Wednesday, September 26, 2007

LDS Church Young Women's Manual Lesson-- How to be Submissive to Men

I never would have believed it if I hadn't read it for myself...

On the website, the Young Women's manual is available online. Lesson 11 is titled, "Appreciating the Bishop". In this lesson, girls ages 12-17 are taught by their leaders to respect and revere the bishop of the ward.

Some quotes from the manual: [bold is my emphasis]

“The bishop presides over every person in the ward and directs their local church activities. … All of your adolescent life you will be under the direction of the bishop. He will appoint teachers and supervisors to do his work, but he will be very much interested in your progress. Your life here will be constantly weighed by him, for he is the judge of your worthiness … to receive higher ordinances, and to be worthy to go to the Temple.

“If you are going to work in the Church system you will learn to be obedient to your bishop. If you get into trouble you will be wise if you seek his advice and counsel. He has been designated by the Lord and appointed by the President of the Church to be responsible for you and to make sure you progress according to your worthiness and ability. …

“… He will see you every year at tithing settlement. He will interview you. … If you go on a mission he will be the one who makes the first inquiry as to your fitness and ability to serve in this capacity” (S. Dilworth Young, More Precious than Rubies [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1959], pp. 40–41).

Is it any small wonder that men like Warren Jeffs come to power and control, when the members are so willing to submit to his authority?

I am also quite sick at the thought that the LDS church seeks to distance themselves from the FLDS sect in every possible news story, but they teach their young girls the same kinds of attitudes that the 'radical polygamists' teach. Women are to obey their bishops, seek his counsel and guidance, submit to closed door interviews where the bishop can ask any manner of personal questions, and set aside their personal boundaries in order to be considered worthy to obtain higher ordinances or attend the temple. This puts the bishop in a position to take advantage of many young girls, all with the seeming consent of the parents. The girls are quite vulnerable and make easy targets when they are taught to 'obey' their bishop because he is called of God.

In the LDS church, bishops are not trained clergy. They are farmers, they are business professionals, they are bus drivers and lawyers. They have little to no training on how to counsel people in distress or crisis, other than what is provided in the Church Handbook of Instructions. They often focus on minutiae of worthiness issues, like hemlines and shirt colors, and skip over really getting to know the members personally. But the interviews behind closed doors are the real danger to 12 year old girls. There, sequestered and alone, they bravely face a man who could be a complete stranger to them, yet they are to treat him as they would a father figure, and obey his counsel. This is taking a huge risk, and it is shameful that parents don't see the potential danger. I know a few men in the ward that I used to attend who were just on the edge of creepy, and if they had ever been elevated to the level of bishop, lots of people would have gone inactive. Yet there are the occasional wolves in sheep's clothing, just waiting for their turn at being the bishop so they can have access to all the young teens in the ward. It happens. Even home teachers have been known to take advantage of the youth in the ward, and parents are often unwitting accomplices because of the blind trust they have in "callings".

Mormons are so unaware of their own history, they can't even see the stark resemblance between Joseph Smith's Mormonism and Warren Jeffs' Mormonism. Warren Jeffs was convicted of being an accomplice to rape for arranging and forcing a marriage between a 14 year old girl and her 19 year old cousin.

Jeffs advised her to pray and to submit to her husband, learn to love him, and bear his children -- or risk losing her "eternal salvation," the woman testified.

Contrast this story with that of 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball, who was a plural wife of Joseph Smith:

"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."

Oh, but the similarities don't end there....

Warren Jeffs is the spiritual leader of a sect that calls itself the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints. They teach polygamy, blood atonement, and isolation from the federal government, just as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught. They hold to the original teachings of the church, and accuse the Mormons of being a break-away branch of the true church. They are unapologetic when confronted about their polygamy practices, and have nothing but contempt for LDS members, because their church gave up polygamy to obtain statehood. Joseph Smith was so determined to have a kingdom of Latter-Day Saints that he uprooted his followers numerous times so that they could practice their religion away from the interference of the federal government. Brigham Young accomplished that for a period of 40 years before the U.S. troops came banging on the doorstep, arresting anyone they could find practicing polygamy. In 1890, the LDS gave up the practice, but only on the secular level. It is still acceptable practice to be married to more than one wife in the eyes of the church, and is still part of the original doctrine. The only difference between LDS and FLDS in this respect is that the LDS are covert about the practice, and do not discuss it, even openly deny it to the media and to the world.

Now, granted, the men who are polygamously married to another wife through the temple sealing ordinance is under no obligation to support her, co-habitate with her, or otherwise maintain contact with her, but the fact remains that in the eyes of the LDS church, he is still sealed to her, and has the right to claim her in the afterlife as his wife, if he hopes to obtain the highest level of celestial glory. She cannot be sealed to anyone else without a cancellation of this marriage, and has to obtain HIS permission to do so. She also has to be interviewed extensively for any past sins and for worthiness issues prior to being 'given' to another man. But HE does not have to take these steps to be sealed to another woman in the temple. This is in the LDS church. So, what would you call this, if it's not 'spiritual polygamy'? And this is how they get away with saying they are not associated with polygamy, it was done away with many years ago, stop persecuting us, etc. Those of us who have left the church KNOW that it is still practiced in the temple, and in the LDS view, that supercedes the temporal law anyway.

Warren Jeffs rules his church with an iron fist, and any who oppose him are cast out, excommunicated, cut off from parents or children, and personal belongings, even wives and children are assigned to other 'more worthy' men. Joseph Smith was married to as many as 33 wives himself, some of whom were ALREADY wives of other men. If any man opposed him, he was publicly denounced, excommunicated, property seized and redistributed, and the wife was taken anyway. Most of the time, Joseph merely sent them on missions to England and took the wife while her husband was away. He might come back two years later to discover his wife mysteriously pregnant, and then the choice to leave her and their children behind or stay and submit to 'spiritual wifery' would have to be faced.

If polygamy was supposed to help the church 'be fruitful and multiply', why couldn't these women do that with their OWN husbands?
They can't be pregnant more than once at a time, right? So why would it be necessary for her to be having sex with Joseph Smith, if her husband could get her pregnant just as easily?

Growing up in the church, I was told that polygamy was a small practice and only used to secure the futures of widows, or young girls with no parents. Now that I have learned the truth about the practice, and that the source of the teaching was Joseph, not Brigham, and that other men's wives were given in plural marriage, I can't fathom how the LDS church can claim that they have nothing in common with the FLDS church. They have the same roots, and the same doctrine. They teach the young women early on to obey the bishop, follow his counsel, he is responsible for you, he knows what is best for you, etc. It's not that much of a leap...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mormon Church Authorities Revoke Underwear Privileges

This story has been all over the message here for the full article


"In a letter to Lamborn dated Sept. 2, Molina noted that a disciplinary council had been held Aug. 19 and excommunication was ordered. Lamborn, 49, a Mesa resident who has been a priesthood leader for 20 years, was informed he was no longer a church member, could not “enjoy any membership privileges, including the wearing of temple garments and the payment of tithes and offerings.”

***My Thoughts***

Ok, there are SO many things wrong with this story, I hardly know where to begin.

