The Apostasy of the LDS Church


Note by LDS Anarchist: The 54,169 word article found below was not written by me.  It was authored by Curtis R. Porritt.  I invited him to participate in the blog, or, at the very least, to give me permission to publish his articles here, but have yet to receive an answer.  So I am publishing this particular article with the understanding that if he emails me back and does not extend permission, I will delete it.  With that in mind, should you decide to comment, just be aware that there is the possibility that the post and your comments may disappear, depending on what Curtis decides.  Also, just because I am publishing his words does not mean that I agree with everything he has written.  Please remember that these are his words, not mine. The original article contained graphics which I was not able to upload, but at least you can read the text.


THE APOSTASY OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

By:

Curtis R. Porritt

September 25, 1999

“If I said what’s on my mind,

You’d turn and walk away,

Disappearing way back in your dreams.

It’s so hard to be unkind,

So easy just to say

That everything is just the way it seems.”

From the song, “A Man I’ll Never Be,” by Boston


SOME COUNSEL TO THE READER

This manuscript discusses some very difficult issues. It is not intended for non-Mormons. Nor is it intended for those who’s faith is weak or who are not well versed in the doctrines, history, and/or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I feel it is important that a foundation of faith and knowledge exists before a person attempts a study such as this one. Without such a foundation, the discussion which follows may do more damage than good to a person as far as building faith and promoting righteousness are concerned. I encourage all who receive a copy of this manuscript to use wisdom before sharing it with others – always keeping in mind the welfare and best interests of those with whom you share it.

Joseph Smith once said,

I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen. (TPJS Pg.331)

It has been my experience that even among the most active and faithful Mormons, we will find those who have great difficulty with some of the issues that follow. Please know that it is my intent to learn truth and to promote Zion, not to deceive or destroy. If there are false teachings found within these pages, which there probably are, I would encourage the reader to judge the teachings, rather than the author. If there are offensive but true teachings found within this manuscript, I would encourage the reader to prayerfully judge themselves in relation to those teachings, rather than judging God, his gospel, or his servants. I feel this is important to keep in mind as we proceed.

INTRODUCTION

There are at least three types of “Mormons.” I refer to these three types as anti-Mormons, social Mormons, and ultra-Mormons.

Everybody is familiar with anti-Mormons. These are people who claim to know more about Mormonism than most others. They tend to pride themselves on knowing the “deep dark secrets” of LDS history and doctrine. Yet, for whatever reason, they have come to view it all from a rather negative perspective. Seldom do anti-Mormons say anything positive about the LDS church or its doctrine. They tend to view the whole of it as negative, hypocritical, and false. They often believe that no good thing could ever come from any part of Mormonism. They have the uncanny ability to find something wrong with even the most innocent and positive remarks made by leaders of the church. Anti-Mormons generally claim that both social Mormons and ultra-Mormons are misled, naive, and uninformed. Yet, for some reason, many anti-Mormons find it difficult to leave Mormonism alone. They often refuse to leave quietly or let well enough alone. It is not enough for anti-Mormons to simply reject Mormonism and leave it behind. For some reason, they feel they must attack it. They often seem to feel somewhat “duty bound” to correct others or justify their own views and conclusions regarding Mormonism.

The social Mormons, on the other hand, are those who are basically the rank and file members of the church. They are, in some ways, the opposite of the anti-Mormons. These are the devout church goers who tend to doubt no portion of the restored gospel, whether they understand it or not. In word, social Mormons accept literally all of the leaders of the church, both past and present, without question or debate. Yet, in common study, conversation, and practice, social Mormons tend to appreciate the modern leaders of the church more than the early leaders, especially Brigham Young. Social Mormons are generally unable to successfully combat anti-Mormons. For the most part, social Mormons don’t have the knowledge, or even the interest, to do so. They all but ignore the anti-Mormons and are usually content to remain active in the church without ever really gaining an understanding of the higher doctrines or difficult issues involved with Mormonism. Social Mormons usually have testimonies of the restored gospel, but may not fully understand or appreciate the source or content of their testimonies. Often, social Mormons can be accurately described as having “zeal without knowledge” or as accepting without question or understanding. Social Mormons may also include those who are simply inactive in the church – not because they know something, but more often because they don’t.

Ultra-Mormons are a unique group of people whose numbers seem to have grown dramatically in recent years. Because of their diversity, they are a little more difficult to define. In general, ultra-Mormons are those who have spent a good deal of time thinking about the hard questions of Mormonism but who continue to have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and the restored gospel. They’ve dealt with most of the difficult issues and are generally aware of the arguments of the anti-Mormons, both historical and doctrinal. In fact, ultra-Mormons even view some of the anti-Mormon arguments as further evidence that the restored gospel is true. Much of what is considered to be a negative by both the antis and the socials, such as plural marriage, Adam-God, or the united order, is often sweet to the taste of an ultra-Mormon. Ultra-Mormons also tend to have more appreciation for the early leaders of the church, especially Brigham Young, than they do for the modern leaders. Often frustrated by “modern Mormonism” in general, ultra-Mormons are not always active members of the LDS church. Some are even members of various LDS fundamentalist groups, while others have either been excommunicated for “apostasy” or have drifted away from the church on their own accord. Yet, there are numerous, active, church-going ultra-Mormons, many of whom are unknown to the general population of the church. This is often by design because of fear that they will be kicked out if their views are ever discovered. Some of these active ultra-Mormons are viewed as trouble-makers by the social Mormons because they continually bring up difficult issues or “off the wall” comments in Sunday School, Relief Society, and/or Priesthood meeting. Due to their love for and knowledge of the restored gospel, they are often a little too adamant in their approach, making people uncomfortable and causing themselves to look and sound like fanatics.

These three general categories are not rigid in their definition. There are many shades of gray between them. However, most Latter-day Saints start out as social Mormons. As time passes, some of these social Mormons end up migrating into one of the other camps, a difficult and often painful transition indeed. Unfortunately, many of those on the path of becoming ultra-Mormons never finish the process and end up as anti-Mormons. This is often the result of having a bad experience with the LDS church or its leadership. When one is on the path of becoming an ultra-Mormon, there are many questions to be answered. The LDS church generally provides few good responses to these questions. In fact, often it provides incorrect answers or no answers at all. This leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the learning ultra-Mormon. In some cases it causes them to stop the learning process altogether and leave the whole issue behind them. Other people tend to only focus on the negative parts of the restored church, without giving equal time to the positive issues so clearly present. Still others are able to overcome these difficulties and continue the process of objectively and honestly searching for answers to their difficult questions. This last group generally becomes the ultra-Mormons.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description of Graphic: “The Path of Mormons” in bold letters at the top.  Three boxes with words in them.  At the bottom, Box #1 has the words, “Social Mormons” with an arrow pointing upward to Box #2 and an arrow going up and then veering to the right to Box #3.  Box #2 has the words, “Ultra-Mormons”.  Box#3 has the words, “Anti-Mormons”.]

As a general rule of thumb, you can tell which type of Mormon you’re dealing with by the comments they make about the church and the restoration of the gospel. In most cases, over 90% of the comments made by social Mormons will be positive as far as the church, it’s leadership, or the restoration in general is concerned. On the other hand, you can usually identify an anti-Mormon because over 90% of their comments on similar topics will be negative. Both socials and antis generally only find and speak about those things they’re looking for to defend their own perspectives on Mormonism. They sometimes have a tendency to put the whole truth aside in lieu of their personal agendas of either defending or attacking the church. Unfortunately, they are often more concerned with who’s right than they are with what’s right. Ultra-Mormons, however, tend to see and speak about both the positive and the negative aspects of Mormonism. They may not always be 50-50 in their views and comments, but they will seldom be as extreme as either the socials or the antis. A true ultra-Mormon will usually be more interested in what is right or wrong than he is in who is right or wrong. Because of this, they will tend to find and comment about both the positive and the negative within Mormonism.

This manuscript was written mostly with the ultra-Mormon in mind. It is an effort to keep new or fledgling ultra-Mormons from becoming anti-Mormons. In general, most social Mormons won’t be aware of or even care about the issues raised in this work. It is possible, however, that a social Mormon may begin the journey of becoming an ultra-Mormon through reading this material. On the other hand, most anti-Mormons are too far gone to give these arguments any credence. My experience has been that most anti-Mormons have pretty much made up their minds and that a legion of sword-carrying angels could not convince them otherwise. I’m sure they see themselves quite differently, as is their right.

In general, this paper will likely be unpopular among most groups associated with the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith. It will probably be unappealing to both “apostle” and “apostate” alike, however you may define those terms. The arguments presented here reflect somewhat of a “lose-lose” scenario. And everybody hates to be on the “losing team.”

Most social Mormons will find the contents of this work offensive due to the references regarding apostasy in the LDS church. However, most anti-Mormons, and even many ultra-Mormons, will also find portions of it unappealing due to the defense given to the position of the LDS church. In some cases, those who read this work will claim that it is half right and half wrong, depending on their current view of Mormonism. Yet, I feel this is a work that is worth writing and should be seriously considered by all who claim to have an in-depth interest in Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel in the latter days. It is a work that searches for harsh honesty and difficult truths in the midst of hypocrisy, pride, and apostasy. It tries to point out the gray area on topics that most people want to see as either black or white. Although certainly not complete in its scope, I feel that those ultra-Mormons who honestly care about the work of God in the latter days will likely find this work appealing in some way or other, even if they disagree with some of the arguments presented.

THE PROBLEM

It is clear that we live in a time of great religious confusion. There is a lot happening today that is difficult to explain. For some, Mormonism and all of its associated factions or split-off groups has become similar to the times of Joseph Smith, when he was trying to find the true church among all the different denominations of his day. This problem is especially acute among the ultra-Mormons, who are actively looking for answers to their complex questions. The number of people today crying “lo here and lo there” has reached epidemic proportions within the realms of Mormonism. To make things even more difficult, because of their LDS roots, many of these groups cling desperately to the principle of personal revelation. There is an increasing number of people who claim that personal revelation or some other spiritual experience has confirmed their convictions. These experiences, they testify, have pointed them in some spiritual direction or other regarding the restored gospel and the LDS church. These various groups tend to employ the same arguments of conversion used by LDS missionaries since the church was established. They not only claim personal revelation themselves concerning their own beliefs, but they also claim that anyone can receive the same witness for themselves and thus “know” that the direction being taught to them is the correct one. This seems to throw an added wrench into the cry of “lo here and lo there” that was not so prevalent in Joseph Smith’s day. As we’ve seen from the success of the LDS church, this method of getting converts tends to work well among people who truly care about God and his gospel.

In addition to the plea for personal revelation, this spiritual confusion is also increased because more and more people are learning the higher principles of the gospel, as taught by the early leaders of the LDS church. Access to church historical documents is at an all time high. With a short search on the Internet or a quick spin of a CD, Mormons and non-Mormons alike can have literally thousands of LDS references at their fingertips regarding almost any topic. Unfortunately, what most people are finding is that there is a significant discrepancy between the early LDS church and the modern LDS church. For those who are true believers of Joseph Smith and who honestly want to live according to the fundamental principles he restored, this tends to cause some anxiety concerning those principles. To some extent, this is what causes social Mormons to become either anti or ultra. Many Latter-day Saints are becoming confused and frustrated by the apparent incongruities between “early Mormonism” and “modern Mormonism.” These incongruities have become so obvious and easy to research that it is no longer a viable option to ignore the issues or try to cover them up them. For perhaps the first time in LDS history, church leadership is unable to control what people read and hear about LDS doctrine and history. Given some recent comments in General Conference and other forms of media, it seems clear that LDS church leadership is both aware of this problem and they are concerned about how to deal with it. Yet, it seems equally as clear that no easy solutions are readily available.

In general, the LDS church seems to like the social Mormons, while disliking or not caring much about the anti-Mormons, and being confused by the ultra-Mormons, many of whom have no desire to fight against the church in any way. Many ultra-Mormons simply love the restored gospel and have strong desires to pursue it in its fullness. For a while the ultra-Mormons appeared to be largely disliked by church leaders. In many instances the church even confused them with anti-Mormons. They were often excommunicated as apostates and troublemakers. However, this attitude seems to be changing over the last several years. Although still concerned about the ultra-Mormons, the LDS church seems to be taking a slightly different approach than it once did. The results seem to include more tolerance and fewer excommunications, as well as perhaps a different curriculum focusing on the teachings of early leaders (though watered down somewhat). There seem to be fewer “witch hunts” than there used to be in the church. Yet, even with these changes, it is still unclear how the church views ultra-Mormons. Excommunications still take place and most local church leaders, comprised mostly of socials Mormons, still seem largely unprepared to deal with the issues raised by the ultra-Mormons.

By way of example, I believe the following portion of a letter adds substance and meaning to the problem at hand. This letter represents an example of how one family chose to deal with the apparent discrepancies between what we will call “early Mormonism” and “modern Mormonism.” This letter came to me anonymously from a friend on the Internet. I feel it characterizes the concerns more and more people are having with the LDS church today. The letter was originally written to a Bishop and Stake President in an effort to explain why this person and his family had chosen to become inactive. I feel it is a classic example of how many ultra-Mormons feel today and that it also expresses the complexity of the issue.

In 1977, we purchased a set of the JOURNAL OF DISCOURSES, and that purchase changed the entire course of our lives. As you know, the JOURNALS consist mostly of conference reports and other addresses by the General Authorities of the Church. Members of the Church are encouraged to be concerned only with the reports of current conferences, because, since it is only necessary to “follow the living prophet,” no one need be concerned about the teachings of former prophets. Most members who buy the 26 volumes of the JOURNALS leave them unread on the shelf. Well, we not only read them but studied them, and this has made all the difference.

As we continued studying the JOURNALS, they led us to other sources of information about the teachings and practices of the Church and its leaders in the 19th Century. Over the months and years, it gradually dawned on us with an ever increasing awareness that the Church we belonged to as mid 20th Century Mormons was not the same Church as that founded by the Prophet Joseph Smith and perpetuated by Brigham Young. In spite of the constant reassurances by contemporary Church leaders that, only procedural matters of “form and policy” have changed, we began to realize that the changes have been much more extensive and profound. In fact, there have been drastic doctrinal changes, including total reversals of official Church position. How could this occur in a system based on the revelation of absolute, unchanging and unchangeable “truths” to prophets of God? Could one of the “prophets” have been wrong? Or both? Or maybe all?

For years we attempted to work it all out so that it all made sense. The more we studied and prayed, the less the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit, and the greater became our concern and our dismay. Eventually, however, we came to realize that the reason the pieces did not fit was because they were pieces to different puzzles. The Church had changed so much from its 19th Century origins that it was no longer the same.

To list the changes of which I speak and to document them would lengthen this epistle into a volume of unwieldy size. Some of the more outstanding areas of concern, however, include the identity of and nature of Deity (“Adam God”); Jehovah of the Old Testament and Christ; consecration, united order and tithing; the nature of eternal progression; the temple endowment; eternal marriage, polygamous and monogamous; Negro and priesthood; the priesthood garment; priesthood offices, particularly that of Seventy; blood atonement; preaching by the spirit vs. written speeches; method of missionary work; trusting our salvation to human leaders; world and national politics, government and friendship with the world; infallibility of the President of the Church; the nature of revelation; gathering of Israel; rebaptism; adoption; laws of God and laws of man; establishment of the Kingdom of God; sacrament; and more. In all of these areas, the present teachings of the Church are not the same as they were before the great transition in Mormonism which occurred just after the turn of the century. (Anonymous letter received from a friend in the fall of 1997)

Regardless of our own personal views regarding each the various doctrines mentioned above, the point to be made is that more and more people are beginning to see differences between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism. An article in a recent Utah newspaper also outlined the problem.

Salt Lake District Attorney Neal Gunnarson talks about a caller who said he could point out 500 ways the LDS Church has been changed since Joseph Smith. An excommunicated Mormon, the caller said he can’t follow the LDS Church but he will always believe in Joseph Smith. Therefore, the caller tells Gunnarson, he must believe in polygamy. “Do you have more than one wife now?” Gunnarson asked the caller. “No, but my wife and I are looking.” (Deseret News, Sunday, August 30, 1998)

The crime of these particular ultra-Mormons, if one has been committed at all, is apparently that they love the restored gospel with all their heart and honestly want to know and do what is right, but they are having difficulty reconciling the “truth” of early Mormonism with the “truth” of modern Mormonism. This creates no small problem for church leaders who are also trying to do what they feel is best and right. As this work will attempt to show, this problem is complex, with few black and white solutions.

Another good example of the problem at hand can be found in a letter written by Elder Bruce R. McConkie to a member of the church. In that letter Elder McConkie openly admitted that he objects to certain points of doctrine espoused by President Brigham Young regarding Adam. Elder McConkie stated,

Yes, President Young did teach that Adam was the father of our spirits, and all the related things that the cultists ascribe to him. This, however, is not true. He expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel. (Letter to Eugene England, February 19, 1981)

The reason this statement is so meaningful is that it is a clear admission that Brigham actually taught what he taught about Adam and that Elder McConkie believed these teachings were “out of harmony” with the gospel. If nothing else, I believe this is an honest assessment of the situation. It also raises some good questions about the popular LDS belief that a prophet of the church would not be allowed to lead the church astray or teach false doctrine. Evidently, Elder McConkie believed otherwise in the case of Brigham Young. Brigham Young’s teachings regarding Adam are not only clear, but relatively consistent. To say that there is no discrepancy between Elder McConkie and President Young on this point is to state an untruth. Yet, this is only one of many areas of disagreement between Elder McConkie and President Young.

From such statements as these it is easy to see how a person with a strong testimony of the restoration can become a “Mormon fundamentalist.” Many people who are honest and serious about living the fullness of the restored gospel want to know what is true and correct concerning these doctrines. Yet, when they study the teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others, they build a strong argument for following their teachings instead of people like Elder McConkie. For example, consider what we know about the “spiritual resumes” of President Young and Elder McConkie:

President Brigham Young

• Member of the Quorum of 12 Apostles

• President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles

• President/Prophet of the LDS church longer than any other man

• Member of the council of 50

• Member of Joseph Smith’s “inner circle”

• Member of the Church of the Firstborn

• Close friend and confidant to Joseph Smith

• Established much of the temple ceremonies

• Many other church leaders testified that they received spiritual witnesses concerning the truthfulness of his teachings

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

• Member of the Quorum of 12 Apostles

• Author of “Mormon Doctrine,” which was found to have as many as 1067 doctrinal errors within its 776 pages by a committee under the direction of the 1st Presidency1

• Author of many other publications which propagate many of the same teachings as those found in Mormon Doctrine

The list of credits to Brigham Young could probably go on and on. But this is sufficient to make the point. When compared with Elder McConkie, President Young comes out way ahead. It is difficult to choose Elder McConkie’s teachings over President Young’s. This creates no small problem for honest people studying these issues and trying to deal with the apparent discrepancies. It should be easy to see why many people choose to believe some of the early brethren over some of the modern brethren.

So clear are the discrepancies between early and modern Mormonism that even non-Mormon scholars are starting to speak out rather authoritatively on the subject. For example, Professor Harold Bloom, a non-Mormon scholar of religion from Yale University has stated,

It has become somewhat of a commonplace to observe that modern Mormonism tends to reduce itself to another Protestant sect, another Christian heresy, while the religion of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Parley and Orson Pratt and other leading early Mormons was a far more radical swerve away from Protestant tradition. (The Annual David P. Gardner Lecture, Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, November 15, 1990)

Notice that this scholar is not necessarily attacking Mormonism or the LDS church. He’s simply stating that there is a difference between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism – a difference that seems so clear and obvious to him that he refers to it as “commonplace.” More and more people, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, are coming to the same conclusions as they study and learn about the teachings of the early leaders of the LDS church. For those who truly love the gospel, and have an unwavering testimony of Joseph Smith, this creates no small concern about the current status of the LDS church. Regarding some issues, either they were right then or they are right now, but not both. Trying to reconcile the various points of disagreement is difficult to say the least.

Elder B. H. Roberts once made a very applicable observation when he said,

Suppose your youth receive their impressions of church history from “pictures and stories” and build their faith upon these alleged miracles [and] shall someday come face to face with the fact that their belief rests on falsehoods, what then will be the result? Will they not say that since these things are myth and our Church has permitted them to be perpetuated …might not the other fundamentals to the actual story of the Church, the things in which it had its origin, might they not all be lies and nothing but lies? … [Some say that] because one repudiates the false he stands in danger of weakening, perhaps losing the truth. I have no fear of such results. I find my own heart strengthened in the truth by getting rid of the untruth, the spectacular, the bizarre, as soon as I learn that it is based upon worthless testimony. (Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story, p. 363)

Elder Roberts’ insight seems to have proven prophetic. He seems to describe exactly what is happening today among many Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately, many of these people are doubting even the restoration itself because they cannot deal with this problem.

Given the evidence, it is easy to see why confusion regarding the principles of the restored gospel is increasing. There is every reason to believe that this trend will continue. I see no way to keep the flood of information about LDS doctrines and history from the masses. I also see no way to reconcile many of the apparent contradictions found within this information.2

This paper attempts to address some of these difficult issues from the perspective of the scriptures and key teachings from the leaders of the LDS church, both past and present. As mentioned earlier, for many social Mormons, the issues presented here won’t even be a concern. For the most part, social Mormons are still largely unaware of the inconsistencies between the early LDS church and the church today. In addition, many won’t even care or see these issues as problematic. The LDS population in general falls into this category and is relatively ignorant of the gospel principles and ordinances originally taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others. Yet, I believe there is an increasing number of Mormons for whom this work will have significant meaning.

We will begin our discussion by establishing the fact that apostasy is, indeed, a valid concern within the LDS church today. We will then discuss what this means in the context of latter day prophesies about the LDS church. Finally we will address what our responsibilities might be regarding apostasy in the last days.

THE APOSTASY OF THE LDS CHURCH

As the letter above mentions, it may be impossible to adequately document all of the differences between the early teachings of the church and those of today. Suffice it to say that the list would be large, somewhat speculative, and fairly controversial. It would require a lot of research and arguments which offer fair perspectives on both sides. One might well grow weary of it before reaching the end.

Rather than trying to deal with each and every issue, it is perhaps more expedient to touch on a few specific areas for the sole purpose of showing that there are differences worth mentioning and that the concern for the LDS church is legitimate. No claim is made by the author that the issues chosen are the best ones to illustrate the problem at hand. I’m sure that other people will have their own favorites. However, I feel the list that follows represents some good examples of the apparent problems between early LDS teachings and modern LDS teachings. They illustrate the kinds of things with which many people are struggling today.

Acknowledgments Of Apostasy Within The LDS Church

One of the most interesting aspects of the latter-day apostasy are the references made to it by the leaders of the LDS church. Surprisingly, there is a great deal of acknowledgment on the part of the General Authorities. As far back as 1873 Elder Orson Pratt saw how the saints had begun to fall short in their responsibility to live the higher laws. Elder Pratt said,

What kind of a revolution would it work among the Latter day Saints if the revelation given in March, 1831, were carried out by them, “It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin?” How much of a revolution would it accomplish in Salt Lake City if this order of things should be brought about? I think it would work a greater revolution among this people than has ever been witnessed amongst them since they had an existence as a Church. (JD 15:355 356)

Later in the same address Elder Pratt made the following observation:

There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains. (JD 15:360)

Given the evidence available to us, it is reasonable to assume that these problems exist to a far greater extent today than they did in the time of Orson Pratt. It is reasonable to assume that Latter-day Saints today are at least as far away from living the principles of Zion as they were in Elder Pratt’s time. It might even be fair to say that most Latter-day Saints today can’t even carry on an intelligent conversation about the principles of Zion, let alone live them. Indeed, the whole concept of equality in riches is a fairly foreign idea to most Mormons today. Yet, it is repeated in the Doctrine and Covenants with all but redundant clarity.2

In 1886 President John Taylor made this prediction about the membership of the church:

I would be surprised if ten percent of those who claim to hold the Melchizedek priesthood will remain faithful to the gospel at the time of the seventh president and that there would be thousands that think they hold the priesthood at that time, but would not have it properly conferred upon them. (Minutes of a meeting, September 7, 1886)

President George Q. Cannon seemed to agree with President Taylor’s assessment.

The day will come when man’s priesthood and authority will be called to question, and you will find that there will be hundreds who have no priesthood, but who believe they hold it, they are holding only an office in the church. (Truth, 3:153)

In more recent years other General Authorities have expressed their concern about the general state of apostasy taking place in the LDS church. For example, in 1938 President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote the following in his journal:

It is a very apparent fact that we have traveled far and wide in the past 20 years. What the future will bring I do not know. But if we drift as far afield from fundamental things in the next 20 years, what will be left of the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith? It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the primitive church of Christ. Are we not traveling the same road? (Joseph Fielding Smith Journal, 28 December 1938)

Notice how President Smith boldly declares that we are following the same path of apostasy that occurred in the primitive church of Christ. It is difficult to misunderstand his meaning.

Elder H. Verlan Anderson placed the apostasy of the LDS church into a fairly clear perspective.

To fail to consider the possibility that the members of the church are again “falling away” would be to ignore one of the most thoroughly documented lessons of history. Especially is this true in light of the fact that the cultural, political, and educational life of Church members has become so deeply and thoroughly involved with that of non-members that they are overwhelmingly influenced by the “ways of the world.” Through newspapers and magazines, motion pictures and television, schools and lecture halls, and a thoroughly integrated economic system, Church members come into close and continuous contact with those not of their faith.

Some may assume that a “Gentile apostasy” in these latter days cannot occur because Christ’s Church is here to stay this time. They may assume that widespread departure from gospel principles by Church members is contrary to prophecy. While the scriptures do assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming, they do not state that all, or even a majority of its members will follow those prophets. On the contrary, they foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 169-170)

In later sections of this work we’ll discuss some of those scriptures to which Elder Anderson referred. For now, let’s continue with comments about apostasy within the LDS church.

President Ezra Taft Benson once declared,

Not only are there apostates within our midst, but there are also apostate doctrines that are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and that appear in our publications. And these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble. As the Book of Mormon, speaking of our day, states: “They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (2 Nephi 28:14). (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89 90)

Notice how President Benson associates the scripture in 2 Nephi 28:14 with the members of the LDS church. Most of the time when this scripture is used it is assumed that it refers to those outside the LDS church. However, it is clear that President Benson interpreted this verse quite differently. President Benson has also said,

Watchmen – what of the night? We must respond by saying that all is not well in Zion. (Conference Report, May 1986, Pg. 4. See Isaiah 21:11.)

This statement was made concerning the conditions of the church from President Benson’s perspective. In a more direct manner, President Benson has boldly told us that the church is “under condemnation” because of the lack of diligence given to the word of God.

The Lord declares that the whole Church and all the children of Zion are under condemnation because of the way we have treated the Book of Mormon. This condemnation has not been lifted, nor will it be until we repent. (See D&C 84:51-81.)

The Lord states that we must not only say but we must do! We have neither said enough nor have we done enough with this divine instrument–the key to conversion. As a result, as individuals, as families, and as the Church, we sometimes have felt the scourge and judgment God said would be “poured out upon the children of Zion” because of our neglect of this book (D&C 84:58).

The Lord inspired His servant Lorenzo Snow to reemphasize the principle of tithing to redeem the Church from financial bondage. In those days the General Authorities took that message to the members of the Church. So too in our day the Lord has inspired His servant to reemphasize the Book of Mormon to get the Church out from under condemnation–the scourge and judgment. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.63-6. See also A Witness and a Warning, Pg. vii-viii and p.9)

Imagine if similar words were uttered by Alma to the church in his day regarding the way they were treating the brass plates. If Alma had said that the church in his day was “under condemnation,” we would likely view it as a very serious situation – a situation of great apostasy and wickedness. When viewed in this light we can perhaps better understand the direct language President Benson has used with us in our time.

In a 1990 meeting with Regional Representatives of the LDS church Elder Boyd K. Packer expressed his concern about the state of the church today.

In recent years I have felt, and I think I am not alone, that we are losing the ability to correct the course of the church. You cannot appreciate how deeply I feel about the importance of this present opportunity unless you know the regard, the reverence, I have for the Book of Mormon and how seriously I have taken the warnings of the prophets, particularly Alma and Helaman.

Both Alma and Helaman told the church in their day. They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity. Each time those conditions existed in combination, the church has drifted off course. All of those conditions are present in the church today.

Helaman repeatedly warned, I think four times he used these words, that the fatal drift of the church could occur in the space of not many years. In one instance it took only six years. (Helaman 6:32; 7:6; 11:26) (“Let Them Govern Themselves,” Reg. Rep. Seminar, March 30, 1990, underline added)

Notice how Elder Packer says “we are losing the ability to correct the course of the church.” This implies two very important points. First, that the church is, indeed, off course. Otherwise there would be no need to correct its course. Second, that we are so far off course that Elder Packer is worried that we are “losing the ability” to correct it. These are bold statements from one of the Twelve Apostles of the church.

Likewise, Elder L. Tom Perry has made some rather direct comments about the state of the church today. In a recent conference address he taught that some of the most condemning prophecies found in the Book of Mormon apply not to those outside the LDS church, but those within the LDS church. In the October Conference of 1992, Elder Perry stated,

He [Moroni] realizes that the record will be a voice of warning to future generations of what occurs when nations like his own turn away from the teachings of the Lord. It is from the depths of his heart that Moroni cries out to those who will eventually receive the record. He wants to spare those who read his account the heartache and misery which comes from disobedience.

He writes first to the members of the church and then to those who have not embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ. Moroni’s last words to the members of the church are written as a voice of warning. He writes as one who sees the history of his people repeating itself in the future. From the Book of Mormon we read:

“‘Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

“‘Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

“‘And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

“‘For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

“‘O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of god? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?’ (Mormon 8:34-38)

I guess one of the greatest mysteries of mortality is why mankind fails to learn from history. Why do those who profess to be true followers of Christ so often become victims of the enticements of the world? The evidence is so strong regarding the blessings which accrue to those who trust in and follow the ways the Lord has prescribed for us. (Conference Report, Ensign, November, 1992, underline added)

When these words were spoken by Elder Perry, I doubt that most Latter-day Saints understood the significance of those verses to the LDS church. According to Elder Perry, these verses apply directly to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Look at the following list of evils that Elder Perry is associating with those in the LDS church today, as prophesied by Moroni long ago. According to Elder Perry, the membership of the LDS church is guilty of,

• Walking in the pride of their hearts

• Lifting themselves up in the pride of their hearts

• Wearing very fine apparel

• Envying

• Strifes

• Malice

• Persecutions

• All manner of iniquities

• Being pollutions

• Being hypocrites

• Selling themselves for that which will canker

• Polluting the holy church of god

• Polluting all of their churches – “yea, even every one”

• Being ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ

• Loving money, and their substance, and their fine apparel, and the adorning of their churches, more than they love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted

• Not thinking that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world

This list clearly describes an apostate people. And yet it would be difficult to interpret Elder Perry’s comments in any other way than to say that he’s using Moroni’s prophecy to describe the LDS church today.

Years before Elder Perry made these comments Elder H. Verlan Anderson also taught that these verses in the Book of Mormon referred to the LDS church. He said,

Moroni was similarly explicit in predicting false teachings among the saints. Reflect upon the unmistakable implications of this point-blank indictment of members of the “holy church of God:”

“O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God?” (Mormon 8:38)

Since there is only one “holy church of God” on earth, and since it is being polluted, the blame therefore appears to rest upon the teachers and hypocrites within that church. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 170-171, underline added)

President Spencer W. Kimball also associated these verses with the Latter-day Saints.

Saints must keep the covenant of consecration. The Lord has blessed us as a people with a prosperity unequaled in times past. The resources that have been placed in our power are good, and necessary to our work here on the earth. But I am afraid that many of us have been surfeited with flocks and herds and acres and barns and wealth and have begun to worship them as false gods, and they have power over us. Do we have more of these good things than our faith can stand? Many people spend most of their time working in the service of a self image that includes sufficient money, stocks, bonds, investment portfolios, property, credit cards, furnishings, automobiles, and the like to guarantee carnal security throughout, it is hoped, a long and happy life. Forgotten is the fact that our assignment is to use these many resources in our families and quorums to build up the kingdom of God—to further the missionary effort and the genealogical and temple work; to raise our children up as fruitful servants unto the Lord; to bless others in every way, that they may also be fruitful. Instead, we expend these blessings on our own desires, and as Moroni said, “Ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not.” (Mormon 8:39.) (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.357)3

On another occasion President Kimball expressed further concern about the state of the members of the LDS church.

…when I review the performance of this people in comparison with what is expected, I am appalled and frightened. If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up for ourselves a worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit. In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had–in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people–a condition most repugnant to the Lord. (Ensign, June 1976)

All of these statements from leaders of the LDS church indicate that there is a significant concern among some of the brethren regarding apostasy in the church. Some of these authoritative statements even use the word “apostasy” to describe our current situation. Others use specific details to describe the apostasy within the church. It is clear that at least some of the brethren view the LDS church as being off course, “polluted,” and “under condemnation” because of wickedness. It is important to note that these accusations are not coming from enemies to or outsiders of the LDS church. These accusations are coming from within – from the leadership of the LDS church.

These statements present a “no win” scenario for Latter-day Saints. If what these brethren are saying is true, then the church has some serious problems. If what they say is not true, then some of our leaders have some serious problems, including some of our most recent prophets. Especially for social Mormons, this presents somewhat of a “lose-lose” scenario.

Now that we’ve established the possibility that the church is, indeed, off course, let’s look at some of the specific areas of alarm, as far as apostasy in the LDS church is concerned.

Becoming Popular

As Elder Packer stated, one of the first areas that should catch our attention regarding apostasy in the LDS church is the focus of modern Mormonism on becoming popular. For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley has recently stated,

Ours is the blessing to live in a better season [than the early saints]. The terrible persecutions of the past are behind us. Today we are looked upon with respect by people across the world. (Ensign, Conference Report, November, 1996)

President Hinckley has made other, similar statements from time to time. Not the least of which was a statement on the television program 60 minutes in which he classified the LDS church as being “mainstream” with other churches. This seems to coincide with Professor Bloom’s assessment mentioned earlier.

It is difficult to listen to General Conference or read a church publication these days without some reference given to the LDS church’s growth, influence, and the respect it receives from the world. Even other religions and the media are coming to its defense for perhaps the first time in history. Yet, as much we seem to enjoy basking in our new found popularity, it should be recognized that the early leaders of this church both predicted and condemned this state of affairs, especially President Brigham Young. The following quotes reflect President Young’s concern about the day when the saints would become popular. Notice the direct, almost prophetic tone which he takes as he expresses his concerns and the consequences he associates with popularity.

And when the spirit of persecution, the spirit of hatred, of wrath, and malice ceases in the world against this people, it will be the time that this people have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked, and never until then; which I pray may never come. (JD 4:326 327)

There is nothing that would so soon weaken my hope and discourage me as to see this people in full fellowship with the world, and receive no more persecution from them because they are one with them. In such an event, we might bid farewell to the Holy Priesthood with all its blessings, privileges and aids to exaltations, principalities and powers in the eternities of the Gods. (JD 10:32)

When we see the time that we can willingly strike hands and have full fellowship with those who despise the Kingdom of God, know ye then that the Priesthood of the Son of God is out of your possession. Let us be careful how we make friends with and fellowship unrighteousness, lest the curse of God descends heavily upon us. (JD 10:273)

When “Mormonism” finds favor with the wicked in this land, it will have gone into the shade; but until the power of the Priesthood is gone, “Mormonism” will never become popular with the wicked. (JD 4:38)

They would come now by thousands and thousands, if the Latter day Saints were only popular. “What, these honorable men?” Yes, they would say, “I want to be baptized. I admire your industry, and your skill in governing. You have a system of governing that is not to be found anywhere else. You know how to govern cities, territories, or the world, and I would like to join you.” But take care if you join this people without the love of God in your soul it will do you no good. If they were to do this, they would bring in their sophistry, and introduce that which would poison the innocent and honest and lead them astray. I look at this, and I am satisfied that it will not do for the Lord to make this people popular. Why? Because all hell would want to be in the Church. The people must be kept where the finger of scorn can be pointed at them. Although it is admitted that we are honest, industrious, truthful, virtuous, self denying, and, as a community, possess every moral excellence, yet we must be looked upon as ignorant and unworthy, and as the offscouring of society, and be hated by the world. What is the reason of this? Christ and Baal can not become friends. When I see this people grow and spread and prosper, I feel that there is more danger than when they are in poverty. Being driven from city to city or into the mountains is nothing compared to the danger of our becoming rich and being hailed by outsiders as a first class community. I am afraid of only one thing. What is that? That we will not live our religion, and that we will partially slide a little from the path of rectitude, and go part of the way to meet our friends. (JD 12:272.)

This last reference should perhaps be of particular concern to us considering that certain cities in Utah have taken great pride in recent years for being classified among the best places to live in America.

Notice how the statements by President Hinckley almost sound like a fulfilling of these prophecies made by President Young more than 100 years earlier. What President Hinckley perceives as a “blessing,” President Young clearly viewed as a curse, placing the very priesthood itself in jeopardy.

In addition to Brigham Young, Joseph Smith also gave us some guidelines regarding how the world generally treats true prophets and false prophets.

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS Pg. 205)

This seems to match Samuel the Lamanite’s assessment as well. He told the wicked, church-going Nephites,

…if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.

But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.

Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him. (Helaman 13:25-28)

As already mentioned, in more recent years Elder Boyd K. Packer has also expressed his concern about becoming popular as a church.

Both Alma and Helaman told the church in their day. They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity. Each time those conditions existed in combination, the church has drifted off course. All of those conditions are present in the church today. (Helaman 6:32; 7:6; 11:26) (“Let Them Govern Themselves,” Reg. Rep. Seminar, March 30, 1990, underline added)

In addition to statements such as these, it seems clear from the scriptures themselves that the Lord’s people are seldom very popular when they are truly living and preaching the word of God. In fact, a good argument could be presented to show that the higher the doctrines lived by the people of God, the more persecution they generally receive from the world. There seems to be a direct relationship between righteousness and persecution. There has seldom, if ever, been a time when the Lord’s people were praised and accepted by those around them. Why should we believe that Latter-day Saints today are any different than all the other examples of God’s people throughout history?

The conclusion we come to on this subject is that although we may enjoy our current popularity in the world and a general lack of persecution, this may be nothing more or less than an indication that the LDS people “have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked,” as President Young put it. This should be of great concern to us as we consider the possibility of apostasy within the LDS church.

Prophecies About Salt Lake City

In connection with the problems associated with becoming popular, there are also other prophetic statements suggesting that Salt Lake City will become one of the wicked cities of the world. For example, Elder Heber C. Kimball once prophesied that,

After a while the gentiles will gather to this place by the thousands and Salt Lake will be classified among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the saints, and the result will be financial bondage. (Amanda Wilcox records, BYU. See also Prophecies of the Latter Days, p.86 compiled by Ogden Kraut.)

It is important to note in this prophecy that Elder Kimball is associating this wickedness with “the saints.” He isn’t referring to those who are not members of the LDS church. Rather, it seems clear that his concern is focused on those within the LDS church.

Mosiah Hancock also tells of President Brigham Young’s views on “the saints in the mountains.”

He (Brigham Young) conversed freely on the situation of the saints in the mountains, and said that he dreaded the time when the saints would become popular with the world; for he had seen in sorrow, in a dream, or in dreams, this people clothed in the fashions of Babylon and drinking in the spirit of Babylon until one could hardly tell a saint from a black leg. …Many of this people for the sake of riches and popularity will sell themselves for that which will canker their souls and lead them down to misery and despair. (Mosiah Hancock Journal, p.73)

In another account from Mosiah Hancock, we find similar concerns about the saints in Salt Lake City. This time Brother Hancock is quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith on the subject.

…you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. …you will live to see men rise in power in the church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty. (Mosiah Hancock Journal, p.19)

It seems clear from these references that the early brethren were quite convinced that Salt Lake City would become ranked among the wicked cities of the world and that this wickedness would be among the members and leaders of the LDS church. It is difficult to interpret these prophesies any other way.

Scriptural Prophecies About The Latter-Day Apostasy

In addition to statements made by the leaders of the church, there is ample support from the scriptures regarding a latter-day apostasy within the Lord’s church. As has already been established by Elders Perry, Anderson and others, Mormon chapter 8 contains a prophecy by Moroni that applies directly to the “holy church of God” in the last days – the LDS church. Other prophecies spell out this falling away with equal or greater clarity. For example, in 3 Nephi 16 we find a prophecy about the Gentiles to whom the gospel is given in the last days. It tells us that these Gentiles will eventually reject the fulness of the gospel and that it will be taken away from them and given back to the house of Israel.

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel. (3 Nephi 16:10-12)

Notice that these verses talk about a day “when” the Gentiles “shall” sin against His gospel. These verses tell us that a day will come when the Gentiles shall reject the fulness of the gospel. Verse 10 even provides a list describing these latter-day gentiles that is unmistakably similar to the list found in Mormon chapter 8 mentioned earlier.  The result of this rejection will be that the fulness of the gospel will be taken from the Gentiles and given to the house of Israel. This rejection of the gospel is not conditional, it is prophetic. This can be seen from the verses that immediately follow.

But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father. (3 Nephi 16:13-14)

Notice that even if there are Gentiles who repent after rejecting the gospel, they will be numbered among the house of Israel – those to whom the gospel will be given after it is taken away from the Gentiles. In addition, the blessing to those Gentiles who repent will be that they will not be trodden down by the house of Israel. Clearly the house of Israel will become the covenant people in these verses, not the Gentiles to whom the gospel was first given.

Just in case there is any doubt that the Gentiles spoken of here are, indeed, the members of the LDS church in the latter days, the Lord continues by telling us what will happen to those Gentiles who do not repent.

But if they [the Gentiles] will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16:15)

Notice in this verse that those Gentiles who are trodden down “shall be as salt that hath lost its savor.” In the Doctrine and Covenants we are given a clear definition of what this means.

When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;

They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. (D&C 101:39-40)

It seems clear from the scriptures that the Gentiles referred to in 3 Nephi 16 are those Gentiles in the last days who have been called unto the everlasting gospel and have made an everlasting covenant with God. According to these scriptures, these covenant people will then reject the fulness of the gospel and have it taken away from them and given to the house of Israel. When read in context, it is difficult to interpret these scriptures any other way.

The scriptures also speak of a point in the last days when the times of the Gentiles shall come in and the gospel shall break forth among them. However, in almost the same breath, the Lord declares that the Gentiles of the last days will reject that gospel. At that point, the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.

And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;

But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.

And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (D&C 45:28-30. See also D&C 45:25, Luke 21:24, JST Luke 21:25-30.)

These verses are often used as a reference to those outside the church – those who are never baptized in the first place. However, given the evidence in chapter 16 of 3 Nephi, it is easy to see how the verses in D&C 45 are more likely referring to those Gentiles within the church. We should keep in mind that synonyms of the word “fulfilled” include “finished,” “completed,” “consummated,” and “terminated.” To say that the times of the Gentiles is “fulfilled” suggests an end of those times. It suggests finality, as if the Gentiles will no longer be a major part of the gospel plan in the last days.

The scenario in 3 Nephi 16 also matches other scriptures on the same subject. For example, in chapter 5 of Jacob we find the allegory of the vineyard. This allegory discusses the history of the Lord’s people clear up to the millennium. A careful reading of the chapter indicates rather clearly that the gospel will be given to the Gentiles (the wild branches) and that they will eventually “overrun the roots” and bring forth “evil fruit.” (Jacob 5:37) The Lord deals with this problem by restoring the house of Israel (the natural branches) to the gospel. (Jacob 5:54-56) The allegory goes on to say that as the house of Israel receives the gospel, the apostate Gentiles are “cast away.” (Jacob 5:65, 69, 73-74) This seems to match the prophesy in 3 Nephi 16 very well.

That these prophecies were understood this way by the early brethren of the church can be seen in the words of Elder Orson Pratt when he said,

What says the Book of Mormon in relation to the building up of the New Jerusalem on this continent one of the most splendid cities that ever was or ever will be built on this land? Does not that book say that the Lamanites are to be the principal operators in that important work, and that those who embrace the Gospel from among the Gentiles are to have the privilege of assisting the Lamanites to build up the city called the New Jerusalem? This remnant of Joseph, who are now degraded, will then be filled with the wisdom of God; and by that wisdom they will build that city; by the aid of the Priesthood already given, and by the aid of Prophets that God will raise up in their midst, they will beautify and ornament its dwellings; and we have the privilege of being numbered with them, instead of their being numbered with us. It is a great privilege indeed (and we are indebted to their fathers for it,) that we enjoy of being associated with them in the accomplishment of so great a work. (JD 9:178, underline added)

As 3 Nephi 16:10-15 suggests, the only way that the covenant Gentiles will “have the privilege of being numbered” with the house of Israel is if they repent from rejecting the fulness of the gospel as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith.

Another important prophecy about the latter-day apostasy can be found in the Doctrine and Covenants. Notice in the following verses that the calamities of the last days will actually begin upon the Lord’s house.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord. (D&C 112:23-26)

Now, regardless of how we define “my house” in this verse, there are few Latter-day Saints who would say that these verses are talking about anything other than the LDS church. Notice the sins that accompany those who belong to the Lord’s house. They are described as a people who “profess” to know God’s name but who have not really known Him. They are a people who have blasphemed against God in the midst of His house. Can this be interpreted as anything other than apostasy within the LDS church?

On another occasion the Lord told Joseph Smith that He will send one mighty and strong to “set in order the house of God.”

And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; (D&C 85:7)

It seems reasonable to assume that the house of God would only need to be “set in order” if it were somehow out of order to begin with. President Brigham Young once said the following about this scripture:

Brethren, this church will be led onto the very brink of hell by the leaders of this people, then God will send the one mighty and strong spoken of in the 85th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, to save and redeem this church. (Truth, March 1, 1936, 1:10, p. 135)

Is it any wonder that the Book of Mormon offers us the following depiction of the people who have gone astray (apostatized) in the last days?

They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:14)

Notice that even the humble followers of Christ will “err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” We must remember that President Ezra Taft Benson associated this scripture with those who are members of the LDS church, not those outside the church.

Not only are there apostates within our midst, but there are also apostate doctrines that are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and that appear in our publications. And these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble. As the Book of Mormon, speaking of our day, states: “They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (2 Nephi 28:14). (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89 90)

The scriptures seem clear and consistent regarding the apostasy of the Lord’s house in the latter days. As Elder H. Verlan Anderson put it, the scriptures “foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles.”4 Denying this apostasy or making believe that it couldn’t happen to us, seems to place us in the same basic category as the Pharisees, Zoramites, Nephites, or other religious groups who thought they were somehow infallible or immune to apostasy.

Changes To The Temple Ordinances

Most of those who have held a temple recommend in the LDS church for any length of time generally know that there have been recent changes made to the temple ordinances. In addition, those who have seriously studied LDS church history or who have made an in-depth examination of the temple ordinances know that there have been multiple changes made to these ordinances over the years. There are at least three major issues to consider when we discuss the changes made to the temple ordinances:

1) Do these changes represent a move towards higher or lower gospel awareness?

2) What are the reasons behind these changes?

3) At what point does an ordinance cease to accomplish what it was originally designed to accomplish?

With regard to the first question, the fact that changes have occurred, in and of itself, is perhaps of little consequence to our discussion of apostasy. It is safe to assume that changes made to any ordinance can be either an improvement or a regression. Certainly the Lord can alter the ordinances given to his people via one of his authorized prophets. In Joseph Smith’s time the ordinances were frequently changed according to new revelation and the faith of the saints. Likewise, President Brigham Young made other significant changes to certain ordinances. These changes for the better were spoken of by Elder Orson Pratt when he said,

When the Temple was built, the Lord did not see proper to reveal all the ordinances of the Endowments, such as we now understand. He revealed little by little. No rooms were prepared for washings; no special place prepared for the anointings, such as you understand, and such as you comprehend at the period of the history of the Church! Neither did we know the necessity of the washings, such as we now receive. (JD 19:16)

However, it is also important to note that even though the ordinances have changed from time to time to accommodate more or less righteousness among the Lord’s people, the requirements for exaltation and the fullness of the ordinances do not change. Every person must eventually experience the fullness of the ordinances in order to be exalted. Hence, a change in a given ordinance does not mean that the rules for exaltation have changed. It simply means the Lord has given us either more or less of what we need in order to be exalted. Of this fact, Joseph Smith once said,

Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles. (TPJS 308)

Since there was a difference between the ordinances performed in the Kirtland temple and those performed in the Nauvoo temple, we can assume that Joseph Smith was referring to the complete set of ordinances in their fullness – those required to take us all the way to the Celestial Kingdom. The fact that Joseph Smith himself changed the ordinances from time to time, according to his knowledge and the instructions of God, indicates that the above statement was talking about what is necessary to be saved, rather than what portion of the ordinances the Lord will allow his people to possess at a given time. President Brigham Young went into even greater detail with regard to what things can and cannot change and the effects those changes have on our efforts towards salvation.

The Ordinances of the Kingdom of God on the Earth are the same to the children of Adam from the commencement to the end of his posterity pertaining to the carnal state on this Earth, and the winding up scene of this mortality. With regard to the Bible; we frequently say, we believe the Bible, but circumstances alters cases, for what is now required of the people may not be required of a people that may live a hundred years hence. But I wish you to understand, with regard to the ordinances of God’s House to save the people in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, there is no change from the days of Adam to the present time, neither will there be until the last of his posterity is gathered into the Kingdom of God. . . I can tell you that no man from the days of Adam, no woman from the days of Eve to this day, who have lived, and who are now living upon the Earth will go into the Kingdom of their Father and God, to be crowned with Jesus Christ, without passing through the same Ordinances of the House of God, you and I have obeyed. I wish you distinctly to understand that. There are many duties, and callings spoken of in the scriptures, and there are many not written, those for instance which are handed out to you by your President as circumstances require. Those imposed by the President of the Church of God, or by the president of any portion of it, are duties as necessary to be observed as though they were written in the Bible; but these requirements, duties, and callings change with the circumstances that surround the people of God.

But when you speak of the system of salvation to bring back the children of Adam and Eve into the presence of our Father and God, it is the same in all ages, among all people, and under all circumstances, worlds without end. Amen. (TPBY 3:347 348, underline added)

This presents us with a difficult situation when trying to explain the reasoning behind the recent changes in the temple ordinances. What is perhaps particularly significant to us is that the changes made to the ordinances since the time of Brigham Young have been largely comprised of omissions rather than additions. In other words, with almost every change made to the endowment since the late 1800’s, teachings once considered as important have been removed and the ordinance has been consistently shortened. Considerably less information is shared with us in our current temple ceremonies than was shared in the early church. In addition, there seems to have been a shift in the function or purpose of certain ordinances over the years, especially celestial marriage. The new and everlasting covenant of marriage was viewed quite differently in the early church than it is today.

These omissions or deletions from the original ordinances do not necessarily render them false or of no value. For example, the ordinances performed in the times of Moses or the Kirtland temple were fairly abbreviated versions of what transpired in the Salt Lake temple during the time of Brigham Young. Yet, these “lesser ordinances” were authorized and recognized by God inasmuch as they lead the people to a certain point in their salvation. They didn’t take them all the way by providing everything necessary for exaltation. But they did provide as much truth as the Lord saw fit to give his people at that time. They were valid and true “in so far forth.”

However, it would be difficult to defend the idea that the current endowment offers as much valuable information to us as it did in Brigham Young’s time. With this in mind, the real problem with the changes in temple worship today doesn’t seem to be an issue of true or false. Rather it seems to be largely an issue of more or less. Simply stated, we have less of the original endowment today than we used to. Hence, we may have less of the “system of salvation” than we used to.

This issue is comparable to holding up a copy of the Book of Mormon and asking, “Is this book the word of God?” Assuming a positive response is returned, suppose we opened the book and tore out the entire book of Alma and asked the same question again, “Is this book still the word of God?” The answer should still be, “Yes, what is contained in that book is still the word of God.” However, it would clearly be less of the word of God than it was before. From a certain perspective we could with honestly say that it is “less true” than it was when it contained the book of Alma. But it would still be a true record with valuable information to offer.

To some extent, it seems to be just so with the ordinances of the temple. If we compare the original endowment ceremony with what we have today and ask, “Is today’s ceremony still true, even with all the changes that have taken place?” I believe the honest answer would be something akin to, “Yes it is. However, it contains less truth than it used to.” It seems clear that since the time of Brigham Young much has been removed from our temple ceremonies and little has been added. People who receive their endowments today don’t receive nearly as much information as previous temple goers have received. In addition, it seems reasonable to assume that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young considered those omitted portions to be important and of worth to our salvation, otherwise they would not have included them in the first place. Because almost all of the changes made to the temple ordinances over the years involve omissions instead of additions, I feel we can safely say that this has been a move towards lower gospel awareness, not higher. The ordinances simply contain less truth than they once embraced. Likewise, it is not a far stretch to conclude that some of those changes may affect the results or purposes of those ordinances. It is certainly possible that, just as in the days of Moses, the ordinances we have today do not provide us with all we need for our salvation.

When we consider the second question regarding possible reasons for these changes and omissions, few legitimate options seem to arise. It seems unlikely that the Lord would remove knowledge as a reward for increased righteousness. Generally the Lord gives more knowledge to His righteous followers and less to the wicked. Therefore, it is more reasonable to assume that He would remove spiritual knowledge because of our wickedness. Via the Book of Mormon, the Lord has warned us about the results when we don’t give sufficient heed to the things He has reveals to us.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30, underline added)

Given all the evidence for a latter-day apostasy in the LDS church, it is not hard to believe that omissions made to the temple ordinances may be a literal fulfillment of this scripture. This scripture clearly states that the Lord will “give more” to those who hearken unto his precepts and “take away” from those who do not. Which has He done with respect to the temple? As far as the temple is concerned, it would be difficult to argue that the Lord has given us more rather than less. It would also be difficult to view this as a result of righteousness. It is far more likely that these changes are the result of neglect or apostasy within the LDS church.

