MormonStories Interview with Jeremy Runnells
The Church has recently made the public declaration:
“When some members attempt to change clear church teachings to fit their personal preferences and encourage others to follow them, doctrine needs to be clarified so that others are not misled,”
After watching the interview with Jeremy and not seeing any semblance of neutrality on the part of John Dehlin, who basically did a tag team broadcast with Jeremy Runnells challenging the validity of the LDS Restoration Movement, if John is not EX’d, then I think everyone can now safely assume that there will be no further courts for apostasy… the coast is now clear to openly criticize and recruit people away from belief in the restoration with the consequence of a church court. However, those like Kate Kelly, who apply pressure on the church to change doctrine by staging marches, may still be at risk.
The MormonInterpreter Post about Jeremy
I recently posted the following comment over at MormonInterpreter:
During the last few decades of studying the history and doctrines of the church I would have to say that some of the most thought provoking and faith promoting information I have come across has been motivated by books and publications that I have purchased from the Tanners.
They have the ability to present controversial information that seems faith destroying on the surface, yet when deeply researched, “the rest of the story” that can be unearthed by personal study, becomes illuminating and testimony strengthening.
For this reason, I love the Tanners for the great service they have provided. My gospel study has been greatly enhanced thanks to them. Despite the fact that I have arrived at the opposite conclusion that they have, with regard to the origins of the LDS Restoration Movement, I have appreciated their efforts and I believe the intent of their hearts has been pure.
I have never questioned the sincerity of the Tanners or the integrity with which they have conducted their research. I loved the story Sandra shares about how Jerald questioned the Mark Hoffman forgeries that put the church in a negative light, despite the fact that it would have strengthened their own position. I think that is a fair demonstration of his integrity.
I feel the same way about Jeremy Runnnells. I think he is sincere and full of integrity. By his own admission, he is not the original researcher on any of the stuff he has accumulated. He nevertheless has done a stellar job of aggregating and eloquently articulating many of the troubling issues that skeptics have proffered over the years.
Like the Tanners, Runnells has strengthened my faith by forcing me to find answers to some questions that had never occurred to me.
One example I would share has to do with the question of why did the BofM contain passages from the King James Version of the Bible with mistranslated passages that would later be corrected in the Inspired Version.
I would suggest that even though the BofM brings to light some deficiencies in the KJV of the Bible and even though Joseph was commanded to revise and correct the existing translation in 1830,(section 35) the Lord had previously declared that the Book of Mormon proves that “..the holy scriptures [Bible] are true” (Section 20) That is a pretty good endorsement of the existing KJV of the Bible of that day.
After section 20 declared that the holy scriptures were true, it pontificated on doctrines having to do with justification and justification and then referenced the revelations of John and the Holy Scriptures, as a credible source for the suppositions:
“And we know that these things are true and according to the revelations of John, neither adding to, nor diminishing from the prophecy of his book, the holy scriptures, or the revelations of God which shall come hereafter by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, the voice of God, or the ministering of angels.”
It then admonished those ordained to the priesthood to:
“.. confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures..”
As you can see, the Bible, as it currently existed, was to be used as the official manual for administering the saving ordinances.
After section 20 testified that the holy scriptures were true, it used the holy scriptures as a credible source for teaching the doctrine of justification and sanctification, and used the holy scriptures as a guide for baptizing people into the church, it referred church authorities to the scriptures for dealing with transgressors:
“Any member of the church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct.”
Within less than a year after this revelation was given, and over a year before the bible translation was supposedly finished, the law of the gospel was given on February 9 1831 . According to the law of the Gospel, the existing, un-revised, King James Version of the Bible became binding upon the saints, until the inspired revision should be completed and published to the world:
“Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.
And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, WHICH ARE IN THE BIBLE and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.
And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.
And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.
And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my scriptures is given.”
As you can see, according to the law of the gospel contained in section 42, the Elders and Teachers were to teach out of the existing, un-revised Bible. It was fully acceptable and binding upon the church the way it was translated.
We know that God has infinite foreknowledge and he obviously knew that Joseph would not successfully publish, canonize and send the inspired version of the Bible to the world during his ministry, has he had been commanded, yet God saw the need, according to his perfect wisdom, to give the saints the law of the Gospel and to make the existing Bible binding upon the Saints until the Inspired translation would be available.
