Jul 29, 2009

What Would Joseph Smith Think About The Modern LDS Church?

I think what I loved best about Rough Stone Rolling by Richard L. Bushman was the theological aspect. Despite all his many flaws and troublesome practices and dealings in life, some of Joseph Smith's theological writings and teachings blow me away. I'm not sure that I can believe them all, but I was astounded to read so many things that I had never heard of in my lifetime as a Mormon.

I sometimes get the feeling that the modern Church, while maintaining a thriving and rich culture, is lacking what it once had in terms of radical theological thinking and discussion. One could, of course, argue that this is a good thing. After all, many of us argue over what constitutes "official doctrine" and what doesn't. Speculation can be a dangerous thing, as it leads to false doctrines and gives birth to cultural myths being accepted as truth. So the less there is to speculate on, the better, right? But I must say that I often feel that Mormonism today, as it is practiced and preached in church and everyday life, is so "contained" that it's lacking in thought-provoking theological and philosophical discussion -- at least if the official manuals are an accurate indication of the type of discussions that we have at church on a weekly basis. I wonder whether it's only natural that the Church wouldn't be able to maintain the pace of revelation and theological discussion that Joseph accomplished in his short life, or whether the modern Church feels too "settled" in a sort of "comfort zone" so that it is therefore cutting itself short on additional revelation.

I think that a lot of Mormons, after reading Rough Stone Rolling or dabbing into Church history, come away feeling like the Church back then and the Church now are similar and yet vastly different -- not just because of polygamy, but many other things. Just to name a few, here are some things that come to mind:
  • School of the Prophets (is the Sunday School program the modern-day equivalent?)
  • Journal of Discourses (is the Ensign the modern-day equivalent?)
  • Additional and regular canonized revelation, such as what is found in D&C
  • Spiritual gifts being revealed in dramatic fashion at church, such as speaking in tongues, visions, etc.
  • Women being permitted to administer blessings
  • The close relationship between Mormons and Freemasonry. By this I don't just mean the temple ritual similarities, but the fact that Joseph Smith and other early Mormon leaders were active Freemasons and established a lodge in Nauvoo. In modern times, however, although the Church has not taken an official standpoint on Freemasonry, "Don LeFevre, a past spokesman for the church has said the church "...strongly advises its members not to affiliate with organizations that are secret, oath-bound, or would cause them to lose interest in church activities." (Wikipedia)
Questions for discussion:
  • Do you think that the modern LDS Church is the vision that Joseph would have had for it as it grew and spread throughout the earth?
  • What do you think would have pleased Joseph in the modern Church?
  • Is there anything that you think he would object to or be troubled by in today's Church?
  • What would Joseph think of Sunday School and Priesthood/RS meetings today?
  • How do you think he would have written about himself in his memoirs if he had lived to write an autobiography? Would it have resembled Rough Stone Rolling or the current Priesthood/RS manuals?

110 comments:

Bruce in Montana said...

As a fundamentalist, I believe Joseph Smith would, and does, find the present day mainstream church to be repulsive. First of all, he would be excommunicated for advocating celestial plural marriage, the Adam-God doctrine, the Law of Consecration, etc.
IMHO he would be sickened by prophets who don't prophesy, revelators that don't get revelation and seers that can't see. Teleprompter-reading businessmen wouldn't make a pimple on a real prophet's patoot IMHO. He made it very clear to us that anyone preaching any other doctrine that what he preached would be damned. I'm sure he would be ill upon walking into a ward and seeing 6-figure income families and impoverished families together. Imagine his repugnance at seeing that the saints could not live up to the new and everlasting covenant of plural marriage and traded that for statehood. How appalled would he be that we no longer practice rebaptism or 2nd annointings as he advocated? You have to wonder what his reaction would be to see that the office of a seventy has been perverted into a high priest calling. I wonder if his jaw would hit the floor at how the mainstream church treats those who try to live the gospel that he restored.

Just sayin....

The Faithful Dissident said...

Bruce, interesting comment. I can't say that I've had very many Mormon fundamentalists visit my blog, so your perspective is of interest to me.

As a Mormon fundamentalist, what's it like for you to be a Mormon today? Do you attend church like "regular" Mormons? Do you find that you have to keep your thoughts/beliefs to yourself for fear of discipline or accusations of apostasy?

DMI Dave said...

Given how much Joseph's thinking evolved over the mere 14 years that he led the early LDS Church, it is certain he would understand that LDS doctrine and practice continued to evolve since 1844. For example, he advocated and attempted to practice a form of communal economics in Kirtland, but gave it up in favor of private property and private donations (tithing) by the Nauvoo period.

So the idea that a Joseph Smith come back to evaluate Mormonism in 2009 would find a list of fundamentalist doctrine selectively drawn from various Mormon teachings and practices between 1830 and 1844 to be normative for the present-day LDS Church doesn't really fit the facts. Joseph never felt constrained by earlier doctrine. If the Joseph of the Nauvoo period did not feel constained by Kirtland-era doctrine and practice, why would the present-day Joseph feel constrained by Nauvoo-era doctrine and practice?

The Faithful Dissident said...

Interesting contrast to Bruce's comment, Dave.

This could turn into an interesting discussion. :)

Bruce in Montana said...

This should be good if we can keep it civil...

I agree that things can, and do, progress...but eternal principles do not change.

TPJS 368 … if any man preach any other gospel than that which I have preached he shall be cursed.

TPJS 214 How, it may be asked, was this known to be a bad angel? by his contradicting a former revelation.

thefirestillburning said...

There's a truism in medicine: the difference between pharmacology and toxicology is just a matter of dosage.

I don't think it is possible to sustain bursts of theological insight for very long without a period of consolidation. Oh, the prophet might be able to go a long time without stumbling, but the spiritual weight of the people's own unwillingness to grow will stop the process like the hardening crust on a volcanic eruption.

The BofM and the NT suggest that Christ was limited in what he could do among his disiples in Judea because of their limitations.

Of course, once the volcano hardens enough, the pressure for growth builds up again until there is a new eruption of the Spirit in the old dome or somewhere else.

FireTag

Sanford said...

I don’t think Joseph was committed to doing things only one way. So I agree with Dave – it seems that Mormonism was fairly mutable to Joseph. And who knows how Joseph would have continued to change things had he had the chance. The Council of Fifty has just got off the ground at Joseph’s death. Perhaps that would have become the leadership body of the Church if Joseph had been around a little longer – who knows?

Joseph strikes me as a major entrepreneur. An entrepreneur tries things and if they work great, if they don’t, they adapt and try something else. Sometimes they change things just because the can and want to do something different. Sometimes you don’t know something won’t work until you give it a try. I think Joseph had ideas he tried to implement and sometimes he was successful and sometimes he wasn’t – but he keep tinkering.

But I don’t think that Joseph would be impressed with how safe Mormon leaders play it today. Joseph took risk after risk, perhaps even recklessly, but he was driven to roll out his vision as it came to him. And he experienced schism and internal discord as a result and because of his actions he even lost his life but he was unwilling or unable to take a conventional safe path. Joseph was mixing it up doctrinally and behaviorally at huge risk but that didn’t stop him from doing his thing.

Mel said...

Just a couple of thoughts in passing:

Joseph certainly had his share (and more) of problems with a new and growing church. But, on the other hand, he didn't have to deal with a worldwide church - complete with a multitude of cultures and traditions.

Joseph also didn't have to deal with a world full of the challenges/evils we have today (drugs, pornography, etc.) How would he respond now?

How would Joseph deal with/negotiate a world full of the miracles of modern technology? (computers, internet, TV, medical breakthroughs, etc.)

And, what about the 1978 revelation regarding blacks and the priesthood?

Personally, I don't think Joseph Smith would be as "fundamental" as some might think. Or hope.

Seth R. said...

I don't think the modern LDS Church is really exactly what Joseph had in mind.

And that's both good and bad.

Personally, I found my personal "discovery" of Joseph Smith to be incredibly liberating. A lot of theological horizons opened up.

thefirestillburning said...

Joseph Smith as entrepreneur. The seeker of physical treasure becomes the seeker of spiritual treasure, but keeps the same personality type. What a fascinating idea!

FireTag

Mormon Heretic said...

Bruce,

I read a book by Michael Quinn that intimates that Joseph actually did consider giving up polygamy to keep the church going. I don't have the book now, but I think I'm going to buy it because I keep referring back to it. So, I'm not sure how fundamental polygamy is to the church if Joseph was going to relinquish it. (I know I'll have to find the quotes, but if you give me a few days, I'll either post it here, or on my blog.) So, it seems that the Manifesto may have never been needed if Joseph had "wised up" sooner to polygamy.

I wanted to answer some of FD questions:

* School of the Prophets (is the Sunday School program the modern-day equivalent?)

No, I think School of the Prophets is more like the MTC.

* Journal of Discourses (is the Ensign the modern-day equivalent?)

To be fair, I think Journal of Discourses would be more like the Ensign Conference Reports

* Additional and regular canonized revelation, such as what is found in D&C

I think this would be nice. However, organizations that change too much have a very hard time growing, so the constant change in doctrine is both a good and bad thing.

* Do you think that the modern LDS Church is the vision that Joseph would have had for it as it grew and spread throughout the earth?

It's hard to say. I think he would be pleased with some things, and displeased with others.

* What do you think would have pleased Joseph in the modern Church?

The growth.

* Is there anything that you think he would object to or be troubled by in today's Church?

The church services are too boring.

* What would Joseph think of Sunday School and Priesthood/RS meetings today?

He'd burn them.

* How do you think he would have written about himself in his memoirs if he had lived to write an autobiography? Would it have resembled Rough Stone Rolling or the current Priesthood/RS manuals?

Very few people like their weaknesses highlighted. I suspect he would not like many of the unflattering aspects in RSR.

Mormon Heretic said...

