I am finally back from my marathon pilgrimage to Nauvoo. I was gone for 21 days. It was a fantastic experience but I am glad to be back. Among other things, I loved-
1- searching for and finding Wayne May’s designated temple spot in the ancient city of Zarahemla,
2-discovering the ancient Lamanite burial mounds located within the Nauvoo city limits,
3- sitting and gazing at a majestic 360 year old tree hidden in the forest next to Camp Nauvoo,
4- taking in a few faith promoting lectures by Susan Easton Black Durrant and seeing first hand how historical revisionism is created and perpetuated
5- interviewing a Community of Christ (RLDS) historian and getting his perspective on numerous things including Joseph Smith and the restoration,
6- taking in a river boat ride and dinner on the “Mark Twain” in Hannibal, MO which is only about an hour away from Nauvoo, etc., etc.
Brian C. Hales is a Closet Fundamentalist Mormon
Brian C. Hales is an anesthesiologist working at the Davis North Hospital in Layton Utah. Although he is in good standing, as a member of the LDS Church, he is also an LDS fundamentalist enthusiast wannabe.
I get the impression he can’t wait until polygamy is once again sanctioned by the church. He has been obsessed with fundamentalism his entire life and has written several books and papers about Mormon Fundamentalism and polygamy, and he maintains a website about Mormon Fundamentalism which he uses to promote his books. I think his most recent offering is “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy“.
Many years ago I came upon his website and contacted him by email. He replied, stating he was quite familiar with my work and beliefs and that he simply could not accept my conclusions and believe the way I do, yet he declined to explain why. He did not want to engage in a theological discussion, nor did he want to respond to the challenges I made to his assumptions. He, like the LDS Church, is unable to scripturally justify the practice of polygamy as a true celestial law, and he has a huge blind spot and disregard for Section 42 and 49 with regard to the monogamy mandate.
While on my journey to Nauvoo, I noticed that the MormonInterpreter published a paper by him titled
Although his primary theme was about LDS dissenters of all varieties that feel the church authorities are no longer inspired, and how they error in that belief, he spent much of the article addressing the topic with a focus on LDS fundamentalism and their rejection of current church authorities.
Although he supports the current authorities and the current ban on polygamy, he, like many Mormon males that suffer from testosterone toxicity, still appears to believe the doctrine of polygamy to be a celestial doctrine that will be practiced in heaven and most likely will return to the church again.
In my opinion, this makes him, and all of those that believe in polygamy as a true eternal, celestial law, closet fundamentalist polygamists, despite the fact that they are not currently practicing their craft.
I simply could not resist the temptation to submit a comment to his post, even though I realized that the Interpreter would probably block it.
Here is what I said:
“I believe the terms “Mormon Fundamentalist” and “Fundamentalist Mormon”, although commonly used to characterize fringe LDS polygamous groups and individuals, they incorrectly imply that these groups believe the fundamental, orthodox, and original teachings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is not the case.
For this reason, it is important to inform the reader, in an article such as this, that the term fundamentalist, is a misnomer when used the way our culture has allowed it to be used.
By not making this distinction, we may inadvertently legitimize these fringe groups in the eyes of some less informed readers, since the act of sticking to the fundamentals is a virtue in the eyes of some people.
The true foundational and fundamental teachings of the restored gospel were introduced into the restored Church by revelation, primarily between 1829 and 1834. The teachings believed by the so-called fundamentalists, were not publicly taught in the church until over a decade later.
Perhaps the quickest and easiest way for a person to document and detail these true fundamental teachings is to simply read Sections 20 and 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants. These two revelations containing the articles, ordinances and laws of the restored church were read to investigators by the early missionaries of the church. They contain the major doctrines upon which the restored church was founded.