In short, this guy decided to tell his bishop that he no longer believes the church is true, and his "authority priesthood hierarchy" holds a meeting without him to decide what to do to limit his influence on the other members. They decide to ex-communicate him AND announce it to all the wards in his stake, "to let people know if there is a danger to them, such as him teaching doctrine that is contrary to what is taught by the church"

Danger? What, this guy was carrying knives and guns around with him? Was he was threatening to hurt someone? No, the danger is that he might share his ideas with others and turn on the critical thinking skills the church works so hard to dampen with their endless mantras of "follow the prophet, he knows the way". The only 'danger' that he represented was that he may actually have a valid point of view, and the church authorities thought it would be best to discredit him with the shroud of excommunication before he could talk to anyone else.

The church authorities know what stigma comes with the word 'excommunication'.

So, Brother Lamborn went to the press. And now he's got the whole Internet buzzing with this news.

I just have to step back and make a comment on the church's withdrawal of "privileges" like wearing garments, and paying tithing.

This guy probably didn't own any other underwear besides garments. Now the church has ordered him to cease wearing them, by their own special decree. And just how do they propose to enforce this law upon a man who has been excommunicated simply because he can't believe their church is what it claims to be? Is there a special committee on 'underwear wearing' that each stake musters forth to check out members worthiness factor? Are there now going to be spot checks at sacrament meetings?

Good Gravy! I can't believe they actually put that in PRINT!!! "You may not wear garments". Underwear is a privilege?!! Didn't he rightfully buy and pay for those garments? Wasn't he REQUIRED to wear them at all times and forgo all wordly underpants? And now they are going to go to his house and confiscate them?!! AS IF!!! Who the hell do they think they are, telling people what kind of skivvies they CAN and CANNOT wear?

Once I left the church, way before I sent in my letter, the garmies were the first things I did away with, on my own. What makes them think he is still wearing them voluntarily!? Under the temple covenants we made, we were committed to wearing them, because that was a reminder of the promises we made to God, in the temple. Once we figured out those promises were made under false pretenses of the church being what they claim, the covenant dissipates. God doesn't CARE what our underpants look like, Mormons!!!

The utter GALL they have to hold a counsel meeting and decide to paint him as an evil apostate who is a 'danger' to others because he might teach "doctrine that is contrary to what is taught by the church". Aren't the people of the church smart enough on their own to discern truth? Can't they be trusted to hear him out and then decide on their OWN that he is a 'danger'? Apparently not, so the Stake President decides to announce from the pulpit that Brother Lamborn is an apostate, is not to be trusted, cannot partake of privileges of underwear-wearing, or paying 10% of his yearly income to the uplifting and sustaining of the church, cannot speak, pray, or partake of the LORD'S SACRAMENT because he doesn't believe every one of the truths the church teaches. He went and found his own "truth". And that makes him someone to be avoided.

Is there anything here that does NOT sound like a cult to you?

They are trying to 'shame' him by publicly humiliating him, and the only thing that is happening is that people are going to want to know WHY he doesn't believe anymore. That Stake President just unwittingly helped lead hundreds of his faithful members to the very sources of information he was seeking to protect them from, seemingly because it is his responsibility to shield those with weak testimonies from topics that are 'not very useful' for promoting faith.

Oh, and a word about tithing while I'm at it...

Paying 10% of your yearly income to the church is a privilege that Brother Lamborn now HAS to give up? Wow. Looks to me like he just got a RAISE. Wonder how he'll sleep at night with all that money in the bank and his bills paid off. Hmm... Brother Lamborn, we have decided that you will not be allowed to finance the 2 Billion dollar mall project going on in Downtown Salt Lake. There, that'll teach him.

Why should he feel bad for being excommunicated because he found out about Joseph's 33 wives? They are listed on the website!! For anyone to see if they chose to learn about it!! But, that wasn't the problem really, it was Brother Lamborn's REACTION to the news.

There are over 25 pages of comments on this article from the East Valley Tribune. Quite a number of Mormon-faithful are deriding Brother Lamborn's discovery, and calling it "common knowledge', 'old news', and 'fully-known to most Mormons'. Oh, is that so? Then why are thousands leaving the church every year, even faster than new converts are coming in?! Do you think that Joseph's polygamy is part of the discussions given to investigators? No Way! We all now that 'too much truth, given without the proper authority and without the proper spirit, can be a faith destroyer'. (Quote from Boyd Packer)

I know that I was shocked and troubled when I first learned of it, and it sure the hell wasn't in seminary class or Gospel Doctrine!!! How the hell was I going to learn about it while I was stuck in Sunday school with 3-11 year olds teaching them to sing," Follow the Prophet"? I wasn't learning anything new, year after year. I was rehashing and teaching the surface doctrine, the 'fluffy bunny' stuff, to kids because that's what I was ASSIGNED to do. So all those Holier-than-Thou Mormons who know everything about Church History and still believe can kiss it, because that is NOT how the church operates everywhere. How arrogant to think that the church has ALWAYS been upfront about its history, when they take such large measures to shield their members from ever discussing it, and they excommunicate you for finding out!!!

I am SO glad I resigned, I took control, I told THEM that I was NO LONGER a member!!! Ha! None of their chastisements and admonitions made any impact upon me because I was no longer AFRAID of them!

If I had taken my concerns to the bishop, and convinced him that I actually had valid points and that I could possibly convince others of weaker testimonies that the teachings were false, he may have done the same to me, paint me as an apostate before I could resign of my choosing! And as it happens, I did try to convince some people to leave. AFTER I resigned. I will always have that in my corner. I decided THEY were wrong, so I LEFT.

And the whole reason I keep this blog alive is so that one day, when someone I know stops by and reads what I have written here, whether it's today or years down the road, they can come to know the truth is out there, they can take the control back for their lives, and they can stop living in a religion dictated by the choice of underbritches.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

On the Autumnal Equinox

An Angel Appears to Joseph--But Which One?

{These posts are from RfM}

[Yesterday], September 21, is the anniversary of the appearance of the angel Nephi to Joseph Smith, telling him of the existence of the sacred record buried in the Hill Cumorah. That was in 1823.


The earliest printed account was in the Times and Seasons (1842) volume 3, no 12 page 753, where Joseph Smith tells of Nephi's visit:

"When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi. That God has a work for me to do, ... He said there was a book deposited written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang."

Note that Joseph Smith was the editor of the Times and Seasons.

The Millennial Star also reported the angel's name soon afterward as "Nephi", and "Nephi" was his name in the first edition of the Pearl of Great Price (1851). Lucy Mack Smith's biography of JS also says his name was Nephi.

So, why is Moroni holding the trumpet on the top of Mormon temples? It should be Nephi!

And [today] it will be the 180th anniversary of the delivery of the plates to the prophet Joe (1827).

An interesting question - how is it that JS could remember the precise date of the angel's visit in 1823, but could not remember the precise date of God's appearance to him in 1820?

More bizarre but true Mormon History - starting 183 years ago yesterday...

September 22, 1823 - "The Angel" Moroni tells Smith to return to the Hill Cumorah in a Year with his oldest brother, Alvin

"Both early Mormon and non-Mormon sources agree that on 22 September 1823 Moroni required Smith to bring his oldest brother Alvin to the hill the following year in order to obtain the gold plates."