Oops, I meant Joseph would burn the manuals (not the people). :)

Sanford, I agree with many things you said regarding Joseph. As an entrepreneur, he was willing to experiment with lots of things--keep the good, and throw out the bad.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Personally, I don't think that JS had a fundamentalist church in mind, although I can certainly understand why Bruce feels that way, especially when we look at some of the things that JS taught (as Bruce indicated). JS can come across to me as fiery and as much a hardliner as Brigham Young at times. But I tend to think he was much more flexible, much more liberal, much more open to change and experimentation than BY and his followers were.

"I don't think it is possible to sustain bursts of theological insight for very long without a period of consolidation. Oh, the prophet might be able to go a long time without stumbling, but the spiritual weight of the people's own unwillingness to grow will stop the process like the hardening crust on a volcanic eruption."

I think you're right about this, Fire Tag. It's important to keep in mind that the apparent drought in significant revelation doesn't necessarily have to do with the prophet himself. I think we're all afraid of change in the Church. Some of us who advocate for it may say that we want it (and we do), but it could go either way. We could love it or hate it. Sometimes the status quo feels more secure.

Sanford, nice to see you again! It's been a long time! :) I like what you said about JS being an "entrepreneur" and "a risk taker." I agree. Based on what we've read about him and his personality, it's hard to imagine him fitting in in the present day apostleship or first presidency. I think, though, that his "tinkering," as you put it, may have been much to dangerous for the Church in the long run. But I have to say, I would have loved to see JS mix it up with Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, Boyd K. Packer and others. :)

Mel asked:

"Joseph certainly had his share (and more) of problems with a new and growing church. But, on the other hand, he didn't have to deal with a worldwide church - complete with a multitude of cultures and traditions."

True. But I think he would have been in awe of the worldwide growth and have taken everything in stride and valued the diversity.

"Joseph also didn't have to deal with a world full of the challenges/evils we have today (drugs, pornography, etc.) How would he respond now?"

I imagine he would have responded in much the same way as modern prophets regarding pornography and drugs. I do wonder, however, whether the present-day Word of Wisdom is what he had in mind. He apparently continued to drink alcohol moderately the rest of his life, as did BY and the Saints who went west, who included it among their provisions. The Word of Wisdom was not actually enforced until into the 1900's. (Except for the "eat meat sparingly and only in times of hunger" part, which is yet to be enforced. :)

"How would Joseph deal with/negotiate a world full of the miracles of modern technology? (computers, internet, TV, medical breakthroughs, etc.)"

He was a smart guy, so I think he would have been intrigued and his entrepreneural side would have shone through. I think he'd be pleased by how the Church has taken advantage of technology. As far as medical breakthroughs, I wonder what he would think about stem cell research, euthanasia, etc. No idea.

"And, what about the 1978 revelation regarding blacks and the priesthood?"

Personally, I don't think the ban would have even existed under JS. Since he ordained (2?) black men to the priesthood, it's hard to imagine that he would have stripped them of it later on.

I agree completely with what Seth. R. said.

The Faithful Dissident said...

MH, I totally agree about meetings and manuals. I can't imagine that JS would be impressed by those today. Now, to be fair, in a worldwide church where there is no professional clergy and it's up to regular Joes and Janes without any teaching experience to teach the lessons each Sunday, we can't expect them all to be charismatic and engaging. However, I think that the manuals themselves are the biggest hindrance. I think he'd want us to discuss and theologize (is that a word?) much more than we do. I know that this can lead to false teachings and people simply giving their personal opinions, but I don't think that even the lousy manuals have stopped members from doing that already.

Interesting what you said about how JS would view RSR, MH. I actually think he'd be less bothered by it than you seem to think, since he repeatedly stated how imperfect he was and that he had made mistakes. I think that if he had lived a long life, he would have looked back and admitted his foolishness and recklessness regarding things like his failed banking endeavours, the destruction of the printing press, and perhaps even the cover-up of polygamy. Whether he would have regretted polygamy itself, well... that's a whole other thread, as we know. :) I think that he would have appreciated Bushman's account of aspects such as his early family life, the treasure-seeking, the multiple First Vision accounts, and especially the details surrounding the translation of the Book of Mormon. All of those things are quite different from what most Mormons believe they are, but I don't really feel that the truth behind them are detrimental to his character. If anything, they give us a much better idea of his persona, and I think he would have preferred that to the very selective "official" version.

Bored in Vernal said...

I'm a mainstream Mormon, but I absolutely agree with Bruce that Joseph and the early leaders of the Church taught certain principles as being ETERNAL, and FUNDAMENTAL to the gospel. Restored in the Latter days, they were never again to be taken from the earth.

I think Joseph would have been open to change, to evolution of doctrine, and to compensation for modern-day issues and problems. However, I DON'T think he would have played it safe or catered to worldly philosophies or religions, just to cultivate a more mainstream image.

I think Joseph would yawn at our so-called "Sunday School," and kick us in the rear for our complacency. He expected converts and members to learn and keep pace with knowledge, as fast as they could get it. If we are speculating, I think that Joseph wouldn't be impressed by rapid Church growth if all it entailed were members of record who needed to be spoonfed "basic" doctrine.

Clean Cut said...

What an interesting discussion. Very interesting comments!

FD--"I would have loved to see JS mix it up with Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, Boyd K. Packer and others. :)"

Love that thought. Intriguing.

Clean Cut said...

In terms of speculation on the original question, I'm in the middle somewhat. I do think, however, that Joseph was able to be much more radical/liberal than the traditional/organizational climate of the modern Church would allow today. The way things are set up tend to breed loyalty to tradition more than sweeping changes and radical new doctrines and revelations that were possible during Joseph’s day.

The Faithful Dissident said...

BiV said:

"I'm a mainstream Mormon, but I absolutely agree with Bruce that Joseph and the early leaders of the Church taught certain principles as being ETERNAL, and FUNDAMENTAL to the gospel. Restored in the Latter days, they were never again to be taken from the earth."

I'm curious. What, specifically, do you all think these eternal and fundamental principles were? We've discussed what constitutes "official doctrine" in a previous thread and it can feel like a maze. So many things in the Church have and do change over the course of history -- even things that were once regarded as unchangeable.

Thomas Parkin said...

I think the church had its infancy, had or is having its adolescence and maturity, and will someday be the old woman God intends just before it becomes Zion.

I say having its adolescence because - while no doubt this metaphor isn't infinitely stretchable - like an adolescent we are obsessed with identity and image. Hence the endless, tiring fretting about who might not think we're Christians. When we grow up, we'll say ... well, we won't say anything because it won't be necessary.

I think the retrenchment into the "basics" is a good thing. SO many of us have needed it. I think history moves on, though. It won't always be it is the way now, nor will it always be moving the direction it is now. We will again have a culture that searches into the deep things by the Gift of the Holy Ghost. ~

Anonymous said...

Theological issues aside, I think he'd be bored out of his skull in the modern Church.

Jason Steed said...

Saying that "principles are eternal" actually still leaves a LOT of room for change. It all just depends on how narrowly or broadly you're defining "principles." If the "eternal principle" is "plural marriage," then abandoning plural marriage is a problem. But if the "eternal principle" is just marriage, then the various forms it might take, and the changes over time, pose no threat to the "eternal principle."

I think this is often a fundamental difference between conservatives and liberals -- both politically and religiously speaking: conservatives tend to define "principles" more narrowly, so that variation from those "principles" is much more restricted (and objectionable), whereas liberals tend to define "principles" more broadly, allowing for the possibility of greater variation without breach of the principle.

Jason Steed said...

Just to follow up, I personally tend to think there are very few core "principles," and they are very broad. The commandments, for example, IMO, can be summed up in the singular principle of "Obey God."

The effect of defining the principle this way is to deliver us from the problematic, seemingly contradictory episodes in the scriptures where God tells someone to do something that generally is "against" the commandments (like killing Laban). If the principle is "Obey God," then there's no contradiction between the generic command against killing and the specific command to "kill that guy."

A more conservative, narrower definition of "principles" leads us to start claiming that, for example, not drinking alcohol is somehow an "eternal principle." And then we have to do somersaults to explain why they drank it throughout the Bible and throughout the early days of the modern Church.

It makes much more sense to me to recognize the contemporary set of commandments and policies -- whatever it might be -- as simply a present-moment application of principles that are in fact much broader in scope. This is why those policies and commandments can change, even drastically, over time -- because it is only a change in present-moment policy, not a change in principle.

Jason Steed said...

One last follow up: None of what I'm saying should be misused as a rationale for disobeying the present-moment set of commandments and policies. If the principle is "Obey God," then I think that means we should obey as to whatever we are presently asked or commanded to do.

What I'm describing, in other words, is a way of understanding "principles" that enables us to reconcile apparent contradictions and assimilate to changes -- NOT a way of understanding that provides an excuse to ignore, ridicule, or dismiss a present-moment set of policies.

This is not to say that a policy cannot be questioned, examined, or criticized -- only to say that the above understanding of "principles" is not the proper basis for doing so.

thefirestillburning said...

Jason:

While it is certainly true that we should obey God, there is still the trick of knowing when it is God speaking to us, and we are not being deceived.

Even the Prophet can fall, which is why JS built checks and balances into the system in the form of the other leading quorums -- and that assumes that the LDS mainstream, out of all the other LDS factions and other Chrisitian factions, and other non-Christian religions and non-theists aren't hearing something of God correctly that the prophet is not hearing.

Frero said...

I would say that Joseph Smith knows that change is necessary and that his vision would change with the times as it has done. I know he would feel great knowing that he was the beginning and has started the restoration of the gospel... he would approve!

UnderstandingBookofMormon

Anthony E. Larson said...

It's amazing how everyone commenting has projected his or her views on Joseph Smith. This is much more about how we feel about the church than what he would. We reveal ourselves in our analysis of him. Even the questions themselves, posted in the original blog, betray a point of view.

