In part two of this series we reviewed excerpts of the Backyard Professor’s diatribe on the Amazon Book Review Page.
After bearing his soul on Amazon, I guess he began getting a lot of flack from various people and he obviously became fodder for the exMormon Community that is salivating and feeling further justified in their own unbelief given the professor’s new found enlightenment.
In response to the criticism, he posted the following two pontifications on youtube.
His comments in these videos are very revealing and I feel they substantiate some of my previous observations.
Again, it is not my intent to make this a personal attack on the man. I have never met him.
I do, however, love him and I hope that after he regains his spiritual equilibrium that he will return with the rest of the believers, to the waste places of Zion when the servants return and the Father does his own work.
I look forward to sitting down with him and sharing war stories as we have a little fruit of the vine together.
Nevertheless, he has intentionally put himself in the spotlight by posting his videos and that makes him fair game as far is using what he is currently experiencing, and publicly saying, to scrutinize and learn from.
His experience can be helpful to us as we deconstruct LDS apologetics.
I am not necessarily encouraging anyone to watch the above videos as you stand a chance of losing your own spiritual equilibrium by doing so, if your belief is based on the same sandy foundation.
I believe that once a person loses faith and begins relying on their own intellect and the intellect of other mortals to discern truth, a greater veil of darkness envelops them.
I leave it up to the viewer to make their own determinations as to whether this guy is generally emitting light and intelligence or whether the old father of lies is in the background slithering around.
Nevertheless, amid the mosh posh of anti-faith, pro-logic, and reason rhetoric, he does spout some profundities worth noting. Of course that is how old scratch works, he will intermingle some truth in an effort to promote one simple soul destroying lie.
I believe the good professor is currently relying on his own intellect, the intellect of other philosophers, and science, to discern truth at this point in time and I think I understand why. Putting one’s faith in the brethren and the modern teachings of the church poses a much greater threat to a person’s sanity than a blindfolded game of chess.
Here are some of his observations intermingled with some of the scriptural passages that came to mind as I listened to his rant, along with some of my own responses-
Again, I love this man, I prefer to believe that he is simply going through a temporary phase caused by a rude awakening that the modern LDS Church is but an outward shell of what the true church used to be.
I apologize in advance for how random and disjointed the following observations are-
Professor: “apologetics is a dead end, you cease to learn..”
Yes, professor, that is because apologists are not interested in learning by the spirit nor are they capable of teaching by the spirit.
They assume the storyline they have been given is correct and they use their intellect and power of persuasion to defend it.
They are not looking for truth when they do their research, they are attempting to surgically extract evidence to support the predetermined set of beliefs that they have inherited from the church.
Referring to the godless authors and philosophers that the good professor has now embraced as his mentors, he says:
Professor: “these scholars have scientific evidence to back themselves up.. they have the analysis, the critical thinking the Linquistics the logic its all on their side they don’t have faith, they have knowledge. ”
The professor is defining knowledge as analysis, critical thinking, linguistics and logic.
He is glorifying in and relying on the human intellect and the natural man who is an enemy to God.
Notice how he has completely departed from God’s definition of what true knowledge is.
Professor: “faith is the admission that we don’t have evidence and therefore we don’t know… I want the knowledge that the scholars are showing me because that makes eminently more sense….I am not anti-intellectual I am completely pro-intellectual…”
Here are a few more morsels of wisdom from the professor:
Professor: “My testimony based on my experience”
That’s the problem, you have not yet experienced the spiritual rebirth and gained the mystical gnosis. Hence, your experience is void of a spiritual testimony.
Professor: “If evidence comes along that logically and coherently explains something better than something I have been taught or told about the rational thing to do is explore that evidence, explore the evidence of the argument and go with the best most quality information. that is entirely rational. we do that every day”
Sounds like you are not open to or seeking the spiritual knowledge that comes from the Holy Ghost, you are relying on logic that coherently explains things.
That cannot lead you into the strait gate.
Professor: “I love B H Roberts ”
Of course you love B H Roberts, professor. He is typical of the intellectuals that you now idolize.
He became a “voracious reader, devouring books of history, science, and philosophy” just like you…
and just like the scarecrow in the wizard of OZ, he was awarded a brain from Babylon…. (he graduated first in his class from University of Deseret )
Professor: “Don’t give anything the benefit of the doubt…”
But what about “If you can only desire to believe“?
Is that not giving something the benefit of the doubt?
Professor: “science has taken us beyond a childlike understanding….”
Yes it has!
And that is the problem with science!!!!
Listen to yourself professor. You are contradicting and mocking the admonition of the Master-
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein..”
More from the good Professor-
Professor: “The anchor is not faith it is knowledge“… (worldly knowledge….science)
Professor: “knowledge is more powerful than faith….”
Hold the phone!
True knowledge can only be derived through the pre-knowledge faith mentioned in Alma 32.
Once knowledge is obtained, it is then empowered by the post-knowledge faith that is mentioned in Hebrews 11 which is the same faith that enabled Noah to prepare the ark, Abraham to offer Isaac, Enoch to be translated and an all-knowing God to create the world.
If faith is the power God used to create this world and all things, it either incorporates all knowledge or it is indeed greater than knowledge.
Perhaps this is why the original D&C included a doctrinal section called “Lectures on Faith” instead of “Lectures on Knowledge”
Here are in some incredible excerpts from part seven of the Lectures on Faith recently noted by a commenter by the name of Ty. Notice the relationship between faith and knowledge-
“From this we may extend as far as any circumstances may require whether on earth or in heaven, and we will find it the testimony of all inspired men, or heavenly messengers, that all things that pertain to life and godliness are the effects of faith and nothing else: all learning, wisdom, and prudence fail, and every thing else as a means of salvation but faith.”
“this is the reason that the Former Day Saints knew more, and understood more of heaven, and of heavenly things than all others beside, because this information is the effect of faith-to be obtained by no other means. And this is the reason, that men, as soon as they lose their faith, run into strifes, contentions, darkness and difficulties; for the knowledge which tends to life disappears with faith, but returns when faith returns; for when faith comes, it brings its train of attendants with it–apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, gifts, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation of tongues, &c. All these appear when faith appears on the earth, and disappear when it disappears from the earth. For these are the effects of faith and always have, and always will attend it.”
“For where faith is, there will the knowledge of God be also, with all things which pertain thereto revelations, visions, and dreams, as well as every other necessary thing in order that the possessors of faith may be perfected and obtain salvation”
Continuing on with the professor-
Professor: “Philosophy teaches us how to think”
Professor: “science teaches us how to think…”
What can I say professor?
I think I’ll opt for the Holy Ghost as my teacher.
“The natural man is an enemy to God” we have been warned to not trust in arm of flesh.
The Lord has warned that his thoughts and ways are not the thoughts and ways of the natural man.
The following verses come to mind..
“Oh how great is the nothingness of man“!
“by faith ye are saved through grace”
“seek learning, even by study and by faith”
Back to the professor-
Professor: “Intellect is the only sure way to reason and think through things. ”
Professor: “reason is the way we come to knowledge… not the heart the mind”
What about this?
“..behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.”
Yes the heart and mind are very important but where is the source material coming from?
God tells us it is his word in the scriptures and the Holy Ghost.
The scriptures give two ways to avoid deception.
One is to treasure up the word of God.
“And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived..”
The other is to take the Holy Ghost as one’s guide.
“For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived”
It is interesting how the key to avoiding deception is based on treasuring up the scriptures and taking the Holy Ghost as our guide.
I don’t see any emphasis on logic, reason, intellect, etc. in the above admonitions.
Those that become childlike and take the mystical road of faith, relying on the grace of God to obtain spiritual knowledge, will make it into the strait gate.
We need to refuse to get caught up in the intoxicatingly addicting journey of ego, relying on human logic, reason, intellect and science. That road doesn’t lead to the strait gate.
[Editorial Note: the BYP has since unleashed a whole new series extolling the exclusive significance of “empirical evidence” in determining what truth is.
