The Excommunication of John Dehlin: Who Gets Preferential Disciplinary Treatment from the LDS Church?

February 3, 2015

By now, I thought there would be between 500 and 1,000 supportive comments from faithful listeners on John Dehlin’s blog podcast in which two dozen of John’s past interviewees pay tribute to John’s wonderful Mormonstories legacy, each vouching for John’s wonderful character and noble intentions. Some even testifying that John’s wonderful work had kept them in the church!

This unusual online testimony meeting podcast consisting of an eclectic group of passionate supporters, has now been posted for ten days, during which time, there has been a huge national media feeding frenzy to drive even more than the tens of thousands of people that normally listen, to John’s podcasts each month.

Within hours of John’s public pronouncement that a church court was going to be held, he had shrewdly notified the national media, of the travesty. He has obviously been preparing for this day for a very long time. The media connections were in place and ready to rock.

His plight of the unwarranted victimization by the cruel and unfeeling church, needed to be publicized, and within hours, the national press had picked up the story. The story traveled far and wide in the electronic media and then followed in the more traditional venues. Along with stories being carried by such news outlets as the Washington Post, New York Times and the Huffington Post, John made appearances and gave interviews wherever he could, he needed to get the word out about the spiritual abuse he was suffering from!

These interviews included Tribtalk for the local audience and NPR for the national non-Mormon audience, and anywhere else that would give him a public voice.

Of course the real reason John was being called into the disciplinary hearing was for apostasy and for publicly rejecting the basic truth claims of the church including the historicity of the Book of Mormon. He has also made it known that he does not believe in the anthropomorphic God of Mormonism. In fact, he questions the existence of any God for that matter…. but John knew that the national media might consider an excommunication for apostasy to be justified and, well, a real mundane yawner that might not interest the general public all that much, so he needed to find something much sexier to build his victimization story around. Something the national media could really get their teeth into.

He needed something that would get traction from passionate special interest groups, so he presented the controversy to also be largely about his advocacy of gay and LGBT rights and his support of the ordain women movement. His spin resulted in many headlines that looked something like this:

“MORMON LGBT RIGHTS ADVOCATE JOHN DEHLIN FACES EXCOMMUNICATION”

“Mormon gay-rights advocate John Dehlin faces excommunication”

“The Mormon Church Is Still Excommunicating People Who Advocate for Gay Marriage”

“Mormon scholar faces ban from church for stances on LGBT and women’s rights”

As you can see, many of the headlines focus on John’s involvement as an advocate of gay and LGBT rights as well as his support of the ordain women movement. Those issues obviously had little if anything to do with the upcoming discipline.

Nevertheless, John’s strategy worked, his publicity campaign lit the media fire he was hoping to achieve.

Additionally, John always reminds people that he loves the church, does not want to destroy peoples faith in it, and is personally responsible for talking countless people into staying in the church after their crisis of faith (that many experience after listening to John’s faith destroying podcasts)

With all of this publicity and increased notoriety, I was shocked to note that after ten days, and in the mist of the media frenzy that John has created, there are only 41 comments of support on the John Dehlin testimony meeting podcast.

What?

Just 41 comments!

This is extremely unusual for one of John’s podcasts.

It is not uncommon for one of John’s podcasts to harvest literally hundreds of comments within two or three days.

One can only speculate why this lack of response from loyal followers anomaly is taking place.

Is it that John’s following are in  mourning over the pending excommunication, perhaps sitting in sackcloth and ashes, emotionally distraught, unable to muster up the strength to type in a few words of support?

Perhaps.

Is it just that his loyal followers are burned out with the ongoing drama that has lasted for about ten years?

It could be.

Is it that perhaps some of them have become a little disenchanted and embarrassed when he reminds everyone how much he loves the church while planting his tongue firm into his cheek? Is it possible that some of his followers are realizing what a disingenuous, self serving and shameless  publicity whore he appears to have become?

Is it possible for a hugely popular poster-child of any cause to begin annoying their constituency, and perhaps over sell their product?

john dehlin

Perhaps some of his supporters who have faithfully been compassionately contributing $10 or $25 or $100 per month to his podcast, thinking he was a starving graduate student, were shocked to find out that he pays himself about $90,000 annually out of about $134,000 in donations that his non-profit organization garners from loyal readers. (according to Nathaniel Givens  See also the following source )

$90,000

(don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge John for finding a way to generate revenue from being critical of the corporate church. Heck, if someone offered me that sum in gratitude for the criticisms I have made about the modern church, I would probably take the money with a smile on my face. My problem with John has to do with someone making money for destroying faith, while mocking God and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I just don’t think that should be so profitable)

Reading what the unusually sparse number of comments have to say about John, gives one pause because of the diversity of his following, how differently they view him, and how their comments don’t appear to substantiate his claims about how he encourages people to stay in the church…

One person commented:

“This knowledge has helped reaffirm my reasons for leaving the church.”

Wooops.. how did that comment make it past moderation? I thought one of John’s carefully planned media takeaways is that he does not try to destroy faith but rather, he helps people in a faith crisis learn how to stay in the church!?!?  Hmm…

“Thanks John for being there for our family. I attribute my lack of depression , while we are leaving mormonism,” ooops, another one! He helps with depression while people leave the church. Where is the moderator?

Didn’t these commenters get the memo? John helps people stay in the church despite their loss of faith, not leave it!

John is also very good at helping Christians transition out of Christianity:

“I’m a nevermo and avid long time listener to Mormon Stories. I first found this podcast during research for my anthropology degree on religious subcultures… I’ve been listening regularly ever since. It has helped to spark a deep an abiding fascination with LDS history and culture. I draw great inspiration from these interviews, and it has helped me in my transition out of being a believing Christian”

Here is how John’s message is affecting others of his growing list of non-Mormon listeners:

“I’m a Byzantine-rite Catholic and an occasional viewer of Mormon Stories, I can ‘testify’ that Mormon Stories has done more to help me understand Mormonism than about anything else I’ve come across during my time of living in east Idaho.

I am both saddened and sickened that John Dehlin is facing a disciplinary council for the wonderful work he does with Mormon Stories. I know the ‘official’ reasons that John Dehlin is facing the disciplinary council is because he supports same-sex marriage and the Ordain Women movement.”

Isn’t it wonderful that the church has an ambassador like John Dehlin who is helping non-members to understand more about Mormonism and Christianity!

Wow, John’s carefully crafted message seems to be working and providing a wonderful lens for non-members to accurately perceive what the real issues are, don’t you think?

Despite John’s admissions that he questions the existence of God, many of his followers see him as a great spiritual leader who has Christ-like qualities:

“John, you are more like Jesus than the Mormon leadership are. You stick to the truth, you choose the right whether it is orthodox or not. You would be the man who protects the woman taken in adultery. The Mormon leadership would go ahead and stone her!!!. You would heal the lepers, the Mormon leadership would declare them unclean. Mormonism is the church of the Pharisees and you have the Christlike strength to stand up to their manifest wickedness.”

One of my favorite quotes is someone who hails John’s work as a “Marvelous Work and a Wonder” ! LOL I had no ideas that Isaiah was speaking about the great work that John Dehlin is doing… ;)

I think my cognitive dissonance reaches its highest level when I see comments from people of faith like this one:

“Honest followers of Christ will continue to support you in this worthwhile cause.

“’For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.’”

Honest followers of Christ will continue to support John Dehlin? John doesn’t even believe in Christ for hell goodness sakes!

I suspect that even John Dehlin gets a little disoriented when he reads comments from passionate Christians that just don’t get what his message is.

Here is a comment that really hits the nail on the head:

“One of the things I find disturbing about Mormon stories is that it really seems so one sided. The topics that the podcast ask followers to comment on or highlight only allows for criticism and complaints about the church.”

One only needs to look at who John Interviews most of the time and how he acts as a cheerleader when people question the basic truths of the restoration, to know what John’s motivation is.

Anyway, I personally enjoy listening to some of the interviews and feel that much information covered needs to be addressed. My beef with John is that I find him disingenuous about his motives and I think he is clearly trying to destroy faith, lead people out of the church, and to cause the church embarrassment and humiliation.. He wants to do all of this  while enjoying the perceived credibility from viewers that comes with being member of the church in good standing. He is a wolf that wants to use church membership as sheep’s clothing. I find that incredibly obnoxious.

But I am digressing from the real topic that I want to address in this post.

Preferential Treatment

The topic I want to bring up has to do with why some people get preferential treatment from the hierarchy  of the LDS church when church discipline is in order.

I confess, I have been the recipient of preferential treatment from the church with regard to disciplinary action.

A few decades ago, when I was speaking at firesides about the apostasy of the modern corporate LDS church, someone called church headquarters to complain about the offensive and disruptive things I was speaking about. I was called in by my Stake President in North Salt Lake and he lovingly and somewhat sheepishly mentioned the complaint that had been registered and said that the brethren asked him to ask me to tone it down a little.

Nothing was ever mentioned about a possible disciplinary council if I refused to desist in what I was doing. 

I left his office scratching my head as to why my membership had not been threatened. Why had I not been summoned to a disciplinary court? It seemed like he was more concerned with not offending me than in giving me a stern warning.

A few years later I sent a scathing letter to my Bishop and Stake President in Idaho, accompanied with a booklet I had published, documenting the total apostasy of the restored church.. In the letter I demanded that they take my name off of the rolls of the church and I told him how disgusted I was at the recent disciplinary actions relative to the “September Six”.

A few days later I got a call from my Stake President, who had never met me, telling me that he could not in good conscience remove my name from the rolls of the church until he met me.

When I met with him he had the booklet I had authored on his desk and he fingered through it to show me he had read it. He had highlighted a large portion of it in yellow (he worked for the church education department and said the information I had compiled was quite interesting, but he refused to discuss it with me) he then showered me with love and praise for having studied the scriptures and church history so much. He said he wished all members of the church would study the scriptures and history of the church so seriously. He said what a loss it would be for the church to loose such a valuable and valiant soul and reminded me that I needed the church also. He then pleaded with me to reconsider my request and stay in the church.

Again, I left scratching my head at how inappropriately I was being treated. Didn’t he understand I was an apostate?

At about the same time I was being showered with love and praise for my research and the critical booklet it produced, by my Stake President, a good friend of mine living in southern Utah was being excommunicated by his Stake President for sincerely asking questions about controversial issues. (he had not been publicly voicing his concerns like I had been)

I have often wondered if my preferential treatment had anything to do with the fact that I had a father and six uncles that had all served as mission presidents and stake presidents and regional representatives and that one of my uncles was the regional representative over the region my Stake President served in. (that uncle later became a GA)

My point is that not all dissenters are treated equally.

There are lots of things that are taken into consideration by the leaders of the church before they decide to marginalize someone and take measures that could diminish the person’s reputation in the church and community.

I got preferential treatment from my Stake President and I don’t think it is because I am extremely charming… although I must say, that I am extremely, extremely, charming. ;)

So what about John Dehlin?

How come he got a free pass for ten years?

Why didn’t the church excommunicate him ten years ago when he should have been excommunicated and could have been dealt with without creating such a circus?

He is also quite a charming dude, but I don’t think it has to do with that.

Had the church treated him like they do most dissenters, he would not be creating such a media shit-storm right now. He would have been cut loose very quietly when he had no following, and long before he could catch the current wave of special interest passion that he is riding right now.

Those who have been following John Dehlin are aware that he has “friends” in “high places” at the church that have been running interference for him for many years. The question is, who are these friends of his? Why have they been running interference for him against the better interests of the corporation?

The long delay in dealing with John Dehlin could potentially result in many more members of the church leaving it or refusing to pay a full tithe, or any tithe. It could result in the loss of Millions of dollars worth of tithing revenue, not to mention the a long term PR nightmare and tarnished image problems that cannot even begin to be calculated. Arguably, we could end up with fewer high end shopping malls because of this fiasco.

Regardless of whether or not John’s current following is getting tired of the drama, John has succeeded in bringing controversial issues to light. There are many, many Mormons that are beginning to ask tough questions and experience varying degrees of a faith crisis.

John is at least partially responsible for putting enough pressure on the church to publish the recent historical essays. I recently read the letter that a young couple sent to their Bishop informing him that they no longer believe. The striking thing about the letter is that they attributed their loss of faith to the historical essays that the church has recently published, rather than to anti-Mormon literature. They claimed they were never willing to believe anti-Mormon literature because they viewed it as non-credible, but when they read all of the disturbing information that the church is now publicly acknowledging, they completely lost faith and felt betrayed, feeling that this information has been denied and covered up for years.

How is it possible that John Dehlin had so much pull at church HQ that he was able to avoid excommunication for ten long embarrassing, faith destroying years while highlighting the stories of disaffected Mormons and anti-Mormon-exMormons? How was he able to get the high powered LDS apologists at FARMS publicly humiliated and fired?

I have to wonder if the key to John’s connection with people in high places has something to do with the fact that John Dehlin has an older brother by the name of Joel Dehlin who was once  the CIO of the Mormon Church.

One has to wonder how much this connection has to do with how well John Dehlin is connected to the Mormon Church. Does it play into the preferential treatment he has received and his long overdue disciplinary council? I think it may interrelate in two possible respects:

The first is obvious. Joel rubbed shoulders with people in high places at church HQ and formed strong bonds of friendship and loyalty. There are obviously strong connections there that may have softened the hearts of some of the leaders towards Joels brother John.