In my experience, few modern Mormons have a real grasp on Joseph Smith. Evidence for this is their utter lack of understanding of the system of prophetic symbolism he employed (which is not common just to prophecy, but to all scripture) and to the message and meaning of the temple rituals.

So, in my mind, the answers to these questions betray our own feelings entirely, not Joseph's. He was a mystery and a marvel to those who knew him in life. How are we, generations removed, going to know his mind and heart. What folly we Mormons entertain. The hubris is overwhelming.

Sanford said...

Faithful D - it's nice to visit again.

Anthony - I don't know you and it's hard to calculate just how seriously to take your comments - but it hardly seems that speculation of this sort rises to the level of hubris. I find exercises like these helpful as I attempt to fathom Joseph Smith.

By the way, are you one of the few Mormons who has real grasp on Joseph Smith?

The Faithful Dissident said...

Sanford, I've missed your posts. Your blog was always among my favourites.

Anthony, assmung our "overwhelming hubris" isn't beneath you, perhaps you would care to bring us up to your level of "grasping" Joseph Smith.

JayFlow22 said...

Anthony is going to tell you that unless you understand a lot of stuff about cosmology and catastrophism, then you can't understand Joseph Smith, the Temple, or last days prophecy.

I agree with his research, but I didn't really understand his comment on this thread.

On topic, Joseph Smith would be bored in Sunday School, but he'd come every week and would always keep the teacher feeling antsy. I think he probably wouldn't be comfortable with how "soft" the Church is on certain doctrines -- which is why he lead the Church when he did, has died, and someone else is leading the Church today.

Anthony E. Larson said...

Hubris is one of the biggest obstacles to progress, be it in science or religion. As Mormons, we are not immune to this shortcoming. Speculation, in and of itself is no problem. In fact, one can argue that it is a vital part of the learning process. But, it is a two-edged sword. It can easily lead us to unwarranted conclusions, unsupported by the evidence. Via a process called projection, we infuse our mental image of Joseph Smith with our own views. That makes me uneasy.

Do I know more about Joseph than most Mormons? Perhaps. Without consulting your history books, can any of you articulate the planks of his platform in his run for the presidency? Did you know that he declared himself "an enemy of paper money?" Why? What did he say about William Miller, the founder of the modern-day Adventist movement? These may seem peripheral issues to you, but they aren't. They go to the heart of the Prophet's take on all things, religious and secular.

I exhort you to learn all you can about Joseph, his worldview and his life. But, I cannot do that for you. You must do it for yourself. We, as a church, have drifted away from a thorough study of Joseph. In the process, we've lost a great deal of the perspective that made us unique.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Anthony, while I certainly agree with you that "(w)e, as a church, have drifted away from a thorough study of Joseph," your comments seem to contradict each other. First, you seem to imply that Joseph Smith is unknowable and that we're just fooling ourselves into thinking that we know anything about him, and then you "exhort (us) to learn all (we) can about Joseph, his worldview and his life," as you apparently have, so that we can know him better. Maybe I'm just reading you wrong, but you sort of come across as wanting to show off. Maybe we're not all as "articulate" or well-read as you are, but I don't think we're as ignorant as you seem to be implying here. I have no idea what JS about William Miller (I'll have to look it up), but I do know a fair amount about his presidential platform, thanks to an excellent post by Mormon Heretic a while back.

sxark said...

Has it been condsidered, that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and all the prophets that followed, are keeping "one eye" on the present day progress of the church, as well as concentrating on their own progress?

After all, they are leaders in this dispensation. So it seems to me that they all are well aware of what is taking place in the modern day church and they understand that the present day prophet receives revelation in the same manner as they did.

Mormon Heretic said...

Thanks FD, I thought I'd provide a link on Joseph Smith's Presidential Platform. I did quite a few posts in a row on Joseph a while back.

Anthony, I am in the process of learning all I can about Joseph (as well as Brigham--I have posts on both people planned shortly.) We're all subject to hubris, and projecting our own views onto Joseph. I hope you're not insinuating that you're somehow immune to these.

sxark said...

Anthony:

You and your followers have implied that Joseph Smith knew the "truth" concerning the cosmos and that the present day leaders of the LDS church, either do not know this "truth" or they are hiding it. Which one is it?

Since you indicate that knowing this "truth" is important to our salvation, then when did the communication process break down between the leaders of the LDS church and the leaders of heaven?

Anthony E. Larson said...

FD - If I come off as a "show off," I apologize. That is not my intent. I wish only to point out that a study of Joseph Smith is also a study of the restored gospel. Nor do I see a contradiction in studying him. Since his history is incomplete, at best, much will remain unknown to us. What is available should be studied. Too often, it is not.

MH - I'm as human as they come, and equally subject to faults and foibles. But, there are a few things that I've learned of which most Saints know nothing. I'd like to see them become better informed. That would make them better people, and we could all benefit from improvement. Right?!

SXARK - I don't imply it; I state it outright. Joseph Smith knew more about the history of this planet than any man on Earth, then or now. We would do well, if we are faithful Latter-day Saints to find out why he was so preoccupied with cosmology and archeoastronomy.

You set up a straw man. There is no breakdown. Your question only reflects your own distorted perception of the situation. The present leaders are fulfilling their callings admirably. This is not a message for investigators or recent converts, only seasoned and studied members, just as is temple attendance. Since our leaders' calling is to administer to those two groups, teaching cosmology isn't in their purview. Joseph already taught it all. He gave us the information. He put it in the newly revealed scriptures and he put it in our temples. The onus is on us to learn why, not on the brethren to teach it. The source of our ignorance is within ourselves. Do not look elsewhere. It is we the Saints that consistently drop the ball, not our leaders. It is we who need to repent and learn these things through our own diligence and study. Overlooking or ignoring these truths can put our salvation in jeopardy.

Alice said...

I think one big change, which goes along with playing it safe- is that we don't have any major struggles to bring us together (or at least we pretend we don't), I think Joseph Smith would rather see us reaching out and helping each other through our trials instead of everyone pretending they're perfect and struggling alone.

sxark said...

Anthony:

You seem to put limits on what the leaders of the LDS church will or will not "purview" when it comes the salvation of church members. Please consider the following:
"The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church" - and -
"The General Authorities are representives of Jesus Christ. The Savior himself is the head of the Church and directs it by revelation to the prophet and the other General Authorities. Through these men, the Lord reveals his will and teaches us everything that is necessary for our salvation".
We both know that these are official statements from the LDS church.
Therefore, I would hope that you contact members of the church leadership and explain your discoveries, for I would like to hear more about how this knowledge may affect my salvation.
And, I cannot think of a better way, than having this knowledge presented at a future LDS conference, as well as lessons outlined in Sunday School manuals, before I purchase any of your books.

Anthony E. Larson said...

SXARC - You misunderstand. I am not offering "new doctrine." I teach only what Joseph Smith and his successors taught. If you read my books and my blog, you will soon learn that. Be certain to read "A Knowledge of the Stars," for example.

Again, these are not new discoveries. They have been before us for nearly two centuries, since Joseph Smith first revealed them to the Saints.

The brethren are well aware of my research. My books have been on the shelves of LDS bookstores, including Deseret Book, for three decades. While I do not know their personal opinions regarding my work, the brethren have had ample time and opportunity to examine it. Had they found anything amiss, I'm certain to have heard from them by now. They are not timid about squelching misguided notions.

As for your idea about teaching these things in church manuals and in general conference, I believe it would be totally inappropriate. Those venues are best reserved for topics suited to investigators and new converts. That's who they are purposefully geared to. This is not that sort of material, any more than the temple endowment would be appropriate for newly baptized members. This is for those who have matured in the gospel.

That's why I present these ideas away from any formal church venue. I am not looking for official church endorsement. These ideas are the result of my own research.

It's your responsibility to seek out and sift through this information to determine its relevance to your salvation and exaltation. If you are waiting for a general authority to authenticate it, you may be disappointed. Their duties and responsibilities lay elsewhere. It's your duty to seek answers for yourself, with the guidance of the Spirit. Each of us must work out our own salvation "with fear and trembling." That was my whole point in posting a reply to this blog in the first place. We Saints are remiss in our duty to "seek out of the best books" and to "teach one another." Remember the 13th Article of Faith? I reiterate: We would be well advised to learn all we can from and about Joseph Smith, whether it be his views on gospel topics, politics or cosmology.

Seth R. said...

"They are not timid about squelching misguided notions."

Oh, I wouldn't say that.

The mere fact that the bloggernacle still exists after about 7 years seems to indicate that the "Brethren" are perfectly willing to let "misguided notions" persist.

sxark said...

Anthony:

If your "not looking for any official church endorsement" on matters only for "seasoned and studied members", then don't you run the risk that you may get something wrong that would tend to lead others astray?
And if anyone thinks of themselves as a "seasoned or studied" member, I hope they don't think that they are in the "front of the line", ahead of a new convert. For that may not be the case.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"It's your responsibility to seek out and sift through this information to determine its relevance to your salvation and exaltation... It's your duty to seek answers for yourself, with the guidance of the Spirit... We Saints are remiss in our duty to "seek out of the best books" and to "teach one another."

In my personal experience, this seems to be a problem of "you're damned if you do, damned if you don't."

One one hand, Anthony, you're saying how we each have a duty to "seek out the best books" (I agree) and you said before that speculation can even be a part of the learning process. (I agree.)

The problem is that once we start to do these things, we're often met by a brick wall, so to speak. "Don't dig too deeply into Church history, it'll screw up your testimony," some say. Sadly, they're right in a lot of cases. Or, in my case, the questions and struggles that have arisen out of my study are simply the result of reading anti-Mormon literature and being tainted by evil influences, according to my local leaders. It's something that's not open to discussion and only causes problems for yourself when you look for someone to discuss it with, is what I've found.