In it, he notes that we have successfully discovered the physical world through the use of scientific instrumentation but nobody has discovered a higher reality with a reflective equilibrium.
He appears to use the term reflective equilibrium to refer to the secondary witness of the masses.
The implication being that if something is not backed up by reflective equilibrium it is not credible.
In other words, the testimony of Joseph and Sidney that they saw God, and the testimony of the three witnesses that they saw the gold plates is of no value because their testimonies are not backed up by the testimony of a huge group of people that share the same knowledge. It appears that he is still descending in his journey of understanding]
OK, my loving castigation of the Backyard Professor now comes to an end.
A New Approach to Apologetics?
Since I have not been an avid reader of LDS apologetics in the past, I don’t know if the article is typical or if it represents a change of direction that apologetics will be taking in Mormondom, in the future.
Instead of addressing a specific critic or critique regarding a specific topic, it seems to be a catch-all discussion that is addressed to all people within the church who are experiencing doubt, if not a crisis of faith.
Having given a brutal review of the Backyard Professors current diatribes, I thought it only fair to now showcase the thinking of one of his past colleagues, professor Terryl L. Givens, a Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond
The letter begins with-
“I understand that some doubts have arisen in your mind.”
He then goes forth throughout the letter explaining why one should continue to believe.
Interestingly, his opening statements never identify what specific issue is being doubted.
After reading the intro, we are left to wonder-
Is he addressing doubt that God exists?
doubt that Joseph Smith was a prophet?
doubt that the church was restored?
doubt that the Book of Mormon is true?
doubt that the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the only true and living church on the face of the earth?
Obviously there are a huge number of other sub-issues that people struggle with as well.
His article appears to be addressing all doubts having to do with Mormonism and it provides one or two examples.
The article is very revealing because in the mind of an LDS Apologist and in the mind of most members of the church, it is an all or nothing proposition.
It is either all true or all false.
Here is the deductive reasoning that is typically assumed-
If Joseph was a true prophet, then the Book of Mormon and restored the church are true!
Therefore, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints as it currently exists, 182 years after it was formally organized and 181 years after God declared it to be his TRUE and LIVING Church, is still the only true church.
That is the deductive construct of Mormon thought, even among scholars who should know better.
By taking that assumptive approach, one can quickly dismiss countless historical and doctrinal problems.
Never mind the disruptive warnings of people like H. Verlan Andersen who warned-
“Religious history testifies that, with the single exception of the inhabitants of the City of Enoch, no people to whom the gospel has been given have remained faithful to their covenants for more than a few generations.
Time after time the Lord has established His Church among a group who have lived His commandments for a few years and then fallen away, thus bringing upon themselves His judgments.
This cycle of human folly which so many prophets have noted, has repeated itself with such consistent regularity that any group which finds itself to be the favored recipients of the gospel would do well to assume that their apostasy is certain, and the only question about it is how long it will take.”
Anyway, in his opening statements, Professor Givens admits that he doesn’t know what specific issues the reader might have but assures them that he has probably had them also if in fact he does not still share them with the reader-
” I don’t know for sure what they are, but I imagine I have heard them before. Probably I have entertained some of them in my own mind. And perhaps I still harbor some of them myself.”
I must say that the above declaration doesn’t make me feel like he is going to make some meaningful authoritative observations that will put my mind at ease, and yet, I kind of like this approach because it seems genuine, sincere, and humble.
It is a little more down to earth and self depreciating than the stance that many apologists have taken in the past when arguing with critics.
Of course, he is not responding to angry critics in this letter, just to members who have doubts.
I think his approach may get people to warm up and feel safe as he gets ready to respond to their doubts, even though no specific doubts have been identified.
“I am not going to respond to them in the ways that you may have anticipated. Oh, I will say a few things about why many doubts felt by the previously faithful and faith-filled are ill-founded and misplaced: the result of poor teaching, naïve assumptions, cultural pressures, and outright false doctrines. But my main purpose in writing this letter is not to resolve the uncertainties and perplexities in your mind.”
Well now, that is pretty safe.
He is not going to address these doubts specifically in the traditional way that an apologist might have responded in the past.
He does, however, want to discount some of the doubts had by the previous “faithful” and “faith filled” members of the church who have experienced a crisis of faith and left the church.
He does this with the declaration that their doubts have probably been “ill-founded” and “naive assumptions” derived from “cultural pressures” and “false doctrines“.
After disrespecting those who have lost faith and left the church, as having left the church because of “ill-founded doubts” and “naive assumptions” he is now going to give approval and dignity to those who currently struggle with the same doubts but remain in the Church.
He is going to empower his doubt suffering readers to even celebrate the doubts they struggle with-
“I want, rather, to endow them with the dignity and seriousness they deserve. And even to celebrate them..”
If doubts are being entertained by past members, they are of questionable origin.
On the other hand, doubts entertained by current members should be treated with dignity and even celebrated.
This incredibly ambiguous introduction acknowledges that-
1- the things being doubted by his readers are unknown to him
2- nevertheless, he mysteriously knows that he has had them himself
3- and he probably still has them
4- doubts are unfounded and without merit if they cause someone to leave the church because they are “naive assumptions” derived from “cultural pressures” and “false doctrines“.
5- nevertheless, the mysterious, unknown doubts are to be treated with dignity and celebrated if they are had by people that stay in the church..
I must confess that at this point in reading the letter, the rantings of the good Backyard professor are beginning to sound significantly more lucid and sane to me than the message being conveyed from the University of Richmond professor.
He next provides a hard hitting example of doubt and uses a little reverse psychology by briefly speaking about how the “greatest intellectual” of Mormonism (B H Roberts) got stumped on a Book of Mormon question pertaining to how the descendents of Lehi could have become fragmented into countless Indian languages in just 1,000 years.
“How [are we] to explain the immense diversity of Indian languages, if all are supposed to be relatively recent descendants of Lamanite origin?” To put the problem in simple terms, how, in the space of a mere thousand years or so, could the Hebrew of Lehi’s tribe have fragmented and morphed into every one of the hundreds of Indian languages of the Western Hemisphere, from Inuit to Iroquois to Shoshone to Patagonian? Languages just don’t mutate and multiply that quickly.”
He observes that “Roberts never found an answer to that question, and it troubled him the rest of his life. Some scholars think he lost his testimony of the truthfulness and antiquity of the Book of Mormon as a result of this and other doubts”
He then shares what the moral of the story is pertaining to crisis of faith that was had by the greatest intellect this church has produced:
“here is the lesson we should learn from this story. Roberts’s whole dilemma was born of a faulty assumption he imbibed wholesale, never questioning, never critically analyzing it—that Lehi arrived on an empty continent, and that his descendants alone eventually overran the hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to the Straits of Magellan. Nothing in the Book of Mormon suggests that Lehi’s colony expanded to fill the hemisphere.”
Being a rather simple minded mystic, I remain unconcerned with whether Lehi’s posterity filled the entire continent or a very small geographical area.
I am equally unconcerned about how the Indians came to have so many languages in just 1,000 years assuming they all come from Lehi.
I really just don’t want to assume anything beyond what we know from the BofM or modern revelation on the topic, which is not very much.
In the paper to those who doubt, he provides five false assumptions that often lead to “intellectual tension” and “spiritual turmoil”
Notice how spiritual turmoil in his mind is precipitated by intellectual tension.
Don’t even get me started on the topic of intellect again.
The first of the five false assumptions that he enlightens us about is titled “The Prophetic Mantle” in which the false doctrine of infallibility is taken up by Givens.
He reveals that prophets are not literally infallible!
He then qualifies the statement by saying they are not fallible in the sense that they are subject to sharing personal opinions about doctrine that are not true.
He then interprets what Wilford Woodruff really meant when he said the Lord would never allow his leaders to ever lead the people astray with soul-destroying doctrines:
“When Pres. Woodruff said the Lord would never suffer his servants to lead the people astray, we can only reasonably interpret that statement to mean that the prophets will not teach us any soul-destroying doctrine—not that they will never err.”