A summary of the main beliefs might look something like this:
- Baptism by Water
- Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost
- The Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost
- Offering up a broken heart and a contrite spirit
- Obedience to the Law of the Gospel contained in the scriptures with special emphasis on the law of consecration and the law of marital monogamy
These polygamous groups don’t believe monogamy to be the fundamental, form of eternal celestial marriage despite the three foundational revelations mandating it as part of the fulness of the Gospel. (The fulness of the Gospel was clearly established on the earth long before polygamy was introduced into the church)
Additionally, these fundamentalist groups believe the highest salvation to be predicated on the acquisition of obtaining multiple wives.
When writing about these groups, I believe it is important to point out to the reader, that such doctrines as polygamy, do not represent the fundamental doctrines of Mormonism.”
As expected, my LDS apologetic friends over at the Interpreter blocked my comment and sent me an email with the following explanation:
“I have not approved the comment. It appears that you are creating another definition of fundamentalist that simply moves the time frame back. Interpreter is not interested in becoming a forum for definitions that are even more restrictive than those who claim the fundamentalist label.“
I had to pinch myself when I read the above comment.
I was simply moving the time frame back?
That is the whole point.
I was not picking a random time further back or a self serving point in which to move the time back based on my preference in history, I was going back to the very beginning of the church to show what the original doctrine of Christ had been, when the church was first restored. ( which, coincidentally was the exact same doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon)
What is wrong with showing what the original, foundational, fundamental doctrine of the church was, so that people can determine the efficacy of changing from the original doctrine and adding additional covenants and additional ordinances of salvation?
I was suggesting that the earliest possible time frame, when the gospel law was given, by revelation, represented the correct doctrine that we have been commanded to not change!
Sections 33 and 76 give a brief definition of the gospel of Christ and his simple law and doctrine and associated ordinances. The procedural explanation of how to govern the church and administer the saving ordinances in Section 42 are completely consistent with those two sections.
Additionally, here are the passages of scripture Christ gave in 3rd Nephi, which mirror the definition of Christ’s gospel and doctrine given in modern revelation, that came to mind as I read the response from the Interpreter:
31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.”
As you can see, nothing is stated in the above words of Christ about needing additional temple ordinances and covenants. Christ did not say that we needed some secret hand shakes or silly ritualistic robes and aprons, or secret methods of taking life and killing people. He did not say we needed to enter into covenant with Satan, to put ourselves under the power of Satan, upon stumbling in our efforts to keep God’s law, or that we needed to swear a dark secret oath by our necks, (which practice is forbidden in the NT and BofM, etc., etc.
Another passage of scripture that came to mind, which was basically reiterates the warning to not add more or less to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the saving ordinances thereof, saying the same thing as the passages in 3rd Nephi, is given in section 124:119-120. In those passages, the Lord informs the brethren that only those who believe the Book of Mormon and revelations contained in the 1835 edition of the D&C, (which contained three revelations condemning the practice of polygamy) are worthy enough to help fund that Nauvoo House. He then warns, anything “more or less than this cometh of evil“. Does the “cometh of evil” in that passage sound familiar?
Imagine that. Anything contradicting or adding to or taking away from, the doctrine of Christas defined in the Book of Mormon and the 1835 edition of the D&C cometh of evil!
The Folks over at the Interpreter don’t want Gospel “definitions that are even more restrictive”
The simple doctrine of Christ is way to restrictive for modern Mormonism!
We need to be more liberal in our definition of the Gospel and add other covenants. We need to widen the “narrow way” with other requirements because the path and the way is just too narrow and restrictive as originally established by Christ.
Certainly the Lord was being disingenuous when providing very restrictive rules:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
It is really strange to me that the folks over at the Interpreter are now allowing many critical responses with contrary points of view, yet they blocked my comment which was strictly based on scripture and the point of view that we should not deviate from the fundamental doctrine of Christ that was originally given to the restored Church.
Nevertheless, I must admit, that they are becoming much more open to posting critical remarks, as long as they don’t come from me, LOL.
I have probably offended them with previous posts I have had concerning them and therefore the blocking of my comment is probably personal.
On the other hand, the comment may simply have been too close to the painful truth and too difficult to counter.
