BOWbutton

This button is a resource to link those desiring baptism with those having authority to baptize. More information can be found here.

 

St. George Transcript

The St. George transcript is up on Scribd. Because of some trouble with Blogger, I am unable to create a DS Talks link. I will have that done as soon as the problem is fixed.

September 9 Mesa Location

The final talk will be held:
Sept. 9, 2014
9:30 AM
Rockin’ R Ranch
6136 E. Baseline Road
Mesa, AZ  85206
This location holds 700, plus, and is a semi-outdoor location. You might want to bring a pillow, as the seating will be at picnic tables.

Sunstone 2014

Cutting Down the Tree of Life to Build a Wooden  is up on Scribd. You can find the link on the right side of the blog under DS Talks.

Enjoy. 

Las Vegas Transcript

The Las Vegas transcript is up on Scribd. Link is on the right side of the blog under DS Talks.

Messy History

History is very messy. While it is lived there are no “themes” the people actually living through the events can detect. The journals of the living record haphazard daily events, never knowing what comes next. These accounts are far more valuable than the later narratives written by historians (and apologists) retelling the events to prove a “theme.”

Joseph was at the head of a church for 14 years. Brigham Young for 33. At the time of his death, Brigham Young’s influence was far greater on every living Latter-day Saint than Joseph’s ever was. Brigham Young faced challenges, overcame obstacles, fought wars (against both the US Army and Indians), kept order, and attempted to win court cases. He was a very busy man. By the end of his life the scope and sweep of his accomplishments overshadowed every Latter-day Saint and informed all their beliefs. Every stupid act, failed prediction, criminal act and embarrassing miscue was forgotten because of how very much the man accomplished. His greatest achievement was to preserve an organized church. Sheer force of personality made him indispensable for the survival of Mormonism. Even opponents and critics needed Brigham Young to help them to preserve their organizations. Nothing rallied splinter groups like Brigham’s success. Even today, many splinter organizations try to mimic Brigham’s rugged patriarchy as if it were the very example of God’s “true religion.”

By the time Joseph III and his brother David were a threat to Brigham’s organization, every Latter-day Saint living in the Utah Territory had an interest in Brigham winning the argument against the “Reorganized” church. It was imperative they proved the right choice had been made when the vote was taken in August 1844.

Affidavits were gathered from one to several decades after the events which “proved” Brigham was right and Emma and her sons wrong. It does not matter to LDS apologists that the affidavits are contradicted by earlier journals and diaries. They are “proof” and were given “under oath” and therefore, unquestioned. Sermons were preached defending the choices made in Nauvoo following Joseph and Hyrum’s deaths. Histories were written to defend the faith as it was changed by Brigham Young and his followers.

There are now libraries of material supporting both Brigham Young’s leadership and the religion as he modified and handed it down. If you want a large bibliography, then the work of 170 years of Latter-day Saint apologists will win every time. Sheer bulk favors these traditions.

How, then, can someone now really claim these traditions fail to tell the whole truth? How is it possible for a believer in the Restoration through Joseph Smith to question these well-established “truths” held up as the very handiwork of God?

The only reason to question any of it is if you believe the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s revelations. If you do that, and you let scripture tell you the “themes” of these events, then despite the great weight of LDS historical documentation, you can still sort it out correctly.

What is most surprising to me is the diaries and journals written while the events were unfolding contradict much of the apologist’s “themes” and corroborate the scripture and prophetic account of the latter-day Gentile failing. If you want truth, you need to have a strong stomach. None of this is fun or cause for celebration. If you love the Latter-day Saints, as I do, then you find yourself torn between the truth and your sentiments. It is better to be in the company of God and the truth, than even good friends who believe falsehoods.

Thankfully, God is not jealous of the truth. He does not have a vested interest (despite claims to the contrary) in seeing a false tradition win the argument. He is a God of truth and hates even well-intentioned lies.

Anyone who attempts to undo beloved, but false, religious traditions will be hated in their generation. Thankfully, in the long run the truth will win out. God has decreed it. Therefore, even the smallest group of believers will ultimately not suffer from being outnumbered by disbelievers. God did not establish the Restoration through Joseph Smith to have it end in a pack of half-truths manipulated to support a false and incomplete narrative. The Restoration will, just as Joseph predicted, roll forth to fill the earth. But that prophecy does not establish a wealthy franchise, nor predict corporate success. The “Church of God” has always been beyond man’s ability to control; no matter what enthusiastic claims men may make to the contrary.

God’s hand is moving again. He will win the argument. Be patient and let Him finish what He has started again.

Preparation for Phoenix

There is one talk remaining. I’m trying to get the transcripts up for the last two. The final talk in Phoenix will mean more if you have read or listened to the first nine talks. All ten are one talk, delivered in installments. The conclusion will presume the audience is already acquainted with what went before.

I speak at Sunstone on Saturday. Some time that evening I will put the paper up, linked on this blog. That paper will likewise be helpful to read before the final talk.

Pacific and Mountain Time Zones

The talks in Las Vegas and St. George this Friday and Saturday will be in two different time zones. Both talks begin at 9:30 a.m. But in Las Vegas that is in the Pacific Time Zone (an hour earlier) and in St. George it is in the Mountain Time Zone. Therefore if you plan to come, the scheduled times are in the local time zones.

Only One Doctrine Left

This is a personal message for one of the men on the High Council who advocated my excommunication. He is a friend. I spoke with him yesterday and, after reflecting on it overnight, have something to say to him and anonymous comments on my blog espousing similar beliefs:
____________________________
In LDS Mormonism there is really only one doctrine left. Everything else is subordinate and changeable. But this single demand is paramount. If you disbelieve this position, then LDS Mormonism has no place for you. The doctrine:

We follow a man whom we call a prophet.