One of Smith's devout followers, Joseph Knight, recorded Smith's relating that the following dialog occurred on the hill in 1823:

"Joseph says, 'when can I have it?' The answer was the 22nt Day of September next if you Bring the right person with you. Joseph says, 'who is the right Person?' The answer was 'your oldest Brother.' But before September [1824] Came his oldest Brother Died. Then he was Disapointed and did not [k]now what to do." (Jessee 1976a, 31; also Hartley 1986, 20)

The Smiths' Palmyra neighbor Willard Chase reported:

"He then enquired when he could have them, and was answered thus: come one year from this day, and bring with you your oldest brother, and you shall have them. This spirit, he said was the spirit of the prophet who wrote this book, and who was sent to Joseph Smith, to make known these things to him. Before the expiration of the year, [Smith's] oldest brother died." (1833, 241-42, emphasis in original)

Smith family neigbor Fayette Lapham remembered that Joseph Smith's father told him in 1830 that "Joseph asked when he could have them; and the answer was, 'Come in one year from this time, and bring your oldest brother with you; then you may have them.' During that year, it so happened that his oldest brother died."

November 19, 1823 - Alvin dies suddenly

"The intensity of the Smith family's despair over Alvin's death less than two months after Joseph's visit the the Hill Cumorah is understandable. Alvin's last words to his brother Joseph were to "do everything that lies in your power to obtain the Record. Be faithful in receiving instruction, and in keeping every commandment that is given to you. Your brother Alvin must leave you." (L. M. Smith 1853, 88)

"Alvin's final charge underscored the dilemma Joseph now faced: he had been commanded to meet the angelic treasure-guardian at the hill the following 22 September 1824 and to bring Alvin with him."

"By some accounts, Smith had been violently jolted three times and severely chastised for disobeying instructions during his first visit, and Mormon convert Joseph Knight wrote that now Smith "did not [k]now what to do" (Jessee 1976a, 31). One can only imagine the turmoil Smith would have experienced during the ten months between the death of his eldest brother on 19 November 1823 and his next solitary visit to the hill."
- Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.135-136

September 22, 1824 - "God's Messenger" Moroni asks Joseph where his brother Alvin is

"Joseph hoped to obtain the plates on 22 September 1824 even though he did not bring Alvin. The day was a stinging disappointment. According to Smith's 1832 autobiography, the messenger told him "to come again in one year from that time [1823]. I did so [in 1824], but did not obtain them."

"His friend Joseph Knight wrote, "But when the 22nt Day of September Came he went to the place and the personage appeard [sic] and told him he Could not have it now" (Jessee 1976a, 31). Lorenzo Saunders remembered that Smith told him, "At the end of the time he went to the place to get the plates the angel asked where his Brother was. I told him he was dead." Fayette Lapham recalled the story as "Joseph repaired to the place again, and was told by the man who still guarded the treasure, that, inasmuch as he could not bring his oldest brother, he could not have the treasure yet" (L. Saunders 1884a, 10; Lapham 1870, 2:386).

"As Smith left the hill in disappointment on 22 September 1824, apparently the message he had received was: without your dead brother Alvin, you cannot have the gold lates."

"When Smith returned a year later, the spirit asked about his brother. Learning he was dead, the spirit "commanded him to come again, in just one year, and bring a man with him."
- Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.136

September 29, 1824 - Joseph Smith Sr. denies in local newspaper to dissecting Alvin's body

Wayne Sentinel 2 (29 Sept. 1824): Page 3, prints an advertisement placed by Joseph Sr. dated "Sept. 25th, 1824," denying "reports [that] have been industriously put in circulation, that my son, Alvin, had been removed from the place of his internment and dissected."

Smith chastised town gossips for disturbing the peace of mind of a still-grieving parent, and then made two comments that allude to his son Joseph as target of such gossip:

"[these rumors] deeply wound the feelings of relations [and] have been stimulated more by desire to injure the reputation of certain persons than a philanthropy for the peace and welfare of myself and friends."
- Wayne Sentinel, 29 Sept.-3 Nov. 1824; Kirkham 1951, 1:147; Rich 1970, 256

Not exactly faith-promoting. No wonder you don't hear this part of the story in Sunday School. This is not a testimony killer, but it sure is a bizarre story to explain away.

Why did the angel Moroni require Alvin to get the gold plates?

Why didn't the Angel Moroni know Alvin was dead?

***My Thoughts***

Joseph's upbringing was steeped in occultic ritual and magical thinking. Grant Palmer's book, "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins", contains a section comparing Joseph's 'alleged' adventures in obtaining the golden plates with E.T.A. Hoffman's "The Golden Pot". Judge for yourself here

Also worth mentioning is D. Michael Quinn's book, "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View." The author was a church historian who ultimately was excommunicated for revealing too much truth to the masses. Excerpts available here

I haven't been over to FAIR to find out what their take is on the switch in names, but if I had to venture a guess, it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of discounting the Times and Seasons article, even though Joseph was the editor, and discounting journal entries made by others, since they are not 'cannonized' scripture. And, let's face it: if all we could depend on for accurate history was 'cannonized' scripture, universities would become useless, and apologetics wouldn't be necessary to try to scrub out any opposing viewpoints. Oh, and we would all be Mormon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

When the Prophet Speaks...

"Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing."
- Gordon B. Hinckley. "Loyalty," April Conference, 2003.

"Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud" (GBH, General Conference address, The Ensign, November, 2002, p. 80).

"I would like to say that this cause is either true or false. Either this is the kingdom of God, or it is a sham and a delusion. Either Joseph talked with the Father and the Son or he did not. If he did not, we are engaged in a blasphemy. (GBH, General Conference address, October, 1961)

"Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of [the] First Vision. ... Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Mag., Nov. 1998, pp.70-71

“As I see it, there are four great foundation stones on which this Church stands, irremovable. The first, the great First Vision, the visit of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph Smith, the opening of the heavens in this the dispensation of the fullness of times, the great bringing together of all of the work of God in all the past dispensations throughout the history of the world. The curtain was parted with that First Vision, and it stands as an absolute fundamental in the Church and its history and its well-being.
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Aug. 1998, 72

"We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith. When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed that. I replied, "Yes, sir. That's the miracle of it." That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens."

"Then in 1820 came that glorious manifestation in answer to the prayer of a boy who had read in his family Bible the words of James: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5)."

"Upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the validity of this Church."