Regardless of their real motives for blocking the comment, I love how they at least give me the courtesy of contacting me to acknowledge that they got the comment, and provide an explanation for why they are blocking it, however lame it may be.
The Interpreter shows a degree of professionalism that few bloggers seem to display, when blocking comments, and I give them kudos for that.
While doing a random search on the Internet the other day about the Jewishness of the Latter day Saints and their religion, I came upon a notice that Avraham Gileadi would be speaking on May 17th in Idaho Falls on the following topic
Gileadi played an important role in my awakening many years ago with his observation that the Marvelous Work and a Wonder was to be a future event, not something that began during Joseph Smith’s ministry.
It seems like it has been decades since I have listened to any of his lectures or read any of his books and I was curious to see if he had evolved in his beliefs and teachings over the years, so a grabbed my friend Malachi and went up to Idaho Falls to sit through six hours of his lecture.
Although there were some really good points made, and I was glad I went, overall, I was quite disappointed to find that he was, for the most part, rehashing the same themes he had been addressing when he first began lecturing and authoring books.
I was hoping he would give a chronological bullet point summary of how he thinks things will play out in the end times, but no such luck. I don’t think he knows.
I really like him and think he is a really good man and I think he was one of the first of our generation to observe and publicly teach that the Marvelous Work and a Wonder did not take place at the time of Joseph Smith, rather it is a future event. This theological concept was revolutionary at the time he came out with it. Sadly, many of the other concepts he teaches are erroneous in my opinion. It is impossible for anyone to have an accurate view of end times prophecy as long as they think the Modern Mormon Church represents the true, restored church with all of the priesthood that was originally restored, that will (or did) usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times, etc.
I was surprised to find that he is again quite outspoken about the current state of the church. He, like his old friend Hugh Nibley, before passing away, is caught in the cognitive dissonance of harping on all of the problems with the church while still claiming it is the Lord’s true church.
I guess it has become obvious to him that the criticisms and teachings he got in trouble for the first time around are no longer going to get him in trouble. People like Denver Snuffer who has been excommunicated, and John Dehlin who hasn’t been excommunicated, have really raised the bar of tolerance regarding the level of criticism people can level against the church and get away with it.
I was also surprised to find out that he has been lecturing on and promoting the Book by Pontius called “Visions of Glory”.
Gileadi recently did a lecture called
Gileadi has done a comparison of the content in Isaiah and the content in the visions that Spencer claims to have had and he claims they are consistent and compatible. Apparently he has bought into the belief that the visions contained in the book are authentic and accurate. I have purchased the book and within just a few pages I have huge misgivings. It really surprises me that someone like Gileadi would put their reputation on the line by promoting something like that.
First I will bullet point some of the things I really liked about the lecture:
- He spoke in greater detail about the role of “proxy Saviors” and the “Emperor/Vassal model” which, of course, completely substantiates my thesis on the Biblical role of Joseph Smith. He did quite a good job on the topic and helped me realize that my paper on the Biblical Profile of Joseph Smith probably needed this topic addressed.
- He made a sarcastic remark about how we used to be allowed to give our own talks in church but now we are assigned to simply review talks previously given by General Authorities that have already been given. He pointed out that it was a positive learning experience when a person needed to research and prepare their own talk. (my son teaches in the elders quorum and is limited to just regurgitating old conference talks, so I know what Gileadi is referring to )
- He said that when the Book of Mormon prophecies about the people who will say, “A Bible a Bible we need no other Bible..” it is a future event speaking about the response of many Latter day Saints when additional books of scripture come forth. I’ve already covered that several times over the years, but it was fun to see that he had come to the same conclusion, despite his allegiance to the corporate church.
- He said that the righteous watchman were going to replace the wicked watchman.