This brings us to our third question. As far as trying to discern when a given ordinance ceases to accomplish what it was originally designed to accomplish, we are perhaps only able to make educated guesses or take the matter to the Lord. Clearly if we continue to remove portions of an ordinance, it will sooner or later become nothing more than a worthless ritual. This has happened before from apostasies in other dispensations and it can certainly happen again. However, at what point this occurs can perhaps only be answered via personal revelation. It is important that we view the changes in the temple as various shades of gray, rather than a black and white issue. Just like the Book of Mormon example mentioned earlier, it is likely a case of more truth vs. less truth, rather than all truth vs. no truth. However, it is equally important to view these changes as negative, rather than positive. The evidence seems to suggest that these changes have occurred due to a lack of diligence among the Latter-day Saints. They seem to support the idea of apostasy within the church.

Celestial Marriage

One of the more obvious contradictions between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism is found in the doctrines surrounding celestial marriage. There are at least two main issues to consider during a discussion about celestial marriage. One is whether or not the plural marriage is a doctrine of the restoration and essential for exaltation. The second is whether or not the Lord’s authorized servants can revoke this law for a given time and people.

The latter issue of whether or not the Lord can revoke certain laws for certain people seems clear from the scriptures. For example, in Doctrine and Covenants 56 the Lord states,

Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord. (D&C 56:3-4)

In addition, the Book of Mormon provides us with a clear example of the Lord temporarily revoking plural marriage for a particular group of people.

Wherefore, my brethren, hear me and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none. (Jacob 2:27)

It seems certain that the Lord can revoke the law of plural marriage “as seemeth Him good.” However, it is the issue of whether or not plural marriage is an essential doctrine for exaltation that provides us with a more difficult challenge to modern Mormonism.

In recent years it has been clearly taught that plural marriage is neither “doctrinal” or essential for exaltation. For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley has recently stated,

I condemn it [polygamy], yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. (Larry King Live, Aired September 8, 1998, underline added)

Likewise Elder Bruce R. McConkie has taught that,

Plural marriage is not essential to salvation or exaltation. Nephi and his people were denied the power to have more than one wife and yet they could gain every blessing in eternity that the Lord ever offered to any people. In our day, the Lord summarized by revelation the whole doctrine of exaltation and predicated it upon the marriage of one man to one woman. (D. & C. 132:1 28.) (Mormon Doctrine, p.578, underline added)

In addition, President Spencer W. Kimball has taught the following about plural marriage,

Plural marriage ended through revelation. We warn you against the so called polygamy cults which would lead you astray. Remember the Lord brought an end to this program many decades ago through a prophet who proclaimed the revelation to the world. People are abroad who will deceive you and bring you much sorrow and remorse. Have nothing to do with those who would lead you astray. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.447)

There are at least three main points that can be derived from these quotes by modern leaders of the church. They are:

1. Plural marriage is not doctrinal,

2. Plural marriage is not essential to exaltation, and

3. Plural marriages were no longer authoritatively solemnized in the church after the 1890 manifesto by President Wilford Woodruff.

Those who have taken the time to study the history of the church and its doctrines in detail know that none of these statements are entirely true. For example, it was clearly taught in early Mormonism that plural marriage was essential for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. When carefully studied, this can be derived from the scriptures themselves, especially section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants which states:

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory. (D&C 132:4)

We must ask ourselves what this verse was talking about. Was it talking about monogamy or polygamy? In this we should turn to Joseph Smith himself. The prophet had a “key” by which we can gain further understanding of certain scriptures. He said,

I have a key by which I understand the scriptures. I enquire, what was the question which drew out the answer, or caused Jesus to utter the parable? (TPJS, p.276)

Now, if we apply Joseph Smith’s “key” to the verse above, it is easy to determine what the Lord is talking about in this verse. The question the Lord was answering for the prophet was specifically about polygamy, not monogamy.

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines— (D&C 132:1)

Since the question specifically dealt with plural marriage, using Joseph Smith’s own key for understanding scriptures, we can only interpret the answer as dealing with plural marriage as well. If the answer dealt with monogamy then it wouldn’t serve as an answer to the original question. In addition, the whole point of writing down the revelation(s) found in section 132 was to convince Emma, Joseph’s wife, that plural marriage was a true doctrine of God.5

Another clue concerning the relationship between plural marriage and exaltation rests in the fact that the word “exaltation” appears only 12 times throughout the entire cannon of LDS scriptures. 11 of those 12 occurrences are found in section 132.6 Surely this is more than just a coincidence.

In section 131 of the Doctrine and Covenants we read the following regarding the requirements for obtaining the highest degree of the celestial kingdom:

In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase. (D&C 131:1-4)

It is clear from the historical documents of the early church that the leaders of that time, including Joseph Smith, understood the new and everlasting covenant of marriage to include plural marriage. Hence, according to these verses, in order to obtain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom one must “enter into” plural marriage. “If he does not, he cannot obtain it.” The abundance of statements in support of this conclusion are not hard to find. For example, William Clayton once wrote,

From [Joseph Smith] I learned that the doctrine of plural and celestial marriage is the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on the earth, and that without obedience to that principle, no man can ever attain to the fulness of exaltation in celestial glory. (WC, Historical Record 6:225 7, as quoted in MHP 4:214)

President Brigham Young had much to say about the importance of plural marriage. The following series of quotes all come from President Young.

Now, where a man in this Church says, “I don’t want but one wife, I will live my religion with one,” He will perhaps be saved in the celestial kingdom; but when he gets there he will not find himself in possession of any wife at all. He has had a talent that he has hid up. He will come forward and say, “here is that which thou gavest me, I have not wasted it, and here is the one talent,” and he will not enjoy it, but it will be taken and given to those who have improved the talents they received, and he will find himself without any wife, and he will remain single for ever and ever. But if the woman is determined not to enter into a plural marriage, that woman when she comes forth will have the privilege of living in single blessedness through all eternity. (JD 16:166).

…[men] who did not have but one wife in the Resurrection that woman will not be his but [will be] taken from him and given to another. (Wilford Woodruff Journal, Typescript 7:152)

I wish here to say to the Elders of Israel, and to all the members of this Church and kingdom, that it is in the hearts of many of them to wish that the doctrine of polygamy was not taught and practiced by us. It may be hard for many, and especially for the ladies, yet it is no harder for them than it is for the gentlemen. It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives. (JD 11:268 269)

If any of you will deny the plurality of wives and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned. (Deseret News, 14 November 1855)

Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of Heaven among men. (JD 9:322)

In line with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, President John Taylor also taught that plural marriage was essential to returning to our Heavenly Father.

If we do not embrace that principle soon (plural marriage), the keys will be turned against us. If we do not keep the same law that our heavenly father has kept, we cannot go with him. A man obeying a lower law is not qualified to preside over those who keep a higher law. (Matthew Cowley, Life of Wilford Woodruff, p.542 — as quoted in MHP 1:311 312)

Given President Taylor’s warning, we must ask ourselves, “Have we embraced plural marriage in the church today?” If we have not, which seems to clearly be the case, have the keys been turned against us?

Even President Wilford Woodruff, who issued the first manifesto in 1890, understood and clearly taught that D&C 132 refers to polygamy, not monogamy, and that we “must” abide this law in order to become heirs of God.

The new and everlasting Covenant is marriage, plural marriage men may say that with their single marriage the same promises and blessings had been granted, why cannot I attain to as much as with three or four, many question me in this manner I suppose they are afraid of Edmunds, what is the Covenant? It is the eternity of the marriage covenant, and includes a plurality of wives and takes both to make the law…Joseph Smith declared that all who became heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ must obey his law or they cannot enter into the fullness and if they do not they may loose the one talent, when men are offered knowledge and they refuse it they will be damned and there is not a man that is sealed by this priesthood by covenants to enter into the fullness of the law and the same with the woman she says she will observe all that pertains to the new and everlasting Covenant both are under the Covenant and must obey if they wish to enter into a continuation of the lives or of the seeds. (Utah Stake Historical Record #64904/CH0/1877 1888. Quarterly Conference held March 3rd and 4th, 1883; Sunday, 2 PM, p.271, underline added)

President Joseph F. Smith taught the following about plural marriage:

Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential, to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. There is no blessing promised except upon conditions, and no blessing can be obtained by mankind except by faithful compliance with the conditions, or law, upon which the same is promised. The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the will of God, is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage in part–and is good so far as it goes–and so far as a man abides these conditions of the law, he will receive his reward therefor, and this reward, or blessing, he could not obtain on any other grounds or conditions. But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it. (JD 20:28-29, underline added)

This doctrine of plural marriage is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man. Without it man would come to a full stop; without it we never could be exalted to associate with and become Gods, neither could we attain to the power of eternal increase. (JD 21:10, underline added)

In addition to the prophets of the church quoted above, it is clear that other leaders understood that this was the official doctrine of the church. These leaders also bore strong testimony of the importance of plural marriage. The following quotes are just a sampling of some of their teachings.

The great question is this will we unite with the plurality order of the Ancient Patriarchs, or will we consent voluntarily to be doomed to eternal celibacy? This is the true division of the question. One or the other we must choose. We cannot be married to our husbands for eternity, without subscribing to the law that admits a plurality of wives. (Elder Samuel Richards, Millennial Star 15:226)

I bear my solemn testimony that plural marriage is as true as any principle that has been revealed from the heavens. I bear my testimony that it is a necessity, and that the Church of Christ in its fulness never existed without it. Where you have the eternity of marriage you are bound to have plural marriage — bound to; and it is one of the marks of the Church of Jesus Christ in its sealing ordinances. (Elder George Teasdale, JD 25:21, underline added)

Some quietly listen to those who speak against the Lord’s servants, against his anointed, against the plurality of wives, and against almost every principle that God has revealed. Such persons have half a dozen devils with them all the time. You might as well deny “Mormonism,” and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose that doctrine, and the whole of them would be damned. What are you opposing it for? It is a principle that God has revealed for the salvation of the human family. He revealed it to Joseph the Prophet in this our dispensation; and that which he revealed he designs to have carried out by his people. (Elder Heber C. Kimball, JD 5:204-205)

But, says the objector [to plural marriage], we cannot see how this doctrine can be embraced as a matter of religion and faith; we can hardly conceive how it can be embraced only as a kind of domestic concern, something that pertains to domestic pleasures, in no way connected with religion. In reply we will show you that it is incorporated as a part of our religion, and necessary for our exaltation to the fulness of the Lord’s glory in the eternal world. (Elder Orson Pratt, JD 1:54)

It is obvious that plural marriage was an official doctrine of the church and that it was clearly viewed as being necessary in order to receive the full blessings of exaltation. One would have to be blind to miss these differences between the teachings of early Mormonism and modern Mormonism concerning plural marriage.

Another important issue involves the teaching that plural marriage officially ended in the church with the 1890 manifesto. Most social Mormons are unaware that there were two other manifestos given after 1890. This was in part due to the fact that plural marriages were still secretly being solemnized in the church and sanctioned by members of the first presidency for many years after the 1890 manifesto. There is good evidence to show that plural marriage was alive and well in the church for at least 20 years after 1890. In fact, many of the general authorities of that time entered into plural marriages after the manifesto, including President Wilford Woodruff, who issued the manifesto in the first place. These post-manifesto plural marriages were solemnized by members of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and others who were duly authorized to perform such marriages.

There are many publications in print today that provide this information to any who want to look for it. The book Solemn Covenant, for example, by B. Carman Hardy, provides a list of over 200 well documented, plural marriages that were authoritatively performed in the church after the 1890 manifesto.7

With such evidence available to us, it is easy for one to see how some have become frustrated and confused by the statements of modern church leaders regarding plural marriage. The public statements from modern LDS leaders simply don’t match either the scriptures or the huge amount of historical evidence now available to the public.

The Leadership Of The Church

One of the areas of concern expressed by many Latter-day Saints today is the concept of infallibility of the church leaders. It seems to be generally taught in the church today that the General Authorities, and especially the prophet, can’t make important mistakes or teach things which are incorrect. Yet, as we have already demonstrated, it is clear that there are contradictions between the teachings of the early prophets of the church and the later ones. In almost every major area of LDS doctrine, from the attributes and nature of God to the purpose and function of the ordinances, we find discrepancies that are difficult, if not impossible, to completely harmonize. This tends to give rise to debate by honest seekers of truth and doubt to those who would find fault with the church or the gospel. Given these apparent contradictions, an honest truth seeker should not be too heavily criticized for asking which position is correct, if any. It seems to be a legitimate question to ask.

Unfortunately, some of these apparent contradictions are easily demonstrated in the remarks of President Gordon B. Hinckley, especially when he talks to the press. For example, in an interview with President Hinckley given by the San Francisco Chronicle on April 13, 1997 the following exchanged was published regarding the LDS doctrine that God was once a man:

Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don’t Mormons believe that God was once a man?

A: I wouldn’t say that. There was a little couplet coined, “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.” Now that’s more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don’t know very much about.

Q: So you’re saying the church is still struggling to understand this?

A: Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly. We believe that the glory of God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. Knowledge, learning, is an eternal thing. And for that reason, we stress education. We’re trying to do all we can to make of our people the ablest, best, brightest people that we can. (San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, April 13, 1997)

Notice here that President Hinckley clearly states that he “wouldn’t say” that Mormons believe God was once a man. This same issue came up again several months later in an interview with Time Magazine.

On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he (President Hinckley) sounded uncertain, “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it… I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it.” (Time Magazine, August 4, 1997)

Statements such as these create certain problems for those who have spent the time to research this doctrine. Not only is this doctrine taught with great clarity in the church by both the Gospel Principles manual as well as the 1998 Priesthood/Relief Society manuals, it is clear that this doctrine has been an important part of LDS theology since the time of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith himself had this to say about the doctrine:

These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. (TPJS p.345)

Notice how Joseph Smith considered this to be part of the “the first principle of the gospel.” It was clearly a very important doctrine to him. This inconsistency is made even worse by the fact that President Hinckley claimed we don’t understand this doctrine. This seems to fit right in with Joseph Smith’s statement that although these are simple concepts, “these are incomprehensible ideas to some.” Understandably, this does not sit well with many of those who love this doctrine and view it as one of the “pearls of great price” of the restoration.

With perhaps even more force than Joseph Smith, President Lorenzo Snow once taught the following concerning this doctrine:

I had a direct revelation of this. It was most perfect and complete. If there ever was a thing revealed to man perfectly, clearly, so that there could be no doubt or dubiety, this was revealed to me, and it came in these words: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.” (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.5)

Given the teachings of the early leaders of the church, combined with what we are taught in our current manuals, it is difficult to reconcile President Hinckley’s remarks concerning this doctrine.

Other comments from President Hinckley seem equally alarming. Compare the following answers to the same basic question, first from Gordon B. Hinckley and then from Brigham Young 120 years earlier.

Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?

A: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received.

Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes. Quietly. Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind. I liken it to Elijah’s experience. When he sought the Lord, there was a great wind, and the Lord was not in the wind. And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake. And a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. But in a still, small voice. Now that’s the way it works. (San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, April 13, 1997)

And now, the same basic question as answered by Brigham Young.

Q: [Do] you, like the old prophets, receive direct revelation from God?

A: Yes, and not only me but my brethren also.

Q: Does that extend to all the church without reserve or rank?

A: Yes, and it is just as necessary for the mother to possess this spirit in training and rearing her children as for anyone else.

Q: It is not absolutely necessary, then, that each person receive revelations through you?

A: Oh, no; through the spirit of Christ, the Holy Ghost; but to dictate to the church is my part of it. (Deseret News, May 23, 1877)

It is easy to see a stark contrast in these two answers. There is a clear difference in not only the content, but the attitude with which these questions were answered.

As mentioned earlier, there are also differences regarding how the church should be viewed and accepted by the world. President Hinckley apparently likes the idea of the church becoming popular in the world.

Ours is the blessing to live in a better season (than the early saints). The terrible persecutions of the past are behind us. Today we are looked upon with respect by people across the world. (Ensign, Conference Report, November, 1996)

President Brigham Young, on the other hand, apparently viewed this quite differently when he said,

And when the spirit of persecution, the spirit of hatred, of wrath, and malice ceases in the world against this people, it will be the time that this people have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked, and never until then; which I pray may never come. (JD 4:326 327)

I dare say that anyone who fails to see a major difference in these two statements is simply not comprehending the obvious. They are dramatically different.

This list could go on to include many other examples of different doctrines and approaches between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism. These teachings are by no means restricted to President Hinckley. They can be and have been fairly easily documented over the course of many years of LDS church history. As the letter quoted earlier mentions, many have found a rather lengthy list of discrepancies between the teachings of the early LDS prophets and those of more recent years. How do we explain these discrepancies? Who is right and who is wrong? Or is it somehow possible that both groups are right or both are wrong? It seems unfair that many of those who are honestly asking such questions with sincere hearts are judged rather harshly and are often cast out as obvious apostates. Although some may be a little too hasty in their judgements of such issues, these are legitimate questions for which there are few good answers. One possible conclusion is that the leaders of the LDS church are, indeed, fallible and may not possess all the answers or revelation that we would like them to. We may not like that answer, but if we are honest with ourselves, it must be listed among our possible conclusions to this dilemma. If we accept the fact that they are fallible, then we must ask which are right, the early prophets or the modern ones.

It is interesting to note that the doctrine of infallibility itself seems to be one of the apparent discrepancies between the early brethren and the modern leaders. Although it is taught with great frequency and force in the LDS church today, most of the early brethren seemed to stay away from the doctrine of infallibility. For example, the Prophet Joseph Smith boldly taught,

We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them (even) if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions. When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves. (Millennial Star, Vol. 14, Num. 38, pp.593-595)

President Brigham Young was also very concerned about the saints blindly following their leaders.

What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually. (JD 9:151)

The First Presidency have of right a great influence over this people; and if we should get out of the way and lead this people to destruction, what a pity it would be! How can you know whether we lead you correctly or not? Can you know by any other power than that of the Holy Ghost? I have uniformly exhorted the people to obtain this living witness, each for themselves; then no man on earth can lead them astray. (JD 6:100)

I do not want men to come to me or my brethren for testimony as to the truth of this work; but let them take the Scriptures of divine truth, and there the path is pointed out to them as plainly as ever a guideboard indicated the right path to the weary traveller. There they are directed to go, not to Brothers Brigham, Heber, or Daniel, to any apostle or elder in Israel, but to the Father in the name of Jesus, and ask for the information they need. Can they who take this course in honesty and sincerity receive information? Will the Lord turn away from the honest heart seeking for truth? No, He will not; He will prove to them, by the revelations of His Spirit, the facts in the case. And when the mind is open to the revelations of the Lord it comprehends them quicker and keener than anything that is seen by the natural eye. It is not what we see with our eyes they may be deceived but what is revealed by the Lord from Heaven is sure and steadfast, and abides for ever. We do not want the people to rely on human testimony, although that cannot be confuted and destroyed; still, there is a more sure word of prophecy that all may gain if they will seek it earnestly before the Lord. (JD 12:96)

These remarks seem to be quite a different story from the “follow the brethren” rhetoric so often taught in the LDS church today. This teaching continued through President Joseph F. Smith’s day.

I know of but One in all the world who can be taken as the first and only perfect standard for us to follow, and he is the Only Begotten Son of God. I would feel sorry indeed, if I had a friend or an associate in this life who would turn away from the plan of life and salvation because I might stumble or make a failure of my life. I want no man to lean upon me nor to follow me, only so far as I am a consistent follower in the footsteps of the Master. (Gospel Doctrine, Pg.4, underline added. See also the Juvenile Instructor, 1915, Vol. 50, pp. 738, 739.)

One modern “standout” in an otherwise standard approach to following the brethren can be found in President Ezra Taft Benson. He warned us against “trusting in the arm of flesh” instead of trusting in God, even if that “arm of flesh” is a high-ranking church leader.

The Lord strengthened the faith of the early Apostles by pointing out Judas as a traitor, even before this Apostle had completed his iniquitous work (see Matthew 26:23-25; Luke 13:21-26). So also in our day the Lord has told us of the tares within the wheat that will eventually be hewn down when they are fully ripe. But until they are hewn down, they will be with us, amongst us. (See D&C 86:6-7.) (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89)

Notice how President Benson is not referring to the general membership of the church as “tares within the wheat.” He seems to be referring to the General Authorities of the LDS church, perhaps even the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These are the ones he refers to as “tares within the wheat.” Notice in the following remarks that President Benson not only opens the door for continued problems within the leadership of the church, but even goes as far as to equate the General Authorities with “the arm of flesh.”

Six of the original Twelve Apostles selected by Joseph Smith were excommunicated. The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon left the Church. Three of Joseph Smith’s counselors fell one even helped plot his death. A natural question that might arise would be that if the Lord knew in advance that these men would fall, as He undoubtedly did, why did He have His prophet call them to such high office? The answer is: to fill the Lord’s purposes. For even the Master followed the will of the Father by selecting Judas. President George Q. Cannon suggested an explanation, too, when he stated, “Perhaps it is his own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that his saints may learn to trust in him and not in any man or men.” (Millennial Star 53:658, 1891) And this would parallel Nephi’s warning, put not your “trust in the arm of flesh.” (2 Nephi 4:34) (An Enemy Hath Done This, Pg. 290, underline added. See also Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89)

The entire verse in 2 Nephi quoted by President Benson reads as follows:

O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)

With almost a prophetic voice, President Benson tells us that there will always be problems among the leadership of the church. And, along with most of the early LDS leaders, he also tells us in whom we should place our trust instead of any man on earth, including the leaders of the church – even Jesus Christ, the Savior.

Certain individuals within the Church may go astray and even fall away. This may happen even to a person in the Church who is in a position of some influence and authority. It has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. If our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in the arm of flesh, then we will know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the church of men. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg. 90)

In summary, for those who are informed about the teachings of the early church leaders, there is an unmistakable difference in both the doctrine as well as the manner in which LDS leaders teach us today. Some of this may be contributed to a simple lack of gospel scholarship among today’s General Authorities. Some of it may also be due to a lack of revelatory experiences such as those found in early Mormonism. Perhaps there are other reasons as well. However, we should not overlook the possibility that there are “tares among the wheat” within the LDS church leadership. We must be open to the idea of apostasy existing even in “high offices” of the church “to fill the Lord’s purposes…in order that his saints may learn to trust in him and not in any man or men.” As Joseph Smith prophesied,

…you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. …you will live to see men rise in power in the church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty. (Mosiah Hancock Journal, p.19)

For those who believe in Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God, these words give cause for great concern in our day. If Joseph Smith was right, then we should have a legitimate fear of trusting too much in the arm of flesh known as the General Authorities of the LDS church. This is especially true given the apparent contradictions and inconsistencies between the teachings of the early leaders vs. those of the modern church. As Brigham Young warned, to overlook such possibilities is to “settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting [our] eternal destiny in the hands of [our] leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in [our] salvation, and weaken that influence [we] could give to [our] leaders, did [we] know for [our]selves, by the revelations of Jesus, that [we] are led in the right way.”8 Is it any wonder that President George Q. Cannon once taught,

Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an apostle or a president; if you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support will be gone; but if we lean on God, He will NEVER fail us. When men and women depend upon GOD ALONE and trust in HIM ALONE, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside. (DW 43:322 [Mar 7, 1891]).

I fear that too many Latter-day Saints, including some fledgling ultra-Mormons, are making this mistake today by placing too much trust in church leaders, only to lose faith when they find those leaders saying or doing something which seems contradictory or conflicting. Too many people wrongly judge the church or the restoration as a whole, or even God himself due to this problem. It is clear that the modern Mormon’s cry to “follow the brethren” is simply not the all-encompassing answer that we would like it to be.

Holy Men That Ye Know Not Of

Another issue that ought to be raised regarding the latter-day apostasy concerns the popular belief that the members of the LDS church are the only group of people recognized by the Lord as having proper authority. Within the LDS church we tend to believe that we are the only ones on earth through whom the Lord is working or who are authorized to act in the name of God. This not only seems somewhat arrogant and proud, but seems to place restrictions on the Lord that contradict both logic and prophetic utterances. For example, the Lord himself told Joseph Smith that there may be other righteous groups on the earth that we know little or nothing about.

Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of. (D&C 49:8)

Notice that the men spoken of in this scripture are not “under sin” and hence have no need to repent. I think it is safe to say that the LDS church has never achieved such a level of righteousness in its entire history. And according to this verse, not even Joseph Smith knew who these men were.

Likewise, the Savior himself had no problem allowing for proper authority outside of the main group of saints.

And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.

But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

For he that is not against us is on our part.

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:38-41. See also Luke 9:50.)

How would most Latter-day Saints react today if they “saw one casting out devils in [Christ’s] name, and he followeth not us?” It is reasonable to assume that we would tend to forbid him as well or at least claim that he has no authority because he is not a member of the LDS church. Yet, in light of this passage in the New Testament, it is doubtful that the Savior holds this same view.

Is it possible that the Lord could reserve a righteous people unto himself in our day – a people apart from the mainstream LDS church? Remember the prediction of Elder Orson Pratt quoted earlier?

There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains. (JD 15:360, underline added)

Of course, this is exactly what some of the fundamentalist groups claim – that they have been led out by the Lord from the midst of the LDS church to continue practicing the higher laws revealed to Joseph Smith. That this is a possibility seems obvious. The Lord can do whatever He wants to in this regard. It is even possible that a separate group is secretly living the higher laws under the direction of the First Presidency of the LDS church. Why not? What’s so wrong with Elder Pratt’s idea to keep the higher principles alive among those who are willing to live them?

This idea is neither inconceivable nor contrary to what the Lord has done in the past. There are many occasions in the scriptures where the Lord is dealing with different groups of people in various parts of the world. In fact, the entire Book of Mormon story, including both the Nephite and Jaredite accounts, is one of the Lord leading a people away from the prevailing religious group of the time and starting anew in a different part of the world while still actively working with the old group at the same time.

The real problem with this concept is that there are so many groups claiming to be the “one and only” authoritative group. Again, in many ways it is a situation closely resembling that of Joseph Smith’s day. Some groups are crying “lo here” while others are crying “lo there.”

If there are other groups of people who have proper authority from God and who have separated themselves from the LDS church under the direction of the Lord, who are they? Even the best of scholars can’t determine for sure whether fundamentalist founders like Joseph Musser or Loren Wooley received the authority they claimed to have received. Although there are decent arguments on both sides, there is simply not enough evidence one way or the other to be converted via the historical data available.

It seems clear that if one is to know whether or not any of the fundamentalist groups are acting under the direction of the Lord, they would have to know this in the same manner that Joseph Smith came to know about the religious groups in his day, namely, through some kind of revelatory experience. I doubt that there is any other way to know for sure. I don’t think it is too far out of line for us to take the route Joseph Smith took regarding the religious confusion experienced in his day.

During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. …so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Joseph Smith History 1:8, 10-11)

There is precious little fault that can be found with Joseph Smith’s manner of dealing with religious confusion. Investigate as often as occasion permits, stay aloof, realize that you can’t figure it out on your own, and then pray to find out for yourself, not relying on the testimony of any other person for your conversion. It is just so today. Believing solely in the experiences of others is a poor means of conversion in these cases. Unfortunately, fundamentalist claims to conversion via personal revelation are just as common as they are within the mainstream LDS church. In order to know for sure, one must answer these questions for themselves via a personal experience with God or his messengers, just as Joseph Smith did. This is just as true for fundamentalist groups as it is for the LDS church itself. The following words of Brigham Young ring true for us whether we are talking about the LDS church or some other group out there who claims to be true followers of God.

I do not want men to come to me or my brethren for testimony as to the truth of this work; but let them take the Scriptures of divine truth, and there the path is pointed out to them as plainly as ever a guideboard indicated the right path to the weary traveller. There they are directed to go, not to Brothers Brigham, Heber, or Daniel, to any apostle or elder in Israel, but to the Father in the name of Jesus, and ask for the information they need. Can they who take this course in honesty and sincerity receive information? Will the Lord turn away from the honest heart seeking for truth? No, He will not; He will prove to them, by the revelations of His Spirit, the facts in the case. And when the mind is open to the revelations of the Lord it comprehends them quicker and keener than anything that is seen by the natural eye. It is not what we see with our eyes they may be deceived but what is revealed by the Lord from Heaven is sure and steadfast, and abides for ever. We do not want the people to rely on human testimony, although that cannot be confuted and destroyed; still, there is a more sure word of prophecy that all may gain if they will seek it earnestly before the Lord. (JD 12:96)

My own experience has been that receiving these answers to prayer is often more difficult than either Brigham Young or the scriptures seem to indicate. I don’t think I know anyone who claims to receive all the revelation they seek. And I fail to believe that every person out there who claims personal revelation is telling the truth or receiving it from the proper source. However, I also fail to believe that all are either liars or deceived. Some of them seem to be very honest, humble people who are sincerely trying to do what they believe the Lord has told them to do, whether they are members of the LDS church or not. Yet, it seems unlikely that all, or even most, are correct in their claims.

In general, I don’t think we are aware of who has authority from God and who does not. Although we are not obliged to believe or accept another person’s claim to personal revelation or authority, it is a claim that is impossible to refute without receiving revelation on the subject for ourselves. If you ask someone why they believe what they believe, and the answer is, “I received a personal witness from God,” there is no adequate argument under heaven that can be used against this claim except that of personal revelation for yourself. It would be like trying to tell Nephi that he didn’t really receive revelation to kill Laban because the scriptures clearly teach “thou shalt not kill.” To make such an attempt without knowing from God yourself is futile.

It seems clear that throughout history the Lord has lead various groups of people at the same time, all receiving revelation through various prophets called by the Lord. In fact, it is difficult to find instances in the scriptures where there is only one active prophet at a time. It is much more common to find multiple prophets preaching to multiple groups of people. Why should we expect anything different in our day? It is also a common theme for the Lord to lead a people out from the midst of the main group in order to start anew. Whether or not He has done something similar today is certainly worth considering, but not readily apparent. Finding out whether a given group or other is actually led by the Lord seems to be purely a matter of personal revelation, and perhaps even a personal calling by God. Joining any of these groups without some sort of personal, spiritual experience seems to reduce that choice to simply a luck of the draw, or perhaps an educated guess, the results of which could be either exaltation or condemnation.

Summary

It will be said by some who read this work that there are many more issues that could have been covered to show that the LDS church has taken a downward path. These people are correct. We have only scratched the surface. However, these issues can be found by any who honestly seek them. The purpose of this work so far has been to convince the reader that there are, indeed, legitimate concerns within the LDS church – that it is entirely possible, even probable, that the LDS church is taking a downward path of apostasy. I have raised only a few issues which I hope will lead people to this conclusion.

The graph below attempts to illustrate what we’ve discussed so far. It suggests that knowledge was dispensed rather quickly to Joseph Smith, who shared much of this knowledge with his “inner circle” of faithful followers. However, less knowledge was dispensed to the general membership of the church and less still to the non-Mormon community or mission field.

After the prophet’s death, Brigham Young and others began to openly teach many of the doctrines previously given only to the inner circle. The general membership of the church was raised to a whole new level. However, since the late 1800’s, this higher knowledge has been gradually and consistently “taken away” from the general membership of the church.

Beginning in the 1970’s, church historical records were more freely released to the public. Since that time, the history and doctrines of early Mormonism have begun to be published with more accuracy and frequency. This milestone, combined with modern technology which allows for easy access to a great deal of LDS information, has resulted in somewhat of a subculture of Latter-day Saints who understand far more about these early doctrines than most members of the church, and who are having difficulty reconciling many of their findings with the teachings of modern Mormonism. Likewise, non-Mormon scholars, as well as the media, can now access this information rather quickly and easily. Indeed, many non-Mormons are emerging who now know more about LDS history and doctrine than do the rank and file members of the church.

For the honest, truth seeking Latter-day Saint, the church presents some significant puzzles to solve. These puzzles are now readily available to any who will take the time to study the history and doctrines surrounding the restoration. Indeed, there is no hiding them. We must face the fact that the LDS church has changed in significant ways since its early days. With few exceptions, these changes tend to reflect a downward path, one of increased apostasy and ignorance of God’s ways and laws as revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith and other key figures of early Mormonism. This fact is becoming as clear as any story of apostasy found in the scriptures. As President Joseph Fielding Smith put it, “It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the primitive church of Christ. Are we not traveling the same road?”9 The undeniable answer is that we clearly are. We are finally at a point in the history of the LDS church in which we can no longer cover up the problems that exist.

If the course of the LDS church is to be corrected, as Elder Packer suggested, there are at least two possible scenarios for the LDS church to follow. One involves the calamities that are prophesied to come upon the Lord’s house in the last days.10 As we’ve seen from the many scriptures on the subject, calamities are a common way for the Lord to deal with his unrighteous children. They often have the effect of humbling them towards repentance. The other option for the church involves a “reformation” as mentioned by Elder Orson Pratt.11 However, it seems evident that such a reformation would have to be led by a rather powerful and charismatic prophet of God. Such a reformation or “course correction” would have to involve revelation directing us to higher levels of righteousness regarding a great many issues. If it did not include prophetic leadership then it would be no different than the other protestant reformations that have occurred since the time of Christ. Without divine revelation, it would be unlikely to produce the results we seek. Hence, the need for “one mighty and strong” is essential. Under such a reformation, it is probable that severe persecution from the world would begin again against the saints. In addition, a reformation of this nature would almost certainly mean leaving the weaker members of the church behind. Many would simply leave the church because the higher doctrines and persecutions would be more than they could endure.

Whatever happens, if no action is taken soon, there may be little left of the foundation Joseph Smith once established. We must begin to face the fact that the LDS church is in trouble and that we need to repent and start the process of progression anew. If we don’t, little will separate us from the Pharisees and Zoramites of past dispensations. Like them, most members of the LDS church will tend believe that “all is well in Zion, yea Zion prospereth”12 – that they and the church are on the correct path of righteousness, when in fact they have apostatized from the truth.

IS THE LDS CHURCH STILL TRUE?

With all the evidence against the LDS church, the question must be asked, “Is the LDS church still true?” Is it still of worth to us in our search for spiritual guidance? Or is it in a more or less worthless state of apostasy, similar to that of other Christian denominations in the world?

In order to properly address these questions it is important that we have an accurate understanding of what apostasy is and is not. I fear most people misunderstand the true nature of apostasy and sometimes jump to conclusions too quickly. Many people have a tendency to view apostasy as an all or nothing, black and white issue. If we don’t understand what apostasy is and is not, how can we accurately judge any church or group?

What Does “Apostasy” Mean?

This question is more complex than most people realize. Generally, when we think of apostasy, we think in terms of either being “in” apostasy or “out of” apostasy. We tend to deal with apostasy as somewhat of a black and white issue. For example, many Latter-day Saints believe that there was a specific time in history when the “great apostasy” occurred after the time of Christ. We often believe that we should be able to find one significant event or date when the great apostasy took place. This, however, is clearly an incorrect view of how apostasy happens. If there is one thing that we should understand about apostasy, it is that apostasy is not an event, it is a process. If we study the apostasy that occurred after the time of Christ we will never be able to find a single event or date that “flipped the switch,” so to speak, and changed Christ’s church from true to false. Rather, what we find is that it was slowly dismantled and corrupted over a long period of time. This is true of most apostasies. Generally speaking, we find that during most apostasies, knowledge is lost in much the same way that it is gained during a restoration. That is, apostasy usually occurs line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. This is important to understand as we discuss apostasy in the LDS church.

Via the Book of Mormon the Lord has outlined what will happen to us when we hearken unto His counsels and when we don’t.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30)

This is again outlined by the Savior in the New Testament.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (Matthew 13:10-12)

This concept of giving more to some and less to others is reaffirmed later in the Book of Mormon.

It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. (Alma 12:9)

This is also taught in the Doctrine and Covenants.

And I command you that you preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me.

For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish. (D&C 19:21-22)

And again,

And now I say unto you, keep these things from going abroad unto the world until it is expedient in me, that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you; (D&C 45:72)

Thus, the gospel is given to us “precept by precept, here a little and there a little.” It seems reasonable to assume that during an apostasy, the Lord will take the gospel away in much the same manner. In addition, these scriptures seem to indicate that the Lord will teach people according to their own level of acceptance and faith, different people being at different levels and hence being taught at different levels of the gospel accordingly. This creates no small problem for the church. How can the church adequately teach all people at different levels? It’s like teaching first graders and college students in the same class.

We should notice in each of the scriptures above that the Lord clearly doesn’t give everything to those who begin to hearken unto Him. Rather, He gives us a portion of His word to see how we will react. Then, according to our diligence, or lack thereof, He will either give us more or take some away. I think it is a fair assumption that the Lord will not take away everything all at once. It is more reasonable to assume that this happens line upon line and precept upon precept. However, it seems clear from these scriptures that He will give more to those who hearken to His precepts while taking away from those who don’t want to go any further with what they’ve been given. In addition, it seems He will reveal “mysteries” to some people, while keeping the rest in the dark on certain issues “lest they perish.” Yet it is also clear that the Lord is still very active among those who do not receive the mysteries. He is still revealing truth to them on their level. This seems to be how apostasy works, as well as restoration. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not an all or nothing condition of either having God’s word or not having God’s word. It seems to be more of a continuum that deals with various degrees of righteousness and wickedness, more truth and less truth, and hence, various degrees of knowledge, ignorance, and authority to match. Indeed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell when “total apostasy” occurs. Just as there are different levels of righteousness and wickedness, there are also different levels of apostasy and restoration.

In addition to variations in the quantity of truth the Lord reveals to us, another important point to recognize regarding apostasy concerns the quality of revealed truths, or the existence of higher and lower laws. Not only does God give and take away his laws on a quantitative basis (I.E. a higher number of laws to the righteous and a lower number to the wicked), he also gives and takes away from us on a qualitative basis. Some laws of God are even intended to completely replace other laws, whether higher or lower.

For example, if we compare the law of tithing with the law of consecration, we find two similar, but somewhat opposing laws of God. Basically, the law of tithing is intended to be replaced by the law of consecration. It is fair to say that where one exists, the other will not. If you are living the law of consecration, there is no need to live the law of tithing. What is giving 10% of your income compared with giving all of your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you? Once you begin to live the law of consecration, the law of tithing becomes obsolete. Yet, both of these laws came to us by God through revelation via proper authority. One is simply “higher” than the other. You might accurately say that one law is of higher “quality” than the other. A reasonable question could be raised as to whether those people living the lower law of tithing are “in apostasy?” The answer might be “yes” when compared to those living the law of consecration, but “no” when compared to those living no law at all. Thus we can see how apostasy is a relative issue.

Another example of higher and lower laws is found in the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses is clearly a lower law. This lower law was given to the children of Israel because they rejected the higher law. Then, when Christ came to earth in the meridian of time, this lower law was replaced by a higher law. It is not that the Law of Moses was false or incorrect. Nor is it the case that Moses was a fallen prophet because he taught such low laws. It is simply a lower law, given by God according to the faithfulness and diligence of the people at that time.

Again, we should ask ourselves, “Were the children of Israel under the Law of Moses in apostasy?” I believe the answer to this question is, “Yes, in that they were only worthy of the lower law, but no in that they were living a law given to them from God, by revelation, and via proper authority.” When viewed in this manner, we quickly see that a people can be authoritatively led by God and still be in some form of apostasy. In fact, a quick inspection of the Lord’s people throughout history will show that this is the case most of the time. With very few exceptions the Lord’s chosen people have always been at some level of apostasy. This is true even when they were lead by and obeyed true prophets.

With this in mind, whenever we speak of apostasy, we should always be careful how we think about it and how we choose our words and actions. We should be cautious that we don’t view it as purely a black and white issue. Questions such as, “Is the LDS church still true?” or “Are we in apostasy?” may be too simplistic to give an adequate response. A better, more accurate question might be, “Are we in the process of apostasy?” In other words, which direction are we headed? Are we moving up the ladder towards higher truths or down the ladder towards lower truths? We should also ask, “At what level of apostasy are we?” Where are we on the continuum of righteousness and wickedness? Are we currently teaching and trying to live the higher principles as revealed by Joseph Smith or lived by the City of Enoch, or are we shying away from such things and becoming more and more like other Christian churches who possess and live spiritual truths on a fairly low level? I feel these are more meaningful questions to ask about the current state of apostasy in the LDS church, or any other religious group for that matter.

So we see that apostasy is a process, not an event. It is a continuum rather than a line that either has or hasn’t been crossed. In addition, we should see that there are both quantitative and qualitative aspects associated with the various degrees of apostasy and righteousness.

The Four Main Areas Of Apostasy

Another aspect of apostasy worth adding to our definition is that it can be broken down into four main areas. These areas are:

• Revelation

• Authority

• Doctrine/Principles

• Actions/Attitude

Most of the time when we speak of the apostasy of a given group or person, the issues that concern us can be categorized into one or more of these four general areas. Whenever apostasy occurs it is always because of a lack of revelation, authority, doctrine, or conformance to what God has told us to do or be. It may include only one of these areas or it may involve all of them. But it will always deal with at least one of these four general areas.

It is important to note that although all four of these areas of apostasy are important, they are not equal in significance. As far as the church is concerned, it is reasonable to assume that revelation and authority are more important than doctrine and actions. This is because regardless of whether we are currently living higher laws or lower laws, if we are doing it without God’s approval, we are wrong. As the Lord himself explained in the Doctrine and Covenants,

Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken.

Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord. (D&C 56:3-4)

Likewise, the prophet Joseph Smith once said,

Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. (Sangamo Journal, August 19, 1842)

God always knows best. It is clear that the Lord sometimes commands us to live higher laws and other times He commands us to live lower laws. For example, if the Lord says, “live plural marriage,” then we should live it. However, if He says, “don’t live plural marriage,” then we should not live it, even if it has been commanded previously and can be shown to be a higher principle of the Celestial Kingdom. As far as our actions are concerned, the question isn’t merely whether or not a given doctrine is a higher or lower principle. The more important question is always whether or not God condones or approves of it in our particular situation or at this particular time.

If we look at the various possibilities regarding these four areas of apostasy, as outlined in the graphs below, we see that there are various combinations or types of apostasy.

[MISSING GRAPHICS.  There are four bar graphs shown at this point.  Each graph is entitled, Scenario #1, Scenario #2, Scenario #3 and Scenario #4, respectively.  There are four bars in each graph and the bars are labeled Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.  Scenario #1 has all four bars at 25%.  Scenario #2 has Revelation and Authority at 25% and Doctrine and Obedience at 100%.  Scenario #3 has Revelation and Authority at 100% and Doctrine and Obedience at 25%.  Scenario #4 has all four bars at 100%.]

There are clearly more possible variations than the four listed above. However, these should be sufficient to make the point at hand. A close inspection of each scenario provides us with some better insight and should help us to make better judgements regarding the apostasy of the LDS church or any other religious organization. Let’s look at each scenario in more detail and see how they compare to the LDS church.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: “Scenario #1.”  There are four bars in this bar graph, all at 25%.  The bars are labeled: Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.]

Scenario #1 is what we might refer to as a “complete apostasy.” It represents a state of little or no revelation, authority, doctrine, and obedience. It is how most Mormons would describe other Christian religions. For example, we politely say that the Catholic and protestant denominations have some truth, but that it is at a relatively low level and that they have lost the authority to act in God’s name or be divinely led by their leaders. Religious organizations that are at low levels of revelation, authority, doctrine, and obedience are generally considered to be “in apostasy.”

It is certainly possible that the LDS church today matches this scenario. As we have already shown, the church has fallen dramatically in the areas of doctrinal purity and obedience. We have also shown earlier that this can be easily demonstrated by comparing the doctrines of the restoration, as taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other early LDS leaders, with what is taught and lived today in the church. The question remains, however, as to whether or not the church is led by revelation or whether it still has proper authority and recognition from God. These two issues are far more difficult to determine via a simple comparison or study.

An interesting thing often occurs when members of the LDS church come to the conclusion that the church has fallen into a state of “complete” apostasy. It has been my experience that such people tend to be much more lenient and forgiving of other apostate churches than they are of the LDS church. It is as if they are saying, “You were once my best friend and I trusted you. But you betrayed me and now you are my worst enemy.” It seems to be somewhat of an all or nothing attitude. However, they don’t often express this attitude towards other denominations – those who were never trusted as a “best friend” to begin with, but who also never really offered them anything more than the LDS church. Some will even go as far as to claim that the LDS church has become the Great and Abominable Church of the Devil spoken of in the scriptures. It seems that for some people, either they want the LDS church to be “everything” to them or they want it to be “nothing.” It is either their best friend or their worst enemy with no middle ground or gray area. Yet they will gladly allow this gray area to exist in other churches which have been in a far greater degree of apostasy for centuries.

Although this black and white attitude is perhaps understandable under the circumstances of their experience, it hardly seems fair or accurate to view the LDS as being worse than other apostate churches. Even if the LDS church is in “complete” apostasy, it still has such things as the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the greater portion of the temple ceremonies, access to the teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others, etc. Access to these things alone would seem to place it in a position much higher than most other religious organizations. It certainly wouldn’t be all we want or look forward to in a church, but I think it’s fair to say that it is head and shoulders above any other Christian church we know of, at least in the area of doctrine.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: “Scenario #2.”  There are four bars in this bar graph.  The bars are labeled: Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.  Revelation and Authority are at 25%, while Doctrine and Obedience are at 100%.]

Scenario #2 is also a common theme in religious history. It suggests that an organization may not have the proper authority or be lead by revelation, but that they are trying their best to live the higher laws as best they can. Many LDS fundamentalist groups likely fall into this category. For example, it seems reasonable to assume that not all fundamentalist groups (if any) have the authority they claim to have. Yet, many of these groups try to live according to the higher principles of the gospel, especially plural marriage and the united order. This often comes with great sacrifice and hardship on their part. There are also many other doctrines clearly taught by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that are common among fundamentalist groups. Hence, in many respects, it can be said of these groups that they are more doctrinally sound than the general membership of the LDS church and that they have made a better attempt to live by the higher principles. Yet, as already stated, it seems clear that in spite of their good intentions and sacrifices, it is unlikely that all of these groups receive revelation from God and have proper authority to practice and preach the doctrines they espouse. It is important to note that this may separate them little from other Christian churches who also have no authority to practice and preach the doctrines and ordinances they espouse. However, if God has truly revoked these laws, as seemeth him good, then all this “obedience” may end up being answered upon the heads of these rebellious people.13

The key to righteousness is clearly to do as you are told by God. This can be seen from the examples of the ancient patriarchs as mentioned in section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Some of these patriarchs were justified in living plural marriage while others were not. In each case they were judged according to their obedience to God, not according to their adherence to higher principles independent of God’s will. Notice in the following verses why living plural marriage was accounted as righteousness in the cases of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne. (D&C 132:29)

God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.

Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it. (D&C 132:34-35)

Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods. (D&C 132:37)

Now notice the differentiating factor for those who “sinned” because they lived plural marriage.

David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. (D&C 132:38)

Again, the key to righteousness is clearly to do as God tells us to do, not to simply live the higher laws independent of his will. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were exalted because they “did none other things than that which they were commanded,” but David and Solomon sinned against the Lord in “those things they received not of [Him].” Likewise, the Lord told the Nephites that “there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife.”14 Therefore, those among them who took only one wife were clearly doing “none other things than that which they were commanded,” while those among them who took plural wives were receiving things not of the Lord. It is very doubtful that those Nephite monogamists will be damned while those Nephite polygamists are saved. It is more likely to be just the opposite.

The same is true of our day as well. Just because plural marriage is a requirement for exaltation doesn’t mean that it is always a righteous act for all people to live it at all times. Again, the issues of authority and revelation are far more important than the issues of doctrinal knowledge and obedience to higher principles. The Lord has provided a way for those who miss the opportunity to accept the ordinances in this life to accept them in the next life. This includes plural marriage as much as it includes baptism.

It seems clear that scenario #2 is unlikely to apply to the LDS church today. If Joseph Smith and other early leaders of the church were true prophets of God, then there is little or no chance that the LDS church today is living, or even knowledgeable about, the higher doctrines of the gospel, as taught by those leaders. In fact, you will most often get into some trouble by even discussing those doctrines with the general membership of the LDS church today. Hence, regardless of the questions involving revelation and authority, scenario #2 doesn’t seem to fit “modern Mormonism.”

It should be reiterated, however, that even though the LDS church has fallen from the lofty goals of Joseph Smith and the restoration, it is still far and away more doctrinally sound than any other Christian church on earth, barring, perhaps, some Mormon fundamentalist groups. Even if scenario #2 doesn’t apply when comparing modern Mormonism to early Mormonism, it certainly could apply when comparing modern Mormonism to any other modern Christian church. I feel this is important to realize when comparing the apostasy of the LDS church with that of other churches. If one leaves the LDS church because of doctrinal impurity, he or she is unlikely to find any satisfaction among any other church of our day.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: “Scenario #3.”  There are four bars in this bar graph.  The bars are labeled: Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.  Revelation and Authority are at 100%, while Doctrine and Obedience are at 25%.]

Scenario #3 suggests that although a people may be receiving proper revelation and have proper authority from God, they are largely ignorant of the revealed doctrines and struggle obeying them.

Examples of scenario #3 are common throughout the scriptures. The Law of Moses and the Children of Israel were excellent examples of this. Even though the Law of Moses was a very low law, intended for a people who had difficulty understanding and obeying even the simplest instructions from God, it was still revealed from God and given to the people through an authorized prophet. The key to it’s truthfulness was not a matter of higher or lower laws. Rather, it was a matter of authority and revelation. Likewise, the question of whether or not the children of Israel should have followed those lower laws and the organization that promoted them cannot be reasonably refuted. It cannot be said, for example, that Moses was a fallen prophet because he taught the lower laws instead of the higher ones. Nor can it reasonably be argued that the children of Israel should have tried to live higher laws instead of the lower ones given to them by God at that time. It seems clear that they were expected to strictly live the lower laws first. Any deviation from this course brought about the swift judgements of God.

In addition to the Old Testament, this scenario also plays out in much of the Book of Mormon. For example, the prophets Lehi and Jacob both preached against the higher law of plural marriage, even though Joseph Smith and others clearly taught it’s necessity for exaltation.15 Likewise the prophets Abinadi and Ammon taught doctrines about the nature of God that were a far cry from the higher truths restored through Joseph Smith.16 It is possible that some of these prophets even misunderstood the higher doctrines themselves – not having had the full account revealed unto them at the time of their preaching. Such seemed to be the case with Alma the younger and his understanding of the resurrection, for example.17 Yet, all of these prophets clearly received revelation and had the authority to teach these lower doctrines as inspired by God. It is also fair to say that the people they taught were under obligation to follow the teachings of these prophets.

As far as “modern Mormonism” is concerned, it is certainly possible, perhaps even likely, that scenario #3 applies to the LDS church. Even if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is currently teaching and living lower laws, this fact, by itself, is no indication that the Lord’s involvement has been removed or that he is no longer at the helm, as some would suggest. Clearly, the higher and more important question deals with revelation and authority, which are often closely tied to one another. Just as God directed Moses to bring down the lower laws after having already brought down the higher laws, so also the Lord could easily be directing a similar effort today by taking away even that which was previously given to the Latter-day Saints in this dispensation. We seem to have a fairly clear precedent concerning this issue. It seems that God does not always use his prophets to take his people to a higher level. Sometimes He uses them to bring the doctrine down to match the level of the people. In fact, part of the very purpose of the Book of Mormon seems to be to prove the people of the latter-days with lower doctrine in order to see if we’re prepared for the higher teachings.

And these things have I [Mormon] written, which are a lesser part of the things which he [Jesus] taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.

And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.

And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.

Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people. (3 Nephi 26:8-11, underline added)

Again, we must ask ourselves how the Lord would withhold the greater things from us today, especially after some of them have been revealed apart from the Book of Mormon. Given the general disregard the members of the church have for “lesser things” found in the Book of Mormon, what charge would the Lord likely give to the leaders of His church today regarding these greater things? The guidance of Alma is again very applicable to this situation.

And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. (Alma 12:9)

Given all the scriptural evidence, it is certainly possible, perhaps even probable, that the leaders of the LDS church are doing exactly what the Lord has told them to do, that is, teach the lower doctrines and encourage the members to stay away from the “mysteries.” This, however, would not be so much a reflection or statement on the leaders as it would the members. Perhaps the leaders are simply obeying what the Lord has told them to do under the circumstances.

When comparing modern Mormonism with early Mormonism, scenario #3 offers the best possible hope for the LDS church. Again, it is important to not only compare the LDS church with it’s early beginnings, but also to compare it with the rest of the world’s churches. If the LDS church still has proper authority and is still receiving revelation and guidance from God, then it is still head and shoulders above all other churches on earth, both authoritatively and doctrinally.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: “Scenario #4.”  There are four bars in this bar graph, each one at 100%.  The bars are labeled: Revelation, Authority, Doctrine and Obedience.]

Scenario #4 represents the ideal. It is what we tend to expect from a “true church of God.” It represents a situation in which there is plenty of communication between God and man, plenty of working priesthood authority from God, a high level of doctrinal purity, and a people who obey that doctrine well. This is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, this level of spirituality has only been accomplished a few times in the history of the world. Barring the city of Enoch and perhaps a few other instances, the Lord’s chosen people have seldom come close to achieving these goals.

