My Other Blogs


Mormanity: Let No Corrupt Communication Proceed Out of Your Keyboard

Jeff Lindsay had some interesting things to say over at his apologetic blog "Mormanity."

Mormanity: Let No Corrupt Communication Proceed Out of Your Keyboard

I don't typically link to apologists like this, but every once in a while they do hit something right on the head.



I spoke with the bishop tonight. We had a good conversation and I feel that progress was made. I am feeling quite a bit better after that.

I want to apologize to any readers here who have taken what I've had to say too seriously. I tend to over-assert my position, to try to give my posts an edge, or a shock factor. While this is a useful blogging technique in some arenas, it doesn't seem to rest well with a lot of Latter-day Saints.

Authoritative Statements on Trusting Church Leaders

President Joseph F. Smith said, "We talk of obedience, but do we require any man or woman to ignorantly obey the counsels that are given? Do the First Presidency require it? No, never." (Journal of Discources (JD) 16:248)

Apostle Charles W. Penrose, who would later serve as counselor to President Smith, declared: "President Wilford Woodruff is a man of wisdom and experience, and we respect him, but we do not believe his personal views or utterances are revelations from God; and when 'Thus saith the Lord', comes from him, the saints investigate it: they do not shut their eyes and take it down like a pill." (Millennial Star 54:191)

"And none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the priesthood. We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, 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 asking any questions. When 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 minds to do wrong themselves." (Millennial Star, vol.14 #38, pp. 593-95)

Brigham Young said:

"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 the 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, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually." (JD 9:150)

"How easy it would be for your leaders to lead you to destruction, unless you actually know the mind and will of the spirit yourselves." (JD 4:368)

"I do not wish any Latter-day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied...Suppose that the people were heedless, that they manifested no concern with regard to the things of the kingdom of God, but threw the whole burden upon the leaders of the people, saying, 'If the brethren who take charge of matters are satisfied, we are,' this is not pleasing in the sight of the Lord." (JD 3:45)

"...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 cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold sceptres 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. Will this apply to any of you? Your own hearts can answer." (JD 1:312)

"President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel [see, for example, verses 9-10: 'If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing...the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him.']...said the Lord had declared by the Prophet [Ezekiel], that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church -- that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls -- applied it to the present state [1842] of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall -- that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves..." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pp. 237-38)

George Q. Cannon, Counselor to three Church Presidents, expressed it thus: "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 be gone;" (Millennial Star 53:658-59, quoted in Gospel Truth, 1:319)


I have distinct feelings that I have been counseled in a manner incompatible with these many quotes. Either I am seriously misunderstanding my brethren, or they are themselves in the very error here spoken of.


I feel hurt and frustrated. I thought the Church believed in promoting Families and bringing them closer together, and no matter WHAT the issue I can't understand Family being used as a wedge or "carrot" to try to encourage change in a person. Susie and I love the gospel. We are faithful and honest and we are happy with our lives. We hope some day to raise up children who are cultivated in the type of home we feel they should be provided with. We desire with all of our hearts and souls to be able to serve together in The House of the Lord. I want Susie to have the opportunity to receive her Temple Endowment. I want to be there for her. I want her parents to be there when she goes through as well. I want it to be to her a place where the comfort of family exists. After she receives her own Endowment, I want to serve with her so that we can enjoy that part of the core of our religion which it has to offer, so that we can relate to one another better, and so that we can be equally yoked.

Articles of Faith 1:11 says,
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

Well, Susie and I desire the privilege of worshipping God in the Holy Temple, together, as a family. How? By our participation. Where? The Temple. What? God.

Because of what I have read I know that excommunication is sadly an increased possibility for anyone who engages in writing or publishing of any type in our Church. Many good people have been excommunicated for bad reasons. Many bad people have remained in the Church who were never excommunicated when they should have been. The problem when the Church excommunicates a faithful believer is that the believer is left distressed, often without very good Family support due to peer pressure to not affiliate with the individual (on spiritual matters especially). Furthermore, such excommunications serve no purpose except to degrade and damage the good name of the Church. They are an affront to the Lord because when they occur they show unrighteous dominion, and more people are spiritually hurt by even reading about these (I know I have felt hurt by it) than anyone could ever be saved by being put through the process. Additionally, those who have a Testimony of the Restored Gospel will not be put to silence because of the process of Excommunication. Taking for example D. Michael Quinn, he became more vocal and less censored in his publishing as a result of his excommunication. This seems to have been the case with some other people I'm aware of, as well.

If it ever came down to excommunication, I feel that I would stand according to the examples of the past, both in the Church: Jesus Christ, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith, or in Masonry: Hiram Abiff and Jaques DeMolay: To rather die than to lose my integrity. "Rare integrity, fortitude most grand." Joseph Smith was eloquent in his expressing this belief:
However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.

So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.

Any true Latter-day Saint would rather give himself up to death than deny the things of the Spirit. This personal integrity policy is grounded firmly in scriptures: In fact, denial of the Holy Ghost is the unpardonable sin. The only thing that can never be forgiven in this life or the next. This is the type of condemnation that Joseph feared. Not man, but the condemnation of God.

I am sad and at the same time tired of seeing good and true men struck down from the Church when they could become instruments in the hands of God. If we strike out all of our best men, anyone who has any natural talents, God given gifts, that make them such a person as would considered relatively formidable in the formative era of our Church, how should we ever expect to grow greater, and perform and become all the things that have been prophesied?


Sorry, I'm just so frustrated. People need to wake up and stop shooting themselves in the foot. The Church is true, more true than most anyone could even know.

This is wasting my time... I really need to be working on other things. I was perfectly happy in the spirit, having a good family life and I don't know why people feel obliged to try to screw it up for me. I suppose persecution is given to us to make us grow.

I have never been able to feel a genuine Brotherhood left in the Church and that's part of the problem. We need to take the time to get to know each other, to really know each other. To compare, in my Lodge I feel genuine brotherly love. I would trust any of those guys with my life. I don't feel that I need to defend myself from them, but that I would trust them with my very life if it was on the line. The Church may have lost the concept of being "on the level" in our quorums and seems to be so cliquish now that it makes me feel sick to my stomach.


Prophets Can Make Mistakes

I've been studying the idea of infallibility because of my recent circumstances, and turned to the Bible to see what it has to say.

Interestingly, Moses, one of the first and greatest prophets and Aaron, the High Priest did not believe what God revealed to them and they had consequences for their disobedience (Numbers 20:12)
And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

Ancient Israel's prophets were condemned, which shows that the prophetic office itself is not protected from error, even serious error:
But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet 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.

And Psalm 78 (read it) speaking in parable talks about our forebearers, the ancient Ephraimites and their repeated and persistent rebellion against God.

