Mormon, strenuously campaigns to win the Republican Party's presidential nomination. (A spokeswoman for the church declined to comment about the movie.)
Co-writer-director of "September Dawn" Christopher Cain dismisses the idea the movie puts a bad light on Mormonism, correlating the religious zealotry the film depicts with the clash of cultures that has led to America's "war on terror" and twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I don't have an agenda with the Mormon Church," Cain said. "What I do have is a theoretical view of how we can look at what's happening today."
"We live in a time where the news is dominated by the religious, fanatical world -- a time where a 20-year-old kid with his whole life ahead of him can walk onto a bus and blow himself up and war is being waged by a bunch of nut-cases 'over there.' Well, it happened here 150 years ago. I just saw this [movie] as an opportunity to look at how this happened in our own backyard -- and not that long ago."
Pioneers in peril
"SEPTEMBER Dawn" opens with former Arkansas militiaman Capt. Alexander Fancher (played by Shaun Johnston) leading a wagon train through rural Utah toward the gold-rich West Coast. They make camp, intending to rest for a few days but are met with deep suspicion by locals.
Terence Stamp portrays Young as a territorial governor who declares martial law and warns church members to turn away any "Gentiles" who stray into Mormon territory: "If any miserable scoundrels come here, cut their throats," Young is recorded as having said in a sermon, his siege mentality a holdover from earlier persecution and the murder of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith in 1844.
Mormon Bishop Jacob Samuelson (played by Jon Voight) permits the wagon train a two-week grace period in Mountain Meadows but instructs his son to spy on them.
The movie's central narrative, a Romeo and Juliet-style romance between the Mormon boy and a homesteader girl, accounts for most of the action leading to its heart-rending climax -- an attack the movie portrays as having begun as a siege by Paiute Indians in cahoots with the Mormon on Sept. 7 and finished four days later: The Fancher party was offered a truce, but every homesteader older than 6 was ultimately shot at point-blank range.
According to Tom Kimball, a sixth-generation Mormon who is book review editor for the Mormon History Assn., the film has been put on a "do not watch" list by LDS Church officials.
"It's blacklisted already," he said.
Nonetheless, Kimball said the Mountain Meadows Massacre has been the subject of intensive discussions this year. In May, the association held a conference hosting more than 800 Mormon scholars at which the massacre was Topic A.
"Here's what's not in dispute: There was a siege, on the 11th the Fanchers were offered a negotiation, and when they accepted it, they were walked off and shot," Kimball said. "What's in dispute is why and who ordered it. Some people are pointing the finger at the Fanchers and the Indians."
Most church-sanctioned histories portray the Mountain Meadows Massacre as a war crime -- an overreaction to intruders they perceived as a threat to Mormon sovereignty. Others say the motive was economic: a chance to loot the wagon train.
In the September issue of Ensign, an official magazine of the LDS Church, historian Richard E. Turley Jr. writes of "disagreements, miscommunication, prejudices and political wrangling" that had created a divide between the Mormon territory and the federal government leading to the Utah War in 1858. He sets the scene for the attack on the Fancher party as coming during a time of high tension amid the government's decision to send "an army to put down perceived treason in Utah" and the Saints' fears that soldiers would be arriving at any time to "to oppress, drive, or even destroy them."
The movie, however, puts the blame squarely on Young. He is heard in voice-over by Stamp, cursing Gentiles, encouraging vengeance, "blood atonement" and "avenging the blood of the prophet" among other exhortations.
"All Brigham Young's dialogue was taken directly from speeches and documents," said Cain. "You heard words like 'blood atonement.' These are religious terms, not self-preservation terms. Religious connotations and terminology were being used to fire their people up."
Will Bagley, author of the controversial award-winning book "Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Mountain Meadows Massacre," feels the depiction is accurate, citing the script's reliance on the "Life and Confessions of John D. Lee," written by Young's trusted lieutenant, who was the only person convicted in connection with the attack.
Lee (who appears as a deeply conflicted character in "September Dawn") was executed in 1877, claiming to the end that he was being unfairly led to his death -- "sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner" -- and insisting that it was Young who had ordered the attack.
"The movie is about the consequences of fanaticism," Bagley said. "Historians will argue about what caused the Mountain Meadows Massacre. But I think it's a dodge to say it wasn't a religiously motivated act. Like all acts of vengeance, it was pointless, cruel and self-destructive."
For Patty Norris, president of the Mountain Meadows Massacre Descendants and a direct descendant of Capt. Fancher, "September Dawn" is a form of redemption, righting historical misconceptions that the homesteaders were aggressors rather than victims.
"The Mormons have historically tried to excuse their actions after the fact," Norris said. "And the people of Utah have misunderstood the Fancher Party. Some people have said, 'They got what they deserved. They were horrible people.' "
"So I'm thrilled there finally has been a movie made. It needs to be told that the people on the wagon train were good people, totally unaware about what they were facing."
For his part, Voight was drawn to his role -- a man of the cloth whose deep piety results in mass murder, carried out in part by his own son -- as a means of addressing what he sees as a pressing issue.
"I'm not one who goes looking for those references, but it is a chilling irony that this happened 150 years ago on Sept. 11," Voight said.
"This film is obviously very relevant today in terms of what we're faced with: religious fanaticism endangering all democracy. It's our own history, and I hadn't known it before."