I was a bit taken back with this enlightened reinterpretation of Woodruff’s declaration because I had never interpreted the statement otherwise.
Isn’t it pretty self evident that Joseph Smith and every other President of the Church had entertained personal opinions that were erroneous just like any other mortal?
Secondly, virtually everybody can clearly see that Woodruff was consoling people with the false doctrine that God will never allow his leaders to lead the people astray by teaching false doctrine.
The clarification by Givens, aside from pointing out the obvious, does nothing to explain why Woodruff would insult anybody’s intelligence by teaching such a false absurdity.
Brigham Young and his Adam-God Theory
Shockingly, Givens follows his clarification by giving perhaps the most blatant and sobering example of when a president of the Church did indeed teach a soul destroying doctrine.
The only possible reason Givens would have voluntarily chosen this example is because he knew that critics would bring it up if he didn’t.
Continuing with Givens paper. Givens points out that-
“President Kimball himself condemned Brigham Young’s Adam-God teachings as heresy…”
Yes, indeed Kimball and many other authorities condemned the heresy.
What kind of false doctrine can be more soul destroying than to teach a false concept of who God is?
The scriptures teach us over and over again how fundamentally important it is to know who and what God is.
Christ declared: ” And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
He has emphasized that we must understand what we worship in order to come unto the Father:
“I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.”
Lectures on Faith reminds us that we cannot be saved without gaining a knowledge of the true nature and character of God.
I could keep on going but everyone that might possibly make it this far through my post already knows how supremely important it is to know the true nature and character of God.
Apparently Givens doesn’t find anything soul destroying about teaching falsely about the nature and character of God.
We have the “prophet” of the Church, Brigham Young who is supposed to have an “eye witness testimony” of God, openly acknowledging that he has never seen God, and then he begins contradicting the scriptures and the words of Joseph Smith and teaching falsely about who and what God is.
I find that problematic.
Bother McConkie was apparently a little more passionate and concerned about the false teachings of Brigham Young than Professor Givens.
Here are a few excerpts from a letter he sent to Eugene England:
“Yes, President Young did teach that Adam was the father of our spirits, and all the related things that the cultists ascribe to him. This, however, is not true…. Yes, Brigham Young did say some things about God progressing in knowledge and understanding…
I think you can give me credit for having a knowledge of the quotations from Brigham Young relative to Adam, and of knowing what he taught under the subject that has become known as the Adam God Theory.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said that Brigham Young will have to make his own explanations on the points there involved. I think you can also give me credit for knowing what Brigham Young said about God progressing. And again, that is something he will have to account for.
This puts me in mind of Paul’s statement: “There must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (1 Cor. 11:19.) I do not know all of the providences of the Lord, but I do know that he permits false doctrine to be taught in and out of the Church and that such teaching is part of the sifting process of mortality.
We will be judged by what we believe among other things. If we believe false doctrine, we will be condemned. If that belief is on basic and fundamental things, it will lead us astray and we will lose our souls.
This is why Nephi said: “And all those who preach false doctrines, . . . wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!: (2 Ne. 28:15.) This clearly means that people who teach false doctrine in the fundamental and basic things will lose their souls.
The nature and kind of being that God is, is one of these fundamentals. I repeat: Brigham Young erred in some of his statements on the nature and kind of being that God is and as to the position of Adam in the plan of salvation..
If we choose to believe and teach the false portions of his doctrines, we are making an election that will damn us. ”
McConkie makes several contradictory statements in the notorious letter he wrote to Eugene England about Brigham Young. He clearly stated that Brigham Young has some serious explaining to do with the Lord and then he softened his attach on Young by saying that Young contradicted himself, teaching truth as well as falsehood.
Realizing that relegating Young to hell for eternity would put the validity and efficacy of McConkie’s own priesthood and apostolic calling into question he finally suggests that Brig will come out alright after he faces the big guy and gets a few stripes for teaching a doctrine that will send those to hell that believe it.
The points McConkie made clear were that
1- teaching a false doctrine about the nature and character of God was a soul destroying act that would thrust someone into hell
2- That Brigham Young clearly taught false doctrines about the nature and character of God.
3- Those that believe and echo the false doctrines that Brigham Young taught will be damned.
4- Oddly enough, Brigham Young will probably not go to hell after sending people to hell with the false doctrine.
Clearly, even McConkine believed that teaching a falsity about the nature and character of God is a soul destroying doctrine. I would really be curious to hear an example of what Givens believes to be a soul destroying false doctrine!
At the end of the letter to those who doubt, Given’ quotes a non-Mormon philosopher and then extolls the virtues of almost, but not quite, piercing the veil-
“You see, it was in the midst of his perplexity, of his obstinate questions, uncertainties, misgivings, and shadowy recollections that almost but don’t quite pierce the veil, that he found the prompt, the agitation, the catalyst that spurred him from complacency to insight, from generic pleasures to revelatory illumination, from being a thing acted upon to being an actor in the quest for his spiritual identity.
I know I am grateful for a propensity to doubt because it gives me the capacity to freely believe.”
I am not quite sure how someone arrives at the conclusion that they almost pierced the veil, but I find it very fitting that almost piercing the veil is now a virtue to be sought, since not quite piercing the veil is what every president of the Church since Joseph Smith was very good at doing.
I wonder why God never spoke of the virtues of not quite piercing the veil?
“VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am”
Let me end my review of Givens letter to those who doubt, by noting that in it, he acknowledged that the heavens were open during the Kirtland era but closed in the Nauvoo era of the restoration (he does so without blinking an eye or raising the warning voice about the apostate condition of the LDS Church).
And that acknowledgement is what blows my mind about LDS apologetics.
I can understand why the average member of the church does not comprehend the apostasy of the church because they only have a cursory and indoctrinated understanding of their religion.
They seldom read the scriptures, they get their interpretations of the scriptures from the official manuals, and they are spoon fed on the milk of the preparatory gospel and the sanitized history of the Church that the PTB decide to feed them.
Apologists on the other hand, drink deep into the scriptures and the history of the Church. They have seen the exact same scriptures and historical events that I am going to document and summarize at the end of this post. Yet they keep declaring that the king has on new clothes!
This is why I think that in many respects, the professor that left Mormonism is showing more personal integrity than the one that wrote the above mentioned letter of consolation.
The Craftiness of Men
The scriptures are quite clear that those who end up in a terrestrial glory are among those that “received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh“.
That would include those that almost pierce the veil.
Terrestrial souls are “honorable men” that are “blinded by the craftiness of men“.
In my opinion, herein lies the role of those that devise crafty diatribes using science, sophistry and social pressure to blind the eyes of honorable men as to what the true church and gospel really are.
My concern is that if people are convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the true and living church, they won’t be receptive to the real deal when the light shines forth.
Knowledge is Essential
With great typological implications, the Lord viewed the Latter day saints, and through the prophet Hosea, he warned that-
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me..’
Did not destruction come upon the early saints?
“destroyed” and “scattered” are terms used to describe what happened to the New Testament Jews
“..and this people shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations”
Is that not typological of what happened to the restoration saints?
Why were the saints cast out of Jackson, Kirtland Far West and Nauvoo?
Instead of being gathered as originally commanded, Latter day Saints can now be found scattered among all nations.
“..seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
Truly we forgot the law of the Gospel as contained in section 42.
Consecration was just to difficult.
Polygamy was too much of a temptation.
“As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.”
Have we not sinned against the Lord?
Has the glory of the initial years of the restoration been turned to shame?
Has the Lord not changed the glory of the early years of the restoration into a shameful history of a shameful people?
Why are we mocked by mainstream Christianity as a cult?
It is not because of our righteousness, it is because our religious rituals mock the God of the Bible.
Are we not worthy of their disdain?
Is our history of polygamous spiritual wifery not repulsive even to the morality of many non-Christians?