It is true, we have some special promises about our day, but those promises do not guarantee any type of infallibility, in fact the prophet Mormon admits his ability to have made mistakes in recording the scripture he wrote down:
And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

Daniel H. Wells whom I believe was one of the Presidents of the Seventy (I may be mistaken in his exact office here) admitted that leaders could make mistakes and that we are not to pin our faith on another man's sleeves, EVEN the President of the Church:
It is our interest to keep aboard the ship Zion, and to continue our efforts to bring ourselves into subjection to the law of the Lord, that we may be the honored instruments in his hands of aiding to build up his kingdom on the earth. We can only do this by being faithful to the counsels of the servants of the Lord who are inspired to teach and lead us. He has placed them in his Church and kingdom to guide and direct us. We have not chosen these men—He has chosen them. They may be our selection too, it is very true, but the Lord has chosen them and he is responsible. But we need not pin our faith to any man's sleeve. No, we can go to the Bible, to the revelations of Jesus given in our day; and listen to the whisperings of the Spirit in our own hearts for the testimony of this being the work of God. The Lord will reveal to any faithful individual all that is necessary to convince him that this work is true. None need depend for that testimony upon others; all can have it for themselves, and that will be like a well of water within them, springing up to everlasting life, revealing to them the things of God, and all that is needful to make them wise unto salvation. They need not depend upon my testimony, or upon that of President Young or President Smith, nor upon anybody but God. He will direct the course of all who try to serve him with full purpose of heart. He will show them whether we are placed here properly, or whether any mistake was made concerning the calling of Joseph Smith. The testimony of the Lord will tell whether we teach things of ourselves or of the Lord; that testimony will tell its possessors whether the servants of God who stand here tell the truth about this work or not. They need be dependent upon none but themselves and the Lord for this knowledge, for the Lord is willing to give liberally to all, and he upbraids not. All the world may learn to know the Lord our Father, who is in heaven, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent, if they will but take the course the Lord has marked out.

Charles W. Penrose taught:
Our testimony does not depend upon Joseph Smith; it does not depend upon Brigham Young; it does not depend upon John Taylor, or upon the council of the Twelve Apostles, which is now the presiding quorum in the Church. I pin my faith to no man's sleeve; I am a believer in the Scripture which says, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." I obeyed this Gospel because I believed it was true, through reading the Scriptures, which I was taught from my early childhood to believe in. When the sound of the Gospel reached my ears I believed; and having bowed in obedience to the ordinances, I received a testimony for myself of its truthfulness, and that testimony has never departed from me. I know by the power and gift of the Holy Ghost that God lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. I know by the same Spirit that God Almighty has sent his angels in these the last days to Joseph Smith and others, for the purpose of commencing this work of the restitution of all things. I know that work has begun to be ushered in. I know that the power of God is being manifested on the earth, that the same power which rested upon the former-day Saints, rests down upon the Latter-day Saints. I know that the former-day ordinances have been restored, and the spirit and the power thereof. I know it for myself, because I have experienced it and realized it. I know there is a way to approach the Eternal Father and learn of him. I know that those who seek aright in the way appointed, find an answer to their prayers, and that the promise made by the Savior is true: "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." And in bearing my testimony to the truth of these things, I say what most of this congregation know, and what the great majority of the people throughout this Territory could testify to, as well as thousands more who are scattered upon the race of the earth, who are longing to gather to these mountain vales. We have not come here for the mere purpose of enriching ourselves in gold and silver, in flocks and herds, or houses and lands, things which perish in their handling, but to become rich in the imperishable things of eternity, which we can obtain here in the way appointed of God, and about which the world know nothing. People wonder why it is that the leaders of this people are still upheld by the unanimous voice and vote of the Latter-day Saints, and why it is that we have faith in them and cling to them, in spite of all that is said against them. They do not understand the secret spring that moves this work. The power that unites and guides us does not rest in any man or any set of men, neither in this wonderful organization, but in this eternal, unerring Spirit which God has shed forth in our hearts through obedience to the Gospel, by which we can approach Him and learn of Him for ourselves.

Brigham Young Taught:
Some may say, "Brethren, you who lead the Church, we have all confidence in you, we are not in the least afraid but what everything will go right under your superintendence; all the business matters will be transacted right; and if brother Brigham is satisfied with it, I am." I do not wish any Latter-day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied. I wish them to know for themselves and understand for themselves, for this would strengthen the faith that is within them. Suppose that the people were heedless, that they manifested no concern with regard to the things of the kingdom of God, but threw the whole burden upon the leaders of the people, saying, "If the brethren who take charge of matters are satisfied, we are," this is not pleasing in the sight of the Lord.

Every man and woman in this kingdom ought to be satisfied with what we do, but they never should be satisfied without asking the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, whether what we do is right. When you are inspired by the Holy Ghost you can understandingly say, that you are satisfied; and that is the only power that should cause you to exclaim that you are satisfied, for without that you do not know whether you should be satisfied or not. You may say that you are satisfied and believe that all is right, and your confidence may be almost unbounded in the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ, but if you asked God, in the name of Jesus, and received knowledge for yourself, through the Holy Spirit, would it not strengthen your faith? It would. A little faith will perform little works; that is good logic. Jesus says, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Even our current Priesthood and Relief Society manuals have a note inside the front that says to email or write suggestions for improvements to be incorporated in the future.

I must trust in God. Any man who would teach to have blind faith in the teachings of a human or any council of humans, no matter how good their track record has been, is extremely dangerous, and scripture and the words of prophets testify of this. I have not even given the best possible quotes here, just the first few I came across.

A long and interesting passage delivered by Brigham Young, Oct 6, 1855:

In all High Councils, in Bishops' Courts, and in all other departments for transacting our business, the Church and kingdom of God, with the Lord Almighty at the head, will cause every man to exhibit the feelings of his heart, for you recollect it is written that in the last days the Lord will reveal the secrets of the hearts of the children of men.

Does not the Gospel do that? It does; it causes men and women to reveal that which would have slept in their dispositions until they dropped into their graves. The plan by which the Lord leads this people makes them reveal their thoughts and intents, and brings out every trait of disposition lurking in their organizations. Is this right? It is. How are you going to correct a man's faults, by hiding them and never speaking of them, by covering up every fault you see in your brother, or by saying, "O, do not say a word about his faults, we know that he lies, but it will not do to say a word about it, for it would be awful to reveal such a fact to the people?" That is the policy of the world and of the devil, but is it the way that the Lord will do with the people in the latter-days? It is not.

This is a matter that seems to be but little understood by some of the Latter-day Saints, it may be understood by a portion of them, but others do not understand it. Every fault that a person has will be made manifest, that it may be corrected by the Gospel of salvation, by the laws of the Holy Priesthood.

Suppose that a man lies, and you dare not tell of it; "Very well," says the man, "I am secure, I can lie as much as I please." He is inclined to lie, and if we dare not chastise him about it he takes shelter under that pavilion, cloaks himself with the charity of his brethren, and continues to lie. By and bye he will steal a little, and perhaps one or two of his brethren know about it, but they say, "We must cover up this fault with the cloak of charity." He continues to lie and to steal, and we continue to hide his faults; where will it lead that person to? Where will he end his career? Nowhere but in hell.