The other not quite so obvious possibility is that, John Dehlin may have been privy to some dirt on the church through his brother Joel and perhaps the brethren did not want to piss him off for that reason. It is not unlikely that Joel was exposed to some very disturbing information about the inner workings of the church, as a result of his position at the church, and he may have shared it with John, not realizing how John would respond to it. Perhaps that is what motivated John’s crisis of faith years ago.

As my wise father used to warn me, “don’t ever go to work for the church, it will destroy your testimony.”

This is all speculation of course.

All we know for sure is that a disciplinary council that should have taken place a long time ago, is going to now take place and because of the delay in taking this action, it has and will cost the corporate church dearly in many ways.

But here is the real story behind the story. The all-knowing God of Israel always takes that which is evil and uses it for good.

The great crisis of faith that many Mormons have and will experience as a result of Mormonstories and John Dehlin, is causing many people a great deal of indigestion. While some simply loose faith and leave the church, others begin searching for deeper answers. They quit taking the scriptures for granted. Many are starting to dig in and begin truly reading God’s word as if their salvation actually depended upon it.

Great things are going to come out of this.

While some will fall by the wayside, others will make it through the refiners fire and be purified as gold.

Although some will not have oil in their lamps during the awakening, some will.

The person who mockingly said that John is doing a Marvelous Work and a Wonder has probably unwittingly stated a truth. The actions of John Dehlin and others who are trying to destroy faith in the Book of Mormon and the restoration, are being used by the Lord to separate the sheep from the goats and to prepare the elect for the Marvelous Work and a Wonder that is beginning to shine forth for the last time.

 


Miscellaneous Musings #15 “Dedicating yourself to truth and dedicating yourself to God are the exact same thing”

January 23, 2015

The Book of Mormon is Literary Grand Theft?

Just got my copy of the Elwood “Woody” Norris’ book in which he attempted to show that Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon by plagiarizing the Bible in virtually every verse.

I AM LOVING IT!!

If ever it was possible for someone to provide empirical evidence based on computer collected data and deductive reasoning, that the Book of Mormon could not possibly have been written by a mortal man, in a short period of time or during any period of time, this book is it!

Congratulations Woody!

I agree with the following comment by a Book of Mormon skeptic that posted the following observations on an Amazon review:

The contents of the book, however, are page after page of examples of how Book of Mormon verses borrow wording from the King James Bible. This is not news. This is not a smoking gun. To a believer this only reinforces faith..  

If the author’s main thesis is that Joseph Smith plagiarized the BOM from the KJV, he does little to answer the first question I had after cracking open his book: if it took the author 20+ years of computer-aided research to figure this out, how could a young man in the 1820s accomplish such a feat on his own in as little as 4 years…

So I give this three stars because I appreciate the effort and work put into this book, but the conclusion is one I find intellectually unfounded and too convoluted to be the basis for the Book of Mormon.

The only thing I would change about the above comment is that it took about three months to translate it, not 4 years… but I understand that the above skeptic was probably assuming, according to a skeptics point of view, that Joseph was working on the book long before the commonly accepted translation period.. It really doesn’t matter anyway. A group of scholars could not have done the fabrication in a decade, let alone, a nearly illiterate boy in three months.

One of the things that Woody does in the book to prove a point is to provide some fabricated text that is supposed to possibly represent the missing 116 pages of the Book of Mormon that Marin Harris had lost. He implies that it had recently been found.

He then informs the reader after they read it that he really just took a statement from Joseph Smith’s history and modified it to sound like the content in the Book of Mormon. Then the author congratulates himself for having fooled the reader and proven how easy it is the fabricate narrative that sounds like Book of Mormon lingo.

There is just one problem with his little exercise, even though I did not know where he was going with his little exercise, his text lost me after the very first sentence because it clearly did not sound at all like Book of Mormon content.

Not in the least.

Not the content.

Not the writing style.

And I can’t even provide a definitive explanation why, other than there is a very distinct style and more importantly, there is a distinct spirit that accompanies the words of God’s prophets.

The exercise kind of shocked me because I had always assumed that it would not be all that difficult to fabricate text that would sound like the Book of Mormon dialogue.

I should have known better.

I can remember reading the “sealed portion of the Book of Mormon” by Christopher Nemelka and being amazed at how inept he was at creating text that sounded like Book of Mormon phraseology.  I guess I should have learned from the folly of William E. McLellin who thought he could fabricate text that could pass as scripture from the D&C

“Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you. Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true;”

John Dehlin

I have blogged about Dehlin before.

John Dehlin is once again in the news. It looks like they are finally going to excommunicate him. I personally think that the church needs to be more transparent about history and doctrine and their truth claims, and for that reason, I think that Mormon Stories has had a valid purpose in bringing things to light, even though some of the guests and some of John’s “neutral interviews” were in really, really poor taste.

On the other hand, I am mystified by John’s relentless desire to stay in the church and I find many of his statements to be disingenuous. ( or perhaps he is just in a deep state of denial). Below is a youtube of an interview he had with the SL Tribune and at the 10:41 mark he says, “…people who claim that I am trying take people out of the church, its just wrong, I love mormonism, I value it..”

That is simply not true in my opinion. Many of his angry statements and declarations of unbelief contradict the above claim.

All you need to do is listen to the last 20 pod-casts, particularly the ones with  Alex Beam and Jeremy Runnells, and it is very evident that he is angry with the church and he is trying to expose difficult issues and cause a faith crisis in people. He blatantly and boldly claims that most of the truth claims of the church are not true in his writings and pod-casts. Indeed, he has now proclaimed that Mormonstories is going to change it’s focus and help facilitate people in their transition out of Mormonism. It is very interesting that, that did not come up in the interview.

Mocking Mormonism

Recently I have been feeling bad for mainstream Mormons because it seems like persecution in the form of mocking their religion has become fashionable and socially acceptable.

There has always been anti-Mormons from the very beginning of the restoration til the present, however, I believe that within just the last decade or two, the attempts by people to ridicule and humiliate Mormons for their beliefs have reached a social tipping point that has led to a new level of socially acceptable anti-mormonism that is very demeaning and degrading.

By this, I am saying that Mormon-bashing has achieved a whole new level of meanness and sophistication. It challenges Mormonism by ridiculing and mocking it rather than by respectfully pointing out the troubling issues. Generally speaking, in the past, most high profile skeptics have taken an almost dispassionate, and more scholarly approach rather than a hateful, mocking,  demeaning approach.

In the not to distant past it seems like anti-Mormon literature was mainly done in a semi-respectable arms length, non-personal manner. Nowadays there are increasingly more people who are publicly taking shots at Mormonism and even having fun at the expense of things that Mormons hold to be sacred.

I believe the Internet has played a huge role in this, in that the Internet has the ability of removing social etiquette and  inhibitions and appropriateness. Many people, both anonymous and otherwise, have said harsh things and made fun of the religion and members of the religion in ways that they would probably not have done in other social settings. I have personally fallen into this trap regarding some of the brash statements I have made. I have said things online about the church and church leaders that I would never say at the dinner table at a social gathering of any kind… and I believe in the foundational claims of the restoration!

One example  of this new generation of Mormon mocking is David Michael, an atheist who is reading the Book of Mormon for the first time on a podcast as he ridicules the religious narrative as  a joke. Sadly, he is getting quite a following. Of course, what he is doing is just a variation of the Book of Mormon broadway hit that makes game of a sacred book as well as the quirks of modern Mormonism.

Interestingly, John Dehlin, in his profound love and respect for Mormonism which he supposedly loves so much, has recently interviewed David Michael. He has also recently interviewed a person who participated in the Book of Mormon musical. He has also interviewed the staff of Infants on Thrones, a group of the  most angry exMormons who find solice in making fun of all things Mormon. John is getting ready to interview John Larson, one of the most angry, exMormon critics.

Another sign of the times in this regard is “The Lost Book of Mormon” by Avi Steinberg, a Jew that goes around to different Book of Mormon locations while mocking the religion in a self depreciating and entertaining way that is endearing some liberals to him.

Are Doubters Welcome?

A writer on the WheatnTares group blog named Bill Reel, recently spun the Dehlin fiasco as representing the corporate church drawing a line in the sand to stop tolerating doubters in the church.

He opines:

“The question at the heart of this battle is, “Are Doubter’s Welcome?”

“Are we allowed to have doubts?”

Are you allowed to “Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns”

 He then suggests that there are two kinds of doubters in the church:

a) . ” Those who no longer believe, but who want to remain in the Church, but also want to be able to proclaim publicly their unbelief and absolute defiance that their view is right and the Church is wrong.”

and

b) “The other group that has severe doubts but holds out hope.  They dissent but do so recognizing they have no more right to proclaim their stance as absolute truth than the Church institution’s stance, but rather offers their perspective as another view to consider.  They [are]  acknowledging it as an opinion while simultaneously acknowledging that their opinion could be wrong? Is there a difference between how the church treats/should treat these two groups.”

First of all, I believe there is a third and much much larger group of doubters in the church which Bill neglects the mention. By neglecting to acknowledge this third group I think he creates a very narrow context to the point he is trying to make.

I would describe this third group as follows:

c) The third group are people who have doubts but they respectfully keep them to themselves when attending church meetings and social activities because they realize that church membership is reserved for those that believe and want to fill their lives with faith promoting people and narrative. They don’t want to go to church to debate if the truth claims of the church are true or not.

Ok, now that I have pointed out the third category of doubter, let me just say that neither of the first two groups should be allowed to be in the church in my opinion.

Period.

This is why Mrs. Watcher and I left the church. We could not keep our mouths shut at what was being taught and yet we knew that it was inappropriate and disrespectful to disrupt other people’s faith and membership experience, regardless of whether we were correct in our views or not.

Church membership in the corporate church is for those that accept the truth claims of the corporation.

Hint.. That is why you need to make a declaration of belief in order to join the corporation.

Bill makes the following assumption:

The line it seems is when you begin advocating that your position is more right than the Church’s.  It is one thing to say “have you considered such and such” or “I am struggling to reconcile ABC”, but once you have essentially said “ I am right and you are wrong” or “The Church is not historically true and I know that for certain”, you have entered a different space where being considered a faithful Mormon and being left alone unchallenged in this space is not a given nor your right.

I disagree.

In my opinion, that is not where the line should be. Nobody should be allowed to use their membership to promote a different gospel or agenda, or to disrupt a class or religious social of the corporate church gathering by expressing doubt and skepticism in the basic truth claims of the organization. That is not the purpose of church or church membership.

I think it is fine for quiet doubters to visit with authorities to ask questions and even express doubt, but the church is not a platform for doubters to express doubt openly.

I believe there is a difference between sincere questions vs. blatant skepticism.

I think that raising ones hand in class and sincerely saying “can someone help me understand why there appear to be some conflicting accounts of the first vision” is probably appropriate, however, raising ones hand and saying something like “there is obviously some serious question about the validity of the first vision as demonstrated by the fact that Joseph Smith gave conflicting accounts and did not ever even mention the first vision during the first years of the restored church” is not appropriate.

I am simply saying that I think John Dehlin deserves to be extricated from the church even though some of what he does with his Mormonstories pod-cast serves a valid purpose.

Cancer is a Fungus

I have now lost a mother, two sisters and numerous close relatives to Cancer. It is an insidious curse. Years ago I found a remarkable book called “Cancer is a fungus” by Dr. T. Simoncini, an oncologist from Rome Italy. It is incredible. I believe what he says. In fact I have personally had significant success treating my precancerous skin problems on my arms, face and top of my head by following his instructions.

I recently watched the video below, which exposes the sugar industry conspiracy, which is one of the many causes of our cancer epidemic in this country, and noted that they tell about the findings of Simoncini toward the end of the presentation. I strongly encourage anyone concerned about cancer or even the use of sugar to watch it.

Sugar – cause of Candida – Candida cause of Cancer

BTW have you heard of Gymnema sylvestre? It reduces the taste of sugar when it is placed in the mouth, and according to some people, the herb blocks 50% of the sugar receptors, decreasing sugar absorption to the body.

I don’t think there are very many coincidences in this world and I don’t think it is a coincidence that the leaders of the Mormon church felt inspired, very early on, to invest sacred tithing money into the sugar industry.

One last thought about cancer.

The conventional Dr that burned, butchered and poisoned my mother as she was dying from cancer, eventually got cancer himself.

You know what he did about it?

He went to Dr. Christopher, a renound herbalist and went the natural route taking herbs like chaparral.

He got cured.

The Spit Test

UFO Spiral Seen in Western Canada – Several Angles.

Swiss De-peg Triggers Massive Derivative Crisis, Potential END OF THE EURO!

Swiss actions have brought a HUGE ACCELERATION of end game events-We’re looking at the potential END of the EURO!

Swiss De-peg Triggers Massive Derivative Crisis, Potential END OF THE EURO!

$2 TRILLION IN SUB-PRIME OIL BONDS ARE ABOUT TO EXPLODE!
Contagion will be bigger than sub-prime housing crash!

Dollar Death-Spike: Fed has LOST CONTROL of the dollar!

Coming European bank failures will result in a STAMPEDE INTO GOLD!

2015 Will be a repeat of Lehman- Several Western banks will go down, This is GAME OVER!

When Putin flips his switch, the DOLLAR IS DEAD, and Gold Will DOUBLE!

GREXIT will blow up the EU!

[link to www.silverdoctors.com]

An 18 Year Old Girl with the Wisdom of Solomon

The other day I came upon a blog written by a young LDS girl whose is getting ready to go on a mission.

I did not get past the few paragraphs before I burst into tears at the depth of profoundness she had arrived at during her awakening.

