5 facts about Mormon polygamy from controversial new LDS statement

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emma_smithYesterday, two new essays about polygamy became available on the LDS Church’s official website, joining a third that appeared late last year.

These statements contained some bombshells about Mormonism’s past that will not be news to most students of history but may indeed prove disturbing for some rank-and-file Latter-day Saints.

Five highlights of the revelations:

1)   “Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women who were already married.” Back in January after the first Gospel Topics statement about polygamy was released, one criticism I had was that there was no mention of the historical truth of polyandry in Nauvoo. It wasn’t widespread, but it did happen. Now the Church has openly acknowledged it.*

2)   Some of those polyandrous relationships were for “eternity only,” but some may have been sexual. (“Other women [who were already married] left no records, making it unknown whether their sealings were for time and eternity or were for eternity alone.”)

3)   Joseph Smith’s first plural marriage occurred as early as the mid-1830s, after an angel appeared to him three times to demand that he commence plural marriage. The third time, the angel brought a sword to drive home the point. Joseph wed Fanny Alger; whether his first wife Emma knew about it is unclear.

4)   Many plural marriages were contracted without the first wife’s consent. “Emma likely did not know about all of Joseph’s sealings,” the statement tells us. Joseph received a revelation in 1843 that said that while a first wife was supposed be consulted, if she refused to accept the plural marriage then the husband was “exempt from the law of Sarah.” In other words, he could go on ahead with or without his wife’s blessing.

5)   Most of Smith’s wives were between the ages of 20 and 40, but he also married teenagers. In what is perhaps the statement’s cagiest moment, plural wife Helen Mar Whitney is described as having been sealed to Joseph “several months before her 15th birthday,” rather than “at age 14.”

How have Mormons responded to the statements?

For the most part, the reaction has been very positive. “Those were rather open essays, acknowledging many of the uncomfortable details,” said a Deseret News commenter. The feeling was that it’s much better to get all this out in the open, to which I say AMEN.

A Reddit commenter was more specific: “Hot dang. We got Fanny Alger, Helen Mar Kimball, and Joseph marrying without Emma’s consent.”

But not everyone has been thrilled with the news. My Facebook feed has sported a range of reactions, from the been-there-done-that-got-the-t-shirt cynicism of “Oh, we’ve known about this stuff forever; it’s no big deal” to full-on stages of grief at the news that Joseph Smith really was married to teenage girls, and that he likely lied to Emma. Repeatedly.

And the first stage of grief is always denial, right? So there’s this:

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 3.20.19 PM

That’s right. When in doubt, call those who disagree with you about history the Gadianton robbers.

Some of us reach the maturity of stage 5 a lot faster than others, it seems. So if you’re looking for wise, informed, well-modulated reactions to the news, check out Julie Smith’s cognitive-dissonance-free take on the polygamy statements at Times and Seasons. Smith focuses her attention on what the essays teach Mormons about how prophetic authority actually works:

“I think the odd confluence of 1950s American corporate culture, historical amnesia, and rapid world-wide growth led Mormonism to advance the idea that a CEO-like prophet got regular memos from God, bullet-pointed with precise operating instructions designed to maximize return for the next quarter. Diligent work by historians, now disseminated instantly and internationally, shows that that vision isn’t quite precise.”

Some TBMs may be uncomfortable with all of the provisional, hesitant language of the polygamy statements, especially the one on Kirtland and Nauvoo. That timid little word “may” sure got a workout there.

But “may” is actually where we’ve lived for a long time in understanding polygamy, even if we imagined we had the answers.

 

  • TomW

    I have a hunch that a lot more Mormons already knew and accepted the truth long before yesterday’s release. It probably helps that I’d read “Rough Stone Rolling,” but I didn’t find any surprises for myself. Even if other Latter-day Saints may not know all the specifics, I think most assumed much of what was published as being in the ballpark of their expectations, and I don’t expect any tidal waves of dashed faith beyond the normal buffetting of the seas. Most will remain on board “the Old Ship Zion,” which Elder Ballard spoke about in the most recent General Conference, and the lifeguards are on hand with life preservers for those who need them.

    I had noticed the reference to “several months before her 15th birthday,” which is certainly different from “at age 14,” however one could argue that this is consistent with Joseph’s personal account of the Restoration – repeated often in the church – “I was at this time in my fifteenth year.” (JS-H 1:7) We can all do math, so it’s not exactly a bombshell to word it as they did.

    I really do embrace the continuing effort to formally address various issues which have long been left to apologists. I think the church will be stronger for it.

  • Fred M

    I was hoping this essay would come out soon, and wasn’t disappointed. I think it was very well done, and I’m glad the church did it. For decades anyone who even mentioned this stuff was considered “anti-Mormon.” Now it’s pretty much accepted as historical fact.

    I know there are members like TomW and myself who were aware of most of this, but I guarantee you that the vast majority of members either weren’t aware of it or had dismissed it as anti-Mormon propaganda. There are more members outside of the U.S. than in–do you think most of them have any idea of this? I doubt it. And I’d say a very small percentage of the membership in the states have read Rough Stone Rolling (although everyone should!).

    I’m not predicting tidal waves of dashed faith either (because the fact is those who will seek out and read this document are most likely to be members that already know most of this stuff). But if this document were read from the pulpit in every ward around the world, I could see there being problems. We shall see.

  • Matt

    Validation. That is the key to many of those who are faithful to the Church, yet aware and accepting of the complexities and issues with plural marriage.
    As has already been said, but I have to echo, the statements found in these articles can cause enough cognitive dissonance with your average member as to be denied outright. Now, with the Church publishing these essays denial becomes less of a viable option and one must confront the issues and process them. There will be pain, but hopefully on the other side we will have more mature and aware members of the Church.
    Great step forward.

  • Perry Bulwer

    If Julie Smith believes “… an angel appeared to [Joseph Smith] three times to demand that he commence plural marriage” then I don’t think she is free from cognitive dissonance.

  • Mark Hansen

    TomW – The article never even used the word Polyandry. Not a single mormon that I know, knew about polyandry before I told them. I did not know about it two years ago despite being born in the church, serving a mission, and being married in the temple.

    The article has many half-truths, and many outright lies. To not mention the word polyandry and that it is specifically against D&C 132 is dishonest.

  • Steven

    I have talked with many Mormon missionaries over the years. And I continue to be amazed that they believe the story about their “holy” books. At least this recent acknowledgement by the church hierarchy is shining some light into the fraud that Joseph Smith was.

  • TomW

    I was unaware of having been part of a discussion of polyandry, but I’ll bite. At what point do you believe the church is suddenly on board with eternal polyandry?

  • TomW

    Quite simple, Steven. The missionaries and millions of other Latter-day Saints the world over believe in these holy books because the Holy Ghost has witnessed to them of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. As such, they accept the reality that there is much we do not know which has yet to be revealed while acting on faith that the Kingdom is administered according to the divine will of God. Of course, absent such a witness of the Spirit and faith in God, I don’t know why anyone would necessarily believe any religion at all, but that’s just me.

  • Steven

    “…absent such a witness of the Spirit and faith in God, I don’t know why anyone would necessarily believe any religion at all”.

    Now that is a good reply for any atheists out there. And I agree with you. But because Mormonism does admit some acceptance of the Christian Bible my response would be that they should be “testing the Spirit(s)” to determine whether or not they are in reality following the “one true God.” Mormon theology is far outside of Christian Orthodoxy. I find it very interesting that more among the Evangelical Right are no longer referring to Mormonism as a cult. Of course that is due largely to Mitt Romney’s run for the White House…and political, not theological reasons. And, I have no ill will toward anyone that can read the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenant and find them compelling. Millions of predominantly poor and illiterate people the world over can’t be all wrong when it comes to reading and historical study.

  • TomW

    Steven, it’s a good reply for atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and everyone else.

    Latter-day Saints do not merely admit “some acceptance of the Christian Bible.” We believe it to be the word of God. And Latter-day Saints would assert that we do indeed test the Spirits, so to speak, to determine whether or not we are truly following God.

    You write that “Mormon theology is far outside of Christian Orthodoxy.” There are many deep similarities. There are definite distinct differences as well. The LDS church doesn’t proclaim itself to be part of the “Christian Orthodoxy,” but reserves a legitimate claim to being part of the greater family of Christendom. The fact of the matter is that the varying “orthodox” groups differ with each other as well, sometimes over very serious doctrines such as salvation. Nobody owns the term Christian that they have a right to include or exclude as they will. One can proclaim that “Mormons aren’t Baptists” (and we already know that), but one cannot proclaim that “Mormons aren’t Christians,” for example – at least not with any valid authority.

    I don’t know how much the Romney candidacy did for breaking down barriers with other Christians. But generally speaking there has been a greater spirit of cooperation over common causes, and an increase of goodwill, for which I am grateful. Even if people may disagree doctrinally, we’re still all children of the same God who loves each of us, and who wants us to be kind to one another.

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  • Danny S

    What seems to get lost is the decades of lies, obfuscation, and mendacity by the church and many of its defenders on this and other issues (race and the priesthood, Book of Abraham, Salamander letters, for example). Even this essay contains half-truths and spin. An example of spin, note that the essay says Joseph married a girl several months before her 15th birthday. In other words, she was 14. Why can’t the essay just be plain? Do we not extol the plainness of the Book of Mormon?

    There will be no apologies to those who asked difficult historical questions before the church released this essay and were shunned, scolded, labeled as anti-mormon, or haters. My shelf did not break because of these truths. My shelf broke because in my (now admittedly) naive and idealistic perception of how the “true” church of Jesus Christ would behave. After sustained inquiry it became obvious that the church lies, allows lies to be told on its behalf, implies things that are not true, and is generally content for its membership to be misinformed about its history so long as that incorrect view is “faith promoting”. “Lying for the Lord” is part of our culture. I also remember the wink and nod in church classes when we were taught about Ammon using “guile” in his missionary efforts. I recently observed to my wife that the church is literally rewriting not only its history of past events but also its history of how it has responded to these inquiries. I think of Orwell’s 1984, “We have always been at war with Eastasia”.

    In sum, the LDS church is not credible on certain issues. I think any church purporting to be the “only true and living church on the face of the earth” (how many times have you members heard that from the pulpit?) would have acted differently.

  • TomW

    Danny, you’re probably not going to get anywhere with believing Latter-day Saints with such heated accusations about the integrity of those the faithful believe are called of God to administer His Kingdom. Just because you do not accept the church’s position on the matters you question doesn’t mean that these positions are not legitimate. I also do not think it is particularly controversial that the article says that Joseph’s youngest wife was nearly 15, which is essentially the same way Joseph himself referred to himself at the time of his First Vision, rather than saying that he was 14. For those who oppose what happened, does anyone believe for a moment that even one person would feel better about “15” rather than “14, almost 15”? I don’t. The critic would remain the same critic at 15, 16, and probably 25 and beyond.

    With regard to apologies toward those who have asked “difficult historical questions” in the past, I suppose each situation is worthy of independent consideration. Not all “questions” are the same. The attitude and actions of the questioner toward the church itself as well as its leaders, and whether or not the questioner seeks to drive a wedge between other Latter-day Saints and the church, may play a role. As we have recently seen with Kate Kelly, I don’t think any honest person would say that she is in her present state solely on account of merely desiring an answer to a question.