If you would like to find out if this movie is coming to a theater near you, this link can help. I am going to put myself in the role of movie reviewer, and I intend to see this movie at it's very first showing possible on opening day. I will be my own judge of whether it's "full of lies" and "made to stir up hate against the church". Just like the DaVinci Code for Catholics, and the Passion of the Christ for Jews, the Mormons are expected to be picketing the opening days of this movie as well, which is only going to increase curiosity and make this movie more available to smaller towns. In my neck of the woods, the movie theater was right across the street from the Catholic church. They were all for attending "The Passion" but couldn't let the DaVinci Code pass through without handing out their 'information sheets'. They even bought out the theater a couple of times to keep others from watching it, and you know what? It stayed for another week!!! Now, I don't want to take the chance that this movie might not make it to my hometown, so I am going a little out of my way to see it on opening day. I'm even going in the middle of the day at it's first showing just to avoid the crowds. I am also going to wear this tee-shirt to fend off anybody with 'information sheets'.
It's not the people I hate, it's the entity. It's like trying to defend big tobacco companies, or heath insurance companies. The only ones who do so are those with a vested interest in it. Everybody else has the freedom to look at both sides of the issues and decide for themselves. If you speak out against them, and you're an employee, you get fired. Same for the church. Only firing is called ex-communication for apostacy. It's just another word for whistle-blower.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Like many religions, Mormonism has a dietary code which all adherents are directed to follow. This code is known as the Word of Wisdom, and the faithful believe that these dietary directions came straight from the Lord by revelation in 1833 to Joseph Smith Jr. Smith is considered by Latter-day Saints to have been the first of many prophets in these final days. For Mormons, it is vitally important that they obey the Word of Wisdom, as failure to do so can result in the loss of their salvation. There is a problem though with the application of this revelation in today’s Mormonism.
The problem is that the religion doesn’t enforce the complete dietary code, even though they claim that the words of the written revelation are the words of the Lord. Mormonism chooses only to enforce certain parts of the code, making those parts more important than the others, while the written revelation does not refer to any part as being more important, or more damning, than another.
Lastly, in reading the written revelation, one must question whether or not the Lord, or Joseph Smith, ever intended the Word of Wisdom to be enforced in a manner that would, by technicality, restrict those who live contrary to it from gaining Eternal Life.
Piecing Together The Word of Wisdom
Section 89 of the Doctrine & Covenants and Commentary
What follows is the written revelation of the Word of Wisdom from Section 89 of the Doctrine & Covenants, a book considered scripture by Mormons. Commentary is also included to point out significant details and aid the reader in understanding the passage.
“Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, February 27, 1833. HC 1: 327–329. As a consequence of the early brethren using tobacco in their meetings, the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently he inquired of the Lord concerning it. This revelation, known as the Word of Wisdom, was the result. The first three verses were originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet. 1–9, Use of wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks proscribed; 10–17, Herbs, fruits, flesh, and grain are ordained for the use of man and of animals; 18–21, Obedience to gospel law, including the Word of Wisdom, brings temporal and spiritual blessings.”
Commentary: This is the introduction of the revelation in section 89, but not part of the revelation itself. Supposedly Emma Smith, the wife of Joseph, was angry with Joseph over the mess left by the brethren of the church after meetings, and it was Emma’s displeasure which lead him to, as Mormon’s claim, inquire and receive the revelation from the Lord (1). The introduction also breaks down sections of the passage where important items can be found.
“A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion— To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days— Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you:
Smith opens by saying that the revelation following his “inspired introduction” is given by “greeting; not by commandment or constraint”. This opens the way for argument regarding whether the Word of Wisdom should be treated as a commandment at all. Mormonism does treat The Word of Wisdom as a commandment. Mormon missionaries teach potential converts, as part of a lesson titled “Commandments” that, “The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith a law of health called the Word of Wisdom…To be baptized and confirmed [you] must…obey the Word of Wisdom” (Preach My Gospel, 78). Baptism, according to Mormonism is essential for salvation. Failure to obey the Word of Wisdom can keep a person from being baptized, thus keeping a person from being saved. This seems to place a great deal of weight on obeying something that the Lord is written to have said was given “not by commandment”. Failure to obey the Word of Wisdom can also limit the progress that a Mormon makes within the church as failure to obey makes one unworthy to serve in various capacities in the church and unworthy to go to the temple, which is necessary to gain the highest level of salvation in Mormon doctrine.
Admittedly, he does go on to say that the Word of Wisdom is the “will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days”. To many, following the will of God is important. However, by combining what is written about the Word of Wisdom being given “not by…constraint” and also being “the will of God”, it seems that anyone who follows the principles of the Word of Wisdom will be blessed by God, but not damned because they choose not to follow the revelation. It is also mentioned that the revelation is given to aid in the “temporal salvation” of a person, not spiritual salvation. Yet in today’s Mormonism, the choice not to follow the revelation effects one’s spiritual salvation arguably more than their temporal salvation.
In fairness, Smith did say that, “No official member in this Church is worthy to hold an office after having the word of wisdom properly taught him; and he, the official member, neglecting to comply with and obey it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 117). However, Smith’s enforcement of the resolution seems inconsistent with his actions, as will be illustrated later.
