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Predicting the Unpredictable

The Lord keeps His counsel close to Himself. Although prophets have given us His promises about the last days, the promises will be fulfilled by God in His own way, His own time, and according to His determination. (Isa. 55:8-9.) Even when He discloses what He is doing to a prophet, the words spoken by His messengers are not frequently accepted, much less understood.

Men may ruminate, speculate and pontificate about what God WILL do, or what God CANNOT do, but they will only know what God did after it has been done. The topic of the “remnant” occupies the attention of Latter-day Saints, and their offshoots. I don’t think the reservation wards of the US Government will one day break free from that ingrained social arrangement to build a self-sustaining, independent Zion which can exist independent of every other creature under heaven. (See D&C 78:14-it is improbable people content to remain dependent on government support will abruptly decide to “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” and build Zion.)

In a recent study of racial composition in the US by the Pew Institute, they made this interesting observation:

The number of people who identify themselves as multiracial is growing three times faster than the population as a whole, according to a new report that explores the latest nuances and contradictions of racial identity in a society that has sometimes seen itself as a melting pot.

And the largest group of mixed-race people include those who have been here the longest: whites and Native Americans. They make up half of of the mixed-race population in the United States but are also least likely to think of themselves as multiracial. (See The Washington Post, Pew: Multiracial population changing the face of the U.S., June 11, 2015.)

The Lord may well decide to use “the mixed-race population” which “are also least likely to think of themselves as multiracial”–or the largest mixed race group in the US. The mixture of whites and Native Americans may have been foreseen (2 Ne. 30:6).

As the report states, “the largest group of multiracial people, those with white and American Indian ancestry, have only a faint connection to their indigenous heritage.”

Looking for the “remnant” will not fulfill prophecy if the Lord intends to fulfill it in His own way, time and manner. We should do what we are asked, when asked, in the way we are asked to do it, and leave it to the Lord to vindicate His word. He will accomplish it in a way that will cause men (as Christ put it) to “shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” (3 Ne. 21:8.)

Sunstone 2015

Today at 5:00 I will speak as part of a panel discussion at the 2015 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. The panel will examine “The Mormon Legal Mind.”

It doesn’t sound like a particularly interesting subject, but it is. LDS Mormonism is now subject to corporate organization and legal construction. There is really only one LDS Mormon, one member and one owner. It is the single individual who is the senior-most tenured member of the church’s 12 apostles. He owns everything, including the religion.

To make the legal construction understandable, an example shows how LDS Mormonism is the property of one individual: If instead of staying away from church, the roughly two-thirds of the baptized members were to come to General Conference and unanimously vote out the Church President, First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve, Seventies, and all other General Authorities as presently constituted–literally vote every one of them out and elect an entirely new slate of officers, this would be what happened:

The Corporation of the First Presidency, sole, could tell all LDS Mormons everywhere in the world that they could no longer use any LDS chapel. He could tell them to stay out of his temples because he was locking the doors. He could keep Deseret Book, Deseret Management Corporation and all its assets, all the church welfare farms, all its intellectual property including copyrights, its offices, condominiums, Temple Square, the Conference Center, Brigham Young University, BYU Hawaii, and all other church colleges, all the thousands of acres of property in Missouri, Florida and Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center, City Creek Mall, and everything else. The entire LDS empire would remain his sole property, and the “church” would have no legal right to use or keep any of it. They wouldn’t even have the right to use the name “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” because it is a registered mark owned by one man.

So the legal construct of LDS Mormonism is a topic worth at least learning something about. The panel today will discuss it at 5:00 p.m.

False Claims Against Joseph Smith

In the April 1840 edition of the Times and Seasons (Vol. 1, No.6)  the History of the Missouri Persecutions continued. That installment explained how lies by insiders managed to inspire Missouri mob violence. The bad deeds of others (including Sampson Avard) were attributed to Joseph. People still debate whether Joseph knew and approved of Avard’s underground vigilantes called the “Danites.” Joseph, however, was unequivocal in denying his involvement or awareness.

This pattern of attributing bad deeds to Joseph and others behind their backs was an effective technique in Missouri. It destroyed the peace and stirred up mob violence. The same technique was later used again by insiders (including members of the first presidency) to inspire the mobbing and murders of Joseph and Hyrum.

