Archive | Comments on Blogs RSS feed for this section

9 Ways Anti-Mormons Want You to Mistrust the LDS Church (7-9)

3 Jul

A while ago I came across this video that purports to reveal to the public Nine things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that the church doesn’t want people to know. I have seen many such lists, and this, like all the others, is largely inaccurate or fails to support what they claim to be doing.

At the time I had considered doing a response to the video, but things got away from me and it never happened. But this video has recently been put up in another blog post and thus was brought back to my attention. So, I have decided to make a few comments on it.

 

To be clear, I am addressing the claim that the church doesn’t want you to know what the video portrays. I will not be addressing the accuracy of any point except briefly, unless doing so is necessary to the main claim of the video. Also, since I don’t like my posts to be too long, I will be separating this into three posts, each addressing three points from the video.

 

Temple Worthy Members wear Sacred Temple Garments

Anyone who thinks the church is trying to conceal this is crazy. The Temple Garment is an integral part of the faith and anyone who has worked with a member of the church will learn about them eventually. The church itself has, on various occasions, published information regarding the Temple Garment. On lds.org there is a brief explanation of the Garment under the Gospel Topics section. In 1997 there was a lengthy essay published in the church magazine the Ensign, which was reprinted in the Liahona magazine for the youth in 1999. Every member learns of the garments in the church’s Temple Prep classes, and in the Mormon News Room was recently published this article and video.

 

Practice of Spiritism (Deuteronomy 18: 10-12)

First, the maker of the video makes an error in definitions. Spiritism claims to be a science that studies the relationship between spirits and humans. Spiritualism is a religion based around contacting the dead.

However, in either case it doesn’t apply to the church. The church does not engage in scientific studies of spirits, nor has any leader in the church, past or present, attempted to contact the dead.

Now, it is true that the dead have appeared to some in the past, and likely will continue to do so, but that does not mean it is spiritualism. When Joseph Smith was visited by Moroni he was not seeking contact with the dead, but was praying to God, who then sent Moroni in answer to the prayer.

The same is true of every angelic visitation, and is in perfect agreement with the Bible. After all, we read that Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration to Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1-3). We also read that after the resurrection many of the ancient saints rose from the grave and appeared to faithful members of the church (Matthew 27:52-53).

The church has always spoken against the use of mediums or other devices to contact the dead and seek knowledge. But they acknowledge that God at times sends the dead in answer to prayers.

So, no, the church does not want anyone to think that we believe or practice either Spiritism or Spiritualism, but neither is true and thus to believe this is to believe a lie.

 

Mormon – r = Moron

Of course this is just thrown in to be silly, but also as a personal attack and mockery. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can make that deduction. But it has nothing to do with the church, except as a way to belittle and mock it. Honestly, this should show anyone who watches this video that it is all a bunch of hogwash.

Advertisements

9 Ways Anti-Mormons Want You to Mistrust the LDS Church (4-6)

3 Jul

A while ago I came across this video that purports to reveal to the public Nine things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that the church doesn’t want people to know. I have seen many such lists, and this, like all the others, is largely inaccurate or fails to support what they claim to be doing.

At the time I had considered doing a response to the video, but things got away from me and it never happened. But this video has recently been put up in another blog post and thus was brought back to my attention. So, I have decided to make a few comments on it.

 

To be clear, I am addressing the claim that the church doesn’t want you to know what the video portrays. I will not be addressing the accuracy of any point except briefly, unless doing so is necessary to the main claim of the video. Also, since I don’t like my posts to be too long, I will be separating this into three posts, each addressing three points from the video.

 

Life on the Moon and Sun.

I will be brief on this point, as it is an obscure idea that is based on a single quote from Brigham Young and a third hand claim of what Joseph Smith might have taught fifty years after he died.

I just don’t see the evidence that the Church is attempting to conceal anything. The Journal of Discourses, which is the source of the Brigham Young quote, is printed and is available online. It just isn’t that important, except as an interesting historical snippet.

 

Polygamy practiced for 40 years.