As we have already established, it seems highly unlikely that the LDS church in its current state fits this scenario. I believe any serious observer would agree that the LDS church is lacking in several key areas. However, it is also fair to say that the LDS church has never achieved this level of righteousness throughout it’s entire history. Even during it’s early years, the LDS church continually fell short of the Lord’s desires and expectations in one or more of these same areas. The point made in the first half of this work is simply that the LDS church is worse now than it was in its early years. This, again, seems to suggest a continual change in the degree of righteousness and apostasy during the history of the church rather than a black and white scenario.

When compared to the early LDS church, it seems clear that scenarios one and three are more likely to apply to modern Mormonism than scenarios two and four. In other words, there is a large amount of evidence to indicate that the LDS church has gone astray in the areas of higher doctrine and obedience to higher principles. However, it is much more difficult to show that revelation and priesthood authority are lost. And, as we have mentioned, these last two issues, revelation and authority, are the real keys to the issue of apostasy. Yet, barring personal revelation on the subject, it may be impossible to determine whether the church is acting with proper authority and direction or not. It is not something that can be easily determined by study alone.

As already mentioned, in addition to comparing modern Mormonism with it’s early roots, we should remember to always compare it with other religious organizations in the world today. When all is said and done, I think it is fair to say that modern Mormonism still compares extremely well against most other churches of our time. Even with all it’s flaws and it’s apparent downward path, the LDS church still offers it’s members a much higher level of doctrine than most churches on earth. Today, it is relatively easy for almost anyone to acquaint themselves with the “mysteries of Mormonism.” The church has little or no control over the vast amount of information available to both Mormon and non-Mormon alike. However, as in the past, few people today seem to be either interested in or prepared for these doctrines.

These graphs help to point out that whenever we talk about apostasy we should always address the issues of authority and revelation. When discussing the possibility of apostasy within any religious group, the lower and less important question is, “Does this church/group currently teach and live the higher principles of the gospel?” The higher and more important question is, “Does this church/group have the proper authority from God and is it receiving revelation to teach the principles and ordinances God wants them to receive at this time?” If any church or person has authority from God then they are right, regardless of whether they are teaching higher doctrines or lower doctrines. It is that simple. In fact, if God tells one group to live plural marriage and another group to live monogamy, then they are both right, even though they are living two different sets of laws. The important issue is not which law they are living, but whether or not God told them to live it. On the other hand, if any group or person lacks this authority from God, regardless of what they are living, then they are no different than any other gentile philosopher commenting on religious issues. To follow such a group merely because you like their doctrine, without questioning their authority, is to potentially make one of the biggest mistakes of your life. As far as religious organizations are concerned, proper authority will always be more important than proper doctrine.

Whenever any religious organization exists it can generally be placed somewhere along the continuum of truth and apostasy. Unfortunately, most churches seem to be digressing, rather than progressing. Because of this, they all tend to fall short of the goal to one degree or another. They are all less than perfect and therefore in some form of apostasy.18 The LDS church is no exception. Yet, wherever there is authority and revelation, there is truth and goodness worth following.

Is the LDS church in apostasy? Yes, it always has been to one degree or another, in that it has never achieved a celestial way of life. Nor has it ever achieved what the City of Enoch did. In fact, it has seldom come close to it. The real questions are, “How far into apostasy is it? “Which direction is it headed?” and “Is the Lord still in charge of the LDS church?” These are the real issues that need to be considered.

If we think of doctrines and ordinances as more or less and higher or lower instead of simply true or false, we will possess a far more accurate concept of apostasy. At what level the Lord removes all authority and revelation is certainly a significant issue and perhaps only determined via prayer and personal inspiration. Although there are significant scriptural comments on this subject which we will discuss later in this work, I’m not sure that it can be completely discerned by study alone. However, as the scriptures indicate, it seems that God will often stoop to quite low levels in order to redeem his people. We should not be too surprised to find that He is very much involved with teaching His children at all levels of gospel instruction, not just at the highest ones. And given the state of the world today, a generally low level of gospel instruction clearly seems to be necessary if we are to have any affect at all on most people. As the Lord explained to Joseph Smith many years ago regarding the people in his day:

For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish. (D&C 19:22. See also D&C 45:72; 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 and Hebrews 5:12.)

However, it also seems clear that a time must come when the Lord will raise his level of expectation, gather the elect from the four corners of the earth, and destroy the wicked who could not even accept the lower laws given to them. The scriptures seem to clearly teach that those who continue to be satisfied with, and even desire, the milk over the meat will eventually be swept from the earth prior to the millennium. And perhaps of even more significance than being swept from the earth is the apparent fact that these people will never qualify for a higher exaltation until they start to spend more time thinking about and accepting the higher principles of the gospel, even if they can’t live them at this time. As the Lord has taught,

And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.

All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified. (D&C 88:38-39)

For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world. (D&C 132:5)

It seems that no person can enter the Celestial Kingdom without accepting the laws and principles of that kingdom during some point of their existence. To assume that we can receive the higher blessings without conforming to the higher principles, at least in our hearts, is to believe in something that is simply not true. Yet, if the Lord tells us to live lower laws, we must live them according to His word.

The first step of repentance is recognition. If the process of repentance applies to the LDS church as it does to individual people, then it may be high time the church recognizes and accepts the seriousness of it’s current direction of apostasy. Without this recognition it is doubtful that the church will be able to correct it’s course and move towards a Zion society. However, this seems to be in the hands of the Lord and not any self-proclaimed scholar.

The remainder of this section deals with evidence that the LDS church still has the proper authority and that the Lord is still very much involved with it. Evidence will be given to support the idea that, although modern Mormonism is digressing in the areas of doctrine and obedience to higher principles, it is still very much the Lord’s church and will be redeemed at some point in the future.

The Calamities Will Begin Upon The Lord’s House

One of the scriptures that has a direct bearing on the status of the modern LDS church is found in section 112 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It reads,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord. (D&C 112:23-26)

These verses talk about the calamities of the last days. Verse 25 makes it clear that these calamities will begin upon the Lord’s house. To what is the Lord referring when He says the calamities will begin “upon my house?” If it is not the LDS church then what is it?

This scripture is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it seems clear from these verses that the Lord’s house has major problems. The Lord seems very upset with those hypocrites and blasphemers within his house. This clearly seems to point to at least a partial apostasy within the LDS church. In fact, the Lord is apparently so displeased with his church that the calamities of the last days will actually begin within the LDS church and spread from there. On the other hand, the Lord still seems to refer to the LDS church as his house, indicating that he still owns it and is actively involved with it at the time of these calamities. This would suggest that there is no complete apostasy taking place.

An experience I once had helps to bring the significance of this scripture into focus. I once entertained a couple of missionaries from a well-known fundamentalist group in Utah. They were attempting to show me that the LDS church was in apostasy and that their group was the “true organization” with authority recognized by God. During our discussion they asked me to read the verses above from D&C 112. Upon reading them, we had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: What do you think the words “my house” refer to in these verses?

Them: It obviously refers to the LDS church. This clearly shows that the LDS church is off course and in a state of apostasy.

Me: So you believe the Lord’s house, as spoken of in this scripture, refers to the LDS church?

Them: Certainly. What else could it refer to?

Me: So this scripture is not talking about your church?

Them: No.

Me: So, you’re saying that this scripture clearly states that “His house,” the Lord’s house, is the LDS church and not your church. Is that right?

Them: Right.

Me: So, why would I want to join your church when I clearly belong to the Lord’s house already, even if it is having problems?

Them: (No response.)

Me: Where in the scriptures is your organization referred to as the “Lord’s house?”

The two missionaries had no answer. Not only were they unable to overcome the fact the Lord referred to the LDS church as His house, but they could provide no scriptures to indicate that any other organization had become the Lord’s house other than the LDS church. The point was made that although these verses speak poorly of the LDS church, the Lord still clearly regards it as his own. This caused a paradox for my fundamentalist friends that is not easily overcome. On the one hand, they were proud not to be among the blasphemers who would be the first to experience the calamities of the last days. On the other hand, they would have really liked to claim that they were a part of the Lord’s house in the last days. Yet, based on this scripture, they simply couldn’t have it both ways. It is truly a lose-lose scenario.

Another interesting point worth mentioning is that this scripture does not condemn the whole LDS church. Rather, it suggests that the Lord is only displeased with a subset of “those among” his house. Note that He did not say that the calamities would come “first among all those within my house.” Rather, He said the calamities will come “first among those among you…who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house.” Given the wording of the scripture, this apparently does not condemn the entire LDS church or even the church itself. It apparently condemns only that subset of people within the church who are guilty of these specific offenses.

We can learn at least three important truths from these verses in D&C 112. First we learn that the LDS church has some major problems – problems so large that the Lord will send calamities first to those within the church. Second, we learn that the Lord is only displeased with a subset of those within the LDS church, rather than the whole church or even the church itself. And third, we learn that even with these apparent problems, the Lord still refers to the LDS church as “my house,” indicating that He is still at the helm of the organization. These factors are significant factors to consider as try to develop a clear view of the situation within the church.

John Taylor’s Vision

The basic scenario found in D&C 112 is also supported by a dream or vision President John Taylor had regarding the calamities of the last days. The events in his vision seem to have been given to him in chronological order, beginning in Salt Lake City, the headquarters of “the Lord’s house.” Notice the situation President Taylor observes in Salt Lake City.

I was immediately in Salt Lake City wandering about the streets in all parts of the city and on the door of every house I found a badge of mourning, and I could not find a house but what was in mourning. I passed by my own house and saw the same sign there, and asked, “Is that me that is dead?” Something gave me answer, “No you’ll live through it all.”

It seemed strange to me that I saw no person on the street in my wandering about through the city. They seemed to be in their houses with their sick and dead. I saw no funeral procession, or any thing of that kind, but the city looked vary still and quiet as though the people were praying and had control of the disease whatever it was. I then looked in all directions over the territory, east, west, north and south and I found the same mourning in every place throughout the land. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, June 5, 1878, underline added. See also Unpublished Revelations, pp.119-123.)

It is interesting to note that although President Taylor witnesses great distress and mourning in Salt Lake City, his impression is that “the people were praying and had control of the disease whatever it was.” This seems to contradict some who believe that Salt Lake City will be completely destroyed in the last days. It suggests that there will be those who, through prayer and righteousness, will survive and overcome these early calamities pronounced upon the Lord’s house.

President Taylor’s dream continues in what appears to be chronological order:

The next I knew I was just this side of Omaha. It seemed as though I was above the earth, looking down on it as I passed along on my way east. I saw the roads full of people, principally women, with just what they could carry in bundles on their backs traveling to the mountains on foot. And I wondered how they could get there, with nothing but a small pack upon their backs. It was remarkable to me that there were so few men among them. It did not seem as though the cars were running. The rails looked rusty and the road abandoned and I have no conception how I traveled myself. (Ibid.)

If the calamities of the last days are to come mostly upon the wicked, then we have reason to believe that these people spoken of by John Taylor were spared because of their righteousness. That said, it is significant that these people were traveling towards the mountains, not away from them. They were going towards Salt Lake City, not towards Jackson County. These are apparently righteous people who were headed to a place they considered to be safe – a place they were likely instructed to go by the Lord. This suggests that the Rocky Mountains will become a safe haven for the righteous who survive these difficulties.

President Taylor continues to travel east in his dream, witnessing “horrid” sites in Missouri, Illinois, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. Then, after seeing the massive destruction along the east coast, he returns to the states of Missouri and Illinois, which he now found “were a complete wilderness with no living human being in them.” At this point he sees the beginnings of the building of the New Jerusalem and rejoices in it.

Interestingly enough, the dream ends with him back in Utah.

Instantly I found I was in the Tabernacle at Ogden and yet I could see the building going on [in Jackson County] and I got quite animated in calling to the people in the Tabernacle to listen to the beautiful music that the angels were singing. I called to them to look at the angels as the house seemed to be full of them and they were saying the same words that I heard before “Now is the Kingdom of Our God and His Christ established forever and ever.” And then a voice said, “Now shall come to pass that which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, That seven women shall take hold of on man saying etc…” (Ibid.)

Notice that the dream ends in Utah under favorable circumstances. That this is the Utah of the post-calamity period receives support from at least two remarks. The first is that President Taylor is still viewing the building of Zion in Jackson County and is trying to call the people’s attention to it. It is as though it is still happening while he is in the tabernacle at Ogden. The second bit of evidence comes from the mentioning of Isaiah’s prophecy being fulfilled. This is clearly a reference to an event that will not happen until after the calamities, not before.19 The voice heard by President Taylor seems to be saying, “Now that the wicked have been swept off the earth, the saints in Utah have recovered, and the New Jerusalem is being built, Isaiah’s prophecy about plural marriage will be fulfilled.”

Not only does this dream collaborate with the story in D&C 112, it also indicates that the calamities which begin at the Lord’s house in Utah will eventually be controlled and recovered from in Utah, and that the Utah region will become a safe haven for the righteous survivors. It indicates that there will be congregations of saints meeting together in Utah after the worst is over. Again, these issues should be considered when judging either the church, it’s members, or the region in which the church predominantly resides.

The Church Will Be Set In Order

Another scripture that seems to support these same ideas is found in section 85 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It reads,

And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God;

While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning. (D&C 85:7-8, underline added)

This scripture also seems to indicate that at some point in the last days there will be a need to “set in order the house of God.” The fact that it needs to be “set in order” suggests that it is out of order to begin with – that there are problems that require attention. However, even though these problems exist in the Lord’s house, these verses also clearly suggest that the Lord still considers it His house and that He will send someone to fix the problem at some point.

President Brigham Young, commenting on these verses once stated,

Brethren, this church will be led onto the very brink of hell by the leaders of this people, then God will send the one mighty and strong spoken of in the 85th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, to save and redeem this church. (Truth, March 1, 1936, 1:10, p. 135, underline added)

Although many people have claimed to be this “one mighty and strong,” it seems clear that this is still a future event. It seems clear that the house of God has not yet been set in order, saved, or redeemed. However, as already indicated, the church may very well have already been led onto the very brink of hell. It is unclear in Brigham Young’s statement whether the “leaders of this people” to whom he referred were church leaders or government leaders. Either may apply. Perhaps he was referring to both. The point is that the Lord plans to save his church at some future point in time.

It is important to note that this scripture isn’t saying that the Lord will abandon his church and start over again. Rather, it states that He will fix the house that already exists, the one that needs to be set in order. This again seems to cause problems for those who want to have it all. It seems we can belong to the authorized house of God with all its problems or we can belong to some other organization that is not the house of God or we can belong to no organization at all. Unfortunately, the scriptures don’t seem to talk about a house of God in the last days that is problem free.20 It is also reasonable to assume that the Lord would want us to belong to “his house,” even with all of its problems. When the Lord does set his house in order, where will you want to be? With what organization will you want to be affiliated? What will you be in a good position to support?

It should also be noted that verse 8 speaks of those who are “called of God and appointed” in the last days. It suggests that in spite of their calling and appointment from God, there will only be one man called to “steady the ark” and “set in order the house of God.” He is referred to only as “one mighty and strong.” We can only speculate about who those are who are called of God and appointed. However, it is not too far fetched to assume that at least some of them are leaders of the LDS church. If this is the case, then according to this scripture, even though these leaders are called and appointed by God, they would not be allowed to fix the problems with the church, for it is not their calling. In fact, verse 8 suggests that if they try to fix the problems within the church they “shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.”

When viewed in this light it is easier to see a potential dilemma for LDS church leadership. On the one hand, they are called and appointed by God to lead this church. On the other hand, they are not allowed to fix many of the problems of apostasy within the church. If this is a true scenario, then it would be clear why they haven’t taken a stronger stand against the apostasy going on within the church. It would tend to make us confused by many of their words on the subject, or lack of words, as the case may be. It would be a frustrating situation for both the leaders as well as those members of the church who see these problems and wonder why nothing is being done to correct them.

In addition to the general authorities, this scripture also indicates that anyone else, whether appointed church leader or otherwise, who tries to set the house of God in order, will also meet the same fate. This seems to be true even if they are called of God and appointed to perform some other important work in the last days. Apparently the only person who is allowed to “set in order the house of God” is the one mighty and strong. All others will be struck down if they try to steady the ark.

Interestingly enough, the counsel that immediately follows the verses regarding the calamities and problems in the church in D&C 112 is this:

Therefore, see to it that ye trouble not yourselves concerning the affairs of my church in this place, saith the Lord.

But purify your hearts before me; and then go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it; (D&C 112:27-28)

Perhaps this is exactly what the leaders of the church are doing today. It seems to be the mission of the church at this time to focus mainly on missionary work, rather than perfecting the saints. Perhaps this is council that all of us should consider as we try to sort out all of the problems and purposes of the church. While the church seems to be here mostly to do missionary work, purifying our hearts seems to be largely an individual effort, at least for now. There is wisdom in following this counsel, both on a church level as well as an individual level. Instead of troubling ourselves concerning the affairs of the Lord’s church, perhaps we should simply be trying to purify our own hearts and then join in the effort to preach the gospel until called by God to do something else. The Lord will take care of his church in due time. We need to recognize what our responsibilities are and are not.

We learn many of the same basic truths from D&C 85 as we did from D&C 112. As with D&C 112, section 85 tells us that the LDS church has some major problems – problems so large that the Lord will have to send “one mighty and strong” to set his house in order again. We also learn that even though the Lord is displeased with how His house is ordered, He still refers to it as “the house of God” and will eventually take action to correct the problem. This indicates that He is still at the helm of the organization and that He does not plan to completely abandon His house or start over again with a different organization. Rather, He plans to fix this house at some future point. In addition, these verses tell us that the Lord disapproves of just anyone trying to set His house in order. This work will be done by the one mighty and strong who will be sent to set the house of God in order in the Lord’s own due time, probably at or near the same time that the calamities are sent upon the Lord’s house. Even the General authorities of the church will find themselves in ill favor with the Lord if they try to perform this work.

The Priesthood Restored For The Last Time

Later in section 112 of the Doctrine and Covenants we find another statement by the Lord which sheds light on the apostasy in the latter-days. Speaking of restoring the priesthood in the last days the Lord has said,

For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.

Which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation;

For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you. (D&C 112:30-32, underline added)

These verses seem to indicate that the priesthood that was given to the 12 Apostles and First Presidency of the church has been restored to the earth for the last time in this dispensation. This suggests that this priesthood will not be restored again prior to the second coming of Christ. Hence, if this priesthood exists on earth today, it finds its origin in the LDS church. We should not look to any other restoration of this priesthood, as is claimed by some.

Concerning this, the prophet Joseph Smith once said,

No true angel from God will ever come to ordain any man, because they have once been sent to establish the priesthood by ordaining me thereunto;…the priesthood once being established on earth, with power to ordain others, no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more…You may therefore know, from this time forward, that if any man comes to you professing to be ordained by an angel, he is either a liar or has been imposed upon in consequence of transgression by an angel of the devil for this priesthood shall never be taken away from this church. (Millenial Star, 20 Nov. 1846, p.139, underline added)

There are a few key points made in this statement by the prophet. The first is that the priesthood will never be restored again. The second is that anyone claiming that the priesthood was restored to them apart from the church is either a liar or has been deceived. And third, the priesthood “shall never be taken away from this church.” This says much about which of our graphs discussed earlier likely applies to the LDS church. It seems to give rather good support for scenario #3.

Decades later, President George Q. Cannon reiterated these same points.

Men have pretended that angels have visited them, and that, in consequence they must have authority. This was the pretense made by James J. Strang. But he did not understand that the oracles had been given through Joseph, according to the revelation given in March, 1833, to the Church. Others had also had the keys given unto them to enable them to exercise the power and authority which Joseph held. Now we may come to this conclusion; that God, having once bestowed the keys of the holy Priesthood on man here on the earth for the up building of His Church, will never take them from the man or men who hold them and authorize others to bestow them. (Journal of Discourses, Vol.13, p.46 p.47, December 5, 1869, underline added)

President Brigham Young also taught that the priesthood will not be taken from the earth again.

The Government of the United States and all the kings of this world may go to war with us, but God will preserve a portion of the meek and humble of this people to bear off the Kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth, and will defend His Priesthood; for it is the last time, and the last gathering time; and He will not suffer the Priesthood to be again driven from the earth. They may massacre men, women, and children; but the Lord will not suffer them to destroy the Priesthood; and I say to the Saints, that, if they will truly practice their religion, they will live, and not be cut off. (Journal of Discourses 2:184, underline added)

These quotes seem to provide a fairly strong argument in favor of the church still having the priesthood. First, the Lord tells us that the priesthood will never be restored again. Then, Joseph Smith adds that the priesthood shall never be taken away from this church. Next, Brigham Young teaches that the priesthood will never again be driven from the earth. Now, if we take these statements to heart and recognize that they come from some of the early founders of the church – the men who likely understood these issues the most, then we must come to the conclusion that the priesthood will never be taken from the church, nor will it be restored to any other person or people. It is difficult to come to any other conclusion from these statements.

Coinciding with these thoughts, Joseph Smith also taught,

I will give you a key that will never rust, if you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the Church, you will never be led astray. (William G. Nelson, Young Woman’s Journal 17 (1906), p.543, underline added)

Because he referred to this as “a key that will never rust,” it is clear that the prophet was not referring only to the Twelve Apostles of his day. He apparently uttered this statement with the long-term status of the church in mind. “Never” is a long time. It is important to note what is and is not said in this statement. For example, the suggestion that we stay with the “majority” of the Twelve Apostles indicates that the “minority of the Twelve” may not always be worth following. In addition, the prophet encourages us to stay with the “records” of the church. This seems to imply that we should possess a knowledge of the doctrine, history, and origins of the church in order to avoid deception. I feel both of these points are significant if we are to avoid being led astray.

That said, what these statements do not indicate is whether or not a small group may be properly authorized by God, through the leaders of the church, to live certain principles apart from the main body of the church. It is certainly possible, for example, that a group of men was properly ordained by some president of the church to carry on with the work of plural marriage. This would not involve a restoration of this priesthood, nor would it conflict with any of the statements just cited. If such a group does exist, they would have to be called of God and authorized via the Lord’s chosen servants in the last days. They would have to have received their priesthood from the leadership of the church.

It is clear that there are many major events in the last days that are still future events, not the least of which is the coming of the one mighty and strong to set in order the house of God. It also seems clear that this person, as well as many others in the last days, are going to have to be properly authorized by God to perform many important works. We must ask ourselves, “If the priesthood was restored in the days of Joseph Smith for the last time, and if it will exist within the church right up to the coming of Christ, how or from whom will these people in the very last days get their priesthood authority?” Given the teachings from sections 85 and 112, as well as the statements from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others, the only possible answer is that it will be passed down from person to person until all those who have a mission in the last days are bestowed with proper authority. In other words, latter-day servants of God will not have the priesthood restored directly to them. They will receive it from those who have already had it bestowed upon them in the latter-days.

This tends to limit the field of possible of latter-day prophets a little bit. Whenever we talk about authority in the last days, these scriptures tell us that we need to be able to trace that authority to the leaders of the LDS church on whom it was originally restored. It tells us that there will be no more “restorations” of the priesthood in the last days. Hence, anyone claiming that they have received this priesthood authority directly from God may find it difficult to reconcile their claims with the teachings of the early church leaders.

If the LDS church is the only source for proper authority in the last days, then we have a limited number of options available to us. The possible options include,

1. The authority has gone away entirely and there are no authorized servants of God in the last days. However, this seems to contradict the statements above by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. It also contradicts prophecies concerning the priesthood power needed for future events and future servants of God in the last days. Hence, this does not seem to be a legitimate option for most ultra-Mormons.

2. The authority has been conferred onto another people by those within this church and either,

3. The LDS church has authority in addition to this group(s) outside the church, or,

4. The LDS church has lost its authority altogether after conferring it upon other people outside the church. This, however, also contradicts the statements by Joseph Smith.

5. The authority stays with, and only with, the LDS church and is never taken away.

From this we can see that, unless we are willing to simply throw out the statements on the subject by the Lord and early church leaders, the only legitimate options available to us are 2a and 3, both of which include the LDS church still possessing the priesthood spoken of in the scriptures. I believe it would be difficult to formulate an argument stating that the authority will go away from the church entirely at some point prior to the second coming.21

As mentioned earlier, it is certainly possible that the Lord has provided for multiple organizations to be duly authorized from the same original source and yet to operate separately from each other. In fact, this is exactly the claim of some fundamentalist groups. With the possible exception of “staying with the majority of the Twelve Apostles,” this view provides no apparent contradictions with the early teachings of the church and actually tends to receive some support. As already referred to earlier, Elder Orson Pratt once stated,

There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains. (Journal of Discourses 15:360, underline added)

An argument clearly exists for some (not all) fundamentalist groups who claim authority from early church leaders. There is evidence that President John Taylor gave authority to certain men regarding the continued practice of plural marriage and that this authority has been passed down to the present day apart from the mainstream LDS church. It is claimed by some that President Taylor authorized these men to practice plural marriage in secret until it could be openly practiced again without persecution.

However, even if this turns out to be the case, we still have basically the same issues surrounding the LDS church. Regardless of these claims to authority, does the LDS still have priesthood authority as well? Given the scriptures in D&C sections 85 and 112, and the comments as outlined above, it seems that it must.

When we say that the LDS church is the house of God referred to in these scriptures, it is important that we understand what we mean. What makes the LDS church the house of God? Is it revelation, authority, doctrine, or actions? As we have established, doctrine and actions seem to be suffering. In fact, this is exactly what D&C 85 and 112 are saying. That leaves revelation and authority. If the LDS church is referred to as the house of God, even in it’s apostate condition, then it is reasonable to assume that it is because it still has the authority of God and is still directed to some extent by Him. If it did not have proper authority then it would make little sense to refer to it as “the house of God.”

If there is a group outside of the mainstream LDS church that has proper authority in addition to the church, then they would tend not to be an enemy to the mainstream church. Rather, they would likely be looking forward to the time when they can be reunited with the church again. They would likely view themselves as somewhat of a secret part of the mainstream LDS church. They would understand their role as supporting the basic cause of the LDS church, rather than fighting against it and claiming that it is in complete apostasy. These are important principles to take into consideration.

In any case, it seems clear that option three is potentially true. It is possible that the LDS church is the only group on earth today in possession of the restored priesthood referred to in D&C 112. As we’ve discussed, the Lord will “save and redeem” his church at some future point and he will still refer to it as “the house of God” even during its most troubled times. The authority of God, in some shape or form, will apparently continue with the mainstream LDS church right up to the millennium. As Elder H. Verlan Anderson correctly pointed out,

Some may assume that a “Gentile apostasy” in these latter days cannot occur because Christ’s Church is here to stay this time. They may assume that widespread departure from gospel principles by Church members is contrary to prophecy. While the scriptures do assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming, they do not state that all, or even a majority of its members will follow those prophets. On the contrary, they foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 169-170, underline added)

This statement seems to agree completely with the scriptures we’ve been discussing. The scriptures seem to “foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles” within the church. As we have established, this seems to be happening today. However, the scriptures also “assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming.” This seems to include both revelation and priesthood authority.

This discussion also has great significance with regard to certain events of the last days. For example, we are told in the Book of Mormon that in the last days, when the times of the gentiles are fulfilled,22 the fullness of the gospel of the Father will be taken away from the gentiles and given back to the house of Israel.

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fullness of my gospel from among them.

And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fullness of my gospel. (3 Nephi 16:10-12, underline added)

By reading all of 3 Nephi, chapter 16, it is easy to see that the Savior is talking about the last days, after the gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith. By comparing 3 Nephi 16:15 with D&C 101:39-40 we can also see that the Gentiles spoken of here are the covenant people. Notice how the Lord refers to the Gentiles in this verse as “salt that hath lost its savor.”

But if they [the Gentiles] will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16:15, underline added)

To help us better understand these words, the Lord has given us a definition of “salt that hath lost its savor.”

When men are called into mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;

They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. (D&C 101:39-40, underline added)

We can clearly see from these verses that the Gentiles spoken of by the Savior are not those who reject the missionaries, they are those who have made an everlasting covenant with God and then reject that covenant. The Savior seems to be referring to us, the members of the holy church of God23 in the latter-days.

As far as our discussion of the LDS church is concerned, here is the key question: “If God is going to take his gospel away from the gentiles and give it to the house of Israel, then what affect does this have on the house of God in the last days? What effect does it have on the church?” When we combine these scriptures with our other verses from D&C 85 and 112, and the references from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, it seems likely that this church will also be taken away from the gentiles and given to the house of Israel. The priesthood will remain in tact within the church and the church will remain in tact among the house of Israel.

Elder Orson Pratt has said,

What says the Book of Mormon in relation to the building up of the New Jerusalem on this continent one of the most splendid cities that ever was or ever will be built on this land? Does not that book say that the Lamanites are to be the principal operators in that important work, and that those who embrace the Gospel from among the Gentiles are to have the privilege of assisting the Lamanites to build up the city called the New Jerusalem? This remnant of Joseph, who are now degraded, will then be filled with the wisdom of God; and by that wisdom they will build that city; by the aid of the Priesthood already given, and by the aid of Prophets that God will raise up in their midst, they will beautify and ornament its dwellings; and we have the privilege of being numbered with them, instead of their being numbered with us. It is a great privilege indeed (and we are indebted to their fathers for it,) that we enjoy of being associated with them in the accomplishment of so great a work. (Journal of Discourses 9:178, underline added)

Where will this remnant of Joseph get the authority to perform this important work? They will get it from the gentiles within the LDS church. It will not be restored to them separately by God or angels. And if that same priesthood will never be taken away from the church, and the church is going to be set in order by the one mighty and strong, it stands to reason that it will have it’s place among the righteous house of Israel in the latter-days. The LDS church will not go away or fall into complete apostasy. But it will evidently undergo some dramatic changes before the second coming of Christ.

All the evidence seems to suggest that this church has priesthood authority now and that it will continue to have it right up through the second coming. Whether or not that priesthood is fully functional is another question. However, as we’ve discussed, there is every reason to believe that it will become fully functional again at some future time between now and the millennium. This suggests that even though we will experience tough times of severe apostasy, the LDS church is not altogether lost and is even a fairly good place to be when all is said and done.

What About President Benson?

As we have already established, among the list of recent prophets there are several who have apparently contradicted the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Statements made by these leaders are often confusing to those who are aware of the issues. As a result, teachings from many of these more recent leaders have tended to give ammunition to the claims that the LDS church is in a state of apostasy. The conclusion many have come to is that it is impossible to have a true church if the leaders either don’t understand or disagree with the original doctrines of the restoration. They claim that since the leaders have “fallen away,” the church has fallen away as well. Yet, in the midst of these claims of false or “lesser” prophets, one prophet seems to stand out. That prophet is President Ezra Taft Benson.

President Benson is one of the interesting phenomenons of recent church history. Among those ultra-Mormons who rigidly criticize the church and its leaders, most have found a friend in President Benson. There are even compilations of President Benson’s talks put together in book form by the leaders of certain fundamentalist groups. In fact, fundamentalists in general seem to have mostly kind words to say about President Benson, as do most other types of ultra-Mormons.

The reason for President Benson’s popularity among ultra-Mormons seems clear. Among other things he had the tendency to speak out rather harshly about certain issues. He called us to repentance in several unpopular, even controversial areas. His sermons were more about repentance and traditional values than about conformity and acceptance in the world. He also questioned, perhaps even attacked, both the church and the government in very direct and straightforward ways. He even declared that the church is “under condemnation” for the way in which we have neglected the Book of Mormon.24 He spoke as one having authority – as one who knew. To a large extent, he sounded like the prophets in the scriptures and seemed to echo the attitude and strength of many early LDS leaders.

The fact that President Benson stands out has no small affect on those claiming apostasy within the church. If the church is in a state of “complete” apostasy, then we are left with the question of how to explain President Benson. If the other recent prophets have all been false prophets, was President Benson a false prophet as well?

It seems that regardless of how one views the church or it’s leaders, most ultra-Mormons would be inclined to say that President Benson was a true prophet who spoke with the authority of God. If this is true, then we must also admit that the Lord was recently very active with both the church as well as it’s leadership. We would have to admit that it was not in a state of complete apostasy a very short time ago. To say the least, it seems to be difficult reasoning to accept President Benson as a true prophet of God and throw away many others before and after his time. It seems more likely that we are dealing with “greater and lesser” prophets and that different prophets have different callings in the last days. It may even be the case that the Lord is prohibiting most of His prophets from speaking due to the unrighteousness of the saints. We must remember that even a man who is “called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.”25

Perhaps the experience of the prophet Mormon among the apostate Nephites has bearing on this discussion, both with regard to President Benson as well as other, recent prophets.

And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them; for behold they had wilfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity.

But I did remain among them, but I was forbidden to preach unto them, because of the hardness of their hearts; and because of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sake. (Mormon 1:16-17)

Perhaps, just as in the days of Mormon, many of our modern prophets have been forbidden to truly preach the higher laws unto the people today. Perhaps this silence tells us more about the members of the church than it does about the leaders of the church. To some extent, it probably tells something about both. I believe that only personal revelation can answer these questions fully. Yet, some people continue to have a “guilty until proven innocent” approach to church leadership.

It should be mentioned that President Benson is not the only recent general authority who has spoken out boldly against the church. As quoted earlier in this work, others such as Elder L. Tom Perry, Elder Boyd K. Packer, and Elder H. Verlan Anderson have made rather significant remarks about the status of the LDS church. To completely discount the contributions of these other brethren is to take a rather close-minded and one-sided approach to the issue.

Whatever the status of the church, it seems those who assume that church leadership is in a complete state of apostasy have difficulty explaining President Benson. In addition, such people may also be neglecting some of the scriptural precedents of the past regarding both the existence of lesser prophets as well as true prophets who have been silenced by the Lord for one reason or another. It is an extremely important issue. On matters of such significance, we ought not to judge with too much haste or too little personal revelation.

What Constitutes A Prophet?

If we can accept Joseph Smith’s words that the priesthood will never be taken from the church or restored to another group, then we must begin the process of reconciling some of the statements of the modern prophets with those from earlier leaders of the church. We must look to the scriptures and the early leaders of the church to see if we can try to figure out what the modern prophets might be doing or trying to accomplish. Surprisingly, it is relatively easy to find examples of righteous prophets who have done and said things similar to the modern leaders of the church. Some of these examples are worth mentioning.

Perhaps part of our concern about church leadership comes from a misunderstanding of what it means to be a prophet of God. If our definition of what a prophet is and does is not accurate, then our perceptions of true and false prophets are likely to be flawed as well. Joseph Smith clearly recognized the problem of discerning the true prophets from the false when he said,

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS Pg. 205)

This seems to be true in any age, including our own. Most of the true prophets, both ancient and modern, were thought to be false prophets by at least some of the people. Joseph Smith was all too familiar with this problem. Of necessity he had to curb his tongue to keep the people from falling away or even killing him. Because of this, Joseph Smith sometimes taught things that he knew were false. In other instances he told the people that he wasn’t living certain principles, such as plural marriage, even though he clearly was and a few others knew it. Even his own wife was kept from knowing about many of Joseph’s plural marriages. He openly taught one thing, knowing that another was true. By most people’s definition, he lied, plain and simple. When some people found out the truth about these issues, they often left the church, accusing Joseph of being either a false prophet or a fallen prophet. Some even became strong enemies to the prophet and to the church in general. Yet, I believe Joseph’s motives were pure. I believe he was acting on behalf of the greater good of the church and the saints in general.

Another interesting aspect of the prophet’s revelatory responsibility is found by investigating the dates of his published revelations as found in the Doctrine and Covenants. As indicated in the graph below, the number of canonized revelations hit a sharp peak in 1831. From that point on, Joseph Smith apparently began to share less and less of his revelations with the general membership of the church.

Given the rich abundance of new doctrine taught in the Nauvoo era, it is reasonable to assume that the prophet was still receiving a great deal of new revelation during the latter part of his life. Yet, he apparently chose not to openly publish or canonize this information. Why not? The most reasonable explanation is that it is not always in the best interests of the people or the work of God to reveal all things to all people. Joseph had to keep most of these higher truths secret.

[MISSING GRAPHIC.  Description: This is a graph of the number of Revelations in the D&C received year by year, beginning in 1823 and ending in 1844, with some in a “Post J.S.” category.  Here are the results: 1823 – 1.  1824 to 1827 – 0.  1828 – 2.  1829 – 14.  1830 – 19.  (The 1823 to 1830 revelations were received in New York.)  1831 – 37.  1832 – 18.  1833 – 12.  1834 – 5.  1835 – 3.  1836 – 4.  1837 – 1.  (The 1831 to 1837 revelations were received in Kirtland, Ohio & Jackson County, Missouri.)  1838 – 8.  1839 – 3.  1840 – 0.  1841 – 3.  1842 – 2.  1843 – 4.  1844 – 0.  Post J.S. – 5.  (The 1838 to 1844 revelations were received in Nauvoo, Illinois.)]

Although the prophet frequently “tested the waters” to see how the saints would react to the higher doctrines, such teachings as plural marriage, the true attributes of God, the temple ordinances, certain aspects of the priesthood, and other difficult doctrines were generally taught only to a select few. The prophet would often have to be somewhat misleading, if not outright dishonest in order to bless the people in the best possible manner. Yet, all this “dishonesty” was done with an eye towards building the kingdom of God in the best possible manner. It is a difficult problem – one which all prophets have faced in every dispensation of the gospel. Of this problem Joseph Smith once said,

But there has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle. Even the Saints are slow to understand. I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen. (DHC 6:183 185, Jan. 20, 1844.)

On another occasion the prophet stated,

If the Church knew all the commandments, one-half they would condemn through prejudice and ignorance. (TPJS Pg. 111)

Hence, it is clear that Joseph Smith didn’t teach all that he knew was true. In fact, given the statement above, it is possible that he gave less than half of the commandments he knew of to the church. He apparently only taught that measure of the truth that would help the people progress at a level they could reasonably handle.

There is undoubtedly an argument that the modern leaders of the church are doing exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, the members of the church today are even less prepared to handle the higher doctrines than were the members in Joseph Smith’s day. Hence, we can expect our prophets today to teach on a much lower level than the early prophets. What else would we expect them to do? We tend to want more revelation from our modern prophets. What for? Most of the members can’t even handle what we’ve got now. What possible motive could there be in giving us more than what we’ve got now? If anything, we don’t deserve what we currently have. As Joseph Smith recognized, giving the saints more than they can handle will cause them to “fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all.” It is simply a difficult problem – one which our current prophets are just as ill-prepared to deal with today as any prophet in any dispensation of the gospel.

In addition to the difficulties of teaching higher doctrines within the church, we also have the problem and responsibility of teaching those outside the church. The church is much more public today that it ever has been in the past. Official teachings of the church are spread all over the world via TV, radio, various publications, and now, the Internet. It is virtually impossible to teach the difficult doctrines to the members of the church without them reaching the far corners of the planet. Given the pattern set forth by Joseph Smith and the scriptures, it should be no surprise that very few “mysteries” are taught from the pulpit anymore. It would simply destroy the missionary effort around the world, as well as the faith of many of the long-time members, and probably the church itself. At some point in the future, these mysteries will have to come forth. But it likely won’t happen until the Lord is ready to do so. From a scriptural standpoint, it probably won’t happen until the wheat and tares are fully ripe.26

Another important aspect of all of this deals with the fact that we want to view prophets as perfect – as our examples to look to in all things. And yet, we should seriously ask what we can reasonably expect from them. Any time you place a prophet on a pedestal, the only thing they can generally do is fall off – the only direction they can go is down. It is reasonable to assume that eventually they will fall off in some way or other. As President George Q. Cannon once taught,

Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an apostle or a president; if you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support will be gone; but if we lean on God, He will NEVER fail us. When men and women depend upon GOD ALONE and trust in HIM ALONE, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside. (DW 43:322 [Mar 7, 1891]).

Unfortunately, we seem to have difficulty following President Cannon’s advice. People in general want to view prophets as perfect – as the ideal examples for us to follow. This is often one of the first challenges new ultra-Mormons face. If they were previously faithful social Mormons, then they generally held the prophets and apostles in very high regard. Indeed, to a large extent their faith was likely directed at these men, rather than the Lord. When they discover that these men may not be as perfect as all that, it becomes a difficult challenge to their misdirected faith. Good men, who probably have far fewer flaws than most, can become viewed as hypocrites and deceivers. This is not because they are bad people or have terrible flaws, but mostly just because they are people with normal flaws. One could even say that they possess characteristics and attributes of above average people. Yet, they will never be able to live up to our expectations or remain on the pedestal upon which we have placed them. Hence, we tend to judge them far more harshly than we should.

Prophets are men who happen to be called of God to perform some work or other. They are not to be viewed as the perfect standard for us to follow. Often, in our efforts to avoid trusting in the arm of flesh, we slingshot to the other end of the spectrum by not allowing these people to be both men and prophets at the same time. If such a study could ever be made, I think we would find that those people who viewed Joseph Smith as a prophet first and a normal man second, often fell away from the church. Their expectations were simply too high for any man, even a great prophet of God. On the other hand, I think we would find that those people who viewed Joseph Smith as a normal man first, who also happened to be a prophet of God, were most likely those who were able to overlook his faults and weaknesses while respecting his role as a great prophet and remaining faithful to the church in spite of any problems or faults among it’s leadership. The same is likely true regarding how we view the leaders of the church today.

The fact is, there were many things said and done by Joseph Smith that many people don’t generally associate with a prophet of God. Just ask any anti-Mormon. They’ll be happy to provide an entire list for you. I think the response given by many ultra-Mormons would be something like, “If Joseph Smith did things that we don’t generally associate with a true prophet of God, perhaps it is because we do not yet understand what it means to be a true prophet of God.” It seems reasonable to assume that much of this misunderstanding comes from the fact that God’s ways are higher, and hence different, than our ways. God and his prophets do not always speak or act in accordance with our expectations or personal beliefs, which are generally based on our culture and traditions. In our arrogance, we usually choose our perceptions of reality over God’s chosen course, through his chosen servants. Many people choose the “traditions of our fathers” over the traditions of our God. Many anti-Mormons seem to take this course with a full conviction that the traditions of our fathers are so obviously correct that they couldn’t possibly be questioned. Hence, the “great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation.”

I believe we make potentially the same mistake with many of the modern prophets of the church. There are things we either don’t like or don’t understand or both. And we are often quicker to place blame than we are to search for possible answers. We must ask ourselves what the role of a prophet of God is. What must he endure in order to accomplish the things commanded of him? What must he say and, perhaps more importantly for this discussion, what must he not say? What precedents do we have in the scriptures regarding these issues?

A good example of this problem can be found in some recent statements made by President Gordon B. Hinckley. For instance, in a recent interview, President Hinckley made the following remarks:

Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?

A: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received. Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes. Quietly. Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind. (Interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley, as published on the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, April 13, 1997)

These comments, and others similar to them, left a bad taste in the mouths of many ultra-Mormons. What we want is a prophet who gives us new revelation and who does not defer to past prophets. This answer by President Hinckley seemed to be somewhat of a “cop-out” to some. Yet, there is clearly a scriptural precedent for such a course found in the Book of Mormon.

And as these plates are small, and as these things are written for the intent of the benefit of our brethren the Lamanites, wherefore, it must needs be that I write a little; but I shall not write the things of my prophesying, nor of my revelations. For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of salvation? I say unto you, Yea; and this sufficeth me. (Jarom 1:2. See also Omni 1:11.)

These words by the prophet Jarom seem to differ little from the words of President Hinckley. Yet it seems clear that Jarom was a true prophet and did have prophecies and revelations. The fact that other prophets, both before and certainly after Jarom, contributed greatly to the record is no evidence in and of itself that Jarom was a false prophet or that he did anything other than what God wanted him to do, or not to do, as the case may be. I’ve often wondered how we would view Jarom if he were President of the LDS church today and made similar statements to us that he made in his day. Undoubtedly, some would have difficulty with his approach to revelation. The same could be said of Moses, Jacob, Abinadi, and many other prophets who either withheld the higher laws from the people and/or openly taught the lower laws in preference to the higher.

It is also important to note that other presidents of the church have made rather direct comments about their prophetic callings. For example, the following statement by President Joseph F. Smith is generally quite alarming to those who have placed their faith in the leaders of the church, rather than God and Christ.

I have never pretended nor do I profess to have received revelations. I never said I had a revelation except so far as God has shown to me that so called Mormonism is God’s divine truth; that is all…Well, I can say this: That if I live as I should in the line of my duties, I am susceptible, I think, of the impressions of the spirit of the Lord upon my mind at any time, just as any good Methodist or any other good church member might be. And so far as that is concerned, I say yes; I have had impressions of the spirit upon my mind very frequently, but they are not revelations. (President Joseph F. Smith before Congress during the Reed Smoot Hearings Vol.1, p.483 1904).

Does this mean that Joseph F. Smith was not called of God or was not a righteous man? Does it mean that he was an imposter or a fraud? Does it mean that he was unable or unworthy to receive visions from God regarding important matters? I think not. In fact, given section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants, it seems that he found a decent amount of favor before the Lord and was used as an instrument in God’s hands for receiving revelation sufficient to direct and guide the church. However, as far as being a prophet is concerned, it is not likely that Joseph F. Smith was in the same league as the prophet Joseph Smith. Few prophets are, either today or in the past. To shun Joseph F. Smith as an authorized leader of Christ’s church in the latter days simply because he wasn’t the prophet others may have been, seems a little irrational to say the least.

The point to be made is not that President Hinckley, or any other modern president of the church, is perfect or even that they are great prophets. The point is that much of what modern presidents of the church are criticized for saying (and not saying) has a clear precedent in either the scriptures or early church history or both. Again, this does not mean that they are great prophets. It merely suggests that they might be justified and that we should be cautious when judging them. How President Hinckley is viewed by God is something that can perhaps only be discerned by personal revelation. I have heard people criticize the brethren for a lack of new revelation while openly admitting to receiving no revelations themselves. I have also heard people claim revelation about the brethren from both sides of the argument. Some saying “yea” and others saying “nay.” Clearly not all are correct. We need to find out for ourselves, not from the experiences of others. And we need to be aware of false impressions, visions, and dreams – a difficult challenge indeed.

It seems clear that some of the modern prophets are saying things that are out of harmony with earlier prophets of the church. It may also be the case that they are saying things that they know are not really true. Given the evidence available to us, these facts, I believe, are difficult to dispute. However, I think it is fairly short-sighted to automatically assume that this reflects poorly on them in any way. Those who have studied church history in any detail know that this was clearly the course taken by Joseph Smith and other early leaders of the church. They often had to conceal the truth in order to save the church and redeem the saints. This approach is also found throughout the scriptures. Christ himself deliberately said certain things in such a way that some wouldn’t understand what he was talking about. He purposely concealed the truth from those who could not handle it.

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (Matthew 13:10-13, underline added)

In fact, even God himself has told his children things that were not wholly true in order to “work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s sake.”27 Why would we expect anything different from our current prophets? Again, the goal is the salvation of man. And whether we like it or not, the ends often justify the means in the sight of the Lord. Fortunately, the Lord is wise enough to know when and how to do this. Unfortunately, most of us trying to figure it out are not wise enough to do so with any great accuracy. Hence, many mistakes are made in our judgements of how the Lord governs and instructs his people. This is especially true for those who are in the process of becoming ultra-Mormons. If an individual learns the mysteries and difficult doctrines before they have a solid testimony or a foundation of faith in God, they will often fall by the wayside and wither as seeds who have no root.28 As we have already mentioned, the Lord is quite clear about how he shares knowledge with his children.

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. (2 Nephi 28:30, underline added)

If the Latter-day Saints are struggling with righteousness, as this work claims they are, then we must ask ourselves how the Lord would go about taking away that which has already been revealed to them. What has been revealed that can easily be taken away from us? How would He do it? How would He use his prophets under such circumstances?

As mentioned earlier, one seemingly obvious area involves the temple ordinances. It is fairly easy for the Lord to take away parts of the endowment, for example. This He has done multiple times and, for the most part, most social Mormons are relatively unaware of these changes. Generations of Mormons have grown up without any knowledge at all about the teachings in the early temple ceremonies. Most of these teachings are available to those who search for them, but generally only those who search for them will find them. Thus, it seems a likely place for the Lord to take away even that which they have been given.

But what about the other doctrines that were plainly taught during the early years of the church – doctrines with associated “thus saith the Lord” authority attached to them? It seems to be a difficult chore for the Lord to completely take these truths away from his people. How do you stop talking about or, in some cases, completely discount, doctrines that are clearly accessible and even published within our own canon of scriptures? How would you handle it if you were the Lord? How would you handle it if you were the prophet of the church?

What seems ideal would be to take the higher doctrines away from some while somehow making them available to others. This seems to be what the verses in 2 Nephi indicate. Ideally, the Lord would want to find a way to meet the need for milk among the masses, while at the same time allowing the meat to be available to those few who truly seek it, thus allowing all people to progress as much as possible and at their own level without “perishing” due to too much or too little meat. The fact that the LDS church has difficulty accomplishing both goals seems obvious. In fact, the ability to successfully deal with both the milk and the meat seems to be almost an impossibility – a task the Lord has never been able to accomplish with any of the churches he has organized throughout history. Why should we expect any more from the Lord’s church today? Yet, as we follow Joseph Smith’s council to “search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness,”29 we are faced with a dilemma regarding our responsibility to the Lord. What do we do about these higher doctrines and the apparent state of the LDS church? What do we do when Joseph Smith said one thing and the current prophet says another?

At this point a story from the Old Testament may help to evaluate our current situation. In 1 Kings, chapter 13 we find a story about two prophets of God. The first prophet was told directly by God not to eat or drink in the kingdom of Israel, nor to linger in that land after his mission there was completed. Yet, as he was leaving Israel, the second prophet stopped the first and invited him to tarry in the land of Israel and to eat with him there. The first prophet explained that he was not allowed to do so, as commanded by God. At this response, the second prophet explains,

I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. (1 Kings 13:18)

Having no reason to doubt the old prophet or the angel who spoke with him, the first prophet obeys or “follows” the admonition of the second and went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.30 But then a strange thing occurs.

And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:

And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,

But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. (1 Kings 13:20-22)

The first prophet was actually cursed for following the counsel of the second prophet, even though he was a true prophet and stated that this counsel came from an angel of God. He was actually deceived by the second prophet on purpose as a test to see what he would do. To put it another way, the first prophet was punished because he placed his trust in the “arm of flesh” rather than his own personal knowledge of God’s commandments.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this story. The first is that we should always look directly to God for our surest answers, not to any man on earth, even if he is a true prophet. We should place God’s word above anything we hear or see from any of his servants. Personal revelation has always been the highest form of authority and truth. It reigns above the words of other prophets. This thought was echoed by the words of President George Q. Cannon when he stated,

Perhaps it is his own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that his saints may learn to trust in him and not in any man or men. (Millennial Star 53:658, 1891)

As strong as this lesson is, we also learn other important truths from the account in 1 Kings. According to this story, is it possible that a true prophet of God might actually say things that are not true in order to test us? Is it possible that the Lord may use this approach to find out who will be faithful to what they know is true and who will blindly “follow the brethren?” According to this story, I think this possibility clearly exists.

Could the Lord take an approach similar to this today? Could He be using his prophets today in such a way as to appease and progress the masses with milk, lest they perish,31 while at the same time testing those who know better to see what they will do? I think this is clearly possible. Would this mean that they are false prophets? No it would not. In fact, it would be a great way to meet the needs of the social Mormons while providing a very good test for the ultra-Mormons – those who are truly interested in the higher principles. This approach may meet multiple needs the Lord has today in helping his children progress on different levels.

It is important to note that both of the prophets spoken of in 1 Kings were true prophets of God. The second prophet was obeying the Lord when he said things that were not altogether true. The fact that he “lied” to the first prophet is no indication whatsoever that he was a false prophet.

That said, it should also be recognized that believing a principle and openly living and/or preaching it are two different things. It is one thing, for example, to gain a testimony of plural marriage or the Adam-God doctrine. It is completely another to begin living or preaching these principles without God’s approval or calling. This should be clear by now. Yet, the choice of what one believes, prays about, and desires in his heart, regardless of what “the brethren” are saying about it, provides for an excellent test of our character, testimony, and willingness to accept what God has revealed.

When modern prophets make statements which seem contradictory to the revelations given to earlier prophets, it usually has to do with higher or difficult doctrines. Whenever this happens we have a choice. We can choose to simply reject one or both of the prophets. We can “settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting our eternal destiny in the hands of our leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in our salvation.”32 Or we can choose to study, ponder, and pray about the issues, as the scriptures direct us to do, realizing that contradictory or even false statements do not necessarily imply that a false prophet is at work and that we may have a similar responsibility when it comes to living or preaching these doctrines. I feel the latter choice is clearly the wisest.

In past dispensations the Lord has often used his prophets to preach lower doctrines to his people. In many cases He has used them to enforce lower doctrines even when knowledge of higher laws existed. Such was the case with Moses as well as several of the Book of Mormon prophets. That the Lord can use modern prophets in this same manner should go without saying. In our day, taking this approach would provide a way for some truths to be “taken away” from the masses while still allowing those who “hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel” to receive more, just as Nephi stated. In fact, the current course of the church may be the only way to allow for both milk and meat to exist on earth at the same time. It may be the only way to do world-wide missionary work while still allowing some saints to pursue the path of perfection, at least to some extent.

Here lies the great choice for the modern church and it’s leaders, namely, to choose between missionary work and perfecting the saints. You simply can’t have it both ways. Within the entire cannon of scriptures and throughout all dispensations of the gospel you will not find an adequate solution to this problem. You can either preach milk and put off perfecting the saints, or you can teach meat and leave people behind. The LDS church seems to have clearly chosen the former at the expense of the latter, at least for the time being. This, however, is no indication of apostasy among church leadership. The Lord has taken this approach countless times in the past. And, given the prophecies concerning the church in the last days, there is every reason to believe that He is taking this approach again in our day. The greatest prophets on earth, including Joseph Smith and the Savior Himself, never overcame this problem of milk vs. meat. Some people they exalted and others they lost. It is just so today.