In section 45 Joseph would be commanded to not teach from the Inspired Version until it was successfully published and canonized.
Hence, in my feeble mind, it makes perfect sense that God wanted the saints of the restored Church to accept the imperfect King James Version of the scriptures along with the Book of Mormon and revelations received by Joseph Smith as the official canons of scripture during that generation all the way up to our generation. His revelations made it clear that if the existing Bible was read in conjunction with the Book of Mormon and the Holy Spirit, it was adequate.
It therefore would have been entirely inconsistent with Gods own word and will, for the Book of Mormon to have contradicted God’s plan for the Saints, by providing a differing translation other that the KJV passages in the BofM.
Doing so would have created cognitive dissonance and the passages in the BofM would have to have been discarded in favor of the KJV since they were not endorsed as the approved text to use pending the forthcoming Inspired Version.
A really disturbing problem, in my mind, would have been if the Lord had provided a differing translation of the Bible in the Book of Mormon that was not congruent with what was binding upon them. (In all fairness, it should be noted, that there are a few places in the BofM that provides a corrected passage that would later be included in the Inspired Version. Even though God was not willing to let JS teach from the inspired translation, God himself obviously did have some things he wanted to share. For some reason, the paper done by Jeremy failed to note that there were some passages from the upcoming Inspired Version. I am not accusing Jeremy of intentionally leaving this important fact out of his paper… I suspect he was not aware of this fact. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the Bible passages were left in the KJV format to provide for general consistency)
Furthermore, the saints had been commanded multiple times in ancient and modern revelation to SEARCH the scriptures. Comparing similar keywords within passages is an essential aspect of being able to search the scriptures, regardless of whether one is doing manual searches or computerized searches.
If a differing translation of Bible passages had been provided in the BofM, than the contemporary Bible they had been commanded to use, the ability to search would have been significantly compromised.
It is truly remarkable to me that God provided consistency in the inspired content of the Book of Mormon by providing the version of the Bible that would be binding upon the Saints. (It should be noted that the Book of Mormon acknowledges that it has errors in it and that it represented the “lesser” part of the gospel and that “greater things” would be forthcoming when the gentiles repent.)
I have found similar answers in the other questions raised in the paper that Jeremy has put together.
Thank you Jeremy for your diligent research into the problems that skeptics have found with the Book of Mormon and providing a great question from which faith promoting research could be generated.. I believe God wants all of us to employ principles if critical thinking as we study the Gospel. As Paul says, we must prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. providing a great question from which faith promoting research could be generated.
I can see how the doctrinal and historical information I have provided could be used by an unbeliever to support their unbelief. Much of how we process information is determined by WHAT WE WANT TO BELIEVE. Perhaps this is why the BofM informs us that a successful journey of faith begins with the simple DESIRE TO BELIEVE:
26 Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than DESIRE TO BELIEVE, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
For those few, unusual Mormons, who are rooted in Biblical Christianity, the Ordain Priesthood movement makes absolutely no sense with the absurd notion which seems to question the fairness and wisdom of the Savior himself for choosing 12 male apostles, when he could have chosen six male and six female members of the quorum of the Twelve.
Although some bloggers would equate the need to ordain women with properly respecting women and giving them a voice, there is not connection between the two issues. There have always been and always will be men that love and respect women and value their voice and those that don’t. If women were given priesthood authority and callings that they don’t now have, nothing would change. Some men would continue to love and respect women and value their voices.
I have observed and not been amazed at the revelatory comments that female commenters have made on my blogs over the years. My dear wife reminds me every day by her Christlike example how superior she is to me in countless ways. But none of that has anything to do with the need to change the ordained order that God has established.
Here is a listing of 70 LDS bloggers that bellied up to the bar and are putting it all on the line to publicly support Kate.
I have a first cousin that I adore.
She is a writer.
Her name is Terry Tempest Williams.
She recently wrote an open letter to her Bish and Pres Monson.
I couldn’t possibly disagree with her more than I do on this issue, assuming that the modern LDS church is the true church of God on the earth being led by direct revelation.