  • This might be interesting to you: Religion and the Scientific Method- http://mormonknowledgy.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/religion-and-the-scientific-method/

  • Maddy

    I think many would agree with you Danny. I, too, struggle with how the Church has approached–not approached–these issues in a respectful, forthright way. And, understandably there is a lot of anger associated with that. While I think these latest essays are a huge step forward, there has been a lot of damage done over the years to people who were aware of these issues and labelled as “antis.” (I also see the Church repeating this pattern of “the ends justifying the means” in regards to the Prop 8 campaign). I do think “restitution” in the form of apology is owed to some-perhaps, many. As for me, the “jury is still out.” At a minimum, I make no judgements regarding those who’ve cut ties with the Church. These are huge hurdles and leaving is a valid and understandable reponse. But everyday, the approaches Church leaders take weigh heavy on my soul. I have faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ–I’m not sure the current institutional Church is the vehicle moving in that direction.

  • John Carter

    Not necessarily. This could actually be a claim intended to strengthen the claim Joseph Smith was a prophet by comparing him to Samuel being called and thinking the voice is Eli. Here is a Mormon dramatization that concludes with “So all Israel knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVos84e8keM

  • Michael

    Polyandry (/ˈpɒliˌændri, ˌpɒliˈæn-/; from Greek: πολυ- poly-, “many” and ἀνήρ anēr, “man”) is a form of polygamy whereby a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time. Polyandry is contrasted with polygyny, involving one male and two or more females.

  • Steven

    Kelly Knight. Please. I know the history of Joseph Smith and his supposed golden plates and supposed visions/visitations with the angels. He was a flim flam man at worst…and deluded at best. You are trying to “evangelize” the wrong person. When I visit with Mormon missionaries in the US or Mexico I am always happy to invite them into my home and talk with them about the Jesus of the New Testament (as foretold in the Old Testament). The Jesus of LDS may as well be the Jesus of Islam. LDS theology is bait and switch. Sorry. I have no interest in the LDS church beyond that of history of religion in America. And I have no personal animosity toward followers of the man-made religion of Joseph Smith. Each to their own. Live and let live. Adios y Dios te bendigan en todos.

  • TomW

    Steven, this is why we all walk by faith. I can only express my personal knowledge, witnessed by the Holy Ghost, that Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and invite others to learn for themselves as I have. Nobody will put a gun to your head to force you to accept the message, but my mileage on the matter has definitely differed from yours, and I wish you well.

  • Annon

    I am curious as to why God would allow anonymous writers to write these essays when he has a perfectly good Prophet on the earth to speak on his behalf or even better write the essays…….it would give the essays more credibility.Having said that I do like the part about the angel with the flaming sword threatening Joseph,I wonder how many men will try that excuse.

  • TomW

    Rather a runny remark coming from someone who takes to the internet under the name Annon.

    In any case, the Lord probably doesn’t issue revelations to serve as parlor tricks for the recreation of those who are critical of His servants. As things stand, some folks have enough trouble dealing with official proclamations and teachings which DO emanate from living prophets and apostles.

  • Annon

    Any possible reason as to why the church uses anonymous writers to write these essays are they now the new apologist arm of the church?

    Strange how Gods prophet on earth remains silent on these matters yet allows others to correct Mormon history or perhaps God just can’t get these matters right in the first place….so much for the one and only true church.

  • Annon

    Gods only parlor trick is to use a rock in the hat so Joe could translate the BOM which is quite funny considering Nephi went to a lot of trouble including murder to get some plates which obviously were not even required.

    As far as servants,living prophets and apostles only in the mind of a cultist. You have no proof whatsoever that God called any of these business men as his servants who for obvious reason remain silent while the great unwashed continue to whitewash church history.

  • TomW

    Annon, I think you are late to the game to criticize anonymously written materials from the church.

    Pretty much every lesson manual since forever has been put together by nameless committees and writers.

    LDS.org and Mormon.org have long been loaded with informational pieces about the church which have zero attribution.

    “True To The Faith,” “Preach My Gospel,” “Daughters In My Kingdom,” “Gospel Principles,” and so many other teachings of the church are widely distributed, all without authorship.

    So now that the LDS church continues to release similar types of informational pieces on various matters of interest, suddenly it is important that these things come directly at the hand of the living prophet in order to matter … to a critic?

    By all means I welcome you to study the voluminous works of Thomas S. Monson, Gordon B. Hinckley, Howard W. Hunter, and other great prophets of your lifetime. We’d all be better for doing so.

  • TomW

    Annon, I was unaware that “businessman” was an evil vocation. Nonetheless, most LDS prophets and apostles do not come from that background. What most actually share in common is a military background. Here’s the present list:

    Thomas S. Monson (US Navy, Business Management)
    Boyd K. Packer (US Army Air Force, Education)
    L. Tom Perry (US Marines, Finance)
    Russell M. Nelson (US Army, Medical Doctor)
    Dallin H. Oaks (National Guard, Attorney, State Supreme Court Justice)
    M. Russell Ballard (US Army Reserve, Car Dealership)
    Richard G. Scott (Nuclear Engineer)
    Robert D. Hales (US Air Force, Businessman)
    Jeffrey R. Holland (Education)
    Henry B. Eyring (US Air Force, Physics, Business, Education)
    Dieter F. Uchtdorf (West German Air Force, Commercial Pilot)
    David A. Bednar (Education)
    Quentin L. Cook (Attorney, Healthcare Services CEO)
    D. Todd Christofferson (Attorney)
    Neil L. Anderson (Businessman)

  • Annon

    Tom, I highly doubt that any of these lesson manuals and materials see the light of day without the approval and consent of the Prophet.
    I find no value in reading anything that your Prophets may have claimed to have written because they are only known as Prophets to believers and we don’t have any proof that they actually wrote anything.In addition what the early Prophets on Mormonism have said or written or spoken is somehow no longer valid and is being revised in the new church history.

  • Perry Bulwer

    Perhaps I was trying to be too clever with my comment.

    Personally, I think that anyone who believes in angels, let alone that one forced Smith to accept polygyny, has a cognitive problem. The same goes for believing that any human can be a prophet, in the ordinary definition of that word. There is absolutely no way to to verify anyone’s claim that they have special spiritual insight to know or interpret the will of a god or God. Most self-proclaimed, anointed or appointed prophets, are only in it for the profits.

    I notice that Jana’s most recent blog post here, following this one, is on that very theme of Mormon prophets.

  • TomW

    Annon, would you please make up your mind? One moment you are expressing contempt that these essays don’t come from the prophet, and the next you are claiming that the vast quantity of previously published works do not “see the light of day without the approval and consent of the Prophet.”

    You also need to learn the difference between what the prophets reveal as the will of the Lord and propose to be added to the canon where it becomes binding doctrine, and what the prophets may say without doing so.

    The common thread of continuing revelation, line upon line, precept upon precept, hasn’t changed one whit.

  • TomW

    Perry, perhaps what distinguishes Latter-day Saints from others is that we really do believe that God as provided a way “to verify anyone’s claim that they have special spiritual insight to know or interpret the will of a god or God.” I realize how difficult this may be to fathom if one hasn’t experienced it oneself, but just because one hasn’t experienced it doesn’t mean that a person can credibly claim that no one else can experience it either. One can only affirm one’s own personal experience one way or the other.

  • Danny S

    What exactly is so distinctive about the mormon method of finding truth? Don’t other religions teach prayer of some sort? Don’t people of other faiths seek some sort of feeling of warmth or comfort from within their religion? Mormons have a lexicon of terms that others may not be familiar with but the concepts are basically the same. So what makes a warm feeling following a mormon prayer a manifestation of the spirit but the same feeling after a nonmormon prayer not? How is it that god gives similar feelings to people of all faiths? The implications of mormon theology is that only mormons are having “true” spiritual experiences but others are not? I’m sure there will be some clever response that parses my arguments without actually getting to the merits. I truly believe the notion that what is good about the mormon church is not unique, and what is unique is not good. There’s so much more that could be said but I’m tired of tapping on my phone.

  • GP

    “… suddenly it is important that these things come directly at the hand of the living prophet in order to matter … to a critic”

    I don’t follow what you mean by “suddenly”. What about the Savior teaching us to leave the 99 to find the one? Annon brings up a good point. There are major issues in church history, people are losing their faith, and you refer us to anonymous lesson manuals which contain nothing that directly addresses these issues. Wouldn’t you expect God to do something? Or do you chalk up all of the major issues as just a big test of faith? Seriously, try to have some compassion and understanding.

  • Maddy

    I remember a long time ago, on beliefnet, someone sharing their spiritual confirmation as a result of prayer, of the truths found in Islam. At the time it struck me how similar the wording and testimony was to the ones I’ve heard my whole life in the LDS Church. So yeah, I’ve come to have a broader view and don’t think that everyone has to follow the path of Mormon baptism to access God. I think there are many paths. Mormonism is where my roots are, and most likely where I’ll remain, with selective participation. I find ways to be of service to those in need and have found some really humble, charitable, kind people to join with. But other times it can be hard. I think one of the unique things in the LDS Church is its organization into ward, then stake units which facilitates rapid reponse organizations for individual and large-scale disasters.

  • Fred M

    In many ways I feel the same. If you take the time to expose yourself to a wide variety of believers you will find that they feel EXACTLY the same way about their religion as we do about ours. They have lived their religion, prayed about it and received a confirmation from God. I’m uncomfortable with the attitude that somehow our spiritual experiences are more valid than theirs. Where are their spiritual confirmations coming from if not God? Do we really think they’re coming from the devil? I’ve heard that taught in church before, but I find it really offensive. And maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the church leaders aren’t emphasizing the lack of truth of other religions as much as they used to, which is something I’m happy about.

  • Wayne Dequer

    While I understand this is new ground for many members, the topics have been aired in a number of sources. There is a pretty specific round table on these topics from August 2013 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-tgk6zCHAU . Wikipedia has included a thoughtful article for at least a few years at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Joseph_Smith%27s_wives and one of his wives was 54 years old when they married. Of course Compton’s book “Sacred Loneliness” was published in 1997. There are also a number of articles on these topics at FairMormon including a listing of scholarly articles on polygamy and polyandry dating back into the 1970’s and 1980’s at http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Polygamy/Polyandry/Further_Reading .

    Given my 40+ years of marriage to my beloved wife, my 3 wonderful daughters, and 20th and 21st century sensibilities, these are not easy topics. However, I’ve gotten pretty good at exercising patience as I come to better understand difficult topics and questions. The scriptures teach of being tested in all things. I am glad I was Not called to live polygamy much less live Joseph Smith’s life. I do not claim to understand all, but I continue to feel the Holy Ghost testifying that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and God’s instrument in restoring the gospel.

  • TomW

    Danny, I don’t think there is anything particularly “distinctive about the mormon method of finding truth.” The Holy Ghost can witness to anyone. God hears every prayer, regardless of one’s religious or non-religious background. Religion offers warmth and comfort to people of all faiths, else nobody would belong to them. I did not argue, and I don’t think any other Latter-day Saint here has argued, that the Holy Ghost only manifests itself to Latter-day Saints.

    You write that “The implications of mormon theology is that only mormons are having ‘true’ spiritual experiences but others are not?” That is not at all the implication of my comments, and to the extent that I have ever expressed myself in a manner to suggest otherwise, I welcome the opportunity to clarify. Everyone is capable of having true spiritual experiences regardless of their religious heritage.

    Perry had posted, “There is absolutely no way to to verify anyone’s claim that they have special spiritual insight to know or interpret the will of a god or God.” It was that comment to which my remarks were directed. I would assert that people the world over, of myriad faith backgrounds, have been able to come to a knowledge of certain spiritual truths by the power of the Holy Ghost. Perry’s remarks made no denomination distinction. My response was not intended to do so either, albeit written from my own LDS perspective.

  • TomW

    GP – Annon had written, “Strange how Gods prophet on earth remains silent on these matters yet allows others to correct Mormon history or perhaps God just can’t get these matters right in the first place.”

