A child’s curiosity and natural desire to learn are like a tiny flame, easily extinguished unless it’s protected and given fuel. This book will help you as a parent both protect that flame of curiosity and supply it with the fuel necessary to make it burn bright throughout your child’s life. Let’s ignite our children’s natural love of learning!
July 2nd, 2013
The Lord’s Leaders are Fallible—And That’s Okay
On June 8, 1978, the First Presidency of the LDS Church announced that blacks would be eligible for the priesthood. Two months after the announcement, Elder Bruce R. McConkie spoke on the subject and sought to bury the previous statements which seemed to contradict what had happened.
“There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren,” he said, “which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality.” He continued:
I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.
We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.
It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles. (emphasis added)
Imagine a Latter-day Saint in the early 1970s who believed that the Church’s position was wrong, and who read the scriptures and concluded that blacks were not under a curse, and that they should therefore not be ineligible to hold the priesthood. Would this individual’s position have been tolerated, or would he have been criticized for not following the prophet? Would he have been considered out of line for believing something that later occurred as he thought it should, or should he simply be seen as being a little “ahead of his time”?
Indeed, because we all progress line upon line, as Elder McConkie noted, might it therefore follow that in some issues, in some circumstances, a lay Latter-day Saint might be a step ahead of his leaders? Of course, this is not to say that the individual has the authority to rebuke his leaders and point out to them the (purportedly) proper position. But would he be off base for affirming a belief that at the time was contrary to church counsel, but in fact later proven true?
The Church itself has even self-corrected, dismissing previous statements by church leaders to the contrary as uninformed and misguided personal opinions:
For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent. It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. The Church is not bound by speculation or opinions given with limited understanding.
Though not known precisely how the restriction began, previous church leaders affirmed that it was the will of God. In 1951, the First Presidency issued an official statement on the Negro question, saying that, “It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of a direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the Priesthood at the present time.”
The “attempts” being referenced by the Church’s recent statement were a set of authoritative statements (even if sometimes softened as qualified opinions) declaring how blacks were cursed as descendants of Ham, and some claims that spirits born to black bodies were not valiant in the pre-mortal existence. For example, Joseph Fielding Smith stated:
When they [the rebellious spirits in the pre-mortal realm] were cast out, there were many who did not join the rebellious forces, but who were not valiant. Because of their lack of obedience, they were not deprived of receiving bodies, but came here under restrictions. One of those restrictions is that they were denied the Priesthood.
It is generally well known and accepted that many of these statements were exactly what Elder McConkie said they were: based on limited understanding, and unworthy of further adherence. But the underlying issue presented by this situation is larger than just the priesthood question.
Consider the topic of interracial marriage. In the very same issue of the Church News where the revocation of the priesthood ban was announced, an article titled “Interracial marriage discouraged” was printed containing some counsel from President Spencer W. Kimball discouraging Latter-day Saints from entering into mixed-race marriages. This counsel was not new.
Brigham Young once stated, “If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” Of course, that use of “always” makes one question whether Brother Brigham was speaking with limited understanding.
In more recent times, Elder Mark E. Petersen warned of interracial marriage in worrisome terms:
The discussion on civil rights, especially over the last 20 years, has drawn some very sharp lines. It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe. They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent. I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the Negro is after.
He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn’t just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn’t that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage.
That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for Negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, ‘First we pity, then endure, then embrace’…. (emphasis added)
In a 1947 letter to the head of Utah State University’s Department of Sociology, the First Presidency reiterated the same concerns:
Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and white races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. . . .
We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this area, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between whites and blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.
In later years, the Church stepped away from such claims of doctrinal support for an interracial marriage ban. Even as the priesthood ban was lifted, President Kimball softened the previous positions to revolve not around sin and doctrine, but around the importance of compatibility between spouses. He wrote:
…we must discourage intermarriage, not because it is sin. I would like to make this very emphatic. A couple has not committed sin if an Indian boy and a white girl are married, or vice versa. It isn’t a transgression like the transgressions of which many are guilty. But it is not expedient.
The interrace marriage problem is not one of inferiority or superiority. It may be that your son is better educated and may be superior in his culture, and yet it may be on the other hand that she is superior to him. It is a matter of backgrounds. The difficulties and hazards of marriage are greatly increased where backgrounds are different. For a wealthy person to marry a pauper promises difficulties. For an ignoramus to marry one with a doctor’s degree promises difficulties, heartaches, misunderstandings, and broken marriages.
My point in providing these examples is not to be critical, nor to suggest that I or anybody knows better than church leaders on any given issue of spiritual import. I am not encouraging rebellion against current church policies on grounds that leaders are wrong, and that surely in time they will “see the light”—though this may very well be true, as is the case for us all.
My purpose is merely to raise the subject of prophetic fallibility. History suggests that church leaders have said things that later proved to be untrue, or were later overturned and disregarded as being uninformed. Logic dictates, then, that this possibility exists for current policy positions, and that changes in the future may overturn what is now emphatically declared to be The One True Way.
And I’m okay with that.
When I read Rough Stone Rolling, I was impressed with Joseph Smith’s progress and productivity. I was amazed at how God took an ignorant boy and turned him into an influential leader. I loved seeing one example after another about how Joseph did or said something wrong—not to magnify the problem and criticize him for it, but to recognize that despite these deficiencies, God was able to turn him into something spectacular. It gave me hope that even somebody like myself can have great potential despite mistakes and imperfections. The same holds true for each of God’s children. We are all fallible. We are all imperfect. And we can all learn and progress and improve.
I believe that God exists. I believe that during his mortal ministry, Jesus Christ organized an institution to provide ordinances and spiritual direction to his followers. I believe that after corruption and apostasy, that institution was restored in recent years by Joseph Smith. I believe that individuals called of God still direct the church and that God’s will can be made manifest through counsel and revelation these people pass on.
But I do not believe in “blind obedience” nor that every utterance by said leaders represents The Will of God.
And I don’t think that’s a radical idea. Many of these same leaders have emphasized the importance of not simply assuming that any given statement by a General Authority represents God’s will. One of the most potent examples of this line of thinking appeared in an 1852 editorial in the Millennial Star.
Because of these facts, and the apparent imperfections of men on whom God confers authority, the question is sometimes asked,—to what extent is obedience to those who hold the priesthood required? This is a very important question, and one which should be understood by all Saints. In attempting to answer this question, we would repeat, in short, what we have already written, that willing obedience to the laws of God, administered by the Priesthood, is indispensable to salvation; but we would further add, that a proper conservative to this power exists for the benefit of all, and none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the Priesthood. We have heard men who hold the Priesthood remark, that they would do any thing they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong: but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God, who seeks for the redemption of his fellows, would despise the idea of seeing another become his slave, who had an equal right with himself to the favour of God; he would rather see him stand by his side, a sworn enemy to wrong, so long as there was place found for it among men. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty (!) authority, have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the Saints were told to do by their Presidents, they should do it without asking any questions.
When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience, as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves, and wish to pave the way to accomplish that wrong; or else because they have done wrong, and wish to use the cloak of their authority to cover it with, lest it should be discovered by their superiors, who would require an atonement at their hands.
Joseph F. Smith similarly stated:
Not a man in this Church, since the Prophet Joseph Smith down to the present day, has ever asked any man to do as he was told blindly. No Prophet of God, no Apostle, no President of a Stake, no Bishop, who has had the spirit of his office and calling resting upon him, has ever asked a soul to do anything that they might not know was right and the proper thing to do. We do not ask you to do anything that you may not know it is your duty to do, or that you may not know will be a blessing for you to do.
Again, I believe extreme caution should be exercised when considering the degree of applicability this idea has. If one disagrees with a statement made by a prophet or apostle, it can become easy to indulge similar notions on a variety of other issues, leading into a general rejection of the people God intends to lead his church. While blind obedience can produce a form of slavery, a casual disregard for the counsel of God’s chosen leaders can produce a good deal of pride.
Still, I think it is important to seek confirmation of our actions and beliefs through prayer. The Holy Ghost reveals truth, and even though we may want to read into our impressions the bias we want confirmed, we must seek to understand things as they really are.
The Lord’s leaders are fallible, but so are we. We all learn line upon line, and each of God’s children, be he a General Authority or a new convert, has grown up in a world of cultural tradition, propaganda, and opinions long held as fact. Ours is the task to sift through the varied voices and seek God’s will, whatever it may be. Recognizing that church leaders have stated things in the past which were later proven untrue does not mean that the gospel is false or that God does not reveal his will to his leaders. It simply means that human error can cloud our judgment and frustrate our path toward perfection. So long as we continue to look to Christ and attempt to align our lives with His will, we will be alright.
92 Responses to “The Lord’s Leaders are Fallible—And That’s Okay”
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The last portion of your article made me think about Elder Oaks’ recent talk about two lines of communication (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/two-lines-of-communication?lang=eng).
The Lord expects the saints to confirm for themselves all communication from the leaders of the Church. Not only does that establish it as truth to follow but it also helps the principle or application sink into our hearts and become a part of our testimony.
Anyone who’s actually read the scriptures, and who isn’t lying to cover for the current status quo, knows that the curse on Cain’s lineage, and the prohibition against marrying into those lineages, comes from the scriptures. People who questioned the ban, prior to 1978, weren’t “ahead of their time”; rather, they were people who failed to read or believe what has clearly and been repeatedly taught by the Lord’s prophets since the beginning.
When you go along with the idea that the teachings of the past on this subject are uninspired and unworthy of further adherence, you not only end up denouncing the teachings of Brigham Young, but of Joseph Smith, of Moses, of Jesus, and of God Himself.
“Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, … thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites.” (Genesis 24:2–3.)
“Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.” (Genesis 28:1.)
In regard to the Israelites marrying the descendants of Canaan, Moses said: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son” (Deuteronomy 7:3).
“Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species.” (Joseph Smith Jr., 2 Jan. 1843, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 5, introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City, Utah: Published by the Church via Deseret News, 1909], pp. 217–18.)
Ham’s wife was a descendant of Canaan. “Thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land,” and “thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.” They were “cursed … as pertaining to the Priesthood,” because they were “of that lineage by which [they] could not have the right of Priesthood.” (Abraham 1:22, 24, 26, 27).
Are modern-day black people descendants of Ham? Yes. Joseph Smith Jr. referred to “negroes” as the “descendants of Ham” and as the “sons of Ham.” (History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 1, introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City, Utah: Published by the Church via Deseret News, 1902], p. 191; also April 1836, in Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2, no. 7, edited by Oliver Cowdery [Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio: Published by F. G. Williams and Co., April 1836], p. 290.)
Why, oh why, would the Lord place prophets in the midst of His people if the people could not have confidence that the revelations which they declare have emanated from God are true!! It is a heresy to state that because all men are fallible, what a prophet speaks by the revelations of God may at a later date be proven false, should a future prophet contradict the prior revelations!
Who is to say that Spencer W. Kimball or Thomas S. Monson are not those who are less enlightened, and will one day be regarded as the “misguided” ones?
Your logic, Connor, is ludicrous at best and befouls the very purpose the Lord places prophet in our midst. It is imperative that we seek the Holy Spirit when a prophet declares doctrine, that we may judge by the fruit whether that doctrine is from God. And when that spiritual confirmation is received, no future renunciation of it can bear the fruit of truth, should it contradict the former revelation which was given by the gift of prophecy and received as such.
It is a heresy to state that because all men are fallible, what a prophet speaks by the revelations of God may at a later date be proven false, should a future prophet contradict the prior revelations!
I’m not saying this at all. What a prophet speaks by revelation is totally fine, and of course it’s the will of God. I’m referring to instances in which a prophet may say something that it is his own opinion or interpretation that later turns out to in fact not be true. That’s a completely separate issue, and not at all heresy to suggest that not every utterance from every General Authority is The Will of God.
As I understand your perspective, the conclusion I’ve come to Connor, is that “anything goes” and there’s nothing the so-called prophets can do, that would ever bring you to the conclusion, that they have apostatized. You’re a great “apologist” for the Church! Keep up the deception!
Connor said: “I’m referring to instances in which a prophet may say something that it is his own opinion or interpretation that later turns out to in fact not be true.”
So what about the scriptures I quoted? Are they just opinion? Are they untrue?
Excellent post. I would only like to point out that Lowry Nelson was USU’s head of the anthropology department, not BYU’s. what a great article!
I would only like to point out that Lowry Nelson was USU’s head of the anthropology department, not BYU’s.
You’re a great “apologist” for the Church! Keep up the deception!
So what about the scriptures I quoted? Are they just opinion? Are they untrue?
The Lord had many mandates and strange requirements that were imposed in Biblical times, but I find no scriptural support for imposing the ban (along w/ many Old Testament laws) in this dispensation.
I find no scriptural support for imposing the ban (along w/ many Old Testament laws) in this dispensation.
So the fact that 11 Presidents of the Church said it should be imposed in this dispensation means nothing to you? “Because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another.” (2 Nephi 29:9.)
Ok, I’ll meet you halfway, for the sake of argument: Let’s toss out the early Brethren as being entirely useless, and confine our search for evidence to the Scriptures. The Scriptures impose the ban. Do you find any scriptural support for the idea that it should NOT be imposed in this dispensation? Again, the Scriptures impose the ban, but I find no evidence of it ever being repealed in the Scriptures.
The Scriptures, as well as the LARGE MAJORITY of Church leaders in this dispensation, stand in opposition to your view (which appears to be supported by nothing except your own unbelief in both the scriptures and the words of these men, unless I am mistaken).
to John Colthrop. I can see what you are trying to say, but unfortunately you are wrong. By your logic, Jesus Christ himself would be ineligible for the priesthood because his ancestor Ruth was a Canaanite. You vastly misunderstand the scriptures you quote. The scriptures are true, but in this case you are wresting them to mean something different. If you are a sincere seeker for truth i encourage you to read more on the topic. Or you can keep your head in the sand. I recommend you start with Lester Bush’s great article on the origins of the policy. You might include the 2nd Article of Faith. The website blacklds.org has a great link called “priesthood” that includes an historical timeline and a series of great articles on the subject. And don’t forget President Hinckley’s landmark talk in the priesthood session of General Confrence (April 2006, I believe) in which he condemns the core principal of the priesthood ban. By the way, Elder Holland called of those explanations regarding Cain, Ham, Egyptus, Canaanites, etc. “folklore.”