"That They came, both of Them, that Joseph saw Them in Their resplendent glory, that They spoke to him and that he heard and recorded Their words—of these remarkable things we testify. I knew a so-called intellectual who said the Church was trapped by its history. My response was that without that history we have nothing. The truth of that unique, singular, and remarkable event is the pivotal substance of our faith."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith," October 2002 General Conference

"Well, it's either true or false. If it's false, we're engaged in a great fraud. If it's true, it's the most important thing in the world. Now, that's the whole picture. It is either right or wrong, true or false, fraudulent or true. And that's exactly where we stand, with a conviction in our hearts that it is true: that Joseph went into the Grove; that he saw the Father and the Son; that he talked with them; that Moroni came; that the Book of Mormon was translated from the plates; that the priesthood was restored by those who held it anciently. That's our claim. That's where we stand, and that's where we fall, if we fall. But we don't. We just stand secure in that faith."
Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Interview "The Mormons"; PBS Documentary, April 2007

[***What separates Mormonism from the Christian mainstream? The belief in the First Vision story forms the basis for the entire structure of Mormon belief. If that were set aside, the church could not claim to have restored prophecy, authority, or scripture. Giving up on the ‘chosen’ nature of Joseph Smith means acknowledging 167 years of fraud perpetuated by one volume of text written by a man who had no more spiritual discernment than any other human on the earth. Without Joseph’s ‘divine calling’, there is no LDS church.***]

Questions about the First Vision Story: here

1. Why didn't Joseph Smith write the "official" version of the First Vision?

In fact, the Joseph Smith History in the Pearl of Great Price was written by a scribe, James Mulholland, and went unpublished for years. There are earlier versions of the First Vision story in Joseph Smith's own handwriting, but they are not considered "official" and are relatively ignored by the church.

2. If the official First Vision story was so important, why did it go unpublished until 1842?

Smith supposedly had his vision in 1820. Yet it took over seven private revisions and another 22 years to have it first published.

3. If Jesus Christ and God the Father really told Joseph Smith in 1820 that all churches were an abomination, then why did he try joining the Methodist church in June of 1828?

Records show that in June of 1828, Joseph Smith applied for membership in his wife's Methodist Church. He also joined Methodist classes taught there. (The Amboy Journal, Amboy, IL, details Smith's activity in the Methodist Church in 1828. April 30, 1879 p. 1; May 21, 1879 p.1; June 11, 1879, p.1; July 2, 1879 p.1.)

4. If Joseph Smith saw God in 1820, why did he pray in his room in 1823 to find out "if a Supreme being did exist?"

In the first history of Mormonism from 1835 written under Joseph Smith's direction, it says that the night of September 1823 Joseph Smith began praying in his bed to learn "the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him." (LDS periodical Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Feb. 1835) How could that possibly make sense if Smith had already seen God face-to-face some three years earlier in 1820?
See: here

5. Why did Joseph Smith fail to mention his First Vision when he first wrote a church history in 1835?

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery wrote and published a history of the church that supposedly covered all of the important points related to its beginnings. However, Joseph Smith records a different story than the "official" one later published in 1842. In Joseph Smith's own 1835 published history of the church, he says that his first spiritual experience was in 1823 after a religious revival in Palmyra that same year. Smith testified that he prayed while in bed to discover if God existed when he was visited by an angelic messenger (Moroni) that forgave him his sins. Elements of this narrative are similar to the later "official" version except the "official" version has different dates, locations, visitors and purposes for Smith's first spiritual experience.
See: here

6. If Joseph Smith could not deny that he saw God, then why did his own handwritten accounts deny it?

In the other First Vision accounts, including one handwritten by Joseph Smith himself, he does not say that he saw God the Father. Instead, these earlier accounts refer to an angel, a spirit, many angels, or the Son. Yet in the "official" account, it says Joseph Smith saw God and knew God knew it, and therefore despite persecution, he dared not deny or change his story.
See: here

7. If Joseph Smith's First Vision was the most important historical event since the atonement, then why didn't early church members know about it?

"As far as Mormon literature is concerned, there was apparently no reference to Joseph Smith's first vision in any published material in the 1830's. Joseph Smith's history, which was begun in 1838, was not published until it ran serially in the Times and Seasons in 1842. The famous "Wentworth Letter," which contained a much less detailed account of the vision, appeared March 1, 1842, in the same periodical. Introductory material to the Book of Mormon, as well as publicity about it, told of Joseph Smith's obtaining the gold plates and of angelic visitations, but nothing was printed that remotely suggested earlier visitations."

"In 1833 the Church published the Book of Commandments, forerunner to the present Doctrine and Covenants, and again no reference was made to Joseph's first vision, although several references were made to the Book of Mormon and the circumstances of its origin."

"The first regular periodical to be published by the Church was The Evening and Morning Star, but its pages reveal no effort to tell the story of the first vision to its readers. Nor do the pages of the Latter-day Saints Messenger and Advocate, printed in Kirtland, Ohio, from October, 1834, to September, 1836. In this newspaper Oliver Cowdery, who was second only to Joseph Smith in the early organization of the Church, published a series of letters dealing with the origin of the Church. These letters were written with the approval of Joseph Smith, but they contained no mention of any vision prior to those connected with the Book of Mormon."

"In 1835 the Doctrine and Covenants was printed at Kirtland, Ohio, and its preface declared that it contained "the leading items of religion which we have professed to believe." Included in the book were the "Lectures on Faith," a series of seven lectures which had been prepared for the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in 1834-35. It is interesting to note that, in demonstrating the doctrine that the Godhead consists of two separate personages, no mention was made of Joseph Smith having seen them, nor was any reference made to the first vision in any part of the publication."

"The first important missionary pamphlet of the Church was the Voice of Warning, published in 1837 by Parley P. Pratt. The book contains long sections on items important to missionaries of the 1830's, such as fulfillment of prophecy, the Book of Mormon, external evidence of the book's authenticity, the resurrection, and the nature of revelation, but nothing, again, on the first vision."

"The Times and Seasons began publication in 1839, but, as indicated above, the story of the vision was not told in its pages until 1842. From all this it would appear that the general church membership did not receive information about the first vision until the 1840's and that the story certainly did not hold the prominent place in Mormon thought that it does today."
(Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol.1, No.3, p.31 - p.32)

8. If it really happened, why couldn't Joseph Smith tell a consistent story about such a powerful experience as meeting with God and Jesus Christ face-to-face?

How many people forget where they were when their first child was born? Or when they got their patriarchal blessing? Or their wedding night? How many forget who they were with and what happened? If we can remember details such as year, circumstance and those involved, why couldn't Joseph Smith consistently recall basic facts about his incredible First Vision?

9. Why does the "official" First Vision story contradict Joseph Smith's own handwritten testimony?

In Joseph Smith's first handwritten testimony of the first vision in 1832, he says he already knew all other churches were false before he prayed. Smith testified: "by searching the scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ."
See: here

Yet in the "official" story written years later by a scribe, it has Joseph Smith saying: "I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join."

In fact, looking at all the versions of the first vision story, you see a pattern of contradictions and evolution, not a pattern of mere elaboration on a single original experience.

10. If Joseph Smith saw God the Father in the flesh with a body in 1820, why did he teach later than God the Father did not have a physical body?

Up until the last version of the "First Vision" story, Joseph Smith taught that God the Father did not have a body.

For example, in 1835 Joseph Smith taught a class of Elders the "Lectures on Faith" which were also printed in the scripture volume Doctrine and Covenants. In this original Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith stated that God the Father was a personage of spirit. In Section 5 we find this statement about the Godhead:

"The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fullness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man."
- Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 Edition, p. 53

The Prophet Joseph Smith himself signed a statement that was printed in the Preface to this 1835 Edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. In this statement he testified:

"The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of Lectures as delivered before a Theological class in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important doctrine of salvation, we have arranged them into the following work."