What shall we do with such men? Shall we reveal their faults? Yes, whenever we deem it right and proper. I know it is hard to receive chastisement, for no chastisement is joyous, but grievous at the time it is given; but if a person will receive chastisement and pray for the Holy Spirit to rest upon him, that he may have the Spirit of truth in his heart, and cleave to that which is pleasing to the Lord, the Lord will give him grace to bear the chastisement, and he will submit to and receive it, knowing that it is for his good. He will endure it patiently, and, by and bye, he will get over it, and see that he has been chastised for his faults, and will banish the evil, and the chastisement will yield to him the peaceable fruits of righteousness, because he exercises himself profitably therein.

In this way chastisement is a benefit to any person. Grant that I have a fault, and wish it concealed, would I not be likely to hide it? And if the Lord would not reveal it I might cling to it, if I had not the spirit of revelation to discern my fault and its consequences. Without the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, I am just as liable to lie and abide in false principles, false notions, and unrighteous actions as true ones. It is so with you.

If your faults are not made known to you, how can you refrain from them and overcome them? You cannot. But if your faults are made manifest, you have the privilege of forsaking them and cleaving unto that which is good. The design of the Gospel is to reveal the secrets of the hearts of the children of men.

When men intimate to me, whether in public or in private, that their faults must not be spoken of, I do not know how worldly-minded men feel in similar cases, but like Elijah, when he mocked the priests of Baal, I feel to laugh and make derision of such men.

Do you suppose that I will thus far bow down to any man in this Territory, or on the earth? Do you suppose that I will suffer myself to be so muzzled that I cannot reveal the faults of the people when wisdom dictates me to do it?

I fear not the wicked half so much as I would a mosquito in my bedroom at night, for he would keep me from sleeping, but for the unrighteous, those who will act the villain and conduct themselves worse than the devil, to insinuate that I have not the privilege of speaking of their faults makes me feel like laughing at their folly. I will speak of men's faults when and where I please, and what are you going to do about it?

Do you know that that very principle caused the death of all the Prophets, from the days of Adam until now? Let a Prophet arise upon the earth, and never reveal the evils of men, and do you suppose that the wicked would desire to kill him? No, for he would cease to be a Prophet of the Lord, and they would invite him to their feasts, and hail him as a friend and brother. Why? Because it would be impossible for him to be anything but one of them. It is impossible for a Prophet of Christ to live in an adulterous generation without speaking of the wickedness of the people, without revealing their faults and their failings, and there is nothing short of death that will stay him from it, for a Prophet of God will do as he pleases.

I have been preached to, pleaded with, and written to, to be careful how I speak about men's faults, more so than ever Joseph Smith was in his life time; every week or two I receive a letter of instruction, warning me to be careful of this or that man's character. Did you ever have the Spirit of the Lord, so that you have felt full of joy, and like jumping up and shouting hallelujah? I feel in that way when such epistles come to me; I feel like saying, "I ask no odds of you, nor of all your clan this side of hell."

I have wise brethren around me who will sometimes say, "Don't speak so and so, be very careful, now do be cautions;" and I have been written to from the east; I have package after package of letters, yes, a wheel-barrow load of them, saying, "O, brother Brigham, I would beseech and pray and plead with you, if I only dare, to be careful how you speak. Would not this or that course be better than for you to get up in the stand, and tell the Gentiles what they are? Would it not be better to keep this to yourself?"

Do you know how I feel when I get such communications? I will tell you, I feel just like rubbing their noses with them. If I am not to have the privilege of speaking of Saint and sinner when I please, tie up my mouth and let me go to the grave, for my work would be done.

It was for this that they killed Joseph and Hyrum, it is for this that they wish to kill me and my brethren; we know their iniquity, and we will tell of it when the Spirit dictates, or talk about this, that, or the other person and conduct at the proper time.

There are people in our midst who grunt at this course, and at the same time have evils that I think are hardly worth notice, for I do not think that such persons will be good for anything even should they happen to get into the kingdom of heaven, though I suppose they are good in their place if we can find out where it is, but as yet I am ignorant of it; I presume that the Lord knows where it is, but I do not. I wish to say to the Elders of Israel, to all people, I shall tell you of your iniquity and talk about you just as I please, and when you feel like killing me for so doing, as some of the people did who called themselves brethren in the days of Joseph Smith, look out for yourselves, for false brethren were the cause of Joseph's death, and I am not a very righteous man. I have told the Latter-day Saints from the beginning that I do not profess much righteousness, but I profess to know the will of God concerning you, and I have boldness enough to tell it to you, fearless of your wrath, and I expect that it is on this account that the Lord has called me to occupy the place I do; I feel as independent as an angel.

Some of you have been brought before the High Council, charged with this fault and with that, and you say it is too much for you, that you cannot bear it. But you have got to bear it, and if you will not, make up your minds to go to hell at once and have done with it. If you wish to be Saints you must have your evils taken away and your iniquities exposed, this must be done if you remain in the kingdom of God. If you do wrong, and it is made manifest before the High Council, don't grunt about it, nor whine about your loving, precious character, but consider that you have none; that is the best way to get along with it. Myriads have scandalized me since I have been in this Church, and I have been asked, "Brother Brigham, are you going to bear this? Do you not know that such and such persons are scandalizing your character?" Said I, "I do not know that I have any character, I have never stopped to inquire whether I have one or not." It is for me to pursue a course that will build up the kingdom of God on the earth, and you may take my character to be what you please, I care not what you do with it, so you but keep your hands off from me.

If you are brought before the High Council, or before a Bishop's court, and it is proven before either of those tribunals that you are covetous, don't fly in a passion and become so excited that you are ready to burst. I may see fit to expose some men who have not paid their tithing; now if you are going to get nervous about it and are afraid of bursting, let me know, and we will slip and egg shell over you and your precious characters. What precious characters some of you had in Wales, in England, in Scotland, and perhaps in Ireland.

Do not be scared if it is proven against some, before the Bishop's court, that you did steal the poles from your neighbor's garden fence. If you did, it would be far better for you to get right up and own it, for you have in reality lost your character before God, angels, and men, and then refrain from such evils and try to establish a good character. It would be better for you to do that, than to become angry when your faults are made manifest. If it is proven before the High Council that you did steal a beef creature, don't get angry, but rise up and acknowledge that you did steal it.