Again, there is no proof that the church is attempting to hide or conceal this fact. The practice is recorded in section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and is standard reading for all members and investigators. It was discussed in the institute manual Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual. Also, in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism we have a detailed essay on the matter. And, more recently the church has published four essays on the subject that can be found at lds.org. These essays deal with the practice in general, during Kirtland and Nauvoo, in Utah, and then the ending of the practice.

So, where is the attempt to conceal this information?

 

Joseph Smith will judge people.

Again, to be brief, there is no attempt to prevent people from learning this. It is also very misunderstood, but that is beside the point. Just like the concept of Life on the Moon, this idea is primarily mentioned in the Journal of Discourses, which is readily available and which the church acknowledges has benefits to reading and studying, but is not recognized as official doctrine. So again, there is no

 

9 Ways Anti-Mormons Want You to Mistrust the LDS Church (1-3)

3 Jul

A while ago I came across this video that purports to reveal to the public Nine things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that the church doesn’t want people to know. I have seen many such lists, and this, like all the others, is largely inaccurate or fails to support what they claim to be doing.

At the time I had considered doing a response to the video, but things got away from me and it never happened. But this video has recently been put up in another blog post and thus was brought back to my attention. So, I have decided to make a few comments on it.

 

To be clear, I am addressing the claim that the church doesn’t want you to know what the video portrays. I will not be addressing the accuracy of any point except briefly, unless doing so is necessary to the main claim of the video. Also, since I don’t like my posts to be too long, I will be separating this into three posts, each addressing three points from the video.

 

Joseph Smith was a Mason.

Far from not wanting people to know that Joseph Smith was a mason, this little fact was included in the Institute manual for college students. The title of the manual is Church History in the Fullness of Times. In chapter 21 of this manual is the following quote:

As early as October 1841 some Masons who were members of the Church obtained permission to initiate a Masonic lodge in Nauvoo. Joseph Smith could see advantages in belonging to this fraternal order. Presumably it was felt that other Masons in the state and nation, many of whom held prominent positions, would look more kindly upon the Church. Joseph Smith and many others in Nauvoo were formally introduced into the order in March 1842.

It is also true that in 1938 the church published a book called Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith which is a collection of quotes from Joseph Smith. On page 255 there is a brief mention of him and other church members attending the formation of the Montrose, Iowa lodge.

As to the similarities, in 1991 the Encyclopedia of Mormonism was published. It was a joint venture initiated by MacMillan Publishing in New York, but was approved of by the First Presidency of the Church. The Encyclopedia contains an article titled Freemasonry and the Temple. It makes a thorough comparison between the two from a scholarly perspective.

 

The Book of Mormon is completely unreliable.

I think the author of the video does not quite understand the meaning of the word reliable. It means to consistently give the same result over several trials or tests. So it doesn’t matter if the result is wrong, as long as you get the same result over and over it is reliable.

So, is the Book of Mormon unreliable? To determine this you have to show that over a period of time it has given varying results rather than consistent results. The test of reliability would be different for different aspects of the books.

Now the author of the video claims it is unreliable for two reasons. First, the translation cannot be verified; second it is inconsistent with historical knowledge. But neither of these actually tests reliability, but rather accuracy. The real truth is that the Book of Mormon reliably conveys the same story and message no matter how many times you read it, and whether that story is accurate or not has no effect on its reliability.

Of course, the church actually offers a test of reliability regarding the Book of Mormon, which is found in Moroni 10: 4-5. This is a spiritual test that, if followed, will reliably render the same result each time.

 

Racism against Blacks.

Actually, the church has always been fairly open about its policies regarding the African race. And please note that it was African and not black that the policy affected. Other black races, notably the aborigine of Australia, were unaffected by it. About 3 months after this video was put up on YouTube the church published an essay that gives all the details about the churches policy and the various theories surrounding it. Note that they were theories and not doctrine, and the church does not, nor has it ever actually subscribed to any of them. We simply don’t know the details regarding it.

Now, there are many quotes from earlier church leaders that many members are not familiar with. But there is no evidence that the church is trying to hide them. Far from it, they have continued to make them available to those who seek them. The Journal of Discourses, the Discourses of Brigham Young, the Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, among other collections, have been published by the church for some time. More recently they have started the project called “The Joseph Smith Papers” as well as other initiatives to uncover as much as they can about the early church and its leaders.  While they have not paraded these things through the news, they have made no effort to conceal them either.