Yes there may have been a few unique situations anciently when Old Testament patriarchs decided to raise up seed however they were not introducing or endorsing a new marital system for future saints to live. The commandment of monogamy in the New Testament and modern revelation is beyond dispute.
Our history is beyond embarrassing when viewed in light of Biblical Christianity which was initially the foundation upon which the restoration took place!
Compare the state of the restored church in 1831 when the Lord testified that he was pleased with the true and living church, with how corrupt the church became and what the “saints” were doing a little over a decade later!
We have put on the robes and aprons of an apostate priesthood and swapped secret handshakes while swearing by our necks, just like the secret society that the Lord warned us about in section 38.
We are pathetic and shameful!
” and they set their heart on their iniquity.”
Clearly, knowledge is critical. But the type of knowledge that results in the destruction of God’s people is revealed in the rest of the passage-
“..because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
If people would obtain a knowledge of the LAW of God, and then obey it, they would not be spiritually destroyed and scattered.
Taking the Book of Mormon Hostage
Since the modern corporate restoration churches have essentially annexed the Book of Mormon into their religious domain, via copyright, marketing, and missionary work, many people discard it and refuse to take it seriously simply because of the apparent lake of spiritual gifts and putrefied fruits associated with it in the form of organized religion.
The Book of Mormon doesn’t need apologists making excuses for it, it truly stands on its own.. if someone sincerely reads it and rejects it based on its own merits, it is because the mystical seeds of light fell on barren ground.
Sadly, many people reject the Book of Mormon without reading it, or, without taking it seriously, because they assume the apostate church represents the fruits thereof.
If the Book of Mormon stood on its own without association with the modern Mormon Church, I believe it would be taken more seriously and accepted by many people who currently won’t even read it with real intent.
Although there are some discerning non-Mormons and even baptist and pentecostal preachers that believe it and preach out of it while discarding the obnoxious priestcraft of modern day church structure of Mormonism, they are the exception, not the rule.
Rejecting The Law
While Bearing a False Testimony
Since LDS apologists love to defend their religion, I am going to provide some criticism for them to defend.
My criticism in this final post of this particular series has to do primarily with two things.
The LAW that has been rejected (resulting in the cursing that followed)
The false TESTIMONY that is continuously given by members and apologists.
I challenge Professor Givens or any apologist to debunk my doctrinal and historical summary at the end of this post or demonstrate how the documentation I provide falls under the categories of being “ill-founded and misplaced, the result of poor teaching, naïve assumptions, cultural pressures, and outright false doctrines.
The Church is True?
One of the trademarks of Modern apostate Mormonism is the testimony that the Church is true.
This tradition of bearing testimony of the true church grew out of God’s testimony of the true church in section one of the D&C back in 1831.
I believe that the testimony that God gave of his only true and living church has been greatly misinterpreted and corrupted.
Furthermore, all of the testimonies given by Mormons that the Corporate church is the true and living church constitute the bearing of a false witness.
When the Lord God of Israel spoke through the prophet Malachi about false swearers in the latter days, this is very possibly the kind of false swearing he is speaking about.
Additionally, I believe that the law that God gave to latter day Israel was corrupted by the restored church as prophesied by ancient prophets.
I am therefore going to provide a brief chronology of what has taken place regarding the testimony and the law.
90%+ of my documentation will come from the word of God to his saints. A few interrelated historical events as documented from credible sources will also be included.
God Testifies of the True and Living Church
The very first testimony of the “only true and living church” in these latter days was given by God himself on November 1 1831. The passage reads thusly:
30 And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church,
to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness,
THE ONLY TRUE AND LIVING CHURCH UPON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH
which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually— (section 1)
Again, the above passage of scripture is one of the most abused and misunderstood passages of scripture contained in modern revelation.
It is the foundational scripture that Mormons use to justify themselves every time they bear a false witness about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints being the only true and living church.
Interestingly, the term: “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints” is never even mentioned in scripture until nearly eight long, painful, rebellious years after God bore His testimony about the restored Church. He clearly was not referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in section one because it did not exist when that revelation was given.
When the restored Church was formally established in 1830 it was called the “Church of Christ” by revelation (20:1, 38 , 68, 70 , 71, 80, 81, 20:11, 42:78, 101:1, 102:12)
Shortly after the Melchizedek Priesthood and the office of High Priest were restored in June of 1831 the Lord began referring to those that had received the fulness of the priesthood as the “Church of God” (70:5, 10, 107:80) and the “Church of the Firstborn” (78:21)
In other words, shortly after the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored and God began calling men to become High Priests, there was an inner church that presided over the outer church.
The inner church were those that had received the FULNESS of the Gospel and the fulness of the Priesthood. One could argue that the two terms are synonymous.
The outer church was called the Church of Christ while those members of the Church of Christ that had been called to the fulness, were also called the Church of God, or, Church of the Firstborn.
Fulness of the Gospel
Modern revelation only makes specific mention of one person by name that had accepted the FULNESS of the Gospel.
It was William McClellin.
We know from circumstantial evidence that Joseph, Sidney and many other people had received the same fulness of the gospel, but only one person is specifically acknowledged by God in modern revelation as having received it and I believe this is so that it would be obvious to people what the fulness of the gospel entails and that it was ultimately rejected by those that received it.
By doing a keyword search on “fulness” AND “gospel”, we find the only example given in modern revelation of someone that received it.
The Lord makes this observation in section 66 on October 25 1831, shortly after William McClellin had been called and ordained to be a High Priest.
1 BEHOLD, thus saith the Lord unto my servant William E. McLellin—Blessed are you, inasmuch as you have turned away from your iniquities, and have received my truths, saith the Lord your Redeemer, the Savior of the world, even of as many as believe on my name.
2 Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fulness of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life and be made partakers of the glories which are to be revealed in the last days, as it was written by the prophets and apostles in days of old.
There were many elders who had been in the church longer than William and had done much more to build up the kingdom.
One such elder was Orson Hyde. Many of the elders like Orson Hyde must have wondered what the difference was between the priesthood and calling they had received from Peter James and John vs the priesthood William McLelling had received according to the voice of God out of heaven.
Interestingly, the Lord gave William and three others a revelation just one month after the Lord told McLellin that he was blessed for receiving the fulness of the Gospel. (Section 68)
In the revelation Orson Hyde, who had been made an elder but had NOT been called and ordained to be a High Priest yet, was told what the purpose of his specific priesthood and ordination was.
“MY servant, Orson Hyde, was called by his ordination to proclaim the everlasting gospel, by the Spirit of the living God, from people to people, and from land to land, in the congregations of the wicked, in their synagogues, reasoning with and expounding all scriptures unto them.
2 And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth—”
As you can see, the patriarchal priesthood that was restored by Peter James and John, has the right to preach the “everlasting gospel“.
There are three different laws spoken of in section 88 and referred to in section 76:
The term “everlasting gospel” is not categorically synonymous with the “fulness of the gospel“.
One needs to pay close attention to how these terms are used in the scriptures.
Context is everything.
Orson Hyde had received the everlasting Gospel and was ordained to proclaim the everlasting gospel but he had not personally received the EVERLASTING COVENANT, EVEN THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL like William McClellin had!
Eventually, Orson would receive the fulness of the priesthood by being called and ordained a High Priest.
Understanding the distinction between the two priesthoods and between the everlasting gospel vs the fulness of the gospel is critical.
This is why, after the first harvest, (after the 1440,000 High Priests that have received the fulness of the priesthood-gospel, have been caught up into the cloud) the apostle Peter will fly forth again in the midst of heaven having the “everlasting gospel” to preach unto the terrestrial souls and everyone else that has been left on the earth. (See Rev 14 also See August 8 1839 Discourse of JS where he reveals that the angel is Peter “Who are you? I am Peter, the angel flying through the midst of heaven”)
The portion of the everlasting gospel that Peter and his associates will preach at that time will contain terrestrial law.