I agree with what the Coltharps are saying, and would like to hear more from them.
@Winnie, you are spot on that Connor’s logic is ludicrous. Where you and I disagree, I’m afraid, is in the idea of the Holy Spirit confirming truth. Hell, the Holy Spirit confirmed to thousands all the above recanted doctrines, or so the Saints believed, young and old. (You’d think the old ones would be practiced enough with their “gift of the Holy Ghost” to know the Spirit’s whispers . . . oh, wait, we’re all fallible, the penultimate cop-out answer, the ultimate being “God works in mysterious ways.” But I digress . .. ) The Holy Spirit even confirmed Paul Dunn’s ridiculousness and outright lies.
The Spirit of Truth isn’t truthful, Winnie, nor is he even a spirit. He is a series of biochemical reactions.
@Connor, your honesty and forthrightness in this post is refreshing and welcome. I’m just so confused how you can have faith in clearly fallible leaders, who are always 20 paces behind the rest of society.
And who’s to say that the current Church leaders calling the old ones wrong aren’t THEMSELVES wrong!? Maybe the old ones were right, and we are witnessing a great period of fallibility! Who’s to say? Oh, the Spirit . . . .
By their fruits ye shall know them.
There is nothing Christ-like about anything Brigham Young and Mark Petersen said about blacks. Nothing.
And so it will be with our gay friends and loved ones. In 50 years, we will look back at current church leaders as “men of their time,” just as we do now with leaders past, and the cycle continues, and a shameful cycle it is, for it only causes contention and grief. And heartache. If only the faithful had listened to men ahead of their time, those whom history proved right all along, those leading the charge that says all are equal. More importantly, if only the faithful had listened to their own consciousness, the little voice that said, “What you are teaching and doing is WRONG, and you know it.”
I think this is a well and carefully crafted piece, Connor. Some are choosing to pick on the examples you chose – which are controversial at best, and perhaps missing the point of the article which is that we have a responsibility to discern for ourselves, by the Holy Ghost, the truthfulness of what is said by our church leaders, whether it be a Bishop, Stake President or Prophet. Blind obedience does not facilitate our own growth, and does not bring us closer to Christ. Sometimes, we might even be told to obey even though we don’t agree. It is conceivable to me that we might even be told to obey at the same time we are told that they are wrong – obey anyway. The Gospel is not about our relationship with the church or with our church leaders. The Gospel is about our relationship with Christ, and until we meet Christ Himself, that relationship is enhanced through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost. We must constantly be seeking confirmation for the significant decisions in our lives. If we are not, we subject ourselves to slavery, which is, in my mind, an abomination in the sight of the Lord in that it contradicts the essential doctrine of agency.
As more and more of the church’s “doctrines” are tossed in the refuse pile, and Leaders are excused from the very real emotional and spiritual damage they have done to millions, I have to ask “What use are prophets, seers and revelators when their pronouncements are later shown to be “opinion/mistaken/non-doctrinal” and forgiven by the general membership for being “men”?
If they are mistaken about things with this kind of importance, why do we trust anything they “reveal?” These are not trivial offenses. They are (or were) “doctrines” taught for almost two centuries. NOW the Leaders are enlightened? NOW they are “inspired?” What were they before? Slogging around in the darkness? The philosophies of men…mingled with scripture?
If men who are “called of God” and have a direct line to communicate with God, how can they continue to be mistaken over teachings with such serious consequences…literally the salvation of millions of God’s children.
Either they are God’s servants or they are not.
Elder Anderson recently used scripture to confirm the fact that God’s prophets are fallible:
The leaders of the Church are honest but imperfect men. Remember the words of Moroni: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father … ; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been” (Ether 12:6).
— Elder Neil L. Anderson, “Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign (November 2012).
Sacrifice by the shedding of blood was a true doctrine until Christ replaced it with requiring an offering of a contrite spirit. The priesthood restriction was replaced by Christ with availability for all worthy men.
Principles are eternal, applications are adjusted by The Lord according to the needs of his children. The prophets are in the tough position of delivering those changes and being saddened to watch those children who fight against the changes lose their confidence in the prophetic word.
Max is right on all points: This is serious stuff and these guys were getting it wrong.
I can forgive little mistakes, like swearing, or being short with people, or whatever. But the things they were teaching over the pulpit were foul and exclusionary. Demeaning.
And if you have a responsibility to discern for yourself, and the Holy Spirit says something counter to what the apostle said, then what? What is your course of action? I’d like to know. One would assume that the apostle had received a confirmation of the spirit, else why would he be sharing a teaching? Does even an apostle not know the ins and outs of the spirit?
Thanks for this Connor. Some of my family were actually discussing that Brigham Young quote on facebook last week so this is timely for me. I wholeheartedly agree and share your position.
This reminds me very much of a conversation that I participated in on the LL mailing list a few years back… about Adam and Eve and the start of the plan of salvation and prophetic statements around that. 😀
Jesus Christ himself would be ineligible for the priesthood because his ancestor Ruth was a Canaanite.
I’ve read too many treatments of this subject by Bible Scholars to believe Jesus descended from black people. The Ruth mentioned in Christ’s genealogy was different from Ruth the Canaanite, according to many scholars. There was more than one Ruth in ancient times.
Let me correct my last comment.
We should be talking about Rahab, not Ruth. Rahab was a Canaanite in the Old Testament (see Joshua 2:1). Matthew 1:5 mentions Jesus as being descended from “Rachab.” The assumption that “Rachab” was “Rahab” is unjustified, and also contradicts more detailed genealogies in the Apocrypha. The spelling of both persons in ancient greek manuscripts also indicates they are not the same person. “Rachab” is NOT “Rahab.” Ruth was a descendent of Rachab, not Rahab. Ruth was also a descendant of Lot, Abraham’s nephew.
Nick, I do believe that there is a “spirit of truth”, which fountain is Jesus Christ. If you believe in God and Jesus Christ, there has to be a “spirit of truth”. If you don’t believe in God, I can see your point.
John the Beloved said ““BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
1 HEARKEN, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to the voice of the living God; and attend to the words of wisdom which shall be given unto you, according as ye have asked and are agreed as touching the church, and the spirits which have gone abroad in the earth.
2 Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world.
3 And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.
4 Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name.
5 But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.
6 But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment.
7 Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed;
8 But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world.
9 Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me.
I don’t accept Bruce R. McConkie’s statement regarding the Lord’s ban on blacks holding the priesthood, “We (meaning Brigham Young) spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.”
According to Bruce, Gordon and others, the Lord just may have been short-sighted in His selection of those men who would be the instruments through which Dispensation of the Fullness of Times would be ushered in. Dang! He should have raised up Bruce, Spencer, Gordon and Tom! After all, wouldn’t He want his most “enlightened” sons for this great and all-important work?
Connor, I don’t think you came out and said as much, but it appears that you believe the early leaders of the Church were basically mistaken regarding their understanding and interpretation of “the curse,” of the disposition of the black members of the Church, of the reasons for withholding the priesthood from them, and even as to whether or not the priesthood should have been granted them all along.
If you read all of the quotes that you provided, none of them affirm that they were mistaken. What we know with clarity is that Church policy did not allow blacks to hold the priesthood, and then came the revelation to change that policy.
Certainly if any Church leaders ever stated that the blacks never would be allowed to hold the priesthood, then they were mistaken.
I will admit that it is possible that the Church leaders were mistaken all along regarding this policy and their understanding behind it, but I would also say that we don’t know if that is the case. It is possible that this was God’s directed policy and that it changed for reasons that we don’t fully understand.
Regardless, the overall point of the post is accurate in my opinion.
I am reminded of Elder Neil L Anderson’s recent statement:
“A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine. There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find.
The leaders of the Church are honest but imperfect men. Remember the words of Moroni: ‘Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father … ; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.'”
Mormonism and its apologists suffer from something the Church has frequently held out as one of its virtues: its lack of systematic theology. To those who would say that Mormonism has theology, I would say you are confusing doctrine with theology. This is also a problem, and the schizophrenic way in which members argue these issues illustrates how the lack of theology is problematic. The concept of living oracles of God makes theology impossible and gives excessive weight to each individual declaration of divine truth by the Church’s leaders. It also fosters contortions on the part of amateur LDS theologians as they attempt to create theology in a system that is dead-set against it.
Doctrine simply means “teaching”. The Church lives by the most recent teaching of its general authorities, because theology has not been created or fostered within the Church. This is all quite deliberate on the part of the general authorities. If there is theology (a consistent, stable, and methodical way of interpreting scripture to arrive at truth) then statements by general authorities will be held up against it by members to see whether doctrine fits with the Church’s theology. That doctrine which does not square with theology will then be cast aside as not truthful or, more benignly, inaccurate. As the general authorities could not have that, they insist that there is and can be no theology within the Church — i.e., that our epistemology is mystical, hierarchical, and based on the recency or the statements made by general authorities, specifically the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve, rather than systematic. This leads to the kind of wrangling that appears in this thread. Nick is right to ask what our course of action is when the Holy Spirit says something counter to what an apostle says. We should not imagine that this is an infrequent occurrence. It happened regularly when the Church was weighing civil rights against claims by Brother Brigham and his racist brethren that God had deemed all those of African descent unworthy to hold the priesthood.
To argue, in the face of Bruce McConkie’s statement about further light giving right answers, that previous statements to the contrary were not wrong, is pure sophistry. “Petty wrangling about semantics”, as Bro. McConkie put it, is the natural outcome of a doctrine-based system without theology. It is also no substitute for theology, which will yield fewer radically wrong statements in the first place. As men are men, whether they are “prophets” or theologians, building a coherent system of theology will lead to fewer false teachings than will armchair proclamations of doctrine that merely satisfy the inclinations of their proclaimers. Failing to build coherent theology will leave in place Mormon overreliance on the arm of flesh and the not only inaccurate, but self-serving doctrines of those who happen to be in positions of authority never having been vetted for their skill in theological reasoning.
I remember last year, one of the apostles gave a talk in the April General Conference which addressed this issue some. He said that when people hold very strong opinions, those opinions could drown out the still, small voice. At the time, I related this to politics, but this is equally true in all areas of life.
I remember that nearly all of the early Church leaders were converts from other Christian faiths, and so have inherited Christian mythology. (I find it interesting that Joseph Smith, who never joined any other Christian church, and whose father I think wasn’t a member of any denomination, gave the Priesthood to a Black free man named Elijah. He had no problems with the African Americans.) The ban on Blacks and the stories justifying the ban originated from these traditions those leaders inherited, and then didn’t have challenged for years when the Saints were isolated in Utah, Arizona and Idaho. Sometimes, it is hard to discern incorrect traditions when those traditions aren’t properly challenged and studied. Thankfully, the Lord is a wiser judge than any human being on earth. He knows what people are capable of handling, given their own particular circumstances.
You appear to be drawing a distinction between doctrine and theology that I have not considered before. What I infer from your comment is that theology is more fixed, more rigid, than doctrine, representing a “complete” body of thought or knowledge concerning the nature and will of God. I am reminded then of the “theology” of the Catholic Church which is built upon the “doctrine” of the trinity, the “canon” of scripture, and tradition (as claimed by the church itself).
The first covenant I made with God was that I would “seek to know him”. John 17:3 equates life eternal with knowing God and Christ. This is an ongoing process – one built upon obedience, personal revelation, service and love. It seems to me that the “theology” you refer to would actually restrict that process, since theology appears to be implying that we already know “this” about God, and that any knowledge that falls outside that body of knowledge is necessarily false. IF that’s the case, I would prefer doctrine, and I would prefer my own direct line to the Savior, against which I would measure any and all declarations of church leaders.
Nick’s question which you mention is indeed a fair question. My answer to that is that if there is a conflict, we continue to seek further understanding. Either our understanding in incomplete, or their understanding is incomplete (both of which are likely, by the way). However, I have a testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord’s church on the earth today – the only church that declares the priesthood, on-going revelation and an open cannon as doctrines, or part of its constantly developing theology. Many react to a conflict between their understanding and the words of church leaders by rejecting the church. I have learned to respond by leveraging that conflict to promote greater understanding of the role in the church in the world and in the Lord’s will. I have questions, I truly do, but I refuse to reject the church and/or its leaders outright because of them.
So, how long will it be before Spencer W. Kimball’s “revelation” becomes retroactively false, when Church leaders in the coming decades contradict him? This idea that truth is relative, and that it changes from one Chuch leader to another, is a complete absurdity. The entire premise for the arguments in favor of Spencer W. Kimball instead of Joseph and Brigham, is that the Priesthood ban was “racist,” thus Spencer must be the one who is right. This premise, however, fails to acknowledge the fact that this Priesthood ban is written in the Scriptures, and that the entire Quad of Standard Works is “racist” by the same standard. If you reject the teachings of the early Brethren for this reason, then, in order to be consistent, shouldn’t you also reject the Standard Works? McConkie did say to forget EVERYTHING that was said before 1978… surely that includes the Scriptures.
You guys are more than welcome to reject hundreds of prophets, spanning thousands of years and dozens of dispensations, in favor of our modern-day politically correct leaders, who are in complete harmony with the left wing of the status quo. As for me, I will stick with the scriptures, and with the early Brethren. I don’t consider political correctness to be a virtue, but rather the tool of wicked politicians and the blind and gullible sheep who follow them.
I see a slippery slope in your writings, Mr. Boyack. I understand your position, and I do agree; as men, we are fallible, be us a prophet or disciple.
However, we may not understand the exact reason for the ban on the Blacks holding the priesthood, and why that ban didn’t extend to the Lamanites (their skin was dark for similar reasons). We may not understand why this was done in this life, but many have posted here some good information from the scriptures which lays out a possible reason.