    He acts as if it isn’t commonplace for the church’s teachings to be presented in various formats without coming specifically from the mouth of the living prophet, or otherwise even having attribution to a specific author in any form.

    That’s what I meant by “suddenly.” He wrote as if an extremely ordinary, common occurrence is somehow scandalized simply because the topic is controversial.

    Folks like Annon come across as if they will criticize absolutely anything and everything if given the opportunity, with little regard for what is rational.

    For what it’s worth, major issues can indeed be a test of faith. Or an opportunity to commune with the Lord while upon our knees. Or an opportunity to manifest our faith by not letting things we do not understand, or that we struggle with, derail us from the rest of the kingdom which we may have already received a witness about.

    Disagreeing with someone, or rejecting their arguments, does not necessarily translate into a lack of compassion or understanding. No one brought more of these attributes to the table than Christ, and yet his words were difficult for many to hear, and many turned from Him because they could not bear His truths.

  • TomW

    BTW, Annon, isn’t calling someone a cultist an inflammatory slur? Where do you get off with that?

  • Perry Bulwer

    So, your argument is that God provides you a way to verify the claim that there is a God and that particular ‘prophets’ discern that particular God’s will? Making a circular argument and arguing from personal experience is not very convincing.

    You say: “One can only affirm one’s own personal experience one way or the other.” So on what evidentiary basis should anyone believe that anyone else’s personal experience is real as opposed to a delusion or other trick of the mind, for example? As a Mormon, you evangelize faith, not fact. Why should anyone accept your claim that you have personally experienced what you claim to have experienced?

  • TomW

    Perry, you ask: “Why should anyone accept your claim that you have personally experienced what you claim to have experienced?”

    I don’t ask them to accept my claim on my word alone whatsoever. I can only share what I have learned for myself, and invite others to find out for themselves whether the Holy Ghost will witness the same to them. I’ve had friends who have had corroborating witnesses, and I have had friends who come back with “I’ve got nuthin’.” It’s okay. I appreciate the effort either way. And I do not dismiss anyone’s sincere efforts wherever they are led.

  • Perry Bulwer

    “… I’ve had friends who have had corroborating witnesses …”

    Sounds like folie a deux to me:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folie_%C3%A0_deux

  • Sanjit

    [This comment has been deleted for insulting remarks. Please keep the discussion focused on the issues at hand, and do not engage in personal judgments about other people in the discussion. If this continues you will be blocked. — Ed.]

  • grindael

    #2 and #3 are factually incorrect. There were no “eternity only” sealings. That is something that has been invented by Mormon Apologist Brian Hales and he has no evidence to back this up. The only women who enter into Polygamy, as one wife of Smith (who was forced to marry him when she was only 14) wrote in a long pamphlet about it, is to raise up “righteous seed”. There was no marriage between Smith and Fanny Alger, it was adultery by Smith, attested to by Oliver Cowdery. Smith also committed adultery with one Mary Heron Snider, as revealed in a Church Court in 1850 by her son in law Joseph E. Johnson, who said he was present in the house when it happened. And the angel and the sword? Simply folk tales invented and spread around after Smith was murdered. There is no evidence of any accounts about an angel before the mid 1850’s. Also, it goes against the Mormon teaching of “free agency”. An Angel tried that once in Mormonism, (Lucifer) and he was kicked out of heaven.

  • grindael

    Remember folks, Warren Jeffs, the modern day follower of Joseph Smith, also said that he knew what he did was true by the “Holy Ghost”. His followers also said that they knew he was a “prophet” like Joseph Smith by the power of the “Holy Ghost”.

  • Steven

    Tom W. I have returned late to this posting. But in response to your comment, “one cannot proclaim that “Mormons aren’t Christians,” for example – at least not with any valid authority.” I must say that who Jesus is as taught by Mormonism places them outside of the true Christian faith. They are not part of the Christian family. Many persons who choose to follow the teachings of the LDS may be kind and caring. Good and faithful within their LSD life and patriotic citizens of their country. They may be good “religionists” and “nationalists”. But they are following a false Jesus in the context of the New Testament and the historic understanding of the Christian church with regards to the person and place of Messiah Jesus. , They are leading people away from the Messiah Jesus..the only begotten Son of God. Our Saviour. Mormonism is not just a different understanding of the Christian faith. It is a false understanding. An understanding not of the Holy Spirit but of the Evil One. Enough said from me. http://www.leaderu.com/offices/michaeldavis/docs/mormonism/jesus-refs.html

  • I can’t believe you guys. Smith was just another man, and apparently horny as hell to the point of pedophilia. The pedestal you put him on was made of desert sand. This is not to knock him. If you try to make a man into a god, he’s still going to have a man’s faults. And, gosh, I wonder what that sword looked like that the angel brought him the third time it told him to play the field? This man was obviously unbalanced mentally. Your hero was a heel.

  • Marshall

    Here’s an exercise in fun: go read the “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy” series. Upon finishing, read the RLDS-promoted “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy” series. It’s available to read online for free. I don’t think you’ll end up getting converted to the RLDS church, so don’t be scared. Once you’ve completed that series, go back and re-read “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy.” Finally, go read William Clayton’s journal. I don’t see William Clayton’s journal as the smoking gun that most Mormons claim puts an end to the debate. Over the years, I’ve been through all the stages of grief, starting with denial, and I now am pretty firmly planted in denial (but not as a stage of grief) after having read both sides of the story several times. I did manage to stay Mormon, but I’m not sure if there’s room in the Celestial Glory for those who don’t believe in polygamy. It seems that most would rather believe that he was a cheater, liar, and schizophrenic. I believe that Joseph was an honest man. In an “honesty fight”, I think we would see Joseph Smith kick Brigham Young’s butt any day.

  • Marshall

    Just to be sure, I was kidding about the “not room in the Celestial glory” comment. I think it would depend on which group you asked, Joseph and Emma or Brigham and John C. Bennett.

  • TomW

    Jack writes: “Smith was just another man, and apparently horny as hell to the point of pedophilia. The pedestal you put him on was made of desert sand. This is not to knock him.”

    Why of COURSE not!!!!!!

  • jawn

    Marshal I couldn’t agree more with you. I’ve read those papers as well as so many more and even though I’m a fully active member if the church the only thing that makes sense to me is that Joseph Smith didn’t practice polygamy. I have many reasons for this conclusion and I’m a little bothered that an official paper came out speaking as if it is fact that he did.

  • Joseph Smith was a man like many before him but he was a man with a divine calling and I believe personally that he was to that calling until the end and it would’ve mistakes he made along the way I’m not too critical of having seen my own life and the things of happened and myself were at different times I have the heavens open to myself and yet made stupid mistakes along the way if you have a hard time understanding The simple fact that God works through men in because that’s all God has and if you have a hard time understanding that if you believe in the Scriptures in any form just revealed customer it’s field with examples of common men having Great visions or great experiences with heavens were opened and yet did really really stupid things and that’s just part of being human to me it doesn’t change my testimony of the profits of the Smith the feelings I felt as I first heard the message of the restoration and understood the message as a young boy and listen to it before I even knew with the Holy Ghost was still burning in my heart… it doesn’t bother me but Joseph Smith was a man hit actually just makes it more understandable more moral and makes him more approachable and if I read what he wrote in the doctrine covenants under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost with such power and majesty and then look at them the stupid thinks he might’ve done I think that the Lord gave Joseph this promise that if he is faithful he would remain in the The office and the calling of a prophet but if he went off on his own you don’t tension and it is on thing at the end that he be removed and I think that’s pretty much what happened if you look at the the facts that Smith through martyrdom was removed and a new prophet was put in His Place ie, Brigham Young with a greater vision to get the Saints to Utah anyway I know this complicated issue but for me it’s just simply the heavens can be open and to me in because that’s all God’s got to work with we are it and it isn’t much….

  • noel

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYLcQ0fzHDI

    Interesting discussion by three women on the paper

  • Tortdog

    Is this my good friend from T100?

  • TomW

    tortdog, you ignorant slur! It’s as if the Branch Elvisians abducted you in their interplanetary craft 3651 days ago while regal’s glaciers expand and recede, King Saints Knights Templar invade Rodge’s stockpiles of Guiness, and the Vixens got spanked. How the hell are ya?!

  • grindael

    Thomas S. Monson (US Navy, Worked For Church entire life)
    Boyd K. Packer (US Army Air Force, Worked for Church entire life) L. Tom Perry (US Marines, Finance, Paid as a GA since 1972) Russell M. Nelson (US Army, Medical Doctor, paid as GA since 1984)
    Dallin H. Oaks (National Guard, Attorney, President, BYU, State Supreme Court Justice, worked for Church since 1984)
    M. Russell Ballard (US Army Reserve, Car Dealership that failed, then worked for church for rest of life)
    Richard G. Scott (MECHANICAL ENGINEER, worked for church since 1965)
    Robert D. Hales (US Air Force, Businessman, worked for church since 1994)
    Jeffrey R. Holland (Education) Henry B. Eyring (US Air Force, Physics, Business, Worked for Church entire life)
    Dieter F. Uchtdorf (West German Air Force, Commercial Pilot, worked for church since 1994)
    David A. Bednar (Education, worked for church since 1997)
    Quentin L. Cook (Corporate Attorney, worked for church since 1996)
    D. Todd Christofferson (Lawyer, worked for church since 1993)
    Neil L. Anderson (Businessman, worked for church since 1989) –

  • Tortdog

    Doing well. Seeing the unmerciful manner in which you have dissected illogical and/or irrational arguments being made on this post made me almost feel pity, but then it was warranted.

  • Tortdog

    Steven. Your source is riddled with strawman arguments.

    To understand what Mormons believe of Jesus Christ, you must go to the writ that the Mormons believe is scripture. You select various quotations that are not backed up with scriptural authority. The reality is that the nature of Jesus Christ was hotly disputed by early Christians. It was this dispute that gave rise to councils hundreds of years after Christ’s resurrection in which religious scholars/leaders debated the merits of the various arguments before finally selecting one and declaring it “official.”

    I do not recall that being the manner in which Jesus Christ laid out his doctrine. I do not recall any “council” being held in which religious leaders debated doctrine and then came down on an answer via a vote. The only major change in doctrine that came about following Christ’s resurrection was whether circumcision and the laws of the “unclean” were still in force. It was a vision that advised Peter to change. They did not debate it.

    Seems to me that you are relying on non-Christian methods to determine doctrine to make a determination on what being a Christian means. Decidedly illogical, but nevertheless I give you a few points for the attempt, nonetheless.

    Cheers.

  • TN

    There is also absolutely no proof against it….. So……

  • Ron

    This has been common knowledge for many decades. J. Smith the Cho-mo. Everyone knew except the cults in Utah.

  • http://www.mormonchannel.org/bible-videos

    http://www.mormon.org/

    I suggest you explore these websites and be respectful to other people and their religions. The Bible is the word of God and the Book of Mormon is another testament to the Bible. Searching about the LDS Church on websites that twist and alter the words given by church authorities are false. You can believe and do the things that you want, but the Ten Commandments given by God are truth. Take what the people of the LDS faith believe from a primary source. Mormons aren’t bad people and don’t believe in wrong truths. When you seek to have religion in your life and not mock those who do believe, do so with an open mind and heart. I’m not trying to get you to join the LDS church, but to have faith in religion itself. The church wants you to find truth, and if that is with another religion worth pursuing, I congratulate you. May God bless you all.

  • Alex

    The church is very powerful and with great power comes great responsibility. It’s nice to see an official admission of the past with an eye on creating a better future. Only by owning our past as individuals and institutions that we can create a more civilized society. Bravo.

  • Marcus

    Google “Pascal’s Wager”. When extraordinary claims are made, the burden of proof lies with the one making the extraordinary claims.