- He said he was working on his last book about the 144,000 which will be very controversial and may need to go into hiding after publishing it. (The comment was somewhat light-hearted and facetious but kind of serious)
- The high point of the experience took place when a man on the back row read the part in 3 nephi 11 describing the simplicity of what the fulness of the Gospel is and how “more or less than this cometh of evil..” He then began referring to the things the LDS people do in secret and how the temple endowment/ordinances constituted more or less than the pure simple gospel… two of the stronger personalities in the room kind of tried to discount what he was saying and got him to shut up, but it was great fun while it lasted, and kind of interesting, considering my recent blocked comment on the Interpreter blog.
Here are some theological themes he covered that I strongly disagree with:
- He doesn’t think the Gentiles officially scattered the House of Israel, per the prophecies in the Book of Mormon, until about 1890 or later and uses wounded knee as his proof.
- He thinks the Kings and Queens of the Gentiles that carry the House of Israel on their shoulders, refers to contemporary Latter day Saints when they finally get their act together and go forth in power gathering the Lamanites, Jews and Ten Tribes and restoring them to their lands of inheritance, etc. He doesn’t seem to accept the literal unconditional promises in modern revelation that the first elders of the last kingdom are going to return to fulfill their assignments while the vast majority of the Mormons reject the Marvelous Work.
- He continuously emphasizes on how we are not living the fulness of the Gospel but never once mentions the mandatory requirement to live consecration.
- He seems to think the upcoming Marvelous Work only has to do with restoring the House of Israel to their lands and not with restoring priesthood or the gospel
- He actually said the Gentiles were not the covenant people. (I don’t know how he reconciles 2 Nephi 30:2)
- He said be wary of lecturers that tell you how to gain an audience with the Lord and get your calling and election, because it is not something you seek and learn to do, rather it is something that just happens after one has sacrificed and shown obedience. (He was obviously referring to Denver Snuffer) Ironically, within a few minutes of stating that, he read a verse that said something like, “..that they may know how to come to me..” LOL I am not disagreeing with him, I just thought it was kind of funny.
- He says the Book of Isaiah is not about Joseph Smith’s time, at all, only about the end times that is still future. He thinks EVERYTHING mentioned in Isaiah is yet future and he also thinks the passage about those who seek but fail to bring forth Zion directly after the Book of Mormon comes forth in 1 Nephi 13:35-37… is not referring to Joseph Smith’s ministry but is yet a future event)
- He defines “Fulness of the Gentiles” as “The Latter day Saints” or the “Seed of Ephraim”, instead of as1- the time when the Gentiles are given the Fulness of the Gospel/Priesthood or 2- the time when the Gentiles reach a fulness of iniquity.
- He still thinks the Jerusalem Isaiah Speaks about in the end times is in the Old World and that the Jews are the Ashkenazi Jews. He differentiates the secular Jews from the religious Jews and seems to think the 1948 establishment of the state of Israel was a truly inspired prophetic event.
- He thinks the three Nephites that were translated are celestial beings while the other nine are terrestrial beings
The True Biblical Meaning of Tithing
I want to address some false information and myths about consecration and tithing. It is commonly taught and believed in the church that once the Saints failed to live the law of consecration, the Lord gave them a lesser economic law called the law of “tithing”.
This is simply not true in my opinion.
I have never seen this documented in the scriptures, other than in the chapter heading of Section 119 which grossly misinterprets the revelation to justify their modern practice of tithing.
Yes I realize that some Presidents of the church have put their spin on the doctrine, but I don’t think there is a canonized revelation that supports the current teachings on tithing.
Don’t get me wrong. I think we should help the poor and make contributions even in our fallen state, I just think we need to get the facts about God’s law correct.
The scriptural terms “sacrifice” and “tithe” and “tithing” are generally used to refer to the first part of the law of consecration having to do with giving all surplus properties to the Bishop, when speaking about God’s economic laws.
The terms “tithing” and “tithe” NEVER refer to the annual payment of 10% of income or interest.
While it is true that some modern dictionaries define tithe or tithing to refer to a payment of 10% of ones annual income, that definition is not biblical. By doing a keyword search, it will become apparent that the scriptures do not define the term that way.