Brigham Young said nothing the abolitionists or slavers could do would change the Lord’s mind about when the Blacks would receive the Priesthood. He did say, however, that they could inherit the kingdom of heaven, just like anyone else.
One thing we need to keep in mind is, it isn’t “OUR” priesthood, it is the Lord’s priesthood. He decides who gets it and who doesn’t.
Back in the OT, the “sons of Aaron” were the only ones who could hold the Aaronic Priesthood. Very few held the High Priesthood, the Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. Today, of course, it is different.
The slippery slope I have mentioned is, and I have already tried to deal with such arguments… that sooner or later the Leadership of the Church will “change their minds” on “Gay Marriage”. That some day, homosexuality will be accepted as “ok”. That our “fallible” leaders have had it wrong this whole time…
The problem with this is, while we don’t understand, exactly, if the prohibition against the Blacks having the priesthood was “a mistake” or if there was really something there, something the Lord gave to our Prophet… we DO understand that Homosexuality is a Sin. It is mentioned in the Scriptures as such…
Yes, I agree that people are fallible and make mistakes, but we best be very careful on what subject we decide our Church Leaders “made mistakes” because we might not have the full understanding of things. And, because we too can “make mistakes”, we should study and understand, fully (as best we can) the reasoning behind our doctrines and policies.
Some of those reasonings for the Prohibition against “interracial marriage” has been posted here, in your blog. That deserves more consideration… along with what might have happened in the early days of the Church if they had taken an abolitionist stand… instead of remaining neutral on the issue? There are reasons that we might not fully understand…
Thanks for listening.
D. Mamanakis: I love your comments! You explained the issue very well.
Surely Paul browsed this site and saw this satanic abomination before he wrote his epistle to Timothy, fourth chapter and first and second verses: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
It’s astounding how the “saints” in these latter times are like a hobo on a hot dog when it comes to rejecting the early brethren (the men that actually talked to Jesus face to face) and trading in their inspired doctrines for the commandments of men placed into their hearts by the great dragon.
What happened to giving heed to the forefathers of Mormonism? What happened to standing “as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death?” What happened to “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same?” Here’s what happened: We (the LDS people) sold out! Not only have we sold out to that secret combination mentioned by Moroni, but we’ve sold and kissed the feet of modern Christian (satanic) philosophers of the day! We’ve sold completely out! The only thing we have going for us is the fact that we say the name Joseph Smith every now and then even though we hate his teachings and revelations, the Book of Mormon included).
If the apostates who were “ahead of their time” actually were ahead of their time, then Lucifer was ahead of his time when he fought against God for the souls of men. Cain must have also been ahead of his time when he slew his brother and came out in open rebellion against his God. These guys weren’t ahead of their time, they were “looking beyond the mark” and waiting until the time was right to come out of the closet and attempt to slay their greatest enemy, Brigham Young!
Curious that there appear to be some who believe that killing those who marry somebody not of their race is an inspired doctrine that should be in force today…
Curious that there appear to be some who believe that killing those who marry somebody not of their race is an inspired doctrine that should be in force today…
Once again, you ignore the fact that these doctrines originated in Old Testament times. (See Deut. chap. 7, for one example of many).
According to the eighth Article of Faith, Mormons are supposed to “believe the Bible to be the word of God.”
Do you deny the veracity of the Scriptures, or are you ignorant of the Scriptures? Or, perhaps you believe that God’s truth was righteous and holy in ancient times, but that it’s now expired and worthless, because it’s not politically correct?
I am not sure why any LDS would follow the inspired leaders, if they aren’t really inspired after all…
Perhaps we should ask ourselves what “inspired” really means. What is the definition of “inspired”, and what is the measure of whether or not a statement is inspired. Does it mean infallible? Is it possible that inspiration could be misinterpreted either by the speaker or the hearer? If I had been a member of the church prior to 1979, I’m quite sure I would have questioned this doctrine. But would I reject the restoration because of it? Would I reject the doctrine of the priesthood, or the mysteries of the temple? What I’m taught by our prophets today is that I should continue to learn to love my neighbor, strive to become more like Christ while relying on the atonement to bridge the gap between my best and the desired perfection. I look to the temple for much inspiration concerning the nature of my relationship with God, but I rely solely on neither the temple, nor the scriptures, nor the words of the prophets. They are all sign posts on my journey to receive the fulness of the priesthood and to exercise it for the purpose of bringing about Zion when called upon. Frankly, as I write this testimony, the above discussion begins to seem relatively insignificant. Are we straining at gnats? Admittedly, if I were a negro in 1978, I’m sure I wouldn’t feel that way.
It is amazing, even beyond belief, that otherwise intelligent and articulate individuals would consciously “choose” to explain away and/or ignore the countless witnesses of this doctrine. In your “picking and choosing” you deceive only yourselves. And the fact that your lack of integrity is so evident, any “tap dance” you choose to play out just makes you look less credible and more foolish. How many more witnesses would it take for you to admit that President Kimball never did receive a revelation, that he was a “false” prophet?
If eleven out of sixteen “prophets” of this last dispensation were all wrong for all this time, then our claim of having true and living prophets is a lie; as is, the Restoration, receipt of the keys of the Holy Priesthood, and or claim of continuous revelation. The often missed and critical “fact” we didn’t emphasize enough in this discussion, is the fact that the Lord is not a changeable God. If He were, He would cease to exist.
Frankly, as I write this testimony, the above discussion begins to seem relatively insignificant. Are we straining at gnats?
The problem with ignoring this issue is that, according to the early Brethren, it’s a giant camel, not a gnat.
“The curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least with the purposes of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before Him; and those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel.” (Joseph Smith Jr., Apr. 1836, in Latter-day Saint’s Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2, no. 7, edited by Oliver Cowdery [Kirtland, Ohio: Published by F. G. Williams & Co., Apr. 1836], p. 290.)
“Let this church which is called the Kingdom of God on the earth: we will summons the First Presidency, the Twelve, the High Counsel, the Bishopric, and all the Elders of Israel, suppose we summons them to appear here, and here declare that it is right to mingle our seed with the Black race of Cain, that they shall come in with us and be partakers with us of all the blessings God has given to us. On that very day, and hour we should do so, the priesthood is taken from this church and kingdom and God leaves us to our fate. The moment we consent to mingle with the seed of Cain, the Church must go to destruction; we should receive the curse which has been placed upon the seed of Cain, and never more be numbered with the children of Adam who are heirs to the priesthood until that curse be removed. … What we are trying to do today is to make the Negro equal with us in all our privilege. My voice shall be against [it] all the day long. … I will not consent for one moment for you to lay a plan to bring a curse upon this people. It shall not be while I am here.” (Brigham Young, 5 Jan. 1852, The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, vol. 1 [1832–1852], edited by Richard S. Van Wagoner [Salt Lake City: The Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2009], pp. 470, 471.)
In the Book of Ezra, we read that “the people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. … O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons. … And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O Lord God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” (Ezra 9:1–2, 10–12, 13–15.)
What was done about this? “Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware. … Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem. … And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.” (Ezra 10:1–5, 9, 10–12.)
In the verses quoted above, at least these abominations were not officially sanctioned by the Priesthood; the people were humble enough to acknowledge that they were in error, and did what was necessary to fix the problem. If such were not the case, it is reasonable to expect that their standing with the Lord would have been much different.
If we base our view of what’s right and wrong entirely on what Babylon thinks (i.e., political correctness), instead of basing it on Scripture, the Lord will destroy us.
“O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? … Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you … .” (See Mormon 8:35-41.)
At least when the Savior returns, “there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 14:21.)
For now, however, the Temple has been defiled. The Lord tells us that “inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and DO NOT SUFFER ANY UNCLEAN THING TO COME INTO IT, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples.” (D&C 97:15–17.) Ezra refers to the “filthiness” and “uncleanness” of the Canaanites (see Ezra 9:11).
I agree with the title of this post. However, it seems we have gone off on a tangent here on one historical issue. There is much more that could be discussed on the topic of “The Lord’s Leaders are Fallible–And That’s OK”.
If we believe, and I do, that the Lord’s leaders are fallible, then we should NOT expect them to utter profound truths everytime they step to the podium. We should not hang on their every word, fawn over them, reverence them, worship them and lose sight of exactly Who we should show that level of respect to. It is the Savior we should worship. It is the words of the Savior we should hang on to in our hours of despair and trial. It is the Savior we should follow. The currently popular Primary song, “Follow the Prophet” comes to mind here. NO WHERE in the scriptures are we counseled by the Lord to follow any man, in fact, Nephi warned us NOT to make flesh our arm and not to follow any man.
It is not the concept of leaders…leading…that (IMO) makes so many people in the church distrustful, it is the reverential deference and blind obedience that seems to be taught and even demanded by leaders today. When a leader demands blind obedience it is a pretty sure sign of a leader who is feeling unsure of him/her self and attempting to compersate for their insecurity
by demanding what is not their place to receive.
I would like to see this post get off the one issue of who is worthy to receive the Priesthood and discuss other relevent topics. The fact is that the Priesthood is ONLY given by the Lord anyway (Alma 13). That it may be conferred upon us is true, but when we try to exercise the power of the Priesthood, in any degree of unrighteousness, amen to the Priesthood of that man”. When we have mastered THAT topic, then perhaps we could go on to discuss who is worthy to receive the Priesthood.
Joseph Smith – May 21, 1843
I have not an idea there has been a great many very good men since Adam There was one good man Jesus.—Many think a prophet must be a great deal better than any body else.—suppose I would condescend. yes I will call it condescend, to be a great deal better than any of you. I would be raised up to the highest heaven, and who should I have to accompany me. I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm, and administering to the poor & dividing his substance, than the long smoothed faced hypocrites
I dont want you to think I am very righteous, for I am not very righteous. God judgeth men according to the light he gives them.
“Certain individuals within the Church may go astray and even fall away. This may happen even to a person in the Church who is in a position of some influence and authority. It has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. If our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in the arm of flesh, then we will know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the church of men” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 90).
President George Q. Cannon: “Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an Apostle, or a President. If you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support be gone; but if we lean on God, He never will fail us. When men and women depend on God alone, and trust in Him alone, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside. They could still see that He is just and true, that truth is lovely in His sight, and the pure in heart are dear to Him.
“Perhaps it is His own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that His Saints may learn to trust in Him and not in any man or men. Therefore, my brethren and sisters, seek after the Holy Spirit and the unfailing testimony of God and His work upon the earth.” Millennial Star Vol. 53 #43 p. 674
Ezra Taft Benson:
Six of the original Twelve Apostles selected by Joseph Smith were excommunicated. The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon left the Church. Three of Joseph Smith’s counselors fell one even helped plot his death. A natural question that might arise would be that if the Lord knew in advance that these men would fall, as He undoubtedly did, why did He have His prophet call them to such high office? The answer is: to fill the Lord’s purposes. For even the Master followed the will of the Father by selecting Judas. President George Q. Cannon suggested an explanation, too, when he stated, “Perhaps it is his own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that his saints may learn to trust in him and not in any man or men.” (Millennial Star 53:658, 1891) And this would parallel Nephi’s warning, put not your “trust in the arm of flesh.” (2 Nephi 4:34) (An Enemy Hath Done This, Pg. 290, underline added. See also Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89)
Brigham Young: “What a pity it would be, if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” JD 9:15
Apostle Charles W. Penrose: “President Wilford Woodruff is a man of wisdom and experience, and we respect and venerate him, but we do not believe his personal views or utterances are revelations from God; and when ‘Thus saith the Lord’, comes from him, the saints investigate it: they do not shut their eyes and take it down like a pill.” Millennial Star Vol. 54 #12 p. 191
“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.” TPJS pp. 237-38
Great comments, James! May I address your last statement, “When we have mastered THAT topic, then perhaps we could go on to discuss who is worthy to receive the Priesthood.”
Priesthood restriction was never an individual worthiness issue! While the Lord has always invoked certain Priesthood restrictions on races, tribes, etc., individuals within those lines worthy in every respect are still bound to abide by those restrictions until the Lord’s decrees are fulfilled. We have limited information on the Lord’s purposes for these limitations, whether they be founded upon pre-earth life experiences or some other reason, etc. God’s reasoning is higher than our reasoning. The Atonement of Jesus Christ, through which all of God’s children may become partakers of His mercy through repentance and adherence to His laws, is offered to ALL. Because someone is righteous and repentant and follows God’s laws does not mean he can override the law of Priesthood restriction. The Lord has His own timeline.
Collin, those are great quotes. I agree with them all. However, there is a difference between a prophet speaking a revelation which backs up former prophets’ revelations as spoken by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost and those who come up with a new revelation that negates or contradicts all former revelations. This is the key the Lord has given us to judge between truth and error.
I agree a with a lot of what you said. You did get a bit long-winded and give a few too many examples. What needs to be said is that the gospel centers on Jesus Christ and His sacrifice applies to all of God’s children, including the children of Cain. As was referenced by Elder McConkie in the quote you used, Peter faced a much greater, albeit similar, issue when the Lord told him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:9-11:18). In this case, it had been unlawful for Jews to mix with Gentiles, much less teach them the gospel, for thousands of years. The LDS Church is very young in comparison and only faced the issue of Cain’s descendants not receiving the priesthood for a short time. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away as He seeth fit. We simply need to trust in the Lord and ask Him when we lack the wisdom to see His purposes.
Personally I struggled with apparent “about faces” in doctrine or policy that gave the appearence of waffling or that previous leaders were in error. However, there is another vital possibility which puts the blame squarely back in our court as the members which I think is entirely consistent.
I took only the word of two to three witnesses that were speaking in their correct stewardship. In this case that would be the prophet, when he is the president, duly entitled to speak for the church in all things, when he was the prophet, and not before. Thats a pretty stringent criteria but it works to pare down the long list of objections. Anything spoken beyond the bounds of someones stewardship are like the apocrypha to me. When I am with the spirit there is much good that can be discerned from it. but I dont hold it on the same level as the president speaking as the prophet.