President Joseph Fielding Smith also explained that the Prophet Joseph Smith helped prepare this part of scripture:

"Now the Prophet did know about these Lectures on Faith, because he helped to prepare them, and he helped also to revise these lectures before they were published [in the Doctrine and Covenants]."
- Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, page 195

Actually, these teachings were considered complete with regard to their doctrine concerning the Godhead at the time they were given.

On page 58 of the 1835 Edition of the Doctrine and Covenants the following question and answer appear:

"Q. Does the foregoing account of the Godhead lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation?"

"A. It does."

11. Why did Joseph Smith's mother, in the extensive history of her son's life, not mention Joseph ever having a vision from God and Jesus Christ, or that he was persecuted for it?

According to the "official" story, Joseph Smith told his mother his first vision story. Although Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Joseph Smith Jr., wrote a lot of details about her son during the early 1820s, in her history of Joseph's life she did not mention him ever having a visitation from God and Jesus Christ. Nor does she mention any persecution.

You would think that Lucy would mention such an astounding event in her son's life. This was a bigger event than a big foot sighting; this was a visit from God and Jesus Christ! But apparently despite Joseph telling his mother, it was not significant enough for her to mention it in the extensive biography she wrote about her son.

The only element of the first vision story that Lucy mentions is religious revivals around Palmyra, yet she dates them to 1823, not 1820. Historical records of the time corroborate Lucky Mack Smith's dating of revivals in 1823 and none in Palmyra during 1820.

[***I think Gordon is secretly trying to get his fellow Mormons to do the research and determine for themselves that Joseph saw what he saw, did what he did, and had all the authority bestowed upon him by God and Jesus Christ, or he made the whole thing up. The fact that he emphasizes the church’s position rises or falls on that claim is what makes me believe that he himself has discovered the truth of that claim. But, in the position that he is in, he knows full well that if he were to ever say so in public, he would be removed immediately as a fallen prophet and lose everything in this mortal existence. By subtly challenging his flock to resolve the question, he is actually helping them leave by showing them the back door. Gordon is not a stupid man, I will have to say that much. People who take up the challenge to ‘prove’ the Joseph Smith story are more likely to discover the hidden truth about the man, therefore demonstrating what Gordon is trying to tell the people:

The church is a fraud.
Joseph Smith was not a prophet.
The First Vision story is a fantasy tale.
Get out before you waste your lives in servitude to a lie.***]

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

LDS church expresses ‘regret’, falls short of apology for MMM

Link to Deseret News article here

***My Thoughts***

I was just thinking how fortunate (and smart) the church is for choosing to only study church history every four years, giving ample time to fine-tune it and refine it so as to keep the membership steady. I wonder how many people are baptized during years of study with the Old and New Testament as opposed to years of study with the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History. Each topic takes a year of course study, thereby giving the church plenty of time to ingrain the new converts into the lifestyle, so much so that by the time the year of church history rolls around, they have already become used to taking cues from their peers. That’s why newbies often spend the first 6 months to a year in Gospel Essentials classes taught by the missionaries instead of the Gospel Doctrine classes where all the hard-core faithful attend.

During my early adult years, I rarely sat in Relief Society or Gospel Doctrine class, because I was constantly assigned to teach in Primary, constantly churning the milk of the message and never getting to the meat. Even through Temple Preparation class, I wasn’t made aware of all of the things that would happen that day, as if they meant to keep me off guard and surprise me so quickly I wouldn’t have time to process all of the information. I also deduced that the only people who ever received the calling to teach Gospel Doctrine were the staunch believers, who wouldn’t miss Sacrament meeting if their own mother was dying in the hospital. These are the same people who actually took pride in the fact that they never strayed from the manuals and suggested articles from the Ensign. They would keep the topic on focus and reprimand anyone who asked an un-formulated question by referring them to the Bishop as a ‘troublemaker’ (which happened to me a couple of times). That person would almost always end up wrangling 3 year-olds in the nursery or trying to each squirmy 8-11 year olds songs to sing in honor of the prophets of the church.

The way I see it, (and that’s why the title is My Thoughts Exactly) the church is slowly evolving into a Christian mainstream. No longer do they want a separatist environment that Brigham Young envisioned for them. No longer do they want to be called a “peculiar people”. All they want is for all the controversy to go away, stop pointing out their failures, their mistakes, and calling on them to do away with their beliefs. People like me who have left the church are mostly holding a bit of a grudge against the church because they have claimed to hold the fullness of the gospel that Jesus Christ bestowed upon his chosen followers. This information was lost through a great apostasy, and Joseph Smith restored it through his miraculous powers of translation and visions. This is the fairytale that must be done away with in order for the church to be accepted by “Christianity”. This little piece of ‘priesthood authority’ is what keeps Mormons from being treated as just another denomination of Christianity.

I just had to share here some quotes from RFM, which bring the question of Brigham Young’s prophetic power and influence into new light:

From RfM

Author: NoToJoe

If BY is innocent in MMM and all blame lies at the feet of local leaders then why were the local leaders not punished?

John Lee was the only man ever held accountable for MMM. Yet he was certainly not the only man responsible. He had dozens of accomplices who appear to have received a nod of approval from the Beehive House.

At the time, thanks to the doctrine of blood atonement, Brigham Young was having throats slit for adultery and apostasy. Am I to believe that BY would not punish his rogue Cedar City member after learning of the murderous behavior? Not a likely story.

So 150 year later the TSCC [the so-called church] sends a puppet to the site of a horrific slaughter to recite the standard “local leaders to blame, Bro. Young’s instructions to let them pass unmolested arrived too late”

But wait!!!!! These excuses are not logical. Why were the guilty not held to account? Maybe they weren’t actually considered to be guilty. Why did Bro. Young think it was necessary to say “don’t kill the settlers?” Maybe he know they were in grave danger.

The TSCC may declare Briggy’s innocence for the one-billionth time. But to me something doesn’t add up. SOMETHING STINKS!

Author: JW the Inquizzinator
Yep, reminds of that scene in "A Few Good Men" with Jack Nicholson as Col Nathan R. Jessep

Kaffee: Crystal. Colonel, I have just one more question before I call Airman O'Malley and Airman Rodriguez. If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would Santiago be in danger? Why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?
Jessup: Santiago was a substandard Marine. He was being transferred because--
Kaffee: That is not what you said, you said he was being transferred because he was in grave danger.
Jessup: That’s correct.
Kaffee: You said he was in danger, I said "grave danger?" You said "is there another kind?"--
Jessup: I recall what I said--
Kaffee: I can have the court reporter read back to you--
Jessup: I know what I said. I don't have to have it read back to me like I'm--
Kaffee: Then why the two orders? Colonel?
Jessup: Sometimes men take matters into their own hands.
Kaffee: No, Sir. You made it clear a moment ago that your men never take matters in to their own hands. Your men follow orders or people die. So Santiago shouldn't have been in any danger at all, should he have, Colonel?