Consecration is a two part process. The first part that initiates the law of consecration is the initial giving of all surplus property to the Bishops storehouse. The second part has to do with the annual payment of 10% of one’s interest.
The true biblical definition of tithing has to do with the initial offering of surplus property, not the annual payment of 10% of the interest.
The passage of scripture which is commonly used erroneously, to suggest a new lesser law, that temporarily replaces the law of consecration, is found in section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The truth is that Section 119 is not introducing a new lesser law to replace the law of consecration, it is reiterating and clarifying the law of consecration that had previously been given in section 42 and other revelations. 119 is completely consistent with section 42 and every other section about consecration.
Interestingly, section 119 defines “tithing” as the initial offering of surplus property to the storehouse, not the annual interest payments. Notice the following verses:
1 VERILY, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,
2 For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.
3 And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.
As you can see, the beginning of the tithing of God’s people is defined as the requirement to put all surplus property into the hands of the Bishop in Zion. The payment of 10% of the increase does not become part of a true tithe until the initial consecration is entered into and paid. Although some Mormon foolishly think they can bypass actually living the law by simply making a promise to live it, if the authorities ever ask them to, are sadly mistaken. The Lord forsaw this folly and emphasized that they repentance would not be complete until the laws are lived, “not only to say, but to do“. (Section 84:57)
This definition of what a tithe is, is reiterated again, in the same section, in the following passage:
4 And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.
There it is again, to be tithed, is the act giving the initial surplus properties. That is what constitutes and defines the act of being tithed. Following that, the consecrated person will pay one tenth of their interest annually.
It appears that interest refers to profit, interest, or increase.
The 1828 Websters says: Any surplus advantage.
Interestingly, even the initial petition that Joseph Smith made to the Lord that resulted in the revelation also defines what tithing means:
“O Lord, show unto thy servants how much thou requirest of the properties of they people for a tithing..” (See chapter heading of section 119)
As you can see, the petition of Joseph Smith’s also defines tithing to refer to the initial offering of surplus properties and not to the annual 10% of increase that follows the initial consecration.
Admittedly, the context for section 119 is a little confusing because it makes it look like the saints were still attempting consecration after the Lord had temporarily released them from the law for a little season during the Zion’s Camp expedition..
First of all, it must be remembered that when giving counsel to the apostles and missionaries in July of 1839, just one year after Section 119 was given, Joseph Smith declared that the Saints “..are not required to sacrifice [consecrate].”
Again, he was referring to the fact that the Lord had temporarily released the saints from the commandment to live the laws of Zion, including consecration, for a little season, until the land of Zion was redeemed. This is why it is doubtful that the saints were seriously starting to consecrate again in Far West, after failing in their efforts in Kirtland and Jackson. More than likely, the revelation was simply stating how the beginning of law of tithing would take place when the appointed time arrives. (I realize the saints were probably taking the revelation seriously and possibly attempting to resume their failed attempt to consecrate again, but the fact that they needed to flee from Far West soon after they arrived is a good indicator that the Lord was not very impressed with any offerings being made)
Here are the passages in section 105 releasing the saints from living consecration for a little season:
“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.
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;
And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
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.
And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.
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…
Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion..
And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high.
For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me.
Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion…And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.“
As you can see,the Lord had told the saints they did not need to live consecration until after Zion’s redemption.
Zion had not been established again at the time of section 119, even though Far West was considered to also be in the “land of Zion”.
According to the revelation, Zion could not be established except upon the principle of celestial law which mandates consecration.
Joseph Smith’s declaration in July of 1839 that the Saints were not required to sacrifice (consecrate) is consistent with Joseph’s decision to not have the Saints consecrate in Nauvoo (the cornerstone of Zion).
Less than a year after section 119 was given, when the Saints were establishing Nauvoo, Joseph Smith declared before the High Council on March 6 1840 that “The law of consecration could not be kept here, and that the it was the will of the Lord that we should desist from trying to keep it; and if persisted in, it would produce a perfect defeat of its object..”