  • Cheryl

    See the following excellent discussion of polygamy by LDS scholar Valerie Hudson Cassler: http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerPolygamy.html

  • Thomas W. Scott

    The LDS Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, will say whatever they have to say, to back up Brigham Young, and they will LIE about Joseph Smith, being a polygamist- He was not. Additionally, in Brigham Young’s “Journal of Discourses”, He never proclaimed to be prophet of the Church. People need to go further back in the church, before Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were shot in Carthiage, ILL. It was after Joseph Smith was killed, that Brigham Young, brought all this hearsey into the church. Matter of fact, their was a Court decision, that detailed the BY, apostacy from the original church, and teachings. One would look no further than his son Joseph Smith III, Frederick M. Smith, Israel A. Smith, and on and on.

  • Pingback: Wall Street National | Church: Mormon founder Joseph Smith wed 40 wives - Wall Street National()

  • David

    @Grindael,

    “Worked for the church” actually means that these men were “called” by the LDS Church (most in their 50’s or 60’s) after working in other careers for 2 or 3 decades (except Monson and Packer). A few of these men are at or nearing their 90’s so they had several decades of outside career before joining the General Authorities.

    Nelson was a heart surgeon – early in the years of doing open heart surgery. You’ve somehow “dumbed down” Scott (nice “all-Caps statement), and Ballard for (heaven-forbid!) having a dealership that failed. I’m glad to know you’ve achieved unqualified success. Uchtdorf was a 747 pilot (how many times do we have to be reminded?) and SVP of Lufthansa.

    Christofferson was head attorney at 2 banks and clerked for Judge Sirica of Watergate fame . Cook was also an exec at Calif. Healthcare System and on the board of Sutter in CA.

    That these men have had some success (except Ballard?) in business could be a “good thing” in that they know how to build and lead organizations, how to work with multiple stakeholders (including those outside the organization), communicate and set direction, manage resources, etc. You also don’t get as far as these men have without having to study and work hard. Those that were businessmen, attorneys were promoted in organizations where they had to make their own connections.

    While I also find some of the early history of the church to be disturbing (I don’t like any kind of polygyny or polyandry), there are other things I do like. When I read the other scriptures produced by Joseph Smith (Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants), I find inspiration, the same as I do when I read the Bible. I also find a certain weight and complexity to these books that for me seems to exceed what could have been written by one man alone. I read a lot of other books (e.g. historical biographies, human behavior, organizational psychology, neuroscience, etc.).

    @Annon,

    You don’t have any “proof” that Smith was not the only one to produce the aforementioned scriptures. There are accessible manuscripts of most of these works, written in the hand of the people (e.g. Cowdery et al) who he said he did the dictation to. There are lots of things to be said about Joseph Smith, but the one thing most historians agree on is he produced the writings he said he produced.

  • BNC

    Danny S,
    There is nothing distinctive about the mormon method of finding truth. The only difference between the spiritual manifestations received by Mormons and non-Mormons is the name. Mormons happen to describe it as coming from The Holy Ghost. Mormons do not teach “their” Holy Ghost is accessible only to Mormons. Mormons do not teach that the only “true” spiritual experiences are provided to Mormons. Quite the contrary and the evidence is in the open invitation for any non-Mormon to “be led by the Spirit” after reading and praying for oneself to receive spiritual guidance or confirmation as to whether or not any/all of the Mormon-related writings (Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) contain enough Justifiable True Belief to compel the reader (and “pray-er”) to become a member of the Church. One cannot do that without The Holy Ghost.

  • BNC

    grindael,
    Why don’t you just put it out there so people can chew on it with a full set of teeth. The Holy Ghost is a conception used to describe the emotional response our bodies create when we really, really, FEEL something; right?

  • BNC

    So, you have a few issues about Brigham Young. Understandable. He was pivotal in the Mountain Meadows Massacre fiasco. Yep, covered up by LDS Church members early on and in later years – loosely acknowledged by Gordon B. Hinckley. Nothing newsworthy in that. Members of the LDS Church, like any other church, do and say stupid things on a regular basis. I know because I live it nearly every week as a member of a Bishopric. This “calling” gives me the great pleasure of receiving the attitudes, judgements, and even visceral lashings-out from Church members. I endure it by reminding myself it is their ignorance, and in some cases – outright stupidity, that causes them to behave like middle school students. Honestly, I cannot understand why someone would waste their time bashing another religion. If you don’t understand it (or don’t want to), don’t like it, or even if you hate it, move on. Find something that makes you happy here on Earth so the rest of us don’t have to look at your scowl of hatred every time we see you.

  • RonaldG

    TomW – Please stop wasting your life on a scam of a ‘religion’. I wish the Mormons would just call it what it is…a business club where people have social interaction. There is not one ounce of proof about any of the founding doctrines of your religion. Joseph Smith was a charlatan and plagiarist, simple as that. Hate to burst your bubble, but everyone knows the obvious.

  • Bill

    TomW,

    You are deceived. You have embraced an alien gospel. Jesus Christ is the fullness of the revelation according to God’s holy word and it stops at the end of the book of Revelation, not because I have said so but because the Bible has decreed it.

    Bill

  • Tortdog

    I am pretty informed and a lifelong member. It was a surprise to me that Joseph Smith had definitely married young girls and likely had sexual relations with them. Most of the storyline that I heard growing up was how Joseph was reluctant to engage in polygamy, as was Emma, but Joseph accepted it and Emma still struggled – accepting the first one or two but quickly becoming opposed.

    With the facts now confirmed, I am much more empathetic with Emma. I fail to see the rationale in marrying young girls in polygamous relationships. It’s not like there were that few men (noting marriage of married women as well).

    Candidly, I believe it likely that Joseph and some others went astray. That doesn’t change that the Book of Mormon is true. No way is that book from Satan and the Spirit has spoken loudly to my soul. It teaches men to draw closer to Christ.

  • Duh

    Every time they come to my door I always let the Mormon kids in and it always amazes me how little they actually know about Joseph Smith and the founding of the Mormon church. How could anyone in the church not know that he was a polygamist? My only guess is that they don’t ask questions about the beginning of the church because if they do then they’ll have to ask whether they really believe he magically translated gold tablets that he found by putting a stone in a hat and sticking his face into a hat. This would lead to questioning their entire religion, so they all just stick their heads into the sand rather than into a hat.

  • Ed

    “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.” (Joseph Smith–History 1:33)

  • Luis

    The bible does talk about blind guides. And blind sheep, your faith is stronger, of course because you are deceived and enjoy it. This is only the tip of the iceberg of a cult founded on lies.

  • Amber

    I grew up LDS. I am no longer active but I do believe in a lot of the stuff the church taught, and the values I learned have followed me into adulthood. Bottom line, is that the members of the church do not believe in polygamy, nor do they practice it. They are a faith based on family and giving back to humanity. Yes, the history is a bit shady, but you must see who they are now. They are decent people, who give of themselves and to others. I am surrounded my LDS people and am constantly amazed by the love and compassion they have for their neighbors.

    Another point I would like to add, is that 15 was NOT young to get married back then. It was a common practice back then. Many women lost their husbands and fathers on the journey to Utah. We don’t and may not truly know the help that he offered by taking them under his wing. Weird, yes.. but without being there it is hard to make judgments.

  • Tortdog

    You might find this too simplistic but it is not about Joseph Smith for me. It is about the feelings of the Spirit that fill the soul with live and make you want to be more like Christ. I can’t deny the the Book of Mormon comes from God anymore than I can deny the Bible. In fact, parts of the Bible are horrific, e.g., genocide in a command to kill all men, women and children in an entire city, and yet I know that it comes from God. I know that God is just. I know that Christ is the God of the Old Testament (even though a lot of Christians like to ignore the unpleasant parts of the Old Testament).

    It is not about Joseph Smith. It is about Jesus Christ.

  • Tortdog

    Did you ever wonder why the Revelations is last when other parts of the New Testament were written after it?

  • Anibal Rodriguez

    Which article are you referring to, The Churche’s or Ms Riess’? Neither the footnote nor the Churche’s article clearly states that ‘polyandry’ is a blessed practice of the Church, or that it ever was. On the contrary, I think they’ve gone the extra mile, trying to explain that these ‘sealings’ were ‘for eternity only’ meaning that there was a understanding that ‘linking’ families together was possible through those means. What is great about the Churche’s article is that, they’ve finally put all these historical accounts, stories, and doctrine in one single place, where the common layman’s terms are easily understood.

    The fact that several of these women who were ‘married’ to Joseph corroborated the events, and tried, to the best of their knowledge, explain the process and state of ‘plural marriage’ as it pertained to them is truly enlightening.

    Those of us who believe in the divine calling of Abraham, and Jacob, to name a few, have an opportunity to judge Joseph with a much broader perspective of our present time than those two older prophets, and yet, after much prayer, and pondering, many, many of us have come to the conclusion that Joseph was also a prophet of God, that imperfect as he was, but as faithful as he was, he also had fears, hesitations, doubts, and confusion, which he overcame. He knew people would judge him, for good or bad, but he did what was commanded of him. Sometimes he followed the Spirit of the Law, and sometimes he followed the letter of the Law, to fulfill his responsibility. We may judge him and say this was all a ‘sex’ game for him, but if that were to be the case, not many of those ladies who married him or were sealed to him, would have kept that secret after his death, never mess with scorned women, or low-life men for that matter!

    The Church has never hidden the fact that polygamy was part of the restoration, whether God needed to grow seed unto His people, or if it was a way to test people’s faith, we won’t know until the proper time comes.

    However, from there to try to lecture the prophets, call them liars or perverts, or try to imply Joseph bedded teenagers and married 40 women, it is obviously NOT true, there’s no record of that. But CNN, LDS haters, and those LDS members who look for notoriety, will do, as we now see, almost anything for those 15 minutes of fame.

    Nothing to see here people, just a more contextual explanation of what the Church, including president Gordon B. Hinckley, have tried to say before, that many of these things were not completely clear because of the lack of records.

    The Gospel of Christ is true, and The LDS Church has given us that gospel, and we all, members and non-members, have the opportunity and maybe, the obligation to search, study, pray and ponder these things so we know of ourselves if they are true, it is actually as simple as that.

  • Anibal Rodriguez

    If you actually knew what LDS members think of Joseph, you wouldn’t embarrass yourself with such ignorant statement. But hey, nobody is perfect, not Joseph, and certainly not you, that’s obvious. 😉

  • PubliusVA

    Marcus, that’s not Pascal’s Wager.

  • Mike B

    Joseph Smith and Bring’em Young surely made the most of their position of authority. This story has been replayed by humans (men) for all of human history.

    “I command you with this sword to do the pervy things that you want to do!”

  • Mike B

    Haha. How many inches diameter was Joe’s sword? Mormons are proof that the ability to throw out all logic for the sake of religious euphoria is evolved into our brains.

  • Mike B

    Maybe the Chruch is betting that the male half of the membership will actually (privately) like the idea. And… of course the Mormon women will just go along with it.

  • CCAD

    The official document from your Church comes out stating the facts and you still chose to be in denial about it?? It would be like me, as a Catholic, denied the fact that many priests have abused young boys….has it changed my religious beliefs…NO….but it doesn’t take away the FACT that priests did abuse young boys….WAKE UP and accept the FACTS.

  • Mike B

    Go to the desert and have your own harem then. Make your Joe happy.

  • Mike B

    Bwahaha! Head in sand… It is a wonderful coping mechanism.

  • mike

    more reason to nullify the Mormons as a legitimate religion. it started as a disgrace and i don’t see any reason to see it has changed

  • anna

    Agree. Absolutely. How anyone can believe this stuff defies explanation.