I tried reading it three different times and the same thing happened each time I read it.

For some reason, what she was saying hit a nerve deep down inside of me. I could not believe what I was reading from such a young person who should still be wet behind the ears.

Here is a sampling of what she said:

A few months ago, I underwent what some might call a “faith crisis,” which was actually less of a “crisis” and more of an “awakening.”

I’d realized that much of what I considered to be my religion was actually based upon tradition and assumption and not upon truth I’d become a witness of myself. You see, being raised in the Church, I’d always accepted my religion as a sort of “package deal.” By that, I mean that once I’d received a testimony or “good feeling” about a few aspects of the Church, I assumed the whole of it was flawless…

Standing up for your beliefs can actually be an act of cowardice. It’s possible. This happens when you insist upon what you want the truth to be (even in front of other people) because you are too afraid to find it.

Putting your reputation and social status on the line is scary, but what’s even scarier is putting your very perception of truth on the line. When your honest search for truth causes people to think poorly of, reject, persecute, ridicule and hate you; that’s one thing.
But when your honest search for truth flips the world as you know it upside down; when things that you were certain were false turn out to be true and things you convinced yourself were absolute truths are revealed to be the opposite; this is the true test of our existence. Our reaction to truth reveals who we really are…

..God is Truth, and if you want to be one with God, you can’t afford to be afraid of that truth. To put it simply: rejecting truth is rejecting God. God is not only the source of truth; He is the source of life itself. Indeed, rejecting truth is rejecting life. If we desire to draw nearer to Him, we cannot expect for Him to be okay with the silly untruths we hold near and dear to us. To embrace the light and become one with the Light of the World, we can’t have any darkness in us.”

I have no idea what sequence of events led her to the epiphany. I have no idea what she knows or thinks that she knows, but I can tell you that her spiritual maturity is light years ahead of where mine was when I was that age. The humility that she displays is positioning her to receive the light and truth that so many people have shielded themselves from because of the stakes they have set up around themselves.

She has essentially told God that she wants the truth at all costs.

She speaks like she is an 80 year old sagely patriarch or perhaps the writer of Proverbs or Psalms.

Did I tell you she is just 18?

I shared her blog with a friend and this was his comment:

Thanks for that blog! It truly got my juices flowing!  What a spectacular mind for an 18 yr old. I think she represents the new hybrid breed that us older believers have envisioned developing- the ones who know the truth and aren’t at all intimidated by it but rather continue on because of their true foundation on that rock which is Jesus. Perhaps she is the first fruits of the curse of the fourth generation being lifted off?!?!! If so, how exciting. ..honestly!!!”

Amen to that!

The young lady is a sign of the times.

A few posts ago I highlighted a letter I got from an LDS missionary that reads my blog and who has assured me that he is waiting and watching!! He is somewhat of an anomaly also. I would like to think that there are lots of others like these two amazing people. These two need to hook up once they get off their missions and have a bunch of Zion babies because they are obviously representative of the “new breed” that are coming forth now that the curse is being lifted at the end end of the “fourth generation”.

BTW.. did I mention this girl is only 18 and she is getting ready to go on a mission? How is it she has been endowed with the wisdom of Solomon?


Notable Emails- Part 3 “Have you ever read ‘Letter to a CES Director?'” Yes… and it has strengthened my testimony!

January 16, 2015

“Hi Watcher,

Have you ever read Letter to a CES Director?

The author brought up some pretty good points about various things in Church history which troubled him. Among them included multiple varying accounts of the First Vision, the fact that Joseph did not even use the gold plates to translate, of course – Joseph’s polygamy and polyandry.  But – he also brought up some disturbing facts about the temple and masonry (which I’ve known for some time and which you probably agree with). 

I thought I would include FAIR’s response to his concerns about the connection of Masonry and the Temple endowment and see what you think about FAIRs reply…”

I have read the Letter to a CES Director and the FAIR response but it has been a while.

I feel that some of the FAIR responses were pretty good while others were kind of lame.

My feeling is that the atonement statute prophecy [ atonement statute final3  ] pretty much explains many of the troubling issues, including masonry and the temple endowment. In my opinion, Masonry is of the devil and it makes perfect sense that the Lord allowed it to infiltrate the church in fulfillment of his promise in 1829 that he would deliver the saints to Satan for a season if they hardened their hearts.

The fact that Joseph did not use the gold plates to translate makes perfect sense once a person realizes that it was the Lord that translated (interpreted- one of the definitions of translate is interpret) the content in the gold plates, not Joseph. Joseph simply read the English interpretation that was put before him by the power of God, hence there was really no need for the plates to always be present while Joseph read the narrative to his scribe.

He never claimed to understand the foreign language nor did he claim to be doing a traditional scholarly word or word translation from one language to the other.

I have mentioned before that the conflicting versions of the first vision presents the exact same dilemma about the Father and the Son, that shows up in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon…

..is that a coincidence?

I don’t think so.

It is very possible that during the revealing of the “mystery of Godliness” to Joseph, God appeared singularly at one point and also separated from each other at one point. Joseph was probably sharing the experience based on his audience and perception at the time of each rehearsal.

The Father and the Son are the same, when Christ is in the eternal world dwelling within the bosom of the Father, yet they are different and distinct personalities when the Father sends the Son forth to do a work. Therefore I don’t get indigestion over the apparent discrepancies in the various accounts of the first vision as they simply duplicate the “apparent” discrepancies in the relationship of the Father and the Son in the Bible and Book of Mormon.

It is interesting to note that the Father and the Son differ from each other (when Christ is sent forth from the Father) in that the Son was a “created” (organized) intelligence (only begotten of the Father) and he always has and always will derive his power from the Father, yet the Father is the great “I am“, meaning, in part,  that he was never created nor did he ever derive his power from a previous God or creator. His has been eternally self existent. He has always been the sovereign, omnipotent, supreme power in the universe. (See Lectures, etc.)

I really enjoyed reading the letter to the CES director because after reviewing each issue, my faith in the restoration and in Biblical Christianity was increased as a result of studying the answers to these questions. As I recall, I already had my answers to most of the things he brought up. There were, however, a few of the things he brought up that I had not considered before, and they provided some great study topics wherein I got the answers to the questions that were brought up.. and it really enhanced my faith.

After the dust settled, as I recall, there was only a few issues he brought up that I could not find a 100% acceptable answer to YET… and I can’t even remember what those issues are.. that is how insignificant they were for me in the greater context of what has been revealed. Usually when I am confronted with something that seems to seriously challenge the restoration, or Biblical Christianity, I cannot let go of it until I have found the answer, yet I find nothing in the essay compelling.

Anyway, if there are any specific questions that you have about the paper, I would be willing to give my two cents on it.

BTW, this is a little off topic, it has become fashionable in some circles, in the Internet, to believe that Book of Mormon has very little to do with Biblical Christianity and that the evil Sidney Rigdon and Parley Pratt were responsible for superimposing the restoration of the New Testament Church of Christ, as well as New Testament theology, into the Book of Mormon narrative, directly or indirectly.

I have previously responded to that nonsense by pointing out that the D&C states that the Book of Mormon was given to prove the Bible (Holy Scriptures) is true (D&C 20:11) and that the inclusion of the Isaiah passages of the  KJV of the Bible and a few passages from the NT prove that the Bible is true.

Nevertheless, I personally felt that it would be a great study project to actually go through the BofM verse by verse and compare them ALL to the passages in the Bible to see if in fact there is significantly more cross pollination than what we generally suppose.

I entertained doing that horrendous research project for about 60 seconds because I just don’t have the time to do it and it would literally take years to do it since key word searching, though helpful,  would be inadequate for such an endeavor since many doctrinal passages would not necessarily use the exact same words.

Well.. to my great surprise, within a matter of weeks after pondering those things, I have been made aware of a person (that once lived in the stake I grew up in ) named Elwood Norris, that has done just that. Woody has spent over a decade making those comparisons and he has uncovered an overwhelming amount of examples where the Book of Mormon is basically parroting and rephrasing passages from the Bible with various wording changes, etc.

The funny (yet sad, ) thing is that Elwood has lost his testimony and left the church and he uses the research in his book to demonstrate that, according to his view as a skeptic, Joseph Smith plagiarized the Bible to create the Book of Mormon.

His book is called

The Book of Mormon is Literary Grand Theft 

So, Norris, in his attempt to challenge the validity of the Book of Mormon has done the extensive research, that I wanted to do, to debunk the insidious claim that the Book of Mormon has a distinctly different message than the Bible! LOL

Anyway, If there are specific issues about the CES letter I have not already addressed, fire them at me. We can play stump the dummy  :)

“Interesting you mention that about the word for word copying from the KJV.  Please read this whole page of Jeremy Runnels Debunking Fair’s Debunking – concerning his doubts about the Book of Mormon claims..

http://cesletter.com/debunking-fairmormon/book-of-mormon.html#summary

Most interesting is the fact that there are word-for-word copying of the 1769 KJV translation errors including italicized words found in the Book of Mormon. Passages that later Joseph would “correct” in the JST – as his theological views changed. Why, if the Book of Mormon, was the “most correct” book on earth – would the Lord include passages that had errors that would later have to be corrected???

Read that whole linked page and follow the hyperlinks.  This is pretty challenging research.”

Yes I have covered this issue in one of my posts.. I find it faith-promoting that some of the passages with errors in them were included in the Book of Mormon…. that is one of the things that, in my opinion, would prove, in a court of law, that the Bible, despite some of it’s imperfections, is a true, authentic ancient record that witnesses of Christ’s death and resurrection.

If one assumes from personal witness that the Book of Mormon is true to begin with, and that the content therein represents an inspired interpretation from God, rather then a scholarly word for word translation from one language to another, then the act of God embedding passages from the King James Version of the Bible, (including corrupted passages) hundreds of years before it is even written, proves beyond dispute, that the KJV Bible (that was the commonly read Bible of Joseph’s day), was a translation of a true ancient record, despite having a few translation problems in it.

Obviously, if the translation would have been a scholarly word for word exchange from one language to another, the KJV passages could not possibly have been found within the Book of Mormon. ( I have already addressed this in a blog somewhere, so I won’t beat a dead horse)

BTW I am not sure that the following quote you make reference to means what many people commonly assume that it means

I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (History of the Church, 4:461.)

Is he saying that the Book of Mormon has more truth and deeper doctrine and more accurate doctrine in it than any other book?

NO!

I don’t think so.

If he meant that, he would not have spent the remainder of his ministry quoting mostly from the Bible and modern revelation.

He was saying that the record of the Nephites was the most correct translation because God himself gave the inspired interpretation of what was being conveyed on the plates. That cannot be said of the Bible. The Bible is an imperfect scholarly translation with some errors although it is still extremely accurate and provides the necessary witnesses of Christ and him crucified.

By its own admission, the Book of Mormon only contains the lesser things and the time will come when the greater things (deeper things)  will come forth.

I believe what he was saying in the above quote, is that the translation (inspired interpretation by God) of the Book of Mormon was the most inspired translation (interpretation) compared to the translation of the Bible which was translated by  men.

Backing out the quoting of the KJV passages that were included, in my opinion, primarily  for the express purpose of proving the Bible to be true, everything else in the Book of Mormon represents the most correct interpretation of what people were trying to say because God himself was providing the inspired interpretation of what they were trying to convey.

This leaves open the very real possibility that even the personal narrative of what people were saying about their own history,  may have been more of God’s interpretation of what they meant, than what they actually attempted to say in their imperfect language and imperfect ability to articulate what they wanted to convey, etc. Again, I have already discussed this in a post and don’t want to beat a dead horse.

I have personally felt that there is a much softer, even more spiritual “feel” to the way the Book of Mormon is written, compared with the Bible. It speaks softly to my soul in a way that the Bible and the D&C do not, and yet, it certainly does not contain more true doctrine or deeper doctrine. Indeed the D&C is unlike any other cannon of scripture in that most of it is in the direct words of God, in our language. Since God is an eternal, exacting being, his words do not sound as warm and fuzzy to us as word that he has interpreted for us from human beings like Nephi and Alma, etc. Hence, the Book of Mormon is simply written in a way that makes me feel closer to God… I think that is the point Joseph was making.

I have pointed out before that 90+% of the references provided in lectures on faith were from the Bible.

Why?

For one thing, the Bible is the most important reference point of Joseph’s generation. Nevertheless, the Bible does not take a back seat to the Book of Mormon when it comes to deep and accurate doctrine… indeed, I am not sure that Rigdon could have provided all of the necessary documentation to what he had written in Lectures on Faith, using only the Book of Mormon.

Rigdon was using the information given him and Joseph contained in Section 76 to draw from when he wrote Lectures on Faith. Although he may have used a few BofM passages in the footnotes, the vast majority came from the Bible… again, the audience that missionary work was being directed to needed proof of what was being said in the Lectures, from the Bible, not from the Book of Mormon.

Another thing that one needs to keep in mind, is that the lesser things in our current Book of Mormon, have been given in such a way as to “try” our “faith” in the Book of Mormon. We are informed that the “greater things” will eventually be made “manifest” to those that believe. (3 Nephi 26:9)

Is there a possibility that the next installment of the Book of Mormon that comes forth will be withheld from unbelievers?

BTW all I can do is try to explain why I am at peace with these issues that critics bring up. I don’t expect this to necessarily make sense to you or to satisfy your concerns. I respect the fact that we each need to reconcile each of these issues to our own satisfaction..