He repeated this directive again on March 30, 1841:
“Joseph said that an Equality would Not answer for he says if we were eaqual in property at present in six months we would be worse than Ever for there is too many Dishonest men amongst us who has more injenity to threat the Rest &c”
This of course made sense, since the wheat were mingled among the tares, nevertheless, it seemed to contradict the urgency and essential need to live consecration that he been revealed in the early revelations when the fulness of the Gospel and priesthood were on the earth. After all, the Lord had warned the saints that they would be damned if they did not live the law.
The Lord had also warned-
“in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.”
It would be a serious thing for the manifestations of the spirit to be withheld! (this is one of the many reasons we know that people who think they have enjoyed the second comforter have been deceived.. because the manifestations of the higher spiritual gifts have been and will continue to be withheld until the servants return, remove the curses on us, and reinstate consecration)
No wonder members of the High Council in Nauvoo probably felt a little uneasy about neglecting this law. They did not want the manifestations of the spirit to be withheld. Because of this, Joseph Smith had to assure the brethren that “.. he assumed the whole responsibility of not keeping it until proposed by himself“. (HC Vol 4 page 93)
With this background, one needs to read section 119 with the understanding that the revelation was probably simply answering the petition, explaining how the future tithing of the people would take place when the appointed time for Zion to be established comes.
“O Lord, show unto thy servants how much thou requirest of the properties of the thy people for a tithing?”
Another passage of scripture that is often misinterpreted is section 64:23
“Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing [consecration] of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.”
Again, this passage is speaking about living the law of consecration, not some lesser law. One could simply replace the word “tithing” with the word “consecration” and the integrity of the passage would stay intact.
Recently a popular Blogger erroneously claimed that this passage represented the Lord giving the lesser law of tithing to replace the law of consecration. This is ridiculous because, as I have pointed out, tithing means consecration, not a lesser law that has replaced consecration.
Furthermore, section 64 was given in August of 1831 long before the saints failed at their attempt at consecration. The Bishops storehouse was not even organized until April 26 of 1832 (section 82) and it was not discontinued because of transgression until April 23rd of 1834 (section 104)
As you can see, it doesn’t make sense that God would give the saints a lesser financial law to replace consecration before they had even failed at consecration.
We could keep going on evaluating passages that speak of the “tithe” or “tithing”.
Section 85:3 says:
3 It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe [consecrate] his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God.
Section 97:11 says
11 Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing [consecration] of my people.
Malachi 3:10 says:
10 Bring ye all the tithes [surplus properties followed by 10% of the annual increase] into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Malachi is obviously speaking of the time when God’s apostate people will repent and begin to gather and consecrate to prepare for the return of the Lord. At that time a great blessing will be poured out upon the people.
The scriptures never use the term tithing the way the modern corporate church currently defines it.
Again, I am not saying we should not help the poor, which was originally one of the major purposes of paying tithing, I am simply saying, we need to show ourselves approved of God by searching the scriptures to better understand God’s laws. Even if we are going to use them as a pattern or type for the system we are using today
Let me give a brief example of how this understanding might affect people financially in today’s corrupt system, in the corrupted church.
Lets say the Ned, Ted and Fred are all struggling to earn a living and support their families.
All of them gross $30,000 annually, and pay $3,000 in payroll taxes and have $300 left over at the end of the year after paying all of the legitimate expenses that their families incur, but before tithing has been paid. (I realize that is not a probable scenario, this is just simplified illustration to make a point)
Each of them goes to tithing settlement and declares that they have paid a full tithe to the Bishop according to their understanding of what tithing is.
Ned paid $3,000 in what the LDS church erroneously calls tithing, for the year because he had understood that he should pay 10% based on the gross paycheck that he earned. He had to pull money out of his savings and retirement plan to pay the $,3000 and is getting further into debt and very miserable, but feels good that he paid a full tithe.