  • BNC

    Almost as foolish as those people who are Atheists, Catholics, Islamic, Baptists, etc? Tell us something you actually believe and why you believe it without criticizing another religion/belief and maybe you’ll gain some credibility…

  • El Fantasma

    Anibal, you at least have to agree that the excuses given after being caught are genious! What a guy this Joseph.

  • El Fantasma

    1,000 to one the record keepers are still keeping juicy information on the Prophet away from the flock. Stay tuned.

  • El Fantasma

    Agree with Amber. My experience with regular non high office holding Mormons is that they are very nice just downright decent folks. Does not make it right but in the old days a girl of 14 was considered to be legal for marriage.

  • El Fantasma

    Bill please…….

  • Danielle Young

    Considering the profound respect Mormonism places upon family relationships, the example Smith set of respecting his (first) wife is appalling. Originally polygamy was banned in the Book of Mormon, then was changed to being acceptable if the first wife agrees, to then becoming, the wife will be “destroyed” if she does not agree. Then to, you don’t even have to tell the first wife about it. The husband can do as he pleases. Any adulterous wife will be “destroyed”. D&C 132. Sounds like some extremist woman hating group we’re dealing with in Syria. Most Mormon women will do the mental gymnastics necessary to defend this practice. Just wait and see.

  • Paul80

    I feel bad for the Mormons, actually.

    Their whole social world (especially in Utah) is build on Mormonism. If the belief crumbles, you lose everything:

    1. If you are a guy, you have spent your whole life preparing to be a man by going on a mission, and then you come back and the girls want you.

    2. If you are a girl, you learn to accept and love a life of following a man.

    3. You see your friends and neighbors on Sundays, and that brings a feeling of social safety and cohesion.

    You find out that the Church now admits that Joey Horndog Smith and Brigham Young were pedolphiliacpolyandryistpervypolygamists, and you have a choice: Accept the blatantly obvious evidence that your whole world is build on pervyboys and leave it, or deny the blatantly obvious and keep your woven fantasy of reality.

    If it were me, I’d stick my head in the sand and sing mormon hymns at the top of my lungs.

    Some compassion for Morons is warranted.

  • BNC

    Your statements are moronic Paul80.

    “If the belief crumbles, you lose everything:”

    Do you even know what a belief is? Go ahead, I’ll wait while you Google it….

    “1. If you are a guy, you have spent your whole life preparing to be a man by going on a mission, and then you come back and the girls want you.”

    This statement is incoherent. It means absolutely nothing but to show your complete ignorance.

    “2. If you are a girl, you learn to accept and love a life of following a man.”

    Women are not taught to follow men. Please provide your actual reference/documentation for this utter crap statement.

    “3. You see your friends and neighbors on Sundays, and that brings a feeling of social safety and cohesion.”

    Now this is actually a meaningful statement. It applies to EVERY religion or other group that meets on Sunday. I agree 100%. Good job. You probably didn’t even have to Google or plagiarize this…clap, clap, clap….

    “You find out that the Church now admits that Joey Horndog Smith and Brigham Young were pedolphiliacpolyandryistpervypolygamists, and you have a choice: Accept the blatantly obvious evidence that your whole world is build on pervyboys and leave it, or deny the blatantly obvious and keep your woven fantasy of reality.”

    So what? They guy had multiple wives. It was the 1800s and 14 year olds got married. Hey, guess what, they even had SEX and gave birth! OMG!! The sky is falling and now the ENTIRE religion is tainted. Whatever….I’m sure if I took the time like you to Google some dirt on the Baptists or Catholics we could post it here too….and you could point a finger at them.

    “If it were me, I’d stick my head in the sand and sing mormon hymns at the top of my lungs.”

    Please do. Your moronic statements surely indicate your singing of any hymns would be considered an act of terrorism.

  • thetruthhurts

    hipocrits all

  • thetruthhurts

    agreed. oh btw, how come they are so high and mighty, seeing non-mormons as disgraced and to be avoided. Too funny. Non mormons now have another reason to avoid THEM (see meadows incident too)

  • Broseph Smit

    The bigger ecclesiastical scandal, in my opinion, is the so called return of the “Aaronic” priesthood. This priesthood is limited to the descendants of Aaron and the Jewish Temple is requirement for this priesthood to exist as well not to mention the sacrificial aspect. Early Mormon’s used Old Testament ideas and terms loosely and without full theological knowledge their significance.

  • BNC

    Yes, EVERYONE.

  • grindael

    Anibal,

    You are living in a dream world. Joseph Smith did marry almost 40 women. Joseph Smith did commit adultery with Mary Heron (documented at a Church trial by her son in law who saw it and did the same thing with one of Lorenzo Snow’s wives) and Fanny Alger, (by Oliver Cowdery). It is not “haters” making things up, it is historical fact that Mormons can’t handle. LOTS to see here folks, and lots of records to prove it. The “works” of Abraham were not “God sanctioned” polygamy, but his wife’s desire for him to have a child and “giving” him a “concubine” who was turned out of the house when Sarah had her son. That is the reality of polygamy and God called it evil in the Bible. Men may be and are imperfect but God’s prophets don’t lie to people and do the opposite of what he commands as Smith did over and over again. He couldn’t even live up to his own commandment and binding scripture which was ONE wife only. He was a liar and a lech. He even admitted to his lewd behavior in 1834. No need to pray about Smith, we already know he wasn’t what he claimed to be. It is not being disrespectful to share the truth, but it is disingenuous to cover it up and white wash it as the Church has done for years and is still doing by claiming that folklore (angels with swords forcing people to do things) is what really happened.

  • david

    please tell me Matt Stone & Trey Parker are writing a new script right now

  • grindael

    It doesn’t matter what “members” think of Joseph, it matter what he actually did, which we have records of. The followers of David Koresh loved him and died with him. It didn’t change a thing though. He was also a pedophile and a lech.

  • GP

    “How could anyone in the church not know that he was a polygamist?”

    To name just a few:

    1. The church does not teach this in ANY of their curriculum, general conference talks, etc.
    2. The only source for this was for the most part labeled as “anti-Mormon” and church members are repeatedly admonished by leaders to avoid any unapproved literature about the church – even if it’s just a historical record.
    3. Bringing up this topic was extremely taboo and could lead to church discipline up to and including excommunication (perhaps now it will start to be relaxed).

  • GP

    With regards to LDS church members being good people in general, I would agree. We/they are good people trying to be better.

    Nobody is expecting perfection even from a “prophet”. That said, the question at hand is if God really commanded Joseph Smith to marry the wives of other men along with other women – including teenagers? The essay lays out the official position of the church – this was a commandment, not a mistake. Combine this with many other problematic areas of the church (see http://cesletter.com) and you’ve got a lot of explaining to do if you want to be seen as “the one and only true church of God”.

    As for the 14 year old… I’m not sure if you have any daughters are not, and maybe you just think different than me… but… a 14 year old and a 38 year old man? Seriously? Think about it… an 8th grader with a 38 year old man. You made the claim… so I challenge you to show me the data on how you find this as “common practice”.

  • BNC

    grindael, excellent post. Factual, unemotional, articulate statements that I can appreciate, even as a lifelong LDS. I very much appreciate the “coming out” about Joseph Smith. He was a man and I find it distasteful when Mormons put him on such a high pedestal. We worship God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Not any man or woman in this church because we recognize the imperfections of men (and women) every Sunday when we partake of the Sacrament to repent and renew our promise to be as Christlike as we can, just like any other Christian religion.

  • grindael

    David,

    To each his own. So you like “some” things about Mormonism. Good for you! Smith’s documented lechery and Brigham Young’s heresy of Adam being God the Father were enough for this returned missionary to leave it for good. I even had nothing to do with it for 25 years until Missionaries started knocking on my door again. So now I comment, because they will never stop trying to convert people into the Corporation. They only come once to my door though, because what I show them scares the hell out of them and they don’t come back. I invite everyone to investigate as much as they can. The truth is in the history that the church must whitewash with anonymous essays filled with folkore and apologetic nonsense to try and mitigate the damage. As for those who worked for the Church, yes SOME went to work for the church later in life, but a lot of them, like Monson worked for the church his ENTIRE LIFE. I accurately documented the dates. I don’t find “inspiration” in Adam God, in Joseph Smith claiming that a phallic god (Min) is God the father sitting on his throne, or in misogyny (Section 132). Smith actually abused his wife Emma. He was an adulterer and a lech like Warren Jeffs. One man alone could easily produce what Smith did. Look up automatic writing and what some have produced. We have lots of medieval Manuscripts and fake gospels out there like the Nag Hammadi Library, the Dead Sea Scrolls and lots of others. Smith was not unique. Men have been claiming to be prophets since time began. Even BH Roberts agreed that Smith could have written the BOM with his own knowledge. The rest wasn’t any great feat. If you dig it, so be it, to each his own, but I’m not buying that the Mormon church is the only true and living faith on the earth like Smith claimed. I’m not buying the “authority” line either. It is Mormonism that makes all the claims, but then cries “persecution” when confronted with the plethora of problems in their own history. Smith actually said,

    “I have the truth, and am at the defiance of the world to contradict me if they can.”~Joseph Smith, April 7, 1844.

    That is EASILY DONE.

  • jay rove

    JOSEPH SMITH RAPED AND MURDERED MY great GREAT GREAT GRANDMOTHER AND I HAVE PROOF…WHAT A MIXED UP LYING RELIGIOUS CULT BUILT ON NOTHING BUT LIES

  • TomW

    Ronald, I find the time I spend in service to the Lord and my fellowbeings to be quite rewarding, but thank you so very much for your sincere concern over my wellbeing and pursuit of truth and light.

  • TomW

    Damn! My secret has been revealed! I DO embrace an alien gospel! Why, just the other day the Jaffa from the planet Chulak took me to the priests of Apophis to implant a Goa’uld symbiote to fully induct me into the order. Soon my brothers will arrive in a fleet of Ha’tak ships to subjugate humankind, providing slave labor and hosts for the true gods of the universe.

  • TomW

    Luis, you speak of those who are blind. I would argue that those you accuse can see quite clearly. Elder Boyd K. Packer once taught:

    Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God.

    We are the sons and daughters of God, willing followers, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and “under this head are [we] made free.” (Mosiah 5:8.)

    Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1983/04/agency-and-control?lang=eng

  • TomW

    GP, you wrote, “the church does not teach this in ANY of their curriculum, general conference talks, etc.”

    Actually, it does.

    This year my youngest daughter is studying church history in seminary, and Joseph’s personal practice of plural marriage is included in the curriculum. An entire chapter is dedicated to it.

    An excerpt from page 478 of the manual: “by 1841 the Prophet had begun
    to obey the commandment and to teach it to some members of the Church, and over the next three years he married additional wives in accordance with the Lord’s commands.”

    (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History, Seminary Teacher Manual, LESSON 140, Doctrine and Covenants 132:1–2, 34–66, © 2013)

    For years people complained that the church wasn’t teaching stuff like this. It does now. Rejoice rather than complain!

  • alonso

    Tom W, your comments are awesome! You’re a blessing to a lot of LDS members like me. I like how you respond to all the negative comments with respect. You represent all LDS very well and I’m proud of you as an LDS member. My son will be serving a mission shortly and I told him about the essays and it didn’t change his testimony of the our prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter- Day Saints is true! Thank you for what you’re doing and what you have done for the Church!

