Name Calling

I have been called, among other choice words, “apostate” by some LDS folks in their indiscriminate, anonymous on-line rants. Name-calling by Latter-day Saints is a complete role reversal from where the Restoration began. When Joseph Smith was being abused by the religionists of his day, he observed “they treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil. That there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things [were confined to and the sole right of] the apostles.” (JS-H 1: 21.) The people who rejected Joseph’s beliefs were rejecting the Bible itself, which they pretended was the basis for their faith. Joseph did what James 1: 5instructed him to do, and got an answer. That is the faith he restored: A living faith in which God will speak to all who, like me, lack wisdom, liberally. I lack wisdom. I go to God with questions. So long as any of us ask in faith, He will answer. I know. He has answered me. Now Latter-day Saints think it is their right to denounce others who have asked God, and have been answered. If Latter-day Saints do possess the truth, then for those they think in error should be met with kindness, not reviling. (See JS-H 1: 25.) “If they suppose me to be deluded they ought to endeavor in a proper and affectionate manner to reclaim me.” (JS-H 1: 28.) Instead I read the accusation I am “apostate” by these smug Latter-day Saints. It must put a smile on the faces of authority and the devil. These disciples pretend to follow Joseph’s restored religion while acting the part of his persecutors. The saints have come full circle indeed.
Where exactly do you draw the line and begin to denounce others as “apostate?”
If we both believe in the Book of Mormon, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?”
If we both believe Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the Gospel, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?”
If we both accept the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price as scripture, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?”
If we both believe in continuing revelation and that God has yet to reveal a great deal as part of the Restoration of all, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?”
If we have all of the foregoing in common, is that enough to respect one another as fellow-believers? Or do you require much more of me than I can give in order to avoid being denounced by you? How much do you want to micromanage my beliefs? Do you ever feel any twinge of concern about not permitting others to worship “according to the dictates of their conscience, and allow others the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may?” (Paraphrase of 11th Article of Faith)
If I believe priesthood has no authority over me, and you believe as Elder Oaks declared from general conference that the “keys” are the right to exercise authority, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?” What if my belief is based on the scripture “no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood” which I hold in higher regard than a declaration from a church official to the contrary? (See D&C121: 41)
If I believe the Lectures on Faith are still scripture, but you do not, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?”
If I believe the LDS Church has changed dramatically in my lifetime, and even more since Joseph Smith died, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?”
If I believe the scriptures were given to control and govern the faith, and you believe whatever comes from living church officials can contradict or disregard the words of scripture, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?” If I can tolerate your view in this regard, even if I do not share it, are we of the same faith or is one of us “apostate?” If I use the scriptures and you use the scriptures, why are your views correct and mine incorrect? How did we arrive at the odd position that you get to call me “apostate” for believing the scriptures differently than you do? If you trust that “keys” are the thing that guarantees you salvation, what exactly are the “keys,” allowed by scripture, that bear that out?
If I will let you go in peace, why cannot you let me go likewise in peace. The LDS church is an institution of this world, not of the next. We should care less for the things of this world than we do. I am very content with my faith in God, and very much in harmony with everything He has asked of me. If you believe the same about yourself, then let that be your assurance and have the confidence to leave me to go my way in peace. Practice your beliefs in the way you think God wants, and I will do the same.
I will never again submit to another man’s priestly claim to dominion, control, judgment or oppression. It was denounced in scripture, and I reject such things. (D&C 121: 36-42.) If you think there is a priest who has the right to demand things of you in exchange for saving you using some “key,”  I do not share your belief, but I am perfectly willing to respect you if that is yours. Happy is the man who serves his God in faith and conviction. Happier still is the man whose God is Christ and therefore respects his right to voluntarily act for himself, accepting full accountability for his beliefs, and not expecting man to save him using authority to do so.

If, by your definition, I am “apostate,” then let me assure you I am content to be so. I am fully willing to accept whatever Christ’s judgment is for being so. More importantly, I am entirely satisfied I remain in harmony with what God expects of me, and I wish the same for you.

4 thoughts on “Name Calling

  1. ‘m not sure if my previous post was deleted or if I simply forgot to hit the submit button. Probably the latter. This is a public letter so I suspect it would be OK to give my opinion on it since differing opinions are encouraged, right? I think differing opinions can be healthy so long is there’s no name calling.

    So Denver starts out with this- “I have been called, among other choice words, “apostate” by some LDS folks in their indiscriminate, anonymous on-line rants. Name-calling by Latter-day Saints is a complete role reversal from where the Restoration began.”
    Didn’t Denver call the leaders of the church “proud decendants”? Is that name calling? What about his many heavily insinuated comments about the church and the Prophet and Apostles being apostate? Isn’t that what Snuffer supporters think as well, that the church doesn’t have the authority the leaders claim it has and that the church has fallen into apostasy? Didn’t Denver start the name calling? (honest questions). What about this gem from Denvers letter?-
    “Instead I read the accusation I am “apostate” by these SMUG Latter-day Saints. It must put a smile on the faces of authority and the devil. These disciples pretend to follow Joseph’s restored religion while acting the part of his persecutors. The saints have come full circle indeed.” Well that’s not nice! ;)

    K, so he claims the church is apostate (a theme of PTHG) but gets upset and NAME CALLS those that suggest he’s the apostate one? Really? Why can’t I believe differently than he does? Why is it that he can call others beliefs apostate but nobody dare call his beliefs apostate or else they are pleasing the devil and are smug? Why accuse others of being a “pretender” for doing nothing less than what he does? He thinks others are pretenders and comes out and says it. Should others be allowed to call HIM a pretender?