Ted paid $2700 in what the church erroneously calls tithing because he had been taught that God’s lesser law of tithing is based on 10% of the net pay check. He realizes it is foolish to pay tithing on money that is never even received.
Ted did not have savings or retirement funds so he borrowed some money from family members and took out a loan so that he could get square with the Lord and declare himself to be a full tithe payer, according to his false belief of what his obligation was. He is getting further into debt and very miserable, but feels good that he paid a full tithe.
Fred paid $30 in what the church erroneously calls tithing because he understood God’s law to require 10% of one’s annual interest, or increase. Since his annual increase was $300 after taxes and all legitimate bills, he understood his requirement to be 10% of that increase.
Fred is not increasing his debt and going into greater financial bondage as a result of paying is increase because God’s economic laws were never meant to be a financial cursing but rather a blessing.
Fred knows the Lord appreciates his sincere desire to understand God’s laws. Even though he realizes there is no such thing as the lesser law of tithing, he wants to contribute and he realizes that the spirit of the law would indicate that one should pay annually based on 10% of increase. Obviously he could and would pay more if he were in a position to do so and if the spirit impressed upon his mind to do so.
Ned and Ted are in financial bondage with little light at the end of the tunnel. They find it very difficult to get an increase because of what they perceive to be their tithing obligation. They have been indoctrinated to believe that it is a necessary sacrifice for people like them because if they did not sacrifice, the general authorities who are compensated hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, to match the huge salaries they had previously garnered in Babylon.
Ned and Ted realize that the highly educated and trained leaders of the Church, would not be able to maintain their lavish standard of living as they valiantly lead the kingdom of God towards Zion, if it were not for the noble sacrifice people like them are making. The tremendous “investment spree” in shopping malls and other important expenditures would be curtailed without faithful tithe payers.
The reason I point out this scenario is because if every faithful member of the LDS church would pay based on 10% of their INTEREST/INCREASE, rather than on their gross or net pay, there would actually still be plenty of funds to take care of the poor and to achieve the legitimate requirements of the financial law, yet there would be much less financial suffering among faithful tithe payers who are struggling financially.
Furthermore, the leadership of the church would be forced to become responsible stewards in their use of the funds. It should be noted that the modern church does not even use tithing as the primary vehicle for taking care of the poor, instead, they put an additional burden upon the saints for that purpose. It should also be noted that New Testament Christianity never built “chapels” for Sunday worship. They were divided into smaller congregations that met in the saints homes and in groves when the weather was permitting. The focus on building expensive chapels is an unnecessary abomination which serves as an amenity to make the saints feel like they are being taken well care of by a benevolent organization.
As it is, with people paying such unscriptural and obscene amounts of their income to the corporation, it has caused the LDS church to be flush with money. Since the corporation is hemorrhaging with cash coming out of its ying-yang, it has forced the financial arm of the church to frantically look for all sorts of Babylonian ways to invest the funds in ward buildings, temples, real estate, multi-billion dollar shopping malls, stocks, bonds, business investments, etc.
[Editorial Notes: Years ago I was reading the diary or a letter from of one of the really early missionaries, that was in England, during the early 1840’s. I think it was Wilford Woodruff or one of the other early apostles. He commented on how the people in the apostate protestant churches were being oppressed by the requirement to pay 10% of all of their income annually. He could not believe how duped the financially oppressed people were! From a purely economic point of view, someone that spends a lifetime paying 10% of their gross or net paycheck, actually ends up making a much larger financial sacrifice than they would if they simply consecrated and paid 10% of their annual increase. ]
“Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith”
The Art of Parsing God’s Word and Deleting Context
I used to think the book “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith” by Joseph Fielding Smith was one of the greatest things since sliced bread and a wonderful resource for gospel study because it distilled the important information from church history and saves us all alot of time doing our own research.
Now I have begun to despise it as a ploy to hide context.
Let me explain.