Based on that criteria any “about face” actions taken by the prophet are usually the result of the members wickedness, not the prophet falling away or some other description we give to metaphorically stone the modern day prophets. The prophet can only give us what the Lord allows us to have. If we obey the truth we already have he gives us more. But more importantly if we ignore, whine and moan, or otherwise setaside or treat lightly the truth taught to us by the Lords mouthpiece, then the Lord reserves the right to remove that bit of truth from our midst and allow us to slump towards gomorroah.
I can look it up if needed but there is a place in alma where alma says exactly that. He calls it the “portion of the word” that the Lord allows us to have and that the prophets are explicitily forbidden to give us more than we are deserving of receiving, based on our obedience.
Examples? What did the Lord say in the flesh when he was asked about divorce? He essentially says its a wickedness,allowed To occur in Israel because the people were stiffnecked and wanted it period. But he decrys it and says that “in the beginning it was not so”. Meaning that God was not the author of it but that it was a lower law that was given to the people because of their unworthiness. Was moses a fallen prophet because he allowed the people to divorce? Was he unenlightened or behind the times when other more enlightened saints knew better that divorce should be rare or nonexistent?
Another example. The Lord wanted to give israel the fullness of the gospel as can be seen in the Joseph smith translation. But because they had abandoned him and worshipped the golden calf (because Aaron respected their agency and gave them what they wanted) they had the greater light taken from them as well as the higher priesthood and were given instead a lower law known as the ten commandments and the law of moses. Was moses a fallen and wicked prophet for doing this? According to alma he would have been commanded to give the people only the portion of the word which they gave heed too. so i believe this means the Lord himself is the one that put the restriction on and withdrew the blessings.
Another example. The Lord set israel up in liberty under a system of judges or very small decentralized government. But they looked around to the nations surrounding them and decided eventually that they wanted to fit in and belike everybody else in the world. So the elders of israel representing the will of the people brought it to the attention of Samuel. Now samuel was appalled. He knew better and he knew that great wickenedness would result from centralized government such as this. He had taught the people for decades that their government was from God and was based on eternal princicples of liberty, accountability and duty etc. but in the end the people did not care what the prophets counsel or Gods counsel was they wanted what they wanted so they eventually got what they wanted good or bad. But when we counsel God you can bet it will always turn out bad.
So everything the Lord and samuel warned the people about with a monarchy came true and they were miserable. Was samuel and all prophets after him that supported the new paradigm of a monarchy fallen, mistaken, unenlightened, in darkness, or otherwise mistaken? I can imagine that among those who knew the earlier teachings before israel had rejected the Lords counsel, was a strong temptation to do exactly as some on this thread are doing and denounce the prophets as fallen, mistaken, human etc.
But i submit that this pattern persists into our day. If divorce was wicked back then and allowed only because the people were stiffnecked and unteachable on the issue, why do we have it today for temple marriages? Did the Lord see the error of his ways and finally realize that he had it wrong all along? We can certainly talk ourselves into seeing it that way. But i think a study of the scriptures will reveal to us that there is not a dimes bit of difference between modern and ancient israel. Not a dimes. We make exactly the same mistakes we shake our heads at as we read of them in the scriptures. Extreme cognitive dissonance applies here.
We have done many many things in this exact same pattern that can now be looked back on and pridefully saddled on the necks of the poor prophet that was stuck serving the particular group that rejected the counsel. The prophets rarely go back and rub it in and point and mock us for our terrible decisions as a people but they certainly could. Instead they stop talking about the particular point we have rejected and try to work with us where we are teachable. If we start to become meek then the spirit can teach us great things. But there is always the danger that we will notice that a greater truth is nolonger the mainstream practice and we are then tempted to see if we will take the prideful road and consider ourselves “more enlightened” than the prophets or if we will stay true to the Lord.
I remember a talk pres hinckley gave in which he bemoaned how very very lonely it is to be in a leadership position. If you search the scriptures for times when the nephites and jaredites were presented with the same choice to reject the Lords system of government and choose themselves a King you will see that all those prophets grieved that the people would choose this but they honored the agency of the people at all times and gave them what they knew would harm them and stopped talking about going back.
We have done many simliar things in our present day. I could write a looooong article but will give just a couple examples instead. We reject principle after principle that the prophets taught in the past but marvel as they become more and more silent on the matter as time progresses and we start to see references to the higher truths removed from manual’s, sidestepped in public appearences before” swine” (those who could not appreciate it – think Pres Hinckley’s media interviews), or even used as cause for excommunication when we openly choose to teach, live and promote truths beyond our stewardships which have been taken from the portion of the word which is currently given to the saints.Meanwhile the poor prophet is bound by heavenly edict to hold his toungue as he is defamed and murmurred against for the inevitable consequnces of the choices We have made, NOT him.
Why are we not in jackson county living in zion right now? Because we were wicked and had that blessing removed. Why did we get driven and driven from place to place like a scourge? Because we were wicked and would not follow the counsels of the Lord. Open your doctrine and covenants and see for yourself. Read in there how the church is under a curse currently, and that it includes every last one of us which pres Ezra Taft Benson got up in conference and reminded us has not yet been removed because of our slothfulness. And none of it is because the prophets have fallen. In fact that is never the scriptural record it is always because the people have chosen wickedness or complaceny or an all is well in zion attitude over strict obedience to the counsels of God.
When in our exile we were sent into the desert to salt lake just like israel was did we learn our lesson? Nope. We continue to reject the word of the Lord piece by piece as we Struggle to be accepted by the world and fit in. We labor away our lives pursuing the idols of bably lon just like ancient israel did rather than building up zion. Like the zoramites on their rameupmton we might go through a few outward motions as is expected of us in a calling or two but when we have free time, we largely spend it seeking after worldy pleasures.
When the prophets begged us on their hands and knees to not enact public schooling did we listen? No we rejected them outright. And now we cry out in the wilderness in total ignorance of why our children laregely do not know the Lord and why they chase after the false idols of the world and seek nothing but pleasure. And i am sure there are those among us that blame the prophets or the Lord because the programs werent quite good enough etc.
We are the ones that keep tying the hands of the prophets, demanding a lower and lower law, until we will have no more truth to impart. Does the sinful parent pass on those teachings which he “disagrees” with the prophet on to his children? Heck no. If only by example he teaches his children exactly the opposite. And so the prophet falls silent on the topic because we are hardhearted and the demons we give harbor to wail and gnash when the truth is taught so the truth is lost, not passed on, and darkness grows.
So in the end i believe this is the explanation for these apparent “changes” that appear inconsistent. And while the Lord binds the prophets toungues, we get to stone them and tell people not to place too much confidence with them after all they were wrong…………
Sometimes im pretty embrassed to be a member because even knowing this is not enough to make me ovecome it all. But i just keep trying. It just breaks my heart to see any of us lay the sins of our people at the feet of these abused servants of God.
Connor, I always appreciate what you have to say.
The people with the last name of Coltharp scare me, and I hope they aren’t hiding anonymously in my ward, but then I don’t think people with such views are ever anonymous.
How many people with black ancestry do any of you know? Well, I know quite a few, including LDS who are very devout–
The idea of taking men/women too seriously, that it is dangerous to do so, is real. People do take people too seriously.
Only Jesus was perfect.
The Old Testament has been used to justify all sorts of atrocities–
Ha, Coltharps (sp?), I know people with blonde hair and blue eyes and pink skin who are part black–
ha . . . and you can’t prove it. I hope one of your children marries one of them!
Ha (seriously, ha, ha!)–
People who are obsessed with biology deserve to remember this scripture:
Try JST Matthew 3:36. Jesus was openly annoyed with the obsession over purity of blood.
It is literal following of the Old Testament that is allowing the bloodbaths in the middle east now–
But look at the Book of Mormon.
I don’t understand what happened there, with the children of Laman and Lemuel and the dark skin, but I know that when they were righteous they far surpassed the children of Nephi–
You’re leaving out the most correct book and its applications–
Why should the grandchildren of Nephi not have married the grandchildren of Laman and Lemuel, etc.?
Because they would lose what faith they had, which wasn’t so very great–
they were often more wicked than their brown-skinned relatives–
It’s so easy to obsess on the physical/biological, when the spiritual is staring *us* right in the faces–
I am not disturbed by the fact that men/women make mistakes.
I know I have a Savior, and He was/is perfect–
that’s enough for me–
I stand by that; you can tell me I’m stupid, but I read the Book of Mormon constantly.
I got really tired of the incorrectness of the Old Testament, and I studied it faithfully for years. I still read vast parts of it regularly–
but I know it has not been translated correctly–
thanks to Joseph Smith–
lots of other Christians know that, too, by the way–
by the Spirit.
As for thinking *we* have all the knowledge (and, yes, I do believe there is a high purpose to having the engine/organization of the church)–
the Book of Mormon rebukes those who don’t think that God speaks to anyone but *us*–
He deals with everyone, everywhere–
in His own way–
Limiting God is not only unkind, unjust and unwise–
James, thank you for your insight. It is so true that we are given the light that we will receive, and not a bit more. I remember that Jesus lamented many times that the people would not receive the light and He taught doctrine in parables instead of straightforwardly due to this.
OTC, I would agree with you that several translations of the OT leave much to be desired. However, what about the original content in Hebrew? what do you think about that?
I should note that the last post from me as James is not the same as the first poster by the same name. So in this post I am adding an intial to differentiate. Since I have access to a real computer now I thought it would be wise to add in a reference or two. The post below just shows that the higher law and lower law principle is not something I made up but is available on lds.org from the ensign. I highly recommend the entire article.
From “the higher law” ensign feb 1991
“Concerning modern application, the Savior’s response to the Pharisees is instructive. They challenged Jesus’ teaching about divorce because it differed from what was allowed in the law of Moses. “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matt. 19:8.) It was no compliment to the Israelites of Moses’ day that they were allowed a lesser standard than that which God intended “from the beginning.” The lesser standard was allowed “because of the hardness of [their] hearts.”
Does this mean that God adjusts standards according to his children’s willingness to obey? As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Ezra Taft Benson spoke about this principle:
“God has to work through mortals of varying degrees of spiritual progress. Sometimes he temporarily grants to men their unwise requests in order that they might learn from their own sad experiences. Some refer to this as the ‘Samuel Principle.’ This children of Israel wanted a king, like all the nations. … The Lord told Samuel to warn the people of the consequences if they had a king. Samuel gave them the warning, but they still insisted on their king. So God gave them a king and let them suffer. … God wanted it to be otherwise, but within certain bounds he grants unto men according to their desires. Bad experiences are an expensive school that only fools keep going to. …
“Sometimes in our attempts to mimic the world, contrary to the prophet’s counsel, we run after the world’s false educational, political, musical, and dress ideas. New worldly standards take over, a gradual breakdown occurs, and finally, after much suffering, a humble people are ready to be taught once again a higher law.
“Now, during all this gradual lowering of standards, the righteous should be living up to the highest personal standards they can–not forcing those standards on others but preparing for and awaiting a better day which surely must come.”5”
Ok, james g here again, so to give a more recent example, I was thinking about the recent announcement lowering age requirements for missions. I remember thinking how odd it was that the prophet was not really excited in making the announcement for the males. When it came to the girls their excitement was too infectious to resist but it still seemed that something about the announcement made him sad. I wondered why they would have had the age be higher for so long then change it all of a sudden so abruptly. Assuming that the Lord gives us the best that we will accept, and that the worldly inconveniences of graduating at 18 and not being able to leave until 19 were not by any accident, I wondered what had prompted the change. Statistically males had been dropping off more and more in meeting this duty. Many wandered into the world onto strange paths never to submit their papers during that critical year where they could really decide if they w going to use their agency to continue following the Lord or to take up the babylonian values they had grown up immersed in. I remember that numbers were dropping off and wondered then what would be done. Talks came in conference, programs were revamped with preach my gospel and the new duty to God program and other changes. But the moral decline of the world and our children that were immersed in it were unmistakable. Then I recalled how conference after conference the prohets implored the young single adots not to delay marriage, not to delay startingtheir families, and especially reminding the sisters who were increasingly waiting on marriage to do a mission first when that was not their mandate against all gentle prodding by the prophets to put their duty to raise a righteous generation first. Instead marriage was delayed, birth rates dropped off from past levels and more and more saints took the wisdom of man over the wisdom of the Lord. Oh yeah and they also kept telling them not to wait until their educations were done before marriage and a family either. But when we ignore the prophets, pump our children full of worldy values in socialized schools and spend most of our time pursuing fun everywhe and anywhere as if it was the highest goal worth pursuing what did we expect?
So what did the announcement do? It got the boys out much quicker on their missions so they had less time to fall away into forbidden paths. And it got the sisters back much sooner as well so that marriage would hopefully not be delayed anylonger. Originally the sisters went out at such a later age because it was more of a deterrent. But with all these well intentioned but mistaken parents and leaders counling their youth to wait it was no long serving well as a deterrent it was facilitating it. Watch the announcement again and pay attention to how quickly the prophet remin the sisters that it is not their duty and it is not neccessary that they serve but tha they are welcome if they so choose. Now can you imagine in todays world if he was to tell them please form family units and do not come on missions. That would not fly. But I this they wish we wee strong enough to hear that. We are such a prideeful bunch. If the prophet dare say anything that goes against the wisdom of the world and the programming we receive in our precious public schools we are quick to start picking up stones and calling him uninformed, fallable, etc. outwardly, it gives the appearence that we are a wicked, murmuring, prideful generation that sets the counsels of God aside just like ancient israel did when they wanted to go back to egypt and to resurrect their favorite cultural traditions from egypt whe they had grown up.