“In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him. And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make. And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.”
Commentary: In the chapter, “The Lord’s Law of Health” in Gospel Principles, it can be read that, “The Lord commands us not to use wine and strong drinks, meaning drinks containing alcohol” (3, p. 193, emphasis added). Again the church teaches that the Word of Wisdom is a commandment, when the Lord clearly opened by saying the revelation was given “not by commandment”.
The Lord reveals that the will of God is that no man (and probably woman) should drink “wine or strong drink”. At this point, the meaning of wine is clear; however, what does “strong drink” mean? The church interprets the phrase to mean any alcoholic drink. It’s possible, however, that “strong drink” could have meant liquor. This would mean that beer is permissible. Keep this in mind, as the subject of beer will be discussed again shortly.
There is an exception given here to the drinking of wine. The Lord states that wine can be used for “sacraments”. The catch is that it needs to be “pure wine, of your own make”. The interpretation is “pure wine” is that the wine used for sacraments is to not be fermented, this non-alcoholic. From this Mormons conclude that Jesus must have only drunk non-alcoholic wine. This is a misguided attempt at merging the Jesus of the Bible with the modern revelation of Joseph Smith. It is historically inaccurate that Jesus would not have drunk alcoholic wine. In fact, Jesus is accused of being a drunkard in the Biblical account of his life (4). Mormons practice baptism by immersion to follow the example of the obedient Christ. If drinking wine was acceptable to Christ, why restrict those who drink wine from following his example by being baptized?
“And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.”
Commentary: The Lord is very clear here about tobacco not being used in or on people’s body.
“And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.”
Commentary: What is the meaning of “hot drinks”? Mormons interpret the ambiguous phrase to mean coffee and tea. Why hot chocolate, or even hot water, was not included in the interpretation is difficult to surmise. For Mormons, this interpretation is accepted as something setting them apart as a “peculiar people”. Not drinking coffee and tea, is critical in Mormonism as doing so will keep a person from being baptized, serving in the church, and attending the temple. In Mormonism, drinking coffee and tea, even if the phrase used in the revelation is vague and in need of interpretation, will keep a person from salvation.
At this point it is clear that Mormonism prohibits alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea. The church focuses a great deal on these four items and usage of them will keep a person from full activity in the church and even salvation. When a person fails to abide by these prohibitions they are said to have, “a Word of Wisdom problem”.
“And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man— Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.”
Commentary: Herbs and fruits are good for people and God wants them to eat them.
“Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth; And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.”
Commentary: While true that the Lord has given the earth to man to dominate (5), according to the Word of Wisdom, man shouldn’t eat meat unless it is winter, cold, or there is a famine. The Lord doesn’t want people eating meat unless there is little else to eat. This passage is extremely clear, requiring no translation whatsoever. However, unlike the vague passage above about “hot drinks”, there is no enforced prohibition on eating meat in times other than the winter, when it is warm, or when other foods are available.
This seems to be completely contradictory. Not only has today’s Mormonism taken a revelation given “not by commandment” and enforced it as such, it has chosen only to enforce certain parts, regardless of how ambiguous the wording, and ignore others. Such a practice is tantamount to choosing five of the Ten Commandments to follow and saying that you follow all of them. It is inconsistent with the Biblical portrayal of the history of God for some commandments to be less important than others. When the Lord speaks a command, the command must be followed. Failure to do so resulted in physical and spiritual death. Mormonism’s application of the Word of Wisdom is incompatible with how God has functioned in Biblical history.
Why should a person be refused baptism because they drink a cup of coffee at work each morning, but allowed the ordinance even if they have steak every night in the month of July? If it is the “will of God” that a person abstain from both practices, why is one damning while the other ignored? It seems illogical, especially considering that the the practice that damns had to be interpreted as such and the practice ignored is crystal clear in the written revelation, the words of the Lord.
“All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground— nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.”
Commentary: Grains, vegetables, and fruits have been provided for the nourishment of mankind and all other animals. However, a significant point in this passage is the allowance of beer.
Beer is, “an alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermentation from cereals, usually malted barley, and flavored with hops and the like for a slightly bitter taste” (6, emphasis added). If “strong drinks” can be interpreted as meaning hard liquor, then it is possible that “mild drinks” made with barely could refer to beer. Such an interpretation is not inconsistent with the wording and context of the written revelation. However, such an interpretation would seem inconceivable to Mormons today as they’ve been taught that all alcohol is prohibited by the Lord.
“And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.”
Commentary: This is the closing of the written revelation. The Lord is written as having said that those who follow the Word of Wisdom will be healthy and will be able to gain knowledge and wisdom. Although not expressly mentioned, Mormons believe that following the revelation allows them to be able to hear the whisperings and prompting of the Holy Spirit and be guided in their lives. This is the promise mentioned in the opening passage of the revelation.
Outlining the Word of Wisdom
Below is the “will of God” concerning a person’s “temporal salvation”
Points enforced are marked in green and unenforced are marked in red.
*No wine, unless for sacraments
*No strong drinks (alcoholic drinks)
*No hot drinks (coffee and tea)
*Herbs should be used
*Fruits in season should be eaten
*Meat should only be eaten in winter, cold, or famine
*Grains should be central to a person’s diet
At best, Mormonism enforces 50% of the entire revelation known as the Word of Wisdom, with the assumption the interpretation of the revelation is correct.