I was recently reading part of an excellent paper written by Paul Toscano wherein he points out that an oft quoted statement is always taken out of context.
Here is the quote re referred to:
“I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives..”
We have all heard that statement quoted many times.
However, as Toscano points out, Joseph Smith was not referring to church members being critical of church leaders, he was speaking about a general principle and his main emphasis and warning was directed at people who “rise up” into priesthood leadership positions that become critical of the church membership.
This pattern is seen in Satan’s rising up into a position of authority in the presence of God and then his eventual fall from heaven and his character trait of always accusing the saints before God day and night.
This council from Joseph Smith was also prophetic.
I believe he was alluding to the fact that a future priesthood leader in the church would “rise up” to a greater position and show these characteristics… perhaps even one of the apostles that he was addressing on that occasion.
When I spent weeks reviewing the sermons of Brigham Young, after he had himself voted as the President of the Church, I was shocked at the recurring theme that showed up in his sermons. The saints were in apostasy and darkness, yet Brigham himself had ever done anything wrong and all of his words could be considered as scripture, etc.
Anyway, my point is, that the reason that we members of the church have been indoctrinated with a quote that is taken out of context, is not only because general authorities have misused the quote, but because it is provided as a snippet, without the proper context, in the book “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith” by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Members of the church are lazy and would rather read the snippets from church history, rather than the full context in church history.
After reading that observation of the proper context of the quote by Toscano, I went to the Joseph Smith Papers site to read the whole section from which the quote was taken. Joseph Smith was giving counsel to leaders of the church.
I was shocked and horrified to read numerous quotes from “Teachings” in the original context in which they were originally given.
Shame on me and all of us that have allowed ourselves to be spoon fed with snippets carefully parsed by those who want to protect us from the true context in which the statements were made.
Here is part of Toscano’s paper that contains some profound content
Brethren, before you judge those you think are contentious, ask yourselves if you are hnot also contentious? Who has divided the church into leaders and followers, intellectuals and mainstream members, believers and liberals, true voices and alternate voices, active Mormons and inactive Mormons?
To label, renounce, stigmatize, or reject your follow Saints because we disagree with you or cannot accept all you want us to accept is the kind of contention and divisiveness Jesus warned against. And not Jesus only. Joseph Smith said: “I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity: That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.. This famous statement, made by the prophet on 2 July 1839, is often quoted to members who are critical of you as a warning that criticism can lead to apostasy. But this twists the original meaning and purpose of the statement.
Joseph Smith did not say these words TO church members WHO WERE critical of the leaders. He said them to church leaders to apostles and seventies- who were critical of church members. He warned leaders of the church, not to put themselves above others, not to condemn others, not to find fault with the church, not to say that members are out of the way while leaders are righteous.
Brethren, you ignore this warning whenever you create, maintain, or reinforce categories of church membership or attempt to classify people as intellectuals, liberals, or dissidents. We all do it whenever we believed there are people whom we esteem as less valuable than ourselves, whose voices we do not have to hear- people who must listen to us but who have not right to be heard. We violate Joseph Smith’s warning whenever we insist on the use of titles to distinguish leaders from followers. Did not Jesus instruct us not to call each other by titles?? We are brothers and sisters, children of Christ.
The complete paper can be read here
Joseph Smith’s declaration in Far West and Nauvoo that the saints were no longer require to “sacrifice” demonstrates that the secret vision behind the veil in 1836 marked the changing of the “day” of the gentiles to the “day” of the House of Israel.
Section 64 had declared that it would be a day of sacrifice until the coming of the Son of Man:
“Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming”
Yet shortly after the secret visitation, Joseph was informing people that the saints were no longer required to sacrifice. Clearly the “day” mentioned in section 64 had changed. The “coming of the Son of Man” had taken place sometime before Joseph’s declaration in 1839. When had the coming of the Son of Man taken place? IN THE KIRTLAND TEMPLE!!!!!
Here is one more evidence proving the historicity of section 110 DS!