Have you ever wondered why israel wass in slavery and needed to be delivered? In every othe case in the scriptures where the people of the Lord had fallen into slavery it was because they had walked away from the ways of the Lord which left him unable to bless them until they were humble and invited his counsel. Just as it was back then it is exactly the same today. We chase our vacations, our leisure, our movies, our gluttony, our attractiveness, our money, our trophy wives, our trophy huusbands, our careers, our fashion sense, and our prestige of the world. All of these are false idols just like the ones in the old testament and other scriptures. And yes we sacrifice our children on the Altars of public education as well trying one after another ridiculous “new curriculums” when their level of education just gets worse and worse but the commitment to socialized education no matter how much of a failure it is is higher than that of our committment to our children and the Lord.
James G. Your words ring true. Whether your speculation about lowering the age is true or not – I don’t know. The important point that you make is we in the church are what the Lord has to work with, and we are imperfect at best. Pointing fingers at the prophets when we have such an imperfect understanding of the Lord’s ways is prideful. We must each individually focus on preparing ourselves to hear His word, that we might be more profitable servants. I may sound like a broken record, but Zion will not be built until there are enough of us who are worthy to build it.
I agree with Nic Johnson!
James G, much of what you say I have thought myself–
However, it is not *we*–
I won’t go into detail; let’s just say that not all of us have sent our children to public schools, and some of us have prepared our children to put forming families first–
Do you know how difficult it is to help ‘kids’ who were raised in homes where Zion was put first–
and the Book of Mormon, etc.–
find companions, even (especially) in the Young Single Adult programs/wards/regular wards, etc., etc., etc.?
I know young fathers who were disposed of by wives who were frustrated that they couldn’t make enough money–
when those fathers put marriage and children first, because the wife had been raised Babylon/money first–
I know a collection of beautiful young women who want nothing more than to become wives and mothers who wait and count off the years, because they tried to put Babylon aside–
maybe you’ve seen it firsthand; maybe you are just observing it at a ‘distance’, but either way–
it’s happening; you are right–
we’re right in the middle of it–
Teach your children about Zion and expect to have them be unsuccessful in Babylon or marriage or on missions, etc.–
because Babylon has crept so completely into the church–
as for talking about leaders and whether or not they can make mistakes–
leaders are just people, like us; they may have different stewardships–
but people, always, make mistakes. Jesus is the exception–
to mention it is only strengthening the case for our need for a Savior–
BUT, yes, the leaders of the church probably can see many of these things–and sorrow over them–
and yet I am quite sure many of them have children who have been quite successful in Babylon–
When I say “we” I mean the saints as a whole. There seems to be a critical percentage point where the church will stop teaching or pressing on an issue and go silent on it. Then those that want to rebel can assume that the silence is the same as a repeal of the teachings. But its not the same at all. Those who know the higher law are responsible to live it and those who are ignoring it are damned on that point and those that never hear of it are not accountable at all but of course they still cant get the blessings that living the higher law would bring.
The blacks and the priesthood thing can very likely be a result of the majority of members at the time being unaccepting of blacks. When the time was right and enough of the membership would accept the doctrine then it was allowed but not until the majority of saints were ready to accept it.
Or it was a scriptural ban done in the Lords own wisdom and released in the Lords own time or even released prematurely because the saints were demanding it. Folks like mitt romenys family come to mind. Dont get me wrong i dont like the appearence of racism anymore than the next guy but in the end I want to honor the will of the Lord over the will of babylon.
Who know what the real reason was except that I think there is a real precendent that the prophets could have had their hands tied to disclose the truth of it. Remember that this estate is a test and our abiity to discern truth from error must be evaluated. Like abraham and issac had to both decide to obey or deny to follow a commandment of the Lord to sacrifice issac in simlitude of the atonement. So is it possible that eac of us can be tested to see if we will let go of all attachments that compete for our loyalties.
In the end it makes no sense to me to think that the Lord will allow his duly appointed servants to mislead us. Sure they are fallible in that they may misspel somthing, bump the curb when parking, forget to pay a bill, or may leave the toilet seat up, or even get a little angry that others around them continue to kick against the pricks. Pointing out that they are imperfect is no great revelation. It merely makes us mastes of the obvious. Which seems too low a goal to strive for.
But i do know that they are good enough to lead in their appointed stewardships if can set aside the vanities and cares of the world that tempt us to counsel the Lord. What is the point of the Lord using the weak things of the world to do his works than for us to see that his wisdom can make more of our lives than we can make for ourselves? All i know is that when i strive to understand the Lords commands and obey, the understanding comes aft the trial of my faith and sometimes the spirit makes it very clear that i am to keep it to myself. Not because it is a secret that he would ot freely share with all but because his goal is to bring to pas the immortality and eternal life of man. And to do that he needs to give us only what we are ale to bear, line upon line and precept upon precept. And that requires holding back a lot until we are ready. Getting ready and meek(teachable) is totally within our control.
We think a lot alike, James. I want it all, but I know I won’t get it all until I have prepared myself through the atonement.
yes; I agree. The Lord loves us enough not to condemn us more by asking *us* to do things *we* are simply not willing to do–
but it’s all very sad, and at some point the prosperity ends. At some point an individual can feel/see God’s Hand in his/her life, but can see that the blessings have been missed generally–
and see what it could have been, etc.
I am not as obsessed with church leaders as I used to be, and I feel that is healthy. They are mortals. Possibly really good and often inspired mortals, but I can’t generalize, because–
I DON’T KNOW THEM!
Yes, I have read their talks, listened to their talks, prayed about their talks.
But I don’t know these people. 🙁
I don’t think it was ever intended to be that way, but Babylon reigns at this point–
the hugeness of the church and the separateness of its leaders from its people is a fact–
it’s not a criticism; it’s a fact–
and the privileged condition of their lives is a fact as well–
each man/woman (in and out of the church) will be judged based upon what he/she has received and what he/she has done, and I don’t judge, but I can’t help but see the disparity–
I don’t want what they have, not their callings, not their substance, but I resent (now; I didn’t always; I used to believe I could be ‘like’ them)
the idea that the ‘brethren’ are ‘above’ *us*–
is just wrong. It is just wrong. It’s not true; it’s not doctrinal; it’s not scriptural.
They have callings, yes, indeed; I do believe that–
and I believe I am supposed to listen to them. But to put them on pedestals?
to try to emulate them? No–
only the Savior, only the Savior Jesus Christ deserves my emulation–
deserves my worship–
Why do I say this? Because I grew up believing they were a ‘cut’ above–
and that’s just wrong-headed and wrong-hearted.
If *you* could see *me* here in my home, on my ancient computer–
in the clothes I am wearing, the home I am sitting in, on this computer–
you would think to yourself, “if every LDS in America had the standard of living of this person, the BYU campus would be empty”–
and you would be right–
Yes, we have enough to eat. A safe place to sleep at night and a measure of comfort, though nothing like that of most of our ward members–
and there are a few, very few, who have less than we, personally, have–
and we feel very blessed; we know the Lord is watching over us.
Did we work less hard than those general authorities worked?
Absolutely not; I can vouch for that; we are worn right out with work–
did we pray less? Again, no–
But I believe the Lord has allowed us to be what we are for a reason, and it is to remind ourselves and anyone with a pure enough heart that it is not:
education, wealth, honor
He has allowed a few simple, somewhat pathetic, perhaps, people to remain to show others . . .
that not everyone who follows all the commandments is blessed to sit in honored places, be listened to and have the best things of the world at his/her fingertips–
We could not afford BYU for our children–
even though one of us worked his/her way through that university (we both worked out way through college/university)–
our children were not able to do that–
for various reasons, but our standard of living was lower (for many reasons and not our ‘fault’)-
even than those of our parents, who were also not able to help US–
it’s harder these days for many, unless there is a lot more wealth–
many LDS don’t realize how wealthy they are, but they know we are not–
So, what am I doing on here? Everything I try to say, even if I am not successful–
is . . . look to Jesus Christ.
Don’t look to men. Listen to them, by all means; sometimes they are inspired–
but look to Jesus Christ. He will be my Judge, not the men, however good they might be, who sit in the councils of the church–
@ “outside the corridor”: Looks to me like you are trying to portray the Coltharps as liars who are “making up” revelations on priesthood restriction for the seed of Cain (negroes). And yet, they did nothing but provide direct quotes and scriptures.
If you want to take issue with the entire doctrine of priesthood restriction, take it up with the Lord and His prophets, not the Coltharps! You might as well throw away any revelations given prior to 1978, and throw the prophets of the restoration out with the bath water!
Political correctness in this society, and in the LDS church particularly, has replaced faith and obedience to the Lord’s commands, which are to stand the tests of time. It has nothing whatsoever to do with being prejudiced against blacks or any other race. We are commanded to love our brother and sister, but we are not commanded to reject doctrine set forth by the Almighty Himself to appease social pressures.
Whether you reject the Coltharps, Brigham Young, or anyone else who doesn’t preach your particular gospel, the purposes of the Lord stand and will be fulfilled. The question is – where will you be standing at that time?
What a challenge!
I’m not afraid. I don’t know how you got the idea that I am appeasing social pressures or am politically correct.
Yes, there are scriptures in the Pearl of Great Price that refer to ‘the curse’, etc.
In Abraham it is mentioned that Pharaoh could not have the priesthood.
was before Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ said nothing about it; He never said that descendants of Ham or Cain could not hold the priesthood–
and Joseph Smith gave them the priesthood.
Brigham Young took it away.
Far from being politically correct, I see the conflict between Joseph Smith and Brigham Young as being vital.
Brigham Young either made an uninspired cultural decision, based upon the prejudices of the time–
which was later corrected by Spencer W. Kimball–
or Joseph Smith was not behaving in an inspired way, not acting as a prophet, when he gave the ‘blacks’ the priesthood, which he did do–
I choose to believe that Joseph Smith, as the prophet of the restoration, did the spiritually correct thing.
So, no, I don’t believe that the Coltharps are prophets, and I don’t see any evidence for Brigham Young having received a revelation that countered what Joseph Smith, prophet of the restoration, did when he gave several black men the priesthood!!!
This is not my gospel; this is what Joseph Smith did. The fact that Brigham Young undid it is something of a problem. The fact that President Kimball restored it is a sign that he was truly seeking the guidance of the Spirit, since he restored what Joseph Smith had done–
Where will I be standing? Why on earth are you so worried about me?
I’m not worried about you. Should I be? Goodness, goodness–
Mormon 9:27 says to work out your *own* salvation; why are you so sure that I’m not and that you need to work out *my* salvation for *me*?
Goodness; what cheek!!!
I’m sorry you’re offended by my disagreeing with the Coltharps, but they are not my guides–
I take the Book of Mormon and the Holy Spirit to be my guide, and I take quite seriously what Joseph Smith was known to have done (not what he was purported to have done)–
he gave those black, freed slaves the priesthood–
So, do you believe that President Kimball was a fallen prophet? Brigham trumps them all?
That’s an interesting kind of religion, I must admit.
It’s not the Church of Brigham Young; it’s not even the Church of Joseph Smith–
it’s the Church of Jesus Christ, and He said:
(in the Book of Mormon)
2 Nephi 26:33–
“he denieth none that cometh unto Him (caps mine), black and white, bond and free, male and female; and He remembered the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile”–
that’s pretty strong.
As for what is written in the Old Testament, Joseph Smith made it clear that we believe the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, but we haven’t been told exactly what parts are not translated correctly–
I happen to believe that the idea of the priesthood being kept from the seed of Cain/Ham may have been smudged a little here and there; I know that only the Levites had the priesthood during the time of the ancient Israelites–
but I also know that Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law–
Now, please don’t patronize me anymore. You don’t know me; you don’t know what my political beliefs are–
and, again, if you think it is wrong for the blacks to have the priesthood now, I hope you have a surprise someday–
but I won’t question where you “stand”–
I don’t think that’s appropriate–
Well said, OTC!
You sure do like opening those cans of worms don’t you Mr. Boyack!?
I read it…..but I felt a bit confused at some parts…..and did cause me some personal doubts. But the last sentence calmed my fears. “So long as we continue to look to Christ and attempt to align our lives with His will, we will be alright.”
I remember reading somewhere that Brigham Young stated that the church members should not believe him to be a prophet of God until they’ve received confirmation from the Lord that such is the case. (Sorry….I should reference it….but I can’t exactly remember where I read it.)
It is the same with the words of the prophets today and the past. All things can be made clear by simply asking the source of it all.
I’m not sure I understood everything you wrote…..but it opened my mind that much more to attempt to better understand the mysteries of the Lord.
Thanks, Scott Stover–
There are a lot of commenters here who seem to be putting words in Connor’s mouth and/or didn’t really read his article – or at least not very carefully.
To address one specific comment: The article does not say that the Lord’s servants are not inspired. All it says is that they’re *fallible*. I think the goal here was to get people to take personal responsibility for their own beliefs, using the scriptures and prophets as a guide as they seek confirmation and further inspiration from the Spirit.
To the commenter who raised the issue of fallibility in the scriptures, I offer my belief that the scriptures are true, yes, in the sense that they offer truth and they don’t contain lies or deceptions – yet my mind is not closed to the possibility that they also contain teachings that are not actually true, but were taught and recorded by righteous though fallible men. Another thing about the scriptures is that I think we sometimes over-interpret them (for example, I think libertarians often erroneously think they need to demonstrate that the Nephite government was a libertarian one, as if that government – established by a wise and inspired prophet of God – is to be viewed as the perfect form of government).
Ultimately, I just want to say I agree with this article. I sustain all of my leaders, up to and including the President of the Church. I believe, though, that the best course of action is to seek the Spirit’s guidance as we listen to the words of the Prophets and read the scriptures, in developing our understanding of unchangeable and eternal truth.
@Eric, I was the one who used the word ‘uninspired’ with regards to Brigham Young’s decision to remove the priesthood from those black men who had it–
I used that word, because there is no evidence of any revelation that prompted President Young to make that policy change.
Without revelation, there is no inspiration.
I will let the Lord deal with Brother Brigham. He’s not here anymore, and he has had plenty of time to talk to both Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. I am really not very concerned about it, because of what President Kimball did (bless him!)–
To respond equally to both men is very difficult for me to do, I am afraid.
I know that the standard LDS response is, “all prophets are always inspired and always do the right thing,” but in the case of Brigham and the priesthood–
well, I can’t say that.