If it is proven that you have been to some person's wood pile and stolen wood, don't be frightened, for if you will steal, it must be made manifest. Some one may say, "Why I did not think Saints were guilty of such deeds!" Nor I either. Such crimes are committed by people who gather with the Saints, to try them, to afflict and annoy them, and drive them to their duty. Do you not suppose that it is necessary to have devils mixed up with us, to make Saints of us? We are as yet obliged to have devils in our community, we could not build up the kingdom without them. Many of you know that you cannot get your endowment without the devil's being present; indeed we cannot make rapid progress without the devils. I know that it frightens the righteous sectarian world to think that we have so many devils with us, so many poor, miserable curses. Bless your souls, we could not prosper in the kingdom of God without them. We must have those amongst us who will steal our fence poles, who will go and steal hay from their neighbor's hay stack, or go into his corn field to steal corn, and leave the fence down; nearly every ax that is dropped in the kanyon must be picked up by them, and the scores of lost watches, gold rings, breast pins, &c., must get into their hands, though they will not wear them in your sight. It is essentially necessary to have such characters here.

After we had given the brethren such a scouring two or three months ago, about returning lost property when found, one or two men brought in two or three rusty nails of no value, which they had picked up; this was tantamount to saying to brother Sprague, "If we had found your purse, or if we had found Brigham's purse, we would see you in hell before we would return it." We wish to impress upon you the necessity of your bringing the ax you find, the hay fork, or any other lost property which you find, to the person who is appointed to take charge of such property, that the owners may again possess it. But if you should pick up a piece of rotten wood, and bring it to brother Brigham, or Dr. Sprague, with a show of honesty, and in derision of the counsel you have received, it would be like saying, "If we could find or steal your purses, you should never see them again. We are poor, miserable devils, and mean to live here by stealing from the Saints, and you cannot help yourselves."

Live here then, you poor, miserable curses, until the time of retribution, when your heads will have to be severed from your bodies. Just let the Lord Almighty say, "Lay judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet," and the time of thieves is short in this community. What do you suppose they would say in old Massachusetts, should they hear that the Latter-day Saints had received a revelation or commandment to lay "judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet?" What would they say in old Connecticut? They would raise a universal howl of, "How wicked those Mormons are; they are killing the evil doers who are among them; why I hear that they kill the wicked away up yonder in Utah." They do no kill anybody down there, do they?

As for the inhabitants of the earth, who know anything about the "Mormons," having power to utter worse epithets against us than they do, they have to get more knowledge in order to do it; and as for those enemies who have been in our midst, feeling any worse than they do, they have first to know more; they are as full of bad feeling now as they can hold without bursting. What do I care for the wrath of man? No more than I do for the chickens that run in my dooryard. I am here to teach the ways of the Lord, and lead men to life everlasting, but if they have not a mind to go there, I wish them to keep out of my path.

I want the Elders of Israel to understand that if they are exposed in their stealing, lying, deceiving, wickedness, and covetousness, which is idolatry, they must not fly in a passion about it, for we calculate to expose you, from time to time, as we please, when we can get time to notice you.

During this Conference, I do not want to think where the "Mormons" have been, and how they have been treated, but I want to think of matters that will make my heart light, like the roe on the mountains—to reflect that the Lord Almighty has given me my firth on the land where He raised up a Prophet, and revealed the everlasting Gospel through him, and that I had the privilege of hearing it—of knowing and understanding it—of embracing and enjoying it. I feel like shouting hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet whom the Lord raised up and ordained, and to whom He gave keys and power to build up the kingdom of God on earth and sustain it. These keys are committed to this people, and we have power to continue the work that Joseph commenced, until everything is prepared for the coming of the Son of Man. This is the business of the Latter-day Saints, and it is all the business we have on hand. When we come to worldly affairs, as they are called, they can be done in stormy weather, if we attend to the kingdom of God in fair weather.

May God bless you. Amen.


Everyone reading this please pray for me and pray for my leaders so that they can see the impossible situation they are placing me in and that it is not a situation I have tried to place myself in. Pray to help them to realize that the things they are asking me about are not matters of faith, sin or righteousness, but matters of personal opinion and that their own words are equally applicable to the past leaders of the Church as they are to my own views. Pray for me to have humility and be able to love these men anyway with genuine brotherly love in spite of any differences we may have.

A friend pointed out to me today that their calling is to be a common Judge in Israel, and that they are neither called nor trained to be theologians or interpreters of scripture. If I can answer the Temple Interview questions with a sincere heart and in all honesty, then I have nothing to fear. God will protect me and everything will work out alright. As the Times and Seasons said in its headmast: Truth will prevail.


A Convert Trapped

I was a convert to the Church in 1999. I believe in it wholeheartedly. But I feel trapped right now. The missionaries never taught me the strange doctrine upon which (among a couple other things) my temple worthiness is now being held in the balance. Why would the missionaries teach about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost but not teach me that they believe Jehovah is Jesus? They taught me and I agreed with the things they taught, and because I agreed and gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the principles they taught I was baptized. Now, I am being asked to accept that Jehovah is Jesus Christ. If there was no contradictory evidence I would have no problem with it, but there is a TON of contradictory evidence. I didn't make this stuff up. It isn't MY fault, THEY did it, the leaders of the Church who have written for years and years, and they are acting like its my own fault for believing their own writings. I am not pulling something out of my hat, I'm taking a standard Christian assumption that probably everyone has at some point or another. I don't understand. Any Jew, and any Christian who is not a strict trinitarian would agree with me. The missionaries did not teach me this deviation, I picked it up later when I started asking questions, it was the answer I got from my teachers and friends. But at that point, I was already a member, so I went along with it for a while, but as I read the scriptures and the writings of the prophets they do not all agree, there is a diversity in this teaching, and I don't want it to rest upon MY shoulders to have to state that I know an answer to it especially an answer that is as clearly wrong to me as saying that the sun isn't shining at noon.

I need to pray to God for comfort and to allow me to fully forgive not these men, but any who came before them and helped to make it so confusing for us today. They talk about me doing things that might lead one soul astray as though it is a wicked thing, while the official writings
are just as confusing and just as prone to leading people any direction on this matter. I kind of feel unappreciated because of it, I follow the patterns, I study scriptures like they ask me to, I pray, and then the answers I get they tell me not to have. I didn't put the answers there either. I guess I can't say that God did either, because they don't want me to write anything that "I know" they only want me to say that I'm thinking about or studying things, while at the same time everyone says "I know this, I know that" when bearing their testimonies. If I said "I'm thinking about the Book of Mormon being true, and I'm studying whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet." that would not be a testimony. I believe God answers prayers, and I believe I have been trapped by for some reason, and I don't think God would trap one of his children in such a situation.

ALL converts should be taught that the official position of the Church is that Jehovah is Christ before being baptized, so they are not faced with this impossible choice unwillingly. I fear the consequences no matter what I say. There is no right answer. This is the most confusing thing I've ever faced, and after wasting hundreds of hours on the subject over the past seven years, finally coming to a comforting and relievingly simple answer, I am now asked to go back into the confusing zone and to just pray about it. But my prayers were already answered, and if I pray more how do I know what to trust? How do I know what to think? What should I do?