Oh if we could only get BY on the stand.....just substitute "Massacre" for "Code Red"

Kaffee: If Lt. Kendrick gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, then why did he have to be transferred? Colonel? Lt. Kendrick ordered the Code Red, didn't he, because that's what you told Lt. Kendrick to do!
Ross: Object!
Kaffee: And when it went bad, you cut these guys loose!--
Judge: Lt. Kaffee!
Kaffee: You got Markinson to sign a phony transfer order! You doctored the log books!
Ross: Dammit, Kaffee!
Kaffee: You coerced the doctor!
Judge: Consider yourself in contempt!
Kaffee: Colonel Jessup, did you order the code red?!
Judge: You don't have to answer that question!
Jessep: I'll answer the question. You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled.
Jessep: You want answers?!
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You?! You, Lieutenant Weinberg?! I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said, "Thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!
Kaffee: Did you order the Code Red?
Jessep: I did the job I was sent to do--
Kaffee: Did you order the Code Red?!

Author: SL Cabbie

Yep, And John D. Lee Mentions in His "Confessions" that BY sent some of his minions to confiscate his diaries (he kept them meticulously even though his spelling was atrocious), including one Lee claimed contained written orders to Dame and Haight that were carried by George A. Smith . . .

But church apologists have insisted for over a hundred years that Lee's jailhouse confessions were fabricated by his attorney, William W. Bishop, in order to recoup Lee's legal fees . . .

Anyone who doubts this one need only read the review by Carin Reddig in the following link from an offering of the book . . .

QUOTE:“It is important to remember when reading this version of John D. Lee's writings that his words were manipulated by the editor to convey an anti-Mormon message”

Author: Cheryl
If BY is innocent in MMM and all blame lies at the feet of local leaders then maybe present day Mormons should question local leaders a whole lot more, not necessarily do what they say or believe their words.

Author: Randy J.
Not only were the MM murderers not punished by church leaders, church leaders also proactively protected them from arrest and prosecution. From the confession of John D. Lee:

“There is another falsehood generally believed in Utah, especially among the Mormons. It is this. It has generally been reported that Brigham Young was anxious to help Judge Cradlebaugh arrest all the guilty parties. There is not one word of truth in the whole statement. Brigham Young knew the name of every man that was in any way implicated in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He knew just as much about it as I did, except that he did not see it, as I had seen it.”

“If Brigham Young had wanted one man, or fifty men, or five hundred men arrested, all he would have had to do would have been to say so, and they would have been arrested instantly. There was no escape for them if he ordered their arrest. Every man who knows anything of affairs in Utah at that time knows this is so.”

“It is true that Brigham made a great parade at the time, and talked a great deal about bringing the guilty parties to Justice, but he did not mean a word of it--not a word. He did go South with Cradlebaugh, but he took good care that Cradlebaugh caught no person that had been in the massacre.”

“I know that I had plenty of notice of their coming, and so did all the brethren. It was one of Brigham Young's cunning dodges to blind the government.”

Young continued to protect Lee for almost two decades, until it became expedient to sacrifice him as a scapegoat so that the government would cease further investigation and prosecutions. Read details of Young's betrayal of Lee at [here]

Author: Baura
The charge has been made that MMM was the result of a few "rogue Mormons" who went off the deep end. The Church as a whole shouldn't have any blame at all.

The phrase "rogue Mormons" makes it sound like Warren Jeffs and a few of his cronies were responsible: people who had broken with the institutional church and said "hell with them, I'm doing it my own way."

This is a serious misreading of history. Even if we buy the Church's explanation it still smells to high heaven.

The massacre was organized by the local Church leaders who were in full fellowship. At the height of the tension they didn't know what to do. They sent a rider to get instructions from Brigham Young on what to do. They were not a group of "rogue Mormons" they were the official leadership trying their best to do what they thought Brigham Young wanted them to do. When the rider didn't return in time they had to make their best guess of what Brigham Young wanted and they murdered 120 men, women, and children.

Now here's an interesting question. How in the Holy Heck did the Church Leadership in the area get the idea that what Brigham Young would have wanted them to do is commit mass murder?? It would have been one thing for a few angry Mormons to show up and kill the Fancher party. That would be bad enough, but when the Stake Presidency and Stake High Council try their BEST to do what they think the Prophet Seer and Revelator would have them do they end up murdering 120 people.

When the constituted Church leaders try their best to do what they think is "right" (the Mormon version of "right) and it turns out their best guess of "right" is to murder over 100 men, women and children what does that say for their method of discerning right from wrong? What does that say about Mormon leaders' access to inspiration--to the "still small voice" that these Holy-Ghost-containing, power-of-discernment gifted leaders best understanding of "right" is mass murder?

Even if we buy the "Brigham had nothing to do with it" mantra that the apologists repeat over and over the lesson from MMM is very, VERY negative for the claims of the Church.

***My Thoughts***

I am just trying to figure out what Brigham Young ever did as a prophet that would convince people he was so deserving of the respect and admiration he received, even more so now that he has been dead over 100 years. What demonstrable proof is there that he was a prophet of God? The whole of the Journal of Discourses, a set of 26 volumes of speeches made by Brigham Young and his apostles and successors has never been set aside as scripture by the church, yet the people living in that time abided by it as if it were. Who decided that it wasn’t going to be called scripture, when Brigham Young himself declared that he had never given a discourse that the Saints could not call scripture? And doesn’t negating that claim negate the authority of Brigham Young as a prophet?

I have never been able to understand the reverence the Mormons have for whoever happens to be prophet at the time. On the one hand, the church wants the outside world to see them as just people praying for guidance and inspiration like everyone else. On the other hand, the church teaches their faithful followers to ‘follow the prophet, don’t go astray, he knows the way’. It’s a fake front to deceive the Christian movement into believing that Mormonism is just ‘enhanced Christianity’. Revering a prophet as if he has special powers of ‘visions’ and can lead millions of people with just a stroke of his pen in a proclamation, or through a speech given at General Conference is like believing that Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker were also prophets of God. He’s just a guy getting paid to do a job. He ascended to the highest position by virtue of his age and time of service, nothing else. And I think a prophet should at least be able to do a decent magic trick…

Saturday, September 08, 2007

An Excellent Article about the Mountain Meadows Massacre in the Salt Lake Tribune

Kirby: Facing the truth of Mountain Meadows

by Robert Kirby of the Salt Lake Tribune

"In 1874, Mormon pioneer relatives of mine lost three children in three days. Robert, Amelia and Thomas Kirby were all younger than 4 when diphtheria came calling.

"The level of faith in God required to endure such tragedy and continue on with the church was a testament to the devotion of my fathers. Down through the years, my family believed steadfastness like this solidly proved the truthfulness of Mormon doctrine.

"Not necessarily. People get tough for all sorts of reasons, including an utter lack of options. With three kids in the ground and more still to feed, it's not as if the Kirbys could go bowling. Putting their heads down and moving forward may have been the only alternative.

"I don't want to take anything away from my pioneer ancestors, but I don't want to give them more credit than they're due, either. Martyrdom, suffering, deprivation and unwavering devotion prove the intensity of belief, not the truthfulness or even common sense of it.

"My church raised me on the saintliness of my Mormon pioneer ancestors, an honest folk persecuted for no reason other than that we were God's favorites. Satan raged against us because we had The Truth.