I remember Sanford telling about a fireside with Bushman that he attended and how even in Utah, very few have even bothered to read Rough Stone Rolling or similar books. I am the only one I know, outside of Bloggernacle buddies, who has bothered to read RSR or even shows an interest in it. I only even came across RSR because of a non-member friend of mine here who owns it because he takes an interest in Mormonism. Pretty sad, eh? Some express an interest to read it and other books, but are afraid to. And sometimes I think it's for the best because if they read, have difficulties with what they read, and want to discuss it with their leaders, they're probably not going to get the response they were hoping for.

So, while I agree that there needs to be a time and place for some of the meatier portions of Joseph Smith and Church history (i.e. Sunday School is probably not the place to discuss the intricate details of polygamy), it seems to me that there is, in fact, only one place where it is acceptable: online, "underground," and often even anonymously. And that's sad. Especially if, as Anthony seems to say, our salvation is dependent on a further, more serious study than what we get out of the official manuals. It also has to be remembered that for those of us outside of the English-speaking American continent, such books are largely unavailable and out of reach for the average member.

Angela said...

"Do you think that the modern LDS Church is the vision that Joseph would have had for it as it grew and spread throughout the earth?
What do you think would have pleased Joseph in the modern Church?" He'd love the growth and the sense of community. He'd be surprised at the prosperity and the materialism. I think he would love seeing the young men and women speak in our meetings.

"Is there anything that you think he would object to or be troubled by in today's Church?" He'd object to the boringness and set format of the meetings.

"What would Joseph think of Sunday School and Priesthood/RS meetings today?" He'd spend his whole time correcting mis-statements that are read straight from the manuals.

"How do you think he would have written about himself in his memoirs if he had lived to write an autobiography? Would it have resembled Rough Stone Rolling or the current Priesthood/RS manuals?" I agree with the comments that no one likes to dwell on their flaws. We tend to self-justify in our journals and autobiographical writing. I think he'd do the same. And personally, I suspect he would distance himself from polygamy (having died over the issue).

sxark said...

See my comments on Aug. 2, as a possible answer to the main question of this blog.
Anthony:
I will be satisfied, if you would agree, that it would be possible, that the 144,000 to be chosen in the latter days - had not heard of or have read any of your materials.

Paul said...

When I read the intro to this thread, posted by The Faithful Dissident, I had great hopes for what I would find. But other than a few good posts, including Bruce, Anthony, and a couple more, the experience has been a real drag.

I know a great deal about Joseph Smith and will continue to learn more, but at no time would I weld my own opinions onto him and make Joseph an extention of my own imagination. For those who know his background well enough, it is easy to conclude that he would not be happy with the modern LDS church.

Joseph Smith restored the church under the direction of the Lord Himself, who is an unchangable God, from eternity to eternity. Let me repeat that; from eternity to eternity, the Lord does NOT change. Now, having said that, which we all know is true, then we can conclude that the doctrines revealed through Joseph Smith cannot change, and have NOT, regardless of what has occurred in the modern church.

As for the unwarranted attacks on Anthony Larson, I can only say that the truth cuts the wicked to the very center. Instead of reacting with anger, you should listen closely to what he has to say. If you value progressing in knowledge more than fine-tuning your debating skills, you should read and study the research of Anthony Larson. And then, apply Alma's test of faith (Alma 32) to validate whether or not the information is true.

This is what I did and I have gained a personal testimony and, in short, know for a fact that his research is absoolutely correct. As a result of my willingness to open my mind to greater knowledge and not try to force that information into my incorrect paradigm, the windows of heaven were opened and such great and fantastic knowledge has been poured into my mind that I can hardly contain it.

This is the benefit one gets from being humble and open to progressing in knowledge and understanding. I am not perfect and have much to work on in my personal life, just like most people, but I testify that Anthony Larson's research will lead you to greater knowledge than you can possibly imagine. And you don't even have to believe me. You can actually use Alma's test of faith (Alma 32) and prove it for yourself. At least have the integrity to try it and put it to the test. Good luck!


Paul

Seth R. said...

The Restored Gospel is a TWO-PART equation Paul.

1. As you noted, the eternal unchageable God.

2. Human beings.

Last I checked, human beings change. Their societies change, and their needs change.

The Church is a worldly institution designed to facilitate God's interaction with these changing beings and their changing situations.

Therefore, the CHURCH can change - even if it is from God. God can specifically WANT the Church to change to best serve his children.

Furthermore, the temple ceremony can change. Doctrinal emphases can change.

None of this means that God has changed, only that his plans centered around us change. Just as the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath - the Church was made for man and not man for the Church.

Church changes. And this doesn't reflect negatively on God in the slightest.

You are on shaky ground here Paul. You run the risk of worshiping Church rather than God.

We call that idolatry.

sxark said...

The Faithfull Dissident:

"...The Lord reveals His will [thru the General Authorities] and teaches us everything that is necessary for our salvation". That's my paraphrase that no General Authority will disagree with.
Therefore, anything that is brought forth, claiming that one's salvation is impinged somewhat - if they don't study this thing, to me, is suspect.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"...I can only say that the truth cuts the wicked to the very center....

This is the benefit one gets from being humble and open to progressing in knowledge and understanding."


Geez, Paul. Nice to meet you, too. I apologize for the fact that my blog seems to attract a proud and wicked crowd resistant to knowledge and understanding.

Anthony E. Larson said...

Faithful Dissident - I agree with you. I feel your pain. Those of us who reasonably, prayerfully and diligently look for answers are constantly barraged from all sides. You soon develop a thick skin and a siege mentality. Imagine what it's like to put yourself out there in print for 30 years, only to get irreverent and spiteful jabs from the likes of dozens of SXARCs, from the mainstream and the apostates. Neither side likes me. Talk about damned if you do or don't! They come at you from every silly premise they can concoct, looking to diminish you as a way of contradicting your message and belittling you.

I believe their opposition is born of fear. The easiest and seemingly safest course is to stay with the mainstream. But, as I pointed out, in every dispensation the majority of the people wandered off the path, in spite of having inspired leaders. This is the principle theme of the Book of Mormon and all scripture. What hubris allows us to think we're immune to that same digression?

The best answer I can give you is this: Study, seek, ask, knock, but do not share--except when the Spirit indicates. Discussing what you've learned with others--leaders or not--may be counterproductive. Too many are suspicious of odd knowledge, like SXARC, and of people who entertain unorthodox notions, forgetting all the time that Christ and Joseph Smith were wildly unorthodox in their own eras.

It is sad, as you say. I was raised in the 1st Ward in SLC in the 1940s and 50s. General Authorities routinely spoke in our Sacrament meetings, including Pres. McKay. I heard taught things then that would be forbidden by the SXARCs and Seths of today.

I applaud you for your willingness to consider ideas beyond the mainstream. In the last analysis, you have the option of learning more or standing pat. It is your decision. Which way will you go? In the final judgment, others will not be answerable for you. Only you will do that for yourself.

sxark said...

It seems that many here, on this post, think that Joseph Smith is dead and gone - and that, if he were to wake up, he would say "Wow - What happened"?
When he, and all the other Prophets that followed him, may be well aware and pleased with what is happening in the Church today.

Seth R. said...

"I heard taught things then that would be forbidden by the SXARCs and Seths of today."

OK... and pray tell, what would the "Seths of today" forbid?

Paul said...

Seth,

Wow. You seem to know the will of God and His intentions for the "changing" LDS church better than anyone. I imagine the Lord probably consults your opinion on numerous topics. Or,..., you might be slightly deluded, as are most defenders of the faith, into building your house on a foundation of flawed opinions.

“There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake. Many seal up the door of heaven by saying, So far God may reveal and I will believe.” – Joseph Smith (HC 5:424)

Instead of attacking me and falsely accusing me of idolatry, you should be striving for more light and knowledge than you currently have. I have shown you a way to improve your situation. If you choose to give it a try, then you will be happy you did. If not, then you will continue to argue and endlessly debate with others and never learn anything that will be of any real worth. I really do hope you give it a try. Read Alma 32 and do what needs to be done.


Paul

Seth R. said...

No Paul. That would have been you.

I never said what God does or does not intend. I just stated he wasn't bound by your idolatrous little agenda.

If he wants to change his church, he certainly can - with or without your approval.

If anyone here came off as a pompous blowhard who thinks he's got a direct phone line to God, it was you. If you can't take it, don't dish it out.

sxark said...

Anthony:

As I asked earlier, I would be satisfied, if you agree, that it is possible for the 144,000, to be chosen in the latter days, may not have heard or read any of your materials.

Please answer.

Paul said...

Apparently little Seth is more interested in arguing, building strawmen, and creating contention on this board, rather than progressing in knowledge. Sadly, that is the behavior pattern of the damned.

People who thrive on contention do not have the spirit of the Lord with them, but instead have the spirit of vengence, hate, and nefarious intentions. And I am sorry to say that the arrogant, self-righteous neo-LDS militant defenders of the faith are one of the greatest threats to individual progression the LDS church has today. And their numbers are enormous.

At any rate, my promise still stands for those who are willing to progress in knowledge. Whatever it is, whether it be Anthony Larson's research or some other topic of interest, apply Alma 32 and prove it for yourelf.

Good luck!


Paul

sxark said...

For the 3rd time, I ask this question.
Is it possible for the 144,000, to be chosen in the latter days, to have not heard of or read any materials from A. Larson?
Just a simple question, - not brought up in anger.
You can answer that question,Paul, - Anthony wouldn't mind.- or would he?

Paul said...

<< Geez, Paul. Nice to meet you, too. I apologize for the fact that my blog seems to attract a proud and wicked crowd resistant to knowledge and understanding. >> -- The Faithful Dissident

I cannot be sure if you are being sincere or tongue-in-cheek sarcastic. :-)

Nevertheless, it is not your fault. LDS members are generally resistant to information that isn't spoon fed to them by the general authorities. Of course, you already know that.