However, since the current Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is not the restored, New Testament Church of Christ that was formally established in 1830, I suppose there is no reason why revelation from the bottom up wouldn’t be just as interesting bizarre as it currently is from the top of the mortal command, downward, with a bunch of loose canon, corporate executives at the helm, buying up real estate and investing in shopping centers.
Isaiah prophesied that this feminist ordeal would happen:
“Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.
As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”
Here is what she has to say in her letter as she lectures the leaders of the church.
13 June 2014
AN OPEN LETTER TO BISHOP MARK HARRISON AND PRESIDENT THOMAS S. MONSON AND THE FIRST PRESIDENCY OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS AND THE COUNCIL OF TWELVE APOSTLES:
I stand in solidarity with Kate Kelly and her plea to grant women equal standing in the rights, responsibilities and privileges of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including the right to hold the Priesthood. Revelations occur. Whereas Polygamy was once sanctioned through revelation, now it is not. Whereas African Americans were told they could not hold the Priesthood, now they do. Doctrines that denied dignity or defied the rights of law to individuals within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, have changed through modern-day revelation. The time has come to shift the religious inequality toward women and allow sisters to lead alongside their brothers in prayer and power and purpose.
For the Mormon Church to continue to preserve this spiritual patrimony is to affirm its organizational misogyny. Why is asking to grant half its membership equal power under God viewed as apostasy? Why is a vision to ordain women worthy of disciplinary action and excommunication, when twelve-year old boys are ‘given’ the priesthood? Are men and women not equal under God’s eyes?
This kind of governance is not tolerated in the United States of America. And it should not be tolerated by those of us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.
The question must be asked: What are you afraid of?
In 1977, I watched the Mormon Church undermine the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a well known and documented story. And in 1979, I watched Sonia Johnson similarly demonized and disciplined, ironically, by her local congregation in Virginia, as well, for speaking out for the rights of women which led to her excommunication. And in 1993, I witnessed Professor Cecilia Konchar Farr exercise her voice concerning violence against women at Brigham Young University, and when she spoke out on behalf of a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, I watched her charged with “violating her responsibilities as a university citizen” and accused of “undermining the faith of her students.” She did not pass her three-year review and was denied her teaching contract. At this same time, historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Pulitzer Prize winning author and MacArthur Fellow, was rejected by BYU’s Board of Trustees as a keynote speaker at BYU ‘s Women’s Conference. Was it because Ulrich was a founding member of Exponet II, a feminist journal for Mormon women? 1993 was also the year of ‘The September Six’ excommunications, six Mormon scholars, half of them feminists, dismembered for raising questions of sexism, homophobia, and intellectual disparities within LDS religious doctrine.
This is our history. I thought the era of retribution was behind us. Apparently, not. Kate Kelly speaks for all of us within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints who care about an equality of power for women — active members and dissident members like me – men and women, both — who believe there is no difference in the spiritual aspirations between men and women, gay, straight, or transgender. Each of us are the creators of the world we wish to live in, with equal power, equal voice, and equal opportunities beyond the womb.
At a time when sexual assault, rape, and repeated acts of violence against women are under public scrutiny and part of the public conversation that is happening around the world, the Mormon Church’s ongoing policy to withhold ordination from women is its own act of violence.
Before my mother died, she faced her young granddaughters, and said, “I pray that one day, you two will hold the priesthood.”
I believe my mother’s voice was prophetic delivered with love and wise intention. Kate Kelly is delivering this intention now and it is not without the labor pains of a movement with momentum. I do not believe Kate Kelly should be disciplined for her vision of women ordained. Nor do I believe she should be excommunicated for exercising her voice in public. Her disciplinary hearing set for June 22, 2014, in Virginia where she no longer resides, is another attempt to silence women by a world religion run by men.
Behind Kate Kelly and ‘Ordain Women’, there is a long lineage of women, old and young and in between, not interested in asking for permission or hoping for a revelation, but rather, ready and willing to carry this vision forward in prayer and in action, for the simple reason, it is time. This is not an act of apostasy, but an act of self-respect, and a belief that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will honor its sisters of faith, not punish them.
Terry Tempest Williams
Castle Valley, Utah
There you have it… can there be any doubt that we are living in the last days?