Those of the first harvest receive the celestial law, or fulness of the Gospel contained in the everlasting gospel.
Those of the second harvest receive the terrestrial law contained in the everlasting gospel. These are they who “died without law” because they “received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it” and therefore must return to the earth to “be judged according to men in the flesh” (76:72-74, 88:99)
Sections 66 and 68
A male member of the Church receives the “Everlasting Covenant even the Fulness of the Gospel” by receiving the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood that was restored at the Morley Farm in June of 1831 just like William McClellin and many others did.
“when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel”
We know that the fulness of the Gospel that William McClellin briefly embraced was lost from the earth because the Lord informs us in section 124 that the FULNESS of the priesthood was taken from the earth.
“For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”
William McClellin and everyone of the gentiles that briefly received the fulness of the priesthood (gospel) during Joseph’s ministry ultimately rejected it in fulfillment of the Saviors prophecy:
“At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth… I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them… I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.”
Clearly this is what happened.
After the Gentiles rejected the fulness of the Gospel (priesthood) the Lord came to his temple in secret and gave the keys of the gospel of Abraham to Joseph and Oliver.
Joseph was informed that “something else must be done for the salvation of the church”
Shortly thereafter, the elders of the condemned and downgraded church took the scriptures containing the KNOWLEDGE of the fulness of the Gospel to the house of Israel scattered in the earth.
The good news is that the last part of the Saviors prophecy informs us that
“But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.”
As discussed in other posts, those who brought forth the Book of Mormon and the revelations contained in the Book of Commandments will return and repent and fulfill their callings.
Getting back to the chronology pertaining to the rejection of the law and the false testimony about the modern church being the same one spoken of by God in sections one-
When the Church of Christ was formally organized in April of 1830 God did not identify it as the TRUE and LIVING Church.
This is because the newly established body of Christ had not had any time to prove they would be true or to manifest the gifts of the spirit that should be present in the church.
This is also because the fulness of the priesthood had not been restored and all of the spiritual fruit (gifts of the spirit) had not been manifested. It had not yet become a LIVING church manifesting all of the fruits thereof.
The reason God waited until 18 months after the formal organization of the church of Christ, to testify that His restored Church was the only true and living church on the face of the earth is because the FULNESS of the priesthood and the inner Church of God, needed to be restored in June of 1831 BEFORE the FULNESS of the Gospel could actually be received by members of the Church of Christ.
Those who have received the “EVERLASTING COVENANT EVEN THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL” by receiving the FULNESS of the PRIESTHOOD, were now members of the only TRUE and LIVING Church of GOD.
Here is a listing of the manifestations of the spirit that began to take place beginning with the restoration of priesthood at the Morley Farm according to the testimony of Lyman Wight:
“On the 4th of June 1831, a conference was held at Kirtland, <Ohio> represented by all the above mamed [named] branches; Joseph Smith our modern Prophet presided; and here I again saw the visible manifestations of the power of God as plain as could have been on the day of Pentecost and here for the first time I saw the Melchizedek priesthood introduced into the church of Jesus Christ as anciently; whereunto I was ordained under the hands of Joseph Smith, and I then ordainded Joseph and Sidney and sixteen others such as he chose unto the same priesthood. The spirit of God was made manifest to the heeling of the sick, casting out devils, speaking in unknown tongues, discerning of spirits, and prophesying with mighty power, After the two days the conference broke up receiving the revelation which appointed 28 elders their Mission to Missouri”
1- Healing of the Sick
2- Casting out Devils
3- Speaking in Unknown Tongues
4- Discerning of Spirits
5- Prophesying in Might Power
These spiritual manifestations represent the LIVING aspect of the TRUE and LIVING CHURCH that God was referring to in section one.
The truth is that the true Church of Christ began to come forth out of the wilderness of darkness with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and that restoration of the Aaronic and patriarchal priesthoods that were restored to the earth by angels.
However the Church did not become the TRUE and LIVING Church until the Fulness of the priesthood was restored by the voice of God out of heaven which was followed by the manifestation of the spiritual gifts that Lyman Wight listed.
As prophesied by the Savior, the TRUE and LIVING Church quickly went back into the wilderness of darkness within just a few years after it was offered to the gentiles.
Modern revelation informs us that the true and living church will come forth out of the wilderness of darkness again at a future time. (109:73)
Once a person understands that the fourteen year ministry of the prophet Joseph Smith had to do primarily with laying the FOUNDATION (1:30 18:4, 21:2, 64:33, 101:47) of a future marvelous work (4:1, 6:1, 8:8, 10:61, 11:1, 12:1, 14:1, 38:33, 64:33 ) and they learn about the doctrine of the three watches and how to use these interpretive keys in reading scripture, it becomes apparent that the testimony God gives of His true and living church was emphasizing the following four points:
1- The “foundation” of the restored church had been laid by the time this revelation was given and it needed to include the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
2- The “true and living church” would eventually come forth out of “obscurity and darkness” at a later time in the 3rd watch.
3- In order for God to be pleased with his church it needs to be both TRUE and FAITHFUL to the COMMANDMENTS and LIVING the LAW and MANIFESTING the SPIRITUAL FRUITS
4- When the true and living church does come forth out of obscurity and darkness, the Lord will be pleased with the church collectively, not necessarily with every individual member.
“Out of Obscurity and Darkness”
One of reasons God uses specific, unique phrases in different books of scriptures is so that those who search the scriptures can get the full cryptic meaning of scriptures that are otherwise sealed to those that don’t search.
There are only a handful of places the terms “obscurity” and “darkness” are used together in scripture, but they provide the key to understanding what God was revealing about WHEN the true and living church would come forth for the last time.
One can learn about the designated time when the church comes forth out of “obscurity and darkness” in a prophecy given in Isaiah 29.
From this prophecy we find that it comes forth at the time that the “terrible one is brought to nought and the scorner is consumed and all that watch for iniquity are cut off“.
It is also when “Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.
23 But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”
1 Nephi 22
Providing a second explanation of the time when the church comes forth out of obscurity and darkness is 1st Nephi 22 which also describes the events that pertain to when the true and living church comes forth out of “Obscurity and Darkness”
According to the Book of Mormon, the designated time is when the Lord God proceeds to make bare his arm in the eyes of all nations, and brings the house of Israel, who have been scattered upon all the face of the earth among all nations, out of captivity and gathers them to their lands of inheritance in North America.
That did not take place during the time of the restoration movement. It has not taken place to date.
We live during the time when the KNOWLEDGE of the Gospel, in written form, without power, is being offered to all the children of Abraham.
At best, it might be described as the preparatory gospel.
The Gentiles will be the STANDARD
The “first laborers of the last kingdom” who are the authentic Gentiles mentioned in scripture, that are to be the “set… up for a standard” when the “marvelous work” finally begins, have not yet returned and been set up as a light to the world.
As you can see, the passage of scripture in section one was primarily referring to the future coming forth of the true and living church.
Nevertheless, we are going to assume that the true and living church did briefly come out at the time the revelation was given, typological to the time the passage has literal reference to.
Continuing on with the chronological sequence of events having to do with God’s restored church-
The restored Church was coming forth out of the wilderness by March of 1829 (section 5).
Everyone that “repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.. whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.” (section 10)
Following that, the Church of Christ was legally organized in April 1830.
The restored Church of Christ was given the LAW of God as contained in section 42 on February of 1831. Please read this section very carefully. This section along with section 20 were the foundational revelations upon which the church was built and upon which missionary work was conducted.
Contained within the law of the Gospel in section 42 is the law of consecration and the law of monogamy.
The Bond and Covenant of Consecration Established 1832
On April 26th 1832 (section 82) the Lord acknowledge that “all of you have sinned” and that “none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way..”.
In other words, the saints had failed to repent and to live the law of the gospel. This ominous declaration was given just six months after God bore witness about being pleased with his true and living church.
He then said, “I the Lord will not lay any sin to your charge, go your ways and sin no more..“.