Little Known Propaganda: 17 – Life on the Moon

2 Apr

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13a#13b#14#15, 16

 

FACT #17. Joseph Smith taught the moon was inhabited by people who dressed like Quakers and lived to be about 1000 years old.

In the Mormon publication, The Young Woman’s Journal, pp. 263 & 264, O.B. Huntington gives this interesting information:

“As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do – that they live generally to near the age of 1000 years. He [Smith] described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.”

Now that man has walked on the Moon, there can be no doubt that there aren’t any 6 foot tall Quakers roaming its surface.

 

This one might have been little known before the age of the internet, and even in the early years of the internet. How well known it was when this list was first put together would be impossible to say, but of all the items on the list, it is likely the least well known. The reason for this is that it is stated in only two places, and both sources are fairly rare. The Young Woman’s Journal was printed from 1889 to 1896, when the New Era took its place. The fact that a single article from more than 100 years ago is not known to the general membership is hardly surprising. When you consider that it was an independent publication (meaning associated with but not published by the church) it is even less surprising. This journal did not, nor has it ever represented actually church doctrine, and anyone who says it does has no idea what they are talking about.

But, regardless of that, there is still the fair question of whether or not Joseph Actually said this. So, let us examine this from a historical perspective, rather than from a theological one.

 

First

Brother Huntington says that he knows Joseph taught this. He doesn’t say that he heard Joseph teach it. We know why this is by reading Brother Huntington’s journal. However, this journal was kept only during the years of 1880-1882. This means the entries in it for any period before that were recollections and not immediate accounts. Now, in these recollections Brother Huntington writes about the idea of life on the moon twice. The first time he says basically what is quoted here, without claiming to have heard Joseph say this himself. The second time he again gives the same details, but states that Joseph Smith had told a Philo Dibble the information, thus indicating that Brother Huntington received the information from Brother Dibble.

The acceptance that Brother Huntington got his information second hand is re-enforced when we look at his life and the life of Brother Dibble. Brother Huntington was 13 when he was baptized in 1836, and thus would have been only 14 in 1837; and only a member for a year. However, in this same year Philo Dibble would have been 31 years old and a member for 7 years. As this is the year that Brother Huntington claims the idea of life on the moon originated it is infinitely more likely that Joseph would have told an older and more established member of the church, who would relay the information years later to a younger member.

So what we have is the recollections of an older man (in 1880 he would have been 57) about something that another brother told him that Joseph Smith had once said nearly 45 years earlier. Regardless of what Brother Huntington believed, it is not compelling evidence to accept that Joseph Smith ever actually said this.

 

Second

If we accept that Joseph Smith did say this, then let us look at the historical context. Several decades earlier one William Herschel, a prominent astronomer and the discoverer of Uranus and infrared light on the sun, had published a paper in which he not only declared a belief in life on the moon but also the sun (see page 22 of the PDF document). Then, in 1835 a series of articles appeared in The Sun in New York purporting to give details of the life on the moon, and sited to John Herschel, William’s son, who was then a prominent astronomer as his father had been. These articles were revealed to be a hoax, but many people had already latched onto the idea and belief in life on the moon became strong and enduring, taking many decades to dispel.

It also seems that these articles were reprinted in a paper close to Kirtland, and thus it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the members of the LDS church in the area not only read them, but were also fooled into believing them as many others had been. The difference is that the saints had a prophet to whom they believed they could go to get the final answer. So it is also very likely that some of the saints asked Joseph Smith about this, including Brother Dibble.

We must also consider the personality of Joseph Smith. By all accounts he could be quite sarcastic when people were unwilling to listen and was willing to give people what they wanted (in a sarcastic way) if they persisted. For instance; when two sectarian preachers came to visit him in an attempt to trap him in his scriptural understanding he withstood their questions and trapped them with his. When they were about to leave in frustration he made a mark on the ground and took a leap, challenging them to a jumping contest. They went away insulted at such a challenge on the Sabbath, and yet Joseph had, in a sarcastic and mocking way, given them what they wanted; something to criticize.