Joseph Smith and the Word of Wisdom
One of the best examples of Joseph Smith’s attitude toward the Word of Wisdom, and his beliefs on it being given “not by commandment” was his establishment of a bar in Smith Mansion House, in Nauvoo, Illinois. A close associate to Smith, Orrin Porter Rockwell was contracted to run the bar/barber shop. Dr. Russell Burrows of Bowling Green University explains that Smith,
“…set up Rockwell in a combination barbershop and a bar—a venture to work in concert with Smith’s Mansion House, which was church headquarters, as well as Smith’s private residence. This hub of the rapidly expanding Nauvoo could well have used the nearby amenities of a barbershop and a bar—and besides, a job there would have given Rockwell an almost perfect chance to watch who had been coming and going from the holy city. Beneath the surface of this unlikely arrangement, it’s almost as though Smith were chuckling at the prospect of a latter-day Samson (one of Smith’s own creation), cutting hair—especially, if ever it were Gentiles’ hair. And Rockwell, for his part, was agreeable, if probably doubtful about the barbering.
The bar tending he would rise to, ably assisted by his church elders, for Smith magnanimously ordered in a polished bar along with a stock of liquors with which to school Rockwell in the more heady spirits and their mixes. And Smith set up this tutelage in a wing of the Mansion House, while—as was convenient—his first and official wife, Emma, was away down river to St. Louis on a trip to buy furniture. Historically, Joseph Smith threw this party some ten years after he had brought out The Word of Wisdom, in which the Persona of the Almighty enjoins: “strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.” But a washed and a combed Rockwell was there behind his bar, setting up his brethren with a warm and a high time of it, when Emma Smith pulled back into town. She got her first look at what was going on and vanquished the prophet—pretty much “horse and foot,” in that splendid old war phrase—by throwing his woozy fraternity from the home where she had been raising children. (8)”
Certainly Joseph Smith, as a prophet of God, would not have established a bar in his own home, or even allowed liquor, if he believed that the consumption of alcohol was damning to the immoral soul.
It has been clearly established that the original intention of the Word of Wisdom was that it not be compulsory. It has also been established that the Mormon church today enforces only a part of the total revelation while effectively ignoring the total. This is an incompatible and inappropriate use of revelation. While it is understandable that Mormonism desires to decrease the negative effects of addiction, the Word of Wisdom shouldn’t be butchered and used piecemeal to limit these effects. If the Mormon church desires to prohibit its members from alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco, it should do so without invoking the revelation. Appropriately used, the Word of Wisdom is guidance on healthy living. While it may be wise to follow what is written as “the will of God”, failure to do so should not be eternally damning.
I have been puzzling over this problem for years, both in and out of the church. I am so glad I visited Joel's site today and came across this essay. Joel is a frequent poster to the PostMormon.org website for former Mormons who have left the church. This essay outlines the problems of 'receiving revelations' and claiming to speak for God. Every man who has been 'set apart' as a leader in the church, whether it is as prophet, stake president or bishop, has to interpret the standards and rules according to his own values and judgement, because he has supposedly been given the 'keys of discernment' to do so.
This is why throughout all of Mormondom, you will find strict Nazi-Mormons and more flexible easy-going Liberal Mormons. We all are supposedly given the 'holy spirit' to guide us, yet the Mormon hierarchy piles on the rules, the codes, and the standards to live by in almost every aspect of your life. (including whether it is proper to remove garments for 'marital relations'). Ick. I am so glad my life isn't dictated to me every second of every day, and I have to process every thought, word and deed through the Mormon Sieve. What's the point of telling each member that the "holy spirit" will reveal the truth to you? If you come up with an answer that doesn't conform, then you are mistaken and have received incorrect spiritual guidance. The devil supposedly reveals misinformation on a different frequency, and it's important to stay tuned to the correct spirit....lest we be led astray.
What a cop out. It just gives them permission to discount your feelings of right and wrong, and insert their own interpretations. Over time, you quit thinking for yourself completely and run to the bishop every time a decision has to be made. You stop following your own instincts and turn to those who taught you that the carnal mind is of the devil. Eventually, everything you say and do is a canned rehearsed response with no emotion and no heart. I've seen it happen time and time again. A classic example of this can be found at mormonapologetics.com. This site is FULL of 'defenders of the faith' who are so colorless and unoriginal it actually hurts to wrap your mind around the arguments they spin trying to defend the indefensible and making the church look like its run by David Koresh wannabes. That site and the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research are major catalysts for Mormons to leave their church in droves. Once you see how hard they have to twist the facts and discount major sources of historical data, (just because it wasn't written by a Mormon in good standing of the church) it becomes quite clear that they aren't 'defending' the church, but whitewashing the history and claiming abuse and attack by anyone who dares to point it out.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Mitt Romney's own Republican Party has made religion fair game, and Romney will be asked how his faith would affect his policies.
Few Americans voiced concerns about the Mormon faith when Mitt Romney's father ran for president 40 years ago, probably because the guy flamed out so quickly. As a Republican colleague, Gov. James Rhodes of Ohio, remarked at the time, ''Watching George Romney run for the presidency was like watching a duck try to make love to a football.''