If every convert were treated this way, the Church would be very small. I feel very small because of it. I also feel that these men although trying to be loving are also trying to avoid the situation because they are scared of it. I wish they would teach me instead of holding back my temple recommend in order to "threaten" (lovingly) me to change my belief. That is not how the missionaries taught me, they did not say you're going to hell if you don't believe this doctrine. They said here are the doctrines, try it out, pray about it, find out if it is true. If you find it out, be baptized. I thought threatening tactics of hellfire and damnation are gone with the various sects and denominations of protestant Christianity.

I have to go.

Altars to Sin

Scriptures are echoing in my head, including Hosea 8:11-12, which is making more and more sense every day:
Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.
I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.

What is seen by men as "strange things" are indeed great things of the law of God. I try diligently and with real intent to be obedient to the commandments of God as they are made known to me by the Holy Scriptures, the Spirit, and the Prophets. Apparently I do not know what to believe, nor how to find out, because there is no way to trust the Spirit if it has lied to me in the past. I do not believe it has, I cannot deny what I've felt. But, I don't know what else to think. How can anyone know the truth?

Is the Church your rock?

In the past, I have made what was perhaps a natural assumption that the Church was my rock: my sure foundation which could never slip away, but things like the meeting I posted about previously are a valuable reminder to me of the scripture:

2 Samuel 22:2-3:
¶ And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

I love God. I am happy that nothing in the world can ever take away my ability to communicate with Him who sitteth as the Judge Supreme.

The Inquisition Has Begun

The Bloggernacle Inquisition that I mentioned back in July has begun - with me. All three members of my bishopric came over to my house tonight and spoke with me about concerns they have regarding my blog and other websites. I am not ashamed of what I have said here to date. This site represents my spiritual journey, not a static theological stance, and I am not in hiding. Let me reiterate a disclaimer similar to what I think I've said before: My views may change over time as I gain different spiritual insights and experiences, and nothing I say here should ever be taken as truth by anyone without them first backing it up with authoritative evidence from a reliable source and receiving a spiritual witness of it. Our discussion was long, and I will sum up briefly: They take issue with a few points on my blog, including my conclusions about Jehovah, and consider my inquiries regarding the theology represented in The Living Christ to be incompatible with sustaining the prophet.

However, I will not lie to escape out of a situation, and I feel compelled to answer with what is true according to my heart and conscience. The three points raised were mostly on Theology, Sustaining Leaders, and Apostate Affiliations:

First point:

Do you believe in God, the Eternal Father, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost; and do you have a firm testimony of the restored gospel?

Yes, I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. This requirement makes no claims or attempts to assign names to them. And yes, I have a firm testimony of the restored gospel.

Second point:

Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator; and do you recognize him as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?

Absolutely and unequivocally he is, similar in authority to Moses, Abraham, or St. Peter, for example.

Do you sustain the other General Authorities and the local authorities of the Church?

I do, and I welcomed them into my home to discuss these matters with me. Where I differ in interpretation of these last two statements is that I see the prophets as fallible mortal men who are inspired by God to do great things, and I am hesitant to agree that every letter or word spoken from the mouth of a prophet is utter and absolute truth. The latter position seems to be what has been asked of me, but how can one take such a view in light of the history of this Church and the various doctrines and views that have been held in favor at various times? If I were to accept infallibility, I would be required to say that the Church apostatized with Joseph Smith, because I believe Joseph to have by sheer sake of human nature made mistakes (although I am not sure if I could point out any particular). Infallibility is a bad doctrine, and can not be applied to modern prophets without great hypocrisy in not applying equal treatment to all of their predecessors in office. It seems that infallibility is not the precise understanding that these brethren are trying to move me towards, but I'm not sure what it is they want of me in this regard. I will pray about the subject.

The third point is the question regarding apostate affiliations, I believe it goes:

Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?

No. My post about The September Six was cited as suspicious of sympathizing with an individual whose teachings and practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church. I have never spoken with Michael Quinn personally, (although I wouldn't mind having a chat with him at some future date,) so I think the term "affiliate" is entirely out of the question. I feel sorrow for Mike and the hard position he was in in his life. The only precepts of Michael Quinn that I agree with would be those that are positive spiritual insights and uplifting ideas regarding the Church, I do not put any type of a blanket endorsement on what Michaell Quinn has taught. There is nothing wrong in agreeing on certain or even several points with a supposed "apostate" individual, as Brigham Young taught that even Satan can teach the truth, and that we should pray for the wisdom that we may discern and receive that truth and reject the error. Certainly I would not back up any teachings or opinions of such an individual that would be attacking the Church in any way.

These men have declared that they come to me in love, and I sense that in a large portion they are genuine and sincere in this love. They shared with me that they actually enjoyed many of my posts and even learned some things from them, and that they have read "the good and the bad" and not focused solely on what was perceived to be the "bad" about my blogging. I know they together spent hours studying the things I have said, and have probably read some of my articles that no one else has ever even bothered to read. I am grateful for the care they are taking in my situation.

However, this is the second time now that I have been faced with accusations about my beliefs, and I don't know how much longer I can hold up.

Readers (however few you be): I apologize that I may not feel free to fully express myself from here on out. My personal feelings and thoughts of which I have been frank and open with you up until today are now being judged and scrutinized, and this is enough to strip anyone's ability to speak freely no matter how hard they try not to let it affect them.

I will continue to share the details of my discussions with the Bishop and his counselors as things proceed forward, and I hope it may be of some help to others who may find themselves in similar circumstances. To the Bishop and his counselors, whom I expect will ultimately read this as well: I hope it may help you relate to the feelings I have, to have ones ideas be placed under scrutiny.


If You Could Hide Kolob

If you could hide Kolob in the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward with that same speed to try
To soften all the doctrines of Joseph's legacy,
And hide the precious things that are so plain to me,

Would it even make a difference; does it our God offend?
Or does it do a credit, as means to a good end?
Me thinks the spirit whispers, "Use honesty not haste,
For pure and holy beings are never double-faced."

The work of God continues, and Joseph's blood shall stand,
But will the Jew or Gentile receive the promised land?
There is no end to matter; there is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; there is no end to grace;

There is no end to virtue; There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to light;
There is no end to union; There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood; There is no end to truth;

There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.


On the state of Jesus

This post is formulated from comments I made on a post over at Millennial Star.

Mortal death, a consequence of the fall, was due to Adam and Eve being required to leave the garden, thus they were no longer able to partake of the Fruit of the Tree of Life. (This fruit being the only thing keeping the Gods alive eternally, as it sustains their celestial bodies in a way that restores them or prevents them from decaying.) Lack of this fruit for any extended period of time would cause man to decelestialize: as the celestial sand in his veins is replaced with blood he becomes mortal. The fruit, the Tree of Life, and the positive consequences of partaking of this fruit are quite ancient concepts, perhaps as widespread as the story of a world flood.