"I heard all the faith-promoting stories about Haun's Mill, Carthage Jail and Nauvoo, Ill. We were whipped, burned out, murdered, robbed and stripped of our civil rights. The U.S. sent an army against us. All of this proved we had The Truth, right?

"Unfortunately, such a one-sided view of our history presented a problem when I finally learned that in 1857, Mormons (including my great-grandfather) slaughtered 120 defenseless men, women and children at Mountain Meadows.

"As unforgivable as that was, just as troubling to me were our subsequent efforts to dodge The Truth, to cover it up, to water it down, to pretend that it never happened or, worse, to blame it on others.

"I heard all the self-serving explanations for Mountain Meadows, ranging from the deliberately obfuscating to the patently ludicrous: "Indians did it." "The immigrants had it coming." "We only shot them a little."

Historians, notably the inestimable Juanita Brooks, who tried to bring the facts of the massacre to light, were ostracized by fellow Mormons and even threatened by church leaders. We couldn't, it seemed, handle The Truth about ourselves.

"Considering what we believed about ourselves, it's understandable that we didn't want to talk about it. After all, if enduring persecution is all the proof we need of having The Truth, what's proven when we're the ones causing it?

"Faith can be a tricky business. It's a valuable lesson we should have learned years ago. As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mountain Meadows next week, we can start by realizing that faith is something we owe God, not other human beings."

***MY Thoughts***

Looks like that makes TWO people who didn't know about the Mountain Meadows Massacre until this year, me AND Robert Kirby.

Does anyone out there still insist that this is "old news" and that the Anti's are just rehashing this for a new generation of Mormon-bashers?

Judging by the comments on the article, it looks like I'm not the only one who was "distressed and shocked upon learning about it". Link to article here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mountain Meadows Massacre: Why I'm Mad as Hell

All over the web, discussions keep mounting over the Mountain Meadows Massacre. You would have thought it happened two weeks ago. And in reality, it feels just like that to many Mormons who are just learning about it for the FIRST TIME EVER in this latest issue of the Ensign Magazine. I have been following this story for months, ever since I found out that September Dawn was going to be distributed across the country. Evidently, the church thought it must be time to talk about it, now, 150 years later.

I remember growing up as a kid in Primary and Seminary hearing about such things as the Haun's Mill Massacre and the assorted violent attacks that Mormons suffered while trying to homestead in Missouri, which ultimately led to an extermination order by Governor Boggs. I remember feeling persecuted as well, just by association of being Mormon. I was very upset that Mormons were treated so bitterly and harshly, and that innocent children had sometimes fallen victim to these violent outbursts of vigilante justice. And that's exactly how I was supposed to react, I was justified in my reaction. I was even angry that it was never discussed in history class in my high school, and the subject of Mormons was hardly broached at all, even though they were pioneers in the wilderness and were responsible for populating large portions of Missouri and Illinois. I learned more from my church than I ever did in my high school, and I felt pretty special for having knowledge about such important historical events that my poor non-Mormon peers would never know. I even wrote a paper on the Haun's Mill Massacre for a history project in my high school, where I went on and on about the unfair attack against Mormons by cowardly men who hid in bushes waiting to surprise innocent women and children.

But never have I heard of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, either from my history class or from Seminary lessons in the Mormon Church. Why is this? Why did it take so long for this story to come out? It should have been taught right along with Haun's Mill or Carthage Jail, but instead it was ignored. Think of the lessons we could have learned all along the way about how we shouldn't take the prophet's words as revelation in every possible instance. The church could have used many opportunities to point out how fanaticism will never be God's way, and that the words of the prophets and apostles still need to come under critical analysis and prayerful consideration before being obeyed by the members of the church. Somehow, we never got these lessons growing up in church. And then one fateful day, the LDS church was faced with the accidental uncovering of the mass burial site, and state laws which had to be obeyed regarding the examination of the remains. Had it not been for this one event, the LDS faithful all over the world wouldn't have ever needed to know that this massacre took place. Oh yeah, the rock cairn was there, Hinckley did a dedication of the site back in 1999, and the descendants of the victims were part of the ceremonies. But all Hinckley would say about the event is that we don't know what happened, nobody can explain it, so let's put it all behind us now, and by the way, don't take our actions here to mean that we are admitting any fault for this massacre. What a guy. Carefully making sure that the corporation of the LDS church won't get sued by the descendants of that wagon train. Was this dedication broadcast on Deseret News Channel? Did it get a mention in the Ensign back then? Did anyone in the broader area past Utah even know that a murderous rampage against unarmed men, women and children took place? And now, while reading the Ensign article printed in this current issue, we learned that this event has "shocked and distressed those who have learned of it. " Those five words speak volumes. It means that the church did not do anything out of its way to make sure that the whole body of the church new about it, that they acknowledge their part in it, that it was a mistake made by individuals who 'misinterpreted' Brigham Young's insertion into the temple covenants to seek vengeance upon Joseph's murderers unto the fourth generation, or his sermons on blood atonement and how to help your fellow man gain exaltation by spilling his blood for him so he can atone for his sins. All we ever hear in connection with the Mountain Meadows Massacre are the excuses: we are supposed to put ourselves in the Mormons shoes and ask how we would feel if we were run out of every settlement we built, had our wives and children murdered before our eyes by our enemies, and lost all worldly goods in fires set by angry mobs.

This is what I am coming across now, when I visit the Mormon Apologetics message board. Cries of Haun's Mill! and Carthage Jail! come loud and clear. An eye for an eye, too bad for them! But I have taken the time to go all the way back to the early beginnings of Mormonism, to the roots of persecution, in order to try to solve the puzzle of which-came-first. And I sincerely believe that if all Mormons took the time to look before Haun's Mill, before the move to Missouri, before the Kirtland Era, all the way back to Joseph Smith's character and history, and then trace the events in a solid timeline all the way down to his murder in Carthage, we could finally see both sides of the coin, and realize that maybe the Mormons weren't quiet, mild-mannered settlers after all.

Where I live, there are hardly any Black families, but there are lots of Ukrainian immigrants. In the next county, there has been an influx of Mexican workers moving in to the communities. In another county nearby, there are lots of Transcendental Meditationalists and a special college for them. I think nearly everyone can work together to promote peace and prosperity to the community regardless of religious or ethnic backgrounds. But if we suddenly had about 100 newcomers move into our town, proclaiming their church to be superior to all others, claiming their living prophet has promised them all of this area will belong to their church someday, how many days or weeks would it take to set the entire town against them? A careful study of historical accounts (not just a one-time through on Ensign articles) will paint a much more complete picture of how the Mormons were viewed by others. Here lies the problem with limiting your research to only those written by the Mormon faithful---you can't really know how others see the Mormons if you only read the Mormon point of view.

Are the Mormons really in a position to relay how others view them?

Can they accurately describe what the Missouri settlers might have felt towards them, or why the folks in Kirtland, Ohio turned against Joseph Smith?

Not every account of Mormons is necessarily Anti-Mormon, just because it wasn't written by a Mormon. But time and time again, most talks center around how to maintain your testimony, how to limit influences from outside the church to sway your thinking, and how to be sure that what you read is really the inspired truth from God.