But Mitt Romney is a serious contender in 2008, rich and disciplined, and he's running in an era when presidential candidates are virtually expected to parade their religiosity. This is particularly true in the Republican camp, where religion and politics are now routinely intertwined; indeed, candidate George W. Bush upped the ante in 2000, when he said that his favorite philosopher was Jesus, ''because he changed my life.''
So it's no surprise Romney is facing questions about his lifelong devotion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the breakaway theology that considers itself humankind's ''one true church.'' He had hoped to stonewall this issue, insisting in a TV interview 18 months ago that ''I'm never going to get into a discussion about my personal beliefs.''
But today word is circulating that Romney will discuss his faith in an autumn speech - and seek to disarm the skeptics much the way John F. Kennedy in 1960 dampened fears that a Catholic president would take orders from Rome.
Romney is dealing with potential hostility, fair or not, on several fronts. Many Christian fundamentalists, particularly southern Baptists, dismiss Mormonism as a cult (thereby imperiling Romney in the GOP primaries, particularly in pivotal South Carolina). Many secular voters are uncomfortable with the church's passion for proselytizing and its superior attitude, particularly its scriptural insistence that all nonbelievers are worshiping ''the church of the devil.'' Pollsters say that at least 30 percent of voters won't back a Mormon.
Romney's biggest problem is that skeptics are simply weirded out. They cannot quite envision having a president who believes that a man named Joseph Smith dug up a book of golden plates, long buried in a hillside, with the help of an angel named Moroni in 1827; that these plates, written in Egyptian hieroglyphics, spelled out the precepts of the true Christian faith; that Smith translated these hieroglyphics by wearing decoder glasses and burying his head in a hat; that Jesus visited North America after the resurrection; that the Garden of Eden was really in Missouri.
As Romney himself recently told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, ''I believe in my faith. I love my faith, and I would in no way, shape, or form try to distance myself from my faith or the fundamental beliefs of my faith.'' He was a church leader in Massachusetts, as were his forebears out West. And his great-grandfather had five wives, after being personally instructed to practice polygamy by Smith's successor, Brigham Young.
But does all this mean Romney is too weird to lead America? The truth is, most religions look weird to outsiders. Perhaps it's no more appropriate to ask Romney whether he rationally believes the Garden of Eden was in Missouri than it would be to ask a Catholic candidate whether he rationally believes that the wafer he eats on Sunday is the actual body and blood of Jesus, or to ask a Jewish candidate whether he rationally thinks that Moses parted the Red Sea. Most Americans, rational in their professional lives, accept religious doctrines as a matter of private faith, or simply as metaphor.
Romney will undoubtedly try to ''do a JFK'' when he opts to confront these issues. Kennedy told an audience of Protestant ministers that his religion would not influence his job. Romney, in his sketchy remarks thus far, has similarly insisted that his oath to uphold the Constitution would take precedent.
But Romney has a more difficult task. Whereas Kennedy mollified skeptics by declaring that ''I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,'' Romney can ill afford to say that. Conservative Christian voters, who wield great influence in Republican primaries, do not believe in ''absolute'' separation. Romney would commit political suicide if he echoed JFK; nor would he want to, for personal reasons. He has repeatedly signaled that religion belongs in the public square, and that the tenets of his faith have infused his conservative politics.
Those arguments might be enough to propel him through the primaries; the general election might be another story. Some questions do seem appropriate.
First, the Mormon faith puts a high premium on ''faith-promoting'' information, sometimes at the expense of unpleasant facts. As a high-ranking Mormon leader said in a famous 1981 speech, ''Some things that are true are not very useful.'' Would Romney be able to assure swing voters that he would not merely perpetuate the faith-based thinking, and the rejection of empirical reality, that has trapped us in a ruinous war?
Second, since the Mormons consider themselves stewards of ''a quintessentially American faith'' (Romney's words), and since Mormons believe Jesus will return and rule the world from U.S. territory, does this suggest that a President Romney might wave the flag a bit too fervently, at a time when we need to repair our relations around the world? The Mormon faith is heavily rooted in what is commonly called ''American exceptionalism,'' the belief that we are special and we know best. Would Romney govern accordingly, and, if so, would that be a help or a hindrance in the war on terror?
What matters, in other words, is not whether he really thinks Joseph Smith met an angel in 1827. The crucial issue is whether, or how, a devout Mormon would apply his faith on the job in 2009. His supporters have suggested that any such questions are symptoms of religious bigotry, but it is the Republican Party, over the past several decades, that has put religion front and center. They have made Mitt Romney fair game.
***Thoughts from the PostMormon Board****
This comment by Crime Dog was so good, I just had to share it:
He wants desperately to separate his faith and his politics, but people will not let him. Is that appropriate? Is it wrong to question him about his religious beliefs? Should that play into any decision about who should be the nation's Chief Executive?
Of course it should, if there is any legitimate suspicion that the candidate would consider his religious beliefs above what might be best for this nation. Many candidates are able to set aside their religious beliefs and consider what is best for our nation. Others are not. How do you know which is which? If a candidate states his belief in creation, and that the world is only 6,000 years old, that's a deal killer. He's not bright enough to be my president. He clearly considers his religious beliefs superior to reason and intelligence.