In the Times and Seasons article, after recounting the violence, murder, burning of homes and crops, theft of property and imprisonment, the question was posed of “why” the Missourians behaved this way:

Was it for commiting adultery? We are aware that false and slanderous reports have gone abroad, which have reached our ears, respecting this thing, which have been started by renagades, and spread by the dissenters, who are extremely active in spreading foul and libilous reports concerning us; thinking thereby to gain the fellowship of the world, knowing that we are not of the world; and that the world hates us. By so doing they only show themselves to be vile traitors and sycophants.

…We have learned also since we have been in prison that many false and pernicious things, which were calculated to lead the saints astray and do great injury, have been taught by Dr. Avard, who has represented them as coming from the presidency; and we have reason to fear, that many other designing and corrupt characters, like unto himself, have taught many things, which the presidency never knew of, until after they were made prisoners which, if they had known, they would have spurned them and their authors as they would a serpent.

Thus we find, that there has been frauds, secret abominations, and evil works of darkness going on leading the minds of the weak and unwary into confusion and distraction, and all of which has been endeavored to be palmed upon the presidency, who were ignorant of these things which were practised upon the church in our name.

…We could enumerate the names of many who have acted in a mean and dastardly manner, some of whom we once considered our friends men whom we once thought would never condescend to such unhallowed proceedings, but their love of the world and the praise of men has overcome every feeling of virtue, and they have yielded obedience once more to their old master, consequently their last end will be worse than the first.

The circumstances seem to fulfill the Lord’s description of the gentiles to whom the gospel would be given in the last days:

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. (3 Ne. 16:10.)

Joseph’s words describing the saints of his day, (“frauds, secret abominations, and evil works of darkness going on“) are similar to the Father’s quoted by the Lord, (“filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations“).

Things did not improve in Nauvoo. Conspiracies there would attribute worse behavior to Joseph; more allegations of secret teachings, more foul and widespread adulterous relationships, and darkness resulting in Joseph and Hyrum’s murders.

The tragedy is that the LDS Church attributed to Joseph and Hyrum what their false accusers claimed. Those who told lies about Joseph did it to cover their own sins. LDS leaders adopted many of the lies and practiced many of the abominations. They inherited lies. They believed them and were led to publicly practice foolish lusts and claim it as integral to their religion. Now if the truth is told it is not believed.

Leaders Have Fought God

The Missouri persecutions would not have happened without betrayal among the leading church authorities. The editors of the Times and Seasons took the extraordinary step of naming some of the leaders responsible for the Missouri outrages in the April 1840 edition.

These characters were busy in striving to stir up strife and turmoil among the brethren, and urging on mean and vexatious lawsuits; they were also, studiously engaged in circulating false and slanderous reports against the saints, to stir up our enemies to anger against us, that they might again drive us from our homes, and enjoy the spoils together, we are disposed here, to give the names of some of those characters, believing that justice to an injured people, requires it at our hands. They are as follows, viz: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmore [Whitmer], W.W. Phelps, John Whitmore [Whitmer], and Lyman E. Johnson.

Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were two the the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon who testified they saw the plates, beheld the angel, and heard the voice of God testifying to them.

John Whitmer was the Church Historian who left and took with him all the church’s history composed to that date.

Lyman E. Johnson was one of the original Twelve Apostles.

W.W. Phelps was an assistant-president of the church in Missouri and had been a scribe to Joseph Smith.

All these men had credibility because of their status as knowledgeable, respected and well informed leaders within the Mormon community. When they turned on Joseph and the church, the Missourians reasonably believed them.

The mobs who attacked the saints were inspired in large part by the testimony and affidavits signed by former insiders. Their testimony led to the conclusion that the Mormon community was a threat to law abiding citizens. The “Salt Sermon” delivered on July 4, 1838 by Sidney Rigdon threatened a “war of extermination” against the Missourians if they ever troubled the saints again. This phrase was repeated by Governor Boggs in his “Extermination Decree”–but “extermination” was coined originally by Sidney Rigdon. The Salt Sermon was widely circulated at the time. The idea of extermination was turned by the former insiders into a threat against all non-Mormons living in Missouri, as if the Mormons intended to become the aggressors.

The many accusations against Joseph Smith included Oliver Cowdery’s false claim that Joseph was an adulterer. The Missourians believed the Mormons were a menace, were led by hypocrites, and intended to violently overthrow the local communities. These conclusions were based on what the above identified Mormon leaders (and other leaders including church apostles) were claiming. The Missourians thought they were getting the truth from believable sources.