“Couldn’t what you describe including Joseph almost exclusively preaching from the Bible be part of why the whole church was placed under condemnation?  For “treating lightly” the Book of Mormon?”

Sure, in theory, that is a possibility. I just don’t think that is the case after evaluating all of evidence, hopefully with the spirit as my helper.

It is interesting that you pose that question today. I noticed that a recent post on another blog site makes that contention. I think this issue represents one of the many forks in the road where a person needs to decide if the work Joseph was called to ended with the translation of the Book of Mormon or if the Lord really was restoring the New Testament Church and was continuing to speak through the revelations canonized in the BofC and original D&C.

It is not a coincidence that proponents of the first mentioned fork in the road, quote the following passages from the D&C with total emphasis on the sin of taking the Book of Mormon lightly, without acknowledging the fact that the sin was two-fold, the sin of taking the Book of Mormon AND THE FORMER COMMANDMENTS lightly

4 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

55  Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

56  And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

57  And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— 

It just is not consistent and honest to only see the part of a verse that we want to see.

I believe one should either reject the entire passage altogether since it implies an ongoing relationship between God and the Saints with credible revelations being given, OR accept the entire passage which validates the veracity of modern revelation and everything that modern revelation documents, including, the restoration of Biblical Christianity, the restoration of the Biblical church, the restoration of power to perform saving ordinances as documented in both the Bible and Book of Mormon, the restoration of the Biblical (and Book of Mormon) documented baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, the restoration of the law of consecration and monotonous marriage, etc., etc..

It was not just the rejection of the Book of Mormon that put the saints under condemnation. It was the rejection of the law of consecration and the rejection of the fulness of the priesthood/fulness of the Gospel that was being offered.

“Indeed it was both. But none of the truth is really still within the LDS Church at this point.

Also, even with the Atonement Statute,  it takes a lot of faith to accept any true revelation coming after Joseph started practicing polygamy.  It appears that started in 1833. Wow. Lots to dissect.

Thanks”

Please show me a credible source that proves that Joseph Smith started practicing polygamy in 1833.

The historians and history that I have read seem to indicate that 1835 or 36 is the more probable time period that is started, which fits in perfectly with the Atonement Statute prophecy and the five part ministry of Joseph Smith that I have documented.

I read on Fair Mormon’s CES Letter response. It was with Fanny Alger I believe, in Kirtland.

http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Online_documents/Letter_to_a_CES_Director/Polygamy_%26_Polyandry_Concerns_%26_Questions

Response to claim: “Joseph’s marriage to Fanny Alger was described by his cousin, Oliver Cowdery, as a ‘dirty, nasty, filthy affair'”

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Joseph’s marriage to Fanny Alger was described by his cousin, Oliver Cowdery, as a ‘dirty, nasty, filthy affair’

FairMormon Response

 

Question: Did Joseph Smith marry Fanny Alger as his first plural wife in 1833?

Joseph Smith met Fanny Alger in 1833 when she was a house-assistant to Emma

Joseph Smith came to know Fanny Alger in early 1833 when she stayed at the Smith home as a house-assistant to Emma. Neither Joseph nor Fanny ever left any first-hand accounts of their relationship. There are no second-hand accounts from Emma or Fanny’s family. All that we do have is third hand accounts from people who did not directly observe the events associated with this first plural marriage, and most of them recorded many years after the events.

Joseph said that the “ancient order of plural marriage” was to again be practiced at the time that Fanny was living with his family

Benjamin F. Johnson stated that in 1835 he had “learned from my sister’s husband, Lyman R. Sherman, who was close to the Prophet, and received it from him, ‘that the ancient order of Plural Marriage was again to be practiced by the Church.’ This, at the time did not impress my mind deeply, although there lived then with his family (the Prophet’s) a neighbor’s daughter, Fannie Alger, a very nice and comely young woman about my own age, toward whom not only myself, but every one, seemed partial, for the amiability for her character; and it was whispered even then that Joseph loved her.”[136]

Joseph asked the brother-in-law of Fanny’s father to make the request of Fanny’s father, after which a marriage ceremony was performed

Mosiah Hancock discusses the manner in which the proposal was extended to Fanny, and states that a marriage ceremony was performed. Joseph asked Levi Hancock, the brother-in-law of Samuel Alger, Fanny’s father, to request Fanny as his plural wife:

Samuel, the Prophet Joseph loves your daughter Fanny and wishes her for a wife. What say you?” Uncle Sam says, “Go and talk to the old woman [Fanny’s mother] about it. Twill be as she says.” Father goes to his sister and said, “Clarissy, Brother Joseph the Prophet of the most high God loves Fanny and wishes her for a wife. What say you?” Said she, “Go and talk to Fanny. It will be all right with me.” Father goes to Fanny and said, “Fanny, Brother Joseph the Prophet loves you and wishes you for a wife. Will you be his wife?” “I will Levi,” said she. Father takes Fanny to Joseph and said, “Brother Joseph I have been successful in my mission.” Father gave her to Joseph, repeating the ceremony as Joseph repeated to him.[137]

Question: Did some of Joseph Smith’s associates believe that he had an affair with Fanny Alger?

Oliver Cowdery perceived the relationship between Joseph and Fanny as a “dirty, nasty, filthy affair”

Some of Joseph’s associates, most notably Oliver Cowdery, perceived Joseph’s association with Fanny as an affair rather than a plural marriage. Oliver, in a letter to his brother Warren, asserted that “in every instance I did not fail to affirm that which I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger’s was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deserted from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself.”[138]

Gary J. Bergera, an advocate of the “affair” theory, wrote:

I do not believe that Fanny Alger, whom [Todd] Compton counts as Smith’s first plural wife, satisfies the criteria to be considered a “wife.” Briefly, the sources for such a “marriage” are all retrospective and presented from a point of view favoring plural marriage, rather than, say, an extramarital liaison…Smith’s doctrine of eternal marriage was not formulated until after 1839–40. [139]

There are several problems with this analysis. While it is true that sources on Fanny are all retrospective, the same is true of many early plural marriages. Fanny’s marriage has more evidence than some. Bergera says that all the sources about Fanny’s marriage come “from a point of view favoring plural marriage,” but this claim is clearly false.

Even hostile accounts of the relationship between Joseph and Fanny report a marriage or sealing

For example, Fanny’s marriage was mentioned by Ann Eliza Webb Young, a later wife of Brigham Young’s who divorced him, published an anti-Mormon book, and spent much of her time giving anti-Mormon, anti-polygamy lectures. Fanny stayed with Ann Eliza’s family after leaving Joseph and Emma’s house, and both Ann Eliza and her father Chauncey Webb [140] refer to Joseph’s relationship to Fanny as a “sealing.” [141] Eliza also noted that the Alger family “considered it the highest honor to have their daughter adopted into the prophet’s family, and her mother has always claimed that she [Fanny] was sealed to Joseph at that time.” [142] This would be a strange attitude to take if their relationship was a mere affair. And, the hostile Webbs had no reason to invent a “sealing” idea if they could have made Fanny into a mere case of adultery.

Response to claim: “Joseph was practicing polygamy before the sealing authority was given”

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Joseph was practicing polygamy before the sealing authority was given

FairMormon Response

Question: How could Joseph and Fanny have been married in 1831 if the sealing power had not yet been restored?

There is historical evidence that Joseph Smith knew as early as 1831 that plural marriage would be restored

There is historical evidence that Joseph Smith knew as early as 1831 that plural marriage would be restored. Mosiah Hancock (a Mormon) reported a wedding ceremony in Kirtland, Ohio in 1833.

Apostate Mormons Ann Eliza Webb Young and her father Chauncery both referred to Fanny’s relationship as a “sealing.” Ann Eliza also reported that Fanny’s family was very proud of Fanny’s relationship with Joseph, which makes little sense if it was simply a tawdry affair. Those closest to them saw the marriage as exactly that—a marriage.

Joseph and Fanny’s marriage was a plural marriage, not an eternal marriage

Some have wondered how the first plural marriages (such as the Alger marriage) could have occurred before the 1836 restoration of the sealing keys in the Kirtland temple (see DC 110:). This confusion occurs because we tend to conflate several ideas. They were not all initially wrapped together in one doctrine:

  1. plural marriage – the idea that one could be married (in mortality) to more than one woman: being taught by 1831.
  2. eternal marriage – the idea that a man and spouse could be sealed and remain together beyond the grave: being taught by 1835.
  3. “celestial” marriage – the combination of the above two ideas, in which all marriages—plural and monogamous—could last beyond the grave via the sealing powers: implemented by 1840-41.

Thus, the marriage to Fanny would have occurred under the understanding #1 above. The concept of sealing beyond the grave came later. Therefore, the marriage of Joseph and Fanny would have been a plural marriage, but it would not have been a marriage for eternity. 

I believe the above response that you provided, actually proves my point.

The most powerful and compelling text in the entire thing, with regard to suggesting 1833 as the start of Joseph practicing polygamy, is the following question at the beginning of the article, that leads people to assume that if there was a marriage between Joseph and Fanny, it would have been in 1833.

“Question: Did Joseph Smith marry Fanny Alger as his first plural wife in 1833?”

Kind of an assumptive approach to begin the article don’t you think.

After the question, I could only see one shred of evidence for 1833 and that was a second or third hand reminiscence by Mosiah Handcock. The article fails to point out that the reminiscence was given in 1896!. This appears to be a memory of someone that was a teenager at the time, who was remembering rumors he heard. Add to that the bias he had in wanting to substantiate the practice as soon as possible, as a Brighamite battling with the RLDS challenge to the practice of polygamy.

It seems to me that the hard historical evidence comes with the “dirty filthy affair” event in 1835. That event seems to have more than one corroboration. If that event is true, it seems odd that it took 2 or 3 years for anyone to figure out that some kind of relationship was taking place between these two if indeed they had been married since 1833.

I guess the point is that one cannot prove historically for certain when Joseph began acting out the practice of polygamy, but I personally find historians like Anderson, Faulring, and Bushman to be more credible in their conclusions on this issue since nobody seems to be able to present more evidence that what you have shown above. In the words of Bushman, who acknowledged the conclusion made by Compton, “ there is evidence that Joseph Smith was a polygamist by 1835..” page 323 of Rough Stone Rolling

Additionally, I am not just going by history, I believe that revelation and prophecy can play a role in helping us make sense of things, and they appear to identify mid to late 1834 as being the time when the crap hit the fan and the fulness was rejected. From that perspective, the conclusions of people like Faulring, Anderson and Bushman seems to fit the Biblical Profile and history that support 1835 or later as the start of polygamy.. And keep in mind that there is a significant difference between “Biblical Polygamy” and the “spiritual wife doctrine” that emerges later on in the church.

BTW according to the testimony of Lightner and others, the angel appeared to Joseph three times between 1834 and 1842 commanding him to restore the practice of polygamy:

Mary Elizabeth Lightner, a plural wife of the Prophet, recalled Joseph’s words relating how an angel appeared to him in 1834 commanding him to restore the practice of polygamy: “The angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle.”1 This directive prompted Joseph to enter a plural marriage sometime thereafter.

Why was Joseph telling people the angel began commanding him to restore polygamy in 1834, if he had already restored it in 1833?

BTW, I just did some surfing to see where Brian Hales stands on this topic. It looks like we can add Hales to the list of historians that accept 1835 as the most credible probability of when Joseph began living it.

Here is a quote from Hales from an article on this link 

 “The historical record indicates that Joseph Smith contracted his first plural
marriage in 1835 or 1836 in Kirtland, Ohio, with Fanny Alger. Upon learning
of the relationship, his legal wife, Emma, and close friend Oliver Cowdery
rejected it, considering it adulterous”.

At this point, Hales and his paid research assistant may be the greatest historical authorities on Joseph Smith’s polygamy.

See also

http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/history-2/plural-wives-overview/fanny-alger/

Ok. But what about the Church admitting the polyandry that Joseph practiced?

I don’t see a problem.

The Polyandry also fits in perfectly with the polygamy with regard to the Atonement Statute.. [.atonement statute final3 ] the guy went bonkers when the sins of Israel were put upon him.. he committed “iniquity” and had to be chastened by the rod of man … what can I say?

For that matter, some people would argue that he committed blasphemy when he said God has not been from everlasting to everlasting, contradicting not only the Bible, but the scriptures he had helped to bring forth. Others would argue that he committed murder or attempted murder, etc.

I am not accusing him of all of these things because I don’t know for sure, however, it would only further validate the prophecy in 2 Sam 7 and all of the other related prophecies regarding the Biblical profile of Joseph Smith’s mission, if he did. Keep in mind that he had previously obtained his calling and election, so that he could make an atonement like unto what Moses did.