But what is astounding is that there is a large body of people within the church who are super-charged by contention and become self-appointed teachers of the gospel. Unfortunately, their preaching is often based on flawed opinions, incorrect doctrine, or build upon somebody elses watered-down stuff. Hence, it is counter productive and tends to lead people down the wrong path or in circles, constantly moving but going nowhere.

It is interesting that even though I provided the means by which the truth can be validated, they chose to argue and contend. If they have ever read the entire BoM, I doubt they have any knowledge of Alma's test of faith (Alma 32). If they did know about it, they would have alrady used it to validate the truth, and they wouldn't be misbehaving on this board.

I have said these things for the benefit of the remnant, who are watching from a safe distance, not for those who are hopelessly lost.

Good luck to you!


Paul

Seth R. said...

You know, I wasn't sure earlier, but I think we have a stray from exmormon.org here.

Paul said...

SXArk,

As it turns out, shortly after the Lord's return, there will be a grand super with 144,000 guests; I have been selected as the head cook. By the Lord's request, I will make His favorite dish, Hickory Flavored BBQ checken for all these folks.

Naturally, this will be a dreadful day for the chickens, but the humans are all okay with it. As you can imagine, I will need some help as I cannot do this alone. I will need a bunch of servers and cooks. I am sure I can get the Faithful Dissident, Bruce, Anthony, and a few others to help. Let me know if you will have time to help out too. I'll get Seth to buss the tables.

;-)


Paul

sxark said...

Paul:

Instead of mocking the question, can you or Anthony, just answer it?

Paul said...

SXark,

God really does love BBQ. :-)

But on a more serious note, there is an answer to your question. But the foundation for that answer has not been laid. Hence, the answer would not make any sense to you and it most certainly would NOT be what you are looking for.

But I can promise you this: If you understood gospel and scriptural symbolism and ancient mythology, as you would had you studied Anthony Larson's research, you would not be asking that question at all.

“It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it…
Add to your faith knowledge, &c. The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation. This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned. The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Salvation is nothing more or less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet. And when we have power to put all enemies under our feet in this world, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved... – Joseph Smith (HC 5:387)

I wish it were not true, but the fact of the matter is that we cannot know everything at once. We must learn line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little, until we are ready for the greater things.

Because you have not learned the proper information in order to lay a solid foundation for these greater pearls of knowledge, it would be like trying to explain advanced Calculus to a fifth grader. It just wouldn't make sense. And don't take offense to this either because, on other issues, I am in the same fifth grade class. At least have the courage to give Alma's test of faith a shot, will ya?!

May the Force be with you.


Paul

sxark said...

Paul and Anthony:
A simple "yes or no", is all I ask.
You or Anthony, do not have the authority to say that one has "not learned the proper information in order to lay a solid foundation for these greater pearls of knowledge". Unless, one or the other of you, are Bishops, - and that would only cover your Wards.
Perhaps, I could take the liberty and answer the question for you.

It will be possible for the 144,000to be chosen in the latter days, without ever hearing or reading any materials from A. Larson.
D&C 77:11...for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people"...
Therefore, all and any additional information that these candidates might need, will be provided by the General Authorities of the Church or The Head of the Church, Himself.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"The best answer I can give you is this: Study, seek, ask, knock, but do not share--except when the Spirit indicates. Discussing what you've learned with others--leaders or not--may be counterproductive."

Anthony, I need an outlet. I have no one. Literally. This blog has helped me stay in the Church because I HAD to discuss my knowledge to try to make sense of it all. Sharing can be counterproductive at times (as it was with my leaders), I agree, but I think that part of being an adult is thinking for ourselves and weeding out what doesn't sound right to us. Believe me, I've read many ideas around the Bloggernacle, given them thought, held on to some and cast the rest by the wayside. I think that some have learned from my sharing, not just about spiritual things, but many others. And I have learned a great deal from those who are serious about their study and are willing to share their thoughts and ideas. Maybe the Spirit has told us to do it? I don't know. I'm a spiritual person, but I don't generally feel promptings from the spirit about much anything. People like Paul will assume this has to do with my pride and wickedness. If that's so, then I was proud and wicked long before I started blogging. I believe and I exercise faith, and that's about as far as I get. But that's a whole other thread that we've already been through many times.

Paul, you keep on harping on Alma 32 and I think it's kind of presumptuous of you to assume that none of us have given it a go already. Actually, I featured Alma 32 just last week in the newsletter that I produce every month in my branch. Verse 27 is my favourite:

"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than a desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words."

Paul, I won't "testify" or "witness" like you do. Now, you can say that I'm just weak, or haven't tried hard enough, or am just too wicked or proud. Perhaps I'm all of those things, but what I am lacking in knowledge and certainty -- as you appear to have an abundance of -- I think that God made up for in my ability to have faith and, above all, a desire to do good. So please don't insinuate that if I (or others) don't see things from your point of view, that we simply haven't tried or are letting our pride get in the way.

Oh, and God is a vegetarian like me and you'll have to be one once the lambs and lions are frolicking in the grassy fields with children. So I hope you like grilled veggies.

Anthony E. Larson said...

FD - Once again, I feel your pain. Perhaps you will find some solace and clarity in reading my blog, if you haven't already. Then again, it may only add to your confusion (though I hope it wouldn't). In any case, you're invited.
www.mormonprophecy.com
www.mormonprophecy.blogspot.com
You'll find my email link there if you care to say more. God bless.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Thanks, Anthony. I'm willing to read anything that peaks my interest. I appreciate it.

FWIW, I'm interested in reading your books. Perhaps on my next trip back home. I have this huge list of books I'd love to read but never get around to. :)

Paul said...

<< I don't know. I'm a spiritual person, but I don't generally feel promptings from the spirit about much anything. People like Paul will assume this has to do with my pride and wickedness. If that's so, then I was proud and wicked long before I started blogging. I believe and I exercise faith, and that's about as far as I get. >> -- The Faithful Dissident

The last time I spoke with Paul he didn't think that way about you at all. :-)

<< Paul, you keep on harping on Alma 32 and I think it's kind of presumptuous of you to assume that none of us have given it a go already. >> -- The Faithful Dissident

I don't believe I included you in my analysis of those who appeared to be unaware of Alma 32. Read what I said and take note of who I was talking to and about.

<< Paul, I won't "testify" or "witness" like you do. Now, you can say that I'm just weak, or haven't tried hard enough, or am just too wicked or proud. >> -- The Faithful Dissident

You are weak and wicked, just like the rest of us. :-)

He who says he is without sin deceives himself and the truth is not in him.

<< Perhaps I'm all of those things, but what I am lacking in knowledge and certainty -- as you appear to have an abundance of -- I think that God made up for in my ability to have faith and, above all, a desire to do good. >> -- The Faithful Dissident

I have learned a few things, and it is my desire to share that with anyone who wants to progress in knowledge. That's why I keep leading members to Anthony Larson's research. What he has discovered is literally the Holy Grail of the Gospel. With these keys of knowledge, we can see the scriptures with new eyes and the mysteries of the gospel crumble before us allowing us to bask in the light of understanding.

As for having faith, it is a good thing. First you must want to have faith, then you must actually have faith or put your faith in some idea or concept, then if the seeds of faith were planted in good soil you will have knowledge. Hence, faith leads to knowledge. If not, it is of no use.

<< So please don't insinuate that if I (or others) don't see things from your point of view, that we simply haven't tried or are letting our pride get in the way. >> -- The Faithful Dissident

Well, I know that Alma 32 works and that James 1:5-6 also works. If anyone has tried them and have not enjoyed success, then I suggest contacting a lawyer and suing Alma and James for false advertising. Please pardon my humor, but if it hasn't worked for some folks, then there is another problem.

<< Oh, and God is a vegetarian like me and you'll have to be one once the lambs and lions are frolicking in the grassy fields with children. So I hope you like grilled veggies. >> -- The Faithful Dissident

What you didn't read in that set of colorful scriptures is the Lord standing in the green medow with a bottle of Hickery flavored BBQ sauce hidden behind his back as he called to the lambs, "come here my little tasty friends." LOL!


Paul

Paul said...

Here are my answers to the questions posed at the beginning of this tread:

Do you think that the modern LDS Church is the vision that Joseph would have had for it as it grew and spread throughout the earth?

Answer: No, not even close.

What do you think would have pleased Joseph in the modern Church?

Answer: Nothing.

Is there anything that you think he would object to or be troubled by in today's Church?

Answer: Yes, numerous revelations or doctrines that have been abandoned by the church, including the few that Bruce mentioned in his post, as well as granting the blacks the privilege of holding the priesthood, and others. The church is under condemnation on many levels. Read D&C 112: 24, 25, 26.

What would Joseph think of Sunday School and Priesthood/RS meetings today?

Answer: He would either fall asleep during the meetings or go out and get drunk.

How do you think he would have written about himself in his memoirs if he had lived to write an autobiography? Would it have resembled Rough Stone Rolling or the current Priesthood/RS manuals?

Answer: Joseph Smith would never write an autobiography. He said he would never undertake such a task because nobody would believe it. Even he would not have believed it had it not happened to him. See the King Follet Discourse for reference.


Paul

Seth R. said...

Joseph Smith ordained a black man - Elijah Abel - to the Melchizedek Priesthood.

It was Brigham Young who started that ban business.

Paul said...

Greetings,

I want to make some comments to clear up some misunderstandings that I think some may have about Anthony Larson's research.

Anthony Larson, like most authors, performed sufficient research on the subjects or topics he was interested in that he was able to fill the pages of numerous books, newsletters, and other documents, and make them available to the public for their benefit.

We all have the liberty to go out and spend our time and effort to perform the same research and write our own books and newsletters, to teach others what we have found.

But we don't have to spend 20 to 30 years of our own time to make this happen. Anthony has already done the work for us. All we have to do is read and study it, and when we are ready, pray about it and/or use Alma 32 to validate it.