In the May 1840 edition of the Times and Seasons a letter which had been written by Joseph Smith while he was imprisoned in Missouri during the Mormon War was published which included, in part, the following:

…saith the Lord. Those who cry transgression, do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves, and swear falsely against my servants, that they may bring them into bondage, and death– 

…Wo unto all those who drive, and murder, and testify against my people, saith the Lord of hosts, for they shall not escape the damnation of hell…

That same letter seems to indict Sidney Rigdon for the intemperate language of his Salt Sermon:

We would respectfully advise the brethren, to be aware of an aspiring spirit, which has frequently urged men forward to make foul speeches and beget an undue influence in the minds of the saints and bring much sorrow and distress in the church; we would likewise say be aware of pride, for truly hath the wise man said “pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall;” outward appearance is not always a criterion for us to judge our fellow man by, but the lips frequently betray the haughty and overbearing mind, flattery also, is a deadly poison; a frank and open rebuke, provoketh a good man to emulation, and in the hour of trouble he will be your best friend, but rebuke a wicked man and you will soon see manifest, all the corruption of a wicked heart, the poison of asps is under their tongue, and they cast the saints in prison that their deeds be not reproved.

Although W.W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery later returned to the church, and Phelps was forgiven by Joseph Smith, the condemnation was not withdrawn by the Lord.

Whether it was in Kirtland, Missouri or Nauvoo, the greatest source of trouble came from current or former Mormon church leaders. The list of “persecutors” who had the greatest effect on killing other Mormons were the then-current or former Mormon leaders.

WE should study the past to avoid repeating the errors. The people we have trusted to lead have condemned the innocent of  being wicked in the past. They have brought condemnation on themselves and trouble for others when they have cried “transgression” although there is none.

A God of Order

There is something underway. It began with the Latter-day Saints. It will move on to address other gentiles, then the Lehi remnant, and finally the Jews. It will unfold as the Lord directs, at the time and in the manner He wants.

The wild enthusiasm and foolish excesses of those invited first is nothing to be concerned about. An invitation is nothing more than that: an offer. What people do in response determines if they will be gathered. Most will never be gathered.

Anyone who will wait patiently for the Lord, do what He asks, as He asks it, and remain faithful will be remembered by Him. His angels will watch over and ultimately gather them to safety.

The hardness and blindness of the Latter-day Saints was anticipated, and prophesied by the Lord. He has shown them the courtesy of inviting them to repent.

The invitation will be given to others, and some few of them will respond. There will be only a few saved out of every group. It will not be many but it does not require many.

The systematic approach to the final invitation will roll out under the direction of the Lord, in the way He directs, and with results based on whether they “hear His voice”–the same criteria as when He was here during the New Testament era.

Taxation/Representation

The Revolutionary War slogan “no taxation without representation” should be reconsidered for our present plight. The new slogan should be “no representation without taxation.” Unless a person actually bears the burden of paying the required tax, they should have no right to vote and impose the burden on anyone else.

Democracies fail because of human weakness. There will always be a majority of people willing to let others sacrifice, ask others to pay, and avoid responsibilities if they can manage it. Nobility and greatness are rare and precious things. The mob wants to sit in the coliseum, eat free, and watch gladiators battle for their amusement.

When the mob realizes they need not do anything more than vote higher taxes on others to pay for their bread and entertainment, society is doomed. Greece is facing a complete national failure because of human weakness. All western socialist societies are headed into the same dark end.

The United States does not have the leadership required to change, the population with the self-discipline required to change course, nor enough educated people able to see or understand our doom. If you can see the problem, you should speak up. Help others to understand the path we are on will end with collapse and violence.

3.2 Beer

Minutes of meetings of the first presidency and quorum of the twelve are not made available for public view. However, participants in those meetings have kept diaries, which tell us about their discussions. Fifteen years into his tenure as LDS Church President, Heber J. Grant’s diary records an issue they discussed when Prohibition ended.

Twenty-five days after the repeal of Prohibition through the 21st Amendment, Heber J. Grant’s diary has the following entry:

“I was in favor of all the General Authorities resigning as directors of the Utah Hotel, because I felt they would simply have to sell beer and it would be better for us to be out of it.” (December 30, 1933.)

On January 3, 1934 his diary contains the following entry:

“At 11:15 this morning there was a meeting of the Presidency and Apostles in the Presidency’s office, and the matter of my continuing as President of the Utah Hotel in view of the fact that the hotel is selling 3.2 beer was discussed, and the brethren felt that it as it was legal and declared by government chemists to be non-intoxicating it would be best for me to remain as President of the company, that it would create more comment if I resigned than if I were to stay with it. The question of advertising Anheiser Busch beer in the Deseret News was discussed and it was decided not to accept this advertisement. ”

Today, Utah remains one of only 5 states that restrict beer sold in grocery stores, drug stores and gas stations to 3.2% alcohol content.