 

Editorial Note: I had the same person send a follow up question

“Since Joseph didn’t actually use the gold plates to do a word for word physical translation because the rock in the hat gave him the words –  then you cannot claim that God gave the Book of Mormon prophets the modern KJV words written with errors in it”

Thank  you for reminding me what a poor communicator I am.
 .
I am not suggesting that God gave the BofM prophets the corrupted KJV.
 .
I don’t believe he did. I don’t know why he would.
 .
I am suggesting that on the actual gold plates, you would have had the ancient text of Isaiah and of any other Old Testament prophets that are being quoted, as written in whatever ancient language that would have made sense, depending on how they had been obtained by Lehi, etc. .
 .
What I am suggesting is that God gave an “interpretation” of the ancient text that would be “relevant” and faith promoting to the generation of people living at the time of Joseph Smith.
 .
The most relevant translation of the text of Isaiah at the time Joseph was living in, was the KJV and God clearly wanted to use the existing KJV as one of the foundational scriptural texts for the “law of the gospel” given in section 42… therefore, he needed to alleviate the concern that the Bible was not true or the concern that it came from true text but had been completely corrupted by human translators and dishonest scribes.
 .
 I assume, from the declaration given in the D&C, that the BofM proves the Bible to be true, that there were skeptics of the Bible in general and of the KJV specifically,  living back then just as there are now. God was providing proof to that generation that the existing KJV was a reasonable, though mortally translated version with some minor mistakes) of a group of authentic ancient texts. Although it was not perfect and needed some revisions made eventually, it was credible as is, until revisions could be made. That was the point, in my opinion. The Lord obvious found the existing most popular Bible of the to be good enough to be included in the “law of the gospel” when section 42 was given.
 .
If the Lord would have given a different “perfect translation” of Isaiah, that was a literal word for word exact translation from an ancient text that differed significantly from the KJV of the day, in my opinion, it would not have provided the same kind of proof that the KJV was adequate and generally accurate, in fact, it may have created more doubt than credibility in it.
 .

 

Frankly, the deeper I delve into these kind of issues, the more clear it becomes to me that one cannot second guess the Lord on why he did the things he did and the way he did them. Spiritual things must be discerned by the spirit. This is why the promise contained in the BofM has nothing to do with over-analyzing things and getting invested in ones own critical thinking process. Christianity is a mystical faith-based religion and the test provided by the Book of Mormon  is apparently given for the express purpose of weeding out those people who are not spiritually minded and who require an logical, intellectual answer on every aspect of the gospel and the way that the restoration was conducted. . The key is not to see if the Lord method of doing things meet the standards of the natural man but rather if the natural man can become humble and contrite and to realize that the Lord’s ways and thoughts are not the same as man’s ways and thoughts

 

 

atonement statute final3  ]


The Emergence of Cults and Cult Leaders: “I am God the Father in the Flesh”

January 7, 2015

I have Met some Interesting People Over the Years

When I had my epiphany that all was not well in Zion Babylon and started on my quest to find out the truth about God, and Mormonism, I met many very interesting people as  I started making the rounds, visiting different splinter groups and fringe study groups. As I mentioned in a previous post, years ago, I was playing “button, button, whose got the button“, looking for who really had the truth and the elusive “fulness of the priesthood” that the ancient prophets like Enoch, Elijah and Melchizedek had.

I eventually began doing thousands of keyword searches and formulating my own views about what had happened to bring the church into the latter day apostasy, and I gave a few presentations to various study groups about various gospel topics. My quest enabled me to meet many of the movers and shakers of the Mormon fringe, if you will.

Jim Harmston

I have previously mentioned my encounter with Jim Harmston, who taught gospel doctrine in his local ward in Ogden Utah, and then began getting into fanatical gospel interests and beliefs, ultimately moving to Manti Utah where he eventually started his own church, and claimed that he was the reincarnation of Joseph Smith and appears to have been extremely successful in creating lots of chaos and destroying peoples lives. He began taking polygamous wives, and claimed he had the true priesthood and church. As I recall, he finally announced that he was God the Father in the flesh, or something ridiculous like that.

I have encountered many people like this over the years.

Sterling Allen

Another interesting personality that I met back in those days was a fellow by the name of Sterling Allen.

At the time I became aware of Sterling, he had started the “America Study Group” which was a study group that met to study the constitution and gospel topics, etc. There were lots of LDS patriots that formed local chapters of the American Study group across the Wasatch Front, that would meet and discuss various things.

Jay Benson and Chris Nemelka

One of the leaders of a local American Study Group in Layton Utah is a fellow named Jay Benson (no relation to President Benson). He was another very interesting person who is now an avid follower of Chris Nemelka, the false prophet who claims to have translated the sealed portion of the Gold plates. I have also previously mentioned Nemelka. You can read Benson’s testimony of Chris Nemelka here.

Getting back to Sterling Allen. Sterling Allen has a brilliant mind and he became obsessed with doctrine and innovative ways of searching for truth. He created the website called greater things. One of the things that Sterling become known for is “alphabetics, which is a method of study involving the use of the Strong’s concordance and matching up the numbers relating to Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible as well as page numbers in the Bible and virtually anything else you want to throw into the mix.

The idea behind Sterling’s concept of alphabetics, as I understand it, is that “all things testify of Christ” and therefore, just about everything in the world around us, including numbers and mathematics points to truth about Christ and virtually everything else.

Example:
Internet Foretold

These two words come one after the other in the Old Testament Hebrew

lexicon.

4545 ;,./ macceketh: “web

4546 %-./ mecillah: “highway

click here to see complete write-up

I frankly think there is something to the concept, however, it is so incredibly subjective, that a person can find validation to justify just about any heretical idea, concept or doctrine that they want to. Since becoming obsessed with numbers, Sterling kind of reminds me of “John Nash,” played by Russell Crowe in the movie, “It’s a beautiful Mind“. Its about a genius that became obsessed with numbers and basically lost touch with all reality, and lost his mind, kind of like the chess player I once referred to that lost his mind while in deep contemplation, during a chess game.

Anyway, I had very little personal contact with Sterling back in those days and never got to know him very well. Nevertheless, I have kept track of him from time to time because he is such an interesting and colorful and entertaining fellow. Like most brilliant people with magnetic personalities, he has attracted somewhat of a following from time to time, over the years.

Setting the Church in Order

Shortly after I met Sterling, He showed up at an LDS general conference and attempted to walk up to the podium to address the church. The rumor going around at the time was that he intended to announce that we was the “one mighty and strong‘ who was going to release all of the general authorities and then set the church in order. His version of the story on the Internet is that he was simply going to give a talk. He has since posted the talk he was going to give on the Internet.

Needless to say, he never made it to the podium.

Church Security intercepted him and promptly removed him from the premises.

He was excommunicated and eventually took a long break from religious activity, reinventing himself as a “free energy” guru. He established a few organizations that reviewed nontraditional technologies for harvesting energy from Mother Nature. The hope is to free mankind from the financial bondage of the power grid. Over the last decade, Sterling has become a high profile player in the alternative energy industry. Sterling has traveled the world interviewing inventors that claim to have invented new technologies for creating or harvesting electricity, etc.

Why am I telling you all of this?

A Random though Came into my Mind

I am telling you this because yesterday the thought came into my head that I should check up on Sterling and see how he was doing. It was really really weird. The thought just came into my mind. I had not given Sterling a thought in years but all of a sudden, I was curious to see what he was up to. (in the back of my mind I may have been wondering if Sterling’s organization had covered the supposed generator that runs on water that I had seen promoted a website)

When I punched Sterling’s name name into the Internet I was blown away with what I discovered.

The Church Bans Sterling Allen From all Church Properties

On one site, Sterling was telling about how he had just received a letter from Kirton and McConkie, the legal firm that represents the Mormon Church, informing him that he was banned from any properties own or operated by the Mormon Church because he had been disruptive in their meetings and because members of the church felt threatened by him. (even though Sterling has not been rebaptised, he had been attending the local LDS church for several months and had permission from his bishop to participate in Sunday School class)

He claimed that when he confronted his Bishop and Stake President about the legal notice, neither of them knew what he was talking about and neither of them felt he had been disruptive or threatening to members, etc., yet when he pressed the issue by the church, his Bishop and Stake President caved in to the pressure put upon them by their superiors and provided the necessary acknowledgments, that Sterling was disruptive and was a threat.

His version of the story can be seen on the youtube below and it has some interesting details about how local leaders are often railroaded into making accusations against their wills:

He covers much more information in the above youtube.

“I have a Lust Addiction”

The next bombshell I came across, is that on Sterling’s energy website that attracts thousands of people from all over the world, Sterling has recently made a public confession about being involved with pedophilia which has resulted in his  divorce, the loss of his family, his resignation from the alternative energy companies he has founded, and the fact that he may well be going to prison in the near future. He refers to his affliction as a “lust addiction”

Learning Lessons from Current Events

Normally I would not publish this kind of information out of concern for the privacy and feelings of the individual who is obviously suffering at many different levels, but in this case, Sterling has made the decision to go public and he wants everyone to know about his situation. My feeling is that although I want to be sensitive and compassionate and as non-judgment as reasonably and rationally possible, there are lessons to be learned from this heart-breaking event.

The youtube below was posted on his energy website where lots of non-Mormons visit. It is interesting to see some of the comments his former friends and associates in the alternative energy industry have made about his pedophelia and his “confession”.

“I am God the Father in the Flesh”

The confession he makes is an interesting one because in it, he matter of factly informs his audience that he is literally God the Father in the flesh, ( where have we heard that before?) but wait, there is more. He claims he agreed to accept this lust addiction in the pre-existence.

He seems to believe that all of the Davidic Servant passages in the scriptures are referring to the return of God the Father, not a servant of God. A version of this general belief is passionately taught by other bloggers out there. Sterling opines that the first messianic event had to do with the Son of God who had a sinless ministry, but the second messianic event (featuring himself) has to do with God the Father who is first muddled down in sin and judged harshly by the world, and then eventually he emerges in power to fulfill his calling, etc.

Victimization?

He points out that he has largely been a victim of a lustful society that flaunts seducing graphics all over the media, etc., and he ends his confession with a stern warning to the world about the impending 3 1/2 year judgment they are going experience if they don’t repent.

Addiction

As I was reading and listening to some of Sterlings remarks about his addiction I really did feel compassion. I confess that I struggle with a food addiction that has been out of control. I LOVE sugar, chocolate, and just about any kind of junk food. If you put it in front of me and it is edible, or looks edible, I will eat it! I am always eating when I am not hungry and I am never hungry because I am always eating. My ideal body weight based on height and frame, is about 158 LB, I currently weigh 217. AAAAAAAAAGGGGGG!

Mrs Watcher is a health food and alternative medicine guru that stuffs lots of good stuff down me, and that is what has kept me alive all these years, but I still have the ability to purchase, hide, and stuff my face with it, faster than she can find it and flush it.

Naturally, I started a new years resolution yesterday and I am proud to report that I have only eaten a bowl of bean soup, some herb tea and a few hand fulls of fritos corn chips in that amount of time and I have already lost 2 LB! LOL

BTW a friend of mine is related to a Guru on overcoming addiction. I just reviewed a short snippet that the guru did and I am really quite impressed.

Anyway, my point is that since I struggle with addiction, I felt more compassion, than judgment for Sterling as I heard his plight.

Fanaticism

One of the things I could not help but think about as I sat spell bound at the astonishing claims and deductions that Sterling makes, with a straight face, is that fanaticism can lead to insanity, demon possession, or both. Frankly, I don’t think religious fanaticism is categorically bad. I believe I am somewhat of a religious fanatic in some respects. However I believe Christ was considered a fanatic during his earthly ministry and most of his prophets and patriarchs were fanatics.

So where does one cross the line between being passionate and attempting to be pious, vs being overcome with seducing spirits that are so prevalent in our day in age? How does possession by demons take place?

Followers of Cult Leaders

In this post I am not just pondering what makes people into crazy cult leaders, I am also pondering what makes their followers so mesmerized by them. We could simply assume that cult leaders that lead people astray were ordained to that calling in the pre-existence and we could say that all of the seemingly mindless  followers that they accumulate were also ordained in the pre-existence to be deceived, but that is not for us to judge.

It is interesting to me how different Harmston, Nemelka and Allen are in personality traits and demeanor. Allen comes of to me as highly intellectual. Nemelka is kind of a red-neck, country bumpkin hick that catches you off guard because of his unsophisticated delivery and looks and manner of speaking. Harmston was more of a stately, elderly fatherly image that could make you feel personally loved in a one on one conversation. They are all very different personalities and yet there is a magnetic, low-key yet powerful charisma that they all have with certain types of people that desperately need a leader to follow.

Critical Personalities

Our responsibility is not to  judge and mock these types of people, although I think it is ok to mock the stupid things they are saying and doing. Our responsibility is to feel concern for all of these people. this brings up another one of my many sins and evil personality traits. I have a tendency to be really critical of people instead of being able to separate the sin from the sinner. It is difficult for me to not get incredibly anxious and angry when I see cults and cult leaders forming and accumulating a followership. I can also get so passionate that it appears as if I am critical of those that differ with my doctrinal views. I suspect that admission doesn’t take any of my readers by surprise. LOL

I have decided to fast and pray this Sunday for all of the contemporary cult leaders and their followers. (Harmston has passed on) There are more than the three that I have mentioned in this post BTW.

Although I do not have lots of faith that my prayers will change them, I am doing this exercise for myself as much as for them, because I am hoping it will help me to become more charitable and to re-frame things contextually, focusing on judging the sin instead of the sinner. We all sin and we all fall short of the glory of God.. We are to love all men and leave judgment to God

The Desired Take Away of this Post 

As I am sharing what I am pondering about on this post , relative to Sterling Allen’s situation specifically and the issue of false prophets generally, there are two points I want to make about this post.

The first point is that the gospel requires us to judge the doctrine and the actions, of people so that we are not deceived by their folly that can adversely affect us, but we are to  not condemn or judge the people themselves, in the eternal scheme of things because judgment is the Lord’s domain and people can repent after making serious mistakes.

We should mourn for them and pray for them. We should be concerned for their souls. I am inviting the readers of this blog to unite with me this next Sunday in praying for all cult leaders and their followers.

The emergence of these cults is a sign of the times and there is a spiritual battle taking place right now for dominion over the souls of men.