When I was a member, I was given a calling as a Primary Music instructor. I have had no training in music, can't even read music well, and don't know the first thing about playing a piano. How inspired could this calling have been? My assigned format was "Follow the Prophet" and I taught children as young as 3 years old how to always follow the advice of the living prophet of the church and to not go astray. I watched Gordon Hinckley proclaim during General Conference that tattoos, piercings, and body jewelry were unnecessary and unnatural, and I paused with baited breath as I waited for him to make his judgment on my one hole piercings in my ears. I actually reached up and held on to my right earlobe as he went on to say that the church would not take a position on one pair of piercings for women. I let out my breath, and so did TWELVE OTHER WOMEN. In that moment I knew that I had passed a judgment by a living prophet, and was grateful I hadn't gone to get a second piercing done.

How screwed up is this thinking?

Gordon Hinckley is not the kind of guy to go around making prophecies, even thought he is a prophet. So when he took the opportunity to tell us his personal opinion, Mormons throughout the country treated it as if it was a prophecy. This is why following a prophet is so crazy. If he were a prophet, we would be able to easily identify what what opinion and what what prophecy. But because he doesn't make prophecies, and doesn't predict anything at all for us in our lives, EVER, we really have no option but to rely on his opinions as God's word. And that's how it was treated. Women and girls all over the country took out their second piercings, and men removed their single earrings, or they couldn't pass sacrament, give a talk, get a temple recommend renewed, or receive a blessing from priesthood holders. It became a measuring stick for the faithful. Adherence to Gordon's 'opinion' meant the difference between reverence for God's anointed prophet, and rebellion against the prophet's counsel. And since we have all likely heard, "follow the prophet, he knows the way" in our youth, and have once or twice gotten up on the stand on F&T Sunday to proclaim our belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet and Gordon Hinckley as a prophet today, rebellion against suggestions of any kind would not have been looked upon too favorably, especially the closer you get to Utah.

Reverence for the living prophet is still very much the norm in today's Mormon world, much like it was 150 years ago, isolated in the wilderness of Utah Territory. Anyone reading the Journal of Discourses can plainly see that it is full of the opinions of men, and not counted as scripture among the Mormon faithful, and for good reason. But, imagine living there during the moment the words were uttered. Imagine what it would mean to be building up a kingdom for God and to have a living prophet to guide you. Would there really be any such thing as 'rogue Mormons' who took those speeches just a bit too seriously? Or is it more likely that Brigham did not actually forsee an instance where his words could actually be taken as God's instruction on how to handle any intruders into the Utah territory? I'm in the camp of placing blame at Brigham's door step because his claims of being a living prophet cannot be demonstrated by the evidence available. I have not received any proof given by Mormons that he was an inspired man, destined to lead the church forward after Joseph's death, and that he had any skills other than as a great orator and had a magnificent stage presence. He commanded attention, and he got reverence and respect because he cultivated fear in those who placed him there. He can't be called a prophet if he can't see future events. He can't be called a prophet if he can't see the consequences of his words. And he certainly should not be revered as a prophet by the Mormon faithful if he can discredited so easily.

I'm mad as hell for the Mountain Meadows Massacre because Brigham Young never corrected his blood atonement doctrine after the event was carried out. He never spoke out to congregations that followed that this was not what he intended by his words, and that those who committed the crime would be accountable for it. He never assumed responsibility for the furor his speeches created, instead choosing to rest on the excuses of blaming the immigrants for being there in the first place, and for the Indians attacking them in conjunction with a few 'rogue Mormons'.

I'm still mad at the Mormon church because they have the same reverence for Gordon Hinckley as the old saints did for Brigham Young. Gordon Hinckley has yet to make ONE single prophecy, how can he be called a living prophet? What proof is there that he has this power at all?

But mostly I'm mad because one of the main questions still asked during an interview to receive a temple ticket is: Do you sustain Gordon Hinckley as prophet, seer, and revelator?

Why the hell should I, when he has never prophesied, seer'd, or revelated anything EVER?

Which one of the Mormon prophets ever DID get a prophecy right? More importantly, when was the last time a Mormon prophet made prophecies of any sort?

The reverence for living prophets is what makes it impossible to place Mormons within the realm of Christianity. It's also what makes Mormons "rogue". Listening to the opinions of a single man in regards to how you can best show your loyalty and worthiness to God is what makes a cult. It's not hard to draw the conclusion here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I've Made It To The Big Time

As the Mountain Meadows Massacre continues to be discussed on Pro-Mormon message boards all over the internet, more and more people have been checking out my site due in part to the link given by smac97 on the mormon apolgetics board set up by I've always maintained that the best source of information for leaving the church can be found on site run by those who will defend the faith tooth and nail, using any and every means possible in order to make the church look like the victim in every instance, and doing their very best to paint all of us former Mormons as "fallen sinners" and "under Satan's influence", etc. Well, I would like to take this opportunity to thank smac97 for pointing the way to my site, and tell him what the results of his link have done for his cause.

smac97, not only did i get a rush of folks coming to my page to verify what you said that I said, (even though I was merely quoting from a news source and pasted it to my blog), I also can brag that many of the folks that checked out my site that day stuck around and read many other posts, topics that you didn't link them to. You are doing a good job leading others into the right directions to get source material from outside Mormondom, and you are doing it under the guise of being a faithful LDS member. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your efforts as a double agent, while carefully planting links to all of us "disgusting Anti's with an ax to grind" so that anyone checking out our blogs may fall upon a logical discussion of all things Mormon and maybe hit upon things that can not be so heartily explained away. Obviously, you can't do that yourself or you risk losing your rank in the Morgdom. But showing others the paths to search out for themselves is exactly what is necessary for the truth to finally burst forth. I thank you again, smac97, for making me famous at the mormon apologetics board, because without your link, they wouldn't know I was out here, muddying up the waters and causing such a racket with my little blog of Mormonism. My hit counter jumped 42 spots in ONE day because of your link. Thanks for doing your part to make sure Mormonism is exposed for what it really is. Keep up the good work.

Before you go, please check out my side bar, I have lots of posts on many interesting and never-before-heard of topics like the Kinderhook Plates, the Adam-God theory, polygamy in Nauvoo, the Kirtland Bank failure, the real translation of the papyrus Joseph called the Book of Abraham, and discussions on what it would take to build a Jaredite ship, or how metals and horses could have been used in the Americas before they were known, and why the hill Cumorah couldn't possibly be in New York, even though that's what Joseph Smith claimed. That's just a sampling of what makes the Mormon church false, not whether or not Brigham Young ordered the massacre of 120 men women and children because they might have been associated with people from Northern Missouri. I don't have to simply prove Brigham Young was a false prophet in order to prove the church is false. It's been false from day one, with Joseph Smith's lies and cover-ups. The church has a long history of lies and cover-ups, just google Mark Hofmann and you'll see what I mean. It's all up to you , Mormon faithful. You can get yourself out of this cult and the control it holds over you the minute you figure out that it's all been a hoax from the beginning. Stop trying to conform to a religious ideal you could NEVER obtain without a 'second anointing'. Quit paying tithing to keep your temple ticket active. Get your life back before your kids get sucked in completely and you're the one standing outside the temple waiting for them to appear after their wedding cult ceremony. READ SOMETHING FOR ONCE!!!