Again we must cry for personal revelation on the matter. The modern leaders of the church simply cannot be pronounced as false prophets based solely on their teachings or apparent contradictions alone. There is a scriptural and/or historical precedent for almost everything the modern prophets have said and done.

That the church is on a downward path is clear. That some of the modern leaders of the church are contributing to this downward path seems equally clear. What is less clear is the will of the Lord concerning his church and what the roles of the modern prophets are regarding the church. Are they commanded to reach higher to perfect the saints, as was Enoch? Or have they been commanded to lower themselves to the masses, as was Moses? If the latter, are they true prophets or false prophets? If the latter, what is our responsibility regarding the church and its leaders? What is our responsibility concerning the higher doctrines of the gospel as taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others? These are important questions, the answers to which may be as unique and individual as the role of a prophet itself.

Ultra-Mormons are like the young prophet in Israel, instructed by God in certain principles restored through Joseph Smith. At the same time, perhaps they are in the midst of true prophets – leaders called of God to both teach the masses and try their faith. If this is true, what a grand way to lead the people towards God! What a perfect plan to introduce the milk to the masses while determining who will truly seek and believe in the meat of the gospel in spite of the teachings of the arm of flesh. At some point there is no choice but to place your whole trust in God. It is not that His prophets are false. Rather, it is that his prophets can only take you so far. From there you are forced to let go of the iron rod and walk by what God has allowed you to see with your own eyes. We must now decide whether we want to proceed by partaking of the fruit of the tree of life and helping others to find their way through the darkness, or give in to pride and criticize the iron rod because it didn’t take us the whole way. At some point there is no progression other than that which occurs between God and myself. However, this may still have a lot to do with God’s church and it’s leaders in the last days, even if they are a fair distance from Zion. At some point along my path towards perfection, the church will cease to be there for me in the same manner that it has in the past. Perhaps it is at that point when I should stop asking what it can do for me and start asking what I can do for it.

We can learn a lot from one of the changes Joseph Smith made to the New Testament. In the original King James version of the Bible we read,

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

And this will we do, if God permit. (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Some people have used this scripture to indicate that we should leave the lower principles of the church, and even the church itself, behind in favor of the higher principles. However, Joseph Smith recognized this inconsistency and felt impressed to correct it. In the Joseph Smith Translation, these same verses read as follows:

Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

And we will go on unto perfection if God permit. (JST Hebrews 6:1-3, underline indicates changes made by the prophet)

At least two important points should be gleaned from these changes. The first is that in our efforts to move on to perfection, we should NOT leave the basic doctrines of the gospel behind. Although we don’t want to remain solely in the areas of lower doctrines and ordinances, continually repeating and emphasizing the same fundamental principles over and over again as if they were all we needed for salvation, we also should not abandon them as if they never came from God in the first place. What Paul and Joseph Smith seem to be saying is, “Yes, we absolutely need the basic ordinances and principles of the gospel and we always will. They are a major part of God’s plan. Yet, if that is all you ever deal with, you will never move on to perfection.”

The second point to be noted is that our effort to “go on unto perfection” is dependant upon whether or not God permits it, not whether or not we desire to do so. The question should be raised, “Why would God not permit someone to go on unto perfection?” The clear answer seems to be that there is often a greater good to be accomplished by keeping the masses on a lower level of gospel awareness. Unfortunately, those who are prepared and who desire to move on to higher things tend to be held down by the masses. Hence, God does not always permit the few to move forward as they would like to. The good news is that we live in a time when the few are free to learn about and gain testimonies of the higher principles, if they so desire. This has not always been the case. I also think it is safe to say that the time will come when all who are worthy will be given the opportunity to move forward towards perfection by acting on their knowledge. Eventually, all those who prove themselves worthy will be allowed to actually live the higher principles that they can only gain testimonies of during our present circumstances. However, this will likely not be in the manner or at the time we may desire. In the meantime, while we wait upon the Lord, we should not leave the basic principles behind. We should use them to bless and serve others as best we can, while at the same time, seeking the higher principles for ourselves with equal intensity. Both of these pursuits have a great deal to do with our activity and participation in the LDS church. In fact, it is perhaps only through taking an active part in “modern Mormonism” at all levels, that we are able to fulfill our responsibilities in both of these areas.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

What we have proposed so far is that the LDS church is in a downward process of apostasy but is still accepted by God as his church, that it still holds proper authority from God, that it is still led mostly by righteous men who hold that authority, and that it will someday be saved, redeemed, and set in order again. This places honest followers of truth in a difficult situation. What should our role be in a church that is “falling away” but not “fallen away” from the truth?

To some extent, the frustration of an ultra-Mormon can be expressed by the familiar saying, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Why are many ultra-Mormons frustrated? Because even with all of their knowledge and love of truth they are seldom called to lead, yet they have difficulty finding anyone they truly want to follow, and just getting out of the way is generally not very satisfying or exalting. What is left for them to do but hang around and be frustrated?

We have already formed an argument warning us not to “steady the arc” unless we are called to do so by God. Hence, it seems reasonable to assume that most people should not “attack” or try to correct the church or it’s leaders. But this is only half of the question. What if you know enough to recognize false statements, lower laws, and prohibiting programs or policies of the church? Where should the line be drawn concerning what we should follow and what we should not? How much allegiance should one give to a falling church? How can those who want to progress further find a satisfying place in a church that offers only milk?

The answers to such questions are likely to be different for different people. Some may be used by the Lord to teach within the LDS church. Some should perhaps remain quiet and simply wait upon the Lord. Still others may be led to fulfill other needs that the Lord may have. As with many other issues, questions such as these might only be fully answered via personal revelation.

This section is an attempt to address some of these difficult issues. Again, what to do about the current state of the church must be a personal issue. I don’t believe there are any “one size fits all” answers. Yet, there are some things that ought to be considered as we try to make decisions about our relationship with the church. There are some simple truths and scriptural precedents that may apply to our current situation that ought to be taken into consideration. It is important to note that we are not unique in this problem. This problem has existed in all ages and during every dispensation of the gospel.

Dealing With Local Leaders

One of the reasons many ultra-Mormons become anti-Mormons stems from the fact that church leaders are generally unable to address their needs, especially when both sides are encountering the difficult issues for the first time. The transition from social Mormon to ultra-Mormon is a difficult process. Most people are fairly vulnerable during this transition and often become anti-Mormons because their needs are not being properly met. When a social Mormon first becomes aware of some of the difficult doctrines or events in church history, they generally want to talk to someone about it. This is often a bishop or stake president. Unfortunately, these leaders usually provide very little understanding or insight on the matter. In some cases all they provide is criticism and rebuke. The new ultra-Mormon is left unto himself to decide how to deal with this dilemma. At this point they may leave the church, either due to pride, a lack of good information, or just a simple desire to find the truth elsewhere because they couldn’t find it here. They can’t lead. They no longer feel they have anyone worth following. So, they simply get out of the way.

It’s not very hard to understand why the church has such difficulty addressing issues regarding the meat of the gospel. As strange as it may sound to some, church leaders in general are fairly unprepared to deal with these issues. It simply isn’t their primary calling. In most cases, bishops and stake presidents are comprised of social Mormons. They are often called because of the goodness of their hearts and their willingness to act rather than their doctrinal prowess. This is not a criticism. Their stewardship simply requires a great deal of goodness and action, much more so than gospel scholarship. The church has no choice but to call such people to these positions. Yet, the fact remains that there are relatively few local leaders who can intelligently discuss the higher doctrines or give constructive feedback to ultra-Mormons searching for answers to difficult questions. Elder Boyd K. Packer explained this problem well when describing the life of a typical, faithful member of the church to a group of regional representatives.

He [the faithful member] will be a bishop for perhaps six years, then he will be thirty-three years old. He will then serve eight years on a stake high council and five years as a counselor in the stake presidency. At forty-six he will be called as the stake president. We will release him after six years to become a regional representative, and he will serve for five years. That means he will have spent some thirty years as an ideal, the example to follow, the image, the leader.

However, in all that time, he will not have attended three gospel doctrine classes in a row, nor will he have attended three priesthood quorum lessons in a row.

…Unless he knew the fundamental principles of the gospel before his call, he will scarcely have time to learn them along the way. Agendas, meetings, and budgets are not usually overlooked.

But the principles are overlooked – the gospel is overlooked, the doctrine is overlooked. When that happens, we are in great danger! We see the evidence of it in the church today. (Principles, Ensign, March 1985, p.9)

As Elder Packer indicates, this is a real problem within the church today. One of the main difficulties for those seeking the higher truths of the gospel comes in that they often expect too much of their local leaders. Quite often, an honest seeker of truth either confronts or is confronted by their bishop and/or stake president in an effort to address doctrinal or historical concerns. These discussions can vary greatly in their scope, content, and effectiveness in addressing the real issues. Quite often, local leaders of the church are viewed as those who should be able to adequately answer all of our doctrinal questions. It usually doesn’t take very long to determine that this is not the case and we are left to deal with these issues pretty much on our own.

Much of the problem deals with our own pride. Years ago, for example, when I first started to learn about the law of consecration, I determined that I was not even close to living the covenant that I had made in the temple. With a strong resolve to do what’s right, I decided to begin answering questions more accurately during temple recommend interviews. When asked if I lived up to all the covenants I made in the temple, I would say, “No, I don’t live the law of consecration as I understand it.” Having done this with several different bishops over several years, I received all kinds of responses. Some became very concerned for my welfare. Some tried to explain the issue away with all kinds of differing justification. Still others simply said, “Yep, me neither,” and moved on to the next question.

As time passed, I began to answer other questions with equally disturbing, yet honest, responses. Without going into lengthy explanations of each issue, the more I studied, the less I found my answers to conform with what was expected of the rank and file Mormon. At some point I found myself looking forward to these interviews, just so I could bring up these troublesome issues. It wasn’t until I had a bishop who really didn’t understand a lot about the gospel that I realized my self-righteous approach may have been doing more harm than good. Not only was I causing unnecessary problems for my bishops and stake presidents, who were usually unprepared to deal with such issues in the first place, but I noticed that I found great pleasure in displaying my doctrinal prowess to those who were supposed to be my spiritual leaders. I was showing off. I was no longer concerned about what was right and wrong, I was concerned about showing them how much more I knew about the gospel than they did. In my effort to become intellectually superior, I had abandoned common sense. In my hopes of becoming an expert on the laws of God, I had neglected the spirit of the law, in preference to the letter. I was accomplishing nothing with my witty responses. To this day, I still believe the answers I gave were doctrinally accurate. They simply weren’t spiritually appropriate.

Since that time, my answers have once again become more conventional – only venturing into deeper discussions with those leaders who I feel will appreciate a more detailed discussion of the issues. Am I telling the whole truth with each temple recommend interview? No, I am not. Am I fulfilling the purpose and intent of the interview? Yes, I believe I am.

On a more severe level, I know people who have had church action taken against them because of their beliefs and/or attitude. Whether they simply had their temple recommend taken away or were excommunicated, there are those ultra-Mormons who seem to relish the idea of being at odds with the church. In many cases, they seem to want to view themselves as some sort of martyr for righteousness’ sake. There are, undoubtedly, some who have had action taken against them who have humbly and prayerfully done their best to do what is right and who have been wrongfully excommunicated. However, there are also many people who are clearly doing little more than letting their pride lead them away from the church. They don’t see the big picture and tend to be worried mostly about themselves. They are not sad about the state of the church. In fact, in an odd sort of way, they actually relish it. They actually find joy in the idea that they are somehow above or better than the church. To me, the attitude of many of these people seems more like that of Korihor and Nehor, who criticized and condemned, rather than Jesus Christ or Joseph Smith, who humbly condescended, taught, and rebuked with wisdom, love, and firm patience that tended to elevate and exalt at all levels of the gospel.

It has been my experience that many of these would be martyrs are not as truly interested in building up the kingdom of God as they are in building up themselves. They’re not so much interested in helping the church or the cause of righteousness as they are in showing off their superior knowledge – the fact that they are right and others are wrong. In many cases, they are simply defending themselves in a fairly self-serving way. They often find more pleasure in selfishly being right than they do in unselfishly doing right.

In many cases people who fall into this category are doctrinally correct. They often understand the higher doctrines and the situation in the church better than those who are taking action against them. However, this matters little in an honest pursuit of God’s will. Many of these people are excommunicated not because of their beliefs, but because of their selfish and proud “look at me” attitude and their inability to know when and with whom they should share their knowledge. We must remember that Satan was cast out because of rebellion and selfishness, not necessarily because he was doctrinally incorrect. In our pursuit of knowledge and our efforts to truly become pure in heart, we must be as concerned about other people as we are about truth. These two major parts of the gospel are not one and the same. Yet, both are necessary to achieve exaltation in the eternities. Progression in the gospel comes only when truth and people are mixed together in the proper proportions – not all at once and not only one or the other exclusively. Brigham Young put it well when he said,

There is one principle that I wish the people would understand and lay to heart. Just as fast as you will prove before your God that you are worthy to receive the mysteries, if you please to call them so, of the kingdom of heaven–that you are full of confidence in God–that you will never betray a thing that God tells you–that you will never reveal to your neighbour that which ought not to be revealed, as quick as you prepare to be entrusted with the things of God, there is an eternity of them to bestow upon you. Instead of pleading with the Lord to bestow more upon you, plead with yourselves to have confidence in yourselves, to have integrity in yourselves, and know when to speak and what to speak, what to reveal, and how to carry yourselves and walk before the Lord. And just as fast as you prove to Him that you will preserve everything secret that ought to be–that you will deal out to your neighbours all which you ought, and no more, and learn how to dispense your knowledge to your families, friends, neighbours, and brethren, the Lord will bestow upon you, and give to you, and bestow upon you, until finally he will say to you, “You shall never fall; your salvation is sealed unto you; you are sealed up unto eternal life and salvation, through your integrity.”

Let every person be the friend of God, that whatever He reveals to you, you can wisely handle without asking Him whether you shall tell your wife of it or not…I say this that you may learn to reveal that which you ought, and to keep the rest to yourselves. By so doing you prove to God that you are His friends, and will keep His secrets.

The world may howl around you and plead for the secrets of the Lord which he has given you, but they will not get them. When the Lord has proved His children true to what He has given into their charge, and that they will do His bidding, He will tell such persons anything that they should know. A great many desire just enough of knowledge to damn them and it does damn a great many. (Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, Pg.371, underline added)

Notice how Brigham Young emphasizes doing what’s right over knowing what’s right. Notice also that he’s more concerned with people saying too much than he is about them saying too little. According to Brigham Young, our very ability to gain knowledge depends upon our ability to keep that knowledge to ourselves. This means that we sometimes allow others to be wrong. It means that we should sometimes teach half-truths and withhold what to us may be some of the sweetest doctrines our hearts have ever known. It means that in order to exalt and bless our neighbor, we sometimes have to be more concerned about them than we are about the whole truth. President Young clearly teaches that how you deal with your knowledge is far more important than having the knowledge in the first place.

If ultra-Mormons would humbly follow this counsel from President Young, there would be far less action taken against them in the church. But unfortunately, many give in to their pride and selfish insecurities. Some ultra-Mormons wear their church action on their sleeves as if it were some sort of red badge of courage. In reality, most are like the Pharisee who “prayed thus with himself” and thanked God that he was not as other men are, for he is righteous and they are not. And yet, this Pharisee, in spite of being technically correct, went away unjustified before the Lord. While the lowly publican, who undoubtedly knew much less about his religion than did the Pharisee, found favor in the sight of the Lord.33 How many technically correct ultra-Mormons are there who are unjustified before the Lord because of their Pharisee-like attitude? At the same time, how many Bishops and Stake Presidents are there who know very little about the mysteries of God, but who are justified before the Lord because of their humble, loving, caring attitudes?

I feel these examples apply directly to many of our dealings with local leaders. We must understand that when we tread into the mysteries of the gospel, we can’t expect everyone else to go there with us. The fact is that most won’t. This includes the local leaders of the church. It wasn’t that way in the time of Enoch, Christ, or Joseph Smith and it won’t be that way in our day either. This does not mean that they are bad people. If our goal in studying the mysteries is to serve God and truth by further purifying our own hearts and helping others to do the same, then we will do a better job of judging people by their intentions rather than their knowledge. We won’t be quite as hard on our local leaders just because they have not studied the things we have. We will teach them “here a little and there a little” by the spirit, rather than blasting them with our pride and with things they’ve never heard of before. We won’t say in our hearts, “Those of you who think you know what you’re talking about are annoying to those of us who really do.” I believe most experienced ultra-Mormons are familiar with these principles. It is usually the new ultra-Mormons or those leaning towards becoming anti-Mormons who have the greatest difficulty controlling their pride in these matters. Just like the scriptures teach, pride is our greatest enemy, even within our honest efforts to progress in and teach the gospel.

Local leaders are no more perfect than anyone else. And, just like anyone else, some are good ones and some are bad ones. However, in our pride I fear many ultra-Mormons have become confused as to which are which. One of the more difficult lessons to learn in life is that not everyone should be corrected, even when they are wrong. Likewise, not everyone who is wrong, is evil. We always say this in our minds. But we seem to have difficulty living it with our hearts.

They Who Sit In Moses’ Seat

An interesting scripture that sheds light on our relationship with the leaders of the modern LDS church is found in the New Testament. From an LDS point of view, it is fairly safe to assume that the Jewish religious leaders were in a state of apostasy during the time of Christ. The Savior spent considerable time contradicting and criticizing them. Yet, it is clear that Christ held some respect for the authority and position of these leaders, as well as the organization they represented. Consider the following counsel from the Lord to the people of His time:

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matthew 23:1-7, underline added)

Notice how the Savior clearly recognizes the problems and wickedness among the scribes and Pharisees. He doesn’t see them as the ideal leaders in any way. Yet, because they “sit in Moses’ seat,” He teaches his followers to observe and do all that these mediocre leaders tell them to do. This is significant. Here we have a case of religious leaders being in a state of apostasy but still deserving respect and obedience. With no other group did the Savior disagree more than with the scribes and Pharisees. Yet, because of their position and apparent authority, He taught his disciples to follow their counsel.

It certainly seems that we can liken this scripture unto our own times. Even if some of the LDS leaders are not all that we think they should be, perhaps we should still recognize and follow this counsel from the Savior by having respect for both their position as well their teachings.

One of the key questions seems to be, “Do the leaders of the LDS church still sit in the modern version of Moses’ seat?” As we have already outlined, the scriptures seem to indicate that they do. If they contradict the teachings of the early brethren, I think the Savior might say that we don’t have to follow suit and do “after their works.” But when they teach good, wholesome doctrine such as making public proclamations against child abuse, homosexuality, and encouraging fidelity within the family unit, we should certainly recognize such statements for the good that is obviously there. In most cases, an honest observer will find that most of what the general authorities say is righteous and good in nature. They may be speaking about tithing instead of the united order and adherence to monogamy instead of plural marriage, but their teachings are generally a large step up from where our society currently lives. It is clear that it is the right direction for most people, most of the time. I think this clearly must be admitted by the honest observer.

One of the contributing factors to the problem of having to teach only the milk is the increase in public speaking engagements from the leaders of the church in recent years. Their words are appearing in the media far more than they have in the past. This naturally brings with it some very difficult questions – questions dealing with tough subjects like plural marriage, revelation, and priesthood. It has been fascinating to watch the reaction to these interviews and other media events. Different types of Mormons tend to react quite differently to these media events.

For example, social Mormons generally love to see church leaders in the media. They think its great and have a tendency to either ignore or, in many cases, not even recognize potentially incorrect statements being made. To the social Mormons there is only good and nothing bad in any of these interviews. No matter what is said, it tends to make the social Mormon proud to be a part of it all.

On the other hand, anti-Mormons tend to go the opposite direction. Anti-Mormons will generally see nothing of value in these interviews. They tend to see them as all bad, with no good thing being accomplished whatsoever. To them, it is a corrupt church, with nothing but corrupt leaders, sending a corrupt message.

Ultra-Mormons’ opinions tend to vary greatly on this issue, depending on what is said and which end of the spectrum they find themselves. As with most things in life, it is not so much a question of all bad or all good, as the socials and antis would have you believe. It is clearly a question of various shades of gray. I believe a realistic ultra-Mormon will generally come to this conclusion about public statements made by church leaders. They will have problems with some things that are said while completely admiring other things. In addition, they will understand why some half truths and complete falsehoods had to be uttered during those situations. In fact, they often come to the conclusion that the Savior or Joseph Smith would do pretty much the same thing under similar circumstances.

It seems clear that the truth of the issue lies somewhere between the two polarities of the social and the anti. In most cases, a fair assessment of these media events is that they generally promote good. For the most part, what is said is true and wholesome and difficult to throw stones at. However, it is also fair to say that some percentage of each interview is little more than public relations rhetoric and some portion is just plain misleading or false. It has been my experience that most people tend to only see what they want to see and are relatively black and white on this issue. The cry is generally one of “all bad” or “all good.” There seem to be relatively few who have the objectivity to see both the good and the bad which clearly exists in almost every interview.

Regarding the “bad” or incorrect statements made during these interviews, the real question at hand deals not so much with the statements themselves, but more with the motivation behind those statements. In spite of what is actually said, are these people trying to do good or evil? Are they trying to raise people towards God and promote a higher degree of righteousness as best they can, or are they making a conscious effort to deceive and bring people down to bondage and a lower level of righteousness? Are they honestly trying to serve God or are they knowingly fighting against God? These are important questions that cannot be answered by simply pointing out the inconsistencies of some of the statements made.

Again, Joseph Smith did basically the same type of thing in his day. For example, similar questions could be asked of Joseph Smith when he publicly denied living plural marriage. Why he said it is far more important than what he said. Should we expect any less from our leaders today? How did Joseph Smith answer some of the questions directed at him regarding some of the difficult doctrines, such as polygamy? How did he publicly deal with other higher doctrines – doctrines which most of the people listening to him were unprepared to receive? Did he ever cover things up? Did he ever say one thing to the learning masses and another to the faithful minority? Those who have studied the prophet’s life know that he did all of these things and more. Yet, the real question deals with why he did so. This point cannot be overstated. As far as judging the statements of church leaders is concerned, motivation is far more important than content. Joseph Smith’s motivation seemed to be to exalt some of the saints without destroying the rest in the process. However, the prophet faced the same challenge back then that the current church leaders also face today, namely, how do you give meat to those who are ready to progress while providing milk to those who are not? How do you help each person progress when they are all at different levels?

Again, motivation seems to be the key. What motivates the leaders of the church, both past and present, to say some of the half-truths and complete falsehoods they have said? If their motivations are good, then we should be satisfied, for they are better than the scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s time. However, even if their motivations are corrupt in some way, like the scribes and Pharisees mentioned by Christ, we should probably still view their role as those with authority who “sit in Moses’ seat.” We should perhaps do as the Savior instructed the disciples in His day by giving honor to their position as leaders of God’s house, while at the same time, recognizing that “all is not well in Zion” and that there will be problems among them. As President Benson stated on this issue,

The Lord strengthened the faith of the early Apostles by pointing out Judas as a traitor, even before this Apostle had completed his iniquitous work (see Matthew 26:23 25; Luke 13:21 26). So also in our day the Lord has told us of the tares within the wheat that will eventually be hewn down when they are fully ripe. But until they are hewn down, they will be with us, amongst us. (See D&C 86:6 7.) (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89)

Certain individuals within the Church may go astray and even fall away. This may happen even to a person in the Church who is in a position of some influence and authority. It has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. If our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in the arm of flesh, then we will know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the church of men. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg. 90, underline added)

President George Q. Cannon seemed to agree.

Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an apostle, or a president; if you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support will be gone; but if we lean on God, He will never fail us. When men and women depend upon God alone and trust in him alone, their faith will not be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside. (DW 43:322, Mar 7, 1891, underline added)

The fact that there are tares among the leadership of the church places us in a situation no different from any other time on earth, even Christ’s time. As president Benson suggests, it is likely that they will remain with us for a while yet. In spite of this, the LDS church will continue to have authority right up through the second coming and at some point these tares will be hewn down and separated from the wheat. Until then, however, our duty seems to be to recognize the authority of the church, live according to the commandments of God, and try to understand our role as it relates to these events.

To Whom Shall We Go?

As already mentioned, barring personal revelation on the subject, we are left with whatever other gifts the Lord has given us to find the truth. If we become disgruntled at the modern LDS church or any of its leaders, we must carefully evaluate our options. From a certain perspective, this places us in a setting similar to that of the time of Christ, when people became disgruntled with what Christ was doing and saying. One such instance was recorded in the book of John. It reads,

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:66-69)

A similar type of reasoning can be applied to the LDS church. If we decide we don’t care much for the teachings or activities of this church, for whatever reason, to which church should we go? Which other church has the words of eternal life? If we truly believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the restoration was a reality, then we must also accept his prophecies regarding the authority within and the future cleansing of this church. If we believe and are sure that this church is the one spoken of as being “set in order” by the one mighty and strong, then where else do we plan to go?

There really aren’t very many other options available to us. We can join another Christian church with much less doctrine and authority to offer than the LDS church. We can search out the various fundamentalist groups to see if we can determine whether or not any of them have proper authority. Or, we can just quit and cease having any affiliation with any religious organization. Beyond that, there aren’t very many other options.

When considered carefully, it doesn’t make much sense to join another Christian church. I doubt that this is a legitimate option for most ultra-Mormons, or even many of those who used to be ultra-Mormons and who are now anti-Mormons. This option holds little satisfaction to one who loves Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. When looking closely at the areas such as doctrine, revelation, authority, and self-improvement, as found within Mormonism, other Christian churches tend to pale by comparison.

When considering the various fundamentalist groups, there are really only two major issues at hand. The first is whether or not they have the authority they claim. The second issue deals with whether or not God wants you to join such a group, even if they have the authority they claim. If these two issues can be verified by personal revelation, without deception, then this is a legitimate choice. As already explained, however, this should be a choice that includes the idea that the LDS church will be redeemed and set in order at some future time. Any fundamentalist group that views the LDS church as being entirely lost – with no hope for its future redemption, is likely to provide little or no long-term satisfaction. The fundamentalist groups worth researching the most should be those who believe that the LDS church is still recognized as Christ’s authorized church on earth with a specific mission to perform in the latter days. They will likely hold to some type of concept that they are temporarily fulfilling a special calling in the last days and will someday become a part of the mainstream LDS church again. Regardless of their relationship with the LDS church, without personal revelation on the topic it is extremely difficult to make good decisions regarding any fundamentalist group. However, this clearly must be an individual decision, made solely between an honest truth seeker and God.

That said, it doesn’t seem reasonable to assume that the Lord wants us to simply quit and cease having any affiliation with any religious group. In the first place, it is clear that the Lord likes to work through a church or organization of some kind. During his ministry in Israel, as well as his visit to the Nephites, one of the Savior’s primary activities dealt with the establishment of a church. Likewise, when restoring the gospel to Joseph Smith, establishing a church was a major part of the restoration effort. In addition, there is no argument that churches are only for the weak or those with little faith. For example, as we move up the chain of righteousness, beyond the lower laws of the church of Jesus Christ, we find the Church of the Firstborn, entered into by receiving and obeying the higher ordinances of the gospel. This indicates that even if we can achieve a higher level of personal righteousness, churches will likely be a major part of the Lord’s plan for us. It seems reasonable to assume that, barring a special calling outside the church, He would want his followers to be members of these churches, regardless of His displeasure with these organizations or the level of doctrine they may be teaching.

Another important issue for “quitters” to consider involves our desires for righteousness and our love for other people. If we’re prepared to leave the LDS church because we feel it is no longer meeting our needs, perhaps we need to reevaluate our priorities to see if they are righteous. Perhaps this is merely an indication that we should continue progressing by seeking to help others instead of seeking to help ourselves. Perhaps we misperceive our real needs as far as the next step in our progression is concerned. If the only thing we ask of the church is, “What’s in it for me,” we likely misunderstand both the purpose of church as well as our own readiness for something better. Perhaps we could rephrase the famous saying by President Kennedy to make it applicable to our relationship with the church: “Ask not what your church can do for you. Ask what you can do for your church.” As silly as this may sound, the concept is worth consideration.

If we feel that we are somehow better than or above the general membership of the church or that our hearts are so pure and our knowledge so great that this church has little more to offer us, then perhaps it is time to do as the Savior did and begin serving those within the church who would be benefited by our knowledge and goodness. Perhaps we should take on the role of other servants of God, Joseph Smith included, who, in spite of their desires for and knowledge of the higher things, were just as concerned about teaching and helping other people as they were about their own perceived needs. If this church doesn’t offer everything we want in the way of higher laws and ordinances, surely it offers us a means to teach and help others in meaningful ways, that someday we can become worthy of those higher things. Why not take advantage of these opportunities? They will likely be no more frustrating for us today than they were for the Savior or Joseph Smith in their days.

Being pure in heart includes the idea of being more concerned about others than you are about yourself. I feel those ultra-Mormons who leave the church because of its problems are probably thinking more about themselves than they are about serving others. Which, in turn, indicates that they are probably not ready for the higher principles of the gospel in the first place. Often, such people choose not to do anything with their knowledge and desires for righteousness. Since the work and glory of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, and since this work, by its very nature, requires that we condescend to lowers levels in order to raise up the weak and the faithless, I doubt that the Celestial Kingdom or the Church of the Firstborn has a lot of room for such people. Leaving the church because of its frustrations and low level teachings may be a great indicator of who is and is not ready to move on to higher things.

If men such as Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Moses, and others lowered themselves to serve and teach the people on a fairly low level, even though they were ready for more, then it seems clear that this attitude is the one that we should foster as well. In order to prepare for the higher things yet to come, we must first show our worthiness of these laws by serving and blessing people on the lower level we’ve current been given. We must first show our willingness and ability to condescend to those who don’t know as much as we claim to know. The LDS church provides an excellent avenue for this attitude of service – an attitude which must be had by any who honestly desire to move to higher levels of righteousness and knowledge. What other organization or group is there that offers as many privileges and opportunities to teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ and build up the kingdom of God in the way the modern LDS church provides? Although there are a lot of good, worthwhile organizations out there, I maintain there are none that equal the modern LDS church in these areas.

Who Are The Real Apostates?

One of the problems with all of this talk about latter-day apostasy comes in trying to determine who among us is an “apostate” and who is a true follower of Christ. In other words, are the apostates those who buck the system or those who go with the flow? Are they those who point out the problems in the church or those who don’t even see them in the first place?

The social Mormons are probably the most confident and calm on this issue. For them, anyone who questions or doubts any part of the church or it’s leadership is generally on the road to apostasy. I hope it is obvious by this point that the issue is more complicated than that.

Likewise, the anti-Mormons often take a similar black and white approach to the issue, claiming that anyone who likes the church and wants to be a part of it is deceived and gullible. As we’ve already discussed, both of these extremes are little more than that – extreme. Yet, it can be quite difficult to determine who is an honest seeker of truth and righteousness and who is just out to satisfy their own pride or insecurities.

History provides us with a good platform for discussing this issue. For example, if you were a member of the primitive church of Christ, at what point after Christ’s death would you start to stand up against the apostasy creeping into that organization? At what point, if any, would you have left that organization because you could no longer be a part of the false doctrine, hypocrisy, and lack of authority? Would it have been right after Christ died? After all of His apostles died? After the Nicean Creed was established? Or at some other point? Is it possible that you would have never stood up and raised objections about the gradual changes in doctrine and ordinances? Would you have gone along with all those changes and even supported them in an attempt to follow the church or it’s leaders? These are very difficult questions.

When we consider the apostasy of the primitive church, we have to ask ourselves, “Who were the real apostates back then?” Were they those who stood up and fought against (or at least questioned) the changes being made to the gospel and the church, or were they those who simply went along with those changes, never standing up for the truth by challenging the new directions? Of these two types of people, which of these potential “apostates” was more interested in truth? With which was God more pleased? Which of them sacrificed more for righteousness’ sake? If one is really concerned about God and truth, these same types of questions simply must be applied to our day as well. Recalling the words of Joseph Smith, as quoted before, we can perhaps apply his words to apostates as well as prophets.

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS Pg. 205)

Perhaps these same words can be said of the difficulty in discerning true and false apostates, both in the past as well as in our day. Maybe it is more difficult than we think. Samuel the Lamanite’s words to the Nephites apply to us as well in this regard.

And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.

Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.

But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.

Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him. (Helaman 13:25-28)

I think this scripture applies well to some of the comments made about “apostates” in the church today. We generally like to hear that “all is well” in the church. We like to hear flattering words. But if someone comes along and begins to testify of our sins and potential problems in the church, we tend to find fault with that person. The church in general, especially the social Mormon, tends to view such people as sinners or apostates of some kind. The problem is that apostasy almost always deals with a very religious people. In most cases, it involves a people who believes they are following the right path of God. Yet, these words by Samuel the Lamanite seem to give us some clues as to what we should be looking for. In general, repentance seems to be the cry of most true prophets while flattery often seems to be spoken by false prophets or apostates. As President Benson once pointed out:

As I have sought direction from the Lord, I have had reaffirmed in my mind and heart the declaration of the Lord to “say nothing but repentance unto this generation.” (D&C 6:9; 11:9) This has been a theme of every latter-day prophet, along with their testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.

Repentance was the cry of our late and great prophet, Spencer W. Kimball. This theme permeated his talks and the pages of his writings, such as his marvelous book the Miracle of Forgiveness. And it must be our cry today, both to member and to nonmember alike – repent.

Watchmen – what of the night?34 We must respond by saying that all is not well in Zion. (Conference Report, May 1986, Pg. 4.)

In light of this, we should probably tend to be more open to those who are crying repentance than we are to those who are declaring that all is well in Zion. I don’t believe that this should be viewed as a black and white way of judging people, but rather as a general guideline. For example, in high school I once had a fairly wise seminary teacher who had a philosophy of teaching that I’ve always admired and tried to emulate. He said that his goal in teaching was to “calm the disturbed and disturb the calm.” I think this attitude is reflected by the Savior and the way he taught. To the proud (the calm), the Savior was usually fairly ruthless and harsh. To the humble sinner who had lost all hope (the disturbed), He was generally fairly forgiving and kind. In the midst of calling people to repentance, we must remember that we are trying to do what’s best for the individual. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to teaching and helping others in their spiritual progress. In general, the true follower of Christ will likely tend to display a few key characteristics:

1. First, he will tend to claim that all is not well in Zion. He will talk about the problems, the “sins” if you will, among us rather than how wonderful we are. True prophets tend to “say nothing but repentance” unto the people of their time.

2. Second, a true follower of Christ will not generally teach doctrine so high or deep that the majority of his listeners will perish. With a few exceptions, he will not teach to destroy, but rather to uplift and challenge at a level that people can handle. He will find more joy in the concept of people repenting than he will in people being destroyed because of wickedness. Hence, he will reveal only that which he ought to reveal for the salvation and blessing of those around him and no more.

3. Third, in his efforts to cry repentance, a true follower of Christ will tend to speak harshly against the proud and softly against the humble. He will tend to take this course regardless of whether the proud or humble are “sinning” or not.

These are difficult concepts for us to learn, regardless of what type of Mormon we are. They are harder still for us to incorporate into our daily attitude and actions.

It is true that few, if any, are currently called to “set in order the house of God.” However, each of us is called to pursue our own salvation as best we can and perhaps to “warn our neighbor” as the D&C directs.35 If a person stands up and makes negative comments about some portion of the church, it does not necessarily mean that this person is an apostate. In fact, it may be much more of an indication of apostasy if people just go with the flow and question nothing within the church or it’s leadership.

On the other hand, if people stand up and defend the church or promote a lower law, it is no evidence that they are apostates either. It should be clear by now that all knowledge is not for all people. The Lord calls people to teach his children at all levels of the gospel. The motive behind teaching is often more important than the teaching itself. “Why” is often more important than “what.” A wise and faithful servant of God will always seek the mysteries and deeper doctrines but will seldom reveal more than he should. As already cited, President Brigham Young expressed this principle as well as anyone.

There is one principle that I wish the people would understand and lay to heart. Just as fast as you will prove before your God that you are worthy to receive the mysteries, if you please to call them so, of the kingdom of heaven–that you are full of confidence in God–that you will never betray a thing that God tells you–that you will never reveal to your neighbour that which ought not to be revealed, as quick as you prepare to be entrusted with the things of God, there is an eternity of them to bestow upon you. Instead of pleading with the Lord to bestow more upon you, plead with yourselves to have confidence in yourselves, to have integrity in yourselves, and know when to speak and what to speak, what to reveal, and how to carry yourselves and walk before the Lord. And just as fast as you prove to Him that you will preserve everything secret that ought to be–that you will deal out to your neighbours all which you ought, and no more, and learn how to dispense your knowledge to your families, friends, neighbours, and brethren, the Lord will bestow upon you, and give to you, and bestow upon you, until finally he will say to you, “You shall never fall; your salvation is sealed unto you; you are sealed up unto eternal life and salvation, through your integrity.”

Let every person be the friend of God, that whatever He reveals to you, you can wisely handle without asking Him whether you shall tell your wife of it or not. You can recollect the backhanded blow I gave to some of the brethren last winter. They were in pain, because they knew something which they could not tell to their wives. I would not trust such men out of sight of my dinner. God will not trust the least thing to such persons. Sisters, if you are in pain, because you cannot tell your husbands everything, you had better take a little catnip tea, and get over it, if you can. What will God reveal to such persons? Just enough to keep them from the gulf of despair, and lead them along until they get a little sense. I say this that you may learn to reveal that which you ought, and to keep the rest to yourselves. By so doing you prove to God that you are His friends, and will keep His secrets.

The world may howl around you and plead for the secrets of the Lord which he has given you, but they will not get them. When the Lord has proved His children true to what He has given into their charge, and that they will do His bidding, He will tell such persons anything that they should know. A great many desire just enough of knowledge to damn them and it does damn a great many. (Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, Pg.371, underline added)

It is clear that the ultra-Mormon’s zeal for the gospel often leads him to say things that ought not to be said. If the definition of an apostate includes the notion of destroying the faith of the weak by giving them meat when they really need milk, then there are many apostates among the ultra-Mormons. Knowing what to say or not say to people is a difficult task. There are no clear guidelines or instructions concerning the matter. It is a judgement call. Unfortunately, many ultra-Mormons don’t use good judgement in these matters, believing that all truth should be poured out in great abundance among the masses, blatantly disregarding the Lord’s admonition to provide milk instead of meat. Even among those with nothing but pure intentions, mistakes will be made and people will “perish” because they were fed meat too early and too quickly. I speak to you as one who has experienced this first hand, and who will perhaps be held accountable for destroying souls with too much truth. It is a burden I hope others will avoid.

That said, we must also be cautious about not giving enough meat to the people. We sometimes feel that if one soul is lost due to teaching the higher doctrines, a mistake must have been made. This is simply not the case. Every prophet who ever lived lost people because of what they taught. Even the Savior himself, the greatest teacher ever, was continually losing followers because he taught them more than some could endure. This is just part of teaching the gospel. We should be cautious not to make the mistake of always teaching to the weakest among us for fear of offending them. There is no progression in this approach. If you teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ for very long, eventually you will offend someone. If you don’t, then you’re probably not doing a very good job of teaching the gospel. And you’re certainly not following the pattern set forth by the Savior and his prophets.36

As far as personal apostasy is concerned, the hardest part seems to be making the transition from being a social Mormon to becoming an ultra-Mormon. During this stage people feel that they should be able to discuss their views on the church openly and honestly, expecting to be corrected by authoritative “thus saith the Lord” kinds of statements which are consistent and make sense. But these tend to come all too seldom. Most of the time these people don’t even get a discussion worth taking part in. So, they tend to get themselves in trouble by speaking out about “the mysteries” or by asking the hard questions. Usually it isn’t because they are apostates, but because the gospel is very important to them. From a certain perspective, this seems to be exactly the type of person God and Christ would have us be. Yet it is difficult to manage in a church of 10 million people, most of whom are social Mormons.

The question as to who is an apostate today and who is not is a difficult issue. I don’t think it can be automatically associated with either the social Mormons or the ultra-Mormons. There are apostates in each group – both among those who don’t say or do enough as well as among those who say or do too much. Both are problems and both can be damaging to our progress in the gospel.

Rules Of Thumb For Ultra-Mormons

At the risk of belittling the significance and complexity of these issues, there are a few simple guidelines that I’ve found helpful when trying to keep things in perspective. These rules do not pretend to solve the problems at hand. But a brief discussion of them may help the ultra-Mormon cope with the church and all of it’s problems with a little bit better attitude.

Rule #1: Learn to love people as much as you love truth. The Savior once taught that the Sabbath was for man, not man for the Sabbath.37 The same could be said of truth and the gospel in general. Truth is for people, not people for truth. Truth is there to bless people, not the other way around. Without people, truth has no meaning or significance. It is a great thing to love the truth and to seek the higher things of the gospel. But if we can’t find room in our hearts to properly bless others with that truth, we will find it may leave us empty and cold in the end. For those who honestly love truth and the higher things of the gospel, there is a real decision to made between our love for truth and our love for people. Which do we love the most? In general, the higher we go with truth, the more people we will lose along the way. Yet, the more we lower ourselves to the people, the more truth we leave behind. Because many ultra-Mormons find themselves loving truth more than they love people, they have the tendency to say or do things that may spiritually harm individuals or groups who are not prepared for such things. They have difficulty leaving part of the truth behind in order to bless the individual. Our love of truth often blinds us concerning the special needs of others. There clearly must be a balance of affection between truth and people. We cannot choose wholly in favor of one side or the other and we can’t have it both ways, at least not in this lifetime.

Rule #2: Nothing is all good or all bad. We have to start seeing issues in the church as various shades of gray rather than simply black or white. The church and it’s leaders are not all good, as the social Mormons would have us believe. Nor are they all bad, as the anti-Mormons tend to preach. There is good and there is bad. Like truth, righteousness is where you find it. I think all of us know this deep inside. We even verbalize it on a regular basis. But I don’t think we actually live it very often. When we encounter problems or difficult issues, we tend to be all or nothing in our judgements of the church and it’s leaders. For some reason, it is very difficult for us to accept the good that is left in the temple, in spite of the changes. It is difficult for us to accept the good that President Hinckley does and says, in spite of his apparent contradictions. And it’s hard for us to be a part of a church that is not what it used to be – a church that is on a downward path. When it comes to our religion, we seem to either want everything to be perfect, or we don’t want any part of it. This is a tendency we should fight against. There is always good and there is always bad in every person and every organization. That’s just the way life is. If we are sincere truth seekers we will try to separate the good from the bad and avoid making rash judgements that place people and things in either extreme category.

Rule #3: All truth is not for all people. This thought has been expressed in multiple ways throughout this document and it is simply true. Knowledge is a great asset – a great blessing. However, knowledge can either exalt you or damn you. The wisdom to control our knowledge and the love we develop for others will determine what effect our knowledge will have on our salvation.

Rule #4: Help the church, perfect yourself. Some may see these as two separate, perhaps even opposing, issues. I don’t believe they are, at least not completely. Even if the church no longer provides you with the new doctrines or higher principles and ordinances you crave, there is much to gain by sharing yourself with an organization that has access to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the principles of Zion, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants, just to mention a few. The fact that there is room for improvement only tends to emphasize the need for those with knowledge and a sincere love for the gospel to take an active part. It is true that we can’t preach all we would like to. It is also true that there will be many frustrations. However, these are the same frustrations faced by the likes of Moses, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and others. Their perfection came in that they learned how to be humble and loving enough to teach and serve others at various levels of gospel understanding and acceptance – not always at their own level. It should be just so with us today. To not take this course only shows our unworthiness of the knowledge and gifts God has given us. It only shows our own imperfections and weaknesses, not theirs.

Rule #5: Be careful how you judge. There are a lot of loving leaders in the church who honestly do their best. I am convinced that these people as a whole are generally good people. They pray for guidance often and they try hard to do what is right as best they know how. Many of these men and women are working out their salvation with fear and trembling just like everyone else. The fact that they’ve been called to a position of leadership shouldn’t make us judge them more harshly. If anything, it should make us sympathize with them to a greater degree. They need our help, not our condemnation. Leaders of the church will make many mistakes in all their varieties. Yet, I have to believe that the Savior is pleased with a great many of them – much more than He is with the intellectual fence-sitter who does little more than complain and criticize. I’ve sat in bishopric and quorum meetings in which I’ve watched loving bishops and quorum leaders break down and cry over the welfare of those in their stewardship. I’ve listened to them pray from the bottom of their hearts on behalf of others. Surely, in spite of their weaknesses or lack of gospel scholarship, their efforts generally bode well before the Lord. We must remember that it is charity that “endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.”38 Although knowledge is important, it never receives a praise as high as charity does in the scriptures. A decent argument could be made in favor of those with great charity and little knowledge over those with great knowledge and little charity. May we never let one defeat or overpower the other in our search for salvation. Both are requirements and should work together to promote the kingdom of God at all levels of gospel awareness and obedience.

A Plea For More Revelation

When all is said and done, we simply must have more revelation, both on a collective basis, as well as an individual basis. Perhaps the only way to fully answer some of these questions and know what the Lord would have us do is via personal revelation of some kind. I feel we should follow the example Adam set for us when he was faced with not knowing what to do. How did Adam go about the task of avoiding deception and determining what his course should be amidst all the confusion? He sought for messengers from his Father, pure and simple. And what’s more, he waited until he received them. Nothing else was satisfactory to him. When he became confused by the teachings of those around him, he did not succumb to those teachings. He was not pacified by the false doctrines taught to him, even though many others delighted in them. Even when his desires for messengers was belittled by the learned and powerful religious leaders, he remained steadfast to his goal of learning truth via revelation. He waited patiently in frustrating ignorance until he got his answer. Should our course be much different than this?

Nobody was more in favor of the saints receiving personal revelation than was Joseph Smith. Although he was recognized as the mouthpiece of God for an entire dispensation, producing by far more published revelations than any other prophet of our time, Joseph Smith was always trying to get the saints to obtain revelation for themselves. He said,

Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject. (TPJS Pg.324, underline added)

It could be easily argued that the entire endowment is little more than an effort to show us how to obtain personal revelation. Joseph Smith’s effort was always one to make saints out of sinners, and prophets out of saints. Concerning the latter effort, the prophet also taught that,

The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching. (TPJS Pg.190)

Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this. (TPJS Pg.160)

Could we likewise make a similar statement about our relationship with the LDS church? Could we, with honesty, say that many men of the present time testify of both the good and the bad within the church, and most have received a personal witness of neither? Could we further say that no man knows of these things without this? I believe we could.

In addition to teaching the importance of receiving personal revelation, Joseph Smith also taught the importance of avoiding a dependency upon our leaders. How appropriate the following words are for us considering the difficulty and confusion of our day.

You need present revelation from God to your own dear self, in order to help you out of this nasty, confused labyrinth, and to set your feet firmly upon the solid rock of revelation. Mere flesh and blood cannot help you now. It requires an Almighty arm to effect your deliverance. Therefore, put no more trust in man, for a curse rests upon him that will be guided by the precepts of man…. You … must know…for yourself, and not of another. (MS 15:276, underline added)

President Brigham Young was no different in his teachings about the importance of personal revelation.

Without revelation direct from heaven, it is impossible for any person to understand fully the plan of salvation. We often hear it said that the living oracles must be in the Church, in order that the Kingdom of God may be established and prosper on the earth. I will give another version of this sentiment. I say that the living oracles of God, or the Spirit of revelation must be in each and every individual, to know the plan of salvation and keep in the path that leads them to the presence of God. (Journal of Discourses 9:279, underline added)

Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods…They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold scepters of glory, majesty, and power in the celestial kingdom. Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course. (Journal of Discourses 1:312, underline added)

How often it has been taught that if you depend entirely on the voice, judgement, and sagacity of those appointed to lead you, and neglect to enjoy the Spirit for yourselves, how easily you may be led into error, and finally be cast off to the left hand? (Journal of Discourses 8:59)

Barring personal revelation on the matter, we seem to have no choice but to do the best we can with the information the Lord has already given us. We ought to do our best to understand what the Lord has told us through his prophets, both ancient and modern. Often, all we really need to seek is a confirmation or understanding of what has already been revealed. However, without direct revelation on the subject, we have no choice but to use what gifts God has given us to search the scriptures and words of the prophets to see if they can provide us with enough information to make an informed decision in the matter. For “whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived.”39 That is what this manuscript attempts to accomplish. Yet, even with all the evidence the Lord has provided us, there is a better way to know what is true and what is not. That way is personal revelation.

In a world that largely shuns the concept of God talking to man, I cannot help but wonder if increased humility and a sincere plea to God from more people, more often, would call down the powers of heaven on our behalf and lift much of our current confusion. I cannot help but wonder if a collective outpouring of our souls would yield the revelatory results we seek and so earnestly need. I wonder what would happen if more people became knowledgeable of the higher doctrines, more sincere in their desires to unselfishly purify themselves before God, and collectively more devout in their efforts to look for messengers from our Father, as Adam did. I wonder if we, just like Adam, would experience a time of testing and trial – a time full of confusion, concern, and preachers of all manner of false doctrine, only to find that there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of more revelation – more true messengers sent to us from our Father.

I believe God hears the prayers of the people when they are gathered together in unity and faith. If there ever was a time when we needed to gather together and look for true messengers from our Father, that time is now. It is a time when the very elect are liable to be deceived, a time when even the humble followers of Christ err because they are taught by the precepts of men, and a time when the events of the last days and the second coming of Christ should be knocking at the door. The church of Christ is in turmoil and many of those who are sincerely seeking the will of God are confused and discouraged. There are many people crying “lo here” and “lo there.” Most of these people claim some sort of personal revelation in defense of their cries. Surely this is a time when we need to stop trusting in these people by turning our attention away from the arm of flesh and towards God himself.

As we seek for more revelation, we should also keep in mind that the Lord does not trivialize revelation for our own selfish desires. Revelation is to be sought after for the glory of God, the building up of His kingdom, and the blessing of mankind. It is intended for the purposes of righteousness, not selfishness. If sought after selfishly, the results may take us down paths of destruction and despair rather than exaltation and enlightenment. As President Brigham Young once warned us regarding our revelatory experiences:

Now hear me, and I will try to talk so that you can understand. I will presume to go a little farther than I did, with regard to the President of the Church, and say to this people, a man might have visions, the angels of God might administer to him, he might have revelations, and see as many visions as you could count; he might have the heavens opened to him, and see the finger of the Lord, and all this would not make him the President of the Church, or an Elder, a High Priest, an Apostle; neither would it prove that he was even a Saint: something else is wanted to prove it. Why I mention this, is because of the frailty, weakness, and short sightedness of the people. If a man should come and tell you he had a vision, and could appear to substantiate his testimony that he had had the heavens open to him, you would be ready to bow down and worship him; and he might be, at the same time, perfectly calculated to destroy the people — one of the biggest devils on earth. He would appear to be one of the finest men, to be honest and unassuming, and come with all the grace and generalship of the devil, which is so well calculated to deceive the people. Admit this to be the case.

If you ask me what will prove a man or woman to be a Saint, I will answer the question. “If you love me,” says Jesus, “you will keep my sayings.” This is the touchstone. If you love the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father, you will keep the commandments of the Son — you will do his will. If you neglect to do this, you may have all the visions and revelations that could be bestowed upon a mortal being, and yet be nothing but a devil. Why I use this expression is because when a man’s mind is enlightened, and he turns from that light to darkness, it prepares him to be a devil. A man never knew how to be wicked, until light and truth were first made manifest to him. Then is the time for man to make their decision, and if they turn away from the Lord, it prepares them to become devils. (Brigham Young, JD 1: 133 4)

There is little sense in judging either the church leadership or any others who claim revelation and visions until we know for ourselves what is true and what is not true and what we should do about it. As Brigham Young has indicated, we must first understand the righteous principles of the gospel in order to judge whether or not a visionary man is righteous or worth following. We must be able to righteously judge the “whys” of the church and it’s leadership, not just the “whats.”

When all is said and done, only a few options exist concerning the professed revelations of others, whether in the church or out. Either they are receiving true revelations, or they are being deceived, or they are simply lying. There are no other options. How can we know which is the case? I believe we can know in the same manner that Adam knew, by making good judgements regarding the reasoning of and motivation behind the “preachers” around us, by humbly remaining faithful to that God has already given us, and by earnestly seeking messengers from our Father who will further teach us the ways of truth and light. We must also remember that there is much deception in the world today. Adam asked a legitimate question when he uttered, “How may I know that you are true messengers?” There can be nothing wrong with us asking the same questions regarding our own revelatory experiences or those of others. We must be cautious not to fall into the trap of loving revelation or gifts of the spirit more than we love God, righteousness, or the truth.

Let us place our trust in the Lord. Let us collectively begin pouring out our hearts to him in humble, but mighty prayer. And if He chooses not to answer our prayers in the manner or time frame we desire, let us continue to wait on Him, just as Adam did, before choosing a course that may harm either ourselves or Christ’s church in the long run. To abandon the church merely because it is not all that we want it to be, seems to be the opposite of this course. Pray to see if the LDS church is the place the Lord wants you to be, in spite of all of the apparent contradictions, milky doctrines, and frustrations. You may just find that it is. In fact, you may just find that there is a lot of personal progression yet to be experienced within this falling church – progression which may be little more than a preview of what its like to be a God throughout all the eternities yet to come.