The other point I want to make is that even though we should be having charity and compassion  upon the souls of those who appear to be possessed or insane, we still have an obligation to judge their doctrine and their actions and to be vigilant about not being seduced by lying spirits that are abroad in the land.

It may be instructive to analyse the lives of people like Chris Nemelka, Jim Harmston and Sterling Allen. I believe there are some trends and commonalities that they all share. They are all very intelligent, passionate, creative people with charismatic and magnetic personalities. They all began making interesting observations about the gospel just like many other gospel scholars do. Eventually they made small claims and taught doctrinal inconsistencies, and finally they ended up making outrageous claims, taking themselves way to seriously. Eventually their focus is not as much about the gospel and doctrine as it is about themselves.

What is interesting is that there are people in this world that are so mesmerized by these kinds of personalities that all logic and reason, as well as the spirit of discernment are totally deactivated in them once they are entranced by such a magnetic personality. It doesn’t matter how illogical some of the declarations from these magnetic personalities are, their followers are so emotionally drawn to them and so invested in their desire for the magnetic person to be the long awaited Davidic servant or Savior of mankind, that they are willing to drink any flavor of cool aid that is offered to them.

“This is not about Me!!! Well, Maybe Just a Little Bit”

One of the narratives that often accompany magnetic people who rise to power and start cults is that they start out appearing to be very humble and self depreciating, always focusing on the doctrine and not lifting themselves up as a light unto the world. They often begin testifying of the truthfulness of the church prior to becoming more bold in their declaration about the latter day apostasy…. I know, I know, some of this kind of sounds a little like me, doesn’t it. After all, I do believe that there are been a global apostasy and I am often critical of the brethren…

To my credit, I don’t have a following of mindless groupies that hang on my every word. My readers all tend to be amazingly independent thinkers who feel very free to challenge and criticize me. I love that and wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t want the burden of being responsible for someone else’s salvation.

Another key is that initially these cult leaders assure their following that “This is not about me!”  But as time passes, they become increasingly self-important.

Eventually, they are the central player in their own narrative in the salvation of their followers. Before you know it. They are claiming to have messages from God to pass on to the people and they even make outrageous claims of having the only authority to administer the ordinances of salvation, how they have now wrested the true authority away from the evil leaders of the mother church, or they are dictating to their followers how the ordinances are to be done differently, etc.

Those who are not emotionally invested in these magnetic personalities can see this amazing transformation to power and the dramatic change in the content and tone of their message from meekness to authoritarianism. The mesmerized followers cannot discern this or they blissfully dismiss it because they are so excited about the new movement and they want the new message and messenger to be true.

Can the Brethren Have the Priesthood Wrested away from them if they Didn’t Have it?

One of the amazing things about the followers of  cult leaders is that their followers are unable to parse out the contradictions that are consistently being presented. Suppose, for instance, hypothetically, that a magnetic personality was to state in their talks and blog posts that the Mormon Church was devoid of truth and priesthood authority and that they are only a pantomime of truth and priesthood authority. Indeed the pantomime used by the church is only the “pretense” of priesthood authority and priesthood “keys” and had been devoid of true authority for decades. Suppose then that a few months later the same magnetic personality were to contradict himself and declare that he had just wrested the true priesthood away from these same men that he had previously declared were void of true priesthood? At face value, the contradiction might be obvious and laughable to someone not emotionally invested or possessed of the same seducing spirit as the cult leader, but to the ardent followers, it cannot be seen or it can easily be rationalized.

Changing the Revealed Order of the Priesthood

 Again, Suppose, for instance, hypothetically that the new cult leader began changing the long established, scripturally documented method by which God calls men to the priesthood through his properly ordained servants, by prophecy. Suppose he was to declare that because of his miraculous petitions before the Throne of Glory, that the Lord had agreed to put women in charge of deciding which men could hold and exercise priesthood? Again, the rational, non-emotionally invested bystander would look upon this claim by the cult leader to be absurd. Nevertheless, those who are emotionally invested and perhaps even possessed by a lying spirit would feel perfectly comfortable with changing the laws and ordained protocols of God.

 “I will Never Start a Church!”

Again, suppose, for instance, hypothetically that initially a cult leader made a bold categorical statement that they would never start a new church, yet, if the casual observer visits the scene a few years later, presto! The guy is encouraging people to organize into groups to worship together, pay their tithing directly to the poor as individuals or as a group, and mandate that everyone needs to be re-baptized in the new ordinance and priesthood protocol designated by the leader, in order to be saved. Yet the cult leader is assuring his followers the whole time that he hasn’t started a church and that the power in the new church he has started is not centralized, even though he is dictating that the groups must be set up, and that the tithing funds must be redirected, and the ordinances must be done how he dictates, etc., etc.

Keep in mind, of course that all of these scenarios are completely hypothetically. I am simply providing hypotheticals to demonstrate how differently non-emotionally invested people can see the obvious contradictions, while those who are emotionally invested cannot.

Countless other hypothetical inconsistencies and false doctrines could also be provided to illustrate how cults evolve and flourish despite the countless falsehoods and doctrinal inconsistencies that they are founded upon.

Anyway, we live in perilous times. My heart breaks for Sterling Allen. May God have mercy upon his soul.


Chiasm: God’s fingerprint within Holy Writ

January 2, 2015

Several months ago Mrs Watcher became obsessed with wanting to re-read the Bible from beginning to end. She began meticulously reading Genesis and working her way forward in the massive document. As she reached Exodus and was making comments about things she was noticing for the first time, I found myself getting sucked into the Biblical vortex created by God’s mystical word.

It is easy to go for many years hyper-focusing one’s study on many different scriptural topics in the Book of Mormon and the D&C and to forget about the importance of reviewing the most ancient of all scripture which is the foundation for all other scripture. In my case, I love doing keyword searches and topical studies that take me briefly through a varied menu of snippets in the different standard works, rather than reading chronologically from beginning to end. However, there is wisdom in reading the scriptures chronologically as well.

It is easy to forget that there are countless components previously hidden in the message and narrative in the Bible. It is truly one of God’s greatest miracles. He has had his ancient word amazingly preserved over thousands of years.  One of the many things we learn as we compare the JST (Joseph Smith Translation) with the King James Version of the Bible is that very little corruption of the translation actually took place during that period of time.

Although there are some incredible nuggets of truth, regarding history, prophecy and the nature of God, that were taken out of the Bible or mistranslated in later years, and then eventually corrected or reintroduced in the JST, it appears to me as if over 99% of the original Bible content of the 66 books, survived amazingly well up to Joseph Smith’s time.

Even with the corrupted parts of the Bible intact, it cumulatively seems to be exceedingly sufficient for the Lord’s purposes. I am reminded of Dr Ivan Panin, the athiest who converted to Christianity when he discovered the perfect mathematics and the recurring emergence of 7s and patterns of sevens in the numeric equivalents of the hebrew and greek words (gemetria).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPxbOLJtGes&list=PLD0TijEMMxCkB4dIiHZlXRp95zrcxZQV3

Even more of a mind blower is the fact that the mathematics of the Bible remains in tact even in the places where the text is missing or corrupted by translators. It is as if the Mathamatical Bible is typological to fractal clusters that continue to maintain their mathematical integrity even when some parts of the cluster is missing. This reminds me of Christ’s declaration that the scripture can’t be broken: “..the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35)

fractal

The creation story was still intact,  with very few errors, as evidenced by a secondary account in the Book of Abraham and by the inspired version of Genesis. The history of the patriarchs and prophets is still intact. The dealings between  God and his people is still intact. Most importantly, the account of Christ’s ministry and his personal teaching of the gospel along with the testimonies of eye witnesses of his death and resurrection  preserved.

The King James Version is Amazingly Accurate

So accurate was the Bible after thousands of years, that when the LDS restoration began in the 1800’s, God pronounced it to be an integral part of “the law“that was given when the saints migrated from New York to the Ohio:

“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.” (D&C 42:12)

The above commandment from God was not referring to Joseph Smith’s Inspired Version of the Bible for it did not exist yet. It was referring to the existing King James Version of the Bible that was commonly in use. The Lord had previously made mention of the need for Joseph to make some corrections in the KJV and would, in the future, command Joseph and the church to get the Inspired Version published to the world, but for the mean time, God was commanding the saints to give heed to the principles in the existing Bible despite the relatively few problems associated with it.

While the Mormon Church puts a huge emphasis on the importance of the Book of Mormon, it should be remembered that according to God’s holy word in modern revelation, that the Book of Mormon proves “to the world that the holy scriptures are true”(Section 20)

Imagine that. One would think that the Lord would have stated that the Bible proves that the Book of Mormon is true, but God reverses the emphasis. He wanted to let it be known that the Book of Mormon proves that the Bible is true.

Why is it so important that the Bible be proven true by the Book of Mormon?

Because the Bible is the primary, foundational, canon of scripture upon which our salvation rests.

The Bible provides the first and primary witnesses of Christ. The Book of Mormon is a secondary, ancillary witness of Christ. Those who claim the Bible is not credible and that we can only rely on the Book of Mormon, negate one of the most important purposes of the Book of Mormon.

What Exactly is the True Definition of Scripture?

Interestingly, Christ himself provided a definition of Scripture during his earthly ministry that is much more narrow and singular than the one we usually use. According to him, it does not represent the entire content in the Bible:

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

Jacob 7:11 seems to be saying the same thing with the wording being reversed:

“And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them [the scriptures]; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.”

From that simple admonition, we find that the singular definition of scripture is: anything that testifies of Christ! Hence, the Bible contains scripture, but not all of the content in the Bible can be considered scripture if we take the Saviors words literally. The Bible is full of prophetic declarations, inspired counsel, historical events and genealogies, that, while interesting, entertaining and even sometimes edifying, do not necessarily qualify as “scripture”. Obviously, even much if not all of the associated content in the Bible is revered by the humble followers of Christ since it provides the supporting context for the scripture that is embedded in it. Some students of the bible claim that since all things testify of Christ, in the general sense, that the entire Bible is indeed scripture.

Since the New Testament did not even exist at the time that Christ made that statement, we know that the Old Testament testifies of Christ in numerous ways, both directly and indirectly… probably some ways that we don’t fully comprehend. As the creator of all things in heaven and earth, there are obviously many testimonies of Christ that are quite broad. As the New Testament later emerged as a canon of writings, long after the earthly ministry of Christ, the many witnesses of Christ contained therein also represent “scripture” according to the definition that Christ gave.

The Bible represents the foundational teachings upon which the LDS restoration took place. Without the knowledge provided by the 40 spirit filled authors contained in the sixty-six books in the canon of scripture, nothing else makes very much sense.

The Content in Genesis is a microcosm
of the Content in the entire Bible

According to Chuck Missler, one of my favorite protestant Bible Scholars, “All the major doctrines in the Bible have their roots in the book of Genesis: sovereign election, salvation, justification by faith, the believer’s security, separation, disciplinary chastisement, the Rapture of the Church, divine incarnation, death and resurrection, the priesthoods-both Aaronic priesthood and the Melchizedek priesthood- the anti-christ… and many more

He also opines that virtually all of the major false philosophies are also addressed in Genesis as well.

When Joseph Smith announced that he had translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, he was making a subtle declaration that has been greatly misunderstood. The 1828 definition of the word translation being employed, meant that the word translation, in the context that Joseph was using it, was synonymous with “INTERPRETATION“.

In other words, God was providing an inspired interpretation of the content in the Book of Mormon, in contradistinction to the traditional process of literally converting words or text from one language into another. He was not necessarily always literally converting the exact content of the reformed Egyptian text into English, although much of it may have been.

While that subtle observation may seem trite and obvious to some, it is lost on many of the skeptics and has quite profound implications.

Critics that whine about the usage of french words and exact quotes from the King James Version of Isaiah and other passages from the KJV of the New Testament showing up in the Book of Mormon hundreds of years before the Biblical quotes were uttered in Biblical times, would do well to realize that Joseph Smith never claimed to have done a scholarly, literal translation from an ancient language to English.

Quite the opposite.

Let me be a little repetitive here.

It was God that was doing the translation not Joseph.

God was providing an inspired interpretation of what was in the plates.

God was not always providing a literal transfer of exact meaning from one language to the other, he was matching up the general meaning of the ancient text with the content of the existing translations of the culture and generation he was speaking to!

According to the testimony of those involved in the process, Joseph was looking into a seer stone in a darkened hat and simply reading the text that the Lord was showing him. He was not doing a traditional scholarly translation. He did not know reformed Egyption and thus, was not qualified to do a scholarly translation. He claimed that the power of God had provided an inspired interpretation of the content on the plates. This inspired interpretation, very logically included content from the most widely used version of the Bible of the day. This was obviously done for clarity, and, in my opinion, it was also done to prove that the Bible commonly being used was still a credible document. This is why he even provided passages of the King James Bible that would later be revised by Joseph Smith. 

As I have pondered how the Book of Mormon proves the Bible is true, it has occurred to me that, the fact that the Book of Mormon teaches the same gospel and is doctrinally consistent with the Bible, does not necessarily prove that the Bible is the authentic recond that it appears to be. It could still have been forged document, using truth from other sources. For this reason, it becomes obvious to me that the evidence in the Book of Mormon, proving the Bible to be true, that would hold up in a court or law, would be the exact quotes from the KJV of the Bible. As someone who has a witness that the Book of Mormon is true, I find the quotations from the KJV of the Bible embedded in the Book of Mormon to be compelling and profound evidence. I believe these quotes  prove the authenticity and veracity of the Bible. The insertions also enable keyword searches which enhance a persons ability to study the various canons of scripture.