My current view of MMP is this: You are born a mortal (I'll use telestial as an example word here). You die. If righteous, you are born a baby again but this time you have become perfected to the point that you are able to live sinless (I'll use terrestrial as an example word here). You die again. You are resurrected (as Christ) and now have a celestial, resurrected body. This same adult body goes on to become the Adam of your new world. You are sustained by the fruit of the Tree of Life.

I object to the idea that Jesus Christ could be sinless straight out of the gate. I believe Jesus lived a life as a sinner in order to become worthy of being sinless. If not, he would be acting as a prototype of the original Satanism (Denial of Agency), he never would have tasted of evil in order to know good, he would be like Adam and Eve before the fall, in a condition of innocence and lack of joy. The only way I see it working is that Jesus Christ was a sinner and earned his way to being Christ; Just as Adam was a sinner and also earned his way through that office and to eventually become exalted (a celestial being).

If Jesus was sinless out of the gate, it would had to have been due to his own choices in his mortal life on this earth and we too would have equal opportunity to be and remain sinless throughout our own lives and save ourselves without his help. (For we are all literal children of God, ultimately, both by Adam-God reasoning, or without it: For Adam himself would have been a literal offspring of God.)

How is such a sinless "Terrestrial" body (as I am calling it) created? By an exalted, resurrected Celestial being (like Adam) procreating with a mortal (like Mary). This creates sinless offspring. Why is Seth different? Because he is the consequence of a decelestialized, mortal Father and Mother (each having blood in their veins). Note, I am not saying anything here about Mary's own condition except that she at this point is mortal (subject to impending physical death).

Without considering Adam-God, the question becomes why can Adam, created by God, sin, while Christ created by the same process could not, and remained sinless? If it was only due to Christ's righteous choices, that's a lot of spirits to put up for gamble - what if it had gone wrong?

Was Jesus really sinless in the way we think he was? Jesus certainly must have made indiscretions, mistakes, and what we would consider sins, even in this mortal probation, but his Elder Brother (and Father by Adoption), had already suffered as a sacrifice on a previous earth so that all of Jesus's sins past, present, and future, could be forgiven with an attitude of penance.

If Jesus hadn't already completed one probation, and if it is indeed possible for God to father a sinless child in one step while allowing this child to retain its agency, why would he not just make every one of us sinless and eschew the whole programme?



I'm curious what type of people are actually reading this blog? I'd encourage you to check-in by commenting on this post and telling a little something about yourself. Even if you do it anonymously and just let us know something about the type of person you are, that's great. Come on now, don't be shy...


How to Stop Terrorism - Fool Proof!

I can't take credit for this idea, it came to me from a good friend, but it is brilliant! Ok, here's how it works: Many terrorists are operating under the principle that if they die as a martyr they will be rewarded in the afterlife. Most of these terrorists also have a law forbidding them to take pork into their body, as it is an unclean animal. So, the solution is to dip all of the United States (and allies) bullets in pork grease. They would not dare approach a situation where they might be shot with a pork bullet, because this would certainly prevent them from reaching paradise after this life. Problem solved. I have come up with my own addendum to this plan: Fill the walls of all passenger aircraft with pork grease so that in the event of an explosion the shrapnel would embed pork into the bodies of all on the plane.

Perhaps this is a suitable use for packaged weight watchers pork rines.

Divine Investiture of Authority, properly applied

Spencer W. Kimball taught that:
"The priesthood is the power and authority of God delegated to man on earth to act in all things pertaining to the salvation of men. It is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. Without this priesthood power, men are lost."

Jesus Christ holds the Melchizedek Priesthood:

Hebrew 5:8-10
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

The Divine Investiture of Authority is the same thing as the Priesthood: God has given his authority to an individual (or group of individuals) to act in His behalf on the earth. It is evoked any time a priesthood blessing is given, and any time a sermon is preached by the Spirit. However, it does not give one avatar status as God: You retain your own identity.

Jesus was invested with authority to act in God's behalf, healing people, cast out devils, performing all sorts of miracles.

Difference between the Priesthood Authority which Jesus wielded and that that we ourselves may exercise? He had become perfect (perhaps in a previous probation,) and we have yet to do so.

Notes on greek words translted to worship in KJV

Note: This post was created as a supplement to a comment I posted on Blogger of Jared's post titled "Worship the Father or Jesus?"

Proskuneo - "to kiss the hand to one"


Matthew 2:2, Matthew 2:8, Matthew 2:11, Matthew 8:2, Matthew 9:18, Matthew 14:33, Matthew 15:25, Matthew 18:26, Matthew 20:20, Matthew 28:9, Matthew 28:17, Mark 5:6, Mark 15:19, Luke 24:52, John 9:38, Acts 10:25, Hebrews 1:6
Revelation 19:10 (Jesus; denied)
Revelation 22:8 (Jesus as an angel [messenger], or perhaps another sent in his behalf; denied)

God the Father:

Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:8 - [God] only shalt thou *serve* (directed to Satan)
John 4:20 - Our fathers worshipped (presumably the Father, per next verse)
John 4:21, John 4:23, John 4:24, 1 Corinthians 14:25
Revelation 4:10, Revelation 5:14, Revelation 7:11, Revelation 19:4 (Possibly Adam? Compare Dan. 7)
Revelation 11:16 (Lord God Almighty)
Revelation 15:4 (Lord God Almighty)
Revelation 22:9

Satan, Idols or the Beast:

Matthew 4:9, Luke 4:7 (Satan)
Acts 7:43 (idols)
Revelation 9:20 (not worship devils)
Revelation 13:4 (the dragon, the beast)
Revelation 13:8, Revelation 13:12, Revelation 13:15, Revelation 14:9, Revelation 14:11, Revelation 16:2, Revelation 19:20, Revelation 20:4.


John 4:22 - Ye worship ye know not what.
John 12:20 (came to worship at the feast, generally)
Acts 8:27 (came to Jerusalem for to worship, generally)
Acts 24:11 (went up to Jerusalem for to worship, generally)
Hebrews 11:21 (generally, when blessing the sons of Joseph)
Revelation 3:9 (John, recipient of Revelation)
Revelation 11:1 (worship in the Temple, generally)
Revelation 14:7 (creator)


- to revere, to adore. devout, religious, worship
- also translated as devout (Acts 13:50) and religious (Acts 13:43)
- in relation to goddess Diana "worshippeth" in Acts 19:27

Matthew 15:9, and Mark 7:7 - But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines ...
Acts 18:13 - This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.


- act piously or reverently, dutiful regard or reverence
- (1 Tim 5:4 uses it as "show piety")

Acts 17:23 - For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.