With that acknowledgement of forgiveness he proclaimed “..but unto the soul that sinneth shall the former sins return“.
In compliance with the law of the gospel contained in section 42, He then commanded nine men to be “bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression except judgment shall immediately follow in your several stewardships”
The purpose of these stewardships was to “manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric both in the land of Zion and in the land of Kirtland“.
This was the official beginning of living the law of consecration in Kirtland and Zion, with an organized Bishopric officiating over a storehouse.
The Lord had established the governing body, or presiding Bishopric, of the law of consecration that is mandated by Gospel LAW and it was to be “an everlasting order“.
Some of these nine men were from the land of Zion while some of them were living in Kirtland, the Jerusalem of North America.
A Bishop was established in both Kirtland (Jerusalem) and Jackson (the “Land of Zion)
The Church is Pronounced Condemned in 1832
Five months later the the Lord declared that “..vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation and this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.”
“they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the NEW COVENANT” as it is contained in the Book of Mormon and the previous revelations.
The following declaration is rather cryptic.
“I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment..”
“..that you remain steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer, in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you.”
“THEREFORE, GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD; AND UNTO WHATSOEVER PLACE YE CANNOT GO YE SHALL SEND, THAT THE TESTIMONY MAY GO FROM YOU INTO ALL THE WORLD UNTO EVERY CREATURE”
This cryptic commandment for Joseph Smith and his brethren to cover the earth in missionary work and take the gospel to EVERY CREATURE in ALL THE WORLD was also made to the New Testament Apostles of Christ and to the Book of Mormon Disciples of Christ. (Mark 16:15 Morm 9:22, 68:8, 84:62, 112:28)
History confirms that all three sets of apostolic witnesses from the New Testament, Book of Mormon and LDS restoration movement have not yet fulfilled the mandate from God to go into all the world and take the gospel to EVERY CREATURE but the truth is that the cryptic commandment is to be fulfilled in the end times when all things are RESTORED. All three sets of apostolic witnesses and many others will return and fulfill their callings. God’s unconditional mandate will not return void.
God commanded the faithful elders from all three groups to go into all the world and preach the gospel to EVERY CREATURE.
He then gives numerous unconditional prophecies verifying that these servants will verily obey his command.
Hence, they will return to the earth to complete their assignments.
After the first harvest when the elect have been “caught up” in the clouds, Peter will once again fly in the midst of heaven and be joined with James and unite with John the Revelator who has been tarrying. These three will join with others to begin the taking of the “everlasting gospel” to the terrestrial inhabitants of the earth in every nation, kindred tongue and people (Rev 14)
The mortal terrestrial men who are “on earth” (as opposed to those that are quickened and “caught up” to mount Zion), are those that did not receive a testimony of Christ prior to the catching up of the elect.
Back to the brief chronology of the first few years of the restoration movement-
As you can see, God was not necessarily forgiving the leaders of the LDS restoration of their sins at that time.
He was not commanding the leading elders of the church to go into all the world to bear testimony for the last time, AT THAT TIME!
The history of the church verifies that Joseph, Sidney and the leading elders of the church did not go into all the world to testify to every creature at that time.
The Lord was cryptically stating that when the time comes, four generations later, in the 3rd watch, when He commands his servants to go forth for the last time, THAT IS WHEN THEY WILL BE FORGIVEN WITH THE COMMANDMENT AND AT THAT TIME THEY GO FORTH IN ALL THE WORLD TO EVERY CREATURE!
It is at the time when the first elders of the last kingdom return to the earth to go forth for the last time that-
“I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment..”
The fact that the Lord was not sending them forth for the last time, at that time, is clearly elaborated three months later in section 88 when the Lord proclaims that the “first laborers of the last kingdom” will be called forth at a later time-
“..when I shall send you AGAIN to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you….
..therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the LAST TIME…
to bind up the law and seal up the testimony and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come. That their should may escape the wrath of God..”
Realizing that the final ministry of Joseph and his brethren is to be in a future time, there is still hope, despite the fact that the condemnation of the church was never lifted and the church was finally rejected as a church with their dead.
Covenant of Consecration Proclaimed Broken in 1834
Indeed, two years after establishing the Bishopric on April 26th 1832, and warning the nine men that if the covenant was broken by transgression that judgment would follow, on April 23rd 1834, the Lord declared that the covenant had been broken:
“In as much as some of my servants have not kept the commandment, but have broken the covenant through covetousness, and with feigned words, I have cursed them wit a very sore and grievous curse“.
After acknowledging that “the covenants [had been] broken through transgression, by covetousness and feigned words- therefore you are dissolved as a united order..”
The stewardships of the nine individuals that were bound together in an eternal covenant were dissolved within about 2 years.
This was done that “the innocent among you may not be condemned with the unjust” when the time of restoration comes.
The Name of Christ Taken Out of the Name of the Church
Within about ten days after the covenants of consecration had been broken through transgression, a conference of the church was held for the purpose of changing the name of the Church to the “Church of the Latter day Saints”.’
During a conference held on May 3, 1834, with Joseph Smith acting as moderator, “a motion was made by Sidney Rigdon, and seconded by Newel K. Whitney, that this Church be known hereafter by the name of ‘The Church of the Latter-day Saints.’ Remarks were made by the members, after which the motion passed by unanimous vote” (History of the Church 2:62-63). er, p. 73).
The act of taking the name of Christ out of the name of the Church appears to have been the result of taking the Book of Mormon and modern revelations lightly and perhaps more importantly, the result of having collectively broken the law of consecration.
The Church had not been faithful and true to its covenants.
It was no longer the TRUE and LIVING Church.
It is amazing that over 95% of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints don’t even know that the name of Christ was taken out of the name of the Church as soon as the saints failed in their attempt at consecration in 1834!
Interestingly, LDS apologist John Tvedtnes in an effort to minimize and marginalize the validity and significance of this event says “This name change did not come as a result of revelation, but by vote.”
How does he know that?
Has it occurred to him that Joseph Smith did not publicly reveal all of his revelations from the Lord?
Secondly, multiple revelations had already been given to the saints informing them that if they did not keep the commandments and the law of consecration, they would not be worthy of being called by his name.
Tvedtnes is in essence saying that Joseph, Sidney and Newel did not receive a revelation for the action they took and were uninspired in taking the name of Christ out of the name of the Church.
If Tvedtnes was correct, it would be a very serious and grievous sin that those three men were committing and it would be a clear admission that the leaders of the church were in apostasy.
Tvedtnes goes on to say:
“Significantly, when the Lord finally did speak in 1838, it was the name he gave the church that became official and has remained so ever since. “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (D&C 115:4).
Tvedtnes wants us to believe that the Lord allowed the leaders of the church to make a very serious mistake in taking the name of Christ out of the church and then the Lord waits four years before getting around to correcting the problem.
The next problem with the Tvedtnes response is that section 115 is actually a prophecy stating that in the last days, at the time spoken of in Isaiah 60, the name of the saints that are not gathered will be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. (see the cross reference in the footnote for verse 5)
It does appear that the saints adopted the extended name of the church that included the name of Christ at that time, but it does not appear to be justified by section 115, since that revelation was a prophecy about a future time.
Shockingly, Tvedtnes downplays the name change in 1834 by saying that by calling the church “The Church of the Latter day Saints” they were “employing a name nearly identical to the one used today.”
Imagine that.The two names are nearly identical.
Despite what the Book of Mormon says about the importance of Christ’s Church being called by his name, Tvedtnes considers the name of Christ to be an insignificant aspect of the name of Christ’s Church.
Compare the two names below that he believes are “nearly identical”.
“The Church of the Latter day Saints”
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints”
Do you find them to be “nearly identical”??????
Perhaps more obvious than the fact that 115 was not about changing the name of the church at the time the revelation was given because it was a prophecy of a future even, is the fact that the saints had done nothing significant to alter their apostate standing before God between April 1838 when section 115 was given, and May 1834 when the name change of the church took place at the special conference.