I’ve mentioned the significance of the inspired interpretation of the Bible and why I find the exact quotes from the Bible contained in the Book of Mormon to be compelling proof of the Bible, in other posts. In this post, I want to proffer another “proof” that has also been observed by professional and non-professional Mormon scholars in countless essays. It has to do with the amazing use of Chiasms in the all of the canons of scripture.

Chiasmus

Chiasmus is a poemic method of writing in a certain pattern. “Chiasm” comes from the Greek letter Chi.  It’s a pattern which starts in one direction and then turns around and repeats itself in the opposite direction.

According to LDS scholars Boyd F. Edwards and W. Farrell Edwards, Chiasmus is an inverted-parallel literary form that was employed by ancient Hebrew biblical writers, among others. An instance of this form, called a chiasm, presents two or more literary elements, and then restates them in reverse order.

Wikipedia offers this: In rhetoric, chiasmus (Latin term from Greek χίασμα, “crossing”, from the Greek χιάζω, chiázō, “to shape like the letter Χ”) is the figure of speech in which two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; that is, the clauses display inverted parallelism.

I also like the description given by protestant Bible scholars that a chiasmus visually looks live a flock of geese, in a “V” shape.

Examples of Chiasms in the Bible

Here is an example of a chiasm from the Book of Genesis taken from an article I found on the Internet:

Genesis 3:5 – 3:22 – That Serpent of Old, called the Devil and Satan.
The Fall of Man (4/8/2008)

a 3:5  You will be like God, knowing good and evil
b 3:7    They made coverings of fig leaves
c 3:8      Wife as yet unnamed
d 3:9        Adam questioned
e 3:12-13a            Eve accused and questioned
f 3:13b     Serpent accused
f 3:14      Serpent’s curse
e 3:16    Eve’s curse
d 3:17-19 Adam’s curse
c 3:20  Wife is named Eve
b 3:21  The LORD God made them tunics of skin and clothed them.
a 3:22 Man is like one of Us, to know good and evil.

Here is an example from the story of Noah’s ark:

The Flood of Noah

A Noah (6:10a)
B   Shem, Ham and Japheth (6:10b)
C     Ark to be built (6:14-16)
D      Flood announced (6:17)
E        Covenant with Noah (6:18-20)
F          Food in theArk(6:21)
G           Command to enter theArk(7:1-3)
H             7 days waiting for flood (7:4-5)
I                7 days waiting for flood (7:7-10)
J                  Entry to ark (7:11-15)
K                   Yahweh shuts Noah in (7:16)
L                     40 days flood (7:17a)
M                     Waters increase (7:17b-18)
N                        Mountains covered (7:18-20)
O                          150 days waters prevail (7:21-24)
P                            God Remembers Noah (8:1)
O                         150 days waters abate (8:3)
N                       Mountain tops become visible (8:4-5)
M                     Waters abate (8:6)
L                     40 days (end of) (8:6a)
K                   Noah opens window of ark(8:6b)
J                   Raven and dove leave ark (8:7-9)
I                  7 days waiting for waters to subside (8:10-11)
H               7 days waiting for waters to subside (8:12-13)
G             Command to leave the ark (8:15-17)
F            Food outside the ark(9:1-4)
E          Covenant with all flesh(9:8-10)
D        No flood in future(9:11-17)
C      Ark (9:18a)
B    Shem, Ham, Japheth (9:18b)
A  Noah (9:19)

Here is an example of a few Chiasms that people have found in the Book of Acts:

[1]  Ac1:1-11
  A(1:1-2)   1:2 until the day he was taken up (1:2)   (ἀνελήμφθη)
    B(1:3)     1:3 appearing to them during forty days (1:3)
      C(1:4-5)          (πνεύματι)
        D(1:6)         Question of disciples
      C'(1:7-8)          (πνεύματος)
    B'(1:9)     1:9 as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. (1:9)
  A'(1:10-11)   1:11 This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven (1:11)   (ἀναλημφθεὶς)

Here is another example from the book of Acts:

A: Speaking foreign language. B: People are astonished.

[4]  Ac2:14-39
  A(2:14-21)   2:17 I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh (2:17)   (πνεύματός)
    B(2:22-24)     2:24 God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death (2:24)”   (θανάτου)
      C(2:25-28)       Prophecy of David   (Δαυὶδ)
        D(2:29-30)         2:30 he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, (2:30)”   (θρόνον)
          E(2:31-32)           2:32 God raised this Jesus (2:32)
        D'(2:33)         2:33 Exalted at the right hand of God (2:33)   (δεξιᾷ)
      C'(2:34-35)       Prophecy of David   (Δαυὶδ)
    B'(2:36)     2:36 God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified (2:36)”   (ἐσταυρώσατε)
  A'(2:37-39)   2:38 you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit (2:38)   (πνεύματος)

 

The Bible is filled with countless Chiasms in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. It is not clear to scholars whether this was an intentional Hebraic, poemic style of writing by inspired men or whether it was an unintentional result of God’s spirit falling upon his servants as they wrote the holy scriptures.

If this repetitive style, with each part placed exactly opposite its counterpart on the other side of the apex was intentional, it certainly would have been time consuming and exhausting for the writer unless it was ingrained through years of practice. Either way, the existence is chiasms appears to me  to be the divine blueprint of God upon his inspired communications to his children.

Over the last few decades, as I have read articles about chiasms and studied many of them, I confess that I have been at a loss to understand how the knowledge of their presence can help us to better understand the message being conveyed beyond the actual narrative and obvious advantages of repetition.

Since Mrs Watcher has been obsessed with the Bible, I decided to find an interesting book that would enhance her study. I came across a book called  “Bible Matrix” by Michael Bull. It contains several remarkable observations and suppositions regarding the existence of chiasms in the Bible. It is one of the few religious books I have read that has compelled me to read a chapter three times in a row in an attempt to extract the deep concepts being conveyed.

In his book he speaks of the use of patterns, types and chiasms in the Bible and he contends that there are three fundamental seven-step patterns in scripture. The first is the seven day CREATION pattern. The second and most important is the DOMINION pattern. The third is the FESTIVALS pattern given to his people Israel.

The seven feasts of Israel show us that the process of gathering God’s people is written into Creation as the harvest year. Bull contends that understanding the Bible requires biblical theology that is not only literary and historical, but also typological. Christ reveals himself and teaches his people how to think using typology and chiasmus to communicate.

 


dominion
.


dominion 2

According to Bull, the above pattern is the DNA of the Bible which our entire culture is founded on. Remarkably, the above pattern is found in many if not most of our novels and movies.

festival

“details of these feasts follow on the next two pages” Yes, the next pages are amazing. Sorry, you will have to purchase the book if you are curious. As it is, I may get my hands slapped for showing a few screen shots of his work.

Ok, just one more screen print and then I will be a good little boy and try to avoid copyright infringement.

The following screen print illustrates the complete structure God uses in all His dealings with His Creation. in it, all three patterns correspond with each other

 

Creation-Feasts-Dominion

new creation

According to Bull, the above illustration depicts the heartbeat of creation and the cycle of the human day and a human life.

Those of you who are aware of my belief that Moses provided an intercessory intervention by means of offering himself as an atonement offering for Israel, which was be typological for Joseph Smith’s calling, can perhaps envision me falling off of my chair when I read the following snippet in Bull’s work:

“We can identify Moses as the Firstfruits offering, the beginning of the first generation harvest [Penticost], and the later generation as the final harvest of olives and grapes in the Promised Land [Booths].” (pg 40)

There is so much more in this book (much of which I haven’t even read yet!) I would love to share but I don’t want to do anything more than whet your appetite and to demonstrate just how seriously Bible scholars take the existence of  patterns and Chiasmus in the Bible.

Now then, realizing the huge significance of patterns and chiasic structure in the scriptures as viewed by Bible scholars, it is not surprising that LDS scholars like Jared R. Demke, Blake Ostler, Boyd F. Edwards, Farrell Edwards and numerous others have highlighted and heralded the presence of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon as another proof of it’s divine origin. Chiasms in the Book of Mormon are all over the place. The observation and study of Chiasm in the Bible by Biblical scholars arguably did not even emerge in earnest until after the Book of Mormon was published. Nevertheless, skeptics such as Sandra Tanner and Daniel Vogel opine that Joseph Smith must have noticed the presence of Chiastic style in the Bible and mimicked it when he wrote the Book of Mormon. LOL!

While both of those critics have been known to conger up intelligent responses to the claims of LDS apologists regarding selected topics, the above response is certainly not among them. If one believes the testimony of Emma and others who claimed that Joseph was almost illiterate and could barely write a legible sentence in 1829 when he struggled to read the words God was putting in front of him during the translation (interpretation) process, the thought that Joseph was creating the exhaustive and rather complex narrative in the Book of Mormon in a matter of about three months, while also embedding complex detailed chiasms within it, is laughable. I can just see Joseph sitting at the table and struggling to create some of the incredibly detailed and complex chiastic structures in the Book of Mormon.

Here are a few samples of the remarkable chiasms in the Book of Mormon: 

A King Benjamin exhorts his sons (1:1-8)
 B Mosiah chosen to succeed his father (1:10)
  C Mosiah receives the records (1:16)
   D Benjamin's speech and the words of the angel (2:9-5:15 )
    E People enter into a covenant (6:1 )
     F Priests consecrated (6:13)
      G Ammon leaves Zarahemla for the land of Lehi-Nephi (7:1-6)
       H People in bondage, Ammon put in prison (7:15)
        I The 24 gold plates (8:9)
         J The record of Zeniff begins as he leaves Zarahemla (9:1)
          K Defense against the Lamanites (9:14-10:20)
           L Noah and his priests (11:1-15)
            M Abinadi persecuted and thrown in prison (11-12)
             N Abinadi reads the old law and old Messianic prophecies to the priests (13-14)
             N' Abinadi makes new prophecies about Jesus Christ (15-16)
            M' Abinadi persecuted and killed (17:5-20)
           L' Noah and his priests (18:32-20:5)
          K' Lamanites threaten the people of Limhi (20:6-6-26)
         J' Record of Zeniff ends as he leaves the land of Lehi-Nephi
        I' The 24 gold plates (21:27, 22:14)
       H' People of Alma in bondage (23)
      G' Alma leaves the land of Lehi-Nephi for Zarahemla (24)
     F' The Church organized by Alma (25:14-24)
    E' Unbelievers refuse to enter covenant ( 26: 1-4 )
   D' The words of Alma and the words of the angel of the Lord (26-27)
  C' Alma the Younger receives the records (28:20)
 B' Judges chosen instead of a king (29:5-32)
A' Mosiah exhorts his people (29:5-32)

Here is one from Alma 36

(a) My son, give ear to my WORDS (1)

.(b) KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God and ye shall PROSPER IN THE LAND (2) (a)

.(c) DO AS I HAVE DONE (2)

.(d) in REMEMBERING THE CAPTIVITY of our fathers (2);

.(e) for they were in BONDAGE (2)

.(f) he surely did DELIVER them (2)

.(g) TRUST in God (3)

.(h) supported in their TRIALS, and TROUBLES, and AFFLICTIONS (3)

.(i) shall be lifted up at the LAST DAY (3)

.(j) I KNOW this not of myself but of GOD (4)

.(k) BORN OF GOD (5)

.(l) I sought to destroy the church of God (6-9)

.(m) MY LIMBS were paralyzed (10)

.(n) Fear of being in the PRESENCE OF GOD (14-15)

.(o) PAINS of a damned soul (16)

.(p) HARROWED UP BY THE MEMORY OF SINS (17)

.(q) I remembered JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD (17)

.(q’) I cried, JESUS, SON OF GOD (18)

.(p’) HARROWED UP BY THE MEMORY OF SINS no more (19)

.(o’)  Joy as exceeding as was the PAIN (20)

.(n’) Long to be in the PRESENCE OF GOD (22)

.(m’) My LIMBS received their strength again (23)

.(l’) I labored to bring souls to repentance (24)

.(k’) BORN OF GOD (26)

.(j’) Therefore MY KNOWLEDGE IS OF GOD (26)

.(h’) Supported under TRIALS, TROUBLES, and AFFLICTIONS (27)

.(g’) TRUST in him (27)

.(f’) He will deliver me (27)

.(i’) and RAISE ME UP AT THE LAST DAY (28)

.(e’) As God brought our fathers out of BONDAGE and captivity (28-29)

.(d’) Retain in REMEMBRANCE THEIR CAPTIVITY (28-29)

.(c’) KNOW AS I DO KNOW (30)

.(b’) KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS and ye shall PROSPER IN THE LAND (30)

.(a’) This is according to his WORD (30).

(Sorry, the above chiasm refused to stay in the geese formation! Use your imagination)

It is remarkable to note that chiasms also show up in the Book of Abraham and the Doctrine and Covenants.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable examples of Chiasmus that I have seen is found in section 76, known as “The Vision” in the early days of the church.

The vision contains the amazing revelation received by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon wherein they were shown the fall of Lucifer and the three degrees of glory.

Aside from the first few passages and the last few passages, the entire account of this vision constitutes one chiasm after another and in some cases, has chiasms embedded within chiasms! An incredible article from which I got this information was written by H. Clay Gorton.

Gorton states that:

“The complicated literary format of Section 76 is all the more striking considering the manner in which the revelation was received and recorded.”