- will worship
- misdirected

Colossians 2:23


- to serve for hire
- to serve, minister to, either to the gods or men, slaves or freemen
- to render religious service or homage, to worship
- to perform sacred services, to offer gifts

Acts 7:42 - idolatry - the hosts of heaven by way of the calf idol
Acts 24:14 - But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
Philippians 3:3 - For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Thus, I have determined that Latreuo is the "worship" in the sense that most religious people today naturally use the word. Here is every New Testament verse using latreuo, and you will see that every one of them applies to God the Father:

Matthew 4:10
10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Luke 1:74
74. That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

Luke 2:37
37. And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

Luke 4:8
8. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Acts 7:7
7. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.

Acts 7:42 [Note: This is a reference to idol worship]
42. ¶ Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?

Acts 24:14
14. But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Acts 26:7
7. Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.

Acts 27:23
23. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

Romans 1:9
9. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

Romans 1:25 [ idolatry ]
25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Philippians 3:3
3. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

2 Timothy 1:3
3. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

Hebrews 8:5
5. Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Hebrews 9:9
9. Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Hebrews 9:14
14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 10:2
2. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Hebrews 12:28
28. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Hebrews 13:10
10. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

Revelation 7:15
15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

Revelation 22:3
3. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

I hope this is helpful in some way.


What to do with the humor...

In order to keep my theological thoughts separate from my humorous and perhaps very commercially minded self promotion regarding the T-Shirt business, I have created a separate blog/site for the LDS T-Shirts. Future designs will go directly to that site instead of here, although they may perhaps show up in the rotating shirt display at the top. If anyone is really interested enough to keep an eye on the shirt designs (and would such an interest call one's mental sanity into question?), new additions are also available via an atom feed.

The advertisement of T-Shirts does now humbly bow-out of the post topics here, keeping this site pure for those looking for our classic thought provoking and ocassionally controversial posts.


Basic Beliefs

I just took a quick cruise through the current rendition of the Basic Beliefs on the church's official websites. The section on Jesus said the following:
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is Heavenly Father’s Only Begotten Son in the flesh. He is our Redeemer. Through Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father has provided a way for all people to become like Him and return to live with Him forever.

We love Christ. We worship Christ. He is our example and our Savior.

While the section on Heavenly Father said this:
Jesus taught that God is "Our Father which art in heaven" (Matthew 6:9). We call God Heavenly Father because He is the Father of our spirits.

As your Father, God knows and loves you personally. He wants you to find joy in this life and return to live with Him when this life is over. He has prepared a plan to help you do these things. It is the plan of salvation, a plan of happiness. It offers peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

It appears that they are indicating that Jesus is to be Worshipped but no mention of Worship is included in explaining God the Father. I can only conclude that in emphasizing monotheism and separatism over trinitarianism, the official position of the maintianers of the Basic Beliefs portion of the website is that Jesus is to be worshipped while Heavenly Father is not.

I may be overly ridiculous or simplistic here, but this is what an investigator may think when approaching the website. How would these statements look to a Muslim, or a Jew who is considering further investigation of the Church? (Taken together with the other strange notion that Jesus as Jehovah actually did everything they ever thought God the Father did for his people, this becomes stragely like Trinitarianism. Just... a different Trinity.)


Mormon Kabbalah

The The Tree of Happiness, a Missionary "Flip-Chart" to help convert all your Mystic non-Mormon friends:

(You can buy this as a shirt)


Tabernacle Model

I love the Old Testament tabernacle. We can learn so much from it, and it can serve to reinforce many distinct LDS doctrines and ideas that are unique from the rest of Christianity if we carefully examine its construction and the practices performed therein.

Here's a neat article on how to properly paint a Tabernacle model. Using the Bible to try to create an accurate Tabernacle model can be a great spiritual task. I've done it before, and I plan on doing a more accurate one sometime soon.


How the Gospel makes little girls cry.

I just read this, and had to share a link to it:

Cold & Calculating: Warning Label for The Lamb of God

I think it is always important to consider the way the messages we teach and endorse look from outside and alternative perspectives.


To my regular readers: I hope you don't mind the T-Shirt display at the top of the blog now. We've been trying our hands at doing some unique Mormon-themed shirt designs, and want to share them with you because we feel you will be genuinely interested, so we have replaced one of our sponsored link blocks with this instead. I wish it were a little smaller, but it's not too bad... plus, it is listing genuine products designed by your friends here at Mormon Gnostics which makes it less of an advertisement and more of the thoughts and attitudes you are used to finding here.

Let me know if it seems too unruly and we'll move it somewhere else. And, if you like any of the shirts, please buy :)


Members of Utah Church are not "Mormons", FLDS leader says.

From the FLDS Newsroom-

Members of Utah Church are not "Mormons", FLDS leader says.
29 August 2006

ELDORADO, TEXAS — Many news outlets are reporting on the recent arrest of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.

Some media outlets have been very careful to describe Warren Jeffs as a "Mormon", "fundamentalist Mormon", or as the leader of a "Mormon sect." Other reports refer to Mr. Jeffs as a "fugitive polygamist sect leader."

Some may debate what the definition of a Mormon is, but terms like "Mormon Fundamentalist," and "Mormon Polygamy" are universally understood to refer to the nunmerous smaller groups basing their faith and history in the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The following information may be helpful in further drawing the distinction:

Warren Jeffs is a Fundamentalist Mormon
Warren Jeffs is a member of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and has had family in The Church for several generations.

Fundamentalist Mormons Practice Polygamy
Mormons began practicing polygamy in the 1840's, after a revelation was received by their prophet Joseph Smith, Junior. (Read history.)

In 1865, Brigham Young said: "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them." (Read full statement.)

There is No Such Thing as a "Mormon"
The term "Mormon Fundamentalist" is a nickname commonly applied to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other groups deriving their origin from the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. There is no such thing as a "Mormon," nor are there "Latter-day Saints." The correct term to describe these groups is "food storage sects." The inclusion of the word Mormon is misleading and inaccurate.

Associated Press
The Associated Press Stylebook states, "The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other Latter-day Saint churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith's death."


Warren Jeffs is currently imprisoned and unavailable for comment at this time.


Style guide note: When reporting about The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online style guide.

'Mormon' Morphology

I normally don't link to "Anti" oriented sites, but this article is purely about naming vocabulary and quite frankly, they seem to have been spot on in making this point intelligently, and in citing their sources:

Mormon Coffee: 'Mormon' Morphology

To quickly reiterate, they study the following terms:

Mormon vs. Fundamentalist Mormon
The Church tries to deny FLDS and others the privilege of being called Mormons, or even Fundamentalist Mormons in the media.

Mormon vs. Latter-day Saint
The Church tries to prevent itself from being called the Mormon Church by the media, leaving the term as a nickname entirely useless.

Christian vs. Not Christian
In total irony, the "traditional" Christians are trying to define the word Christian, and we strongly reject their definition and insist that we be called Christians.


Equal does not mean The Same

I keep running into the idea that equal somehow means clone. For instance, for two people to be perfectly equal, they must have the same strengths and weaknesses, be just as smart, just as strong, etc.