Secret and Public

I have received an email informing me that there are those who claim I teach one thing in secret and another in public. That is a toxic notion I reject.

The most unfortunate thing about this is that traditional LDS beliefs actually REQUIRE us to accept the public/private hypocrisy of people of faith. What a tragic legacy we have been handed.

I reject the idea we must live lies to be true to God. It is a false idea and utterly contemptible. I wish there was no one who believed this could be a “true principle” because it is not.
If you look carefully at scripture, the information withheld from the public was NEVER a contradiction of what was given. It was more, and it was sacred, and it could be profaned and used to support wickedness if taught in public. But it was not a contradiction, not something to make the public information a lie, and not hypocritical.
It is tragic we have inherited this legacy. It is only because of this legacy that the idea I’m saying one thing in private and another in public could be advanced. I reject plural marriage, do not and will not practice it. It is abhorrent to me and the evidence tying it to Joseph Smith has been manipulated to fit a pattern adopted after his death. Sorting it out now is almost impossible, because the LDS community is almost entirely polygamists–whether they think it is to be practiced today or not, they believe it is a true principle. I do not. I think Section 132 was altered before released to the public.
The advice I give to everyone is to let their disputes end and if reconciliation needs to happen then it should be between those directly involved and in private.
What a sad thing this has remained. I would ask that my name not be associated with any attempt to advance and continue a grave historical problem with LDS Mormonism. I am public about what I advocate, teach and practice.

Pursuing Happiness

As a society organized under a common government, our society is dependent on agreement on principles, including a common set of morals. As John Adams correctly put it, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Thomas Jefferson was given credit for these words of the Declaration which marked the formal decision to rebel from British rule: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” John Locke advocated freedom of life, liberty and property. Jefferson did not use John Locke’s “property” but changed it to “happiness.”

Those words were written against an ecclesiastical, intellectual, philosophical, legal and governmental background that assumed a meaning for the word “happiness.” The idea of happiness envisioned in the Declaration of Independence incorporated the notion of virtue and the existence of a natural moral law established by a Divine Creator. This moral law was knowable through reason which would permit us to detect objective norms of right and wrong.  It revealed to us God’s eternal law, the same God who created the natural order, and revealed Himself to mankind in Christ.

We are not solely dependent upon reason and the Bible to understand the means to gain happiness. We have this from Alma 41:10-11: “Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.” However much men may seek happiness in wickedness, it cannot be found there.

Not only is it contrary to the nature of happiness to live contrary to the nature of God and godliness, it is likewise contrary to our ability to govern ourselves peaceably. When we as a people cannot agree on morality, and decide what is, to a large segment of the population considered to be immoral, to then be supported, justified, protected and sustained by the Constitution, the Constitution becomes wholly inadequate for governing us.

In a revelation given us in August 1833, we were cautioned: “And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule, the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:5-10.)

Christ was not “an high priest which cannot be touched with the felling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15.) Christ knows how to help us in our struggles because He has likewise suffered from every point of temptation that men must endure. Alma 7:11 explained this about Christ, “he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.” Every difficulty men encounter, Christ likewise encountered and therefore He understands how to minister to all our needs, comfort us in our trials, and help us endure what cannot be avoided.

Modern scripture explains Him and how He overcame sin, He “is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them; And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them; And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship. But by the transgression of these holy laws man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man. Wherefore, the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of him. He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.” (D&C 20:17-22.) When we “give heed” to our temptations, we lose the battle our Lord won.

It is possible to live in a world filled with sin and avoid becoming embroiled in the errors. Do not let your eyes focus on the wickedness you see around you, but look up to heaven and the example of Heaven’s God, where there is no corruption.

Our society is no longer sustainable as a cohesive and unified people. It may take years for it to finish its disintegration, but its failure is well underway. The only means to salvage a peaceable society will be to either convince the whole to repent and return, or, failing that, to divide into separate bodies and allow those who agree on certain moral principles, to live together.

We have an opportunity to attempt to convince others to repent and return. This ought to be our work for now. It seems likely we will follow the foolish example of the Book of Mormon people who previously lived on this land and, like them, divide into warring factions before destruction will sweep away the more wicked people from this land.

The Book of Mormon warns us plainly: “For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.” (Ether 2:10-12.)