At this point, it is worth reviewing  Philo Dibble’s account of the vision:

“Joseph would, at intervals, say: “What do I see?” as one might say while looking out the window and beholding what all in the room could not see. Then he would relate what he had seen or what he was looking at.

Then Sidney replied, “I see the same.” Presently Sidney would say “what do I see?” and would repeat what he had seen or was seeing, and Joseph would reply, “I see the same.”

This manner of conversation was repeated at short intervals to the end of the vision, and during the whole time not a word was spoken by any other person. Not a sound nor motion made by anyone but Joseph and Sidney, and it seemed to me that they never moved a joint or limb during the time I was there, which I think was over an hour, and to the end of the vision.”

Gorton also makes the following point about Sidney Rigdon being the one that penned section 76 while still in the spirit:

“Of major significance is the fact that Joseph Smith apparently did not write Section 76. The commandment was given in verse 28, And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision. Ivan J. Barrett reports in his book entitled Joseph Smith and the Restoration, that Joseph requested Sidney Rigdon to write the vision, and that he stayed up the entire night following the vision to put it in written form.”

I would suggest that Sidney Rigdon was “in the spirit” writing prophetically while writing down the account of what he and Joseph saw in the vision. Sidney was not attempting to embed an ancient Hebrew form of poetic style in the narrative, rather, the chiastic result was indeed the result of revelation from God!

Gorton seems to concur with my belief while pointing out that Joseph’s poem of Section 76  is not chiastic!

“It is interesting to note that in 1843 the Prophet wrote a poetic version of Section 76. This has been examined for chiastic content and has been found to be non-chiastic except for one elementary couplet found in verse 69– “from the least unto the greatest, and greatest to least.”

Such an elementary structure, as an isolated case in a much larger presentation, would be assumed to be acciden­tal. The fact that chiasmus is virtually non-existent in the Prophet’s own rendition of a highly chiastic revelation further supports the contention that Joseph Smith was not aware of the chiastic form.

Furthermore, the magnitude of the chiastic content and the complexity of the chiastic structures in Section 76 and in the Doctrine and Covenants as a whole preclude the possibility that the literary structure could have been contrived and composed by the ingenuity of the Prophet while dictating to a scribe, and in addition provide strong­ evidence that the contents, structure and wording of the Doctrine and Covenants are of Divine origin.”

I have shared the  previous thoughts about the beautiful patterns and chiasmus in modern and ancient scripture not to convince the skeptic of anything, for indeed, only the spirit can convert the unbeliever. I share these things for the benefit of the believer to enhance your study of the scriptures and to rejoice with you in the amazing beauty and brilliance that is found in the inspired utterances of the Lord’s servants. God has condescended and communicated to mortal man in a corrupt language in amazing ways. I long for the day when we will be communicating in the pure Adamic language.

It is my hope that Believers in the Book of Mormon that have lost faith in the significance and credibility of the Bible will regain a witness that it is true.

Happy New Year.

PS the complete article by Gorton can be viewed here.

The chiastic structure of Section 76 does not maintain its visual beauty when copied into this blog so I encourage you to go to his article if you want to see and read it.


Notable Emails- Part 2: “Readers deserve to know if you truly are a heretic or just a faithful divergent thinker”

December 29, 2014

The next communication that I thought I would include in this series comes from a person whose initials are PT.

The entire communication that we had back and forth with each other is too long to include here, but about half way through our dialogue with each other, through email, he posed an interesting question:

“Watcher,

I’m reading your “doctrine of awareness” series and I was wondering something.

It is very interesting.

I wanted to know if you sustain the prophet or not, if you are an active endowed member of the church.
With all those Denver, Rock, ordained Ladiz & co, readers deserve to know if you truly are a heretic or just a faithful divergent thinker.”

Of course a heretic is simply a divergent thinker who interprets scripture differently than the mainstream membership. The fact that a person is a heretic does not necessarily mean that he is wrong. Nevertheless, I understood what he was asking….. Here is my response:

“I suspect that most people that have read very many of my blog posts have a pretty good idea where I am coming from. I don’t go into detail [about my personal situation] because I don’t want the blog to be about me, nor do I hold myself up as a light to the world.

The idea is to use the concepts offered on the blog to stimulate thought and motivate a person to search deeper into the scriptures.

Nevertheless, since you have asked-

I consider myself a “Mormon” and a “Latter day Saint” in the broad, generic sense of the terms because I am a passionate believer in the Book of Mormon, the mission of Joseph Smith and the fulness of the Gospel which was briefly restored to the earth through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith…. and which will be returning [to the earth] shortly.

I believe all people that truly believe in Christ and try to live his teachings and who stand ready to receive the fulness of the Gospel are considered to be part of His preparatory church before the “true and living” church is fully restored.

I also believe that at this time, there “are none that doeth good except those who are ready to receive the fulness of [His] gospel“

Regarding the modern corporation that has co-oped the name of “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints”, [Based on a misinterpretation of the prophecy about what the name of the church will be in the end times, after the final restoration commences, as contained in section 115 and following that, a denial of Gods promise to reject the church with it’s dead in section 124] I resigned my affiliation with that corporation about two decades ago.

I never encourage others to do the same because I have noticed that it usually does not end well for many people that do that. It is difficult for people to leave their community and tribe and to become spiritually self actualizing, without a support system. Many that leave, do so before they become seasoned in their beliefs. The result is that many become LDS fundamentalists or have a total crisis of faith and become atheists. (it is difficult to know which is more detrimental to the soul)

I think it is best for most people to wait until the appointed time when the Lord will call his people out of Babylon.

Regarding whether I sustain Tom Monson as a prophet seer and revelator-

I have seen no evidence to support the belief that he is a Seer or has been given the gift of being able to translate ancient records through the gift of seership. I do not believe he has the capacity to have or use a urim and thummim or a seer stone, indeed, he needs to employ the services of a professional translator when knowing what an ancient document says or when speaking to foreigners. Hence, I am unable to sustain him as a Seer or translator.

I have never seen him reveal new doctrine that is true, so I cannot sustain him as being a revelator.

I have never heard him prophesy and I have seen nothing to indicate that he is filled with the spirit of prophecy and therefore I cannot sustain him as a prophet.

After years of hearing him speak in GC and hearing him share his knowledge of the gospel, and evaluating his method of delivery, I am of the opinion that he is best suited for teaching in the Jr. Sunday School at the local level under the close supervision of a seasoned gospel scholar.

I hope this clears things up for you.

I thank you for visiting my blog

Watcher”

PT’s reply to my response:

“Thanks for your honesty and transparency.

I’ll keep reading and studying your blog though I may not agree on everything there’s a big plus to your posts : it makes me think outside the box and make me want to dig in the scriptures; it stirs up something inside my soul.

Have a good day”

My follow up:

“What box? LOL

I am glad it is motivating you to dig into the word of God, that is the only purpose of the blog and the only thing you should be concerned with.. all of the other opinions and interpretations are simply to push people out of their comfort zone and the past indoctrination and to get them to think and SEARCH the scriptures”

[BTW I have stated repeatedly in previous posts that the church still has relevance in several ways. It plays an important role in getting the BofM out there and it provides a training ground during this little season that we are in while we are waiting for the light of the fulness of the gospel to shine forth again, etc.

PS. If my blog motivates people to want to “dig in the scriptures”, it is accomplishing it’s purpose. Here are the links to the Doctrine of Awareness series that prompted PT’s questions

Miscellaneous Musings #14 The Collateral Damage of the LDS Historical Essays on Polygamy Transcend the Mormon Church

December 21, 2014

I have a friend that has felt compelled to move to a little town in Missouri not far from Adam-ondi-Ahman and Far West.

Adam-Ondi-Ahmen it is the site where Adam and Eve lived after being expelled from the Garden of Eden. According to a revelation given to Joseph Smith, Adam met his children at the site three years before his death to bestow his blessing on them.

According to latter day revelation Adam will convene another meeting there to turn the government of the human family officially to Jesus Christ.

I recently had the privilege of helping my friend to take a few items to his new home. While on this journey, he and I took an unofficial tour of Adam-ondi-Ahmen. The hike lasted about four hours and it involved the blatant disregard of several “keep out” and “no trespassing”signs.

What a blast!

One of the hidden treasures that we came upon was an old grave yard

grave yard

It was very difficult to read most of the grave stones. One of them was dated 1860

grave stone

Another hidden treasure which was one of the highlights of my entire trip, was to visit what is left of the foundation of Lyman Wights home in the land of Adam-Ondi-Ahmen. My friend Malachi showed me where this secret place is.

Wight came upon this area of land and built his home on it shortly after the saints had to flee Jackson County and eventually, Kirtland.

Joseph Smith later visited Lyman Wight’s homestead and declared that it was the land where Adam had blessed his posterity anciently and would yet bless them again in the future.

lyman home

The above foundation of this historic home and spot of land, is less than a few hundred feet off of one of the main visitor paths in Adam-Ondi-Ahman.

It is secluded in a forest of trees typological to how the true history of the restoration movement is secluded within the official, sanitized history of the church.

None of the plaques and historical markers at this church owned historic site mention anything about it probably because of the low regard the church has for Wight.

Each year thousands of LDS visitors walk right down the path and past the grove of trees that the Wight home foundation is located in, not knowing that they are missing the incredible opportunity to see the remains of the foundation of the home of Lyman Wight, one of the greatest prophets of the restoration movement.

Wight is one of my favorite characters of the LDS restoration movement.

He is one of the few that saw the father and the son during the short 3 1/2 year period that the fulness was one the earth.

lyman wight 2

I couldn’t help but think that if Joseph Smith or Parley Pratt had lived on that spot of land, it would be one of the main attractions of the place.

Ironically, most of the truly great players of the restoration movement, like Lyman Wight, Sidney Rigdon, William Marks and William Law are now forgotten, or marginalized or outright hated by many people in Mormonism that have been fed the sanitized version of church history

Preacher’s Rock

preachers rock

The above picture is a large rock called “preachers rock” which is located on the hillside below Lyman Wights old homestead. My friend Malachi is standing on it calling me to repentance, to no avail. My neck is stiff and my heart is hardened whilst awaiting to the return of the servants and the restoration of the fulness.

Independence Missouri

I also took the opportunity of driving to In dependence Missouri where I met with people associated with about four or five different branches of the restoration movement.

My journey included an interesting discussion with a tour guide at the Church of Christ Temple Lot Church. When I met with these folks many years ago I was infomed that they accepted everything in the Book of Mormon and Book of Commandments, but nothing beyond that.

This time around, I was informed that they only accept things up to the Book of Mormon but do not accept the Book of Commandments as reliable scripture.

It was surprising to see that they had evolved backwards so far in so short of a time.

God is withdrawing truth from them.

It reminds me of some of the LDS fringe groups who are now rejecting anything after the Book of Mormon, because of the writings of David Whitmer.

temple lot

I found it fascinating and quite disturbing to see that there is a statue and plaque honoring the United Nations, within spitting distance of the holy ground upon which the lot for the future Jackson County Temple was identified by the finger of the Lord.

What an abomination.

In the background of the statue, you can see the Temple Lot Church of Christ to the left, the plot where the future temple will stand to the right, and in the middle, you can see that temple of the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS Church)

un

LDS Historical Essays on Polygamy

I was able to visit with the prophet of one of the restoration churches (who is a direct descendant of Joseph Smith) as well as the fellow over at restoration bookstore- Price Publishing who does the defendingjoseph website. (Pamela Price and her deceased husband are the ones that wrote “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy”. Sadly, Pamela was not at the book store, she was at home feverishly working on part three of that series, thanks to the great interest that the essays have created in the topic of polygamy.)

Both of these people informed me that the historical essays that have recently been published by the LDS Church, regarding Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy, have had a devastating impact even on these other branches of the restoration movement!

Many people in the other restoration traditions are now having a crisis of faith as a result of these essays.

This is, of course very sad. It will be interesting to see, after the dust settles, how much collateral damage is done by these essays, in both the LDS church and all of the other branches of the LDS restoration movement.

Being Ordained by the Church Patriarch

The following is an interesting snippet from an article by John Pratt

“It is interesting that the Lord lists the Presiding Patriarch first when enumerating the officers of the Church (D&C 124:124). President Joseph F. Smith chose to be ordained President of the Church by the Presiding Patriarch John Smith, who was the oldest son of Hyrum Smith. This suggests that if either the President or the Patriarch dies, his successor can apparently be ordained by the other if need be.”

Biker rides up mountain as an atheist, returns as a believer.

Market Watch

Russian ruble falls to new lows after OPEC meeting. Meanwhile, the mainstream media ignores the fact that congress has just approved war with Russia

Article on Polygamy by RLDS Person

This is one of the best articles I have read on polygamy

Obama FDA plans to allow Homosexual men to DONATE BLOOD, removing 31-year Ban!
.

The federal government is on the brink of lifting restrictions put in place more than three decades ago when regulators, alarmed by the spread of the virus that causes AIDS, barred men who had sex with other men from donating blood.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel will begin a two-day meeting on the issue Tuesday (December 2), amid growing calls from medical groups, gay rights activists and lawmakers to jettison the ban as outdated and discriminatory.

In 1983, the FDA put in place the beginnings of a policy that remains today: Any man who has had sex with another man — even once — since 1977 is prohibited from donating blood.

link to www.washingtonpost.com

Prophecy of Dumitru Duduman

Dumitru prophesied maybe 13 years ago that just prior to the WW3 attack on the USA, that the USA government would be busy fighting a rebellion in the center of the USA  (Ferguson)


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