FINAL THOUGHTS AND TESTIMONY

This represents the eighth manuscript I’ve written on gospel topics. I’ve written about eternal progression, the attributes of Zion, the importance of plural marriage, the attributes of deity, the nature of priesthood power, and much more. Yet, due to the nature of the topics discussed, I feel that only two of these manuscripts are appropriate for general consumption. The others, this one included, are only given to those who I feel are prepared to read such things or who have a special need of some kind.

I’ve also been heavily involved over the years with what could legitimately be called “study groups,” both on the Internet as well as in person, both formal and informal. In spite of the negative connotations often given to such things by the church, these discussions have taught me a great deal and I am grateful to have been a part of them. Yet, in most of these groups I’ve watched people fall by the wayside because they couldn’t handle some teaching or other. I’ve also watched while others twisted and warped the simplest doctrines to fit their own particular desires or whims in life – desires which probably have little or nothing to do with truth, Zion, or the Celestial Kingdom.

It has been my pleasure to know people, both in and out of the church, who have tremendous gifts of the spirit. It has not always been clear to me whether these gifts were being used for good or evil, but the fact that some of these people have gifts can hardly be disputed in my mind. I’ve experimented with some of these gifts myself and have firsthand experience with some of them.

I’ve also spent time among some of the fundamentalist groups. I’ve sat in their homes and have invited them into mine. I’ve listened to their teachings and I’ve become familiar with some of their character, personalities, and convictions, which vary greatly in my opinion. I’ve even been invited to speak at their firesides and visit with them in their places of worship, which I’ve enjoyed very much. Given the right group, and becoming convinced of proper authority, I would probably make a great fundamentalist. Some of them are very much my kind of people.

I’ve placed my beliefs, and my ability to support myself financially, in the line of fire by studying philosophy in college, with an emphasis on religious philosophy. I’ve also made it a point to learn as much about other religions as possible. At one point in my life I used to collect anti-Mormon materials, which I read with great interest. I’ve home schooled my children. I’ve been into herbs and health foods. I’ve studied and experienced auras, chakras, pressure points, and kinesiology. I’ve listened to many people as they talked about many things and I’ve questioned and prayed about everything with a sincere desire to know the truth. I’ve wanted to know every point of view I could possibly find regarding my beliefs and have made sincere efforts to investigate all such things.

I’ve studied hard, I’ve prayed hard, I’ve fasted often, and I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about, discussing, and teaching things associated with the restored gospel of Jesus Christ over the span of many years. In short, I feel I’ve had a relatively in-depth experience with the things of this restored gospel. It has been a major part of my life for many, many years and will likely continue to be so.

From a doctrinal standpoint, I’ve finally come to a point where I feel there isn’t much more of great significance to learn until the Lord sees fit to reveal more to us. I don’t say this to satisfy my feelings of pride or arrogance, but rather to express my frustration with our current situation. In fact, I’d love it if someone would prove me wrong. Of course there will always be new insights here and there. But it requires much more effort to find them than it used to and they are much more speculative in nature. In addition, I suppose there will always be more to learn regarding history and there will always be endless debates on the finer points of doctrine or possible truths outside of Mormonism, such as Kabbalah, mysticism, myths, Gnosticism, or other potentially apostate versions of once revealed truths. However, whose opinion is right regarding most of these discussions is anyone’s guess. It is my belief that they are unlikely to be resolved without more revelation of some sort. I tend to grow weary of such endless, highly speculative debates. For the most part these debates are not that different than the preacher who teaches the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture. Which teachings are true and which are meant to deceive can only be truly discerned with the help of God.

All that said, I am still very hungry for more. I delight in the things of God. Yet, I weep and wail unto the Lord constantly about these depressive, telestial circumstances in which I find myself. I feel I can say in all honesty that I sincerely “hunger and thirst” after more knowledge and righteousness. And yet, very seldom do I feel that my hunger is being satisfied or my thirst quenched. Needless to say, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time over the last few years pondering and praying about my role within the church, the gospel, and life itself. The answers I feel I have found generally only serve to raise many more questions. It is difficult for me to accept the fact that this is all there is – that for some reason, the Lord has seen fit to give me this much and no more…at least for now. It is hard for me to accept and live with this conclusion. A part of me will probably never accept it fully, which I believe is a good thing in the long run. However, I have no choice but to live in the circumstances or “sphere” in which God has placed me. And perhaps my role at this time is not so much to learn more, but to do more with what I have already learned, both with my family as well as with other adults.

A testimony can be a complicated thing. Due to differing capacities and experiences, it can be quite different for different people. Yet, as I recently wrote in one of my papers, true faith, as spoken of in the scriptures, should always be based on some sort of support or evidence in order to draw a conclusion. To believe in something for no reason is to place your life in the hands of random chance. It is like trying to read an eye chart in a completely dark room. Your chances for success are extremely low, if there is any chance at all. This principle applies to spiritual truth as much as it does to any other kind of truth. We must find “substance” and “evidence” to support our spiritual faith or it will be of little or no value to us. (See “Truth and People” p.7.)

With this in mind I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to pinpoint why I believe what I believe regarding the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith and Mormonism in general. As a result, I’ve categorized my reasons for belief into three major areas. These three areas are:

1) Spiritual Experiences,

2) Rational Explanations, and

3) Moral Principles.

These three areas combine to create the bulk of my testimony regarding Mormonism and the restored gospel. Each deserves some explanation and detail in order to be at least partially understood by those who have not personally experienced the same things I have had the privilege of experiencing.

Spiritual Experiences

My spiritual experiences have ranged from small, seemingly meaningless events to significantly deep and often profound incidents. One of the most significant and intense experiences occurred while reading the Book of Mormon in the Missionary Training Center. During the two months I was there I woke up earlier than the other missionaries for the sole purpose of gaining the spiritual testimony of the Book of Mormon of which so many have spoken. I prayed as sincerely as I ever had up to that time in my life. The result was an experience that was more powerful than my words will be able to communicate. The book came alive to me. Tears became common, even while reading portions that few people would consider terribly spiritual or emotional. Both my mind and my “heart” were affected by this experience, which lingered throughout my reading of the book. In fact, this experience had such a powerful effect on my mind that by the time I had finished reading the book this one time, I was able to ask others to begin reading anywhere in the book and I could tell them within a few chapters where they were reading. Regardless of what the Book of Mormon may or may not be, I could no more deny the experience I had at that time than I could that I exist. It has continued to influence my life ever since.

In addition to my experience with the Book of Mormon, I’ve been subject to many other experiences that I can only describe as being primarily spiritual in nature. The most constant and reoccurring of these experiences have probably occurred during times when I was teaching, writing, and giving blessings. At these times I have often had feelings and/or thoughts that have clearly led me along some path or other – telling me what to say and how to say it. In many instances, words have come to my mouth very quickly, without thought or deliberation of any kind. It would be difficult for me to argue against the idea that I was being led by some unseen force. It has been as though the words have “flowed” through me to the audience for which they were intended. Again, these experiences have often involved both my thoughts and my feelings.

Less consistent, though no less meaningful, have been my experiences with certain gifts of the spirit. Some of these gifts are so remarkable and extraordinary that I would not have believed them possible had I not experienced them for myself. Without going into too much detail, included in these experiences have been such things as dreams of future events, feelings enabling me to predict certain events with repeated consistency, the ability to perceive what other people are feeling or thinking (which seems to be especially acute when I’m teaching), immediate and unmistakable answers to specific prayers, seeing beings from beyond the veil, and more. These experiences go way beyond the typical confirmation or “warm feeling” sometimes experienced by hearing a rousing speech or reading a heart-warming story. Many of these experiences have been predictable and able to be repeatedly tested by myself over the span of many years. Some of these experiences have been a part of my life since childhood. Others became more prevalent and recognizable later in life. In the end, I’ve experimented with them in ways that have not only amazed me but have satisfied my soul that they are real and involve powers beyond those with which mankind is typically aware. As with my experiences with the Book of Mormon and inspiration outlined above, I can only describe these “gifts” as being spiritual in nature.

In addition to these more concrete experiences I’ve had many other impressions to both my heart and mind that have helped to shape my system of beliefs. Many of these have been difficult to discern from other common feelings or thoughts that may or may not have their origins in anything truly spiritual. Yet, they likewise cannot be thrown out as true spiritual experience. It is simply difficult at times to tell the two apart.

Rational Explanations

From my youth my nature has always been to ask questions and try to figure things out. I’ve seldom been satisfied by pat answers or “status quo” rational. For better or for worse, I’ve challenged everyone from parents and other family members to school and university teachers to church leaders and friends regarding a great many issues. Truth and choosing the “right” way to do things is, and always has been, all-important to me. The study of philosophy in college for five years was a relatively perfect fit for my naturally questioning and logical disposition.

As a result of this natural characteristic, I’ve always sought the best explanations I could find regarding the gospel and religion in general. I’ve never been satisfied with the standard answers – often resulting in difficult discussions with people regarding sensitive subjects. In my search for spiritual and moral truths I’ve seldom been content to answer only the “what’s” of an issue. I’ve always felt the need to answer the “why’s” as well. This has led me down many paths of discovery and reconciliation of otherwise apparent contradictions or difficult problems.

Through all of this relatively deep investigation and thought, I have almost unwaveringly been impressed with the solutions provided within Mormon theology. While studying philosophy at BYU, for example, I had a rare opportunity to compare the teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, B.H. Roberts, and others to those of the great religious philosophers throughout history. In what can only be described as “amazingly brilliant,” these teachings from LDS leaders proved superior time and time again. Philosophical bottomless pits such as the problem of evil, the nature and character of deity, divine foreknowledge and human free will, and others are addressed far more adequately within LDS theology than any other religion with which I am familiar. This has been so much the case that I have become convinced that one of two scenarios must be true: Either Joseph Smith was the most underrated, dishonest genius of our time or he was a true prophet getting his thoughts from some power beyond his own. Given the spiritual experiences mentioned above, I can only opt for the latter explanation.

In addition to comparing LDS theology with other systems of belief, I’ve found even more credibility by comparing Mormonism against itself. “Mysteries” or apparent contradictions have fallen one by one as I’ve compared, prodded, and searched the scriptures and words of the leaders with an open mind and a certain amount of sincere prayer. As a result I’ve come to firmly believe that the greatest truths of Mormonism are those that both solve some of our greatest theological problems and are, at the same time, the least understood by both Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Simple teachings about the nature and character of God, for example, are both beautifully profound and, at the same time, amazingly offensive to most people, including members of the LDS church.

From an intellectual standpoint, studying Mormonism for me has been like putting together a grand puzzle with no complete picture to use as a guide and many unrelated pieces thrown into the pile that must be sifted through and either kept, set aside, or thrown out one by one. Although there are still plenty of loose pieces on the table and the picture is not yet completed – not by a long shot, I feel I’ve been able to fit too many of the other pieces together to abandon the puzzle now. I honestly feel much of the picture is there before me and I honestly like what I see. It is my firm belief that I will be able to continue adding more pieces to the puzzle and will someday have a complete, finished picture that is both beautiful and makes perfect sense – if not in this life then in the next. In the end I can only say that LDS theology not only offers a vast amount of breadth and depth, but also provides a rational basis for that content. To me, it is practical, rational theology.

Moral Principles

Finally, a large and significant portion of my testimony rests in the simple fact that Mormonism teaches good and wholesome principles as the core of the gospel plan. When all is said and done, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith is all about incorporating unselfish, moral, and righteous principles into the minds and hearts of its followers. All the rest is merely a means to that end. It is my belief that anyone who honestly and open mindedly seeks to embrace the wholesome principles outlined in the scriptures will also love Mormon doctrine and theology in its true form, for it is impossible to separate the two. Those who don’t care for such principles are likely to find little comfort within the confines of true Mormonism. Although mistakes and ulterior motives within the LDS church often muddy the water, I believe that the core principles of faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, hope, love, humility, gentleness, meekness, diligence, holiness, lowliness of heart, long suffering, and all others found in the scriptures are at the heart of the restored gospel and are good and upright in and of themselves.

It is difficult for me to imagine anyone openly desiring to argue or fight against such principles. Although difficult to understand at times, the more I have studied the doctrines of the restored gospel and the history of the church, the more I have become convinced that Joseph Smith’s motives were pure and wholesome – that everything he did was for the direct purpose of promoting and instilling these types of principles into the hearts and minds of the people. I am convinced that these principles describe both Zion and the Celestial Kingdom – the ultimate goals of all things LDS. Within every ordinance of Mormonism, from baptism to endowment to plural marriage, I see these unselfish, loving principles upheld and advanced. In every bit of doctrine, from simple faith to the united order and consecration, I only see a good and unselfish lifestyle that, if honestly lived, would bring about the very heaven we all claim to seek so badly. I could no more reject the truthfulness and goodness of these core principles than I could life itself. Without them, there is no hope. With them, all good things are possible. Inasmuch as these principles are the main focus and motivation behind Mormonism, I am, and will in all likelihood continue to be, a “Mormon.” I love them. I seek them. I wish I were a better example of them. And I am convinced that if all people would embrace and uphold them by keeping the commandments and honoring their covenants with all their heart, might, mind, and strength, we would experience the highest degree of joy and happiness available to any living soul.

In the midst of all the controversy and unsolved difficulties found among both early and modern Mormonism, fully recognizing the many challenges and trials involved with upholding such a testimony as that which I have born, these three areas of focus continue to be the foundation of my belief in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I am as certain of these things as I am of anything else holding conviction of any certainty in my life. These areas are solid to me. They are not flippant, naïve, or without reason. They are real and provide a solid foundation for both my current beliefs as well as any spiritual learning and growth I may realistically expect to experience in the future.

This is why I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. If I honestly believed that there was anything better under the sun or that would explain the experiences I’ve mentioned to a greater degree, I feel I would pursue that course instead. However, as of the time of writing this testimony, I know of no such course that would offer an adequate response to the experiences and principles listed above. To me, Mormonism is verifiable, rational, morally beautifully, and unable to be adequately explained in any other way than to say that Joseph Smith was who he said he was, and the teachings he espoused and promoted are verily true, wholesome, and exalting in nature.

When all is said and done, I feel I must have some kind of personal witness before I will leave this church for any other option, including inactivity. Though I have prayed often about it, such a witness I have not yet received. To me, even with all of its flaws and problems, this church still offers me and my family a lot of good. It is discouraging that there are so many frustrations and problems within the church. The downward path of the church brings me a lot of sadness, misery, and heartache. It has taken its toll on the zeal and commitment I am able to give to the church today. But in the midst of these negative aspects, I still find a good deal of joy, comfort, and progression with my activity in the church. Alongside the hypocrites and “ignorant faithful,” I’ve found some good, humble people with hearts full of love and faith in God. Along with the sadness I feel every time I go to the temple, there is still much to think about and learn there. In the midst of all the wildly incorrect talks and lessens, there is still the occasional good one that truly makes me think and encourages me to be a better person. And although I am frustrated when my children are taught false doctrines in primary and Sunday School, for the most part, I believe they are being blessed by their teachers and leaders. My children will be better because of the influence and efforts of some of these people. The church still provides a good basis for learning the basics about Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the gospel in general – which is pretty much what my children need at this time, as well as many adults I know. And even though I am not able to openly speak about or discuss everything I would like to in the church, I am still given a forum to speak about a lot of things. In fact, I feel I’ve had a hand in teaching many people things that they may not have ever heard about had I not been there to teach them – things that are higher and more exalting in nature. In short, even with all of its problems and frustrations, until the Lord tells me otherwise, I know of no better place for me and my family to be than in this church. Perhaps there is a better place, but I do not know where or what it is at this time. I feel the same is probably true for most other ultra-Mormons as well.

When all is said and done, perhaps the most accurate summary regarding the state of “modern Mormonism” was provided by Elder H. Verlan Anderson when he said,

While the scriptures do assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming, they do not state that all, or even a majority of its members will follow those prophets. On the contrary, they foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles. (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 169-170)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is still true “in so far forth.” It is still the Lord’s house and will remain such until He says otherwise. In addition, I firmly believe that the Lord will eventually send “one mighty and strong” at some point in the future to save and redeem this church and to raise it to a whole new level of knowledge and righteousness in preparation for the second coming of Christ and the building of Zion. I believe these will be very difficult times for Mormons of all types. I believe a great many people will be left behind or destroyed due to their pride, ignorance, and foolish traditions. Yet, it seems that this may be the only way for the church to move forward. Unless the Lord directs me to other paths, I relish the idea of possibly being a part of this redeeming effort within the church. I love the idea of someday being called to help teach the higher truths of the gospel “to the masses” and helping to lay the foundations of Zion. I only hope that my pride or lack of patience and motivation regarding the current situation in the church doesn’t prevent me from being a part of this great effort when it finally happens. I worry that my lack of active participation in the church and my inability to serve people at all levels of gospel maturity may render me as unworthy to be a part of such a meaningful work.

I hope that we will all continue to seek and find true answers from God regarding our current dilemma with the church. I hope we will begin to judge more righteous judgement based on sound reasoning and true revelation from God rather than our own insignificant or selfish desires, and that we will continually and humbly seek only that which is true, good, wholesome, and uplifting for ourselves and our fellow man. May we find favor with God by patiently choosing to serve him in the manner in which He chooses for us, no matter how lowly, frustrating, or condescending it may seem, that we may become as the Lord himself when he taught, “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”40 May we collectively and earnestly beseech God to visit us with more truth, understanding, and righteousness, and may we be ever involved with making ourselves more worthy of such a visitation, is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

References

1 Journal of President David O. McKay, January 7, 1960.
2 D&C 49:19-20; D&C 70:14; D&C 78:5-7; D&C 104:15-18
3 See also the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.7, Ch.13, p.378 p.379
4 The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 169-170.
5 For a good explanation of some of the circumstances involving Emma and the revelation on plural marriage, see “Mormon Polygamy: A History” page 57 by Richard Van Wagoner.
6 See D&C 124:9; 132:17, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29, 37, 39, 49, 57, 63.
7 Solemn Covenant, p. 394.
8 JD 9:151
9 Joseph Fielding Smith Journal, 28 December 1938
10 D&C 112:26
11 JD 15:360
12 2 Nephi 28:21 (20-31)
13 D&C 56:4
14 Jacob 2:27
15 Jacob 2:23-35
16 Mosiah 15:1-5; Alma 18:5, 24-28
17 See Alma 40:20.
18 Mormon 8:36. See also 2 Nephi 28:3.
19 See Isaiah chapters 3 and 4
20 One possible exception to this might be found in D&C 49:8.
21 Joseph Smith History 1:69 also seems to provide some support for this claim.
22 D&C 45:26-33
23 Mormon 8:38 (34-38)
24 Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.63-64; A Witness and a Warning, Pg. vii-viii
25 D&C 85:7-8
26 D&C 86:7
27 D&C 19:7 (6-12)
28 Matthew 13:20-21
29 TPJS Pg. 364
30 1 Kings 13:19
31 D&C 19:22
32 Brigham Young, JD 9:151
33 Luke 18:10-14
34 See Isaiah 21:11. See also Isaiah 21:6; Isaiah 52:8; Isaiah 62:6; Jeremiah 6:17; Jeremiah 31:6; Jeremiah 51:12; Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:6-7; Mosiah 12:22; Mosiah 15:29; 3 Nephi 16:18; 3 Nephi 20:32; D&C 101:45-46, 53-54.
35 D&C 88:81
36 Matthew 13:57; Matthew 15:12; John 6:66; Moses 6:37
37 Mark 2:27
38 Moroni 7:47
39 Joseph Smith – Matthew 1:37
40 D&C 122:8

Next Guest Contributor article: Why (Heavenly) Father is an Anarchist

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

145 Comments

  1. His book “Attitude of Zion” can be purchased online –

    http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/attitude-of-zion/425065

    His writings are available on his website –

    http://curtporritt.com/ReligiousAndPhilosophicalWritings.aspx

    Curtis’ wife gave a sacrament meeting talk that touched upon these issues from a Book of Mormon perspective. Her talk is often called “Nephi’s List” –

    http://tremen.dous.org/vision/item/6

  2. Wow. Awesome. Can’t say I’m convinced of everything, but what a refreshingly integral view.

  3. AllOfTheGospel

    You said,

    “Curtis’ wife gave a sacrament meeting talk that touched upon these issues from a Book of Mormon perspective. Her talk is often called “Nephi’s List” –

    http://tremen.dous.org/vision/item/6

    Can you please clarify where you got that information from?

    Are you sure that Gail and Curt are not brothers or cousins or Father and Son, etc.

    Do you personally know the Porritts?

    I met and spoke with the Gail Porritt who wrote “Nephis List” many years ago.

    He was a single man.

    Have you made a mistake or are you suggesting these two are gay?

    I thought Curt’s response about gay marriage was interesting

    http://www.heraldextra.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_0ea197fe-f849-5c8f-a351-294c3762361c.html

  4. I’m amazed that it all fit on your blog!

    I’ve had this one for some time, its good to see it getting a little face time in the world media. like or not, agree with it or not, it makes many points that have to be addressed by anyone who cares.

  5. This is Curt Porritt. I’m the author of the paper above. (Someone just sent me the link today.)

    I don’t mind if you post it here. This looks like the kind of place that would likely attract the klinds of people that might find value in it.

    If you’d like an updated copy that includes all of the graphics (in PDF format) just email me at curtporritt@msn.com. I’ll be happy to send you one. You can also visit my website at http://www.curtporritt.com, which has other writings of mine.

    I’m also happy to answer any questions or discuss any of the topics I address in the paper.

    Enjoy,
    Curt

  6. Thanks for the permission, Curt. I just now emailed you.

  7. Curt again…

    FYI – there are two Gail Porritt’s. The one that wrote Nephi’s List is my brother and is not gay. But I’m sure I’ll take the opportunity to kid him about this anyway. ;^)

    The other Gail is my dad. My wife never gave such a talk so I assume it was my broether referred to above.

    BTW, if you’re interested in my thoughts about gay marriage you can find more on my website (curtporrit.com) in the “Opinions” section. (I’m not gay either. ;^)

  8. To LDS Anarchist,

    Not sure how to open your email. It’s asking for a passphrase, which I could not find anywhere.

    Curt

  9. I met your bro many many years ago and had several long and enjoyable talks with him.. great guy. I had him come and share his views with a study group I was in..

    Last time I spoke with him he seemed to have evolved quite a bit in his religious world view… as most people do if they are diligently studying…

    Hope he is doing well.

  10. The password is anarchy, of course. 😛

  11. Anarchists don’t need copyright permissions. Knowledge is free. Intellectual property is an oxymoron (much like IRI).

  12. This article is absolutely relevant and critical and it is great you posted it. The work behind it is astounding and much to be admired. THANK you so much.
    I believe that there is a humongous amount of apostasy going on in every home based on the scriptural description. ANYthing away from light, truth and Christ is in effect apostasy. Then when you read the comments on most every “liberal” or “open” blog, you see just how many “members” are wolfs in sheeps clothing, lying to get a temple recommend, agnostics / athiests partaking of the sacrament, etc., or opening fighting against Christ (not necessarily the church as a whole).
    Underlying all of this is the fact there ARE 2 churches anyway within the LDS main body. ……based upon the premise of just what Curt brought out. Personal direct revelation with a Holy Ghost based conduit that is a daily power and energy…ALL with the single focus on Christ and Heavenly Fathers will. NOT that cultural thing where people go for social, economic, family, business, tradition, power, etc.
    Oneness with God is strictly between God and man…with man doing the work and paying the price to GET and MAINTAIN an intimate relationship.
    Mysteries ARE revealed.
    Understanding and cognition are absolute.
    All learning and advancement is always lawful according to the scriptures….which are transparent with the veil opened with much to reveal when obedience and the individual requirements asked from God of that person are followed…….TO the satisfaction of God.
    But the MAIN proof of a persons true status with God, true discipleship with Christ is the amount of light, truth, and unconditional love that person holds…..his FRUIT of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23. All people in the LDS church can be identified where they are in apostasy by that ‘mark’. Because it HAS to iminate …….they have to be illuminated by the true light and energy and will have the heart, mind and fruit of CHRIST.
    Period.
    They can only ACT for so long.
    Being celestial……..or the apitome level of LDS or any Christian is a STATE, not a destination.
    Period.
    You can hide some glory, but a celestial true Christian will never hide his fruit.
    They would rather die than not have a fulness of the Holy Ghost.
    All those pretending simply do NOT have light iminating from within and someone else who following Christ sincerely can sense that.
    Actors can only play a role just so far.
    If there is grand apostasy in high places and leadership, eventually after the Lord has permitted it’s use and sifting ability……..the line upon line thing…here a little, there a little…it must be within the grand eternal purpose dividing out until some future date.
    Much apostasy is hidden from the apostasy in the general membership. Birds of a feather flock together????????
    Those who are truely Christ centered and celestial KNOW each other..when looking eyeball into eyeball, person to person, when convicted by the presence of the Holy Ghost.
    BAM.
    REcognition.
    This article points out……is wonderful in bringing out so many purposes why and how all of the current changes and differences between then and now is possibly absolutely necessary in the WHOLE compound plan.
    It must in ways mimic the pre-existence…..since ALL things existed spiritually first????
    It is NO worry to one who is intimate with God and daily fed by the Holy Ghost.
    It is NO concern that it all might be “falling apart” or sneeking in things.
    GOD IS IN CONTROL of HIS church……even IF it is only the INNER CHURCH.
    We will NEVER be LED wrong as long as WE are being daily led by the Godhead
    following MOMENT by MOMENT focused upon them. Leaning NOT upon ANY arm of flesh.
    Love to All.

  13. Wanted to throw a couple of things out there. I only scanned the article, having read it before, but two issues immediately jump out.

    (1) The author states: “We can learn at least three important truths from these verses in D&C 112. First we learn that the LDS church has some major problems – problems so large that the Lord will send calamities first to those within the church. Second, we learn that the Lord is only displeased with a subset of those within the LDS church, rather than the whole church or even the church itself. And third, we learn that even with these apparent problems, the Lord still refers to the LDS church as “my house,” indicating that He is still at the helm of the organization. These factors are significant factors to consider as try to develop a clear view of the situation within the church.”

    The issue I have with this statement is the author’s use of the phrase, “first to those.” D&C 112:26 does echo this, saying, “First among those among you.” What is not mentioned, however, is that that is where the calamities stop in the church. The scriptures simply do not grant the interpretation that the Lord is “only displeased with a subset of those within the LDS church, rather than the whole church or even the church itself.” True, the scripture does state that that is where the starting point begins, but no where in D&C 112 does the Lord mention that every other member of the Church is going to be spared. Indeed, other portions of scripture would presumably refute such a statement.

    Even this quote, by Ezra Taft Benson, can be read to contradict what the author stated: “Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 32)”

    Lastly, how do we know if the Lord is still calling the church his, “my house,” or that he is still “at the helm of the organization?” The scriptures used to support this point were revealed in 1837. Can we assume that what was said then is still applicable today? Can we safely assume that the truthfulness of that statement then is still the same today? Fair question, I think, though I personally don’t have the answer. For example, if Joseph Smith was turning 14 years old this year (2010) and about to go off into nature to pray to find out which church was true, do you think that he’d still get the same answer he did then, namely, “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof?”

    I don’t have the answer, though it’s fair to wonder whether the use of “my house” in 1837 would be the same in 2010. A lot has happened over those 173 years…

    Secondly, (2), the author seems to use Jarom 1:2 and Omni 1:11 in combination to justify President Hinckley’s statement about our “reservoir” of revelation and not needing much more. To me, though, there’s a substantial difference between the two verses which seems to have been overlooked.

    Jarom 1:2 reads, “2 And as these plates are small, and as these things are written for the intent of the benefit of our brethren the Lamanites, wherefore, it must needs be that I write a little; but I shall not write the things of my prophesying, nor of my revelations. For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of salvation? I say unto you, Yea; and this sufficeth me.”

    It’s clear, from this verse, that Jarom is receiving revelation. He simply states that he’s not going to “write the things of my prophesying, nor of my revelations.” Clearly he was both (a) prophesying and (b) receiving revelation. He simply felt that his revelations and prophesying had already been written elsewhere and would only be duplicating what had already been written, but did not write them because of this fact and because of the available space on the plates, “these plates are small.”

    Omni 1:11 states, “11 And behold, the record of this people is engraven upon plates which is had by the kings, according to the generations; and I know of no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy; wherefore, that which is sufficient is written. And I make an end.”

    I would personally emphasize the “I know of no revelation” part of that verse. Omni, in contrast to Jarom, outright states that NEITHER revelation NOR prophecy was happening at his time. That is a HUGE difference and very applicable to our day.

    The contrast between Jarom and Omni couldn’t be greater, and yet the author presupposes that they are saying the very same thing. The author even goes so far as to say that there is “clear precedent in either the scriptures or early church history or both” for saying what Hinckley or Joseph F. Smith said regarding revelation. Even assuming the author is correct, the “precedent” he uses is misapplied to the situation and the two scriptures (Jarom 1:2 and Omni 1:11) are clearly in disagreement about what they are saying about revelation.

    Perhaps the author was trying to come to a certain conclusion – and certainly that happens elsewhere – and failed to recognize this difference. However, I’d interject 2 Nephi 28:29-30 into this discussion because it’s hits the real issue on the head:

    29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
    30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

    Saying that “We don’t need much revelation” is eerily similar to what verse 29 states, and certainly the case could be made that Hinckley is saying that “we have enough.” He did say, after all, that, “We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received, “the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation.” Taken in context with these verses, these words should give members pause. It has me. I’m not saying that verses 29-30 are a perfect fit, but I can see the striking similarities. If nothing more, Omni 1:11 is indeed saying that very thing. He is saying, “that which is sufficient is written.”

    A contrast which should have, in my opinion, been included in the original article. Conflating those two simply isn’t fair to the written word and is far from accurate.

    To be fair to these scriptures, it really doesn’t matter to us, individually, whether the “prophets” are seeking after or receiving revelation. The only thing that matters is best stated by this quote:

    “Each of us must find Christ for ourselves. Popular opinion and the collective view of who are God’s “chosen people” cannot be trusted. There has never been a safe, broad mainstream which reliably prepared or can prepare anyone to receive Him. It has never happened this way. We delude ourselves into thinking it will be otherwise for us. It was always designed that the Gospel of Christ requires you to find Him in His solitary way. His way is that of a “thief” who comes without credentials, without trappings and without public acclaim. His only sign of authority may be that your heart will burn within you as He speaks to you while in the way. Often times He will require you to first accept the unlikely truths which save, originating from unlikely sources, before He will permit you to come to the Throne of Grace.” – Denver Snuffer, Come Let Us Adore Him, p. 68-69.

  14. I am currently in California on a trip and have not read the article (book) although I did take 5 minutes to skim through it to see if the author recognizes the fact that a significant apostasy had taken place by in Kirtland by 1836 or whether he got hung up on the second major apostasy that followed shortly after the death of BY.

    Needless to say, I have a few issues pertaining to that topic and would enjoy sitting down with the author sometime to compare notes and discuss this topic.

    Having written a similar booklet myself back in 1994 I have evolved in my thinking a little bit and I would not be surprised if the same is true of Curt.

    Regarding another topic, one of the teachings that jumped out at me during my quick skim that really bothered me is his declaration that Christ would want his disciples to follow corrupt leaders solely on the basis that they sit in the seat of authority.

    Please note the following statement from the article,

    “They Who Sit In Moses’ Seat

    An interesting scripture that sheds light on our relationship with the leaders of the modern LDS church is found in the New Testament. From an LDS point of view, it is fairly safe to assume that the Jewish religious leaders were in a state of apostasy during the time of Christ. The Savior spent considerable time contradicting and criticizing them. Yet, it is clear that Christ held some respect for the authority and position of these leaders, as well as the organization they represented. Consider the following counsel from the Lord to the people of His time:

    Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
    Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
    All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
    For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
    But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
    And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
    And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matthew 23:1-7, underline added)

    Notice how the Savior clearly recognizes the problems and wickedness among the scribes and Pharisees. He doesn’t see them as the ideal leaders in any way. Yet, because they “sit in Moses’ seat,” He teaches his followers to observe and do all that these mediocre leaders tell them to do. This is significant. Here we have a case of religious leaders being in a state of apostasy but still deserving respect and obedience. With no other group did the Savior disagree more than with the scribes and Pharisees. Yet, because of their position and apparent authority, He taught his disciples to follow their counsel.”

    [END OF QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE]

    Again, the above observation and conclusion was very disturbing to me.

    There are a multitude of scriptures that refute this false teaching which I have previously blogged about and I am not going to belabor the issue at this time.

    What I do want to point out however is that the one scripture he uses to prove his point actually reads quite differently in the JST!

    I frankly had never noticed it before until this article forced the issue with me.

    Please notice the wording the KJV

    “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

    Now compare the changes that JS made in the JST,

    “All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, they will make you observe and do; for they are ministers of the law, and they make themselves your judges. But do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.”

    It seems to me that in the JST, the Saviour was actually saying just the opposite of what he appears to be saying in the KJV.

    I appreciate the incredible time and effort the author has put into the article. I suspect he has made some changes in it over the years since it was originally written and it wouldn’t surprise me if he continues to make additional ones in the future, but there appears to be a significant amount of study and research which went into the writing of it and I really appreciate his efforts. I hope to be able to read the article some day.

    [Disclaimer: My remarks have to do with the doctrine Christ taught of whether we have been commanded to follow or discard apostate leaders. I am not making any specific judgments regarding the current leaders of any church]

  15. I just now noticed that the author makes mention of the false dichotomy of “the existence of higher and lower laws”.

  16. This is a great article, and provided a lot of food for thought. I think the general thesis, that the church may be vacillating between various states of apostasy is reasonable. However, I’m not as convinced with the specific focus on polygamy as being one such example of this apostasy. For instance, the author notes:

    “In addition, the Book of Mormon provides us with a clear example of the Lord temporarily revoking plural marriage for a particular group of people.

    ‘Wherefore, my brethren, hear me and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none. (Jacob 2:27)'”

    But this just assumes that this is a “temporary” cessation of the practice of polygamy, when it could just as easily be that polygamy is only a temporary measure.

    I think a better approach is look at Jacob 2 verses, 26-29:

    “Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

    “Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

    “For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

    “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”

    I think these scriptures raise several important points. First, the question is why would the Lord not want the Nephites to engage in the practice? If polygamy is the norm, why “temporarily” suspend it in the absence of strong countervailing pressures/reasons (e.g. the church being crushed, which doesn’t appear to have been the case with the Nephites, but obviously was in our dispensation)? The Nephites were already practicing polygamy, albeit in an unauthorized fashion, so why not permit it, while doing so in an orderly and divine fashion?

    Second, following the Lord’s indication that the practice will not be permitted, He then indicates that He delights in the chastity of women. A reasonable inference from this sequence of statements is that there is something inherently less chaste about polygamy. For instance, instead of abolishing polygamy to safeguard the chastity of women, why didn’t the Lord simply say “Look, you may practice polygamy, but here are the ground rules?” Then polygamy could have been practiced and the chastity of women could have been safeguarded, presumably.

    Finally, the Lord then provides a conditional proposition: if He desires to raise up seed unto himself, he will implement polygamy. The corollary inference is that if this condition is not met/extant, then there will be no need/use for polygamy. So perhaps polygamy is only a divine practice when specific circumstances are present.

    Another factor to consider is that throughout recorded history (or that of which we (or more accurately, I) know) the standard has been an absence of polygamy.

    In Moses 5: 2-3, for instance, it reads:

    “And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth.

    “And from that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land, and to till the land, and to tend flocks, and they also begat sons and daughters.”

    So from the beginning, the standard was “two and two,” or monogamy and not polygamy. Going back to one of the hypotheses of this article, i.e. that a greater fullness is provided at the beginning of a dispensation (and that truth is subsequently lost through apostasy), it seems strange that polygamy was not early on made the marital standard, especially so under conditions in which it would presumably have been easier to implement, due mainly to a lack of entrenched societal stereotypes. Likewise, during Christ’s time, there is no indication that He or any of his apostles practiced polygamy, or any reference to Christ preaching that the practice would or should be implemented. Its obviously hard to prove a negative, but throughout history it seems that despite the practice of polygamy during Abraham and David/Solomon’s days (and a smattering of others in Judea/Christian history), it doesn’t appear to have been a necessary or consistent practice (excepting Old Testament references to men marrying the widows of their brothers, etc., which were different scenarios from what we’re talking about).

    As to the quotes provided in the article from early prophets regarding the divinity of the practice, it is simply possible that polygamy was requisite for exaltation during the time period in which they lived, but not after, and not for eternity. The practice may simply no longer be required or necessary, having filled its purpose.

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.” (D&C 124:49).

    If the early prophets and early Saints were aware that polygamy was only a temporary measure, which purpose would soon run its course, it is hard to believe they would have fought so ardently to uphold it. Had they not fought to ardently, they would have failed to form a cohesive and distinct identity that enabled the gospel to flourish in the Rockies. So in that sense, perhaps the Lord needed them to believe in the supposed eternal nature of polygamy.

    On an aside, OWIW, any chance you would be willing to post your 1994 article? I would love to see it.

  17. WJ

    One of the things I have learned about writing articles, is that when you are on a learning curve as I was back then and as I continue to be, you end up writing things you later disagree with and regret writing.

    Such is the case with that booklet…

    There is between 10-20% of what I wrote in that booklet back then that I no longer agree with. For that reason, and the fact that I don’t have an electronic version of it, I prefer not post it on a public forum like this one. If I had an electronic version I would clean it up and post it online so that I could realize a few years from now that it needs to be updated again LOL

    However, if you want to email me your mailing address, I might still have an old copy that I can mail to you.

    Regarding your comments about polygamy….

    You said,

    “So from the beginning, the standard was “two and two,” or monogamy and not polygamy. Going back to one of the hypotheses of this article, i.e. that a greater fullness is provided at the beginning of a dispensation (and that truth is subsequently lost through apostasy), it seems strange that polygamy was not early on made the marital standard, especially so under conditions in which it would presumably have been easier to implement, due mainly to a lack of entrenched societal stereotypes”

    I think that is a great observation. One I have neglected to address in all of the posts I have done concerning polygamy.

    I think it could have profound implications regarding the doctrine and how it fits into the scheme of things.

    A few months ago when I was re-reading the book of Moses it occurred to me that for many many generations Adam and his posterity practiced monogamy and it was not until death was introduced into the world after Satan tempted the posterity of Adam and they became carnal, sensual and devilish, that polygamy was also finally introduced into the world.

    That may just be a coincident, but I tend to doubt it.

  18. If as the scripture says we are sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost then why on earth would you want to blspheme the Holy Ghost, sanctification is not just salvation but also exaltation! The problem with the majority of the Mormons they don’t trust themselves to follow the holy spirit, the holy spirit speak expressly and does not lie but the moment that an individual receives the promtings of the holy spirit telling them something that their church leaders would not approve of they think they went wrong somewhere and give up on themselves! So how many of you have had your calling and election made sure? How many of you have open communication with heaven and angels? If not you really need to rethink your life and make some adjustments! For heaven sakes we have the fullness of the gospel at the fullness of times what more could you possibly want? If you don’t make it now you never will, all those that donot receive the light are under condemnation! I will make you a promise that if you pray and ask God that you will follow his spirit -the spirit of the holy ghost no matter where it takes you at any risk YOU will receive an undeniable witness within 24 hours and a serious test to go along with it. Then remember that blaphame against the Holy Ghost is the unpardonable sin and assents unto the blood of Christ wherin you crucify Him anew unto yourseves! my blessings are withyou, you can do it, have confidence in your self and the Holy spirit. Sincerely brand Nu

  19. I wonder if we really have “joined hands with the wicked” when I read the Internet of today. I search with the keyword “mormon” and find gazillions of articles that cast aspersion on the Church. No, we are not popular with the wicked.

    As for those, who defend us; if we think the late debacle of the California Prop 8 ballot, our defenders have fallen into one of these two categories: They either agree wholeheartedly with the campaign that we undertook to get Prop 8 passed; or they are the churches that pride themselves on being “open minded” and have demonstrated the willingness to defend any and all iniquity as a way of proving said openmindedness.

    As for the “wicked” — and we all tend to have our own definitions of them — they are not our fans, as far as I can tell (look at the protesting around LDS temples); or whatever we call the fundamentalist fringe of American Evangelicalism, they certainly don’t like us, as was plainly manifested by Mitt Romney’s campaign. And in other parts of the world, the EVangelicals are far more vitriolic than in America.

    Yes, they admire our industry and our organization; they envy it, but they cannot see themselves being able to inspire such dedication as does the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

    I’ll get back on this post, it is a bit much to take in one reading. In any case, I take it that Joseph and Brigham would both have defended continuing revelation; and where revelation hasn’t been the manifest cause of changes, many things have been done towards bringing Church practices closer to the models set forth in D&C.

  20. The Article is “Spot On” in it’s observations presented in a very unbias fashion.

    In regard to the SEEMING DELIMA there IS no Delima at all.

    The Lord very plainly informs us these things where to go down and He gives us the Solution to the Paradox we find ourselves in. It’s a PARADOX NOT INTENDED for US to Solve but rather the Lord.

    In 2 Thesalonians the Lord Point Blank tells us, it is HE who is permitting the Monkey Business to go on for a while and goes on to explain why.

    The solution in regard to our relationship to this situation is to simply REALIZE it is NOT OUR PROBLEM TO SOLVE..

    He tells us in Revelations that the “KEY” to this on OUR PARTS is to simply have PATIENCE and TRUST IN GOD that He KNOWS what HE is doing.

    He in regard to Admonishing us to “BE PATIENT PEOPLE”, also issues a counter Warning to those WHO AREN’T…..Those who “LIVE BY THE SWORD”, shall die in like manner.” The SWORD in THIS context is the Sword of REBELLION….Do NOT become ZELLOTS…We KNOW what the Romans did to them with GOD’S approval.

    God WANTED His people at that time to be under the Rule of Foriegn Power because THAT was EXACTLY what they Deserved & Needed and GOD didn’t need those ZELLOTS telling Him otherwise. They weren’t fighting the “ROMANS” ….They were FIGHTING GOD !

    Those WERE conditions of Bondage THEY brought on THEMSELVES & our conditions today are SOME WHAT the SAME, accept in our case, the Lord WILL put an ABRUPT END to OUR BONDAGE from WITHIN if we just TRUST IN GOD to take care of conducting His “STRANGE WORK” at the RATE & TIME HE SEES F IT….Not when WE think He should by taking matters into our Own Hands.

    So what other choice is left us but to simply Grin & Bear it till the LORD makes HIS move ?

    Having made a Career of the Marines during 2 Wars, I have a PROFOUND understanding for the need to TRUST in those who DESERVE our Trust and I think the Lord Qualifies our TRUST in Him.

    Listen, God is Planing a SNEAK ATTACK upon the UNWARY Leaders of His Church who have taken it LITERALLY upon THEMSELVES and COMPLETELY Booted the Lord OUT of the Equation.

    Mathew 24 makes THAT very Plain.

    And D&C 85 , 103 & others make it very Plain there is an ALTERNATE PLAN for the Lord to Build the ZION that our current Leaders “THINK” ALREADY exists according to THEIR Paradigm. It’s a “STRANGE One” BELIEVE me…..” The Mystery of Iniquity”…

    The details to that are BIZZAR to say the Least but make PERFECT SENSE of their current Actions & Behavior.

    It’s TOO MUCH to explain in ONE SITTING but it’s a DOOZY!

    For those who lack knowledge of these things it isn’t really a problem as LONG as that person is living Righteously according to his knowledge of the Truth and is one who has TRULY made a Friend of the SPIRIT given him to ACCOMPANY us through these troubled waters.

    The only REALLY NECESSARY TOOL needed to weather the Storm that lies ahead is to KNOW the VOICE of the Lord and simply follow His QUES when the Time comes.

    And BELIEVE me …The “TIME” is coming & it’s not far off. A “DAY” that will “GO DOWN IN INFAMEY” for the Lord’s Church !!!

    Some people in the Church ( The NOT so prepared ) “WILL” catch on eventually, but it will be the MOST PAINFUL experience of their Lives & they will WISH they had done a Better Job of Committing themselves Beyond the SOCIAL Class of Membership you mentioned !

    Always remember to THANK God for what you have searched out in TRUTH. I know more of the Consequences for Failing to do this than Most…It’s going to make “SHOCK & AWE” look like “AWE SHUCKS”….

  21. Brand, I enjoyed your comments. I agree with you 100%. Each of us HAS the ability & Power to inact these wonderful Blessings in our lives. So why not? Why put off till tomarrow what we can do today?

    I’m looking very much foward to consumating my past experiences with God with the Miracles shown me in our first encounter.

    I know many have been Blessed in this manner. But I wish many more had the Faith to do so. I believe the episode of the Israelites coming upon Mt. Sinia for the first time & declining the Lord’s ivitation to meet with Him , & instead asking Moses to be their Mediator, says it all.

    But I can certainly relate to their Fear of God and understand why they wouldn’t want to approach Him.

    My first encounter was one of Complete Submission & Humility on my part & was the most Profound LOVING Experience beyond any Earthly Understanding of God & Eternity.

    But once that encounter had ended, a few weeks later I was invited to another get together and all of a sudden I was made to feel the Terror of having to stand before God in ALL my Sins. It was the most Terrifying & Unpleasant feeling of my life.

    And of course I declined. In retrospect I now realize that invitation was designed to put me on a path to repentence. And I’m sorry to have to say, that there were so many Bad things I needed to Repent of, that 36 Yrs. later I’m finally able to say I think I would now feel comfortable accepting another invitation.

    THIS is what I’m trying to put together in my Head right now. But as it seems to be playing out in my understanding, there is ALREADY an OPEN invitation for me to Go to THEM.

    I know many others are anxiouly awaiting some sort of Consumation to past Spiritual Encounters they have had.

    Mine is rather unique.

    I know it’s not far off & the Lord’s Great Work will commence.

    I’m just babbling to myself in saying all this, but somehow writing this down seems to give me Greater Courage to be able to feel I can Trust My Father not to cause me to feel the Terror I felt the Last time He invited me to get together.

    I do feel Sorrow right now for all I have done but not the Terror.

    He once showed me HOW to walk into His Presence. I Pray that I can now recall that after all these years.

    Bless you Brother for your Valiant Courage and for making your stand with God. You are indeed Blessed with His Presence in your Life. It’s Nice isn’t it ?

    I hope I can display that same courage here shortly. I feel so LOW. I want to see my Father & Brother again….I hope they have Forgiven me.

  22. I n speaking of Testimonies I can remember 36 yaers ago when joining the Church that many of the Saints I associated with had wonderful miraculous Spiritual encounters that were so moving & sacred.

    Now it seems so odd to me that you rarely here of these things any more as you get the feeling people are holding back these things out of concern for casting Pearls before swine.

    I know I no longer would ever share what is sacred to me in a Testimony meeting where members would look at you as being “OUT THERE”.

    There is now a generation of members who absolutely don’t have a CLUE who God is and have somehow turned Him into an image of THEIR IMAGINATION. And those who DO know God are looked upon as Fringe cook elements. Now there ARE those elements to be had and always have been, but an Authentic Truth should be recognized by the Spirit of Truth one pocesses.

    I don’t think many have that any more. I feel like I’m caught up in a Church wide versoin of the Stepford Wives. Next it will become the Body Snatchers…

    I believe that to be true.

    Having joined the Church while in the Marines, my first 20 years of membership had me aquainted with members from all over the Country & World. Their ranks were full of Awesomely Wonderful & Sacred Spiritual experiences that I accepted as being common among All the membership.

    Upon my retirering & coming home to Florida, I found the Mood & Spirit of the members to be something totally foreign to me. It wasn’t just my Ward…It was everywhere I went as I began associating with members outside of the Marine Corps community.

    What a Let Down to say the least & it has only deteriorated even more in the 18 years since I retired.

    It has been like coming to a whole different world within the church.

    I live near the Kenedy Space Center and we have many Thycol contracters here from Utah and other members from out there working on various NASA projects.

    It was the first time I had ever met a steady flow of members from Utah. And let me tell you, I was SHOCKED by the response everyone of them had in coming to our Ward. They ALL said it was like Heaven here compared to Utah.

    Man, let me tell you how much that SHOCKED me because having come from the church environement where I came from in the Marines….Coming home was like going to Hell.

    So it got me quite curious in regard to why they felt the way they did about living in Utah & most of them from SLC.

    None of them had much to say about Leadership but insisted that Utah was full of Hypocrates pretending to be living the Gospel.

    Well this imeadiately qued me in on the Fact that I believe LEADERSHIP plays a HUGE role in regard to the Moral & Welfare of the members and if something THIS DRASTIC was amiss among the members then something isn’t right up top.

    I spent enough years in the Military to know that when you are intrusted with the lives of other men who count on you, your primary mission is for their safety. And you ensure that with as much training and Leadership Confidence as you can provide them, so when the time comes to lay it all out there …. everyboby is on the SAME PAGE.

    Otherwise you have FAILED as a Leader.

    The Type of Leadership I began observing from Church Leaders was that of DO AS I SAY persuasion. Believe it or not, most people have a general misconception about Marines being mind numb robots. Nothing could be farther from the Truth. The Reason Marines are willing to step out in Front and take on the Challenges Reserved for Marines is because the LEADERS are expected to LEAD from the FRONT by example.

    And only a fool would blindly commit to employing mind numb robot tactics. We ALL come from normal Families like anyone else though our Mission is one that requires an extrordinary degree of commitment to Honor & Truth in Leadership & extend that those who TRUST in their Leaders….Not BLIND TRUST but TRUST in having seen them PROVE THEIR COMPETENCE & LOVE for their men who are their TRUE BROTHERS.

    Marine Leaders are BIG BROTHERS like Jesus. Church Leaders are intimidating lofty Monarchs to the rank & file members.

    That style of Leadership, if that’s what you want to call it, is something that would get you KILLED in a hurry in the Marines.

    Poor Leadership iS NOT & CAN NOT be tollerated in Marines…It can cost LIVES. And fortunately there isn’t much of a problem with that in the Corps..It’s RAMPANT out here in Babylon !

    It turns out that it is the CHURCH LEADERSHIP that encourages mind numb do as I say tactics in it’s approach to leadership.

    They would ALL FAIL as Good Marines.

    It’s funny, that by worldly standards of leadership, the church is held in Hi regard. By the standards I’m familar with, the Leaders of our Church seem as a JOKE to me.

    I think the reason most members seem to be asleep at the wheel on this subject is because they don’t have any other form of REAL Leadership to compare their experience to.

    I KNOW this is the Lord’s Church and I KNOW and TRUST in the Lord to FIX IT.

    He’s no whimp & before long our leaders will find out how TRUE that staement IS !

  23. “In speaking of Testimonies I can remember 36 years ago when joining the Church that many of the Saints I associated with had wonderful miraculous Spiritual encounters that were so moving & sacred.

    Now it seems so odd to me that you rarely here of these things any more as you get the feeling people are holding back these things out of concern for casting Pearls before swine.”

    For this same reason I found this article in Google. There is a real spiritual dis – ease in the Church at the moment, its heart breaking.

    I had an interesting experience which lead me to finding this article.

    Theological inconsistencies and the lack of feeling the spirit in meetings has concerned me for some time. To the point I knelt in sincere prayer asking, is this Church still true, and if it is, should I stay.

    An interesting thing happened, I had a dream that night with some very interesting parallels.

    The dream happened in two distinct parts. The first part of the dream I was on a snow covered mountain in my car. It was extremely cold, so sitting in the car I turned on the heater, I realised that having the heater on would run the battery flat. So I then wired a solar array to the battery to recharge it. I realised that the heater out put would be running the battery flat quicker than the solar array could recharge it. It was just a matter of time before the battery went flat. The battery eventually went flat, so I wrapped myself in layers of blankets, and realised that even though I was going to be uncomfortable and cold, I would be safe and survive.

    Part 2 of the dream was on the same mountain, but in a ski resort which looked oddly like the concentration camp from Hogans Heroes, except there were no barbed wire fences. The German soldiers were very friendly and easy to talk with, but there was a feeling of a controlled conformity within the camp. The German soldiers had guns that fired paint balls rather than bullets, they would sting but not maim or kill. There was no feeling of malicious intent from the German soldiers, only a feeling of authority and control. They would laugh and talk with the people in the camp, but at the same time, there was a feeling of not stepping out of line. Irrespective of the feelings of control and conformity, it was still comfortable enough to stay. I felt in the end I could stay indefinitely, even though I’d be slightly uncomfortable, things would eventually get better.

    I woke like it was an aha moment. It all made sense.

    In the first part of the dream I felt like the Church was a system that was running its spiritual battery flat. The input wasn’t enough to renew the spirit. Even though it was cold and uncomfortable I felt that the weather would eventually warm up, and that I was in no physical danger.

    Part 2 of the dream, I felt the problem was control and conformity in a place that just didn’t need it. In Church I feel the same way, the need to conform, and if I step out of line I’ll be stung. The intention from Church leadership isn’t malicious, just controlling. This was what was making a perfectly good ski resort/Church, emotionally/spiritually uncomfortable.

    In both dreams I never felt the need to leave, and that things would eventually brighten up, there was no feeling of flight or fight.

    I feel now that the Church leadership have no bad intentions, but are just trying to control the membership, out of love, or maybe fear, and this is creating a environment that is stifling spirituality. As it says in D&C 121: 37 “to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. ”

    My five cents. Was nice finding a place were people have a similar mindset.

    Thanks Guys.