Indeed section 117 confirms that the first presidency of the church needed to be “redeemed” from their fallen condition.
To further show that the leaders of the restored church were very deliberate and committed to the action they had taken to take the name of Christ out of the name of the church, compare the name of the Church as printed on the 1833 Book of Commandments with the name of the Church printed on the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.
1833 Book of Commandments
“Church of Christ”
Despite the fact that LDS apologists have tried to minimize the significance of the name change and have implied that it was not done by revelation, their argument smacks of cognitive dissonance.
If the leading brethren were not commanded by God to take the name of Christ out of His Church, and were in error to do so, would that not support the unavoidable conclusion that the Church was in a severe state of apostasy?
Perhaps this is the clincher; when being inspired to craft the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, Joseph and his brethren included the following petition to the Lord that He would reinstatement of the name of Christ within the dedicatory prayer in the Kirtland Temple
“O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord! And answer these petitions, and accept the dedication of this house unto thee, the work of our hands, which we have built unto thy name; And also this church, to put upon it thy name”
Does John Tvedtnes want us to believe that section 109 was also uninspired?
Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Newell K. Whitney knew exactly what they were doing when they took the name of Christ out of the church and they passionately wanted God’s endorsement for them to restore the name of Christ back into the name of the Church.
Notice how Christ acknowledges and endorses the use of his name in the name of the Church in section 21 given in 1830
“This being an ordinance unto you, that you are an elder under his hand, he being the first unto you, that you might be an elder unto this church of Christ, bearing my name—”
Yet in section 101, given in December of 1833, shortly after Joseph Smith is rebuked by the Lord for not keeping the commandments, He declares that the saints who are not by that time willing to hearken to his voice, “call themselves by his name“.
The emphasis has changed from God calling the saints after the name of Christ to the rebellious saints calling themselves after the name of Christ-
“There is even now already in store sufficient, yea, even an abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.”
In a revelation given in 1841 Joseph Smith asked the Lord about the saints in Iowa and he again makes a similar statement:
“WHAT is the will of the Lord concerning the saints in the Territory of Iowa?
2 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I say unto you, if those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints, if they will do my will and keep my commandments concerning them, let them gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and build up cities unto my name, that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come.”
Notice how the 1828 Websters defines the word essaying
ESSA’YING, ppr. Trying; making an effort; attempting.
The Hope of Zion Delayed
On June 22,1834, (section 105-Zions Camp) just two months after declaring that the covenant of consecration had been broken, the Lord declared that “in consequence of the transgression of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion… let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption”
Clearly, the window of time for the establishment of Zion had closed in that generation because of the transgression of the saints, the breaking of the covenant and the rejection of the fulness of the gospel.
The redemption of Zion must wait for the 3rd watch when the Father will do his own work and return with his servants and make his 3rd mystical appearance in the vineyard.
In section 88 the Lord had admonished the saints to “call upon me while I am near—” (88:62) echoing the words of the Lord in Isaiah “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isah 55:6)
The fact that the saints had lost out on the opportunity to establish Zion and live consecration did not change the fact that the Lord had said, “if ye are not ONE ye are not mine“. (38:27)
This is the obvious reason why Joseph Sidney and Newell had the Church Conference vote to take the name of Christ out of the church.
Clearly, the true and living church that God had testified of in section one of the Doctrine and Covenants had fled back into the wilderness of darkness along with the spiritual fruits that had begun to spring forth at the time of the restoration of the fulness of the priesthood.
Since the Saints had failed to be faithful and true, and since they had broken the covenant, they were no longer allowed to be called by Christ’s name.
This necessitated changing the name of the church because it was a fallen, condemned church.
Let me summarize the following sequence of events and declarations of the Lord
- March of 1829 (section 5) The Church is beginning to come forth out of wilderness
- March of 1829 (section 5 Original Revelation) Lord warns that He will deliver this generation over to Satan if they harden their hearts
- April 6 1830 The restored Church is formally organized by revelation as the “Church of Christ”
- October 1830 (Section 33) Church has been establish and called forth out of wilderness
- January 2, 1831. (Section 38) Saints commanded to go to Ohio to get the Law and Endowed with Power
- February of 1831 (Section 42) The Law of the Gospel is Given
- June 1831 Fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and Gospel Restored at Morley Farm (The priesthood restored by Peter James and John had never been referred to a Melchizedec Priesthood during the previous two years)
- October 25 1831- section 66 Declaration that the Fulness of the Gospel had been received by William McClellin who had just been ordained a High Priest
- November 1 1831 (Section One) Christ declares that the Church (which had now recieved the fulness of Melchizedek Priesthood) is the “True and Living Church” and that it will come forth again out of obscurity and darkness
- 1832 ( Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, pp. 1-6. Published in: Dean Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith) Joseph Smith writes a history which identifies the first two priesthoods received by angels, for the administration of the “law of the Gospel“. He then defines the third priesthood as the “High Priesthood after the holy order of the Son of the Living God… to preach the gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit“
- April 26th 1832 (section 82) Leading High Priests Bound by Covenant to administer Consecration
- September 22-23 1832 (Section 84) the Church is under condemnation for taking BofM and revelations lightly.
- May 6 1833 (Section 93) “And now, verily I say unto Joseph Smith, Jun.—You have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord“
- November 1833 1200 Saints in Jackson County were expelled by a mob
- December 1833 (Section 101) “were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.“ (No longer is the Lord calling them after his name)
- February 17 1834 (Section 102) speaks of the role of office of “president of the High Council” (High Priests) which is also President of the Church. It explains that the calling must be appointed by revelation and sustained by the Church. (This is inconsistent with section 107 given after name change of the church see March of 1835 below)
- February 24 1834 (Section 103) Conditional promise given, if Saints “hearken to obey all the words which I the Lord their God shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued…But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.”
- April 23rd 1834 (Section 104) “the covenants [had been] broken through transgression
- May 3, 1834 (HC 2:62-63) Conference of the Church officially removes the name of Christ from the name of the Church and Changes name to “Church of the Latter day Saints”
- June 22,1834 (Section 105) Because of Transgression-Zion and her laws must wait for little season
- June 24 Revelation calling 15 High Priests to gather up the strength of Zion at a future time. Algernon Sidney Gilbert rejected his calling and was struck dead from what is believed to have been cholera. 14 others died as well.
- November 29 1834 HC Joseph and Oliver enter into “Covenant of Tithing” “for the continuance of blessings“.
- December 5th 1834 (UnPub Rev Pg 73) Condemnation upon leaders and members of the Church. There must be a reformation in ALL THINGS.