What if the candidate's religion requires him, as a condition of attaining God's highest glory, to go into its most sacred edifice, and therein to swear an oath of consecration and allegiance to the church and its leaders above all else? Suppose it requires him to swear an oath that he would suffer his life to be taken in the most revolting fashion before he would reveal the cult's secrets? Is that important for people to know when considering a presidential candidate? You'll have to decide that for yourself.
Either these temple rites and oaths are real, eternal, and life dictating, or they are not. Mitt needs to tell us which. If they are, then his allegiance and loyalty will first be to his church - not the nation. If they are not, then he tells the world that his church's most sacred rites carry the weight and importance of a fraternity rush.
All this talk about his religious beliefs on abortion, or where New Jerusalem will be located, simply obfuscate the two most important questions:
1) Can we trust this man to disregard his sacred, eternal oaths, and lead this country as a strict non-sectarian?
2) Should his belief in and loyalty to a cult-like religion such as Mormonism be a deal breaker? Would we overlook the religious beliefs of a Branch Davidian, Jehovah's Witness, Moonie, or even a devout Pentecostal?
We would be probably consider a guy who handles snakes, screams in tongues, and passes out regularly in the aisles of his church as too wacky to be a viable candidate for national office, even he was a slick, good looking, well-spoken, successful business man the other six days of the week. What makes him so different from someone who believes devoutly in temple rituals?
I have really no objection to Mitt Romney other than he cannot seem to use the brilliant mind he possesses to really look into his own church's history, doctrines, and DNA evidence that shows the Mormon faith is built upon pre-supposed theories of truth. In order to be a faithful member of the church, you must be willing to block out any and all sources of information that may damage that belief. And that, to me, seems like more of the same Bush-ism we have been dealing with already. Bush has often bragged about his lack of researching information for himself and instead relies upon members of his cabinet to do all of that for him. And when they are WRONG, he can conveniently blame them, fire them, or otherwise scapegoat them, and keep from absorbing the responsibility himself.
This is what I see in Romney: He believes the church is true. If anyone points out the faults in his belief, he scapegoats the leaders, the prophets, the anti-Mormon writers (i.e. anyone who disagrees with Mormon philosophy and has the nerve to write about it or talk about it to others). He has NOT, in fact, taken the time to research the claims himself, separating fact from fiction, and emerging with the truth. Instead, he has put his trust in others in order to maintain his beliefs, and I don't see how that makes him different from Bush.
Our current president maintains the belief that terrorism lurks around every corner, that Saddam's removal has everything to do with countering that threat, that our presence in Iraq is VITAL to fighting terrorism, and that it is necessary to override constitutional freedoms in order to protect the US from this threat. Anything showing otherwise is disregarded, and when it is finally proven that his logic is faulty, his claims are baseless, what does he do? He blames his advisers, blames the CIA, blames bad intelligence for his decisions. BUT THE MAN WON'T READ FOR HIMSELF. And I can't support that.
This country needs an intelligent person at the helm, who will be ready to give up their paradigm for the truth and pursue a course of action that will truly be in the best interest of the country, even if it means letting go of widely held beliefs that we as a nation are the mightiest thing on the planet and we can do no wrong. That kind of attitude is what is getting us killed overseas. That kind of superiority and pridefullness will be our downfall if we cannot look at facts objectively and set aside our personal wishes for the betterment of our world.
I totally agreed with Bill Maher on a recent episode of "Real Time".
He basically pointed out that Mormons believe in things that can (and have been) proven false. Joseph Smith started the church less than two centuries ago, and it's not difficult to prove that most of his teachings, if not all, are false. Case in point: The Mormons believe that the Native Americans are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. DNA tests have proven that this is a false belief, no question about it. And the Mormon reaction is to try to discredit the research and call it "inconclusive", simply because it doesn't uphold their viewpoint YET. So, they will continue to hold out on the DNA question until it can be 100% conclusive, which will always be statistically impossible, and THEY KNOW THIS!
If Mitt Romney would just acknowledge that DNA shows Native Americans are not Israelites, I would vote for him. But first, he has to prove the ability to think for himself and not rely on "advisers", spiritual or otherwise...
Monday, August 06, 2007
Tribune columnist, (and a Mormon)
My nephew got married on Thursday. Even though he was raised LDS, it wasn't the traditional Mormon temple marriage. He married someone of another faith. So of course we boycotted the wedding.
I'm kidding. We went. Family is important. Bride and groom looked happy together. But the fact that they're young also makes them relatively clueless. They'll need all the family support they can get to make it work.
Not everyone gets that support. Last week, while riding TRAX, I listened (no choice really) as two couples across the aisle discussed the future weddings of their daughters.
The couples were active LDS Church members. A major clue was the voluble agreement that they would not pay for the weddings if said daughters didn't get married in the temple.
One couple said their daughter could just go to a justice of the peace during her lunch hour. The other said they might give their daughter bus fare to Vegas. Then they complimented each other on defending the faith.
I was pleased as well.
Among the unexpected benefits of riding TRAX are such occasional reminders that I'm not the stupidest person in the world.
It's been a while since I heard that "temple or nothing" wedding stuff. I thought it had gone the way of that dim-witted pronouncement of "better a dead daughter than a sexually violated one."
But a few days later, a friend said her mother had refused to let her get married in her grandmother's wedding dress when she found out it wouldn't be a temple marriage.