Regardless of whether you learn this information from Anthony Larson or from some other source, you will have to know it in order to understand scritural symbolism, ancient mythology, and the true gospel of Jesus Christ. A factual understanding of true cosmology and how it applies to scriptural symbolism and ancient mythology is the the key -- the Holy Grail of the gospel.


Paul

Paul said...

I pulled the following off the LDS.ORG website:

-------------------------

Monument Honors African-American Pioneer

Baptized in 1832, Elijah Abel was one of the earliest members of the Church. He was also a former slave and one of the few African-Americans to join the Church in his day. Brother Abel and his family traveled west with the Saints, and he lived in Salt Lake City until his death in 1884. He was characterized as a true, pure, and spiritual man, and his memory was recently honored with the dedication of a monument at his grave site in a Salt Lake City cemetery.

The monument was created through private efforts, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered the dedicatory prayer. “It’s a wonderful thing you’ve done here today,” Elder Ballard told about 200 people gathered for the ceremony. “The Church is pleased.”

[photo] Elder M. Russell Ballard (left) stands with Hugh J. Barlow, program master of ceremonies, at a marker honoring early Church member Elijah Abel. (Photograph by Johanna Workman.)

--------------------------

If he had received any calling in the priesthood, it seems to me that it would have been mentioned by the LDS author in the same sentence where his baptism was mentioned. But it wasn't. Isn't that odd?


Paul

sxark said...

To All:
Look again, carefully, at Paul's answers to questions posed on this thread. They are pathetic.
Has it been considered: That Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and all the Prophets that followed, have been keeping one eye on the progress of the church as well as one eye on their own progress, and that they are well aware that the present day Prophet receives revelation in the same manner as they did and that they are well pleased on the progress going on today.
Paul says: "What he [A. Larson} has discovered is literally the Holy Grail of the Gospel. With these keys of understanding, we can see the scriptures with new eyes..."
And A. Larson did this without any assistance or approval from the present day General Authorities of the LDS Church. - Amazing!
Yes. - Everyone should go to these 2 internet sites of A. Larson and read more "golden nuggets" from Paul.

sxark said...

However, you probably will not be permitted to ask questions, like mine, on these 2 sites. You'll be blocked. as I was.

Paul said...

So SXark says the leaders of the LDS church are happy with its progress? Are you sure about that?

"Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings, the Lord has stated in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation: “And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.” (D&C 84:56.) The Lord continues: “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.” (D&C 84:57.)" -- Ezra Taft Benson

Folks, please read, "Cleansing the Inner Vessel," by Ezra Taft Benson. It can be found at this website:

http://www.moroni10.com/General_Conference/Ezra_Benson_first_talk.html

"As I have sought direction from the Lord, I have had reaffirmed in my mind and heart the declaration of the Lord to “say nothing but repentance unto this generation.” (D&C 6:9; D&C 11:9.) This has been a theme of every latter-day prophet, along with their testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God." -- Ezra Taft Benson

Does this sound like the leaders of the church are happy with its progress?

ALL IS NOT WELL IN ZION!!!!!!!

And yes, if you are interested in progressing in knowledge, read and study the research, books, newsletters, and other documents of Anthony Larson, and I testify that you will progress in ways you never dreamed possible.


Paul

Paul said...

Okay, the website does not display right. Just goole "Cleansing the Inner Vessel" and choose the first option that comes up. It is a webpage from the LDS.ORG site.


Paul

sxark said...

To All:
Paul and Anthony could not make their comments, as written here and on their 2 sites, in any Priesthood or Sunday School meeting, without someone asking what the Leaders of the Ward or the General Authorities might think. They could not get away with expressing such things as to how the present membership is "spoon fed" by their leaders.

Paul says on his blog: "As I sat in church Sunday, I heard the same old tired subjects being discussed...These poor LDS members are trapped in a world of children's fairy tale stories, Sunday school songs, and trusting in the arm of flesh [church leaders] to tell them what to do..."
This is so much dribble - I could't even finish the rest of the qoute.

But my comments, and perhaps Seth's as well, would be acceptable in those meetings.

So, - Is there a "wolf in sheeps clothing" present here? Or is this an an example of Bombastic Miscommunication?

I take it as a badge of honour to be labled as "mainstream". I will wear it - forever.

I will not retreat one step from the ground I hold

Paul said...

For those who don't know what an LDS defender of the faith is, SXark has provided an excellent example. Let me explain:

SXark made some personal attacks against Anthony and myself, then made some unsupported doctrinal statements to support his personal agenda.

I countered with quotes from a recent prophet of the LDS church, Ezra Taft Benson, to support my position. I even provided the link to the entire general conference talk given by the prophet, which further supported my position. And not once did I attack SXark personally.

Then SXark continued his personal attacks, provided yet even more personal opinions and unsupported doctrinal satatements, built another strawman, and then provided the icing on the cake by declaring to everyone that he wears as a badge of honor his mainstream mentality and promised never to retreat from his position.

This is the resolve of the neo-LDS self-appointed defenders of the faith. They ignore anything and everything, as necessary, to achieve their own agenda. They are consumed by excessive pride in a world-view they created for themselves, and are perfectly content to ignore conflicting facts in support or defense of their personal opinions.

And what makes this even more scary is that these people are very active in preaching their version of the gospel to anyone and everyone who will listen.

I could say more, but I am tired of this discussion. If you close your mind to further light, you should not be surprised when revelation stops and your intellectual progress comes to an end.

May you have the presence of mind to open yourselves to light and understanding. May you have the courage to accept new light and truth when it comes. And may you internalize the light and make it part of your own life and continue your progression without end.


Paul

Seth R. said...

Here's a source for you Paul:

"Nothing was done during Joseph's lifetime to withhold priesthood from black members. Joseph knew Elijah Abel, a black man who was ordained as a seventy, and is said to have entertained him."

Richard Bushman, "Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling" pg. 289.

Bushman is citing from the following sources:

-Joseph Smith Journal, Jan. 14, 1836
-Joseph Smith Jr. - The Papers of Joseph Smith. ed. Dean C. Jessee, 2:137
-Another footnote reads: "In 1836, Abel received a patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith Sr. declaring him "ordained an Elder and annointed to secure thee against the power of the destroyer." Quoted in Bringhurst, Elijah Abel, pg. 24.

On the same page, Bushman writes "Joseph never commented on the Abraham text or implied it denied priesthood to blacks."

Seems clear enough to me. Joseph gave a black man the Priesthood. Ordained him to the Quorum of the Seventy, no less.

And where exactly is the prophecy stating that blacks were not to receive the Priesthood?

There isn't one.

The first mention we have of blacks being denied the priesthood is from an address that Brigham Young gave to the Utah Territorial Legislature.

No General Conference address. No prophecy. No "thus saith the Lord." No voting by the Church membership accepting it as doctrine.

Just Brigham Young making a speech as Territorial Governor.

And after that, the TRADITION of denying the Priesthood to African Americans came into being.

But that's all it ever was - a tradition. A tradition that became so ingrained in the Mormon culture that it took a revelation to get rid of it. But I see almost no evidence that this was ever anything more than the opinions of the men who held this view.

As for the teachings on "Mark of Cain" and "Curse of Ham"...

Basically, Mormon leaders borrowed those racist doctrines from Southern Baptists who were trying to preach a Biblical basis for keeping slavery - and later Segregation. We had a policy, and Mormon leadership went on fishing expeditions for justifications. And they came across those pieces of Protestant bigotry and decided to incorporate it into their teachings.

I consider the doctrines utterly illegitimate. And there is no evidence that Joseph Smith ever held those views. In fact, the evidence indicates the contrary.

sxark said...

Paul:
It is unfortunate that this "rift" has occured between me and others, against you and Anthony. Quoting scriptures back and forth, to support one's position. The "rift", itself, challenges one's faith.
I feel confident, that if one takes the time, to read this entire blog as well as your's and Anthony's blogs, that they will see - who really has a "problem".

Paul said...

<< But that's all it ever was - a tradition. A tradition that became so ingrained in the Mormon culture that it took a revelation to get rid of it. But I see almost no evidence that this was ever anything more than the opinions of the men who held this view. >> -- Seth

I see. And apparently it took the all knowing, all powerful, and all merciful Lord 150 years to correct this so-called "mistake." I guess He was busy. Perhaps in another 150 years, the Lord will recognize the "rights" of Gays and Lesbians to seek temple marriages. And I imagine that if given enough time, the doctrine of the LDS church will be identical to other Protestant churches and we’ll start ordaining women to be Bishops, Stake Presidents, and perhaps even a future prophet.

<< As for the teachings on "Mark of Cain" and "Curse of Ham"...
Basically, Mormon leaders borrowed those racist doctrines from Southern Baptists who were trying to preach a Biblical basis for keeping slavery - and later Segregation. We had a policy, and Mormon leadership went on fishing expeditions for justifications. And they came across those pieces of Protestant bigotry and decided to incorporate it into their teachings.>> -- Seth

So the Mormon leaders during that time period and apparently up to the reign of President Spencer W. Kimball were a bunch of racists and bigots who, without revelation from the Lord, withheld the blessings of the Priesthood from the Negro people.

Gack!

You make a good argument, you know, with quoting the Rough Stone Rolling book and referring to that book for other quotes, but I am gong to put my money on the Lord and the fact that he did not change things for 150 years. And if what Legrand Richards said after a BYU conference is true, He still hasn't changed things.

Paul said...

SXark,

Yes, I agree and I'm counting on it. :-)


Paul

Seth R. said...

"I guess He was busy. Perhaps in another 150 years, the Lord will recognize the "rights" of Gays and Lesbians to seek temple marriages. And I imagine that if given enough time, the doctrine of the LDS church will be identical to other Protestant churches and we’ll start ordaining women to be Bishops, Stake Presidents, and perhaps even a future prophet."

Maybe.

If he does, I imagine that's his own business, isn't it?

Paul said...

My dear Seth,

LOL! Thanks for that last post. Now I understand. :-)


Paul

The Faithful Dissident said...