  24. MTAU-

    I appreciate you sharing your dream. I have had experiences similar to yours. Many times I have been in conversations with ex-mormons or anti-mormons and have known more about the inconsistencies in doctrine and changes in policy then they have. Almost always, it surprises them that I am still a faithful, temple attending mormon. Like you and your dream, after my experiences, it is clear to me that the church is the right place to be, regardless of the politics and pride that beset it. I think you put it best: “things [will] eventually brighten up”

  25. Yes MTAU thank you. I believe your dream was inspired of God. And to PallasAthena and all the rest that read and might not comment I add my testimony that it is still God’s church. As Mormon expresses it so well. He says “And in the *fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God—” (Hel 3:33) The church of God are only those who are truly seeking to do God’s will.
    When Jesus was born the church was in apostasy. But He worked in it and obeyed its ordinances. Yes He established new ones also. But until her time was fulfilled He did not advocate leaving it.
    If any of you have not read about the idea of Joesph Smith coming back to set in order the house of God I suggest you look into it. It is a comforting doctrine. I believe it is true. It is the only thing I can think of that would fulfill the promises of the Lord in 2 Ne 3:5-15 and in 3 Ne 20:43-45 and 21:8-11. Take note how in 2 Ne 3:5 this seer who is Joseph Smith we are promised that in the last days his work will be “unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.” Claiming that prophesies are fulfilled in spiritual terms is one of Satan’s tools to hide the truth and bring us in to apostasy. Joseph Smith didn’t physically free anyone. And in 2 Ne 3:13 talks about the work commencing among the remnant of the house of Israel which is after the gentile will have rejected it and that this seer (Joseph Smith) will be doing it. And what more than anything would shut the mouths of the kings (evil rulers in the latter days) who thought they had destroyed Joseph by having him killed than to have him appear back on the scene alive and well and leading a people to physically establish the Zion of God.
    To me it all fits and answers questions I have had for years when I read these and other passages. It will be our work to be lead by the spirit to follow Joseph when he returns to finish the work God gave him to do. I think we can start now by cultivating a belief in all the doctrines Joseph taught and preparing to live them and even trying to live them inasmuch as the present church allows it.

  26. “To me it all fits and answers questions I have had for years when I read these and other passages. It will be our work to be lead by the spirit to follow Joseph when he returns to finish the work God gave him to do. I think we can start now by cultivating a belief in all the doctrines Joseph taught and preparing to live them and even trying to live them inasmuch as the present church allows it.”

    Yes totally agree

  27. I skimmed the article (didn’t read it all) I was looking for a point that I learned as an LDS fundamentalist in the ’70s after my LDS mission. The point being the General Authorities in the 19th century speaking without a prepared text, in conference in other words speaking by the Spirit of God, I forget the term for it.
    I agree with your premise and your evidence here Curt, of course by being involved with a polygamist group in the ’70s.
    Though I would add that Brigham Young inadvertently or knowingly made some very fundamental changes in concepts Joseph Smith jr was trying to establish, I think Brigham Young did not grasp these few fine and intregal points when Joseph was alive therefore did not convey them to the people after Joseph’s death. Brigham even sought an answer from Joseph in a dream he had of the prophet in Council Bluffs Iowa (winter quarters) Feb 17, 1847. Joseph Smith told him to “tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right”, this regarding the Law of Adoption (Manuscript History of Brigham Young Feb. 23, 1847, Church History Office). Brigham, I believe did not get this spirit enough.
    Another was the place of women in the church and kingdom, and their claim to the priesthood, and specifically the role of Emma after the murder of the prophet. Another was the privilages of the blacks in the Priesthood, and another was a true concept of polygamy, which made the church and kingdom into a patriarchy, a monarchy after Joseph’s death. The main consequence of these were, Brigham not having the vision Joseph had for Zion, the kingdom, thus the apostacy, as you point out started in Joseph’s day(D&C 84:51-58) and gradually built up steam into Brigham’s time through ignorance. The final “nail in the coffin” was the period right after John Taylor’s revelations from the Lord in the 1880’s, his exile as an outlaw and death(July 25 1887). Wilford Woodruff struggled with the extream hardship at the time following and then signed the Manifesto In Sept. 1890 (after having at least one revelation in 1889) which took some pressure temporalily off the church. Woodruff died Sept 2 1898 and thus ended the period of presidents who were either the prophet himself or men who were apostles during his life time.
    We know much has changed since then altering so called eternal principle laid down by the founder. Correlation has sought to coordinate the teaching in the various places teaching is occurring officially in the church since the early 1950’s I believe, so more tweeks and dings to the original message.
    I am glad you wrote the piece.

  28. There is something I would like to add in regard to the comment concerning our leaders not intenstionally causing this restrictive, controled atmosphere feeling.

    These men at the top are not ordinary people like you and I who tend to always give the benefit of the doubt because of the DOUBT we pocess concerning our not knowing the all the causes of things and therefore depend on leaders.

    These men are savy business men of the world. They know how to MAKE bread (money ), while most of us only know how to eat it.

    They KNOW what they are doing.

    It is intentional & with real purpose. A purpose that I suspect will be made manifest when we recieve the sealed plates. One of which ( The rest of Ether ) that contains the secret works of darkness of men.

    Now WHAT men are being refered to in these plates that are currently hidden from OUR LEADERS as well as us ?

    I can’t be the secret works of men of the world because we already KNOW what they’ve been up to. It’s not so much a secret anymore. It would be OLD NEWS.

    And if these secret works should appy to the leaders of the Lord’s Church, that would explain the need for the Lord to send someone “Mighty & Strong” OUTSIDE of the current leadership, to recieve this knowledge and expose them for what they really are and place the Lord’s Chuch “In Order”.

    If this is ABOUT the leaders, then how could the Lord trust THEM to reveal and expose themselves by handing the plates over to THEM ?

    As I’ve grown older & wiser, I have realized there is no such thing as blind coinsidense when it comes to ANYONE at the top of powerful organizations, including & especially our CORPORATE church, which has made more than a few Holy Men of God very rich.

    If God is to send someone to place things in order, the infrence is, that it must first be OUT OF ORDER. And who is responsible as the Lord’s Appointed Earthly Chief to insure that order ?

    There are no dummies or unknowingly pushy men at the top, who don’t know EXACTLY what they are doing and EXACTLY how to do it.

    I suppose this is part & parcel of some of the things Good Ol Ether will have to report.

  29. The day the members of Joseph’s day failed to live & rejected the Law of Consecration that was established to build Zion, the church has been under a curse. The curse being that we no longer recieve revelation through those who REPRESENT the head of the church.

    They have been walking blindly making the judgement calls that only men can make without the eyes of God showing the way.

    One of the very blatant examples of this phenomina is Wilford Woodruff’s Manafesto that was mentioned. And things only grew worse from there. Until today we find ourselves FULLY ORGANIZED & ALIGNED with the VEHICLE OF BABYLON that has encased and enslaved the world’s population into excepting MATERIALISM as their God. It’s called the CORPORATE WORLD of which we are an INTEGERAL PART.

    Do you really think THIS is the ZION that God plans on building ? Our LEADERS seem to think so.

    And aside from buildings financed for us to meet in and a dwindling supply of Welfare comodities for the poor among us, who are the REAL benificiaries of the CORPORATION ?

    Jesus ain’t drawing a check & bonus as Trustee In Trust…But SOMEONE surely is, along with the cabal required to opperate the many Church owned companies.

    Why do you think the Profits of these companies and the distribution of these things are not disclosed to the membership ?

    The reason given, is that we have been told that we can trust our leaders to spend the Lord’s money wisely.

    Only this explanation seems to fly in the face of open accountabilty that the Lord requires of each of us and certainly this would apply to ASSETS of such magnitude to be accounted for in the light of day.

    Nievity is certainly a factor in all this as you suggested but it is nievity on OUR PARTS and NOT that of our Leaders. They are violating disclosure principles that should be afforded those making donations to the Lord.

    Men have taking what Joseph Smith began and have turned it into a “Den Of Thieves”.

    With the perspective I’ve just described, reread that last part of Malachi pertaining to our day that explains why God is so upset with His people…They have ROBBED Him of HIS Tithes…At least the leaders have anyway. We got left out of the deal. Our job was to make them rich and we’ve done a Good Job ! Because we TRUST THEM with BLIND MISGUIDED TRUST and they CONTROL our ability to discover our error BECAUSE of that BLIND TRUST.

    If you KNOW the Laws and Doctrines and actually feel they apply ALSO to our Leaders, then you would have no proplem seeing what I’ve described as inherently wrong in Zion.

    All IS NOT WELL.

    Joseph never said that Following ANY Prophet would lead us to safety & truth and cause us to not be fooled.

    He said the ONLY sure way to avoid being decieved is by Learning and KNOWING the Doctrines of the Kingdom and insure they are being applied across the board of OPEN ACCOUNTABILTY because they are INCAPABLE of lying.

    Any man including a Prophet, who does not adhere to this priciple, is himself a LIAR and up to NO GOOD.

    And those principles have been openly violated by our leaders for ESPECIALLY the past 20-25 years.

  30. Now thee leaders would accuse me of fighting against God for not agreeing with their breaking the Laws of the Kindom they are violating.

    And of course since MOST members haven’t a clue as to the Doctrines & Laws of the Church, then they say Yeah, he fights against God and is worthy of being cast out from among God’s Law Biding people of which we know very little concerning those Laws but that is beside the point….We have a Prophet that will NEVER lead us astray…And that makes HIM the Law !

    Can you SEE what is INFERED by staements like that ? Only GOD can make that type of claim.

    For those of you who continue to ride that fence of pretension, I can only say your abilty to absorbe the Spiritual Impact of coming events that will invole some pretty earth shaking and nerve racking events that the Lord will use to expose their folley, will cause you to really struggle with your testimony when that time comes.

    But when that time DOES come, a decision will have to be made one way or the other, according to the Lord’s Plan to seperate the Righteous from the Wicked among the Lord’s people, so that Zion CAN be built upon Priciples of Righteousness being praticed by a Righteous Left Over Remnant of that decision making event.

  31. Great comments. That reminds me of a question I’ve repeatedly forgotten to ask. If the church excommunicates someone for violating church policy, but that person had not violated God’s laws, is that excommunication valid in the Lord’s eyes? Will the Lord require them to abide by that excommunication? Or can that person still go about, the best they can, as if it never happened?

  32. As far as I understand things, the excommunication is valid within the stake from which the person was ex’d. Further, in a unified church, other stakes will give full faith and credit to the stake council who did the ex’ing — enforcing it in their jurisdictions as well.

    However, that dynamic will get more intereting when the church is no longer a unifed body — and the various priests will be free to accept ex’d members from other stakes.

    We make ourselves like the catholics if we believe that God is bound to do anything based on an unjust excommunication trial. D&C 121 does not state that if a priesthood holder gets on the wrong side of his stake leadership — then “amen” to the priesthood or authority of him.

  33. While the church (as Justin alluded to) may indeed abide by the “excommunication” and recognize it across the various stakes, I think Zo-ma-rah is getting at whether the church’s move is valid in the Lord’s eyes. And, to that, I’d would venture to guess that the Lord holds a far different standard than those we tend to apply here on earth in these matters.

    John Taylor said, in referring to polygamy, “Some of you will be handled and ostracized and cast out from the Church by your brethren because of your faithfulness and integrity to this principle, and some of you may have to surrender your lives because of the same, but woe, woe, unto those who shall bring these troubles upon you.”

    There’s also John Taylor’s discussions on priesthood which get to this same issue:

    “You cannot take away any man’s Priesthood without transgression.” (John Taylor, Times and Seasons 6:922.)

    As well as Joseph F. Smith’s thoughts:

    “No endowments or blessings in the house of the Lord, no Patriarchal blessings, no ordination to the Priesthood, can be taken away, once given. To prevent for just cause from exercising the rights and privileges of acting in the offices of acting in the Priesthood [within the Church], may be and has been done, and the person so silenced still remain a member of the Church, but this does not take away from him any Priesthood that he held.” (Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era 11:466.)

    So, if I extrapolate that outward, some may remove you from the corporate “church” per se through the process of excommunication for violating church “policy”, but I doubt that matters much in the long run. Many will have you believe that that is an end of your blessings, and being able to feel/receive the spirit, but if it happens without transgression (i.e. instead because someone has a bone to pick with you or finds your views against the mainstream), then there’s virtually no “real” effect.

  34. That’s true:

    You can be ex’d from a church for breaking the church’s rules — otherwise termed commandments of men,

    but you will only be ex’d from God for breaking God’s rules — otherwise known as the commandments.

    Best case scenario, the two sets of rules should overlap — but as this post (and many others) points out — the two are not currently overlapping. The Church TM requires more for membership and is more likely to ex members than God is. This is why He will begin moving in earthly affairs to set this disconnect back in order.

  35. That brings up another interesting idea. When the church split apart after Joseph’s death excommunications were rampant. Every group excommunicating those who didn’t follow their group. It’s inetersting to hear in church or from people how some of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostatized from the church after Joseph died. I just have to roll my eyes, because they didn’t apostatize. They just followed a different group than Brigham. They didn’t deny the gospel or became fallen men. They remained strong in their testimony of the gospel. They just didn’t have a testimony of Brigham.

    I often wonder if the church had been a bit more righteous if James Strang would have been the next President of the church. Sidney would have stayed as a councilor, maybe Brigham would have become a councilor.

    It’s interesting James Strang died in 1856 and Joseph Smith III, who was ordained to be Joseph’s successor, received his revelation to lead the church in 1860. So possible Strang would have died in 1856 like he really did and this would have opened the position of President of the Church for Joseph III.

    I’m sure those other succession crisis leaders fit in there somehow. I just thing it’s interest how the sucession crisis kind of fits together. The only problem is that the saints couldn’t get it together.

    But back to excommunications I think all those who were excommunicted from everyone else’s groups back when Joseph died, are probably seen by the Lord still as part of His church. We’ve just been split apart because of the ideas of men. That kind of follows with my question about excommunication being valid in God’s eyes.

    Anyway just some ramblings.

  36. A Poem to the LDS People

    Preach nothing but repentance
    unto LDS tories
    Encourage revolution through
    untoLD Stories
    Shout from the rooftops
    untoLD Secrets
    Prepare hearts and minds for
    foretoLD Scripture we get

  37. What a Great Article. It ‘s begining defines very well, the evolution of wandering from truth to blindness, as the Church has moved from it’s inception until today.

    It was a natural process ( worldly intervention ), as the early Saints generally rejected God’s Offer, therefore the Truth.

    It matters not what the Anti’s, Social, or Ultra Mormons come up with.

    The answer lies in God once again interviening in the affairs of men, as was done in the case of Joseph Smith.

    Of course I realize, that despite the various quandries of points of Doctrine discussed among the Ultra’s, it seems they are among those whom the Lord intends to empower in order to provide assistance to the Social’s needing guidance ( the Lord’s Flock ).

    So the question is not whether or not that will happen but rather how that is to take place.

    The Ultra splinter Groups or even individuals who go beyong discussing these things to actually attempting to employ Doctrines to bring about this Tranformation, are attempting to assume Authority that has not been granted by God.

    Good intentions do not make for Authorized Commisions by God.

    And our God is a God of Order…Thus the reason He performs His Works and reveals His secrets to His Servants the Prophets.

    Now we are all famillar with the concept of our being able to recieve the Mysteries of God through Personal effort. But that Personal Quest does not give Authorization to implement a new movement on behalf of the Whole.

    That can only be done through the appointment of a Single Prophet to lead the many, including those Ultra’s, who are to ASSIST that Prophet in their own leadership roles and capacities.

    There should be the understanding that the PURPOSE of this Prophet, is to provide those Ultra’s with the Absolute Cohesive understanding of the Truth as GOD sees it.

    So even though Ultra’s obviously pocess the Greater Knowledge as compared to the Social Flock of God, it is also obvious that points of disagreement exist.

    This is what the One Mighty & Strong is to Resolve. Among various other duties.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls point this situation out Perfectly.

    Sorry for the paraphrasing I’m about to do, but I don’t know how to move to another site to retrieve the exact quote without losing what I’ve typed. I apologize for my own ignorance when it comes to technology.

    “They, the men of God’s council, groped in blindness for 20 years, until the Lord sent them the man whom the Lord gave all knowledge concerning the scriptures”.

    There is a previous application to the statements made in the Dead Sea Scrolls regarding John the Baptist being the Original Teacher of Righteousness, to bring Light & Understanding to those Ultra’s of His Day, in order to prepare them for the Manifestaion of Christ. A group of Esseens who broke away from the corrupt Preisthood of their Day and took council among themselves & “Groped in Blindness” until the Lord sent them John the Baptist to Open their Eyes.

    They held the KNOWLEDGE but John held the KEY to that knowledge being properly applied to their situation in which they were stumbling in.

    The Scrolls also project this senerio on to our own Day, as it applies to ANOTHER Teacher of Righteousness opening the eyes of those Ultra’s who grope in the Blindness of our Day without a Leader.

    This is not the same Blindness we normally attribute to the Wicked or Sleeping members among the Lord’s people of today. It is Blindness cause not by a lack of knowledge concerning Doctrines of the Kingdom, but rather in NOT having the Authority of God to APPLY it untill it’s TIME.

    So any attempts to go beyond the “Couciling” among ourselves stage, is not Authorized of God, until He sends the Final Teacher of Righteousness to settle disputes concerning points of Doctrine and provide the LEADERSHIP to Gel the Mold.

    Otherwise, the ingredients to the Recipe of Building Zion & Gathering the Tribes of Israel remain unmixed & undone.

    All people of every walk no matter WHAT group they have migrated to, will have the opportunity to Repent once the Lord sends His Final Messenger & Prophet who will be graced with the presence of TWO Very Special Wittnesses mentioned in the Scriptures & eventually accompanied by 144,000 Very Special Ultra Associates to Guide & Protect the Lord’s Flock and all those who wish to join them.

    Has it not been about 20 years since the thrust of Ultra’s took on a recognizable face ?

    2012 should make for an interesting year for ALL cutures and beliefs…

  38. I wanted to make a comment concerning the comment made by Zo-ma-ra in his last paragraph, that touched my Heart.

    He spoke of early excommunicated members as still being inclusive in the Lord’s Plan. And that it was the devices of man that caused so much contention and wandering.

    As I ponder this from the perspective of a FATHER, as opposed to an All Mighty God, I begin to see the Wisdom & Compashion of that observation he made.

    And My Gosh. Is not our own Day a Day of even Greater need for that compassion & Love to be extended to ALL of God’s Children who will be willing to bow themselves to the Truth when it finally arrives ?

    How Child Like we are, in our Human attempts to ascertain the degree of Seriousness among disputes that we have accross the entire spectrum of God’s People. Just like kids arguing over which game to play, or who gets to be the Captain of the team.

    There is always an EXAGERATED sense of urgency to do things one way or the other.

    There IS a Right Way according to God’s Perspective but it requires the presence of one of His appointed Servants who actually stands in the PRESENCE of God, to be able to bring a cohesive & calm focus to a situation that is PERCIEVED as a problem among those who argue….Friendly arguing or not.

    Zo-ma-ra touched on what I believe is that ANSWER we need….A Fatherly Figure with calm repose & a Firm Understanding of the Future & KNOWS how God Thinks & Feels, without the exagerated precepts of Mans way of thinking fogging the picture.

    He will calm us down & allow us to see more clearly.

  39. And just as John suddenly appeared from the wilderness to begin His Mission, so too will this Final Teacher of Righteousness suddenly appear from Heaven, after being removed from the wilderness of this World.

    Bringing with Him, the Calm Repose & Knowledge that God infuses within Him, by placing His own Spirit WITHIN Him and not mearly UPON Him, as God has done with past Prophets & Kings.

    We should be observing the Face & Charater of God in His own Charater & Presence. And NO MISTAKING what is TRUTH.

    Therefore, Judgement is Justified upon the Wicked . And Preserving the Righteous from destruction, is ENABLED by that Truth.

    And WHO does the New Testament say that this Judgment belongs to ? Some one sent by the Father AFTER Jesus departed for Heaven.

    It had it’s application in the Days of Jesus’s Original Apostles, just as it has it’s Modern Day Application among God’s True Deciples.

    What was then Manifested in Spirit, will now be Manifested in the Flesh, in order to Judge The World in it’s Final Apllication before Christ Returns to Rule in Peace.

    Rather than “12” venturing out into the World to spread the Good News & Warning, there will be 144,000 with the Power of Angels to accomplish this NEW MISSION.

    Things always manifest themselves FIRST Spiritually, THEN Temporally, in EVERY application that involves this World.

    So says the Dead sea Scrolls…And a few other Scriptures…

    So what WE come up with is of NO CONSEQUENCE, other than as it applies to our Personal Progression. We do NOT hold the KEYS to implementing that knowledge, which is obviously flawed to some minor extent, that must be remedied by one who IS a God.

  40. I imagine He walks among us now, and has been quietly living out an Earthly Life of His own and awaiting His Que from Heaven, to be lifted to it’s Heights & recieve His Commission & Authority & Power from God, to enact the Father’s Marvelous Work & A Wonder upon the Earth. And “Strange Act” as it appiles to cleansing the Lord’s House.

    I imagine this person to have lived an unobsured life as is described in the song..”What if God was one of us”… Hidden among many arrows in a quiver….The Lightnig that is observed before the Thunder.

    I wonder if Jesus surnaming James & John as “SONS OF THUNDER”, has any relevance to the Two Sons of God who have COLLECTIVELY sought the Salvation of Mankind ?

    One Paving the WAY for the OTHER …???

  41. And just as Jesus, representing His Father, schooled His Two Companions ( James & John ), He refered to as “Sons Of Thunder”…So too, must a Man representing His Father, be walking among us now and schooling HIS Two Sons of Thunder ( The Two Wittnesses )., His LITTERAL Sons, to mirror the Image of the God Head Family at Work in the Finishing Mavelous Work of the Father to close this age of the World.

    All of which should be revealed in the Lord’s Own Due Time. Soon, I would imagine…

  42. Zack do you think there is going to be another dispensation between now and the establishment of the Zion of God centered on Jackson County Missouri? to which Jesus will come and dwell?
    Or was Joseph Smith the earthly head of the last dispensation? Do you believe that someone different will be sent to set the latter end of that dispensation in order?

  43. Dyc: Have you read Joseph Smith’s last recorded dream?

    Only asking because it sort of discusses the questions you bring up. This link provides the transcript + a commentary.

  44. I had read that before and just read it again. I had not read all the additional commentary on it. Thank you.

    When we see a new truth we oft times do not accept all of it at once. The structure in our minds and hearts is often filled with other errors such that truth cannot yet be fit into our view of things. But if we continue to pray and study and ponder false ideas are laid down and sound good ideas are brought in and as it all begins to fit together we find ourselves going back to the original statement of truth, the one which we felt had some good points and now we see that it is indeed sound and fits with all the other truths we have been blessed to understand.
    A man named David Icke said, “truth once heard cannot be unheard.” I love that fact.

    I do believe Joseph Smith will come back to lead those that follow to Jackson County to begin building Zion. He holds the keys of this dispensation. He must yet report to Christ on the stewardship of this dispensation and turn over his keys. How could another person come in and finish what is his to do? And to whom do the words of Jesus apply when he said in 3 Nephi 20:43-45 saying
    43 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.
    44 As many were astonished at thee—his visage was so marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men—
    45 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
    And Jesus again refers to the same person and event in 3Nephi 21:8-10
    8 And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
    9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
    10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

    I am sure many would think, “How could it be possible that the highest leadership of the LDS church would not accept him, or perchance not recognize him?”

    In response to this I state this truth: Joseph Smith would be excommunicated from the present day LDS church. What does that say about what will happen when he comes?

  45. The author of this Article points out the fact that Brigham Young on NUMEROUS occasions said that when the Church is no longer persecuted because we are accepted by the world, we can KNOW that it is because we have apostatized, and that the Priesthood is no longer in our midst. Brigham Young said this in such clear and unmistakeable language. Again, when we are no longer persecuted and are accepted by the world, we have 1) Apostatized, and 2) We no longer have the Priesthood.

    The author, however, in the conclusion of his essay, fails to ultimately address the fact that SEVERAL modern Church leaders, including 2 Presidents of the Church, have stated plainly, almost using Brigham Young’s exact words, that we are no longer persecuted, and that we are now accepted by the world.

    This would suggest, if Brigham Young was right, that we no longer have the Priesthood. This would suggest that if you’re afraid of losing your blessings and saving ordinances by being excommunicated, that you don’t have anything to fear at all, because we never had valid ordinances or Priesthood to begin with.

    Some have argued that we ARE still persecuted, and so Brigham’s words have NOT been fulfilled. If that is true, then our Modern leaders are wrong, because they have plainly stated that we are NOT persecuted, and that we ARE accepted by the world. Some people say “people still hate us, and attack our doctrines, etc.” That is true, however, of EVERY religion, political party, or philosophical group. But just because people disagree with your views, and even verbally attack them, doesn’t mean you aren’t accepted by the world. We do business with, live amongst, work for, play with, and are peacefully tolerated by the rest of the nation.

    One possibility is that the Priesthood is only gone to a certain extent, and that a powerless authority still remains, which is recognized by the Lord as have legitimacy despite its flaws and weakened condition. If this is the case, it is still apparent from Brigham Young’s words that the Church would nonetheless be incapable of administering salvation, in which case it’s almost entirely useless.

    In the time of Christ, it is true that Christ still recognized the Priesthood of the Jews as having some legitimacy, because he told the Leppers to show themselves unto the Priest, and he even defended the sanctity of a temple that was operated by the Jewish Priesthood. Yet, at some point in time, that Priesthood lost all of its legitimacy, because the new Church of Christ, with its apostles, completely superseded or replaced the Jewish Priesthood. The New Apostolic Church of Christ did NOT grow out of the Jewish Priesthood, or derive it’s authority therefrom. It’s simply replaced it. Based upon this fact, it must be considered a possibility that our modern gentile Church may become completely obsolete, and the authority to carry forward the Work of God may come from an outside source.

    As for the quote that we should always remain with the majority of the Twelve, it can be argued that this quote only applied to his day, and wasn’t meant to apply to every period of time in the future. Furthermore, we only have a second or third-hand account recorded 60 years after Joseph’s death that he ever even said this in the first place; because of this, this quote isn’t very reliable to me. If it was that important of a principle, it would have been recorded when Joseph said it, especially by someone like Wilford Woodruff or William Clayton, etc.

    One thing is for sure: It’s difficult to know what to do, and if we don’t have personal revelation, we will never know what to do.

  46. Those who choose to remain with the Church must also consider this:

    After the wild gentile branches reject the roots of the tree, the branches are cut off from the Tree, and cast into the fire. If we choose to remain on those branches, will we not be cast off with them? If the Church has joined hands with Babylon, do we have an obligation to separate ourselves? The Lord has said he will not spare any that remain in Babylon.

  47. To get out of Babylon, seek truth and stop being ignorant, blindly obedient to evil leaders and then stand up for truth and teach others as the Spirit guides you! The theme Christ gave us for this day is “as a thief in the night” due to these evil, controlling leaders. And yes, I have seen the Savior on three specific occasions, twice witnessed by others (and have been told “to teach multitudes to WAKE UP the Saints”). Its only the leaders who tell you to never talk about “sacred things” since they are not pure or spiritually blessed.

    I’ve skimmed through this posting and comments and wish to impart some truths with the authority of a life of spiritual experiences and a profound Near Death Experience with a mission given to two witnesses to expose LDS corruption and to declare the “plain and precious truths” contained in the original Book of Mormon.

    The church became condemned by God due to its “abominations and follies” which were (and still are) practiced (and believed in) since 1837 and the 2nd printing of the Book of Mormon when the truth of the identity of God was “taken out” by the “learned men” with over 3,000 significant changes made.

    In the Bishop’s handbook it states that only the Lord Jesus Christ can excommunicate someone, so we should have no fear to speak the truth or to ASK questions regardless of the intense intimidation to be silent as we each hold the responsibility to clean up the Lord’s House as stated in D&C 64:38-40. However, it might need be, in this time of the “Babylon” church, that we might need to act as “thieves in the night” in order to assist as members due to the unrighteous dominion of the false “apostles, prophets,…Bishops and even their Counselors…who need to repent or be replaced” as they are all “liars and hypocrites”.

    “And if these secret works should appy to the leaders of the Lord’s Church, that would explain the need for the Lord to send someone “Mighty & Strong” OUTSIDE of the current leadership, to recieve this knowledge and expose them for what they really are and place the Lord’s Church “In Order”.”

    The members are ignorant of the very serious blood oath taken by the church leaders which fulfills the warnings of “secret combinations” of the BoM with Judges and lawyers controlled by the “King men”.

    Joseph Smith was warned against following his “own will and CARNAL DESIRES”. Polygamy has NEVER been of God and is “an abomination unto the Lord” (Jacob 2:23-24, and Jacob 3). Anyone who believes otherwise “does not understand the scriptures”. “Raising up a people unto God” is not about “unloved” numbers obtained through the abhorrent whoremongering, adultery of polygamy, but merely means to teach the children the truth that Jesus IS God the Eternal Father as clearly stated in Alma 11:23-40, Ether 3:14, Mosiah 15:1-5 and throughout the original Book of Mormon.

    Secret Combinations is evident in the LDS MASONIC/SATANIC temple ceremonies as anything that is secret and/or comes from an oath “is of evil” as we should never swear an oath “not by heaven or earth or by our neck or by our heads as anything more than yea, yea or nay, nay comes of evil” (see the teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament)

    Joseph Smith was commanded to be one of the 12 apostles, yet due to ego wanted to be a “King”. The leadership of the church after its cleansed will be made up of a body of witnesses of Christ in the example that Jesus gave us without a “President/King” position which is a type and shadow of the wicked King Noah whose “12 high priests INTERPRETED the dreams of the people ~controlled their thinking as in “when the Prophet has spoken the thinking has been done”

    Joseph Smith should never have taken away the priesthood from the blacks and the women as seen in the early PURE seven years of the church. There was a type and shadow of the interpretation of the dream by another Joseph of Egypt to seven good years and seven bad years which Joseph experienced. There only a partial repentance of polygamy and Masonry (D. Michael Quinn, Origins of Power, pg 655-656) before Joseph failed to flee to the Rocky Mountains to complete his repentance. Again, Joseph “feared man more than God” and thus ALL of his sins came upon him to be judged by the Lord much like King David of old who committed polygamy and murder (Joseph’s and Brigham’s EVIL Danite Warriors?)

    Do your part for the cleansing as it began in earnest with the whirlwind that hit downtown SLC in 1999. Be prepared to do the truth seeking to recognize the evil of polygamy, masonry, the alteration of the Book of Mormon and Book of Commandments, and the suppression of women.

    The “24 Elders” mentioned in Revelations will be 12 women and 12 men who are actual witnesses of Christ which is NOT the case with the “liars and hypocrites” LDS leaders of the prophesied “Babylon” LDS church.

    There is NO elitism in pure Mormonism. Everyone receives the priesthood simply upon Baptism. Women and Men of all colors…no racism. The Lord looks to the pure heart. It is very simple and “plain and precious”.

    We incarnate upon this earth with our soul and separated from our spirit. This is HOW Jesus “God came to this earth as a man” (Mosiah 15:1-5) while His Spirit remained in Heaven as God the Eternal Father. There is ONLY ONE GOD! Read how frustrated Jesus was with Phillip when Phillip asked to “see the Father”…”How long have you been with me and yet you ask to see the Father? Know ye not, that when ye have seen me, ye have seen the FATHER?”

    It is very simple and not complex. The church became infiltrated and corrupt just seven years from its inception…And Joseph Smith did get into his “own will and carnal desires…and must fall”. The church IS “the most great and abominable church” (1 Ne 13). And we get to have the fun job to clean it up! After all, the Cities of Peace are built before the Resurrected Christ Returns in His Glory as stated in the scriptures.

    http://www.bridgingtruth.com
    http://www.citiesofpeace.com
    http://www.originalbookofmormon.com
    http://www.mormonstruth.org
    http://www.stopzion.com

  48. Since I believe the Book of Mormon then I believe the present LDS church is in a state of apostasy. By studying and seeking truth I have received answers from God, the true God preached by Jesus Christ. I sure don’t believe everything the present LDS leadership says. But Karen Davis I don’t believe everything you say either.

  49. That’s great that you believe in the Book of Mormon as carbon-dated authenticated ancient American artifacts have been found in Ohio and Illinois, etc (see Ohio Museum, Smithsonian, and the Hopewell Culture).

    I stated obvious examples of apostasy as foretold by the Book of Mormon and D&C. I also stated that Jesus Christ IS God the Eternal Father as clearly stated in the original Book of Mormon, the Torah, and the Bible (see http://www.bridgingtruth.com).

    We come to this earth with our soul and intelligence while our Spirit remains as our mediator in Heaven (or Hell depending on past lives~ see Alma 40).

    Masonry requires blood oaths as the warned “secret combinations” God is not about secrets or oaths. I also hate polygamy, which is an abomination of the Lord as clearly stated in the BoM. Anyone who believes otherwise “misunderstands the scriptures” (Jacob 2:23) and has no regard for women!

    Continue to study with a pure heart and let go of traditions so that your mind isn’t clouded as you interpret your findings. You are correct that the church is under apostasy.

    What exactly do you believe in?

  50. I also hate polygamy

    Lol — then I bet you’d hate me.

  51. Justin, I would not hate you, but it does sadden me that you have so little regard for the equality of women and that you are so ignorant of God. Jesus had women apostles although this fact was suppressed by men historically. He also taught the sanctity of marriage of one man to one woman…(Karen King, New Testament, Wedding of Cana~ Jesus to Mary Magdalene, etc.)

    It was Heber C. Kimball that stated that picking out a woman was similar to picking out a cow. And both Brigham Young and Jedidiah Grant disclosed over the pulpit that “ALL Mothers in Israel” were severely depressed since polygamy began…(Journal of Discourses)
    They then threatened the women with divorce and Blood Atonement aka murder if they didn’t stop their sorrowful murmurings.

    Utah today has the highest rate of depression in the nation (U.S. Census, 2004 to present). “You can determine the level of evolvement of a people by the equality and treatment of women” Sadly, equality of women is not seen in Utah. During the time of Christ, due to His teachings ~ the Bishop office (of the Gnostics) was made up by a wife and her husband; a man and a woman… The discriminative, controlling, elitist “all boys club” did not exist around the pure years of Christ’s teachings. God is about equality, free agency, and truth, not elitism, control, and secrets.

    So much for the myth that we were told growing up of “how happy the women were in polygamy”. Ten of Brigham Young’s wives divorced him with two thirds of the 55-56 wives were under the age of 28 with two of them only 16…so much for the other lie told to members that it “was to save the old women and the widows”.

    In your truth seeking, please read the 1876 WITNESSED account of how horrible polygamy and Masonry complete with “Blood Atonement” aka murder were for the women and those who questioned the tyrannical leaders by Ann Eliza Young. The Book is entitled, “The 19th Wife: An expose of the horrors of polygamy and Mormonism” or something similar to that title. Just make sure it is by Ann Eliza Young. You can find if free as an E-book since it was written prior to copyright. Please note the truthfulness of her words especially since she states “you cannot judge the church today with how it was in the beginning”… Another testimony “crying from the dust” of the seven early pure years of the church during which the Lord accepted the Kirkland Temple only.

    It was in the Nauvoo Temple that Brigham Young, a top Mason, incorporated the Masonic rituals that we have today along with excommunicated William Smith for arguing about him over these satanic blood oaths, signs, and penalties. God is not about secrets or control of others especially women through the “CARNAL DESIRES” which preceded Joseph’s fall into adultery justified as polygamy.

    No matter who practices polygamy aka adultery, King David, Solomon, or even Abraham–

    (Hagoth begat the Muslims “a great blessing to all Christians? Always consequences! Abraham LIED to the Prince about Sarah and was given Haboth. Then they did not have faith in God and justified adultery, hence the outcome and negative consequence is seen today!),

    –it is an abomination and brings condemnation to the people… God always allow free agency to the detriment of evil men who love to suppress women as their sex slaves. God makes sense and polygamy does NOT make sense and hurts women and their children…

    Look at the FLDS to see how awful it is. With the 40+ “LOST BOYS” thrown out in St. George wlthout anything for their survival because they were “competition” for the dirty old men, you can see it is crazy! And don’t give me the crap about how it would be different with a “good man”. Thy system is based on “carnal desire” and the need for a man to be a King over the women for control…Have you read D&C 3:1-11? Seriously.

  52. Karen, I don’t think you read Justin’s link, or, if you did, you didn’t understand what he was trying to say.

  53. Karen — What about my link lead you to believe my point of view on polygamy was that of Brigham/FLDS polygyny? I think when you hear an LDS man say he is for polygamy — that is the only thing your mind jumps to.

    Would you say that God has created humans to only be able to love one other human at a time? I’d wager that you understand D&C 42:22 to teach a system of Divine monogamy:

    Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.

    But I do not think that this teaches numerically one wife for every man — unless it’s your position that we shouldn’t allow remarriage, even after a wife has died [gotta cling to that one spouse and none else you know].

    However, your comment seems to imply that your real problem with polygamy in the LDS context is really with polygyny. Are you only against polygamy when it is a “discriminative, controlling, elitist ‘all boys club’“? When polyandry is allowed, does that change the dynamic for you?

  54. Karen Davis you ask me what I believe. Why do you want to know, so you can argue about it?
    But I will state at least one thing which I believe.
    I believe Jesus Christ said, “he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention”

    I read George Ritchie’s book Return From Tomorrow. He described a place where the spirits of some dead people were locked in a vicious verbal combat with each other. There were no chains, no bars, no guards keeping them there. It was and is only their pride and desire to argue with others and prove that they are right and the others are wrong. I use that in the present tense because although he witnessed it back in 1942 I am quite sure some of them are still in the exact same spot arguing with whoever will argue with them.

    I for one don’t want to stay in such a spot so I am out of here.
    Goodbye.

  55. I didn’t see your link, but I’ll read it when I get time.

    There is no religion in heaven or conflicting ideas either only truth! And that is what I teach direct from a profound near death experience where everything told so far has come true and it was preceded by a Mother’s three prophetic dreams. It lasted for three days, much like Saul’s and Alma the Younger and occurred at the age of ten, interestingly, at the time that Moroni was given his calling by God.

    There is no contention that I present, just the truth for you to research and determine for yourself. I provide excellent insight for everyone to review. And it all makes sense!

    Why not have one woman with 52 men? The reverse of polygamy, polyandry? LOL It is all too crazy and definitely NOT of God. Don’t you know that men and women will be in equal numbers in heaven? Or do you think that hardly any men will “make it”? That is a sad belief also. Frankly, I have more faith in the 1.000 years of God’s influence on this earth to assist US to clean it up.

    God does not deal in craziness, asking women to share their husbands which, frankly, no matter how you dress it up is adultery. Not one woman was happy living polygamy and I’ve listened to lots of polygamist women (cleaned our office or where patients) and Il’ve not found one happy women among any of them. Are the men happy? YOU BET ~ lots of sex! While the women were taught to believe they were doing the Lord’s will…its called spiritual slavery and is a horrible life for any woman…no matter what the men say or the brain-washed sex slave/wife who is NOT truly loved by her so-called husband. While the husband is looking around for the next “sexual adventure” Is this why Utah has the highest rate of online subscription for pornography? (Feb 9, 2009, SLTribune). Oh but, of course, it would be perfectly done…Nope never would happen as what woman wants to share her husband and forever be unequal and a 2nd class citizen like the Muslims…

  56. What exactly do you believe in?

    I’ll bite.

    I also stated that Jesus Christ IS God the Eternal Father as clearly stated in the original Book of Mormon, the Torah, and the Bible (see http://www.bridgingtruth.com).

    Romans 15:6 = That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    How is Jesus Christ — as God the Eternal Father — the Father of himself? Is this one of those eternal self-fertilizing doctrines? I think the Eastern religions have something similar with their deity. Is that what you mean?

    Saying Jesus is the Father [which the Book of Mormon/Bible do] must mean something different than saying that the personage of Jesus Christ is the same personage of the God who is the Father of the spirits of those born to this earth. Right?

    We come to this earth with our soul and intelligence while our Spirit remains as our mediator in Heaven (or Hell depending on past lives~ see Alma 40).

    I think it best to say that your conception of four components [which is new, I’ve only heard of theories that have three or two components] — soul, body, intelligence, and spirit — is vastly foreign to me. I only see two components to the make-up of humans — spirit and element, or spirit body and physical body.

    This is why we have two deaths spoken of in the scriptures — one a death that is spiritual and one that is physical. One death for each of the two components — not three and not four.

    I also hate polygamy, which is an abomination of the Lord as clearly stated in the BoM. Anyone who believes otherwise “misunderstands the scriptures” (Jacob 2:23) and has no regard for women!

    I think this point was addressed in my previous comment to you. To sum up — I think you’re focused on polygyny — and not a multihusband-multiwife tribal system including both the polygyny and the polyandry allowed in D&C 132 and practiced by Joseph Smith — as well as corresponding to what we see in heaven among the Gods and corresponding to the natural sexual order of human beings.

  57. Lol — we double posted. Karen, I’ll respond to your most recent comment:

    Why not have one woman with 52 men? The reverse of polygamy, polyandry? LOL It is all too crazy and definitely NOT of God. Don’t you know that men and women will be in equal numbers in heaven? Or do you think that hardly any men will “make it”? That is a sad belief also.

    I do not think that men and women will be in equal numbers in heaven — though I’d imagine that given a 50/50 chance of being born as a man/woman — it’s possible.

    Either way, it doesn’t affect every male in heaven having as many wives as there are females — and every female in heaven having as many husbands as there are males.

    God does not deal in craziness, asking women to share their husbands which, frankly, no matter how you dress it up is adultery.

    I “dress it up” in the robes of marriage covenants. Why can monogamous sexual intercourse between spouses be “dressed up” that way — but polygamous sexual intercourse can’t?

    Not one woman was happy living polygamy and I’ve listened to lots of polygamist women (cleaned our office or where patients) and Il’ve not found one happy women among any of them. Are the men happy? YOU BET ~ lots of sex!

    Well — to add to your observations — I’ve found women who have enjoyed polygyny — and I’ve found men who have not enjoyed even with the loads of sex!! Lol — I don’t know if having more wives would mean I get all the sex I can handle. Plus, it would come with me being under obligation to provide support to multiple women — instead of just one.

    I wouldn’t want polygyny. Too much work for me. I’d rather have an additional husband or two around the house to help me out in my duties.

    Is this why Utah has the highest rate of online subscription for pornography? (Feb 9, 2009, SLTribune).

    No — I’d attribute that to sexual repression, monogamy, and widespread circumcision. I talked about that in my connecting with pixels post — and linked to your website’s article about the Utah porn statistic.

    This is fun — let’s do it again sometime.

  58. I read you link, Justin and adultery/polygamy is “an abomination” of God as clearly stated in Jacob 2:23-24 & Jacob 3, etc… God said it and meant it despite the “justification” later added in for adultery, fornication, whoremongering by Joseph, and especially Brigham Young (very evil man ~ please read Ann Eliza Young’s witnessed account, “The 19th Wife” from 1875″).

    Everything else (embellished “revelations”, etc.) that justifies polygamy is due to the “carnal desires” that Joseph Smith, King David, and Solomon, etc. fell into. Too crazy and never of God. Sex creates children and requires a foundation. You want men to sleep with lots of women which creates inequalities in relationships for other men and lots of uncared for women and children…(Jacob 3) Never, Never of God, whose wisdom is pure and precious and not crazy or complicated.

    The happiest society is not a patriarchy (men in charge) or matriarch (woman in charge) but an egalitarian society where both parents care for the children and both parents provide with complete equality for the man and the woman. Both are independent entities without one “saving” or controlling the other. They work as a team.

    You also state very clearly on your site the scripture that there is no marriage in the next life and that is EXACTLY correct. This is what Jesus taught despite the insecurities of humans. Heaven is much different that this earth. We don’t even have to eat! These are simple truths that stem from a profound NDE. I won’t argue about them either as I know what I know.

    If your wife or husband dies or you get divorced, by all means marry another. No problem since its for this life only. A lot of misconceptions have been taught by religious traditions used to control. “Don’t leave the church or else you will lose your family and your salvation for eternities…Kill yourself for Jihad and you’ll get 40 virgins in the next life”… ALL based on controlling LIES and not of God!

    I compliment you on your writing skills, but not your logic or justification. We are far superior to Gorillas where much more is expected due to our spirituality and spiritual connection with God and the sanctity of making love with a “married” companion.

    Thank you for allowing me to speak my truth unwavering! I also won’t have much time to post in the future as many very wonderful projects are now completing!

  59. The happiest society is not a patriarchy (men in charge) or matriarch (woman in charge) but an egalitarian society where both parents care for the children and both parents provide with complete equality for the man and the woman. Both are independent entities without one “saving” or controlling the other. They work as a team.

    I agree that patriarchy and matriarchy must be seen in their complete tribal context [hint: follow the link if you’re interested] — as well as agree in terms of balancing the masculine and feminine natures within a marriage couple [ditto].

    I’d guess we just disagree in that you seem to say that equality only exists in a family if there are numerically two spouses at a time [one father and one mother] — whereas, I wouldn’t limit spouses into my family any more than I would limit the number of children I have with my wife.

    You seem to see “there is no marriage in heaven” as saying everyone lives as separate/single men or women — whereas I see it as saying every woman is married to every other man [and vice versa], thus nobody is really “married” to anybody [as opposed to somebody else].

    Thank you for allowing me to speak my truth unwavering! I also won’t have much time to post in the future as many very wonderful projects are now completing!

    Thanks for playing.

  60. So wait….HAGOTH begat the Muslims? This changes EVERYTHING! I find it amazing that she was able to beget Muslims thousands of years before Mohamed and still find time to come back as a Nephite man. But I am confused, because supposedly God does not work by CRAZY means. Right??

  61. “So wait….HAGOTH begat the Muslims? This changes EVERYTHING! I find it amazing that she was able to beget Muslims thousands of years before Mohamed and still find time to come back as a Nephite man. But I am confused, because supposedly God does not work by CRAZY means. Right??”

    I’m glad we don’t have to be PERFECT but only pure in heart which makes it too crazy, right? The expectation of perfection is crazy…we less stress and the flexibility and nonjudgmental attitudes as seen in the pure, like children… So, I just laugh at my mistake and know that you know what I meant!
    You probably know that I meant Hagar (concubine given to Abraham due to lack of faith of Sarah and Abraham and Abraham’s LIES~which begets dire consequences~ to the Prince~ Bible) and not Hagoth (inspired builder of ships to take others out before complete destruction of Nephites)

  62. You probably know that I meant Hagar (concubine given to Abraham due to lack of faith of Sarah and Abraham

    I still think Elder Chantdown’s point is fair…

    I find it amazing that she was able to beget Muslims thousands of years before Mohamed and still find time to come back as a [concubine of Abraham].

  63. Totally ignoring the arguments about women and plural marriage, and going back to the original post.

    I had some issues with Brigham Young and some of the things he said, even back when I was a “social Mormon”. It wasn’t until I read what Denver Snuffer had to say (that the presidents of the church weren’t considered prophets until the mid-’50’s and, then, only so the people would listen to him more than they had to Pres. Grant), that I was able to view BY more correctly. He was a man. He was fallible. It is up to me to discern, via the Holy Ghost, what he taught that was true and what he taught that was his own strong opinion.

    The part of the topic that discussed riches reminded me of when I was in my late teens and in my twenties, attempting to make a living. The GA’s would recommend how to spend our money and they would insist that we save x amount, buy insurance, etc. I looked at my income. I could barely feed myself and pay rent at the same time. There was no way I could obey what I thought was an inspired commandment from God. I felt very guilty, and somewhat hopeless because I was not rich enough to obey those commandments.

    I have been surprised, and perhaps dismayed, by some of the things Pres. Hinckley has said to the media. I wondered that he could be so ignorant of our doctrine when I, obviously at least a generation younger than he, knew it full well. God once being a human man was freely taught when I was younger (in the ’70’s for example).

    As far as plural marriage. The Book of Mormon plainly states that it is an exception, to be lived only when God commands it, to “raise up seed”. But I think we need to be willing to obey every word of God to reach the celestial kingdom. This includes being willing to live plural marriage if God should command it again.

  64. “him” being David O. McKay.

  65. It’s getting late. I’m tired. This post and comments have been extreeeeemely long. I was referring to my second paragraph, wherein D.O.M. was the first president referred to as “prophet” or so I understand. I used a pronoun instead of his name, which seemed confusing. Any more errors, you’ll have to figure out on your own. I’m done.

  66. Thank you Justin for your example of talking without contention. I am game for that. In fact I have decided I need to add a comment in order to defend the truth here.

    Two ideas were introduced by Karen Davis which I would like to address.
    1. the concept that plural marriage is an evil practice in the sight of God
    2. the concept that God the Father and Jesus Christ are one and the same being

    I do not doubt you Karen Davis that you have had a NDE. I have read many such experiences. And in them an important fact emerges which is absolutely inviolate in God’s dealing with men and women here in this mortal phase. God never forces anyone to change their belief. What we believe determines our choices and so it is the very substance of our agency. For God to convince someone of something which they did not want to believe would be the same as forcing them to act in a manner they did not chose to act. He doesn’t do it.
    Paul and Alma were not convinced against their will. They were acting in true ignorance until they “saw the light”. And Alma is a great example of being in horrible pain for 3 days until he personally chose to change his belief of his own free will and exercise faith in Christ. One of the best known NDEs ever was that of George Ritchie’s in Return From Tomorrow. He observed people who were dead and locked in a mindset in which they did not see Christ, that they did not see His goodness. Even some were going about doing good things, studying and learning and building, yet without even understanding enough to truly come unto Christ. If we chose we can be locked in anger and ignorance for a time of Endless duration. Why? Because God will not violate our right to choose whether or not to believe or even seek Him. If I had my mind set against a principle of God’s plan before an NDE you can be sure He would not tamper with the beliefs I had chosen to accept.

    Now the problem with believing that Plural marriage is an abomination before God and that God the Father and Jesus Christ are one and the same being is that it leads to the sin of blasphemy. How so? Well regarding plural marriage it is impossible to deny that the very people whom God appeared to and made His covenant with were the ones who practiced plural marriage and God never found any fault with them for doing so. The list includes Abraham, the father of the covenant, Jacob renamed Israel and Moses the lawgiver. So by saying the practice is evil we are left blaspheming because we accuse God of condoning an evil practice, which is an evil thing to do. Saying God is capable of doing evil is blasphemy.
    Next in regards to the Father and the Son being the same being we have a testimony wonderfully given in Ether 3 that God is a God of truth and can not lie. Yet we have another undeniable set of facts. Jesus Christ actions in praying and pleading Abba Father let this cup pass from me, never the less not my will but thine be done as He wrought the perfect atonement in Gethsemane to the point of bleeding from every pore and again on the cross crying our “Father why hast Thou forsaken me?”
    Now He was either the God of truth who can not lie as the Brother of Jared and I believe Him to be or He was a cruel deceiver with a sham of pleading with Himself. Or perhaps we are to believe He has severe emotional/mental problems. Either way you view it liar or looney you have again falsely accused God and committed blasphemy.
    Karen I am so sorry if you were treated evilly by someone who professed to be following God and believed in plural marriage. I know many who profess to believe it are hateful towards women and believe they own these women. That attitude is truly an abomination before God.
    But we can’t condemn the law without condemning the lawgiver. He gave it to us out of love. And if we will chose to exercise a little faith in him and in this thing we can come to see it has nothing to do with control but is the opposite of controlling others. Monogamy is 100% based on the concept of ownership over another human, your spouse and that you have control over them to never share love with another person. We do this out of fear, not out of love. God does not have fear. He wants us to learn not to have it. God doers not exercise control over us. He wants us to learn to never exercise control, or compulsion upon any entity in all eternity, even our spouse.

  67. Point of Order:
    1) The Muslims look at their lineage as having come through Hagar and Abraham.
    2) Abraham was not perfect and lied fearing man more than God. The Lord allows Free Agency. Abraham and Sarah lacked faith in God and committed adultery/polygamy and used the concubine which created severe hostilities between the women (attempted murder, physical abuse) as a type and shadow of the anger/war/hostilities between the Christians (Bloody Crusade) and the Muslims (Christians are “infidels”). This is the consequence of the “polygamy/adultery” that a wrong choice brought into the world while fulfilling the “posterity as numerous as the grains of the sea”
    3) It was my husband’s (more profound than Ritchie’s) Near Death Experience confirmed by my own (and many others) witnessed spiritual experiences and his mother’s three dreams and that everything, so far, has come true. Not all Prophets have the same level of knowledge and, obviously, NDE’s have differing levels of understanding given by God.
    4) Raising up a seed unto God, merely means that they come to know God. Its quality not quantity that is needed.
    5) Jacob’s words apply to ALL who believe in the “abominable” practice of polygamy as declared by GOD! Recall that the Nephites practiced polygamy and were destroyed because of the grave wickedness where they did not love their sex slave/wives or unloved children, “Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children…the Lamanites…are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the COMMANDMENT of the Lord…–that they should have save it were ONE wife, and concubines they should have none and there should not be whoredoms committed among them….their husbands love their wives and their wives love their husbands (the more rightous Lamanites)…Jacob 3

    “This people begin to wax in iniquity: they understand not the SCRIPTURES, for they seek to EXCUSE themselves in committing WHOREDOMS, because of the things which were written oncerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon (and all others including Abraham) truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was ABOMINABLE before me, saith the Lord. (It was allowed since this earth is founded upon free agency to choose good or EVIL!)

    6) Mosiah 15:1-5: “God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people”
    Ether 3:14: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son.”
    Alma 11:23-40: “Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him, Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth…”
    “I and my Father are One” should make sense to you now, if you are as a child and able to be taught by a pure-hearted woman who does know God.
    Jesus (God) incarnated upon this earth as a man while His Spirit remained in Heaven as God the Eternal Father. Very clear, “plain and precious” and this understanding is contained throughout the original Book of Mormon which when “rerestored” through “much restoration” (2 Ne 3:24) will expose the corruption of the LDS church and reveal God’s truths that Jesus IS God the Eternal Father.