Gambling is technically a sin, but I'd still be willing to bet that Heavenly Father thinks micromanaging your daughter like that is a bunch of crap. If he were similarly controlling, he wouldn't have let two idiots have a daughter.
The fact that your daughter is getting married at all means she feels ready to start taking adult risks. Ideally, this is also the same time when parents should start thinking harder about shutting up. You make fewer mistakes that way.
This isn't about whether getting married in the temple is important. This is about believing coercion is an acceptable way of getting people there. If you don't believe me, call the temple and ask if you can bring a hostage next time.
You may think you're telling your daughter how important a temple wedding is, but what she's hearing is that she's not as important to you as your personal sense of propriety.
And regardless of how the marriage turns out, years from now, when she's looking back on the most important moment of her life, what she'll remember most about you was your priggish disapproval.
To check out the article, and the 100+ comments left behind, click here
It's nice to know that not all Utah Mormons think the same way. Kirby has some great articles and books out about Mormons and their lifestyles and perceptions. One of my favorites is Sunday of the Living Dead, in which he points out the absurd conventions of the typical Mormon life.
I spend time thinking about my niece's wedding, sometime off in the distant future, where the only people who will be able to attend are her parents, and my mom. Her own little brother will likely miss it, even thought he is Mormon as well, unless he is back from his mission (that he will no doubt be expected to go on) or has received his endowments, he won't even be allowed to witness the 10 minute ceremony. It's a shame that this religion not only restricts non-members from entering the temple, it also denies younger siblings from watching their brothers and sisters get married, just because they would gain knowledge of the green apron, baker's hat (for men), chin-strap veil (for women), and the robes symbolizing the Melchezidek priesthood bestowed upon BOTH men and women when they go through the endowment session. These items are REQUIRED to be worn over the wedding clothes in the sealing room, and therefore, can only be seen by those who have sworn to uphold the secrecy of these clothing items and the covenants made during the endowment session. After all, we can't expect 12 year olds to keep silent on how silly everyone looks in their robes and hats, wearing bright green aprons over their wedding dresses and suits, and practicing the 'patriarchal grip' over the altar as they kneel facing each other. So, they are denied the right to watch a FAMILY SEALING just because of their age.
When I got married, I got a bunch of grief for picking my brother who lived with my Dad over my brother who lived with me as my ring-bearer. I suppose if I had been worthy to have been married in the temple, all those folks who got to attend my wedding wouldn't have been allowed, but neither would ANY of my brothers or sisters, or even my Dad, or his parents, or my husband's brothers and sisters, or ANY of our aunts and uncles and cousins. What kind of family event is it, when only 7 of your side, and 8 of the other can even witness it? How can it possibly be called a 'Family Forever' religion, when the very first thing that happens is a division based on age, membership status, or worthiness?
I am about to officiate a wedding myself in a few days, for a couple who is choosing a Pagan-Wiccan theme for their wedding. The ONLY people who won't be there are the ones who choose NOT to go. For some reason, in the minds of those who are objecting, it isn't a real wedding unless it is held in a church, officiated by a man, and signed off on by a Christian entity. It's their loss, I say. It's going to be a beautiful ceremony, outdoors in a garden spot, surrounded by all the family that cares for them; young, old, believers and skeptics alike. All of that is set aside to witness the event itself, because that should be more important than checking membership cards at the door.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
(1831 - 1844) JOSEPH SMITH Discoverer of the Golden plates
First Prophet and President and Founder of the Mormon Church:
1848 - 1877) BRIGHAM YOUNG 2nd Prophet and President
"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable, sad, low in their habits, wild, and seemingly without the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind.
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."
(1877 - 1887) JOHN TAYLOR 3rd Prophet and President"...after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation a upon a the earth as well as God;.. "
(1901 - 1918) JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH 10th Prophet and President
"I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. "Darkies" are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church."
"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race.
"... and they have been 'despised among all people.' This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith ..."BRUCE R. McCONKIE of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
The negroes are not equal with other races when the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned..."
...As a result of his rebellion, Cain was cursed with a dark skin; he became the father of the negroes"
"Cain Ham, and the whole negro race have _ cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry."
SPENCER W. KIMBALL:
MARK E. PETERSON of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
"At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the negroes we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that He placed a dark skin upon them as a curse - as a punishment and as a sign to all others.
" If there is one drop of negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse, There isn't any argument, therefore, as to intermarriage with the Negro, is there? "Now we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest kind of education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it.
ORSON PRATT of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
"The Lord has not kept them in store for five or six thousand years past, and kept them waiting for their bodies all this time to send them among the Hottentots, the African Negroes, the idolatrous Hindoos, or any other of the fallen nations of the earth
"Lamanites" is the Book of Mormon term for Native Americans. The quote below is from a Mormon General Conference talk given by Spencer W. Kimball in 1960. Spencer W. Kimball became the president of the Mormon Church in 1975.
"The day of the Lamanites in nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. [...] The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation.
At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl- sixteen- sitting between the darker father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents- on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather. There was the doctor in a Utah city who for two years had had an Indian boy in his home who stated that he was some shades lighter than the younger brother just coming into the program from the reservation. These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness. One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated."
I have a question. If Mormons believe, as the Second Article of Faith states:
"We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."
Why is it that these 'prophets' claim that the black people were being punished because of Cain's?