"Yes, numerous revelations or doctrines that have been abandoned by the church, including the few that Bruce mentioned in his post, as well as granting the blacks the privilege of holding the priesthood, and others. The church is under condemnation on many levels. Read D&C 112: 24, 25, 26."

Paul, did I understand you correctly, that you believe that blacks should still be denied the priesthood?

The Faithful Dissident said...

"So the Mormon leaders during that time period and apparently up to the reign of President Spencer W. Kimball were a bunch of racists and bigots who, without revelation from the Lord, withheld the blessings of the Priesthood from the Negro people."

Yeah, that sounds about right to me.

"I countered with quotes from a recent prophet of the LDS church, Ezra Taft Benson, to support my position. I even provided the link to the entire general conference talk given by the prophet, which further supported my position."

I have to say, I'm confused by your comments, Paul. On one hand, you seem to say that the Church has taken a major wrong turn that JS would not be pleased about, and then you go and quote recent prophets to back up your points. Why would you put any value into what Ezra Taft Benson and others have had to say if they're running the Church into the ground?

"And not once did I attack SXark personally."

No, you seem to prefer general attacks, like labelling those who disagree with you as proud, wicked, and DAMNED. LOL, c'mon. Seriously, Paul? I wonder how grateful Anthony is to have you as his (presumably undesired) promoter. Not the greatest PR, IMO. :D :D :D

Sxark, can you explain this 144,000 to me? I don't follow. I always thought that was a Jehovah's Witness thing.

Paul said...

<< Yeah, that sounds about right to me. >> -- the faithful dissident

It appears that you and Seth have much in common in your feelings about the LDS leadership. It's one thing to question their decisions, but quite another to label them as racists and bigots. Your take on them is troubling. Perhaps you and Seth should have your records erased from the Church. Or perhaps you think that around 1980 the church leaders became non-bigots and that everything is okay now.

<< No, you seem to prefer general attacks, like labelling those who disagree with you as proud, wicked, and DAMNED. LOL, c'mon. >> -- the faithful dissident

Did you just slide a strawman into that sentence?! The reason I quoted Benson is so I could show that I am not the one being disagreed with. I agree with Benson. Apparently, they do not agree with Benson. Besides, I call it like I see it. If the shoe fits, then wear it.

<< Seriously, Paul? I wonder how grateful Anthony is to have you as his (presumably undesired) promoter. Not the greatest PR >> -- the faithful dissident

Nice strawman, but it's too obvious and it doesn't work on me. You said that you cannot witness like me. You said you know all about Alma 32, and yet you say that you just don't get the promptings of the spirit. In James 1:6, he tells us what we must have in order to get the answers we seek -- Faith. It is apparently this component you are lacking in your supposed quest for knowledge. You say you have it, but the evidence does not support you. If you did, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Anyway, I wish you and the other posters the best, but it is clear that we have nothing in common. Referring to the church leaders as a bunch of racists and bigots was the last straw for me. It is bad enough for Seth to feel that way, but I did not expect that from you.

My testimony still stands. If you will read and study the books, news letters, and other research of Anthony Larson, and use Alma 32 to validate it, you will progress in knowledge far beyond your wildest expectations. I know this for a fact because it happened to me. And it will happen for anyone who truly wants to magnify their understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Good luck to all of you!


Paul

The Faithful Dissident said...

I have no problem labelling past prophets and leaders as racists and bigots. That's what they were, as a product of their time and culture. I know people personally whom I classify as racists and bigots, and whom I still admire in a certain way and see that they have their good, kind side. I imagine it's the same with people such as Brigham Young, who, yes, I think was a racist. Even a prophet can be a bigot.

"You said that you cannot witness like me. You said you know all about Alma 32, and yet you say that you just don't get the promptings of the spirit. In James 1:6, he tells us what we must have in order to get the answers we seek -- Faith. It is apparently this component you are lacking in your supposed quest for knowledge. You say you have it, but the evidence does not support you. If you did, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

Nope, I can't/won't witness like you. Why? Because I wish to be honest with myself and others. You apparently see that as a failure and weakness. I don't. If you "know," good for you. The only troubling part about that to me is the bullying that goes on in the Church from those who approve only one way of looking at things.

You didn't answer my question about blacks being denied the priesthood.

Seth R. said...

I'm just kind of curious Paul...

Do you support the modern LDS leadership?

Or do you reject them?

If you reject them, why would you care about finding out they had bigoted ideas?

If you support them, why do you claim that Joseph Smith would be disgusted with them?

Just confused, because your position here is very, very unclear.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Ditto.

thefirestillburning said...

That was interesting. When Anthony came in I was expecting a good discussion about plasma physics and how it related to the understandings of Joseph Smith.

Oh, well.

About the 150 year thing for women Prophets. I wanted to call Becky Savage of the First Presidency, or any of the four women Apostles we already have to get their opinions, but it's summer and I'm pretty sure they're all on travel right now to weekend assignments.

I'll just have to ask my daughter the High Priest when she gets home from work tonight. :D

FireTag

sxark said...

The Faithfull Dissident:
The 144,000, to be chosen in the latter days, is refenced in D&C 77: 8-11.
I felt the need to answer the question, myself, because Paul and Anthony refused [after 5 requests] to so. - And then Paul proclaimed that I had not progressed enough to understand their answer, were they to give it.
For me, I'm satisfied that since it is possible for the 144,000 to be chosen without hearing or reading any materials from A.E.Larson, that I don't have to either. For every kind of knowledge we may need concerning our salvation was and is being provided by our leaders and General Authorities.
When you read the above quotes from Paul and Anthony, bismirching the Leaders in the Church and those that defend the Leaders, it should give you some pause.
The rants and raves of Paul and Anthony sounds to me, more like, a "wolf dressed in sheeps clothing" who got their little pinky toe caught in a miniature bear trap of their own making.
I've been a member of the LDS Church since 1965 and have never been labled as a "mainstream" member.
I guess I had better start acting like one, instead of just talking like one.

The Faithful Dissident said...

I personally don't have a problem with what Anthony has said in this thread, after he cleared up his initial (what I interpreted to be) smugness. I give him credit for changing his tone afterwards. I haven't yet had time to really look at his blog, so I can't really say what I really make of him.

As for Paul, I think he tends to dissuade people from wanting to explore Anthony's work.

I don't think I've ever encountered anyone who seems to openly admit that they think the priesthood ban was a good thing that should not have been lifted. But that's what I'm "hearing" from Paul.

sxark said...

Faithful Dissident:

Go to the official LDS site and plug in the search engine: First Presidency Message, in Conference Report, April 1942 and see how simular your Bio is to this report.
The Church is actually alot more liberal, in many things, than others might think.

Alan said...

At the risk of being accused of threadjack (for which I ask forgiveness), I want to chime in and say that SXARK's behavior here is consistent elsewhere in the blogosphere. He recently visited my blog, which has a different focus entirely, and tried to stir up controversy amongst those who see a certain subject very differently than he does. I withheld his comments from publication on that particular thread but have now published them in a separate post and invited him to come back and defend them. He has yet to do so. Having read this thread and the comments, now I know why.

For those interested in seeing SXARK's activities elsewhere, check this out:

http://scrumcentral.blogspot.com/2009/08/challenge-to-sxark.html

sxark said...

I, hearby, refuse to authenticate any alledged comments, said to have been made by me, from those that are too cowardly to post them in the original blog that they were made.

Alan said...

SXARK, if you are intellectually honest you will re-visit my blog and will confirm that I quoted both your comments exactly as you made them. Because that is the truth.

If you are confident in your positions you will not hide behind concocted pretexts such as in your comment just above. You will not be afraid to discuss what you claimed and accused others of.

Your response to this will tell all readers here everything they need to know about you, your beliefs, your credibility, and your intellectual honesty.

Seth R. said...

Honestly, I don't give a damn about anyone's credibility here.

This is the internet.

No one has real credibility here.

All that matters is the discussion now.

sxark said...

Sorry Alan, but your original refusal, to post comments made, shows a small part of your character. I don't want to waste time over questions that you already know the answers to.

Alan said...

@SXARK:

Not only have I posted your comments, I have devoted an entire blog post to them, far more coverage than you ever would have gotten if the comments had remained buried in the original string.

Your pot calling the kettle black reply tells us all what we need to know about you. My invitation remains open, but it seems clear you won't accept it.

At least you are consistent blog to blog. This pattern has already been noted by others in this string above. It is disappointing. Someone secure in the strength of their convictions would not act like this. But it's your choice.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"Go to the official LDS site and plug in the search engine: First Presidency Message, in Conference Report, April 1942 and see how simular your Bio is to this report."

I read it. What things in particular did you think were similar?

I did find this part interesting:

"Communism destroys man's God-given free agency; the United Order glorifies it. Latter-day Saints can not be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet."

I wonder what other "isms" they were referring to. Republicanism? :D

sxark said...

The Faithfull Dissident:
2 things about the 1942 address: 1. Check out the bottom for "related topics" for more recent versions. 2. Think of the Saints at this particular time of history and the fear and anguish they must have felt when our nation was engaged in the largest war the world had yet seen.
WW1 was still fresh in their minds and this war, had the makings of surpassing that war, which it did.

Does not this 1942 address show a love for humanity, simular to your professed love for humanity?
Care should be taken as to how we analyze addresses by the General Authorities.
Think of the dream of Lehi. Do some analyze these addresses thru their own rose colored glasses, from a perch in the great and spacious building, or are they holding onto the rod of iron when they do so?
If we remember that we are "in the world and not of the world" - then it would be wise to use a standard of analysis [not of this world] when considering statements from General Authorities - who are not infallible.
Would it not be a mistake to use the same techniques used by left wing reporters as they analyze the Republican party, as well as, right wing reporters as they analyze the Democratic party?

These are "worldly" techniques of analysis - and we have been provided a gift [not of this world] to analyze what is true or not.