  • Greg

    As a believer in Jesus Christ I see the Mormon church a blatant ploy by the enemy of our faith to distract people from the fact that we are utterly lost without the saving grace of God. (Eph 2:8). Any works based religion takes the focus off of our need to be rescued and tells us we can “earn” our way. If we can earn our way then we didn’t need Jesus to suffer and die as propitiation for us. I know it is hard to abandon a religion that serves a your social and spiritual world, but that is why Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his time and called them “blind guides”. Ultimately we must die to this world (man made religions) and be born again.

  • GP

    Tom, thanks for the reference. I agree with you that it is a positive step. I think that it would be helpful eventually if this made it into SS and PH/RS soon.

    A few years ago we went through the Teaching of the Prophets JS manual and there wasn’t one word about this at all. And as adults (including prospective members), the complete story with at least the details in the essays should be presented – not just one sentence like the one you posted. As it is now, the historical narrative told by the church in the past >100 years was severely incomplete. It isn’t fair to those who make a lifelong commitment to the church to not be aware of the actual detailed account. The same should be applied for other “problem” areas like the BoM/BoA translation, first vision accounts, etc. by going from the recent essays into curriculum and GC talks. After disclosure is made, if people still have faith, then the membership will be pretty ironclad… no more surprises and a good base.

    In my own personal experience, my faith was placed upon a narrative that was not complete and I now find myself in a church that does not match what I was raised into. I love most of what the church stands for today, but the church’s divine history is completely untenable for me once I became aware of the details (through my own study – it wasn’t taught at church). The realization of this was very devastating for me, but at least allows me to live authentically. It would have been great if I could have avoided going through such a painful discovery process.

  • TomW

    GP, you’re welcome for the reference. With regard to your hope that this sort of frankness eventually makes it into the Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society curriculum, it is much more likely to find its way into the former than the latter anytime soon. We still have a few presidents of the church yet, and I want to complete my set! And afterward, wouldn’t it be cool if we spent some time with “Teachings of the Relief Society Presidents of the Church”? Even if one couldn’t fill an entire manual with each individual president, depending upon what kind of records remain from their public speeches and writings, we could at least do what we can.

    It is my understanding that the adult Sunday School curriculum is going to mirror the changes recently incorporated for the youth, and may have a very good chance of covering some of these topics more thoroughly in the very near future.

    Regarding the excerpt from the current seminary manual, there was much more than the sentence I provided. As one can imagine, the manual approaches the topic from a faithful perspective, which would likely be just the latest in a series of horrors for the critics in the peanut gallery.

  • RenameBYU

    I agree that covering up, or “getting out in front” of what the Internet is already saying is just not the way to handle it. I just spent some enjoyable time with 4 elders on their mission where they had heard similar information. One of their grandmothers had left the church!

    Plenty more is coming because google is so easy to use to research. Sure it isn’t always accurate, but the biggest voice in these items online about Joseph Smith is ex-Mormons.

    Here are the main areas that need attending:

    1. The Book of Abraham is mis-translated. This is Smith again. He has already claimed to translate Egyptian, and in rolls a wagon with artifacts that are easily recognized, even by the uneducated, as ancient and Egyptian. A loony attempt at making Egyptian a picture based language ensues. (Egyptian represents sounds.)

    2. There are no ruins of huge ancient civilizations. No folks, just because someone suggested borrowing the Mayan temples doesn’t mean this is true. They are not BofM characters, please leave these poor souls alone.

    3. The DNA doesn’t work for Native Americans. Unless, of course you want your church to be against Chemistry and Probability.

    4. It was a disaster for the church to air nasty attack ads against the gay people of California. Apologize and admit you were wrong.

    5. All of these errors come from one man, Joseph Smith, rather than from a tradition. Because Mormons follow one man’s ideas around, unchecked by experience or other information sources, the rest of Christianity considers the fine generous people in Mormonism to belong to a cult.

    There is an easy solution. Don’t rely on a single man for information that can easily be debunked. The cult thing will go away.

  • Ralphiec88

    some years ago I was getting onto a plane carrying a copy of “Under the Banner of Heaven”, Jon Krakauer’s book on Mormon fundamentalism, when a guy told me I “should know better than to carry that in public”. I’d like to think there will be a day when members of the LDS church can speak and think freely about the Meadows Massacre and of Smith’s human weaknesses.

  • Lewis McCorvey

    Tom W, when i read your words and i see the pattern and the deep rooted belief in the faith you have,its easy to see now ,but when i was 17 back in 1975 there was no internet to tell me about Elijah Abel and all the rest that i have learned since 2011. No there was nothing to tell me about Joseph and his wives back in 1977 when i served a mission. I look back with crystal clarity and see how i got pulled in and believed in the BOM .

    It takes those who know and are raised in it to stick it out and pray on those as myself young , weak , lost . Just ask the thousands that are leaving each month nation wide .

    The church is losing members and i have a church book that i got on my mission and was told to buy it called the Story Of The Latter Day Saints , in it on page 620 it reads ” in the early days of the church blacks did not hold the priesthood ”

    That got blow out of the water with Elijah Abel being ordained by Joseph Smith, the church even redid he grave maker and it reads ordained in 1838 by Joseph Smith , so it contradicted my church book, but now 4 years later nothing even gets me surprised anymore, find 1 single lie, its like a house of cards .

    I served in church positions and served a mission and was really fooled and lied to and drank the cool-aid, i never planned to be a Mormon , nor did i plan on leaving the church.

    Its manmade totally

  • S

    I am a Mormon. To me that means first and foremost, that I believe in Jesus Christ and that I believe in God. I am a Christian. Everything else is background stuff; I believe in it, but my main belief is in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement. I also believe in Prophets. That includes Joseph Smith. I have read the recently published documents on polygamy and my final thought was this, as some of it is hard to digest…Even if there were mistakes made with it, as I am sure there were (Polygamy), The Atonement would cover it and the Church would still be true.

  • batyah

    “Pedophilia” is defined as sexual attraction to a child prior to the age of puberty. Once a teenager has mature sexual features, attraction to that child is not pedophilia. Girls were routinely married at age 14 and 15 in those times. This was nothing out of the ordinary. I’m not LDS myself, just stating facts.

  • GP

    “Girls were routinely married at age 14 and 15 in those times. This was nothing out of the ordinary.”

    Please provide basis for your claim. Do you have a reference that demonstrates that it was “ordinary” for a 38 year old man to be married to a 14 year old girl? Or are you stating an opinion?

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  • Jared

    There’s no proof that David Koresh was a pedophile. However, there is proof of Joseph Smith’s pedophilia (even though it was legal during the time to marry a fourteen year old but socially unacceptable to practice polyandry). Let’s just stick to the facts. I am an ex-Mormon but I think it is more persuasive to just remind the current membership how twisted Joseph’s big scam (all religion is just a scam but we’re talking about the founder of Mormonism) is and that it’s silly to justify his many disturbing actions. They are brainwash, truly. If you just keep presenting the facts about it, the members will eventually realize how brainwashed they are.

  • Tortdog

    Hi, Greg.

    I presume that you also believe the Roman Catholic Church is from the enemy of God due to their emphasis on both works and grace?

    Let me be clear what the LDS Church has taught me my entire life. There is nothing that I can do to bring me back to God absent the atonement of Christ. No matter how “perfect” I am, I will fail. Christ is necessary and must be accepted. Period. End of story.

    As to “works,” yes, it’s true that the LDS Church teaches I must also “do” certain things, e.g., baptism. That does not take away from Christ’s grace. Rather, all those ordinances/sacraments POINT to Christ.

    To erase the responsibility of man to “do” good works merely because Christ atoned for our sins does a huge disservice to the gospel preached by God and his angels to man from Adam to present time. My view of this does not mean that I can get their without Christ. Not one bit.

  • BNC

    The hubris in your assessment of the literacy and economics of Mormons is telling.

  • BNC

    Amen Tortdog. Give-take, action-reaction, “the sum of the forces equals zero”….many non-religious precedent are established that indicate “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”.

  • Barbara Rohl

    Christianity has survived and endured despite continuing schemes of self interest.

    .A church has been erected on words claiming biblical intent.. But it is Jesus, whose life and commandments ARE the Christian faith, From the earliest Jesus states that he must be about his fathers business, That the greatest commandment was to love GOD and then to love thy neighbor….He preached forgiveness, compassion, repentance and faith, He told the earnest that following HIM was the only road to salvation, He despised government. trounced religious elders and rulers of the empire who recognizing Jesus popularity saw Jesus as a dangerous threat….He died and suffered horrifically stating that heaven and earth will pass away but his words will never……Thus, words ARE important.

    One wonders how Jesus would respond to someone centuries later claiming “angels” told him to have sex with scores of women under penalty of heavenly sword, and using biblical content to confuse doubters and searchers for authority…. Certainly Christianity has had its share of charlatans, disgraced ministers, improper popes, but the foundation of the ultimate testament belongs SOLELY to the words and life of Jesus..

    You need no other.

  • grindael

    Let’s be perfectly CLEAR here. In Mormonism one does not need Jesus atonement for ANYTHING. Why? Because it supposedly only good for a “resurrection”, which would have happened anyway, because the cycle of the gods in Mormonism dictates that.

    Jesus was only a “token” savior or messiah. He was only chosen because he happened to be the “first born” of the Mormon God of this world, Yahovah or Michael/Adam. If Jesus had not agreed in the “Council” to be the “savior” another would have been chosen. If Jesus had failed on earth, they simply would have replaced him with another back up “savior”. In Christianity, Jesus is unique because HE IS GOD. Jesus in Mormonism is just another “spirit child” of “Heavenly Father”.

    So, what does Jesus death do for Mormons. Here is the answer, from Mormon “authorities”:

    “There will be a General Salvation for all in the sense in which that term is generally used, but salvation, meaning resurrection, is not exaltation” (Stephen L. Richards, Contributions of Joseph Smith, LDS tract, p.5).

    “All men are saved by grace alone WITHOUT ANY ACT ON THEIR PART, meaning THEY ARE RESURRECTED” (Bruce McConkie, What Mormons Think of Christ”, LDS tract, p.28).

    “…REDEMPTION from PERSONAL SINS can ONLY be obtained through obedience to the requirement of the Gospel, and a life of good works” (James Talmage, in A Study of the Articles of Faith).

    ALL the rest (aside from a resurrection), is NOT covered by Christ’s Atonement, it is to be EARNED. Hence these statements repeated AGAIN AND AGAIN by Mormon “authorities”. Jesus death gets both GOOD and EVIL people a resurrection. So you don’t have to do ANYTHING to qualify for what Jesus gets you in Mormonism, a RESURRECTION. If you want your sins forgiven, you must EARN THAT, by NOT SINNING. According to Brigham Young, if you don’t “confess” that Jo Smith is a “prophet”, you are ANTICHRIST:

    “He that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p.312)

    That lands you in Mormon hell. In 1981 Gerald N. Lund explained,

    The atoning power of God unto salvation is a freely available gift from him—but our works of righteousness ARE ESSENTIAL TO BRING THE GIFT INTO POWER IN OUR LIVES. Sin brings alienation from God. The more we sin, the greater the alienation and the more difficult it becomes to effectively tap the power of God, which alone is sufficient to save us from our sins.
    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1981/04/salvation-by-grace-or-by-works?lang=eng

    In other words, you MUST do WORKS to even get the “power” of God to work in your life. If you do NOTHING, you get a “resurrection”. That is all. EVERYONE gets that, good or evil. So that is ALL that you get from Jesus “grace” in Mormonism. You must PAY as you GO, in Mormonism. Spencer Kimball wrote,

    “however powerful the saving grace of Christ, IT BRINGS EXALTATION TO NO MAN WHO DOES NOT COMPLY with the works of the gospel” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pg. 207); “Each command we obey sends us another rung up the ladder to perfected manhood and toward godhood; and every law disobeyed is a sliding toward the bottom where man merges into the brute world” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pg. 153); “living ALL THE COMMANDMENTS guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation…TRYING IS NOT SUFFICIENT. Nor is repentence when one merely tries to abandon sin” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.164-165, 354-355).

    lds.org,

    Because of His Atonement, ALL PEOPLE WILL BE RESURRECTED, and those who OBEY His gospel [made up of required works] will receive the gift of eternal life with God.