Read on, my dear Mormon audience...
Heber C. Kimball taught:
"Some quietly listen to those who speak against the plurality of wives, and against almost every principle that God has revealed. Such persons have half-a-dozen devils with them all the time. You might as well deny 'Mormonism,' and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose the doctrine, and the whole of them will be damned." - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 203
"I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality [of wives] looks fresh, young, and sprightly." - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses Vol 5, page 22
"I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow." - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, The Twenty Seventh Wife, Irving Wallace, p. 101.
Speaking to a group of departing missionaries... "Brethren, I want you to understand that it is not to be as it has been heretofore. The brother missionaries have been in the habit of picking out the prettiest women for themselves before they get here, and bringing on the ugly ones for us; hereafter you have to bring them all here before taking any of them, and let us all have a fair shake." - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, The Lion of the Lord, New York, 1969, pp.129-30.
"I say to those who are elected to go on missions, remember they are not your sheep: they belong to Him that sends you. Then do not make a choice of any of those sheep; do not make selections before they are brought home and put into the fold. You under stand that. Amen" - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.256.
Who here is STILL going to argue that polygamy was for the interests and safety of the women?
It gets worse. Real Christians have a difficult time accepting Mormons as Christian because of their belief and teaching that Jesus was conceived in the same, regular manner as everybody else in the world. Today's Mormons are not taught this principle of belief until many months or even years of membership and advancement in the Mormon church. Many times, people in the faith often do not discover such teachings ever existed until they themselves are called to serve as Gospel Doctrine teachers or Elder's Quorum teachers. This is why anyone in a teaching capacity is urged to only present the materials in the approved manuals and not to use sources like books written by past prophets, or the Ensign magazine that all devout Mormons subscribe to. Strict control of information and strict control of teaching is what enables the church to let these teachings fall into the 'black hole of history', and allow sufficient plausibility of denial.
"Jesus is the only person who had our heavenly father as the father of his body" (family home evening manual p.125-126 1972)
‘Christ was begotten by an immortal father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal father."(Mormon doctrine p.547)
"The birth of the savior was as natural as the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten of his father, as were of our fathers." (Journal of Discourses vol.8 p.115)
"If none but gods will be permitted to multiply immortal children, it follows that each God must have one or more wives. God, the Father of our spirits, became the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. "(Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, page 158)
"I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Savior Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it. (Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 8:211)
Apostle and one of the best defenders of their errors was Bruce R. McConkie taught, "And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 742).
"And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family. Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pages 50-51) To make this clear what the Church understood this as "He [Brigham Young] said that our GOD was Father Adam He was the Father of the Savior Jesus Christ Our God was no more or less than ADAM. " ("Wilford Woodruff Journal," Feb. 19,1854)
"Christ was begotten of God. He was NOT born without the aid of man and that man was God!" (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1:18)
"The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:268)
Not to wonder since God is also participating in this practice "We have clearly shown that God the father had a plurality of wives…"(Orson Pratt The Seer p.172)
"Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in the mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity."( Orson Pratt, The Seer, page 158)
So much was this practiced that Jedediah M. Grant, Second Counselor to Brigham Young, asserted: "A belief in the doctrine of a plurality of wives caused the persecution of Jesus and his followers." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, page 346)
"Hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being the lawful wife of God the Father: we use the term lawful Wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully," (The Seer, Apostle Orson Pratt p. 158).*** My Thoughts***
Oh, yeah I promised to show the teaching about men inhabiting the moon.
from Brigham Young:
"I will tell you who the real fanatics are: they are they who adopt false principles and ideas as facts, and try to establish a superstructure upon, a false foundation. They are the fanatics; and however ardent and zealous they may be, they may reason or argue on false premises till doomsday, and the result will be false. If our religion is of this character we want to know it; we would like to find a philosopher who can prove it to us. We are called ignorant; so we are: but what of it? Are not all ignorant? I rather think so. Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon? When we view its face we may see what is termed "the man in the moon," and what some philosophers declare are the shadows of
mountains. But these sayings are very vague, and amount to nothing; and when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fellows. So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets; and so
will this earth when it is celestialized. Every planet in its first rude, organic state receives not the glory of God upon it, but is opaque; but when celestialized, every planet that God brings into existence is a body of light, but not till then. Christ is the light of this planet." - Journal of Discourses Vol. 13, p.271.
****And you thought Scientology was weird****
Brigham Young made a false prophecy?
"In the days of Joseph [Smith] it was considered a great privilege to be permitted to speak to a member of Congress, but twenty-six years will not pass away before the Elders of this Church will be as much thought of as the kings on their thrones." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, page 40.)
Brigham Young said God was progressing in knowledge.
"God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 120).
Brigham Young boasted.
"What man or woman on earth, what spirit in the spirit-world can say truthfully that I ever gave a wrong word of counsel, or a word of advice that could not be sanctioned by the heavens? The success which has attended me in my presidency is owing to the blessings and mercy of the Almighty . . . " (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, p. 127).
Brigham Young said you can't get to the highest heaven without Joseph Smith's consent.
"...no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 289).
****Hope you enjoy cuddling up with your Journal of Discourses tonight, as you attempt to make your excuses and reason out all of the false teachings of Brigham Young, the Mormon prophet. I bid you, adieu.