    Please forget the whoremongering “carnal desires” beliefs in polygamy as it is evil and hurts women as being not equal to men ~ which we are! The millennium restores this divine truth…

    7) You do not “understand the scriptures” or know who God is, nor do you care about the “tender hearts of your wives”… I feel sorry for your wives who you have no care for how they would feel in sharing their husband sexually with other women. Utah has the highest rate of online subscription of pornography due to the belief in polygamy.

    The Lord does not need polygamy to “raise up a seed” unto him. That is only done when a people come to know who God is. Get rid of the 6,000 years of Lucifer’s influence upon the carnally/controlling-driven understanding of men.

    Thank you!

  68. Mark 10:
    6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

    7 For this cause shall a aman leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

    8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

  69. As it has been referenced recently in re: to polygamy — I’m going to post LDSA’s exposition of what is going on in Jacob 2:

    The key to understanding the verses found in 22-35 is the word “whoredoms.” What is being condemned by the Lord is whoredoms. And what is a whoredom? A whoredom is any illicit sexual commerce — in other words, whatever the Lord has said, “No,” to, is a whoredom. That is the key. So, with that in mind, let’s take yet another look at these verses:

    22 And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you.

    23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms [illicit sexual commerce], because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

    Lehi had received commandments from the Lord modifying the law of Moses and taking away all the plural marriage provisions of it and causing monogamy with no concubinage to be the approved marriage doctrine for the Nephites. Because of this, from Lehi onward plural marriage became a whoredom (illicit sexual commerce) among the Lehite descendents.

    The Nephite men thought to commence plural marriages anyway, as that was a part of the original law of Moses — and were using the same old prophet (good, righteous and pure, meaning undiluted or unmodified doctrine) – new prophet (modified doctrine, meaning apostate) tactic many people use nowadays. Specifically, they were pointing to David and Solomon and the righteous deeds these polygamous men had done.

    24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

    To counteract this, the Lord points to the unrighteous deeds of David and Solomon. He doesn’t point to plural marriage in general, but to the abominations of David and Solomon committed in the name of plural marriage, meaning that they “had many wives and concubines” instead of “receiving many wives and concubines” from the Lord.

    In other words, they illicitly took wives which were forbidden them to take. In the case of David, this was the Uriah affair. In the case of Solomon, he took wives of a forbidden people. Again, to be even plainer in writing, the Lord here is pointing to the whoredoms of David and Solomon — not to their plural marriages.

    25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

    26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

    A righteous branch is a branch that obeys the Lord. The Lord is not referring to polygamy here and equating righteousness with monogamy and unrighteousness with polygamy. Had the Jews of the Old World obeyed the Lord’s commands, they would have been a righteous branch even while practicing polygamy.

    When the Lord says He doesn’t want the Nephites to do like them of old, He is not referring to the Old World practice of polygamy, but to the Old World practice of disobedience. So, the Lord is simply saying that this Nephite branch is to hearken to His words (obedience) or THEY WILL BE CURSED. He will not allow them to prosper in disobedience.

    27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

    28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity [approved sexual commerce] of women. And whoredoms [illicit sexual commerce] are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

    These are the commandments given to Lehi, repeated here by Jacob. Whoredoms is not referring to polygamy, but to all sexual commerce prohibited by the Lord.

    In the case of the Nephites, as they had received a law of monogamy (which modified the law of Moses), polygamy in their case was a whoredom, whereas in the case of the Old World Jews, polygamy was not a whoredom, as it was permitted and in some cases commanded by the law.

    29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

    The emphasis is on keeping the current commandments of the Lord. It is the current prophet’s words that are the most important, not the words of dead prophets. The Lord is not so much concerned with polygamy, as He is concerned with obedience.

    30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

    This is self-explanatory, but I’ll explain it anyway. “Raise up seed unto me” refers to plural marriage. “I will command my people” means that plural marriage is illicit sexual commerce (a whoredom) to the Nephites unless the Lord commands its practice. “These things” refers to the new commandments received by Lehi, which modified the law of Moses for the Nephites.

    31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.

    The abominations and wickedness that the Lord speaks of do not apply to the law of Moses-approved practice of plural marriage found among the Old World Jews (and those of other lands), but to their disobedience to His commandments. Again, the Lord is talking of disobedience to His commandments and not specifically of the general practice of polygamy.

    32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.

    33 For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts.

    Remember, the Lord is still talking about whoredoms (illicit sexual commerce) and other disobedience, not about polygamy in general. Polygamy in the Old World was not whoredom, but in the New World it was.

    34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done.

    35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.

    Okay, that seems self-explanatory to me. They did wrong not because polygamy was intrinsically wrong, but because the Lord made it wrong through Lehi for the Nephite people, until the Lord should make it right again (which He did later on in 4 Nephi.)

    Karen and truthrestored — unless you can convince me that God does actually forbid marriages [contrary to scripture], that polygamy and the restoration of the tribes of Israel do not go hand-in-hand [contrary to what Joseph Smith was trying to do], and that marriage covenants must be restricted to one-at-a-time [thus implying that every plural marriage would fit the definition of adultery] — then I’m not jumping ship.

    D&C 132 includes a clause that provides for marriage couples to enter vows of exclusivity [meaning they promise to not love any other people] should that be what they agree too. I think higher of a scriptural POV that includes you monogamists and the polygamists — instead of one that puts up the stakes and border fences and declares that State-licensed, serial monogamy is the only God-honored form of a marriage family.

    Especially if you’re trying to use Mark 10 to do it — lol. As though that cannot be referring to a doctrine of fidelity, rather than exclusivity. D&C 42, et al. are not monogamy — but in essence, are the law of chastity, stated differently.

  70. Polygamy has NEVER been of God, but allowed even though the “thing” of many wives and concubines is an abomination of the Lord no matter how you try to justify it. Joseph Smith was warned against his “carnal desires” and fell which placed the church into a four generation curse. He burned the false “revelation” of polygamy before he died. If an angel threatens you with a sword to do something “abominable” or else you will be killed, it is very evident that the angel is of Lucifer or a fabrication of the man’s ego to justify an evil act.

    No justification. God is simple. God is pure. God is truth and full disclosure.

    God only sanctifies marriage between ONE man and ONE woman. It is that simple. It is a type and shadow of the Bride and the Bridegroom. Or Adam and Eve (Lilith is a fabrication as Adam only had Eve and left the garden to be with his ONE wife).

    No secrets. No Lies (which happened throughout the polygamous era of the church). No whoredoms. Sorry, no plural marriage. But the FDLS and Muslims believe in it and treat their wives just like all polygamous-minded men…Deplorable and “abominable”.

  71. God only sanctifies marriage between ONE man and ONE woman.

    Ok — so God does forbid marriage.

    And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.

  72. distortedtruth,

    “4) Raising up a seed unto God, merely means that they come to know God. Its quality not quantity that is needed.”

    Obviously this is the case. So why would raising seed in the Babylonian tradition yield the QUALITY that GOD is aiming us for? I can’t believe you would bring up an argument like that. It shows where the world’s worship has been wrongfully directed. Your long-winded self-justification does not have a christ-like flavor. Maybe one of the many christ-shun forums out there would be better for your CONversion rates. But there is a whole lot of “Ammon style” Christ following going on over here.

  73. From American Dictionary of the English Language; Noah Webster 1828:

    Whoredom, n. Lewdness, fornication; practice of unlawful commerce with the other sex. It is applied to either sex, and to any kind of illicit commerce.

    (This is the definition LDSA and Justin explained.)

    2. In Scripture, idolatry; the desertion of the worship of the true God, for the worship of idols.

    (This one added to my understanding of the scriptures and see twhat was being said in a new light. Either or both of them change the meaning of the scripture in Jacob 2 significantly from what is typically taught. At least they did for me.)

  74. This is from Principles of the Gospel published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1943. (pp 193 – 201)

    After citing D&C 130:22; 3 Nephi 9:15; 3 Nephi 11:27,32-36 it says this,”The term ‘Father’ as applied to Deity occurs in sacred writ with plainly different meanings. Each of he four significations specified in the following treatment should be carefully segregated.

    “1. ‘Father as Literal Parent – Scriptuers empodying the ordinary signification — literally that of Parent — are too numerous and specific to require citation. The purport of these scriptuers is to the effect that God the Eternal Father, whom we designate by the exalted name-title ‘Elohim,’ is the literal parent of our Lord and Savior jesus Christ, and the spirits of the human race. Elohim is the Father in every sense in which Jesus Christ is so designated, and distinctively He is the Father of spirits. Thus we read in the Epistle of the Hebrews: Furthermore we have had fathers of the flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverance; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?’ (Hebrews 12:9) In view of this fact we are taught by Jesus Christ to pray; ‘Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

    “Jesus Christ applied to Himself both titles, ‘Son’ and’Father.’ Indeed, He specifically said the the brother of Jared: ‘Behold, i am jesus Christ. I amthe Father and the Son.’ (Ether 3:14) Jesus Christ is the Son of Elohim both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say, Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of jesus Christ and alsothe body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in he flesh, and which body dies on the cross and was afterward taken up by the process of resurrection, and is now the immortalized tabernacle of the eternal spirit of our lord and Savior. No extended explanation of the title ‘Son of God as applied to Jesus Christ appears necessary.

    “2. ‘Father as Creator–A second scriptural meaning of ‘Father’ is that of Creator, e.g. in passages referring to any one of the Godhead as “The Father of the heavens and of the earth and all things thatin them are.’ (Ether 4:7; see also Alma11:38,39 and Mosiah 15:4)

    “God is not the Father of the earh as one of he worlds in psace, nor of the heavenly bodies in whol or in part, nor of the inanimate objects and the pants and animals upon the earth, in the literal sense in which He is the Father of the spirits of mankind. Therefore, scriptures that refer to God in any way as the Father of the heavens and the earth are to be understood as signifying that God is the Maker, the Organizer, the Creatorof the heavens and the earth.

    “With this meaning, as the context shows in every case, Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ the Son of Elohim, is called ‘the Father,’ and even the very eternal Father of heaven and of earth.’ (see passages before cited and also Mosiah 16:15). With anoalogous meaning Jesus Christ is called ‘The Everlasting Father.’ (Isahiah 9:6; compare 2 Nephi 19:6) The descriptive titles ‘Everlasting’ and Eternal’ in the foregoing texts are synonymous.

    “Jesus Christ, whom we also know as Jehovah, was the executive of the Father, Elohm, in the work of creation. *** Jesus Christ, being the Creator, is consitently called the Father of heaven and earth in the sense explained above; and since His creations are of eternal quality He is very properly called the Eternal Father of heaven and earth.

    “3. Jesus Christ the ‘Father of Those Who Abide in His Gospel – A third sense in which Jesus Christ is regarded as the ‘Father’ has reference to the relationship between Him and those who accept His Gospel and thereby become heirs of eternal life…'(John 17:6-12,20-24;D&C 50:41;D&C 25:1, D&C 9:1, 34:3, 121:7; D&C 11:28-30; Mosiah 15:10-13; Matt 13:38; 1 John 3:8-10)

    “4Jesus Christ the ‘Father’ by Divine Investiture of Authority–A fourth reason for applying the title ‘Father’ to Jesus Christ is found in the fact that in all His dealings with the human family Jesus Christ is found in the fact that in all His dealings with the human family Jesus the Son has reprsented and yet represents Elohim His Father in power and authority. This is true of Christ in His preexistent, antemortal, or unembodied state, in the which He was known as Jehovah; also during His embodiment in the flesh; and during His labors as a disembodied spririt in the realm of the dead; and since that period in His ressurected state. The the jews he said: ‘I and my Father aer one’ (John 10:30; see also 17:11, 22); yet He declared’My Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28; and frther, ‘I am come in my Father’s name.’ (john 5:43; see also 10:25) the same truth was declared by Christ Himself to the Nephites (see 3 Nephi 20:35 and 28:10), and has been reaffirmed by revelation in the present dispensation. (D&C 50:43) Thus the Father placed His name upon the Son; and Jesus Christ spoke and ministered in and through the Father’s name; and so far as power, authority, and Godship are concerned His words and acts were and are those of the Father….”

  75. So, Jeremy, at last we are on the same thread!

  76. It’s interesting how the comments basically degenerated into an argument about polygamy (polygyny). I couldn’t read the complete article online, so I copied and pasted it into a word processing file so I could read it easier (and offline). I have just finished it.

    Has anyone noticed the awesome testimony at the end of the article? This is very faith-promoting stuff. The voice of reason among so many who want to leave the church because (so it seems to me) of their own pride. The scriptures truly prophesy of the state the members are in today. The ignorance, minimal gifts of the Spirit, etc. should come as no surprise to anyone who likens the Book of Mormon to us, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ.

    I loved what he said to the fundamentalists who visited him. They had to choose. If this is God’s house, they were not. If they were God’s house, they were out of order and in need of cleansing (the D&C scripture about God beginning His cleansing at his own house).

    According to Joseph Smith, we should reach the point of receiving the Second Comforter. According to the Book of Mormon, when we have enough faith, we will not only see Him, but we will receive a lot of knowledge. I think there comes a point when no human can teach, but that point is dependent upon our humility, righteousness, faith, and God’s timing.

    We should not give up on the church. Jesus has not.

    Personally, I believe “the one mighty and strong” is Jesus Christ, himself. Did he not cleanse the temple in Jerusalem (twice), thus setting things in order? I believe it is he, himself. Yes, I know I’m being redundant.

    In any case, I find it sad that the comments seemed to totally bypass the message of this post – a message of hope, a testimony of faith and peace.

  77. Toni — good call. Your remarks on the post [which I agree with] remind me of LDSA’s post, The doctrine of destruction.

    I remarked on that post [guess it applies here also] that to me, most are forgetting the importance of the keys of the church:

    The true-blue members forget them to the point that they “follow the prophet”

    And the more critical members that I know of online forget them to the point that they ignore the LDS church’s priesthood keys are still validly authorized by them.

    I’ve chosen to remain a member of the church because it’s Jesus’ church, not the church leaders’. He said I have a place there — and being “unorthodox” isn’t going to change anything for me.

  78. Thank you for the reply, Justin. You view it exactly how I feel.

    I think I’ll go look at that post. I don’t remember reading that one.

  79. Justin said:
    And the more critical members that I know of online forget them to the point that they ignore the LDS church’s priesthood keys are still validly authorized by them.

    Steve:
    I’ve wondered about this for years. You have the Church changing doctrines, covenants, commandments and ordinances, which Joseph warned against. You have fundamentalists trying to keep them unaltered (to some degree). So how long can they be changed before the Lord repudiates the Church? It can’t be forever, otherwise we’d be Catholics. Did the Lord set apart men to continue keys and laws when/if the Church would abandon them? Personally, I don’t know. I had thought that the Lord had abandoned the Church because it had abandoned Him, until I encountered Snuffer’s writings. Now I’m not so sure.

  80. Steve:

    So how long can they be changed before the Lord repudiates the Church? It can’t be forever…

    read the post I linked to in my above comment to Toni.

  81. Steve, I’m sure there comes a point when the authority is gone, but the Lord promised that He would clean his own church. My take on this is to trust the Lord. The gentiles will, for the most part, ruin it, change it, but it will be cleaned and the descendants of Lehi will then be the majority members.

    The post Justin linked to is very good.

  82. Toni – Where did he promise that He would cleanse His Church?

  83. D&C 112:23-27 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.
    Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
    And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;
    First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.
    Therefore, see to it that ye trouble not yourselves concerning the affairs of my church in this place, saith the Lord.

    His house is His church. He organized it through Joseph Smith. It is still His.

  84. I’d forgotten this part of D&C 112. Thanks, Toni. Steve

  85. You’re welcome.

  86. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has one thing strongly working against its membership growth: it’s a false religion. With thousands of internet sites proclaiming the truth about Mormonism it is increasingly difficult for Mormon missionaries to present their one-sided, dishonest views of the church. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  87. This is in response to a question asked by dyc4557 way back on 26 jan 2011. I blab so much when I begin to write, that when I finish I go away for a long time before coming back.

    I rarely get a question from anyone concerning comments I make and this one threw me for a loop. So here’s my take on your questioned posed on 26 Jan 2011.

    From my understanding of the scriptures, this is the way I think things will go down.

    We are taught by God in patterns. These patterns repeat themselves continually throughout time yet take on additional aspects pertaining to the same established patterns that apply to a particular aspect of the Lord’s Plan.

    Simple case in point….Elijah was chosen to represent what it means to be a Forerunner to Christ. John theBaptist filled that type when acting as Forerunner to Christ at His First Coming. So it stands to reason that prior to the Lord’s Second Coming, there must also be a Forerunner.

    The church generally claims that to beJoseph Smith. That is true with regard to the Lord’s Church being established through him in order to lay the FOUNDATION of the Lord’s Kingdom. But the Kingdom that was to replace the church never materialized in Joseph’s time.

    So that leaves an open ended invitation to send someone to finish what Jospeh started. Many in the church by virtue of words spoken by Jospeh Smith, believe that someone will be ressurected Jospeh.

    This belief flies in th face of other rvelations given by Joseph proclaiming that God would raise UP a man from among us like unto Moses. Certainly Jospeh would be able to complete his own work he started among the saints of this dispensation, but only after the ressurected saints of God all return to earth.

    Building Zion was obviously a work that did not belong to Joseph, though he was given the chance. The people failed him.

    So here’s the deal as far as I can tell. There will eventually come a man sent of God who will set God’s House in order and finally build the Kingdom of God ( Zion ) upon the foundation of the church ( Minus the Corporation ), for all the righteous of the world to flee to during the time of judgment.

    Before God sends this man, there needs to be a way for God to separate the Wheat from the Tares among His own people for that project to be made possible.

    This is where we can take a look at God, in 2 Thessalonians, sending a Great Delusion upon His people so that they would believe a lie.

    This sounds pretty cruel for God to play such a trick on His People doesn’t it ? Why the heck would He do something like that ? But He does. So just WHO would believe this LIE, that the man seating himself in the temple of God, IS God ?

    Only the WICKED believe the wicked. And thus you have your desired separation of the Wheat from among the Taes in the Lord’s Church. So FISRT Mission accomplished.

    So now what happens to those who don’t fall for this lie ? Well, chances are they are going to be treated as Apsotates for not believing in the Prophet sent to convince them he is God.

    So then it is up to God to Save those who are faithful to the truth…He sends the One Mighty & Strong true prophet to prepare for the return of the Lord. He is referred to by as many titles as Christ Himself, yet is a distinctly different person. IMO this man will be the Holy Spirit in the flesh sent to judge the world as was proclaimed as one of his jobs the first time he was sent on the day of penticost but has yet to happen. The pattern of the Holy Spirit being the ultimate Forerunner to Christ is only logical seeing that the Groom would only trust his wedding party to his Best Man. And WHO ESLE could that possibly be ?

  88. I believe his arrival has already been scheduled on the Lord’s Calendar given to Moses several thousand years ago. The First arrival of the Lord’s people when they came to the base of Mt. Sinia 50 days after their departure from Egypt, was to recieve the manifestaions of the spirit sent to them on that day in lue of their being affraid to approach the Lord on the Mount.

    And by the way…they were told to prepare themselves for 3 days for this event. The first day as a representation of their own day, the second day as a representation of the spirit being manifested on the day of penticost in the Lord’s Day, and the 3rd day to represent the final showing of the spirit as described in Joel on the Last Day…at some FUTURE day of penticost on the Lord’s Calendar. NOT at the time the spirit and others made an appearance to the saints of Ohio on a day that was NOT the day of penticost for that year, but merely a TYPE forthings to come on that exact day….A FIXED day on the Lord’s Calendar of time.

    That original manisfestation also came in the form of the pillar of smoke by day & the pillar of fire by night, that lead them through the widerness. ( A type for all of God’s children being lead by the Spirit of God through the wilderness of this life ).

    The next greater manisfestation of the spirit came on the day of penticost when the spirit surrounded those in the upper room with great displays of firery power and moved them within their hearts to go out and spread the Gospel without fear of man.

    So too must this manifestation occur one more time so that the Gospel can be taken to every corner of the earth and the tribes of Israel be gathered to Ephriam and eventually united with Juda.

    Each time this manesfestation of the spirit has presnted itself, it came as something the people could not quite define in terms of actually being a man. Yet the Lord tells us that it was the Angel of the Lord’s Presence which was sent to guide the children of Israel to the promised land.

    Where are we SUPPOSED to be headed for in our day ? The Promised Land of Zion ? Who will get us there ? That SAME Angel ? Only one who lives among us now & is awaiting God’s Call ?

    Are we not told that for us to make it through the time of judgment that lies just ahead of us, that we must take the spirit for our guide ? Why would God say that as opposed to taking our prophet as our guide ? Maybe the spirit will become our new prophet & guide.

    The pattern always becomes MORE CLEAR as it repeats itself. The spirit once came as spirit to guide the Lord’s People. Now how much CLEARER could God make that pattern stand out, than to send the spirit in the flesh to be our prophet & guide ?

    If I were Jesus, I wouldn’t give that privildge to anyone BUT the spirit who has obviously EARNED that right. Yet I see no dicussion on this possibility. Why Not ? We are not ready as a people to meet our God. Someone like a modern day John the Baptist could sure give us a hand in that direction…And certainly possess the power & knowledge to get us where we need to be to welcome the arrival of our Savior. Somehow, someway, we have to take a QUANTUM LEAP beyond where we now stand. And another program designed to increase the efficiency of the Mormon Machine, just doesn’t seem like it will provide that effect.

    I envison a man who can get God’s Words & message across without having to rely on a tele prompter. The technological approach & politically correct crowd pushing us to perfection is getting very old….It’s not real. And it’s not true.

  89. I have closely watched for the signs given us and am up on the importance of the Lord having given us His Calendar with fixed days upon it that mark big events in time.

    I have never publicly made a prediction of these events but feel compelled to offer a few. I certainly could be wrong regaring the year this will happen but the pattern should hold true.

    Here are my predictions without any given explinations that might bore you…..The man of sin will make his appearance in the Navoo temple on April 8th of 2012. A man we are very familar with and have come to idolize above God.

    The Man like unto Moses ( The Holy Spirit in the flesh ) will be sent from God on May 27th, the day of penticost of 2012, in response to the prayers of the righteous to be delivered from evil.

    The days between the arrival of the man of sin to get the saints to believe a lie that he is God, and the day the Lord’s True Prophet arrives, will be days of Trepadation, fear and persecution for those who refuse this lie. A time of testing the faith of the true saints, not to crumble under the pressure of being far out numbered by the wicked of the church including most especially, it’s high leaders. Three of whom will bear witness against this false God and be trashed in the process.

    The arrival of the false God among us will mark the beginning of the “Strange ACT & WORK” that the Lord referes to in Isaiah. That causes the separation of the righteous & the wicked among the Lord’s People.

    The arrival of the Lord’s True Servant 50 days later, will mark the beginning of the Father’s “Great & Marvelous Work & a Wonder”.

    The 144,000 high priests to be set apart from all the tribes of Israel must take place BEFORE the judgments come upon the world at the very end of this year.

    The official gathering out will begin on 17 Sept. 2012, on the feasts of trumpets. The initial gathering will go on until the Day of the Lord brings nuclear annilation to the US and most of Europe by Russia. My best guess is Christmas Morning in the middle of the night.

    Further gatherings are to take place until the Lord’s return 3 1/2 years from the time the man of sin makes his appearance.

    Many saints who initially make a wrong choice to follow the lie sent by God for the wicked to believe in, will have a second chance at changing their minds if they manage to somehow escape being nuked.

    But the “LIES” main message will be two fold. 1. To convince the saints that he is God. 2. To persuade them there is nothing to worry about and STAY PUT in their homes when the True Prophet warns the saints to LEAVE them to avoid the nukes.

    The precursury event that brings about the man of sin appearing to us will most likely be the collaps of our economy that would DEFINATELY bring the saints to the feet of their leaders asking what they should do.

    All signs seem to point to 2012 as being this epic year of change for ALL of mankind, which BEGINS at the Lord’s House. The year that LEADS to judgment throughout 2013 and beyond for the wicked.

    I sure hope this be the case. So that we can leave Babylon & finally make our way to Zion.

  90. Thank you Zack for that thoughtful reply. I think your final statement is shared by so many people.
    “So that we can leave Babylon & finally make our way to Zion.”

    I personally really want things to start happening that will end the reign of wickedness etc. But as I have studied these things I see that things truly are happening.
    I point your minds to the fact that a personal view of what is the proper place of force upon others is the defining factor of what we judge to be good or evil. The institution which men have given the authority to use force is called government. Our personal view of what government can and should do is the spiritual law which we agree (in our hearts) to be judged by. The statement “as ye judge so shall ye be judged” is not speaking of just a final judgement but of an ongoing judgement of ourselves which produces the law of the harvest to occur in our lives. It presently keeps us out of the celestial realm physically and emotionally not ready for it.
    So back to point since this use of force is the defining factor then as we watch things happening in the political realm we are seeing the effects of a spiritual flow among the people.
    So when you have a president of the US saying openly that he has authority to kill a person without answering to God or man the you can know for yourself …things are happening big time!
    There are many signs of events of great spiritual import happening. It is requisite for evil to be allowed to grow to a degree that it can be readily seen for what it is. The tares need to grow up with the wheat (the non genetically alter type lol) and then those tares will bind themselves to each other and as always they will condemn themselves.
    I seek to bind myself to love and agency and by so doing I am finding more peace and contentment and trust in God’s timing.
    I will watch carefully for these things to happen regardless of the timetable.

  91. I am sorry because this is completely off topic, but I REALLY need an answer to this ASAP. I am looking for the scripture (I thought it was in the D&C) that states what to say when commanding an evil spirit or Satan to leave you alone or leave your presence. Please help?

  92. There is not a “how to” exactly but there are examples of people doing this. And that is where we can learn how. It is done in the name of Jesus Christ.
    Here in Pearl of Great price Moses 1>19-22
    19 And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.
    20 And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.
    21 And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.
    22 And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.
    Then in Moses 4:1 the Lord speaking to Moses says “1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten,”

    So we should cast out Satan in the name of Jesus Christ, The only Begotten or as Michal the archangel said it so succinctly, “The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9) It is by the power of Christ and our faith in .Jesus.. Forms are not so important as faith in Christ and in His name. Notice how when Moses, a really good man told Satan to leave without calling upon the name of the Lord Satan did not leave. But when he did say it in Christ’s name Satan, mad as he was did leave.
    I have had personal experience doing.this. And one time had to say it a couple of time right in a row. But the evil spirit did leave the person. Do you have to have the priesthood? I don’t think so. We are told that the sons of Sceva didn’t have the priesthood therefore the evil spirit attacked them. BUt what if there is not a male priesthood holder around? Or what about the many stories where people who were not LDS nor males called upon the name of the Lord to have Satan leave, and it worked?
    We are told that Acts 19:13-16 shows that you must have the proper authority to command Satan to depart in the name of Christ. I think that is not the case since as I say there are numerous example of ordinary people who have called on the name of Christ , with faith and the demons left. If you read Acts 19:13-16 it seems obvious that these men did not have faith in Christ, they just said Paul believed in Christ.

  93. The incident in Acts 19 is very helpful in answering all questions regarding commanding evil spirits. It is simple. Notice that we can not arrive at the conclusion that the sons of Sceva did not believe in Jesus or apply faith on Jesus’ name. Matter of fact the record indicates that they did. Why else would they use Jesus’ name to undertake the exorcism? But there is illustrated here an important difference between JESUS and CHRIST.

    Perhaps we could say that these men lacked faith IN CHRIST. If we read their words, what they said and what they did not say, we see that they obviously believed on the words of PAUL who taught them of JESUS. But we could say that to have a relationship with CHRIST is another thing altogether. It is ALL THINGS ALL TOGETHER and not solely a relationship of MASTER and SERVANT. Perhaps we can understand this better in terms of MESSAGE and MESSENGER. CHRIST is the MESSAGE. JESUS was the MESSENGER. When message meets messenger we are graced with the presence of the MESSIAH.

    There are some beings (good and evil) who simply can not be pushed around or moved by external pressure. So this second hand or worse still, third hand EX-Perience does not cut it, although it may seem very effective with the masses. Gerald Massey said: “They must find it difficult, those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than the TRUTH as authority.” It may be that there is some varying degree of strength available through this line of Fauxthority but it will always be severely limited as it is severed from the direct line. They who find it fun to wield this temporary tool in toying with God’s Children will only have joy in it for a time. They would be better off switching their neck ties for millstones. We can see them revel in moments of pretend power in General Conference scenes. Eldurr Oaks simultaneously REVEALED his preference for what he supposes to be the Priesthood Line and his ignorance of Eternal Pre-Stood Power, while CONcealing or dramatically downplaying what he called the Personal Line. Whereas today’s Apostate Apostles are called according to nothing more than the line of succession, it never has been God’s way to call men based on merely carnal or left-brained experience.The original 12 Apostles in Palestine even questioned or tried to rank Paul’s testimony as secondary since he did not walk with Jesus in the literal way that they had. In fact to those present, the visitation which Paul received on the road to Damascus would probably have appeared to them to be an epileptic seizure. Nevertheless, Paul, formally known as Saul underwent that name change because he had changed his nature from within.

    So even when we think we are invoking the “name” of Jesus, the most knowledgeable and therefore most destructive of evil spirits say to us: “Who are you?”, “Who do you think you are?”, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?” These are simple questions with one simple answer but we, like Alice in Wonderland, though we personify Truth, are left wondering or worse are sent running naked and wounded like the Sons of Sceva. The defiant questions of the adversary are interestingly just echoes of questions from the prophets and even the Master Messenger. “What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him?”, “But whom say ye that I am?” Together, not two-gether with the God of Israel we, like unto Moses can and should answer mightily, strongly, “I AM that I AM”.

  94. What Elder Chantdown has said is truth.

    Christine, this has helped me. Every time I have held God to this, I have been protected.
    Alma 37:37
    Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

    What Justin said works. Chantdown’s explanation will help your faith.

  95. If you go to lds.org and perform a search for “sceva,” you’ll find that there are two Joseph Smith quotes online in which he mentioned the sons of Sceva. Here is one of those quotations:

    “There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. Until he obeyed these ordinances and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man, and it obey him; for the spirits might say unto him, as they did to the sons of Sceva: ‘Paul we know and Jesus we know, but who are ye?’

    And here is the second quotation:

    And we hope that this adversary of truth will continue to stir up the sink of iniquity, that people may the more readily discern between the righteous and wicked. We also would notice one of the modern sons of Sceva, who would fain have made people believe that he could cast out devils, by a certain pamphlet (viz. the “Millenial Harbinger,”) that went the rounds through our country, who felt so fully authorized to brand Jo Smith, with the appellation of Elymus the sorcerer, and to say with Paul, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord! We would reply to this gentleman—Paul we know, and Christ we know, but who are ye? And with the best of feelings, we would say to him, in the language of Paul to those who said they were John’s disciples, but had not so much as heard there was a Holy Ghost, to repent and be baptised for the remission of sins by those who have legal authority, and under their hands you shall receive the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures.

    Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.—Acts: ch. 8, v. 17.

    And, when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them: and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.— Acts: ch. 19, v. 6.

    Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.—Heb. ch. 6, v.2.

    How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!—Rom. ch. 10, v. 14-15.

    But if this man will not take our admonition, but will persist in his wicked course, we hope that he will continue trying to cast out devils, that we may have the clearer proof that the kingdom of satan is divided against itself, and consequently cannot stand: for a kingdom divided against itself, speedily hath an end. If we were disposed to take this gentleman upon his own ground and justly heap upon him that which he so readily and unjustly heaps upon others, we might go farther; we might say that he has wickedly and maliciously lied about, vilified and traduced the characters of innocent men. We might invite the gentleman to a public investigation of these matters; yea, and we do challenge him to an investigation upon any or all principles wherein he feels opposed to us, in public or in private.

  96. The question kind of left hanging in the air here I would like LDSA to give his ideas upon it.
    In order to successfully command Satan to depart a place or a person (and Satan here could be any of Lucifer’s followers) Is it required to be
    1.male
    2. Received an ordination to the priesthood via the current SLC based LDS line of authority or one of the other lines since and through Joseph Smith?

  97. My understanding is that all that is required is that the name of God be invoked (Jesus Christ) and that the person using the name of God have faith on that name. So, it could be a man or a woman, and it is not necessary to have received either the Melchizedek or Aaronic priesthood orders. Nevertheless, as faith is a requirement, the Holy Ghost must be present, for it is the Spirit that gives authority and power to a person to speak in the name of Jesus Christ with faith (Nephi wrote, “the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things.”) This is the only priesthood order needed for casting out spirits.

    Joseph Smith’s words that I quoted seem to indicate that only those who have passed through the gate and are on the strait and narrow path have power to command spirits in the name of Jesus Christ. In other words, only those who have exercised “faith unto repentance,” repenting of all their sins, and have then received the baptism of water (witnessing that they have entered into a covenant with God) and the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. Such people are clean, or have received a remission of sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost, and thus their hearts have been purified by fire, their spirits sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, and they have become justified by their faith in Christ, by washing their garments in His atoning blood. So, the ordinance of laying on of the hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost plays into this, as well as the reception of the Spirit and baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

    Nevertheless, the Spirit can come upon a person prior to water baptism and a man can “exercise faith unto repentance,” in which an angel ministers to him and he repents of all his sins, making a covenant with God to keep all of His commandments, follow Him, take His name upon himself, etc., without yet witnessing it by baptism, and the man may be baptized in fire and in the Holy Ghost prior to baptism, becoming justified, purified and sanctified. In that state, being filled with the Spirit, he may have power to cast out spirits while the Spirit is upon him, but if he doesn’t enter through the gate and make the baptismal witness, the Spirit will leave him alone, removing any power to cast out evil spirits.

    So, I would say that unbaptized, unconfirmed persons casting out evil spirits would be the exception to the rule, not the rule. Typically, those outside of the ordinances of the church of God who claim to heal and cast out demons by the Spirit of God, by their faith, while remaining unbaptized and unconfirmed and rejecting the rest of the word of God that He has revealed in this dispensation, appear to me to be to be deceived and/or deceivers and their supposed healings and exorcisms also appear to be deceptions or of none affect. This is because they are still in their unredeemed state, with chains of hell still attached to them, so it would be akin to the devil casting out the devil. Nevertheless, someone who had no knowledge of the restoration, who only had a part of the word of God, through the Bible, who exercised great faith, could cast out demons prior to baptism, for they would not be in a state of rejecting God’s word.

    All baptized, confirmed persons should have power to cast out devils and unclean spirits if they have passed through the gate and are on the path. But it doesn’t appear (to me) that very many people have done this. It seems that people go through the motions of the ordinances, baptism and confirmation, but never actually exercise faith, receiving the ministration of angels, nor fully repent of their sins, not being stripped of their pride, nor do they receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. Nevertheless, once those things have been received, a person who is free from Satan’s grasp (being purified) should have power to cast out all evil spirits in God’s name, per D&C 50.

  98. So as I understand it then this is what explains the various scriptures and other quotes and reconciles the observed experiences of some.
    The determining factor in the state of a person’s heart and soul. If they are redeemed by faith in Christ then they will have power over Satan in the name of Christ. That same true conversion to the pure gospel of Christ will lead them to the true ordinances in time. If the logistics are in place for them to receive these ordinances and they reject them then they are going against the light and truth which they have been given and because of this the Holy Ghost will leave them and they will lose the power to act in Christ’s name. Satan will not heed their words because they are not under the direction of the Spirit of God.
    This comports with an observation which Moses made just prior to casting Satan away from him. Moses 1:15 “Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me” Had it fully withdrawn Moses would not have been able to cast Satan out.
    So for Christine and all of us retain the Holy Ghost in your lives, then you will have power to cast Satan out of your lives.
    The posts here which expound the scriptures regarding Faith, Hope and Charity explain how to retain the Holy Ghost as our guide.
    The formulas of the current LDS SLC church don’t cut it. They dwell on certain actions and not the actual things of faith in Christ and Charity. They will talk about no coffee and tea, no alcohol or tobacco, “clean” thoughts, paying tithing, attending church services, and fulfilling your assignments as ways to obtain and retain the Holy Ghost. And yet each and all of these things are regularly expected by the institutions Satan has setup in the earth and his followers in them. Such requirements serve to point our minds away from the true work of serving God and following Christ. And they cause cognitive dissonance when we follow the counsel of the brethren and we still don’t obtain the gifts of the spirit.

  99. In the initial days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) there was much revelation/scripture concerning the “greater things” to come. The Book of Mormon was referenced as the “lesser portion.” There was strong admonition that if the saints “receive not the lesser portion, the greater things will be withheld” unto their condemnation, and ‘would be given to another.’
    This begs a few simple questions–the first being, is it good to even question? Was the Church condemned, or did they in fact, at some point, receive the greater portion?
    And, if they did not yet receive it, is “the greater record to come” still anticipated? Could the Urantia Book (sometimes called the Urantia Papers) be that “greater portion.” Why has not the LDS church come out with a statement regarding the Urantia Book?
    The word ‘Urantia’ is simply another name for Earth — The Earth Book. Not at all to be confused with the word ‘Unitarian’ there is no relation between the two words.

    Mormonism and the Fullness of Times..
    Most LDS people know the story of “The First Vision” regarding the two-thirds, the “sealed” portion of the “golden plates,” but are left wondering, ‘what was contained therein?’ In the 180 years since those beginning days there seems to be little expectation or anticipation any more, at least openly, regarding the “two-thirds.”
    Curt, I just read your article posted at https://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/the-apostasy-of-the-lds-church/. Firstly, I applaud you in your writing ability, and of the objective focus you keep in your presentation. i was doing an online word search for a friend regarding E.T. Benson’s “this Church is condemned” speach back in 1987.
    These things of 3rd Nephi are regarding the time when, after His death and resurrection in Jerusalem, Jesus did appear to those on the American continent, and taught them “great and unspeakable things,” the “greater things. “ There was so much information given to them, even ‘one hundred times more’ than what the Book of Mormon contained.
    6. And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people;
    8. And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. (3rd Nephi 26)
    Almost 600 years earlier, it was one, Nephi, an author within the Book of Mormon who prophesied concerning the “sealed” words of which his writings were a part:
    But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver; neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof. (2 Nephi 27:10)
    Has the Lords “own due time” come and gone? or not yet?
    In the recent decades, the LDS leadership has maintained that the present volume of scripture, “the standard works” does contain the “fullness.” L. Tom Perry, a senior Apostle for the LDS church declared in May 2007:
    Our message is unique. We declare to the world that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth.(“The Message of the Restoration,” Ensign, May 2007)
    If so, what was this “condemnation” spoken of in 3rd Nephi noted above? Likewise, what of this acknowledgement of condemnation from section 84 of Doctrine and Covenants regarding the “whole church:”
    54. And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
    55. Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
    56. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
    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—
    59. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.
    Did the early saints break free from this condemnation?
    Moroni, the son of Mormon from whom the Book of Mormon was named, said if the future recipients would not condemn his writings, they would know of the greater things:
    12. And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.(Mormon chapter 8)
    Referring to the church Prophet and founder, Joseph Smith, it is recorded in December of 1830:
    7 For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead. (28th section of Doctrine and Covenants)
    18. And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead. (35th section of Doctrine and Covenants)
    It is a contention of many offshoots of Mormonism that, yes, “another” was planted in the “stead” of the prophet Joseph inasmuch as he never “unsealed” those things that were sealed. And, as noted, the LDS leadership of recent decades teach the Book of Mormon, and other “standard works” are all that is needed—the fullness.
    Nonetheless, it is the careful conversation on the lips of many faithful saints wondering the contents of the sealed portion, and why the topic is not an open discussion.
    Here are some clues perhaps—the opening of the seal to the greater portion was to be in the “last times.” In March 1839, the saints were given these words from the 121st section of the Doctrine and Covenants:
    26. God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;
    27. Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fullness of their glory;
    28. A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.
    29. All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    30. And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars—
    31. All the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fullness of times—
    32. According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.
    And from Section 128 of Doctrine and Covenants:
    …And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times.
    One could easily surmise, with the given LDS scripture presented on the topic, that there were ‘two’ records kept that were intended for ‘those at the last days.’ The first—the ‘lesser things’ which was to come forth first to “try their faith;” and sometime following, the second, ‘the greater things’ or the ‘sealed portion’ was to contain the mysteries of God … ‘all things from the beginning of time even down to the time when He should come his second time’ … ‘whether be one God or many god’ … the ‘times and revolutions of times’ and particularly we would recognize it because it would contain the ‘greater things Jesus taught.’
    Is it possible that the other “greater things” did come forth? But, not through the LDS channel? The Urantia Papers surely fit all the aspects of what the ‘greater portion was to contain.’ The information contained in the Urantia Papers take one back trillions of years and presents the cosmology and chronology of time and space since including our speck of the cosmos, Earth (Urantia) and of its inception 4.5 billion years ago.

    Here are other tenets of the 2196 pages of the Urantia Book which would qualify it to be that “greater things” prophesied:

    • As far as mankind can comprehend — the ‘beginning of time’
    • Whether there be one God or many gods. (God the Father, the Supreme, Ancients of Days, etc)
    • Times and revolutions of times (very very detailed)
    • Full account of ‘created’ evolution
    • In-depth explanation of the ‘war in heaven’ … the Lucifer Rebellion
    • Details of the many ages ‘before’ Adam and Eve came here from their world ‘Edentia’
    • The greater story of Adam and Eve, the true understand of Eve’s folly and Adam’s fall
    • Very detailed accounting of one Melchizedek, and his role/mission here to Earth to prepare the way for the ‘one God’ who was to come
    • Details about the time-line from Adam to present
    • Corrections of misconceptions, i.e. the great flood; the plight of Israel; Book of Revelations, the Resurrection
    • The great covenant of Abraham and Melchizedek’s teachings two by two to all the world.
    • The numbers of ‘other’ inhabited planets of times and space, and their proximity to Earth.
    • The full breakdown of the Seven Mansion worlds where mortal ascenders ascend from here
    • The eternal near never-ending eternal progression of man.
    • Much detail regarding the breakdown of science, the atoms, the molecular structure of life
    • The histories of the evolved races of mankind.
    • Much detail and time-line regarding the pre-historic dinosaur life
    • A more clear and inviting understanding of “hell.”
    • The evolution of the various beliefs, mores, traditions and philosophies of mankind.
    • A birds-eye view and presentation of the evolved religions of Earth’s history.
    • A thorough accounting as to why our Earth was selected, among the trillions of worlds, for Jesus’ incarnation as ‘man among men.’
    • Almost one-third of the Urantia Papers (700+ pages) are attributed to the daily life teachings of Jesus …
    • Why “Joseph and Mary” versus someone else? Why Jerusalem? Why at the timing of 2000 years ago? What happened to his father Joseph? Did he have siblings (yes 9 of them)
    • The full account of Jesus family life, his youth, the teen years, the young adult years, his relationship to his mother Mary and father Joseph and how Jesus assumed the role as father to the younger siblings when Joseph died of a carpentry accident in Jesus’ 14th year.
    • In Jesus early adult life, how he traveled much of the world and the impact his life had on the world as a curious traveler, teacher and lover of people
    • Nearly 300 pages are attributed to Jesus’ public teachings. Detailed accounts of what he taught the masses, as well as those closest to him.
    • A clear presentation of how a normal would be if not for the Lucifer Rebellion and default of Adam/Eve, and how this world will evolve and make corrections back to normal … the coming ages of Light and Life
    • The expected return of Adam and Eve
    • A clearing-the-air of the misconceptions of Jesus’ promise to return….his Second Coming

    Yes, one could definitely say the Urantia Papers–transmitted from 1905-1935 and printed in 1955–contain “one hundred times” more information than all other “scripture” combined. It references itself as the “Fifth Epochal Revelation” to mankind, a gift to our world in the early stages of our enlightenment. Certainly the Book of Mormon, was a precursor and perhaps took the brunt of darts from the “hell-fire-and-damnation” folks who charged it was “of the devil” to have more than just “the Bible.”
    The Urantia Book’s information is intended to take the ‘mystical’ out of religion, and undo the bonds of tradition, replacing with logic, truth and reason. The only ‘mystery’ of the Urantia Papers may be regarding its delivery to planet earth. Still, after 55 years since it’s print, there is no known human author or organization who claims it “as theirs.” It is purported to be the gift to all mankind and all religions—to bring about the Fatherhood of God and the ‘brotherhood of mankind.’
    The US Supreme Court around 2001 upheld the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the Urantia Book was “revelatory” and therefore not copyrightable.
    In fact, one could say it is the only claim of any record on the earth, of any religion, which does contain all the expectations of “the greater things to come” once spoken in Mormonism.
    Should the LDS Church leadership ever acknowledge that they ‘missed’ the receipt of the “greater things to come” and that there are ‘some among them’ who believe the Urantia Book just may be those things, it would clear up much confusion regarding the “sealed portion.”

    If the LDS First Presidency were to simply announce something such as … ‘the membership of this church are free to study the Urantia Papers and decide for themselves of God’s further revelations of truth, and can feel free to do so without ‘any’ retribution from Church leadership’ … this would open the floodgates toward filing in the blanks towards the ultimate truth of our past, present and future.

    Calvin Len Mckee
    Len.mckee@yahoo.com

  100. In 1987–after having been a most active LDS member all my life even to the point of not drinking Pepsi or Coke–I found myself in a deep search for meanings to the very points you have posed in your article. To the T–the very points and including a few more — concerning the “words of Isaiah which are so important to those of the last days”

    I was so moved by the words, “if the words of Isaiah are not plain and simple to you, it is because of your unbelief and darkness and all is in vain.” (something like that… excerpts from 2 Ne. 25 and Mormon 8, as I recall).

    Well, Isaiah was Greek to me and I accepted that I was one such ‘in the dark’ and apparently for me, ‘all is in vain.’ So, I turned to my superiors (church leaders) and to church books to become enlightened about Isaiah, and to no avail. There was Skousen material about the history of Isaiah, but no one claimed to know the meaning of Isaiah’s words which “were so important to those at the last days.”

    I did the one thing, I guess I had never really ever done before … I decided to ‘not trust in the arm of flesh’ and to simply “ask God.” Wow, what an opening of Isaiah that became for me!!! I was so excited to not only have my eyes opened about Isaiah but so many others … such as these words from Ezekiel which is the crux of all your article presents: ….

    Ezekiel 14:

    7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself:

    8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

    9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

    10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;

    11 That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord God.

    My church superiors told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was on the brink of apostasy if I didn’t cease and desist, and fall in line with the ‘current leaders.’ I could not do that. I was a-buzz with my new-found excitement. I was advised that I would lose my family, wife and my 5 children as well as my church membership if I did not stop.

    Then, my search led me to this verse in the Mathew 10:

    ” He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

    There is so much to share, but this caused me so concern and self-examination–I did not want to lose my family or my soul. I was willing to be wrong so I went to SLC to talk with the 1st Presidency. Of course they wouldn’t let me in, so I announced I’d just sit out on the front steps until they ‘did’ let me in. They conceded, after what seemed about an hour. I got to meet with the “assistant to the 1st Presidency (brother Harvey).

    After showing him a good sampling of the many findings of LDS scripture that had me so perplexed, he stoped me and said–“son, you can’t be a member of this church and believe those things you are telling me–you know that don’t you?”

    I replied to him, “I concede that I might be out in left field and that my interpretations may be sooo in error, but “I didn’t write those things, they are from church scriptures … and if my interpretations are wrong, then please, correct me,” I plead.

    I will forever appreciate brother Harvey and his honesty to me. I know he felt my sincerity and sympathized with me, for he looked down at my marked up scriptures for about 30 long seconds and then looked up at me and said, “I’m going to level with you, I don’t know what those things mean either and I don’t know who does know….I’ve been wondering those same things all my life.”

    I thanked him with tears of appreciation flowing now, and gave him a huge hug (I think that was the first time I ever hugged another male). I knew I was free to trust in what was being shown me from on high. With feelings of freedom I’d never felt before, I went out that day a completely new-feeling person, in search of that “greater things to come” as promised in 2 Ne. 28.

    I must say, in all my 25 years since the day I sat in the First Presidency’s office (1987) and I was asking the very same questions as you pose in your article, I have not yet encountered another who perceives those very passages as I did, until I read your article. It is refreshing.

    There are no words to express what it was I did find 4 years after walking out of that meeting with brother Harvey. I had all but given up my search and lo-and-behold, a former co-worker, John, who had just returned from Desert Storm (1991) came walking in to my work carrying a big blue thick book, which someone had given him to read while on his tour of duty. I had told John (a catholic fellow in his upbringing) of my plight in the years prior.

    John was excited to tell me he had found that book I was looking for … the “greater things’ I had told him so much about of which I was searching. At first I thought, ‘oh, here we go again,” for I had encountered so many claims from every form of fundamentalist there is out there … but it only took about 5 seconds to recognize it once I quickly thumbed through the 2097 pages.

    It was an unexpected surprise to find that “it (Urantia Book) belonged to no church or organization.’ It was completely generic and no one was trying to promote it or to build a religion around it. It contained all the parts of the “greater things” Mormonism had forecast.

    Very ironic to me was (and still is) , that it’s Library of Congress No. is the same date as my birthday 55-10554. My life and experience has been so very changed and different in those days since. Though I lost my church membership, I gained a whole universe. I did not lose my family and kids however (just the x-wife :-).

    I would love to chat with you. I’ll try to find your number. Mine is 801-597-9828.

    To be of some service to this changing world, I do my best at trying to write articles on what I’ve learned and experienced. So far I think I’ve posted about 100 articles. I post them at Examiner.com a website out of Denver. Here is a sample: http://www.examiner.com/religion-science-in-salt-lake-city/the-matchless-mysterious-melchizedek

    It is my conviction that the Church will revitalize and that the cleansing will begin this year toward that “new heaven and new earth.” I believe that “Israel” … (not those in the church but perhaps the Jews or Lamanites) is ready to step up to the pump and embrace those cosmic realities that this new changing world is ready to embrace–a part of which is the knowledge of our extended universe family–those on other worlds and those unseen not ‘of’ this world but who are among us. … the Kingdom of God among men.

    I am ready to approach the Church Leaders again. I would like a good chat with someone like yourself first. This time I feel led to sit down with Elder B.K. Packer.

    My insight tells me that President Monson is not the man for the tasks ahead–that of setting in order the house of God. I don’t think any of the present leaders are that person, but that Elder Packer perhaps was one of the Quorum in agreement with President Benson back in about 1992 when he tried to ‘steady the ark of God’ but was instead shorn of his power. That was when Monson and Hinkley took over as acting First Presidency, over-riding Benson. I’d like to know what you know about that event—In fact, it was what I was searching for which led me to your article.

    I could discuss these things for hours on end, but I’ll stop here for now J.

    Again, your article is so very refreshing and appreciated.

    Calvin Len Mckee

    PS: I’m guessing you’ve already found this below … but Perhaps the most profound passage, to me, I found in Isaiah 28. I know of no other people, except the LDS, who refer to themselves as the “seed of Ephraim.” In light of that consider the following and notice the words about the “one might and strong” and about “line upon line, precepts upon precepts.”

    Chapter 28

    Woe to the drunkards of Ephraim!—Revelation comes line upon line and precept upon precept—Christ, the sure foundation, is promised.

    1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the adrunkards of bEphraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of cthe fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!

    2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a atempest of hail and a destroying bstorm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

    3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:

    4 And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the ahasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

    5 ¶In athat day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of bglory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

    6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.

    7 ¶But athey also have berred through cwine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the dprophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

    8 For all tables are full of vomit and afilthiness, so that there is no place clean.

    9 ¶Whom shall he teach aknowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are bweaned from the cmilk, and drawn from the breasts.

    10 For precept must be upon precept, aprecept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

    11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

    12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

    13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, aprecept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and bfall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

    14 ¶Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.

    15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing ascourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our brefuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

    16 ¶Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a afoundation a bstone, a tried stone, a precious ccorner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

    17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

    18 ¶And ayour covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

    19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.

    20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.