I have prayed about it, too, and my answer satisfied me–
I can’t help it; I like President Kimball more than Brigham Young–
so, shoot me!!! LOL! *wink*
(couldn’t resist that; it’s all in fun, so please take no offense!)
OTC . . . no, yours wasn’t the comment I had in mind.
Thanks for the response, though 🙂
I reread the article again. My only problem with it is that connor makes the jump in logic that past leaders were wrong and others who were more enlightened then them and knew better had been right.
He then gives a list of things leaders have given in the past supporting a position which we thoight was clearly wrong. And then said they just wanted to cover up or ignore what had been said in the past.
Fallible is a word I can accept if defined “as subject to mortal error and common mistake” because it is one that can be reviewed and corrected to more accurately reflect the original intention. Brother Brigham is well known for ahving stated something to that effect. That if he had had a chance to review his words and how the dictation had been taken down that it was then scripture to the people. I think he was saying that when a prophet is acting within the venue of his stewardship and is given oppurtunity to verify the record is corret that he will express the will of the Lord.
Now if he is just talking about what food he prefers or how he thinks a field should be plowed in casual conversation we would likely be amiss to take that as some kind of revelation. A person who puts all his trust in a man rather than taking the responsibility to seek confirmation from the spirit is acting as a willing slave. What i read in those quotes fom the millenial star and pres sith was that they wanted us to seek confirmation and have a testimony of any principle or commandment before following it. Not because what the prophet will teach us maybe wrong. That is an assumption i think connor makes in this article that is in error. I love msot evything he writes as he has a great talent cor it, which i do not, but at the same time as he him.f warns in this article this idea has great capacity to lead us to pride and to discounting the words of the prophets.
As far as any man who encourages us to blindly follow him “EVEN IF WE KNOW WHAT HE saYS IS WRONG” that is likely also exercising his unrighteous dominion. No matter what we will always have snakes in our midst just as the Lord had one at his table. But that is why he says that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established etc.
We have a strong cultural tradition that we have been programmed with that discrimination is very bad. Even though thats not true. And the worst type of discrimination is based on race. Which is also not neccessarily true. Now pay attention to the viseral internal reaction and anger which you almost certainly felt at reading that last statement. You might have even experienced anger. Where does that come from? Really think about it.
Racism is bad, yes. Of course. But does the priesthood ban automatically derive its roots in racism? No. But that is implied and imputed in connors article. Its easy to see why someone would jump to that conclusion because of of the old maxim that if its walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck its a duck. But there is also the possibility that it simply gives the -appearance- of sin.
What if we switch this example of the ban to something else with which we do not have strong traditionally programmed conclusions. Jumping back to samuels experience with israel. Here is a prophet who had himself long espoused that the gov they had was of God and that having a mortal king was bad. Since he himself did not setup the government but joshua/ moses had done it. Several prophets since that time had come and gone all supporting the system of government they had so there was many witnesses that having a King was bad. Now in samuels own lifetime that Lord commands him to ignore the past and give the people what they want. Every prophet after samuel as well does not speak out against the King but they likely outwardly support, pray for, bless, and counsel the King. To the new generations who grow up seeing that example they would likely think that was the way it always was and that this was the govnment God intended for them. Access to scripture was likely much less available then and the older generations likely did not tell many stories to their children how they desired a king against the warnings of the Lord and Samuel. No that bit of light and truth concerning Gods government likely slipped quietly into apostasy.
Now imagine the saint or seeker of truth that comes across this old information by either finding scrolls, as was occassionaly recorded to have occured, or they received the truth by the spirit. Now that person has a choice to make. He can begin to denonce the prophets as fallen, which some do. Or he can stay within his stewardship and keep the lower law they are under while doing all within his power to keep the higher laws he has sought out and received. Its very tempting to start explaining to others outside our stardships why the prophets are wrong and we know better. It strokes our pride and gives us delusions of grandeur. brother brigham makes comments about this as does pres kimball.
If you think on it thee is many many instances in the scriptures where higher things are given to some but they are instructed to keep them to themselves. In other words to keep them within their own stewardship and in some they are to keep them only to themselves.
In this information age it is very difficult to hide any pearls of the past which the people have previously rejected and the Lord has withdrawn from them because of their disobedience. I think the best attempt the leadership can follow in this regard is to encourage us to stick to the materials they provide. And they do exactly that. Ask yourself why do they have us stay within the limits of the manuals where there is such great material available elsewhere? Why? Consider this scriptures from alma.
9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.
9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.
So when we have hier understanding on one particular subject we are then going to be tested on whether we keep this commandment to impart only the portion that Lord deems is given to man, or not. But if we igno it then pride and darkness begin to take hold on our min and we begin to make more and more mistakes and we start to lsoe even the light we thought we had. So what do we do if a lower law is given to the church but we have become aware and accountable for a higher law? We do what nephi records here that we do. Remember that the law of moses was a lower law given only because the people had rejected the higher law.
2 nephi 25:24-25
24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.
25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
3 nephi 28
34 And wo be unto him that will not hearken unto the words of Jesus, and also to them whom he hath chosen and sent among them; for whoso receiveth not the words of Jesus and the words of those whom he hath sent receiveth not him; and therefore he will not receive them at the last day;
32 I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
So in summary i am saying that connor makes a mistake when he assumes that the ban was “wrong” because he is working without all the information and i provided ample evideence that the prophets are literally commanded to withhold much information from us on purpose. They may not know what that purpose is themselves. So while they may have weakness(fallible) of words like mormon laments in the bom wishing that he was better able to express himself, they are directed of the Lord and their counsel will lead us line upon line back to him. The Lord will tell them when to reveal more truth because we have been obedient to what was previously given. and he will also tell them when to revoke or go silent on subjects which we have been rebellious on ,even in the restoration. Yes this church will not be taken entirely again but that does not mean that the trend towards of apostasy that has always existed will not have a serious and deliterious impact. Our choices matter hugely as i hope i am making clear. It literally directs what the leadership is directed to do. I for one am not interested in rejecting principles of liberty and taking on a king as israel of old did. We are dangerously close. And if it it happens it will be because of our coices not because the Lords oraclse led us astray.
5 And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.
14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;
Insert the scrpture where the Lord says his word and his servants words are the same thing. I just really dont thi he would say tngs like this if he wanted us to pick and choose from the counsel of his servants based on what we thought they were right or were wrong on. By definition we know our vision is clouded and we are generally wrong on things.
Here is a lament fom a prophet that wishes he could tell us more but is restrained but the spirit.
2 nephi 32
7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.
I was the one who used the word ‘uninspired’ with regards to Brigham Young’s decision to remove the priesthood from those black men who had it–
I used that word, because there is no evidence of any revelation that prompted President Young to make that policy change.
Without revelation, there is no inspiration.
I will let the Lord deal with Brother Brigham. He’s not here anymore, and he has had plenty of time to talk to both Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ.
How many times do we have to go through this? Brigham Young didn’t invent the doctrine fo the curse. He didn’t implement a “policy change.” Doesn’t anyone read primary sources from Church history, or do you guys spend all your time reading propaganda from FAIR and LDS.org?
You’ve had plenty of evidence pasted on this thread already. Yet you continue to ignore the facts, and lie about Brigham Young.
THE CURSE OF CAIN, THE BAN FROM HOLDING THE PRIESTHOOD, ETC., WAS IMPLEMENTED IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES. THE “POLICY” BEGAN ANCIENTLY. DURING THE LIFETIME OF JOSEPH SMITH, THIS FACT WAS DISCOVERED BY JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN, AND THE “POLICY,” THOUGH INITIALLY VIOLATED DUE TO IGNORANCE, WAS THEREAFTER ENFORCED. BRIGHAM YOUNG ONLY EXPOUNDED IN HIS DISCOURSES UPON A POLICY THAT WAS ALREADY IN PLACE BEFORE HE BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH.
And despite what the Wikipedia article says for Elijah Abel, Joseph Smith did NOT ordain Elijah Abel. This is also a lie. Check the reference. Go to the original source. It’s a completely made-up lie.
You and John Coltharp seem to focus a lot on Brigham Young; neither of you say very much at all about Joseph Smith, and yet he translated the Book of Mormon (not Brigham Young)–
and he authorized the giving of the priesthood to the blacks who came into contact with the church–
There are not many options–
1–Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ decided that the general membership of the church were not prepared to accept black members into full fellowship, so They told Brigham Young to see that no more black men received the priesthood or used the priesthood they had received–
2–Either Joseph Smith or Brigham Young made a mistake.
If #1 is correct, then the general ‘white’ membership of the church has been under condemnation for some time; it took something like 120 years for the policy to change, after President Kimball took this to the Lord, along with the quorum of the 12–
It is true that Brigham Young didn’t state that he had received a revelation to the effect that the blacks could no longer receive the priesthood–
Mr. Coltharp claims that he didn’t need revelation; it was in the Old Testament all along–
and Joseph Smith was so busy translating the most correct book that he was ignorant about the ‘right’ way to do things–
He just spent too much time reading the Book of Mormon–
Negligent Joseph! *tongue in cheek*
See what happens when you read the Book of Mormon too much and neglect the Old Testament? You might forget your jots and your tittles. You might even forget that people of a certain skin color need to be excluded.
That is a travesty–
*sarcasm, but trying to be light*
(There isn’t enough humor on here. This is a heavy topic.)
I realize that there is a movement ‘afoot’ somewhere in the church, somewhere in Utah, I have gathered, of people who believe that the apostasy of *us* LDS is not based upon our not heeding the Book of Mormon–as Mormon prophesied–
but because the priesthood was given to the blacks in 1978.
I feel sad when I think of people sitting there somewhere thinking that they are better because of their ‘blood’–that they are ‘chosen’–
Jesus Christ made it plain that He wasn’t pleased with the Jews for the same reason. But that is in the New Testament, not the Old, and only the Old can be taken seriously.
It makes me feel sad.
one more thing, or two:
–I am quite old, and I remember segregation, and I grew up around people who were very prejudiced towards blacks–and I grew up where there were blacks, and I had plenty of opportunities to feel all the feelings of ‘hatred’ and prejudice–
racism doesn’t shock me; I have seen it face-to-face; I have dealt with it, on both sides. I have been there and back, and I did not grow up in the racial isolation of the intermountain west–
Was I upset about the church’s policy towards the blacks in pre-1978; no; I accepted it completely, having nothing but confidence in *my* leaders–
Has my heart changed? Yes. Why? Because I have immersed myself in the Book of Mormon.
If you have a problem with people of different ‘color’, you might try that–
The Book of Mormon is a powerful book; don’t avoid it–
@anyone whom I may have offended.
I realized, as I read over my posts (and I’ve never been able to figure out how to edit on CC)–
that I am rather hard-hitting with the Book of Mormon–
I am passionate about the Book of Mormon, but I don’t own the book, and I have no right to hit anyone over the head with it.
So, accept my apologies for my any misplaced intensity–
@anyone whom I may have offended.
I realized, as I read over my posts (and I’ve never been able to figure out how to edit on CC)–
that I am rather hard-hitting with the Book of Mormon–
I am passionate about the Book of Mormon, but I don’t have a monopoly on loving the book, and I have no right to hit anyone over the head with it.
So, accept my apologies for my any misplaced intensity–
Some have said that it might have been “social pressure” that caused the policy to change in 1978… what if it were the other way around and it was actually “social pressure” that caused the ban in the first place…?
One of the issues the saints ran in to in Missouri was the general feeling of the Missourians that the Church was “abolitionist”. But the Church was not. The Church took a NEUTRAL stand.
But this general feeling of the Missourians caused contention with the Church, where they believed that if enough of “us” came into “their” state, we would be able to affect change of their law and outlaw slavery.
That was not our intent… but if we had given full “blessing” of Church membership to Whites and Blacks at the time, it may have facilitated the Destruction of our Church … much like the Polygamy issue nearly did in the early days of Utah Territory/Statehood.
This is also one of those very complicated issues in many other ways…
1) It isn’t OUR priesthood. It is the Lord’s, and He sets the rules regarding it.
2) With #1, it used to be that only the Sons of Aaron could hold the Lower office of the Priesthood, not “ever worthy male member”…
3) With #1 and #2, only very few held the Higher Priesthood, the Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek…
4) With all of the above, even during the time of Christ, we know that the Apostles were given the Lower and Higher Priesthood, but we don’t know who else received it…
5) We should also understand that we don’t know exactly why or when this policy against Blacks holding the priesthood was instituted or how many Blacks may have held the priesthood during the time of Joseph or Brigham… and we should accept that the rules change regarding who can and cannot hold the priesthood depending on the needs of the Lord. Therefore, it is impossible for us to know someone was “inspired” or “wrong” because we don’t have all the facts in this case.
6) We do know the Church to be True. And Blacks were joining the Church even with the restrictions regarding the priesthood. That one policy, alone, because of the nature of the Priesthood and who can or cannot hold it at any particular time, isn’t enough to condemn any particular prophet or exonerate any other.
Just my thoughts.
I do apologize if I appear to be condemning or criticizing Brigham Young. I used to believe that it was an unrighteous thing for a person to ‘prefer’ one “Man of God” over another or to think less of one than another–
and I don’t believe that anymore. It’s all right for a person to say, “I like ________ and _________; I dislike _________ and _______”–
It really has nothing to do with faithfulness. We are to heed, not adore–
Our adoration should only be for Jesus Christ, indeed for the Godhead–
and not for any man–
Just as I might have a friend whose company I prefer to someone with whom I feel very uncomfortable, it is all right to have those kinds of feelings–
I once believed everything you wrote down (from 1 to 6– 🙂 )
However, a few years ago I found myself being ‘troubled’ over the fact that Joseph Smith’s original actions had been overturned–
and I haven’t been able to turn it off–
I am content now, though–
As to whether the Lord was actually inspiring BY or not–
it doesn’t really matter, because His purposes will always be fulfilled one way or the other–
I think what you have written out is helpful for teaching purposes–
and your opinion is valid–
The point of your post seems to be that the Church is still true even though the leaders are mistaken about various critical issues. That is a valid and important point, but I think you’ve missed the larger question: what is our responsibility, as common members, when leaders make serious mistakes?