    But Paul says,

    14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

    21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7)

    There are no “rules” and “regulations” that can help with this. None. They don’t work. Therefore, our “works” do not save us. It is the Holy Spirit of God that transforms us into New Creatures that does. And if we do sin, (which we do because we are mortal) then, as Paul says, “Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That GRACE, is a FREE GIFT that works throughout our lives. But for Mormons, it is only free to atone for the Sin of Adam. Every other sin must be atoned for BY THE INDIVIDUAL. That is why Mormonism taught Blood Atonement. That is why Mormonism requires rules and regulations.

  • Tortdog

    Grindael

    I’m not sure whether the blog owner appreciates the tangent, so let me quickly address. In essence you are advising me after my decades of instructing and being instructed in the LDS Church, I don’t quite understand how shallow that Church believes the atonement is. You cite to various LDS priesthood authorities to support your view. One such person is Talmage and let me suggest to you that we’re you able to interview Talmage to understand his views of the atonement that your characterization of his view would be seen by him as… Off.

    Let’s go to what LDS scripture teaches of both the atonement and the resurrection.

    Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.

    Jacob 4:11

    So reconciliation comes through Christ’s atonement, and we also receive the resurrection. Those are separate. The process of reconciliation comes only through Christmas. There is nothing that man does for that gift. Christmas freely offers it to all.

    The resurrection is “forced” on all, if you will. We all rise.

    So, no, LDS Scripture does not support your view that we can work our way to Heaven.

    As an aside, did you bring all that post here from your private research or is it a copy and paste? Looks pretty similar to what Michael Davis had written.

  • grindael

    Jared, according to the New York Times, Koresh was. They write,

    David Koresh told them to call their parents “dogs”; only he was to be referred to as their father. Girls as young as 11 were given a plastic Star of David, signifying that they had “the light” and were ready to have sex with the cult leader. A team of therapists said these were some of the things that 19 of the 21 surviving children of the Branch Davidian cult had told them about their lives inside the compound. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/04/us/growing-up-under-koresh-cult-children-tell-of-abuses.html

    Yes, let’s have the truth here. It was not the SOCIAL NORM for men to marry MULTIPLE YOUNG GIRLS at the SAME TIME. Smith was ANYTHING but NORMAL. Where there marriages where young women as young as 14 married young men? Yes. Was it the NORM for 40 year olds to do so with multiple girls? NO< NO< NO<.

    In thinking about this though, I would revise and class Smith as having Hebephilia, which is just as bad, because it was and is NOT NORMAL behavior for any man of his or our century.

  • GP

    ^ grindael – responding to your comment directly above on social norms. On top of what you said, what’s even more alarming is that many of these girls lived in the same household with Joseph and Emma as a daughter figure or help for Emma: Alger, Walker, Lawrence sisters, Partridge sisters. I just cannot understand how anyone can justify this kind of behavior. It’s like “dad” approaching a foster daughter or the live-in maid for “marriage”. It was not normal in the 19th century nor is it now.

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  • grindael

    Tortdog,

    Unfortunately, you are completely wrong, and I don’t know who Michael Davis is. I was a Mormon for years. Aside from that, the quote from lds.org spells it out completely as does Talmage’s quote, which, by the way goes into more detail if you would simply read his book. He says,

    As soon as one has come to recognize the existence and authority of God, he feels a respect for Divine laws, and a conviction of his own unworthiness. His wish to please the Father, whom he has so long neglected, will impel him to forsake sin; and this impulse will acquire added strength from the sinner’s natural and commendable desire to escape, if possible, the dire results of his own waywardness. With the zeal inspired by fresh conviction, he will crave an opportunity of showing by good works the sincerity of his newly developed faith; and he will regard the remission of his sins as the most desirable of blessings. Then he will learn that this gift of mercy is granted on CERTAIN SPECIFIC CONDITIONS ONLY. The first step toward the blessed state of forgiveness consists in the sinner confessing his sins; the second, in his forgiving others who have sinned against him; and the third in his showing his acceptance of Christ’s atoning sacrifice by OBEYING THE DIVINE REQUIREMENTS. (Articles of Faith, p. 113)

    On page 90 we read,

    But besides this universal application of the atonement, whereby all men are redeemed from the effects of Adam’s transgression, both with respect to the death of the body and the taint of inherited sin, there is a special application of the same great sacrifice, as a means of propitiation for individual sins, through the faith and GOOD WORKS of the sinner. This two-fold effect of the atonement is implied in the article of our faith now under consideration. The first effect is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the otherwise terrible effects of the Fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to OPEN A WAY for Individual Salvation whereby MANKIND may secure forgiveness of PERSONAL SINS. As these sins are the result of individual acts, it is just that forgiveness for them should be CONDITIONED ON INDIVIDUAL COMPLIANCE with prescribed requirements,—”OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS and ordinances of the gospel.” (page 90)

    This is CRYSTAL CLEAR. You don’t seem to understand Talmage, or Mormonism at all. What Mormonism teaches is EXACTLY as I have described above. Talmage confirms it here. Kimball and McConkie also perfectly understood this, who you don’t mention for some reason. All this is right there in Mormon scripture, the very place that Talmage goes to verify it all. Your PRIVATE interpretations mean little. Reconciliation for the SINS OF ADAM comes through Christ’s atonement. For INDIVIDUAL SINS, it comes from the PERSON’S GOOD WORKS. Jesus atonement was only for a resurrection. You must EARN the rest.

    Your modern “apostles” and “prophets” attest that this is so.

  • Stephen Kent Gray

    I just want to point out that there is an RLDS (Community of Christ).

    Though the LDS Church accepts that Joseph Smith taught and practiced plural marriage, other branches of the Latter Day Saint movement reject this position. Traditionally, the strongest rejection came from the RLDS Church. In the late-nineteenth century, the origin of polygamy was one of the principal issues that the RLDS Church and the LDS Church used to assert one organization’s legitimacy over the other. Joseph F. Smith, sixth president of the LDS Church, stated in responding to the claim that polygamy originated with Brigham Young rather than Joseph Smith:

    “A careful reading of the revelation on plural marriage should convince any honest man that it was never written by Brigham Young, as it contains references to Joseph Smith himself, and his family, which would be utterly nonsensical and useless if written by President Young. The fact is, we have the affidavit of Joseph C. Kingsbury, certifying that he copied the original manuscript of the revelation within three days after the date on which it was written. I knew Joseph C. Kingsbury well. Furthermore, the revelation was read by Hyrum Smith to a majority of the members of the High Council, in Nauvoo, at about the time it was given, to which fact we have the sworn statements of the members of the High Council.”

    The first RLDS Church’s leader was Joseph Smith’s oldest son Joseph Smith III. Smith III’s opinions about his father and polygamy evolved throughout his life. In general, however, Smith III was an ardent opponent of plural marriage. Throughout his tenure as Prophet–President of the RLDS Church, Smith denied his father’s involvement and attributed its invention to Brigham Young. Smith III served many missions to the western United States where he met with associates and women who claimed to be his father’s widows. In the end, Smith concluded that he was “not positive nor sure that [his father] was innocent” and that if, indeed, the elder Smith had been involved, it was still a false practice.

    From the 1880s to the 1960s, official RLDS Church publications maintained Joseph Smith’s noninvolvement in polygamy. This official position contradicted the testimony of earlier RLDS Church members who lived in Nauvoo during Smith’s lifetime.

    One of the founders of the Reorganization, Jason W. Briggs, a presiding elder in Wisconsin during the early 1840s, maintained throughout his life that Smith had originated polygamy and that God would punish Smith for his “transgressions.” Briggs said that the church needed to simply deal with the issue and move on. The editor of the earliest official RLDS Church periodical, Isaac Sheen, similarly affirmed Smith’s involvement. He wrote that Smith produced a revelation on polygamy and practiced it, but that he repented of this “sin” before his death. Sheen’s statement was affirmed by William Marks, the stake president of Nauvoo during Smith’s lifetime and a close counselor to Joseph Smith III. Marks claimed to have seen Hyrum Smith read the polygamy revelation to the High Council in 1843. Marks also affirmed that Joseph Smith had repented of the practice two to three weeks before his death in 1844. Similarly, James Whitehead, an RLDS Church member and clerk for Smith, affirmed that Emma Smith gave plural wives to Smith on several occasions that he witnessed. Early in his presidency, Joseph Smith III did not believe Marks and Whitehead despite the eyewitness nature of their statements.

    The Community of Christ, formerly the RLDS Church, no longer makes definitive statements that Smith was uninvolved in polygamy. The church’s current approach is to stress its historical abhorrence of polygamy, that members of the church and the leadership are open to continue their “ongoing quest for truth”, and that “the Community of Christ takes into account the growing body of scholarly research and publications depicting the polygamous teachings and practices of the Nauvoo period of church history (1840–1846)”. Further,

    “The research findings seem to increasingly point to Joseph Smith Jr. as a significant source for plural marriage teaching and practice at Nauvoo. However, several of Joseph Smith’s associates later wrote that he repudiated the plural marriage system and began to try to stop its practice shortly before his death in June 1844.”

    A segment of church members continue to deny Smith’s complicity, although the church no longer views the issue as important. For people concerned about the topic and how it relates to the RLDS tradition, the issue remains as much about current liberal versus conservative church politics as it does an issue of history.

    Modern RLDS Restorationists (such as the Restoration Branches), who have broken with the Community Christ, continue to contend that polygamy originated with Brigham Young and not Joseph Smith. They note that the revelation endorsing polygamy and attributed to Smith was first presented by Young to his followers eight years after Smith’s death; they point to this delay as suggestive that the revelation did not originate with Smith. As further evidence, they often cite Smith’s own critical words on the subject of polygamy. They do not see the isolated statements to the contrary by early RLDS Church leaders such as Sheen, Marks, or Briggs as credible, and they deny the legitimacy and truthfulness of sources that are commonly cited to prove that Smith was practicing or promoting plural marriage.

  • grindael

    Not “ignore”, just that Christians realize that the Law of Moses was fulfilled in Christ and WE HAVE MOVED ON. Mormonism is stuck back in the days of forced regulations. Take this quote by Packer as an example of how they FORCE people to obey their man made rules,

    “The Word of Wisdom put restrictions on members of the Church. To this day those regulations apply to every member and to everyone who seeks to join the Church. They are so COMPELLING that no one is to be baptized into the Church without first agreeing to live by them. No one will be called to teach or to lead unless they accept them. When you want to go to the temple, you will be asked if you keep the Word of Wisdom. If you do not, you cannot go to the house of the Lord until you are fully worthy.” (“The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises”, Ensign, May 1996, emphasis mine).

    You can’t even get baptized without agreeing to live by a Mormon “regulation”. Compel means to FORCE. This is against the very Plan of Salvation that Jesus supposedly suggested in the Mormon pre-existence. Like with angels who supposedly FORCE people to commit adultery at the point of a sword. Sounds like Satan’s plan to me.

  • grindael

    Do they also teach that Joseph E. Johnson testified at a Church Court trial in 1850 (where he was being tried for committing adultery with one of Lorenzo Snow’s wives, Hannah M. Goddard, who was the sister of his wife) that he was present when Joseph Smith was “frigging” (his word, which is slang for having sex) with his mother in law Mary Heron Snider? Brigham Young presided and did not punish Johnson, but restored him to his priesthood. Gave him a “pass”. I guess Lorenzo had enough wives, and they didn’t know what to do with the baby she had. (See, D. Michael Quinn, “Evidence for the Sexual Side of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy,” 47–48, n68).