Now, that we can see, that the world economic system can really fall apart. - The issue of Communism vs. the United Order, comes into play. The LDS church would probably appreciate any objective analysis from its members on this issue. - But it was recognized, by former General Authorities, that they could not live under the United Order, [because of several failures to do so] without the direct assistance from heaven.
Therefore, it would be wise, for us all, to learn and practice the correct method of analysis of what is or is not truth. - Since now, we can see, that we will have a personal stake in what might take place.

Mormon Heretic said...

Paul,

I thought you might like to read some info on the Priesthood Ban. It's about 10,000 words, but pretty definitely shows that Brigham was the author of the ban, not Joseph.

Another link on Early Black Mormons, even shows that black Mormon Joseph Ball was ordained Branch President in Boston in 1844, just months after Joseph's death.

The ban never really happened until Enoch Lewis mixed-race marriage to Matilda Webster in Boston caused Brigham to ban all temple ordinances to black members in an effort to prevent more mixed-race marriages.

I think you should learn a little more about the history of blacks in the church before you try to promote the idea that Joseph believed they had no right to the priesthood. History, and Joseph Smiths actions say otherwise.

sxark said...

MH:
Excellent research you did. I hope it helps Paul and Anthony to change their perception concerning the Leadership of the Church after Joseph Smith.
But, when one "trashes" the leaders of the Church, as well as the members who follow the Leaders, as they have done here and on their 2 blogs,then one is apt to make silly mistakes, one of which - you have corrected.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Sxarx, I'm curious, what is it about Anthony's comments and/or work that "trashes" LDS leaders? I admit, I'm unfamiliar with his work, so I don't really have an opinion. But if it's true that his works are sold in Deseret book stores, isn't it odd that such material would be allowed there? Deseret even quit selling the Twilight series. :D How did material "trashing" LDS leaders slip through the cracks?

sxark said...

Faithful Dissident:
I would find it very odd, should Anthony put in a book, any of the comments made here or on the 2 blogs, run by him and Paul.
I saw a "Harry Potter" book at Deseret once, I thought that was odd too.
I feel that Anthony probably has some good points in his material, but when it comes down to the issue, that these "good points" are for "seasoned and studied" members of the Church and that the Leadership of the Church, is mainly concerned with "investigators and new converts" and that these "good points" have something to do with one's salvation, then I have a problem with it - if it is not sanctioned by the Leadership of the Church - who does have the reponsibility, under the guidance of the Leader of the Church [Christ], to provide any and all information concerning the salvation of mankind.
I am troubled, when Paul says: "What he [A.Larson] has discovered is literally the Holy Grail of the Gospel..."
It goes on and on, but its too much for me.
I like Sunday school and feel that following our Leaders, is a better course of action.

sxark said...

Actually, it is Paul who writes the most outlandish statements, but Anthony does not repudiate him.
It almost reads like they may want to start their own Church, for they certainly cannot say things in their Priesthood meetings like..."The LDS Church...does not have the keys to unlock these mysteries. Joseph Smith tried to teach the keys, but we know where that ended up".

Mormon Heretic said...

Sxark,

I have been accused of being both "anti-mormon", and a "mormon apologist." I suspect Anthony has as well. In fact, I was accused of being anti-Mormon on that very post on the Priesthood Ban, because I took sides. I believe that Joseph Smith was very liberal and accepting of blacks holding the priesthood, and it was Brigham Young who was more of a racist. Having said that, I just did a post on Indian slavery, where I cut Brigham Young a little slack. I've learned some things regarding Indian slavery, where I think Brigham Young did the best he could in a rotten situation.

My point in bringing this up is not to defend Paul or Anthony, but I hope you put their words in context. I've interacted with Anthony before, and I don't believe for a minute that he is blasting church leaders as you claim. For example, I believe that Brigham Young was a prophet, but I also believe he was a racist, and he led the church astray regarding blacks and the priesthood. However, I think Brigham Young's stance on Indian slavery was laudable. I don't think prophets are perfect, and I don't think Anthony does either. The fact that we point out some flaws in judgment shouldn't call our testimonies of the church into question. Brigham Young lived in a tough time. I think he did both good things and bad, and I want to emulate the good, and condemn the bad.

sxark said...

MH:
Although the General Authorities are not infallible, it would still be wise not to place any negative lables on them.
My concerns with Anthony, actually start with his adherent, Paul, who is much stronger with his language.
A quick visit to their 2 sites that Anthony brought up earlier in this thread, will bear my concerns out.
It becomes apparent that Paul believes that Anthony has made a great discovery [the "Holy Grail"] of the Gospel concerning additional knowledge, that Joseph Smith possessed.

Anthony writes: "Just as Christian and Jewish clergy have distanced themselves from cosmism, eschatology, and mythology of the primative Church, modern Mormons have distanced themselves and their perception of their religion from those same elements reinstated in the modern Church by Joseph Smith in the Restoration. I other words, we've repeated the same mistakes".
The constant harping of Paul, that current members of the Church are just "spoon fed" by their Leaders as well as the current membership are "trusting in the arm of flesh" [their Leaders], without any repudiation from Anthony, leads one to assume that they do not hold the Leadership of the Church in much high regard.

I hold the position, that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and all the prophets that followed them, are keeping one eye on the progress of the Church, as well as one eye on their own progress, and that all of them are aware that the present day Prophet receives revelation in the same manner as they did. - And they are well aware of what is taking place in the Church today and pleased with it, because the Leader of the Church still remains, as Jeses Christ.
This premise, if it is believed, would answer the main question of this thread.

My questions to Anthony and Paul, 2 of which were blocked on their sites, are not attacks, - they are just questions.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"I think he did both good things and bad, and I want to emulate the good, and condemn the bad."

Well said, MH. That pretty much sums up my reasons for being in the Church. To me, there is much good and bad. I have to question, in order to learn, to find out whether things were/are as "good" or as "bad" as they seem. Sometimes my views and opinions have done a total 180 turn. And that is the whole purpose of blogging and discussing for me. It's something that can't really be done openly at church, as we've already discussed.

"Although the General Authorities are not infallible, it would still be wise not to place any negative labels on them."

While we shouldn't be petty and childish, I personally think that a part of having integrity is not mincing words when we feel it's right. I've also been called an anti-Mormon for calling BY a racist, but that's what he was, as I see it. He was a man with racist, condescending views towards blacks. Of course, an accurate portrayal of him will take into consideration the time and climate in which he lived. He accomplished some great things despite his views. Nevertheless, he was as much a racist to me as Strom Thurmond was in his day or Rev. Jeremiah Wright is today. If there's one thing that I hate in the Church, it's when we mince words and downplay our racist past. It only perpetuates it, IMO.

Anonymous said...

The Faithfull Dissident:
Integrity and Wisdom are related, but are two different things.
If one has Wisdom ,then, they must have Integrety.
However, one can have Integrity, with little or no Wisdom.

sxark said...

That was me writing above. Couldn't get on your link before.

Tom said...

way late in joining the conversation, so I hope y'all don't mind. it also might be too late to get a reply from sxark, but I'll try anyway.

This is the comment I'm responding to, in relation to prophets agreeing with the course the following prophets took the church: "and that all of them are aware that the present day Prophet receives revelation in the same manner as they did. - And they are well aware of what is taking place in the Church today and pleased with it..."

My questions are as follows (and they might be elsewhere in the comments, but I skipped over most):
(1) Do you think J.S. (and others) would be pleased with the way the office of Patriarch has been dismantled and left entirely void (thanks to Heber J. Grant largely)?
(2) Do you think J.S. would be pleased with the way the priesthood was conferred during the middle 1900s (thanks, again, to Heber J. Grant)?
(3) Do you think J.S., B.Y., or J.T. would be pleased with Woodruff's repudiation of an 1889 revelation when he acted, in 1890, for the "temporal salvation" of the church?
(4) Do you think J.S., B.Y. or J.T. would be pleased to know that Woodruff met with the Bohemian Club and other power brokers in San Francisco to ease the financial burdens the church was under, following which (in successive years) Polygamy, the United Order and the Council of 50 were thrown to the wayside?
(5) Do you think B.Y. would be pleased to hear the prophets which followed (largely starting with Heber J. Grant, though J.F.S. certainly agreed with HjG in this aspect) when they proclaimed how excited and happy they were to know that the church was accepted into the mainstream, was able to do business without fear and "shook hands" with those whom B.Y. said to not do business with?
(6) Do you think J.S., B.Y., or J.T. would be pleased to know that Heber J. Grant mortgaged the entire temple block in the early 1920s (through the early 1970s) in order to finance business ventures?
(7) Do you think J.S., B.Y., J.T. or even W.W. would be pleased with Hinckley's statement on Polygamy not being doctrinal, or Hinckley's statement in the April 2009 New Era where he's quoted as saying that the youth should "sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field."
8. Lorenzo Snow was told, in 1898, by Christ himself as He appeared to Snow in the SLC temple that the church had rejected Him. Have you ever thought about why Christ appeared to him in the hallway of the temple instead of the Holy of Holies? Do you think J.S., B.Y. or J.T. would be pleased to know that the church had "rejected" the Lord?
9. Do you think the prophets up through 1900 would be pleased to know that no longer are newly called apostles charged to complete their ordination by seeking the face of the Lord? Instead, they merely claim a "special witness" or "hunches" or "feelings" as a manifestation of their ordination.
10. Do you think those present in Kirtland and elsewhere would be pleased to know that the gifts of the spirit are almost entirely missing, gone, no longer seen/practiced/witnessed? Where are the gifts, one might ask, if this is the true church?
11. Do you think J.S. would be pleased to know that no longer is revelation received in the "Thus Saith the Lord" manner, but instead through consensus, hunches, feelings, etc.

We could go on with this list, but I find it amusing to think that they'd all give a rubber stamp of approval to each other when the teachings and decisions between them are so divergent and contradictory to what the first couple of prophets in this dispensation taught.