I would suggest that oppositional voting is the appropriate response. Without withdrawing our consent in that way, we become complicit in the abuse.
The Restoration was brought to pass so that “man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—But that every man might speak in the name of God” (D&C 1:19).
That is the verse that Joseph Smith quoted when he said that even the “least Saint” has the right to understand any alleged prophecy or doctrine that is spoken by priesthood leaders.
As common members, we have the right to speak in the name of God, and to publicly defend our individual testimonies regarding the commandments. If we don’t like what our leaders are doing or saying, it is incumbent upon us to make that known (“any opposed, you may manifest it”).
As promised in D&C 121, the vast majority of priesthood leaders will abuse whatever power is given to them, and immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. This warning applies just as much to our prophets and apostles as it does to the rest of us, and probably more to them than to us, because they have more administrative power than us.
It is important to point out that the intrinsic powers of the priesthood cannot be abused: healing, sealing, calling down angels, etc. –such powers only operate under the proper conditions. However, the administrative powers that come with holding priesthood office can and often are abused. Many of the most serious abuses of administrative power committed by our past and present leaders have gone unopposed by the membership.
A few examples of abusive policy at present: public criticism of leaders is officially outlawed. Such criticism is classified as “evil speaking” (Oaks, “Criticism”, Ensign, 1987). Oppositional voting is also outlawed, not because of official doctrine, which supports the right of oppositional voting, but because of how the temple recommend questions are worded, along with the wording of sustainment proposals, which together amount to an implicit outlawing of oppositional voting.
At present, the punishment for public criticism of priesthood leaders is loss of temple recommend. It doesn’t matter if the criticism is true or false, constructive or otherwise: all such expressions are off limits if you want to remain in full fellowship.
In spite of these and other bad policies, I love President Monson and I have a lot of respect for him. I think he is a good leader in many ways. I think that most of his mistakes are passive ones: inherited false traditions that he is unwittingly upholding. The fact remains: if he is unwilling to acknowledge and correct those problems, I will continue to feel an obligation to vote against him.
In order to overcome the status quo, a critical mass of common members needs to come together and exercise their right to vote in opposition. This would motivate the Presiding Bishop to initiate a common council, so that the Church can be set in order.
In order to become part of that movement, common members need to obtain personal revelation about what the law of common consent is, and how it is supposed to be practiced, then live according to it. We have to be willing to sacrifice our reputations, and put our trust in the Lord.
Unfortunately at present, there is excessive trust in mortal prophets within the Church. It’s a problem that has existed for a long time. Another commenter has already pointed out one of the best quotes on the subject:
“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 237-38.
I think what you are describing is the pure apostasy. You a entitled to live by the dictates of your own convictions. But the Lords house is a house of order. Using “voting” to try and steer the church from where the Lord has directed his duly appointed servants to steer it amounts to steadying the ark.
When you don’t agree with the prophets there is many possible reasons to consider before jumping to the assumption that they are wrong.
1. Perhaps I do not like what the prophet is saying because it requires sacrifice from me?
2. Perhaps i do not like what is being said because i do not understand the samuel principle, whereby a lower law is given and the higher law is deliberately hidden due to the memberships stiffnecked disposition?
3. Perhaps I harbor enmity with God that I do not recognize because of the false traditions I have grown up in that taint my observations of eternal truth with the vanities of babylon?
4. Perhaps I seek the approval and ego boost of acolytes who seek to justify their favorite sins as well and mold the church after the image of their own God?
5. Perhaps my imperfections simply cause me to look through a darkened glass which brings me to very incorrect conclusions?
The list can continue. But I would advise all those that wish to follow God to do so. If you have a testimony that this is his church and that the scriptures and structures which he put into place we is and that he will not again take it from the earth, then stick with it. We, more so than the servants the Lord has called, tend to make colossal mistakes. Thats why he chooses among his pool of imperfect children for those that are of the most use to him in leading his children back to him.
Does that make them perfect? No. But it makes correcting their brethren within their stewardship. When we seek to counsel the Lord and tell him that he made a mistake because we know how things really should run and publicly speak evil of the Lords anointed we condemn only ourselves. Sometimes the leader is commanded to operate at a lower law. If we are prepared and able to live a higher law we are then tempted by the adversary to use this apparent strength as an achilles heel and nurture a seed of pride within us. I wont matter if we a right or not. What will matter is that fuel our enmity with the Lord, lacking charity and patience which are required for the Lords agency respecting plan to work, and eventually find ourselves kicking against the pricks.
If we harbor a spirit of anger in the slightest degree concerning these subject we can be assured that apostasy is our path. And until we reassert humility and meekness over our natural man we will damn ourselves.
The First Presidency, 26 March 1907
“The ecclesiastical government itself exists by the will of the people; elections are frequent, and the members are at liberty to vote as they choose. … The Church officers, in the exercise of their functions, are answerable to the Church. No officer, however exalted his position, is exempt from this law. All decisions, rulings and conduct of officials are subject to investigation, correction, revision and final rejection by the general assembly of the priesthood of the Church, its final court of appeal. Even the President, its highest officer, is subject to these laws, and special provision is made for his trial, and, if necessary, his deposition.” (“An Address: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the World” [Salt Lake City, Utah: April 1907], page 9, Seventy-Seventh Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Conference Report, April 1907] [Salt Lake City, Utah: The Deseret News], appendix.)
John Taylor, 7 October 1872
“If we have presidents or apostles or anybody that we do not like, let us vote them out, and be free men, and cultivate and cherish in our bosoms the principles of liberty.” (“Discourse,” reported by David W. Evans, The Deseret News [weekly], volume 21, number 48, edited by George Q. Cannon [Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon, 1 January 1873], page 729.)
Jesus Christ, 11 September 1831:
“It shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion. And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known. And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead.” (Section 64, verses 38–40, The Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981], page 121.)
Im not saying we don’t have the right to do it. We certainly have the liberty to do these things just as the elders of israel had, and exercised that right, to depose the Lord and crown a mortal King over israel. But it proved to be their destruction in many ways as the Lord had warned them.
Im not saying we can’t. I’m saying we shouldn’t.
But the Lord Himself not only says that we can, but that we should:
“If thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, PLUCK HIM OUT.” (In “The Testimony of St. Mark,” chapter 9, verse 46, The Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, Translated and Corrected by the Spirit of Revelation, by Joseph Smith, Jr., the Seer [Plano, Ill.: Joseph Smith, I. L. Rogers, and E. Robinson, 1867], page 54. See also Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts, edited by Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews [Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, 2004], page 338.)
Also, John Taylor, in the above, says “let us vote them out,” which not only suggests that we can, but that we should.
Do we not also read in D&C 107, that “inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, HE SHALL be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, … [and] thus, NONE shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God”?
The only sin I see would be to not do anything about corrupt leadership. It would appear that it is not just our privilege, but our obligation to do something about it.
JG and JC,
Something to consider here:
Yes, we can “vote them out”… but who is to say that our “vote” is the RIGHT VOTE or “Righteousness”?
I would say this, if you disagree with a particular person, policy, doctrine, etc, of the Church, it’s hierarchy, etc, you should spend much time conversing with the Lord via Prayer and Fasting to understand why you have those feelings.
You should talk with others whom you trust to understand their feelings.
The Lord will not direct *you* to Righteousness and no one else…
The Lord will appoint those men and women into leadership positions, not saying that some ‘person’ won’t appoint an unworthy individual, or that an individual won’t transgress or sin and become unworthy after they are called into a leadership position… but when the Lord appoints someone, who are we to disagree with him?
Yes, we CAN disagree with him, and yes, we CAN believe *we* have it right, but …
See, I’m not for “following blindly”, but I am for “following the Lord”. There is a “balance” to be had, and we each must find it.
This has come up a lot in my conversations with a family member. SIN is well defined in the Scriptures. But they believe that our Church’s current stand against a particular sin is WRONG and that we should change to “accept the sin” and the sinner.
Who is right? The Lord, the Scriptures, the Prophets, the Apostles? Or my family member?
I believe it is possible to work at personal righteousness, making a relationship with the Divine the highest priority in one’s life–
and seeking Zion–
and choose to ignore the mistakes of leaders, especially current leaders.
It may be one thing to discuss our concerns with a trusted family member whose maturity makes it possible for him/her to listen without losing heart or betraying the confidences–
but to make it publicly known that one disagrees with a current leader–
to me that is not wise, whether it is right or not–
even if it is justified.
We live in times when it is hard to know what ‘side’ anyone is one; is a person on the Lord’s Side, or is a person truly committed to Babylon and Mammon?
A person can have private reservations; a person should have private feelings and opinions, in order to have something to take to the Lord–and be taught by the Lord.
I don’t talk about living church leaders, if at all possible–
I will talk about issues from the past–
I can only say here that, even with all the problems, and I agree that there are some ‘knotty’ ones–
I am grateful to be alive now and not in the early days of the church–
SIN is well defined in the Scriptures. But they believe that our Church’s current stand against a particular sin is WRONG and that we should change to “accept the sin” and the sinner. –D. Mamanakis
My problem with current Church leadership is that they are the ones changing things to “accept the sin.” The scriptures are clear on what our duty is, and what sins we are to avoid; but the Brethren are leading us towards sin, and away from the Lord’s commandments.
Jeremiah 23: “Both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord. … Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. … In the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. … I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.”
Helaman 13:27-29: “If a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet. Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him. O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?”
2 Nephi 19:13-17: “The people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of Hosts. Therefore will the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush in one day. The ancient, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows; for every one of them is a hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”
2 Nephi 13:12-15: “O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people and the princes thereof; for ye have eaten up the vineyard and the spoil of the poor in your houses. What mean ye? Ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor, saith the Lord God of Hosts.”
Sidney Rigdon, 15 October 1844: “The whole of the revelations of God in all ages, charge the prophets and leaders of the people, with being the authors of the corruptions, which from time to time overrun the people of God. … The crime of the people was that they loved to have it so, they were not charged with introducing the corruptions, but having pleasure in them after the prophets, and leaders, had introduced them.” (Letter to James M. Greig, The Latter Day Saint’s Messenger and Advocate, volume 1, number 1 [Pittsburgh: 15 October 1844], page 13.)
“Sidney Rigdon, 15 October 1844: “The whole of the revelations of God in all ages, charge the prophets and leaders of the people, with being the authors of the corruptions, which from time to time overrun the people of God”
This is the summary of an excommunicated member who sought to take the leadership and when that could not be went off and started his own church. That doesn’t neccessarily mean he is wrong but it cetainly doesnt lend it credence either. For me it makes his perspective particularly suspect.
Your quotes from jeremiah,helamen and nephi all describe leadership which the people put into place from the bottom up by
Popular vote not by a sustaining vote on the Lords choice. I think your best quote yet for your perspective is the mark jst you referenced above. At least in that one it uses the wording “appointed”. That could mean it was someone appointed legitimately or through corrupt channels the people had set up.
My perspective on the scriptures and church history shows me the following pattern.
1. The Lords people are in slavery because they turned their backs previously on the Lords commands.
2. a majority of the people become sufficiently humbled by the negative fruit of their wickedness.
3. The Lord, knowing the people are too steeped in tradition and apostasy to generally receive much of any revelation directly from him seeks and selects a representative, ie a prophet, among the humblest and meekest available even though this man will not be perfect.
4. The prophet is called and begins to be about his fathers business calling the people up out of sin to where he is. The prophet continues on the path as well gaining in progress and getting closer to pfection and hopefully the people are as well.
5. As the people hearken to the prophet, and by extension the word of the Lord, they begine to see sweet fruit and liberty manifest.
6. If they continue in obedience their capacity to comprehend and know God and shed past tradition and teachings of the world is increased.
7. Prosperity begins to shed forth abundantly as the people listen to what is said by the Lord through his prophets and a decision point comes.
8. The people now a at the critical junction where most fail. They can continue to follow the prophets that their God has given them or they can begin to take pride in the blessings they see all around them and begin to nurture enmity which first manifests by raising themselves up and putting others down or vice versa. Essentially they begine to stratify or become divided by vanites and worldly delusions of grandeur.
9. At this point only enochs people really escaped this trap. Most of the time we begin to counsel the Lord at this point and raise up our own teachers, priests, and leaders from the bottom up. We reject the Lord to be our King and instead start to substitute in the wisdom of the world, which the Lord would call foolishness, and appoint our own government which then typically will bring in all sorts of corrupt priests and prophets to depose and replace thsoe chosen of the Lord.
10. Then as our foolishness brings about an ever increasing litany of failures and dissappointments we begin to blame the Lord and his church for leading the people astray.
11. We double down and continue to exacerbate the problem by rejecting the Lords light and truth point by point, precept by precept until we are left with othing and find ourselves ripened in iniquity
12. At this point slavery always comes. Deep grinding, hopeless, humiliating slavery, then we are compelled to be humble and the cycle repeats.
I understand exactly why you have the prspective that you do. It is an understandable conclusion to draw. But consider where the source of the breakdown first occurs. Imo it begins with the people murmuring and beoming stiffnecked. The Lords leadship then must respect the people agency when the majority have rejected them and will be instructed by the Lord to become silent on the subject and give the people what they want.
I see a bottom up corruption as the source of all our issues and it makes sense to me. If the Lord would make such as a bold statement as to say that what he says and HIS SERVANTS say is the same, and rejecting them is the same as rejecting him. Then the outline i gave here is the only one that is consistent with all the history both scriptural and contemporary.
It makes perfect sense to me that we, the covenant people of the Lord, are the ones that go whoring after other Gods.