    Do they teach that? Why not teach ALL of it to those kids? Now that would be something to rejoice about. Teaching the truth.

  • Lori

    Matthew 7:24 – 27
    “”Therefore, every man who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And every one who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”
    Anyone who has studied Mormonism knows that Joseph Smith was a fraud. So what is the future of the church that he built on sand?

  • Mike

    The information on Joseph Smith and his many wives has been available in the public arena for many years. Nearly 70 years ago Fawn McKay Brody, a niece of David O McKay president of the LDS Church, wrote the first edition of No Man Knows My History, the Life of Joseph Smith. You can Google her name and read about both her and the book in Wikipedia. In an appendix to my 1971 edition of the book Brody chronicles 48 wives known to be sealed to Joseph Smith.
    On page 488 of the 1971 edition, Brody closes with these words, “Since the first printing of this book, students of Mormon polygamy have continued to uncover information about Joseph Smith’s wives. Mrs. Mary B. Powell was shown a significant unpublished letter in the LDS Church Historian’s Office in Salt Lake City, written by Joseph Smith when in hiding in 1842. This was a request, in his own handwriting, to Newel K. Whitney to bring his daughter Sarah Ann to the cornfield to spend the night with him. A copy of Mrs. Powell’s manuscript is in the Huntington Library. Stanley Ivins informed me that his researchers indicated that Joseph Smith was sealed to 66 or 67 living women, and that after his death 149 dead women were sealed to him in Temple ceremonies.”
    The book is readily available on Amazon.com, or Abebooks.com.

  • Hitler just found out about Smith’s 40 wives. Many Mormons are reacting the same way he does in this short three minute video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bde8eGumrCk

  • Michael Jackson

    Christ was crucified under the charge of treason. Peter and Paul and the early saints were killed under the charge of treason. The latter day saints were killed and expelled from Missouri and Illinois under the charge of treason. The charge of treason has always been the excuse to kill the saints. So God came up with a plan to end this. Give the Saints a principle which they were told they had to obey, in order to be able to give it up to show that they were loyal to the government. Does anyone accuse the Mormons of being disloyal to the government today? I have never heard that in all of the accusations I have read, and I have read a lot. Of course people who are not fond of the church do not like this explanation because it would mean that God, and not man, really does run the Mormon church. Even members of the church don’t necessarily agree with this, because this is one of those things that had be done with blind obedience, otherwise, if they had known why they were doing it, it would not have worked. The blindness continues today, and that’s okay. So we don’t have government-sponsored persecution of the saints anymore. The trade off is we have to put up with criticism of Joseph Smith, the best man this country has ever had.

  • RLSmith

    Thank you Anibal for your clear essay.

  • Ephod

    Ahh leave the Mormons alone! All I can think of is what would the bulk of us Judeo Christians be blogging if we lived in Abraham’s day after he attempted to kill his son Isaac?? What would we be blogging if we lived in Jacob’s day as we watched him marry 4 women to get the 12 tribes of Israel that God has loved and covenanted with throughout history? What would we be blogging about when Joshua went into Canaan and slaughtered all those people as he was moved by inspiration? What would we be blogging about if we were typical Jews when Jesus lived on the earth? So many didn’t understand His teachings and certainly not like we do today. They said He was crazy. Who says you or I would be any better? Everyone has been spinning their own perceptions since the beginning of time. All I can say is that with few exceptions, the Mormons take following Jesus more seriously than any other group of people I’ve ever seen. You just can’t deny that. How many of you 18-20 year olds would give up 2 years of your life to “preach Christ ” anywhere you are sent in the world? How many of you would help the poor like they do? How many of you would hold your life to such a strong moral standard as they do? Come on…get real….these are good people. Every church and religion has problems because there are human beings in it. But they genuinely try to be good. Not one of them would do the mt. meadow thing today. Not one of them would be polygamists today unless God told them to directly. Just stop…..so tired of good people bashing.

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  • Anon

    If you were really LDS you would know that the Lord never would have allowed Joseph Smith to be sealed to underage or married women.

  • george searing

    I was a member for 25 yrs before I started to do some research on its history and when I could no longer accept the lies I was told I and my wife left , I had tried to tell my son of the real truth of this supposed church but he would not listen . My hope is now he will finally see what the truth is Joe Smith was the same or worse than Warren Jeffs both could not keep their zipper up .

  • Thads

    Atheism is not a belief or a religion….just like bald is not a hair style, and NOT collecting stamps is not a hobby. An atheist is simply a person who does not see any evidence for religious claims.

  • Pkh

    The Church like others in Christianity have gone against GOD ALMIGHTY,the SABBATH IS SAT UR DAY 7TH DAY,PERIOD ANYONE SAYS IT WAS CHANGED IS WITH SATAN,NO PROPHETS OF GOD REVERSED GODS ETERNAL LAW 7TH DAY.
    SON DAY Sunday worship is a COMMANDMENTS breaking LAW
    another man says different is NOT of GOD,PERIOD.

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  • Indeed Mike. I refer to it as egoteneoism. I’m working on a book presently referencing what I believe to be an inborn trait of human nature… What I believe is true! We all suffer from it unavoidably, for some it is political, some religious, some global warming, some evolution… whatever the individual decides to purchase, and for whatever reason, once the commitment is made, logic and reason are thrown out the window. In the case of religious dogma such as Mormonism, Catholicism, or Islam, the “I know this church/politic/science/etc. is true, is backed up by a powerful deity to explain away all doubts. For whatever doubt, there is an answer, and even an impossible answer becomes possible when supernatural powers are involved. Mormons haven’t corners the market on this, every one of us has the same “wisdom.” The difference between me and thee, is that me is right!

    Conversions are possible, but are rarely made on the basis of logic and reason…

  • Mary jennings

    It’s called pedophilia and your church is full of it

  • Mary jennings

    How many of those are pedophiles??

  • Mary jennings

    Warren Jeffs!!! Ughrrrr….. Pedophile and nasty piece of slime!!!
    Just read Escape by Carolyn Jessop!!

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  • SkyBird

    Historically, polygamy and Mormonism is a can of fermented worms. Scripturally polygamy has is “original roots” springing up right from, or out of the seed of Cain and the heathen nations, not from God’s original pattern of marriage and godliness, but from the dark conditional side of human nature. Many of ancient Israel fell into these immoral acts because of the false traditions and lies that came through the seed of Cain. If the Church continues to justify the past polygamist acts of its members it is embracing apostate doctrines which will be its undoing in the end. It is not God’s pattern and never has been! Scriptures prove this out.

    It wasn’t until sin made man fall (Gen. 4:23) that polygamy occurs. Cain was cursed, Lamech is a descendent of Cain and the first recorded scripturally to practice polygamy. The first time polygamous relationship is found in the Bible is with a thriving rebellious society in sin; when a murderer named “Lamech [a descendant of Cain].

  • SkyBird

    took for himself two wives” (Gen.4:19, 23).
    And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.

    (Old Testament | Genesis 4:19)

    It is so easy to get caught up and “trapped” in the “conditional mind set” of salvation (a Telestial and Terrestrial order of conditional truths)… however the “unconditional mind set” is the only one that can truly free us from the chains of darkness into the Celestial realm!

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  • Pr Chris

    “Orthodox Christianity” has certain basic tenets; namely the acceptance of the Trinity and the Apostles Creed as a basic statement of faith, the concept of a closed canon. Mormonism accepts none of these. As a Christian theologian, I find NO evidence for the loss of true Christian faith over time, as Mormonism teaches, for the restoration, and for the complete lack of evidence for the history of Mormonism in the New World.

    What bothers me most about Mormonism is the encouragement of people NOT to test the assertions of the faith, but just take it on trust. If I was unable to test the history and doctrine of Christianity in the way that Mormons are discouraged from doing so in regard to Mormon history; if the story of the Book of Abraham had a much error as has been shown, I would be unable to continue in that faith.

    I simply cannot live in that sort of ambiguity and falsehood I encounter in Mormonism.

    PR chris

  • Pr Chris

    but I think other religions have a different understanding of communication with “God”. For those who take the reality of sin very deliberately, there is a hesitation in the assertion that if you read scripture, pray and ask for guidance, that the resulting feelings are in any way reliable. For many, sin is such that it manifests itself in commending our darkest desires as something good. Just because I feel good about something doesn’t mean that the thing is good, or, that what I intend to do about a course of action is good. The devil seduces us into doing evil precisely by persuading us that the evil is actually good. And so, we deceive ourselves.

    I have encountered a number of LDS who say that since their testimony makes them feel good, it is a good thing, and therefore true. I think that is an equation that cannot be so simply drawn. St. Paul said that the good he should do, he did not, but the evil he did not is what he does (Rom 7:19)

    Pr Chris

  • Pr Chris

    Tortdog: There is no question that the Mormon understanding of Jesus is outside of that of normative, catholic, Christianity. The Jesus of the NT Church is fully human and fully divine, he has existed from the beginning of time as the second member of the Trinity. God the Father has never had physical being, unlike the Son. The LDS holy books are outside the accepted canon of the Christian Bible; which is defined at Nicea as the 27 books of the NT that you find in most English Bibles. There is no NT witness to the Great Apostasy and the Restoration; there are a few texts that assert conflict between NT churches and others, but nothing like a general falling away of Christian truth over time.

    The LDS Church can assert its membership in “Christianity”, but they have to redefine the definition to do so.

    PR Chris

    A typical assertion of catholic Christianity is to define catholic faith as comprised of the Three Ecumenical Creeds, and the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

  • Pr Chris

    PKH: The Christian Church has met on Sunday since the first Easter day. In John’s Gospel, it refers to them meeting on that day (Sunday) and then again, a week later (“doubting Thomas”). It was typical that Christians in the first century (of the common era–CE) attended Synogague on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and then gathered as a Christian community the next day; the first day of the week. That is the context, for example, in 1 Cor, as Paul narrates the wording of the eucharist practiced by the church. (I Cor 11:23 and 16:2) In the NT, the day of the Christian church’s gatherings is called “the first day of the week” which was Sunday. The word Sabbath was not reinterpreted; that was recognized as Saturday, the Jewish 7th day. Sunday is the first day of the week.

    Pr Chris

  • Pr Chris

    PS: The worship on Sunday is called in early Christian writings as a “Little Easter”. It is why, even in a period of time in the church year which is a penitential period (like Lent), the times does not include the Sundays, because Sundays are always celebrations, a celebration of Easter all over again.

    Pr Chris

  • Pr Chris

    Aside from Revelation is usually considered the latest written, it is last, because it was the last to receive acceptance into the canon (the list of approved texts) of scripture.

    Pr Chris

  • George

    The atheist dodge wears very thin in long exchanges like this. It should be viewed as the obfuscation it is and discounted accordingly along with its free ranging proponents. To not believe in God is to believe that all of science and human experience can be summarized as an interest collection of random outcomes. While that may be the actual facts of the matter to suggest there is no leap of faith involved anywhere in that precious, self aggrandizing and value added belief system is the atheist dodge. Atheists are true believers of a different stripe.

  • Tortdog

    Revelations was not written last. 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Second Peter were all written after Revelations. If one is to suggest that there can be no written revelation/canon after the Book of Revelations, then those other books must be discarded.

    Clearly John was not referencing the canon that would only be debated (still not agreed to) many years after he wrote his revelation. People who continue to use Revelations to refute the veracity of any canon subsequent to the writing of Revelations are either uninformed or disingenuous.