I'll use a simple math equation as an example:

3 + 8 = 15 - 4

Now, does 3+8 look the same as 15-4? no, they have nothing in common except their equality. To take this into the realm of human beings, it's likely that two random people aren't exactly equal, but, it's also likely that they are much more equal than meets the eye. An old plumber-man could be totally equal with a young athlete . . . if you took all their attributes together. The old man might have great compassion, or be a brilliant mathematician (gee, that would make a cool movie ;) ) while the young athlete might not be very bright, or have harmful addictions to various substances that hurts his life more than being old hurts the first man.

That was just a very silly example, but it illustrates how we could be compared to the mathematical equation above.

In mormonism, I hear a lot about perfection - how Our Heavenly Parents are perfect, how we will be perfect if we make it to the highest glory, etc. And then, individual ideas of what it means to be perfect are superimposed onto these people - "Heavenly Mother would never hide out in heaven while her Husband took care of the kids", well, what if she is shy, and wants you to come to her? Is there something inherently wrong with that? Are all the shy people going to hell? or be "cured"? The same goes for a very long list of attributes. The saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure" comes to mind. One person prizes their ability to be neat and tidy, while the other prizes their ability to be detached from worldly concerns such as messes and cleaning. Take a look in any personality list, and start comparing the "bad" and "good" characteristics in each personality and you will find there are distinct similarities.

hundredth post, woo-hoo!


Jehovah, the Father of Jesus Christ

The LDS Hymn Book from 1840
Title Page, and Preface:

These hymns were selected by the First Presidency for the use of the Saints.
I wanted to share Hymn #150, which gives a demonstration of the early LDS understanding of the identity of Jehovah:

How ought we to regard Jesus?

In reading the 1854 Children's Catechism, I came across this question and answer, to which I fully agree:

With what feelings ought we to regard the Lord Jesus Christ, when we consider the love manifested by him to us?

We ought to feel towards him the warmest gratitude and love, and be ready to keep all his commandments and precepts.

I have often warned against the worship of Christ on this blog, but I want to also warn never to allow this to strip you of your feelings of gratitude and love towards Christ, which are desirable and acceptable to have. Of course, I also have similar gratitude and love towards Joseph Smith and many others, including membebrs of my own family, but Jesus, our Brother, went through tremendous suffering and even death for us, and we must never forget what he has done. Would we be willing to pass through that same type of challenge that he went through in order to help our Brothers and Sisters?

Jehovah = Father (in 1854)

This is from the "Children's Catechism", published by Apostles Franklin D. Richards in 1854, available from online collection at BYU. It can be observed that at this point in time, Jehovah was still considered to be the Father, and Jesus Christ to be His Son, and that this was (correctly) taught to the children being raised in the Church at that time.

Did Jesus die Spiritually?

Reading about the televangelist Kenneth Copeland I came across an interesting teaching of his: That Jesus Christ had died spiritually, as part of his atoning work for our sins.

I thought this was interesting... Mr. Copeland, I believe, suggested that this happened after his physical death, as he descended to hell.

I think I agree that he did die spiritually, except that it happened during the atonement process in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

If "Spiritual Death" is a separation between Man and God, then this seems to have occurred. Not only that, but it seems that as the "wages of sin" are death, this would be the only adequate payment for sin - a spiritual death, not a physical death.

However, upon further study, I'm questioning the notion of spiritual death being equivalent to "separation from God" at all. I see a lot of scriptures about the second death or spiritual death being equated to a lake of fire and brimstone, and something that happens if someone dies while they are in sin, but not very much about separation from God being spiritual death. The standard verse people might quote is Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

However, I see this as clearly talking about the introduction of mortality into the world by Adam's transgression. The wages of [original] sin is mortality (physical death). Nothing to do with spiritual death at all. Wow, I really changed my mind half way through this post, or at least got myself confused. :-)


Psalm 78

Psalms 78
1. ¶ Maschil of Asaph. Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
3. Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
4. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
5. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
6. That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
7. That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
8. And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
9. ¶ The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
10. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
11. And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.
12. Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13. He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.
14. In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
15. He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
16. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
17. And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
18. And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.
19. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
20. Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?
21. Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;
22. Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
23. Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
24. And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.
25. Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.
26. He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.
27. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:
28. And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.
29. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;
30. They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,
31. The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.
32. For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.
33. Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.
34. When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.
35. And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.
36. Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.
37. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
38. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
39. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
40. ¶ How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
41. Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
42. They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.
43. How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan:
44. And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink.
45. He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
46. He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.
47. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost.
48. He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
49. He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.
50. He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;
51. And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
52. But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53. And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54. And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.
55. He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
56. Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:
57. But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
58. For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
59. When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:
60. So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
61. And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.
62. He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.
63. The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.
64. Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.
65. Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
66. And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.
67. Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
68. But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
69. And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
70. He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
71. From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
72. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

What an interesting parable (verse 2). I wonder when and what this is speaking of.


Review: Weaving the Visions

Recently I've been studying on Women and religious Spirituality. Particularly, why don't we as Mormons know our Mother in Heaven? I checked out 'Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality' from my local library, and it's a great book. It's a collection of essays about Feminist spirituality. Since it is a bunch of essays, if I don't like one of them, or am just not interested in the topic, I can skip it.

There aren't any essays by Mormon women included (so far at least, I'm only halfway through), but that doesn't mean the experiences of others isn't applicable. One of the Editors, Judith Plaskow, is Jewish, so that ensures a certain amount of Monotheism (Judaism is a lot closer to Mormonism than some would think) that other compilations concentrating on Goddess worship ignore (ie, "God" is also a Male figure, not just a Female one).

Essay topics include: Native American Traditions, Adapting Jewish customs and historical spirit to include women, Lesbian Nuns, Greek Goddesses, Ritual, Jungian Archetypes and so on. There are thirty three different essays, plus seven overviews / introduction / preface / etc.

Even though I don't agree with everything, or even a majority of what's in this book, I find most of it well written and thought provoking. If you have any interest in this subject, I heartily recommend it.

And, as a side note, I also checked out 'Restoring the Goddess: Equal Rites for Modern Women' and it was truly awful. I actually had to write a comment in the margin (shh, don't tell the librarian) to counter some of the things it was saying. (like stating that the bible commands child sacrifices)



I read this over at a Masonic Blog, and found it inspiring:

"Freedom dies under dogma. In a free society, no person or group or policy can be permitted to exist beyond scrutiny, criticism, even ridicule. When dogma gains enough power to punish those who oppose it, it becomes fanaticism. When dogma is invested with enough power to suppress opposition, it becomes tyranny. And when men are afraid to say what they think — however cockeyed or unpopular it may be – freedom has been violated, for it has been corrupted by fear."

I am proud to be a Mormon because our doctrine has such strong foundational principles relating to Freedom, especially Free Agency and religious freedom. For a religion to have support for religious freedom present at its core is very refreshing and makes a beautiful statement about its own security and self-confidence. I just hope we don't continue to lose sight of it!