If you disbelieve this, and think you ought to follow Christ first, and the church’s “prophet” is secondary, then you are insubordinate and a threat. Believing Christ comes first opens the possibility that Christ could tell you the “prophet” is mistaken. That is intolerable.

In LDS Mormonism it is allowed for the current “prophet” to criticize and denigrate a former “prophet.” This happens frequently. Even editorials now appear on LDS.org website rejecting Brigham Young’s teachings as wrong, even immoral. The new, living leader has the “keys” and the contradictions are viewed by blinded followers to be “proof of continuing revelation.” Therefore these contradictions are valued by the deceived. An unchanging God has error prone key-holders who can guarantee his contemporaries their salvation. This is even if later key-holders proclaim the earlier leader’s mistakes. All of this is only consistent if you believe the central, single doctrine. If you question it, the whole construct begins to look foolish and riddled with error.

When I joined LDS Mormonism there were many doctrines. None of them put President Spencer W. Kimball into a position of a dictator. Indeed, President Kimball earned our loyalty and respect by his meek example and the content of his sermons. He denounced modern idols, and criticized the war-like nature of our country. But no one demanded a loyalty oath, insisting that veneration of him took precedence over worship of Christ. I believe if President Kimball heard of such a thing being taught he would have vocally and immediately spoken against it. He denounced Ezra Taft Benson’s sermon about Fourteen Fundamentals for Following the Prophet. But today these are taught in General Conference!

LDS Mormonism has changed since I first joined. So much so that I no longer belong in an organization that holds one and only one doctrine as its bedrock. I believe Christ alone is worthy of veneration. I do not believe I must follow a man to be able to follow Christ. I do not believe I should look to the example of some man in order to be able to see Christ.

This radical and false shift of the religion has happened in my lifetime. I never engaged in this idolatry while among the LDS organization, and I refuse to accept that kind of religion now. It is false. I reject it.

Insofar as the LDS Church “believes” in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the revelations through him, including the D&C and Pearl of Great Price, I honor them. Insofar as they testify of the Book of Mormon and preach from it, I believe and accept it. Therefore I see some considerable merit to the LDS Church. However, their current single fundamental doctrine is false. Utterly false.

If you extend the fundamental LDS doctrine to its logical conclusion, it is also satanic. It abrogates free will, requires obedience to a man even if he tells you to do something which you know to be wrong (a principle that has been taught in General Conference), and requires you to abandon your own agency. Since I believe everyone will be accountable before God for their choices in the Day of Judgment, the paradigm is false and will not protect you. You may think the “key holder” will absolve you of your mistakes, but God will judge you. If you are asked to do something wrong, and you do it out of veneration for a “prophet” you will not be spared, but you will be judged and condemned.

There are many good people in the LDS Church. There is also some considerable good done by the LDS Church. But when adulterers, liars, idolaters and the ignorant who preside in wards, stakes and areas of the church insist their personal unworthiness is excused because they are loyal to a priesthood line of authority, as we presently find in the church, then someone needs to proclaim faith in Christ and repentance. Even if only one voice will speak up, God will vindicate faith in Him in the end.

The Great Whore will always outnumber the few who are Christ’s sheep. But that cannot detract from Christ’s affection for those who hear His voice and defend His religion.

Joseph Smith’s Revelations

There is a passage often quoted from the D&C to support the idea that the president of the LDS church is entitled to have his teachings regarded as if they were God’s word. The language is as follows:

Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from my own mouth, in all patience and faith. For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.” (D&C 21: 4-6.)

This revelation is referring to Joseph Smith. Period. Not to anyone who later happens to be elected by the vote of a group to become his successor. Doesn’t apply and didn’t apply to Brigham Young, John Taylor, Warren Jeffs, Ervil LeBaron, Rulon Allred or any number of other pretenders. It applied solely to Joseph Smith.

The revelation uses the personal pronouns “he” and “his” to refer to Joseph Smith throughout. If you want to put someone else into the passage above, then “he” must likewise heed all the requirements of D&C 21.

Wherefore it behooveth me that he [Joseph Smith] should be ordained by you, Oliver Cowdery mine apostle; This being an ordinance unto you, that you are an elder under his [Joseph Smith’s] hand, he [Joseph Smith] being the first unto you, that you might be an elder unto this church of Christ, bearing my name.” (D&C 21: 10-11.) So “he” will then need to ordain Oliver if “he” is to be mentioned by the revelation.

It was Joseph Smith who “wept for Zion” (D&C 21: 8). It was Joseph Smith who was “inspired to move the cause of Zion” forward (D&C 21: 7). It was Joseph Smith whose “diligence I [God] know, and his prayers I have heard” (D&C 21: 7).

Therefore it was Joseph Smith whose words we are required to “give heed unto” and it is the “commandments which he [Joseph Smith] gave unto us” we are now required to obey. When we do not do this, then the “gates of hell shall prevail” against us, as they most certainly have.

From the beginning, all the various off-shoots uniformly disobey this commandment. Not only do they all refuse to “give heed” to what God revealed and commanded through Joseph Smith, but they have compounded their error by allowing others to interpose their commandments “as if they were from God.” The landscape today is exactly as it was when the Lord appeared to Joseph. We see churches who deny the power of God, and who teach for commandments the doctrines of men, having only a form of godliness, which heaven does not respect. The pretenders’ lack of power is for our protection. If it were otherwise, we would be damning one another.