    “If I will let you go in peace, why cannot you let me go likewise in peace.”
    Um, so is that something that he is going to do from now on, leave the church in peace? Because up til now, and including now, he hasn’t left the church alone. Once he does let the church go in peace I suspect after a short period people will indeed leave him in peace. I mean come on, you go out and YOU pick a fight, YOU name call then pretend you’re the victim? Reminds me of Brer Rabbit.

    As far as I’m concerned Denver can believe whatever he wants to, doesn’t hurt my feelings at all, but come on- mirror mirror on the wall Denver. You jab at someone long enough and they tell you to knock it off then you pretend you’re the victim and the guy you’ve been poking is a big meanie because you kept jabbing? I’m scratching my head on this one :-?

    I think this is a fair post. Hopefully it won’t be deleted.

  2. We no longer allow comments on this blog. However I’m making an exception (which I expect will be one-time only) because I appreciate the question and want to discuss it.

    Right now I’m headed to my daughter’s baseball game, and therefore won’t have time to do more than make a brief comment in reply:

    First, I’ve never said the church was “apostate” nor engaged in name-calling. I’ve quoted journals, talks, diaries, and discussed scripture. I’ve explained how my views differ from historic conclusions, and then explained why I reach a different conclusion. I’ve also explained the church’s position to contrast with mine. I try to give information to permit the reader to reach their own conclusion, whether they agree or disagree with me.

    Is the phrase “proud descendants of Nauvoo” untrue? Is it insulting? How so? How it is more insulting than “Blessed, Honored Pioneers” (the title to an LDS hymn)? Are not the descendants of Nauvoo proud of that heritage? Since when did the descendants of Nauvoo cease to be proud of that heritage? Aren’t their ancestors constantly extolled in church? And is it not a fact that the leadership (1st Presidency, Quorum of 12) chosen almost exclusively from Nauvoo descendants?

    I’ll address this further later, because I’ve got to go.

  3. Part 1: Sorry about the delay. Great day at the ballpark. Last game my daughter got on base twice, scored twice and her team won by 2 runs. One of the other team’s moms became a fan, even though her son’s team lost. That happens a lot when a girl plays well in a boy’s league.

    Returning to the subject, however, the issue is bigger than “who said what and how did they say it?” It is a cultural problem. Our entire society is weak. VERY weak. Emotionally immature and very unrealistic about its self-image.

    Truth is not welcome if it can be viewed as a criticism. We turn an unpleasant truth into something vile. We react by calling it names, as if that somehow reduces the effect of truth.

    We want everyone to “win” every time. We give awards to everyone in the league, and are embarrassed when someone has to lose the competition. We desperately do not want to have anyone be better than anyone else, because that somehow implies someone is inferior.

    This weakness exists across political, religious, educational, social and sports boundaries. We cover our insecurities with a morass of cultural clutter to try and prevent anyone feeling persecuted, or despised, or rejected.

    Truth sometimes hurts. But that doesn’t mean it is insulting. When it comes to religious truths, quite often the majority takes the truth to be hard. We call evil good, and good evil, because it makes us feel better about ourselves to do so. Eventually truth becomes a “sin” when it reminds us of what we would prefer to ignore.

  4. Part 2: I’m not LDS any longer. I would have stayed, but the Strengthening the Members Committee influenced its presiding authority, Elder Russell M. Nelson, to pressure my former Stake President to have me excommunicated. So now the rules have changed. I do not need to behave as if I were a member of the church any longer. If I were a member, I would behave accordingly. But since I’m not, I needn’t do so.

    The church has constructed the perfect mousetrap for its members’ minds. In the trap, anything said by anyone which can be construed to be “criticism” is then equated with “evil speaking.” I believe the truth can never be “evil.” But that doesn’t matter. The church culture is determined to avoid anything unpleasant about any significant church leader from ever being spoken. It doesn’t matter that President George Albert Smith was so emotionally disturbed he was institutionalized, any candid remark about him being feeble-minded and emotionally disturbed cannot be said without great risk. You tread on dangerous ground, because if someone believes you are “attacking a church president” then you become instantly guilty of “evil speaking” and therefore in danger of lapsing into apostasy.

    Under the social controls presently in place, it is impossible for the church to correct itself from within. No matter how much members may care, even adore the church, they cannot take note of even obvious defects without risking the cultural ire of other church members. No one can speak up and point out stupidity, error or blatant dishonesty among church leadership without suffering the accusation they are “evil speaking.” This has only one outcome: wider spread of corruption and decay. It is inevitable.

    While a member I was careful to avoid speaking or accusing leaders or the church itself. Even now I have stopped short of every saying the church and its leaders are apostate. Instead I try to focus on what I think to be true. I use the scriptures for the most part to explain my views.

    The church now has a very broad web presence. They have both paid and volunteer people hammering away on keyboards worldwide. Some are assigned to criticize me. It is just one of the minor irritants in my life. The focus should be on truth, ideas, events, history, scriptures and doctrines. Calling names changes the subject. Then we get to use names to briefly dismiss what may be very important to understand.

    Though I think myself unimportant, I try to discuss very important things. The things I talk about can be considered, even if I remain unimportant. I’m very through with the LDS Church. At the present it is only important as a side-note to history. Now they no longer have the rights once given them, I intend to press forward with what God is doing at present and in the future. I will never again belong to the LDS Church. I wish it well and bear no animosity toward it whatsoever. I don’t have anything to say to it or its active members. But the disaffected (which comprises over two-thirds of the claimed membership number) may still believe in Joseph Smith’s original mission, as I do. I’d like to talk with them, and all others who are not Latter-day Saints. Content, active Latter-day Saints I intend to leave alone. If they overhear something I say I apologize to them and their church. I don’t want to disturb their peace or awaken them.

    My next talk will be in Ephriam at the end of June. I hope no active Latter-day Saints attend. If they are content with their religion, then I have nothing to say to them. In return, I hope they have nothing to say about me.

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