  101. To those who dare to believe the Urantia Book just may be that “greater things” (2/3rds of plates, perhaps) … consider the following ‘transmission’ from father Abraham (husband of Sarah–father to Isaac) this very last year, and also of our dear sister Mary (Magdalene). No man in all history has more heart ties to mankind than does Abraham (Jews, Muslims and Christians all claim Abraham). Equally, no woman of history has more ties to the hearts of women of the world today than does Mary, the one who first beheld the risen Lord. I am pleased to say these both, Mary and Abraham are not gone at all, but are alive and well in our Universe. They are assigned to continue helping us in what they term “the Correcting Time.” There is no church associated with their teachings–but only perhaps the church of daily experience in whatever belief-system one might be a part. These transmissions will soon be posted on a website http://www.mansionworldteachings.org and http://www.mansionworldteachings.net …. in the meantime, feel free to email me and I’ll forward you the past 20 years of these most wonderful lessons. I might point out that Abraham also discloses that there are 23 other groups around the world in which he is their instructor/teacher. They (Mary and Abraham) are totally unseen personages. They are simply elder brothers and sisters who are commissioned to return to us as guides, friends and teachers. What a blessing they have been to me. Here are 2 recent lessons/transmisisons:

    Meeting with Abraham and Mary
    March 27, 2011
    Woods Cross Group
    I am Abraham. Greetings. I am honored to be a branch on your family tree. I notice I feel a comfort here that gives me a strength. We have our close associates as well as business associates, so to speak. Here among you I feel an open range of possibilities and a safety in the fact that we as close associates have unconditional love. To have this level of friendship does show the beginnings of Light and Life.
    We all know that this planet was experimental. This Correcting Time is also a learning experience. You can even say this group began with an experiment, and I would like to acknowledge the bond that has developed over the years.
    When we first began the Correcting Time we had our assigned tasks and went forth with the intent to see to their completion. Honestly, most of us as Teachers and students had not the foresight of where this was to go. As I am seeing such progress, I am with such joy that I am witness to Father’s inner-workings. We all have our assigned tasks, or spirit inclinations and we move forward with good intent and are not with the knowledge of what our work will create. As people of faith, you turn within for guidance and it really is miraculous how you are so daring to move forward with your spirit inclinations.
    As time has moved forward, our study materials may become a bit outdated and in this Correcting Time you will learn for yourself new and updated processes of morontia mota. It would be a good time to review that section of the (Urantia) Book and think back over your years of experience, and perhaps you will discover what new lessons that apply to this day and age.
    I am Mary. Greetings to you, my friends. I am with joy every time we spend time together. I can confirm Abraham’s words that it is definitely a new era on this planet. There are so many new issues that have come about … not only in the time since I have worn the flesh, but just in this beginning of the Correcting Time.
    I am learning new definitions in life, today’s mortal life. I am witness to mortals clinging to old standards or traditions, and not having acceptance for new ideas. However, it is wonderful to see so many individuals get involved with family, community and government. Ears are opening and people are realizing ‘life is moving with or without them.’
    We each have a different perspective on various situations and can be open or closed to the growth. Homosexuality for example … many looking at same sex partners have a different perspective on what makes life ‘right,’ and we have learned together; and as students that to make effort to stray away from judgment. It is because of evolution on this experimental planet that we must allow our perception to be open to Fathers definitions.
    Did the Life Carriers many years ago know how this planet would be today? No. but they went forth with their tasks … and evolution, and adaptation, has always been a part of mortal life. There are some things mortals just do not know about—the science of the ‘why and how our world has came to be’—as it is this day. But, we as Teaching Mission participants can always be open to new changes.
    You have said yourselves many times, I used to think this … now I think this. Some issues in life are an outworking of evolution. And it is a bad idea to make judgments on the issues of today. You can say ‘I am resentful of a certain race of people for they infringe upon my life-style,’ but you do not know why they are infringing … and are they? Are they not Fathers children?
    We are each going to have to slide closer together at Fathers table to make room for others. No matter their lifestyle, race, religion, gender or status in society. You have the responsibility to take up the Masters example and put it forth in daily living. I can say, when you are with judgment or resentment that your perspective will stay small and this pushes down the spirit.
    They say, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ … that might be true but you are mortals with a mindal link to all there is. You have the First Source and Center at your finger-tips. You have Mother’s Seven Adjutant Mind Spirits for training and the wind of Michael’s Spirit of Truth sweeping out the dark places to allow new light in. We have accepted these assignments from Father and we must take up our responsibility. We must always go within and see what the Spirit says … see how your perception can be different in a moment.
    We, within, are like a well and must dip our cup often and see what the Spirit says. How can one still judge another with the knowledge of our First Source and Center. How can we attempt to hold back evolution when we genuinely seek within the Fathers guidance and know of His love for us.
    We are compassionate, yes, but also searching within for logic. And somewhere at some time each one of you have enlisted in this cause –we are helpers in moving evolution. For the most part I am saying we each keep an open mind and do our best to help others. But, beware of the drama that causes internal disturbance. I am not saying, embrace all things. I am suggesting we first, go within and see what the Spirit says.
    In this Correcting Time we will see how our ego moves and be witness to others egocentricities … but at this time the world moves fast and we are lighthouses in the sea of everything. As helpers in the Correcting Time we know where our knowledge comes from and we are saying to be open to growth and change. Things are not really what they appear to be and we are with the gift of Fathers presence to be guided to correct thinking—higher thinking, yes.
    I can’t take questions this evening but I am not far away from you, should you call on me. Know that Abraham and myself do smile upon you like parents. You bring us tremendous love and we are grateful always. We send you with our love. Go in peace. Shalom.

    ABRAHAM & MARY
    FEBRUARY 20, 2011
    WOODS CROSS GROUP

    I am ABRAHAM. Greetings. Our time together has become very precious to me. I am so inspired by your enthusiasm when you gather together. I feel re-energized meeting with you. Over the last few weeks we have been extremely busy and to come back here to you is rest for our souls. We thank you.

    There is so much activity taking place all over the world and changes are happening. These changes are good but will not come easy. Hard work and patience will be the key to a world that is truly free. I am seeing many
    mortals who are somewhat lost and have forgotten the joy in life. Many of these mortals forget to include Father, the Master and Mother into daily living. Without them we tend to overlook the value life has to offer. In losing this value we feel we are losing our purpose to keep striving.

    I am also intrigued by the fact that atheism is a growing movement. Many individuals have been soured by religion and have thrown out the baby with the bath water. This movement will be short-lived; however you can help by being an example of the Master’s life.

    I am MARY and am so grateful to be with you again. It is strange that in various parts of the world there is so much unrest and believe it or not, we find peace when we can come to see you. I can understand Abraham’s words this evening. I know during my time in the flesh I had seemingly come to a spiritual stalemate. My overall commitment was to the Master and sharing the good news, but day after day and all the chores we needed to do, our spiritual life became a lower priority. Our minds became about accomplishments and completing tasks.

    At times in our spiritual education we tend to arrive at some point in our thinking that we know all there is to know; we know what to expect in life and the adventures are over. I can say that during these times in my earthly life I would experience extreme agitation and did not set a very good example of one who had known the Master. Hardships became harder. Hopelessness grew beyond my control. I had felt completely overwhelmed and so alone. It was a terrible downward spiral.

    In this darkness it was almost by accident that I parted the curtain, so to speak, and allowed the light to come in. I knew that Father understood my plight and still I did not know what steps I should be taking. There was an understanding then that I needed to completely surrender and give my burden to the Father. My understanding was that Father had always been there for me. My life was so much improved with Father in it. My burdens were lighter when Father was included in my life. I felt not that loneliness that is harmful to the mortal life. Father gave us one another for a reason and it matters not if you are blood related to others. It is important that we reach out. It is important that we socialize, have conversation, and bounce ideas off of one another.

    To have healthy relationships in your mortal life reminds you of the value to be had. You are reminded of why you work so hard. We work not just to feel tired and burdened, no. We work for the joy that is to be found in this life. You have not found out all there is to know in this life and with every advancement there are new phases to learn and new different communication from the Thought Adjuster. Different, meaning on your path you learned of a concept, but with the advanced Thought Adjuster communication the concept becomes enlarged and there is much more understanding to be had.

    You have heard the term “God can move mountains,” and I would recommend that you incorporate this understanding into the practice of your faith. When your vision, attitude, or understanding is stuck then are you less likely to have faith that Father can move these mountains. It is very important to stay observant and open-minded. As the world grows and changes we will need to keep updated as Teaching Mission participants, so we can help others to expand in their faith.

    This week Abraham and I are recommending that you reinforce your social network. Make time to dissect the areas of your faith and see if there is time to enjoy what you work so hard for. You each know it is acceptable for others to have various faiths or religious understandings. We are not here to change anyone, but are just here to live our lives like we know the Master. Remember His happy countenance. He did indeed work hard and delegate tasks, but He also knew when it was time to take a break, be with Father, or be with family and friends.

    That is all for this evening. Know that Abraham and I are growing with much love for you each. Please know of our appreciation of your welcoming arms and helping us to feel serenity so we can go back to or work. Our love goes with you. Until next time, Shalom.

  102. I was looking at this same topic on a different LDS forum and felt I couldn’t repsond. They limit the extent to which they are willing to discuss certain possibilities when it comes to Apostacy in the church. I supposed that is natural considering the Apostacy in the church being very wide spread.

    My feelings are this when it comes to why not much is being spoken by our leaders with regard to Apostacy.

    The general things I’ve heard is that the Brethren are surely aware of the terrible things going on in the world around us but choose to refrain from openly calling our political leaders and world leaders to repentance.

    Their reasoning is, that if they did this, it would bring the wrath of Satan upon the church and the saints would be heavily persecuted. So this is what the Brethren are attempting to avoid. And that through righteous member behavior, the Lord’s People will have God’s Blessings upon them and they will quietly exist beneath the radar of persecution.

    But there seems to me to be many inconsistent scriptural flaws to this approach.

    First off, the scriptures say the Saints WILL be persecuted. So why would the Brethren withhold boldly speaking the truth to avoid that ? No prophet in the past ever did that.

    To adopt the view that persecution would come from these outside social & political entities if they were called to repentance, suggests there is a perception among the Brethren that Apostacy by in large only exists OUTSIDE of the church, with the exception of the occasional member who insists on expounding the truth & being marked as an Apostate.

    My question to that would be….Apostate to what ? An enemy of Truth or the Brethern. ? Obviously it can not be an enemy to the Truth for a willingness to stand for it INSPITE of opposition, even from Our Leaders putting on the pressure for members to quell their Patriotic & Loyal desires toward God and our Constitution.

    So why WOULD the Brethen remain as silent as possible in the face of the worst state of Apostacy this world has ever known ?

    Could it be not wanting to expose their own Apostae condition & cowardess that comes fom that restraint ? And an absolute COMPLETE blinding self righteous image they have of themselves & a particular paradigmn they have adopted concerning a warped view of Zion ?

    I think a little simple phsycology tells the tale. And would it serve the successful objective of Satan to camoflauge this whole thing in such an OUTWARDLY perfect fashion as to fool the vast majority of the memebrship and public in general ?

    This would suggest an internal Secret Combination between Satan & our Leaders. Hard to believe but the psyco anylitical observations present a very clear but disturbing picture. One that by natue would be rejected by those who are wiling to make personal compromises when it comes to the truth, whether practicng it or a lack of willingness to DEFEND it at all costs.

    My estamation is that the average member is simply unwilling to DEFEND truth for fear of opposition or persecution & readily accept the comfortable instructions from our leaders to remain NEUTRAL in our stance for truth. This contradicts common sense and Loyalty to God and HisTruth.

  103. The most important aspect of being called to repentance is being given the CHANCE to excersize it.

    Our leaders are PREVENTING ourselves & the world a shot at repentance. They have already CONDEMED those who MIGHT REPENT if given the chance.

    That is absolute COWARDESS on the part of ANYONE who ignores the truth, whether leader or lay member or odinary citizen of every nation.

    By our leaders adopting this lay-low, low level approach to presenting the Gospel to the world without the emphasis being on the GREAT NEED for repentance, is practicing false religion.

  104. Satan must be very pleased with the success he has had in creating a buch of selfish, self righteous, cowardly deniers of God & Truth. And the proof of that is our leaders having bought into the politically correct limitations to accessing the truth that Satan has inspired.

    They bask in cow towing to Satan as opposed to standing up for God.

    It is very spiritually sickening to me & themselves. For me having to look upon their disease and for them having it.

    It’s not to hard to imagine what John the Baptist & Jesus were thinking of the Pharasees.

  105. And the bottom line motive for the way they are, is for the purpose of promulgating & protecting the CORPORATE WEALTH of the church. All other aspects to the church are SUBORDINATE to that cause.

    And the members jumping on to that band wagon of material delusion is what has generaly caused the greatest damage to our spirits. And has BLINDED the members into thinking that merely performing good works is now the KEY to gaining access to the Celestial Kingdom.

    What happened to the Lord’s Atonement being the focal aspect to that ?

    The very inception of this corporate aspect of the Lord’s Church, is what has earned it’s reputation in Revelations as being the Great & abominable Church and whore of the earh.

    We are a world ( ly ) church now and obsessed with material gain & comforts. That above all else decribes the whore who has prostituted herself in the form of a worldy corporation that epitomizes Satan’s offer to Jesus when being tempted in the wilderness that He REFUSED.

  106. Surely THE atichrist will arise from our own First Presidency. Each religion will have their own. But the Lord specifically refers to His COVENANT church as being the worst culprit of denieing God.

    This is why John was AMAZED at what he was seeing with regard to the Whore of the Earth & the Mystery of Iniquity. He was having a hard time grasping the fact that it was GOD’S OWN CHURCH that had fallen into such a depraved state of Apostacy, after having been originally established with such Blessings & Effort on the part of Joseph Smith & the righteous Saints.

    I believe we are going to see this surface and come to a head this
    year

  107. Catholosism is the whore that replaced the original church that Jesus established and is still with us. But the truth & church were once again restored, only to become an even Greater Whore, with even Greater Sinister intentions of decieving it’s own people. ( The grand Delusion & Lie contained in 2 Thessalonians ).

    And the Lord allows this to take place as a means of our being able to excercise our OWN free agency in whether or not we accept that Lie.

    Thus bringing about the Great Separation between the Righteous & the Wicked, FIRST among the Lord’s Own People.

  108. As far as the Great Delusion & the revealing of the Man of Sin are concerned, it should occur in accordance with two things.

    1. A pattern of evil revelation and occurances that MIMIC the truth.

    2. It will occur in accordace with a particular FIXED DAY on the Lord’s Calendar given to Moses, to mimic fixed days of importance to revealing Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. But of course must PRECEED that event in order to create an Illusion of the truth and a DELUSION to the wicked among the Lord’s people and the earth.

    All for the purpose of the Lord allowing us to CHOSE between the Lie or the Truth.

  109. And if adhearing to the truth over the lie, it will mean the worst kind of persecution…Persecution by our own Brothers & Sisters. This type of persecution is far worse than the kind endured by the Lord’s people of His day when being slaughtered by the Romans. It is FAMILY telling you that you are crazy & evil…The SADDEST and most Heart Wrenching of ANY situation a Covenant Child of God must endure.

  110. I have seen several people expound upon who the antichrist mentioned in Thessalonians is. Issac Newton who spent 80% of his time studying the scriptures and 20% of his time studying science and math talked about it but I have never really been satisfied with any explanation of who that person is or will be.
    I believe he will be a man who has both government power and religious power. And the word religious there is in the sense Justin used it to say, we want truth, we want spirituality, we want the things of God but we don’t want religion. Religion being simply another form of men ruling over others. It is just cannon law as opposed to civil law. So the antichrist it seems will have both those forms of man made satan inspired power. Both of them exercise unrighteous dominion over people. As all dominating of people is evil.
    This is truly the opposite of Christ who like his Father allows all things their agency at all times. In his earthly mission Jesus personified a man with no earthly power. No church calling, no government power at all. He was rejected of both and He rejected both.
    But MItt Romney will most likely be the next US president. And if the LDS corporate church is destroyed by the lack of a legal successor he will probably be ordained by the few remaining 70 who are also CFR members to be the head of the organization which true blue mormons believe is currently the LDS church. And then there will be a man whom the deceived among the LDS will see as sent from God to combine the power of the Priesthood with the power of the civil law and begin ruling with a rod of iron, preparing the way for the political kingdom of God to be established.
    Yes that would be the antichrist way of doing things. The separation between those who honor agency and those who seek to deprive others of agency will be the division of the wicked from the righteous. When it becomes politically correct to force others to obey a set of church rules then watch people’s true colors come out.

  111. “Moses’ Seat” Tidbit

    If I may add a little tidbit about the “Moses’ Seat” scripture. If you have done the historical and contextual study then you would understand that the “Moses’s Seat” is an actual seat in the synagogue where the priests would sit to read aloud the Torah (YAHWEH’s holy word) only and are not allowed to elaborate or comment on what was read while sitting in the seat. So when Yahshua was saying to do what those who sit in “Moses’ Seat” He was reinforcing YAHWEH’s laws and commandments in theTorah and not the dictates of the leaders.

    I hope this may help. Thanks.

  112. This is the first time I have found loving, complete, experienced guidance in this area. I have dealt with a brother sinking in Fundamentalism. He is a good man, but bitter, confused. I felt very ready for this. Brother Porritt, thank you. I am very pleased to find such a comprehensive reconciliation of the issues I’ve been dealing with with my brother, who I love with all my heart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Spot on. Spot on.

  113. As things have rolled into this current year, it has been a succession of stunning political events that most definitely suggest America is asleep at the wheel.

    Please dear God, let’s get this show on the road…

    Let there be a collapse of our nation. Let there come a rise of Zion.

    Let us put our Faith in God. Let us follow whoever He sends.

    And let us know between good & evil. Let us not be deceived by those who would proclaim to be of God but are not. Especially among our fellow Saints from top to bottom.

    And give us the strength to endure what we must for truth’s sake.

  114. Hello, please message VERY IMPORTANT for GOD’S PEOPLE!

    I am witness! great tribulation is almost here! the spiritual plagues coming into all churches on earth!
    All churches on earth are spiritually apostate! They are following another jesus Revelation 17:8! the true body of Christ not in church buildings or behind the pulpit!
    Hear my testimony on video just google,”Christ testimony of the churches around the world”!

    God is calling his people out of the man made churches and their teachings on earth. Luke17:20-24>Dan 12:7>Matt13:24-30>John 11:52!
    the outpouring of God’s Spirit happens just before great tribulation Joel 2:28-30;Acts 2:16-20; Revelation 7:1-3, 13-14, Daniel 12:7,10.

    I am witness to seeing the beast ascended out of the bottomless pit. The beast is in perdition even as you read this message. This perdition is 3.5 years Dan 7:25; Rev 12:6,14,17; Rev 13:5-6; Rev 17:8.
    I am witness thru the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit of truth in seeing image of beast, his mark, and the number of his name in the people of churches on earth Revelation 15:2-3.
    The mark of beast comes from the churches Rev 16:14; Rev 13:6,7-8,16-18; Rev 18:23;1 John 2:15-17; Isaiah 9:6kjv vs. Isaiah 9:5Torah.
    The mark of the beast is spiritual. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places Eph 6:12;Matt 10:28.

    How does the devil deceive the whole world? Revelation 13:8
    thru image of man- Rom 1:23, 25; Isaiah 14:13-14; Rev 13:18; Mark 8:33; 2 Thess 2:4; Matt 24:15; Rev 17:8; Rev 6:15;Rev 19:20.
    thru churches on earth -Isaiah 14:17; Dan 7:21,25; Dan 8:12-13; Dan 11:22,31-32, ; Dan 11:39,45; Matt 24:23-26; Luke 4:5-6; Luke 17:20-23;Mark 11:17; Mark 13:1-2, 5-6; Matt 13:30.
    thru their teachings- 1 thess 5:3,Dan 9:26; Dan 11:22, 31-32;1Tim 4:1; 1Tim 1:6-10; 2Tim 2:16; 2Tim 4:3-4; Titus 1:10-11; Matt 15: 5-6; Matt 16:11; 2 Peter 2:2-3, 18-19; 1 John 4:5;Jude 1: 12,16;1 Cor 2:13; Dan 12:4; 2Tim 3:7.
    thru signs and lying wonders- Matt 7:22; Matt 24:24; 2 Thess 2:9-10;Acts 16:17; Rev 16:14; Rev 18:23; 2 Cor 11:13-15;Daniel 8:12.

    God seals his people in their homes Joel2:28-29; Acts 1:13-14; Isaiah 26:20-21;Ezekiel 9:3-4.
    In book of Daniel fourth kingdom will devour the whole earth Dan 7:23; Joel 2:3; Isaiah 14:17.
    This fourth kingdom and her beast is the mother church in Rome called,” Mystery Babylon the Great the Mother of Harlots Abominations of the earth” Rev10:7; Rev17:5. This mother church spiritually connected to ALL churches great or small of Catholics, Christians, Mormons, Jehovah witnesses. this mother church in Rome spiritually connected Babylon, the Great City, which is spiritually called, “Sodom and Egypt” 2 Thess 2:7; Rev 11:8; Rev 17:9,15,18. This spiritual city is about to receive her hour of judgement Rev 17:1-2; Rev 11:13.

    All churches around the world have same roots as mother church in Rome- pulpit /raised platform, image of man/host (idols), congregation, church buildings between the seas, communion wafer/juice, choir, instruments, celebrate winter/spring holiday-(Rev 11:10; Dan 8:12), weddings, birthdays, funerals, candles, and many more Revelation 18:22-23.

    Man made church buildings are spiritual cages of the god of this world Isaiah 14:13,17; Rev 18:2; Matt 24:24-26!

    And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lights out of the one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
    Rev 18:4, And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues!
    Seek God in prayer and ask for the truth! this will save you and your family members. I did for two years asking God for the truth about the churches, her leaders and followers and about myself. Hear my testimony on video just google, “Christ testimony of the churches around the world”.

  115. I take issue with this article. The reason is that the author appears to have fallen into the same mindset as others such as Denver Snuffer et al, in that he has equated Moroni’s comments with the modern LDS church. This is, in my view, a mistake.
    It must be kept in mind that Moroni was speaking from an approximately 400AD perspective. The “holy church of God” was still in existence, though mortally wounded. The great apostacy was not yet finalised as we know from Daniel’s prophecy, and Joseph Smith’s interpretaion of it, that the apostasy could not have been completed before 570AD. That’s 170 after Moroni’s comments.
    Also, the characteristics he ascribes to the remiaining apostate church do not fit with the modern LDS church. Two examples: Firstly, we do not adorn our churches; if anything we go a little too far the other way! Secondly, we do not preach that men can be forgiven in exchange for their money. Both of these are descriptions of the Roman Catholic Church.
    It seems clear to me he is describing the “churches” (note the plural) of the Gentiles. We are not Gentiles as we are the covenant people.

  116. That’s an interesting take, Robin Hood. When the Book of Mormon was published (1830), was the Roman Catholic Church still forgiving for money, or had they ceased by then? If they had long ceased the practice, then why, in your view, would Moroni even bother to include those words in the book, if the practice had already stopped by the time the book was finally published?

    FWIW, my own understanding is that the fulfillment of Moroni’s prophecy of a polluted church of God is still future to us, though shadow fulfillments have already appeared.

  117. joseph called us the gentiles
    60 Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.

    and we do adorn our temples to an astonishing degree. and our churches just cuz other people do it more doesnt mean we dont do it to

  118. I agree with dallonj …. the book of Mormon writers are prophesying about those OF the latter day church polluting it. It is the whole ‘urgencey’ of Isaiah and the reason he is so quoted in the Book of Mormon, such as this scripture of Isaiah re-quoted in BofM:
    2 Nephi 13:16
    16 Moreover, the Lord saith: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet—

  119. was the Roman Catholic Church still forgiving for money, or had they ceased by then [1830]?

    They can still grant indulgences at present[Catholic Encyclopedia article about them] — but in 1567, the pope cancelled granting indulgences that involve fees or other financial transactions [Wiki article that mentions that].

  120. Dallonj wrote that Joseph called us Gentiles. I beg to differ. If he had meant that he would surely have said “we are Gentiles”. However, he said we are “identified with the Gentiles”, which has a different meaning.
    I identify with my favourite football team, but that does not mean I am my favourite football team or even one of the players.
    We are Israelites (either by blood or adoption) when we enter the covenant. We may be amongst the Gentiles, and the nations of which we are citizens or subjects may be considered Gentile nations, but we are not Gentiles – only identified with them.

    As I said previously, when one reads Moroni’s comments in the context of his timeframe, and consider closely the description of the pollutions relating to the “holy church of God”, it really is very clear that he is talking about the gentile churches generally, and the Roman Catholic Church specifically.

  121. you have to keep the covenant to remain a member of the house of israel, and not one member of the church has kept the covenant to consecrate all the lord has blessed them with to the building up of the kingdom of god on the earth and the establishment of zion since orderville disbanded

    also, you have to adopt the customs of the house of israel to really be part of them. continuing to work and act like a gentile means you are more gentile than israelite. grafting means joing the tree you are grafted into and bringing forth the same fruit, not just calling yourself a different tree when nothing has changed. choosing to not to move either to the stakes of Zion or visit your adopted brothers and sisters suffering on the reservations means you are a gentile. choosing to continue to wear fine apparel and not make your own clothes as commanded means you are a gentile. continuing to break the word of wisdom’s commandment to only eat what is in season means you are a gentile and an accesory to the suffering of the house of israel.

    you dont get to change your lineage without changing your behavior. i can’t claim to be adopted into someone else’s family without moving in with them and accepting their customs. especially when they are mostly unaware of what i’m claiming and have never met me

  122. This comment of yours inspires me, dallonj. A whole post could be dedicated to this very topic, but I’ll probably just expound it to my kids. Thanks for giving me something interesting to teach them.

  123. you dont get to change your lineage without changing your behavior.

    Well put — I like that principle.

  124. Interesting comment dallonj. However, you seem to be making some significant judgements about people that I would suggest you’re probably not authorised nor justified in making.
    How do you know that no one has consecrated all to the kingdom? And how do you know that those who haven’t yet done so won’t?
    I live in England. What do you know about the way many of the Saints live here? Or in Africa etc?
    Methinks you could perhaps benefit from concentrating on the beam in your own eye first – as could we all.

  125. I hope we all do some day, but our priesthood leaders don’t direct us in consecration therefore the covenant remains broken and the promises unfulfilled.

    To quote the big lebowski “am I wrong?” “You’re not wrong you’re just an a–hole” I know I shouldn’t be so judgemental, but I love the lds church, so I reserve the right to criticize it and point out it’s errors, as my friends and family do for me

  126. late to the party yes but just some rambling thoughts about the article in no particular order.

    one of my biggest questions that I don’t think was addressed fully enough remains really how much allieagance to a falling church should I have? and at what point does participating in a falling church damn my very soul? true enough this is Gods church and I won’t argue that. as an “ultra-mormon” I admit I was quite angry at first. I mean really who wouldn’t be. over time my anger subsided I believe.

    the problem I then have is not so much for myself because I feel if God essentially said shut up for now then fair enough I could manage to go to church(though if you arent in Utah can we please in other areas pick times that arent at 9 AM geez), sort through the false teachings, and stand I think a good chance of not getting deceived. I could in other words walk into the falling church and come out ok if God said go with it for now and don’t make a fuss.

    my problem however would be with other people….for example say I get married….say I have kids…my kids would be a huge concern going to a falling church. they would group up not even getting milk but more like water. I would have to literally hound them to see what they learned each sunday school and correct it. I would have to do this just to make sure they even get the milk nevermind any meat. I would also have to say to them unless God tells you otherwise just don’t make a huge fuss about it. furthermore at some point a falling church loses authority in various areas….at what point does a temple recommend for instance mean absolutely nothing because the church falls to far the temple becomes meaningless. and what about other ordiances and such like sarcrament? is sacrament now pointless because we only do it about 2% of the way correctly no days? how does this affect my kids? and not just my kids but all soon to be born children into the church.

    at what point does practicing mutilated ordinances damn us all? ruin our children? is a falling church even a safe place for children to grow up in? you know Jesus when He was alive seemed to think His temple was worthless and of little to no value so much so it gets destroyed. why? because we charged money to enter it like we do today(tithing and recommends both of which using todays standards would mean Jesus would fail a temple recommend interview….food for thought)

    that really is my issue at what point does a falling church become a counter productive thing to participate in.

    I should also add what if you somehow are like Denver Snuffer who writes a book about the true history of the church and really does it in the most loving way Ive ever seen causes you to get kicked out? what then? why have loyalty? is Snuffer a damned man?

    I suppose yes personal revelation is the key but not everyone will get that and some will just become “ultra mormons” for all kinds of reasons however that doesnt mean theyve gotten the hang of revelation. it could be that just isnt something thats in the cards for them. at least not deep personal revelation.

    so yes I really do get concerned over other ultra mormons without a lot of personal revelation. I get concerned over the future children. and I sincerely am concerned about doing sacred ordinances the wrong way for too long. there is also concern over people getting kicked out.

    to drive this point home Ill just say….if the church is going into a fallen state but still remains God’s church. the question is how fallen is this church exactly going to get? I’d wager about 90% of it is going to become fallen this would tell me a lot good humble followers of Chirst will be kicked out. this tells me the church may very well not be a safe place. some may leave just to avoid the hell fire thats going to come. it just seems wrong or odd to tell people especially of the ultra mormon variety that are actually humble followers of Christ to stay in the church especially if they are a young couple just having kids….because truthfully I know my generation got beaten badly in every sense of the word but the one coming behind me is about to get floored and I really do fear the church won’t be a good place to teach anything resembling the gospel. I hope I’m wrong but I have my doubts. furthermore I know I said 90% of the church would fall away but what if it was 100%? what if a 100% corrupted church was still Gods church? that seemed to be the case in Moroni’s day who were apparently guilty of Solemn Mockery before God….a crime we are guilty of today by letting children take the sacrament(sacrament is a renewal of baptism covenants and baptism is only for sinners and little children cannot sin so and we know what God thinks about people who think little children need baptism or repentance) and circumcising children(not only has the law been done away with but the version we do today is sexual abuse of children in the worst way something when I found out about I prayed about and God seemed quite angry that this was going on)

    it’s also worth noting that church really doesn’t provide a chance to actually even casually help someone that you know is struggling with doctrine and is in that phase between anti and ultra mormon. if word gets around and it very well could get around you would get disciplined by church leaders. you truthfully aren’t allowed to step outside the box at church making use of your knowledge then becomes a task similar to playing with fire.

    the problem with saying we need to lower ourselves like Moses and such isn’t so much that Moses and the like were wrong in doing that because they weren’t. it is in the current LDS church excommunicates any naysayers, has a very follow the prophet attitude, and provides 0 chance to even offer a dissenting view. disagreement with brethern is seen as treason even if the spirit of God tells you speak against the brethern in one class at church and you obey….you will yes accomplish what God wanted however you will then be disciplined and at the very least de-fellowshipped which will mean you cannot speak at church in class or in testimony meeting for X amount of time. meaning speaking up is potentially a one shot deal. yes you are justified because God told you to do it but that’s so much my point as the reality is speaking against the brethern even when moved by The Spirit to do so is treason to the LDS church. this begs the question how does one use the vast knowledge of being an ultra mormon in a productive way? no I don’t need to show off my brain every chance I get but I’d like to pass on the knowledge now and then when The Spirit tells me too without being excommucated from the church.

    I also want to say people love to say Jesus didn’t dethrone the church leaders of His day and that may very well be true but Jesus also didn’t obey wicked commandments that the church leaders of the day were doing. we know this because Jesus was perfect and He always did whatever The Father commanded and at no time in the history of ever has The Father given a wicked commandment. using this logic we cannot poster boy Jesus as an excuse to follow a wicked commandment even if He may have said go and obey the church leaders. another problem with this is the bible is inaccurate and you can’t take it at it’s word all the time. to determine what of the bible is accurate would require the unthinkable for any christian today just about and that would be to extensively pray about it and get revelation from God. another problem with saying Jesus would obey wicked commandments of church leaders or He is an example of doing so, is that He tells His apostles and such to basically do what He(Jesus) did. Jesus’s main theme is FOLLOW ME GUYS. if we truly followed Jesus we’d leave the church, go into the world, heal the sick, cast out devils, preach the gospel, and have 99% of the known world want to stone us. I think we are failing the FOLLOW ME GUYS test. food for thought. to add to my previous paragraph Jesus was excommunicated from the church to be blunt He had the ultimate excommunicate known as a crucifixition. so let us all stop using Jesus as an example of one who bowed to church authority because the truth is He didn’t. even His tithing argument of Give to Casears what is Casears and give to God what is Gods….you’ll notice here it is Give to what God what is Gods no mention of whether the church leaders of the time are Gods or not.

    it could even be argued that Jesus hates authority figures given the fact they mercilessly killed Him. It could be argued that there is some real comfort in the poor drug addicted prostitutes that are homeless. the friends of Jesus were homeless bums….His enemies were basically every church leader in existence.

    it should also be noted we really know NOTHING about what a city of zion should actually look like beyond it’s peaceful. we do know in Enoch’s case it resulted in a city moving to heaven. in the case of 4th nephi we don’t know if that happened or not. the only other thing we know is that after Enoch’s city leaves shortly after the flood occurs. after 4th nephi starts losing it’s peace they eventually get swept off the earth in battle. it seems at the very least a city of zion is followed by pure and total destruction of every kind but what the workings and the looks and appearances of a city of zion actually look like we have no idea. we have no idea what level of commandment obeying is required to get there so it is always a bit ironic we are striving to build zion yet have no idea what zion actually looks like. it’s always like the authors of scripture decided peaceful times were too boring and didn’t write about it. it’s also possible they wanted us to pray and ask what Zion looks like.

    I also wonder if our lack of divine manifestations is partly a result of our temples being like those in the days of Jesus where we charge an entrance fee? or possibly the fact we give children who cannot sin sacrament which is a taken in remembrence of the atonement which was done for our sins and also to remember baptism covenants which again little children CANNOT BE BAPTISED WITHOUT SOLEMNLY MOCKING GOD.

    as for the comment on the Urantia Book I must say that sounds like total BS. scanning the wiki of it and you see it states Jesus didn’t die for our sins….well yea that’s completely in like with scripture /sarcasm. also apparently we evolved and were not made in Gods image. yea total BS according to a scripture point of view.

    my long 2 cents. hope someone cares even if its only a spirit cock roach reading LDSanarchy(cockroaches obviously as spirits turn into huge book nerds)

  127. Wow ! This blog has more substance and comments than Carter has Liver Pills. It seems to be a very touchy subject of great concern.

    Now that it’s July 2014, has any of this become less of a concern ?

    The world and our nation are falling apart and our Prophet has nothing to say. Sounds like he and Obama are kindred Spirits. I can only imagine how much longer this will go before something really big happens, like a nuke going off in a major U.S. city and being once again blamed on terrorism outside of our own domestic terrorist organization ( CIA/FBI )….911 number 2.

    Then All Hell should break loose in the middle east as the “Justified” use of “Defensive” nuclear weapons aimed at the middle east should fulfill a few prophecies of doom….Bye, Bye Damascus and every other major Muslim City that defies wanting to be a part of the NWO. I’m sure Israel will be there to help us out with that.

    This stuff is crazy insane but makes sense when viewed through the lense of Prophecy and gaining a little understanding of how the world now works. It’s an “Inside Job” beginning with the Lord’s Church and fanning out into His chosen Nation and the Rest of this fallen world.

    I tend to agree with the comments made by the guy who said “Please lets get this started so that Zion can work on being established through God’s Miracles”. I have 4 kids and 11 Grand Kids that I prefer to be “Home Schooled” in Zion…

    These two sets of Blood Red Moon Celestial Signs from God appear to be fairly Well Timed with current events, wouldn’t you say ?

  128. The NWO plan is this in a nut shell….First the Muslims. The then Christians. And then the Jews…In that order.

    Fortunately for those of God’s More Righteous Children in those 3 groups of people….The Good Muslims will most likely get a NATIONAL quick ride to Heaven. Followed by America & Great Britian and NATO allies of Good Standing with God, becoming the hiers of Zion. And the Jews will have the Two Witnesses to keep them company while the WHOLE WORLD looks to readjust their attitudes toward Christ.

    I wonder if Donny & Marie ever read Brigham’s Prophecy on the destruction of the central states to include Missouri, being a place you DON’T want to live in when the nukes start flying.

    Man…There is just So Much CONFUSION. What do we DO ? The One Mighty & Strong one has probably already moved to Borneo to AVOID all this stuff ! I hope that guy has a little bit more going on for him than say….Little Tommy Monson and the Train he plans to give to Pres. Putin to appease his desire to ANILLATE us ! Or maybe BRIBE him with some worthless money from the coffers of the Corporate Empire .

    I’m SO GLAD we are in such GOOD HANDS ! Wew…For a minute there I was getting a little worried….

  129. With regard to the comment made by Robbin Hood concerning the Gentile Church being referred to SPECIFICALLY as the Catholic Church…You might want to read 2ond Thessalonians concerning the Man of Sin seating himself in God’s Temple as though he were God and decipher to WHOM those scriptures are being ADDRESSED to.

    I doubt the Pope will be allowed to set up camp in one of our Temples…The Vatican is a much larger crib and closer to home for him & his English stinks.

    GEE….I wonder who it could be ? Possibly the same guy mentioned in Sec. 85 of the D&C who reaches out to steady the arch of God and eventually falls by the shaft of death & is REPLACED by the One Mighty & Strong who shows up to oppose a False Prophet ?

    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not the Pope thinks one of our Temples is a better place for him to hang out than a Nation State Complex he already occupies.

  130. I take back the insolent remarks concerning our leaders. I forgot that the Lord supplied us with a Measuring Stick for determining a TRUE Man of the cloth….MIRACLES, like causing the Blind to See, the Deaf to Hear, the Lame to Walk and the Dead to Rise….Are all apart of Tommy’s Resume he submitted for the job of Prophet.

    That little Title of being the “Trustee & Trust” of the Corporate Empire that ROBS God and His People of their tithes to enrich the pockets of those who RUN that Empire and it’s many companies DO call themselves Profits though…

  131. I appreciate your quandary, been there done that. Don’t try to find fulfillment in any of the other groups that claim they got it all, they are worse than the parent church. It was my experience that their leaders are just after more wives. it seems none of them can endure sound doctrine.

    Work on your personal relationship with Christ, that is where it’s at, the church’s are all corrupt and going down. The church will not even exist during the millennium, everyone will know Christ and if you got a question you can ask Him.

    I believe it’s all about the kingdom within and without you, your personal reflection will guide you to the Kingdom with power.

    Right now the world is going to hell right before our eyes and the spirit of God is the only salvation offered. You can get some good stuff from the various Mormon blogs but even there you got to be careful.

    Anyhow good luck and pray often.

  132. Some good points, but the author loses me on quite a few important parts.

    First, I would just point out that the graphs are arbitrary and are not based on any kind of verifiable data. Making up lines on a graph does nothing for the piece.

    The most glaring problem I see is the author’s glorification of Ezra Taft Benson. Benson was perhaps the most reactionary leader in our history, and many of the very problems the author points to can be traced back to him! Infallibility of Church leadership being the most obvious example, and it’s Benson we have to thank for the prevalence of the idea that the President of the Church will never lead the people astray and who most emphatically taught the blind obedience to priesthood authority we see in modern Mormonism. Benson also fought against even ASKING the Lord for revelation on the subject of whether the priesthood ban on blacks should be lifted (this in addition to teaching over the pulpit that the civil rights movement was a Communist plot to overthrow white America and should be opposed). This certainly contradicts the author’s emphasis on Joseph Smith’s questing spirit in seeking revelation when he did not know the answer. While Benson was capable of teaching beautiful truths, this seems to have been the exception and not the rule.

    The author also contradicts himself by praising Benson as an example of who we should follow. He references Joseph Smith’s teaching that the people will be in the right so long as they follow the MAJORITY of the Quorum of the Twelve, and then emphasizes the point that a MINORITY in the Twelve could therefore be in the wrong. Benson was almost always in the MINORITY! He was constantly chastised for not only acting against counsel, but teaching against the majority of the brethren! He even seemed to “punish” peole he disagree with when given authority (Hugh B. Brown was actually the only First Presidency member to be “demoted” from the First Presidency, and numerous BYU professors were removed from their posts partly because Benson and his circle couldn’t tolerate academic freedom.

    The author also praises the direct and forceful manner in which Benson made his pronouncements, referring to him as Prophet, but what he doesn’t mention is that Benson spoke this way PRIOR to becoming the Prophet and that afterwards he toned down his right-wing, reactionary extremism quite a bit… the very things the author apparently thought made him our best Prophet. The author even quotes some of the most distasteful literature Benson put out (literature filled with outright falsehoods and distorted facts) namely, “An Enemy Hath Done This”.

    Geoff from the blog “Mormon Liberals” posted a well researched and referenced article about Benson and his extreme minority views, his attempts to usurp power from among the other Twelve, and his constant resistance to reason and counsel from his Priesthood authorities which can be read here (I HIGHLY recommend it):

    http://www.mormonliberals.org/ezra-taft-benson-and-politics/

    My problem with fundamentalism, whether extreme or moderate fundamentalism, is the idea that we should go back to an earlier, “purer” form of Mormonism. While I absolutely agree that we should regain some of those lost teachings which made Mormonism so dynamic, I outright reject the idea that regression is favorable to progression. There are many things that belong in the dust heap of Mormon history and should not be resurrected. Instead, we should recognize the restoration as ongoing and seek to adhere to all truth taught in times past and at present, BUT we should also recognize that progression involves REJECTING falsehoods which would hold the Church back from fulfilling it’s mission, and I would say many of the extremist views and teachings of Benson belong in that category.

    Similar criticism could be made of President Packer, whom the author seems to have an affinity for as well, and who has repeatedly acted in direct opposition to revelation given to Joseph Smith as to how the Church is to operate, especially when it comes to his involvement in excommunications (the September Six) which he is forbidden to be part of according to the organization of the Church as laid out by Joseph Smith and his revelations.

  133. @ProgressiveMormon

    TL;DR: I find your comment confusing. It appears you and I have very different ideas of what “progressive” means, at least in the context of the modern LDS Church.

    “…I outright reject the idea that regression is favorable to progression.”

    That is the central thesis of this article and others (“Nephi’s List” also comes to mind). The claim is made that the current iteration of the LDS Church is in fact a regression, at least spiritually, of what it once was. It has not made progress. And it is that very lack of spiritual progress that drove this author and other members of the church to re-evaluate the narrative by analyzing “an earlier, ‘purer’ form of Mormonism,” which you seem to find highly regressive.

    I assume when you use the term “fundamentalist” you mean polygynist splinter groups and the good ‘ol boys who upheld the priesthood ban. In that context I agree that “regressive” is an appropriate word choice. At a more foundational level, I see the current LDS Church as very spiritually regressive, having lost many plain and precious things since its inception. The evidence of ongoing dialogue with God is all but absent, the gifts of the spirit are in short supply, the saints are taught to love money and the vain things of this world, they seek for power and abuse it, they use the philosophies of men as their guide. None of these are particularly “progressive” practices. I am no Messiah either, trying to claim that I possess these gifts and am spiritually progressive; I am no paragon of virtue. But I do have eyes, and I can see what is and is not present.

    And just FYI, I am no prophet worshipper, and am not here to sweep in fuming with righteous indignation to defend Benson or Packer.

  134. The faith of the righteous is sufficient to collapse the wave form for the Kingdom. the I AM consciousness, your spirit and your living body are elements of consciousness. This is the power of the “observer” that collapses the wave form.

    Everyone has their own unique fractal or signature to place in the divine hologram of the universe. the only requirement is to be a righteous observer, a spiritual warrior.
    This is the key to understanding Isa. Chap.28: 2.

    It is essential that you know for yourself, that you have your own spiritual witness to “Bind up the law and seal up the testimony” follow no man only the spirit. Stay engaged, be a advocate for principle.

    As the space time continuum continues to collapse consciousness becomes the primary force in our fractal existence and will be universally served. No amount of evil or wickedness can contest this power.

  135. The kingdom will roll in and in it’s infancy few will even realize it, there are but few that do good. Few are willing to put there life on the line and are not desciples of Christ. The power is in and your are a agent unto yourselves. Let your light so shine that men may see your good works, that light of consciousness that you brought with you.

    Now is the time for men to come forth and choose whom you will serve. To co-create with God the world to come. Sept.24 is the Feast of Trumpets, experience the demonstrable blessings of the Shofar.

  136. The third watch and the third measure of Levin are the same thing. Isa 28:10 : For precept must be precept, precept upon precept; line upon line; line upon line; here a little, and there a little. 1: For with stammering lips and another tongue will I speak to this people. This is the third watch. Which as a tempest o hail!

  137. The Tempest of hail are fractils of the individuals signature laid in the hologram of the divine matrix. To bring to pass mine strange act is to have the spirit of God poured out upon all flesh through the celestial events. The feast of trumpets the 24th of Sept, 2014, A righteous heart influences the DNA to upload and download your personal info. from the divine matrix. The third measure of Levin, the third watch “to bind up the law and seal up the testimony.

  138. We are to be co-creators with God and after many days it shall be. Tear down the Towers and scatter their watch men. If you are not a observer you are not engaged in a good cause for the power is in wherein you are agents unto yourselves. Stand upon the towers and “observe” the enemy whom has encompassed us round about. By observation the wave form will collapse to righteous state, STAND UPON the towers and observe the enemy! The Lord has made us free, free indeed!

  139. This quote is from a seventh day adventist book i was reading, there are a few chapters touching on apostasy in the adventist church, sounds very similar to our own history

    “Is there any reason to believe that the history will not be faithfully
    followed today? Have we not been told that we are repeating the
    history of Israel? God is not mocked and willful apostasy will meet
    with divine justice. That justice would not be carried out by members
    of the church as in the time of Israel, yet God will still ensure that
    such apostasy will be faithfully dealt with.

    Those who rise in anger against our church leaders both fail to
    understand their position in the blessing structure and also fail to trust that God is not mocked. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands
    of the living God.

    My appeal to my church family is that we weep and plead for our
    leaders, for at present they are marked for certain destruction. The
    work of repentance and pleading before the Lord is not one that is
    desired by the carnal heart. There is no love in the carnal heart for
    our poor leaders, many of whom are facing certain death at present.

    Let us place ourselves in a position as a wife does to her unbelieving
    husband and seek to win our leaders by our conduct. Those who rise
    in anger and connect this precious message of God’s dear Son with
    aggression, calling the church Babylon, are doing the work of Satan
    to harden our leaders in their apostasy. “A soft answer turns away
    wrath” and “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of
    silver.” Proverbs 15:1; 25:11.”

    http://www.maranathamedia.com/resources/maranathamedia/collections/adrian-ebens-3/divine-pattern/1500-divine-pattern/file
    this quote is from pages 41 and 42

    luckily, god revealed to us a more perfect system, that of common consent, which allows to vote iniquity out of the church, not pray for deliverance from it only, we have been given a priesthood structure that requires more use of agency.

  140. A fascinating look at the possibilities of the current position of the restored Church. I had never considered the end of the times of the Gentiles as the gospel being taken from the Gentiles because of wickedness. This matches the predictions by men like Boyd K Packer that the current drift into apostasy cannot be stopped.

  141. Message to all the inhabitants of this earth in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ:

    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/606050

  142. I Can relate. Excellent article.

  143. Thank you for all your research and commentary. It greatly resembles content from a publication I’ve recently read.
    Some of your analysis is excellent, and some flawed.
    Perhaps regarding “authority” you should hold more dear the fact the Lord’s promise about sending “one” to correct our course. He means it when he says it. Don’t rationalize that the course corrector might be one of the brethren, or that it might not be their stewardship to make the course correction. He means it when he has to bring someone else to the task.
    Stop erroneously believing the priesthood and authority that will come to the rescue to establish Zion will have been brought by the gentiles. The Lord also meant it when he takes the reins from the gentiles and gives it to the House of Israel, who are hidden (because the saints treat them with disdain and did not fulfil their Joseph given assignment to convert the Lamanites). He tells us these hidden priesthood holders have priesthood by “lineage” not thru any good grace if we gentiles.
    Stop kidding yourself about the temple’s status to the Lord ( the many, many temples that have been built in luxurious fashion that Rob the poor, the widows and the orphans if meagre essentials) when Chpt 1 of Isaiah he clearly states he is totally displeased with the “amended” law of sacrifice that requests we give all to the church, when the church most obviously us NOT BUILDING UP THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON THE EARTH NOR ESTABLISHING ZION the leaders are changing our tithing donation slips to allow them to use our money at their discretion, not God’s. Then they promise us, at your resources cited, that we will be sealed in marriage for both time and eternity, when that to is a lie, without plural marriage proclaimed we have no eternal marriage at all.
    Si, let’s really set the record straight.. Our mandate is to…
    1. Proclaim the Gospel… Which we do by marketing Joseph, the vision, the scripture s but we mustn’t believe the gospel, live the higher laws or expect the ordinances to be intact.
    2. Perfect the saints.. But only lie and tell us the law we are asked to live will entitle us to the Celestial Kingdom, when you know that without the law of consecration (no poor among us) and plural marriage we cannot be perfected.
    3. Redeem the dead… But pretend what you are doing is more than busy work even though you know the church is cursed (section 124) because the saints did NOT complete the Nauvoo time on time so our ordinances are not accepted.
    I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but after all your eloquence and research, you don’t even know which men actually hold the priesthood, because for too many years they were not ordained properly. Didn’t you read what you’ve given us here?
    Don’t you realize Brigham did not have the authority to be identified as a prophet, Hyrum was given but and he was dead. Don’t you know Joseph told each if his apostles that he had set them apart as apostles, but each if them was required to see the Lord “face to face” to be given their mandate personally?
    Don’t you realize that perhaps ALL our 15 brethren have not been properly ordained, in the first place (when they were given their original higher priesthood) and NONE of them has ever professed to have met with the Savior personally to be accepted by Him? Don’t you realize each time they demand we raise our arm to the square and declare them to be prophets, seers and revelators, they Mick God and lead us to mock God.. And God will not be mocked!
    So many words you’ve shared, so much thought offered, such poor analysis. Was that because you didn’t truly want to lay claim to the possibility to invite us (minus your analysis) to decide for ourselves if the church today is true.. ????
    What is truth? It is not grey, it is truth, and 1,2,3 clearly evidence by the mandate the “Corporation if the President” States, minus the 9 recent financial goals for the Corporation provided under Br. Monson’s signature, the Corporation is thriving, the church is nearly dead (absence if truth) and the saints, watchmen on the tower are asleep.
    Spend some time studying Isaiah and really learn how the Lord feels about “his house”, he plans to change his address!

  144. Interesting Comments. The one comment that I liked best was after the death of the apostles anciently at what point would you recognize the apostasy and begin to stand up.

    So with all the changes in the Church since the time of Joseph Smith when did the Church go into a state of apostasy? This a good question and I think it can be answered accurately by the changes that have been made. Some here are obviously Fundy Mormons that have their own agenda. I’m more like your Ultra-Mormon category but do tend to see things from an anti-Mormon perspective because I do believe the apostasy is complete and therefore I am very critical of the Church today because it is so far different than the Church at the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

    I consider Joseph to be a prophet. Brigham had one revelation before coming to the valley but lost the gift according to the parable of the nobleman in D&C 101 because they Brigham-Thomas Monson did not build the tower which is revelation. They because businessmen and lost the gift of revelation. That’s easy to see because you don’t see any revelation in the D&C after 1847.

    So what are the elements or what I call pillars of apostasy of the LDS Church. Since there has been no revelation since Brigham therefore its pretty easy to see.

    1. Blacks cannot hold the priesthood. This is made clear in the Pearl of Great Price. Joseph and Brigham knew this doctrine from God and preached it. They were correct and this should not have happened in the Church. Eldred G. Smith opposed the brethren as was kicked out of his position as patriarch. The higher priesthood was removed at that time because blacks cannot hold the priesthood. Before that time we had the priesthood because the gifts of the priesthood such as healing, Holy Ghost were present. They are gone now. The revelation on priesthood was phony.

    2. Changed temple ordinances. All the temple ordinances have now been changed contrary to what Joseph said that they were not to be changed. Isaiah 24:5 makes clear that we have changed them and they are invalid because of it.

    3. No common consent in the Church. This ended in the 1940’s. All are now required to sustain the leaders contrary to the D&C

    4. Idolatry – The Christus is an idol and is forbidden by the 2nd commandment. Deut 4:10-20 and Isaiah 44 are great scriptures that talk about this. A tornado hit temple square in 1999 and destroyed the glass encasement around the Christus. This was a warning that the Saints in general did not get.

    5. No revelation – I’ve discussed that one. None since Brigham Young. Very easy to see. A quick check of the D&C is all that is needed. Oh Joseph Fielding Smith was just an inspired dream – no revelation because Christ did not speak to him.

    6. Acceptance of Abortion, homosexuality, and other sins condemned in the scriptures. You can have an abortion in this Church and as long as you ask before hand – it’s okay. Homosexuals are okay and can partake of the sacrament as long as they aren’t practicing (wink-wink). Other sins are overlooks such as adultery and other things, but if you criticize the brethren – well – We’ll excommunicate or at least take your temple recommend and threaten you to keep your mouth shut.

    Well that ought to do it for now. So then when was the apostasy complete? Very simple – June 7, 1978 when the high priesthood was taken. The Church was sliding toward it through the decades before but that is when it was complete.

    What to do now? Can’t do a darn thing but wait until the one mighty and Strong comes who is the Davidic King and is John The beloved to set things right. The Church will be destroyed before that time and cleansed of all the wicked leaders and members. Isaiah speaks about that as well as Ezekiel. Enough said – any comments? Rocky

  145. Rocky,

    I believe you are completely correct. The pillars of apostasy you laid out are the same ones documented by Robert Smith in his scripture commentaries. It’s obvious that you’ve read and accepted what he has put forth in his interpretations of the scriptures.

    I was just introduced to his writings a few months ago and I have binge read almost everything he’s put out there. While he’s no prophet and his interpretations aren’t 100% perfect, in my opinion they are the closest to the truth.

    Once one understands the scriptures correctly it becomes obvious that the church is completely apostate. All we can do now is cut ourselves loose and wait for the one mighty and strong. Shouldn’t be too much longer. The church is a mess.

    I love the members of the church. Many of them are good, Christlike people, doing the best they know how. Unfortunately they are being led astray big time by their leaders. Almost everything in the church is being done wrong now. Everything has been changed from what it was in Joseph Smith’s day.

    Each time the Brethren change something they wrap it in a pretty box and the members eat it up without question. The Brethren (under the influence of Satan) punch wholes in the wall, or doctrines of the church, and then cover it in white wash so it looks like all is well. It won’t be long before the wall is torn down and everyone will see what’s been going on.

    I actually believe that the Brethren have mostly good intentions and don’t realize what they’re doing. The inspiration they receive to change things is not from God. They are just like the Pharisees in Christ’s day. Outwardly they appear to be so righteous and they themselves think they are. However inwardly they are full of dead man’s bones. They don’t even know it. They day of Lord’s vengeance is coming upon them soo though. D&C 112 is quite clear about that.

    I pray that the one mighty and strong, the Davidic Servant, comes soon so we can build up Zion and be free from this wicked world once and for all. It will be a welcome day.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s