- March of 1835 (section 107) given after the name change of the church now refers to the President of the High Priests and of the Church as being chosen by the body of High Priests. It appears as if the nature and calling of High Priest has transitioned to a downgraded position as a result of the breaking of the covenant and name change of the church, similar to the patriarchal High Priests of the Old Testament (compare with February 17 1834 section 102, prior to name change of the church)
- November 3 1835 (Pg 79 Unpub Rev) Condemnation of 12 Apostles: Joseph receieves revelation stating that the 12 apostles are under condemnation: ” Behold they are under condemnation, because they have not been sufficiently humble in my sight…but verily I say unto you, they must all humble themselves before me, before they will be accounted worthy to receive an endowment, to go forth in my name unto all nations” Shortly after this Joseph meets with the 12 apostles and tells them their minds are dark and they need to prepare their hearts:” the endowment you are so anxious about you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds, but strive to be prepared in your hearts”
- March 27 1836 (Section 109) Dedicatory Prayer: Prophecy that the Church will come forth out of wilderness at later time
- April 3 1836 The Lord secretly comes to his temple with a curse to judgment and restores keys to the dispensation of Gospel of Abraham instead of the dispensation of the fulness of times (See Oliver’s Secret)
- September 11 1836. NOTHING OF SIGNIFICANCE HAPPENED ON THAT DAY. This is significant because Joseph had revealed in a letter written in August of 1834 that September 11th 1836 was the appointed time for the redemption of Zion (“Use every effort to prevail on the churches to gather to those regions and situate themselves to be in readiness to move into Jackson Co. in two years from the Eleventh of September next which is the appointed time for the redemption of Zion.”) In other words, it had been revealed to the the Prophet that if the saints repented and were valiant, September 11, 1836, would be the appointed time. The promise was conditional. He warned that …. (If—verily I say unto you—if the Church with one united effort perform their duties… the work shall be complete….and if we do not exert ourselves to the utmost in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house that this thing may be accomplished, behold there remaineth a scourge for the Church, even that they shall be driven from city to city, and but few shall remain to receive an inheritance; if those things are not kept, there remaineth a scourge also; therefore, be wise this once, O ye children of Zion! and give heed to my counsel, saith the Lord”
- June 4th 1837 (HC 2:489) “God revealed to me that something new must be done for the salvation of His Church” “The Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me, ‘let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my gospel and open the door of salvation to that nation
- July 23 1837 (Section 112) “Darkness covers the whole earth and gross darkness the minds of the people, and ALL FLESH HAS BECOME CORRUPT BEFORE MY FACE“
- November 1837 Defiling of the Kirtland Temple: Failure of the Kirtland Safety Society resulting in a mass apostasy of many members and leaders of the Church. Related to this event, a fight broke out in the temple with leader members of the church threatening to kill each other. If the temple had not been defiled before this event, it surely was defiled at the time the fight broke out. (documented by Eliza Snow and Lucy Smith)
- March 1838 (Section 113) Joseph explains that Isaiah 11 prophesies that at a future time when he will bring again Zion, those who had been called in the last days would “put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost” “These scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen… if they do… he will speak to them [again] , or give them revelation.”“
- April 26 1838 (Section 115) This is a prophecy of what will happen when the events described in Isaiah 60 take place. At that time God’s scattered people will be called the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints” (the passage does not not necessarily refer to the re-institution of the name of Christ into the name of the church, see the footnote for verse six)
- July 8 1838 (Section 117) Oliver Granger is to pray for the REDEMPTION OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY ( Definition of Redemption: the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law by the atonement of Christ- probably making reference to the sins upon apostate Israel upon the leaders of the church per the atonement statute.)
Although the above summary is not conclusive, it provides the major details of how the latter day apostasy had taken place prior to and resulting in the act of taking the name of Christ out of the Church in 1834.
Following that, darkness covered the earth and all flesh became corrupt, even those who had been previously been sanctified. (Atonement Stature)
Finally, after relocating to Nauvoo, the Lord gives the following five warnings in section 124
1- The Fulness of the Priesthood (Gospel) had been lost (124:28)
2- If Saints were not obedient they would be moved out of Nauvoo (124:45-46)
3- They were practicing abominations before the Lord (124:48)
4- Anything more or less than what is contained in The Book of Mormon and the 1835 D&C cometh of Evil (124:119-120)
5- If the Temple was not finished in the sufficient time Church Rejected with their dead (124:31-32)
I believe the summary of events that I have provided are clear and indisputable. They cannot be classified as being ill-founded, misplaced, naive assumptions or false doctrines.
Let me simply end this post and this series by stating I am not an eye witness to anything of significance and therefore cannot provide a valid testimony such as the one that Joseph and Sidney provided (D&C 76:22)
I believe that anyone that has not seen Christ cannot bear a valid testimony of him per the definition given in the scriptures. The true definition of a testimony that God lives is to personally see him as Joseph and Sidney did (D&C 76:22)
I have had many powerful spiritual witnesses that I would characterize as the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost but I now realize that even though we live during a time of mercy and are allowed to have spiritual witnesses, there is a greater baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost that is coming when the dispensation of the fulness of times begins.
I think many people are deceived into thinking they have received the final baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost even though the full gifts of the spirit are not here.
A conceptual view of scripture indicates that we currently live during a time of hidden darkness and that people will not begin seeing God again until the third watch begins.
Those who testify that the modern, corporate, apostate church is the true and living church of Christ are either ignorant of the facts or intentionally deceiving people.
I do however, firmly believe that the restored gospel is true even though the current Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not.
It is not my intent to encourage anyone to leave the corporate church or to stay in it.
It is none of my business how people choose to conduct their lives and who they choose to associate with.
I am simply interested in making sure that people have the opportunity to know what the true and living church looks like so that they will recognize it when it comes forth out of the wilderness of darkness.
The point is this-
No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it is still a pig.
Although many representations are made to make the modern church appear to be the same TRUE and LIVING CHURCH that came forth out of the wilderness of darkness that was testified of by God in 1831, in my opinion, based on the word of God and the history of the church, it clearly is not because they don’t keep the law and they don’t have the associated fruits that make the church a living church.
The Bride has not been true to the groom and is therefore not currently a true and faithful church.
The Bride is not the LIVING manifestation and does not show forth the spiritual gifts that accompany the true and living church.
What I believe is not really important.
Everyone should prayerfully study these issues for themselves.
I am simply sharing my research and my interpretations but the only things that people should concern themselves with is the verifiable information from the holy word of God and credible historical sources that are compatible with the historical sequence of events that are so apparent in the scriptures.
I do not believe we have been TRUE
We Latter day Saints have not been TRUE to the bridegroom.
We have not been faithful to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
I believe the prophecies in the scriptures divide apostate Christianity into three groups in the last days-
1- The Whore
2- The Harlots that sprang forth from the Whore
3- The unfaithful wife
Any Catholics, Protestants or Mormons that think they are living the fulness of the Gospel and not under condemnation are greatly deceived.
God has truly made good on his promise and delivered us over to Satan for a season.
If we Mormons have any consolation, it is that prophecy declares that at the appointed time, the unfaithful wife, (the wise virgins that were on their way to the marriage) will awake, repent, and have oil in their lamps.
I don’t believe we are the LIVING embodiment of the Gospel
We are not the LIVING manifestation of the Gospel nor do we bear the fruits thereof.
There are no members of the church that are currently LIVING the fulness of the Gospel with the fulness of the Priesthood.
Hence, I do not believe we are the TRUE and LIVING Church spoken of in Section 1:30
History and the scripture both testify that we are not.
There are many active members of the church that know that their are serious problems with the church.
They are aware of some of the false doctrines it teaches.
They are aware of the false ordinances.
They are aware that the full gifts of the spirit that are always associated with the true and living church are not present.
Nevertheless, they choose to remain active members of the church for a host of reasons.
Some believe that we are still the true and living church despite all of the problems they see and all of the information provided in my posts.
Others know that we are not the TRUE and LIVING Church and that we are in a condemned state of apostasy, having been rejected as a church with our dead HOWEVER they still find value in participation for the following reasons-
Some realize the importance of community.
Some don’t feel it is necessary to disrupt family and business relationships until the time of the calling out.
Some want to be associated with other believers in the Book of Mormon, modern revelation and the restoration movement until the time of the mystical calling out.
Some feel that the morals of the church represent a higher standard than those of the world and they want their children to associate with kids of higher moral standards.
Some know that they will be of greater service to their fellowman if they remain in the church where they are given assignments to be of service to others as home teachers, visiting teachers, etc.
Some feel it is important to support that only church organization that is seriously attempting to take the Book of Mormon to the world.
Some feel that there are remnants of patriarchal priesthood offices and responsibilities that are exclusively in the Mormon church handed down from the 12 apostles, for administering the preparatory gospel and preparing people for the fulness.
Some people stay in the church because Hugh Nibley or Avraham Gileadi or Denver Snuffer or their bishop or a general authority some other well meaning person bears a false testimony that the church is true.
Again, it is not my intent to try to influence anyone as to what purpose the LDS church should have in their lives.
That decision is a very personal, prayerful one that each person needs to make for themselves while taking many factors into consideration.