There have been several diversions in this thread. It has been very interesting. John C’s quotes from Jeremiah and the BOM, speaking of false prophets reflect a willingness of the people to heed what they wanted to hear. OTC and James G say the wickedness comes from the bottom up. I whole-heartedly agree. We are responsible for our own righteousness. That righteousness, BTW, includes treating other people with respect. I have noticed that it seems to be ok for people to take potshots at others who are in the public eye or in leadership positions within the church. If I have cause to criticize someone, I need to do it to their face (I’m not perfect at this by any means). Public figures and leaders deserve the same respect. More specifically, if I disagree with something that President Monson has done, and feel like I must speak up, I have no right to do so in a public forum. I do have a right, even an obligation, to address it with HIM in a respectful manner. This is righteousness. To do otherwise is to perpetuate the unrighteousness that allowed the false prophets to have influence. My righteousness will protect me from being deceived.
Your quotes from jeremiah,helamen and nephi all describe leadership which the people put into place from the bottom up by Popular vote not by a sustaining vote on the Lords choice.
When did the Lord ever appoint the men leading us today? We have corrupt apostles appointing corrupt apostles, and the people at the bottom support it and sustain it.
Sidney’s words, despite his membership status, are supported by the Scriptures. The leaders introduce the corruptions, not the people at the bottom…. but the Lord never allows this to happen until the people are wicked enough to deserve it. God gives us the leaders we deserve. And if we are wicked enough, he removes Himself completely, and wicked men began appointing wicked men, from the top-down. New successors are appointed through corruption instead of inspiration. The condition of the Church in Jerusalem, when Christ was born, is a good illustration of this.
Those verses I quoted in Jeremiah and 2 Nephi are speaking of our day.
I think nephi set the best example of how to righteously handle a situation where a leader is making a mistake.
Hint – it includes no public calling out, and not even private calling out. He simply asked Lehi where he should go hunt. This gave Lehi the opportunity to remember his duty and remember that he was setting a bad example by murmuring. In such a state he was in no position to obtain revelation of the Lord. Nephis righteous SUSTAINING of the LORDS ANOINTED was what was needed. Nephi did not take the bait to decry his father, call him a fallen prophet or any such appeal to his own pride and enmity. Instead he stayed humble, which pricked his fathers heart and reawakened his resolve to repent and fulfill his role righteously.
Lehi immediately got right with God, obtained the needed revelation, and then never again let this lapse reoccur. Nephi handled it righteously. And the entire family was benefited from the blessings that resulted in him sustaining his Father, Priest, and King. Stewardship is key.
Nephi had the right to revelation within his own stewardship for his family. But true to his character he was not satisfied with that. He had charity and compassion for all the family there. All were in error. Did he take the reins and depose his errant father? No. He acted righteously.
James G, I agree with much of what you’re saying about publicly speaking out against authorized leadership. But when happens when you have unauthorized leadership? In the days of Christ, “the scribes and phariseas sat in Moses’ seat.” Jesus and John the Baptist openly and publicly criticized and rebuked them, because they were NOT the Lord’s servants making mistakes… they were imposters. They didn’t belong there in the first place. God doesn’t expect us to follow imposters, or to respect their authority, because they don’t have any authority.
Jesus Christ, March 1846: “Evil men, ambitious of power, must needs arise among you, and they shall be led by their own self-will and not by me. Yet they are instruments in my hands, and are permitted to try my people, and to collect from among them those who are not the elect, and such as are unworthy of eternal life. Grieve not after them, neither mourn nor be alarmed. My people know my voice and also the voice of my spirit, and a stranger they will not follow; therefore such as follow strangers are not my people. Behold James J. Strang hath cursed my people by his own spirit and not by mine. Never at any time have I appointed that wicked man to lead my people, neither by my own voice, nor by the voice of my servant Joseph Smith, neither by the voice of mine angel: but he hath sought to deceive and Satan helpeth him; but before of old was he one that was ordained to gather the tares of the field, and mine angels have chosen him to do it because he was a wicked man, even as Judas was chosen to betray his Lord.” (In Orson Hyde, “Communication from Orson Hyde,” The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, volume 7, number 10, edited by T. Ward [Liverpool: T. Ward, 15 May 1846], page 157.)
“…the Lord never allows this to happen until the people are wicked enough to deserve it”
Thats the point i’m making. Perhaps we simply disagree on where we are in that scenario.
Im guessing you see as happening way back when. While I see it as imminent. However i don’t think the church will be swept away again entirely. I see the desolating scourge being the mechanism that arrests this from happening. Rather than letting all slip back into apostasy I think Lord is quickening the pace and removing the tares via the scourge will accomplish that to cleanse the church rather allowing a full cycle of apostasy to repeat.
I don’t believe there will be a full, complete, and total apostasy in this dispensation. The Priesthood and Church are never to be taken from the Earth… but all is NOT well in Zion.
“Never at any time have I appointed that wicked man to lead my people, neither by my own voice, nor by the voice of my servant Joseph Smith, neither by the voice of mine angel”
I dont think the Lord will appoint wicked men. But he will respect our agency to reject him and appoint our own leaders in gov, which will become corrupt (think saul) and will use their power to appoint false priests, prophets and soothsayers (think king noah). I dont think the church is there yet nor do I think it will actually happen this time. I think the Lord will need to intercede to prevent the natural progression from reoccuring by the sourge and other calamities that will humble his people and seperate the wheat from the tares.
If all was well in zion we would not have left have kirtland and the temple to be defiled. But our wickedness was more precious to us.
If all was well in zion we would not have been driven from jackson county into swamps and sickness. Our pride an vanity was more important to us.
If all was well in zion we would not have lost nauvoo and its temple and maybe not our dear prophet to mobs and violence. But we did and many divisions occurred because of it.
If all was well we would not have been driven into the wilderness or taken fourty years to build a temple to our God. Our faith was weak and doubted.
If all was well in zion we would not have been compelled to renounce polygamy and send our faithful saints into exile in mexico and other places.
If all was well in zion we would not have given up our sovereignty up to in the united states to have enemies appointed over us as our governors.
If all was well in zion we would not have turned our backs on the prophets when they begged us not to send our precious children to be taught and indoctrinated by our enemies essentially selling out their inheritance for a mess of pottage in the guise of free education only to lose ever increasing numbers of these children to the ways of babylon.
If all was well in zion we would not see one after another of those eternal principles our prophets boldly taught, silently then not so silently relegated to the back rooms and vaults of the past while we are kept to approved manuals only. Not because there is not great truth in those other sources but because the wickedness of the people has lessened the portion of the word which the Lord will allow us to have in consequence of our continued disobedience in order to protect those who are so steeped in false traditions and the idolatry of babylon that it is not just to saddle them with truth they can not reasonably live up or will accept as a majority.
And thus the sins of the fathers is heaped upon the heads of the children. Not because the Lord wants to condemn us but because we condemn ourselves and pass that condemnation to our children by simply not teaching them and not raising them in truth and light because we wish to hide our own sins.
No all is not well in zion. Bt nothing has changed. We are to look to the beam in our own eye. If we could do that and get those within our stewardships to do that as well. Then the Lord could really do something with us. But right now. …. Not so much.
Well said, James G! Very eloquent. And yet, we revere these “pioneers” as heroes who had such strong faith. My point is not to denigrate them in any way, but to ask, “If these pioneers, whom we look to as a symbol of faith and perseverance were so strong and dedicated, where does that leave us?” Yes, all is not well in Zion, but the debate seems to be that either 1) this is because the leaders are no longer appointed by the Lord and are leading us to apostasy or 2) the leaders are doing their best, under the guidance of the Lord, with a people who grow increasingly dependent upon Babylon. I think it is #2.
Not only are prophets ‘infallible, from Adam to today, they can and many prophets have fallen throughout history and the scriptures and lost their standing with God and led many people astray.
The Lord does allow prophets to lead people astray, as a test, to see if people can discern ‘truth from error’, ‘right from wrong’ and ‘true prophets from false prophets’.
Christ and Joseph Smith and ancient prophets have warned us over and over to beware of false prophets and false doctrine, even in and especially in the Church. For some reason most LDS don’t think any of ‘their’ prophets could be or have been ‘false’ prophets. Yet Joseph Smith warned that wherever you find true prophets you will also find false ones, preaching almost the very same things, but with just enought difference that it leads the people off the path. And Jospeh also taught that most people fall for false prophets, thinking they are surely true prophets.
If we follow blindly without ‘proving all things’ 1st, by comparing what prophets or church leaders preach and practice with what Christ and the scriptures say, then we will always be easily deceived by falsehoods and led astray, but usually never know it.
Joseph Smith taught and showed that even he often was deceived by false revelation/inspiration. He taught that our or his revelation can come from 1 of 3 sources, God, our own mind & heart, or from the Adversary. And we all must discern from which source our revelation or any prophet’s revelation, come from.
Joseph called many unrighteous men to be church leaders, even apostles, which he later found were not what he thought they were and probably his inspiration to call them to that calling was not of God, for God would not want evil men in such vital positions of trust and responsibility for people’s welfare. Many women were taken advantage of because of the trust they put in these wicked leaders.
Even Joseph was learning line upon line. Just because someone is even a ‘true’ prophet doesn’t mean they always teach correctly or always teach ‘true’ revelation, nor does it mean they are the smartest, wisest, or most righteous among the people.
There are probably many people more righteous or more wise and who have more light and knowledge then the Prophet Joseph did, yet he was called to be the prophet and restore the Church at that time.
This life is a test to see if we can be deceived or not by false prophets and falsehoods. Joseph warned that even wonderful good and honest people will lose their standing in the Celestial Kingdom if they allow themselves to be deceived by false prophets and the craftiness of wolves in sheep’ (prophet’s) clothing.
I believe there have been many false prophets in the Church since Joseph Smith, who most everyone has easily fallen for, thus all the questions about which prophet is right. But it is not hard to detect false prophets when you use the criteria that Christ and Joseph said to use to detect them, which is love, the scriptures and the Holy Spirit. When we use these 3 standards it is easily to see who is really a true disciple of Christ, whether prophet or primary teacher.
Sorry, I meant to say “Not only are prophets ‘fallible’.
Also, it ‘is’ our obligation and duty to use the Spirit and the scriptures to judge prophets and all church leaders to see if they are worthy of our trust, time and adherence. We will be held accountable for following unrighteous leaders and false prophets. If church leaders don’t ‘prove’ to us that they are more righteous, loving and Christlike then us, or that they are teaching the exact doctrines of Christ, then we are not to heed or trust them.
There were many saints who we very good people. But because the majority of the saints would not repent they were left to suffer the consequences as well. Our choices affect each other for good and bad. In the case of the saints of nauvoo who were driven into the west, many of the less faithful went other ways or were lost along the way. It was a cleansing of sorts. I still revere the sacrifices they made to see the saints through to their place of exile. It was not everyone that had brought that burden upon the people but it was still a burden to be borne by all.
So while we cherish the sacrifice these righteous saints made to cross the plains and pickup the pieces, it is wise to remember why we are in the wilderness to begin with.
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received–
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
2 Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.
3 But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;
4 And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
5 And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.
6 And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.
7 I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;
Joseph Smith never boldly preached polygamy. Whether he taught it privately or not–
depends upon the veracity of those who said that he did–because he was dead–
and *I* wasn’t there, so I don’t know–
But the fact is that for all the fuss over how hard it was to live polygamy and how much dedication and faith it took–
why was it possible to live polygamy and not the law of consecration?
Brigham Young sacrificed SO much to live polygamy? Where was he when Joseph and Emma were being chased and persecuted while he tried to translate the Book of Mormon? Where was he when Joseph was being tarred and feathered? Where was he when Joseph’s babies died, because of the exposure to the cold?
Where was he? I don’t know–
but I know who sacrificed so that we could have the Book of Mormon–etc.
and it wasn’t Brigham Young. Brigham Young was carried into the Salt Lake Valley. Brigham Young built the finest house in that valley. Brigham Young was surrounded by women.
Joseph was on the run–but when he tried to get away from his enemies, his people questioned his courage–
and yet when Brigham Young left, nobody questioned him at all.
In terms of how each man passed the ‘prophet’ test–
well, I have my opinion–
It is the law of consecration that is preached throughout the D&C–
over and over and over again–
I don’t know the truth about polygamy–
but I would say that, rather than the saints being unrighteous for giving up polygamy, they were unrighteous for choosing polygamy over consecration–
one was talked about as being SO HARD, but the other was simply not even tried, not the right way. There was some kind of perverted attempt in Utah–in Orderville; I had ancestors who participated–
while Brigham lived in abundance and comfort–
Meanwhile, before the exodus west–
they were unrighteous for being violent with their neighbors and retaliating–
The judgement is not here, yet, so *I* don’t know–
but I do know that I had ancestors who refused to live polygamy who had more righteous posterity (and happier marriages) than those who lived it.
Also, they had more children than those who lived polygamy–
I think, personally, that polygamy was a hoax.
I witnessed a bitter quarrel between one of my ancestors and his/her parent over it–
one of them believed in it; one didn’t–
the one who did not believe it had ever been inspired had more righteous posterity than the one who believed it was a ‘sacred’ principle–
I’ve had a lot of time to think about that quarrel that took place when I was young, between the one who believed in the ‘sanctity’ of plural marriage and the one who did not–
and I have decided, because of the passing of time, that the one who did not believe it was a righteous thing–
was a wiser and more spiritually mature person.
This is just my family history I am talking about, but as far as I am concerned the jury is out with regards to polygamy.
But to use the word ‘boldly’ with regards to prophets preaching the rightness of polygamy–
Joseph Smith didn’t even publicly talk about it (whether he participated in it or not); he certainly didn’t preach it boldly–
and I refuse to celebrate the 24th of July–
just my little quirk–
it’s certainly not a commandment. I won’t participate in the Utah worship that has existed in the LDS culture for so many decades, more than a century–
It IS an exile.
I know too much about the grinding poverty and other horrific things that my ancestors went through in order to leave the midwest–
Were they brave? Probably. But I think it takes as much courage to try to find out the truth and follow it–
and I don’t want anyone celebrating me for making an attempt to do that–
I don’t think it’s a very healthy thing to humans to celebrate other humans.