Taking all this into account it is not unlikely that the members of the church had asked about life on the moon, to which Joseph Smith had not given an answer, or declared that he did not know. But, as he was the prophet, the members kept asking him, assuming (as many today assume) that as the prophet God had revealed everything to him. Getting tired of the constant questions he gave them the answer they were looking for, but with such sarcasm as to be rather ridiculous. But there were those in the church that took this sarcasm literally and chose to believe it to be a prophetic revelation.

 

So, we can reject that Joseph Smith ever actually said, as the historical evidence for it is not compelling; or we can accept that he did say it, but in the context of the time said it in sarcasm and some members foolishly took it as revealed truth. Either way it is at best an intriguing footnote on church history.

Reply To A Video: 4 1/2 things Mormons believe that Christians don’t

22 Feb

I was going to comment on the blog that posted the video in question, but I found my comments to be far to long for a comment, so I decided to put this in my blog, mainly because I really wanted to.

So, this post is in reply to a video recently posted at Bearded Disciple titled “4 1/2 Things That Mormons Believe That Christians don’t.” This video was, in turn, a reply to a video that three Mormon men made titled “5 Things Mormons Believe that Other Christians Don’t.” There are several points I would like to make, and I will number them according to the video presentation.

But first, a brief mention of the introduction: You may notice the subtle difference in the titles of the videos. This is because the bearded one wants to deny that Latter Day Saints are, in fact Christian. This is, of course, false and misleading, but is a common point that has been addressed by many and I don’t think I need to go into full details here. I just wanted to point it out to the readers so that they will understand the man’s starting point when he makes his arguments.

I would also like to point out that the original video is not attempting to proselytize or convince anyone to join the church. The purpose is to simply provide information in a fun way. They are not saying “This is why you should should join the LDS church.” Rather they are simply saying “This is what the LDS church and its members believe that you don’t.” But the response frequently tries to dismiss the original with demands of proof or reasons why he should accept and believe these things as well.

1. Prophets

The three Mormons rightly stated that other Christians do not believe that God currently speaks through prophets. They also state that God always spoke through prophets, at least when he was speaking. In response to this is the claim that the first prophet was Samuel and that the only prophet in the New Testament was a woman. So, let us look at this claim briefly. Let us start with the Old Testament.

Genesis 20: 7 God calls Abraham a prophet. Deuteronomy 34: 10 No prophet greater than Moses, indicating that Moses was a prophet. Judges 6: 8 a prophet came to Israel. 1 Samuel 9:9 prophets used to be called a seer, showing that prophets existed long before this time.

In the New Testament, in Matthew 11: 9 John the Baptist was a prophet, and in Luke 7: 28 Christ declares that there is no greater prophet. Acts 11: 27 prophets came to Antioch from Jerusalem. 1 Corinthians 12: 28 in the hierarchy of the church Prophets were second to the apostles. Ephesians 3: 5 God was, at that time, revealing things to His apostles and prophets. James 5: 10 speaks of the prophets that spoke during the life of Christ.

Finally, to wrap it up, Luke 1: 70 God has been speaking through prophets since the world began. So, while many men are not directly called prophets in the scriptures, it is clear that from the time of Adam there were prophets on the earth.

So, while other Christians may not consider these men to be prophets, it is clear that those who wrote the Bible did consider them to be prophets, and not just having the gift of prophecy.

 

A final point here, in the original video they quote Mark 13: 22, which states “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” In the response the bearded one rightly acknowledges their point that this verse does not completely negate the possibility of future prophets, and then he focuses on Joseph Smith and asserts that there is still reason to reject him as a prophet. The problem is that many Christians deny the very possibility of modern prophets and have frequently said that the roll of a prophet ended with Christ and the early church. So, while the original video is made by Mormons, the point is that we believe in modern prophets. Rather than actually address this belief the response focuses on rejecting Joseph Smith. So, the real question is, if these three Mormons are right about what they say regarding the possibility of prophets, does the bearded one acknowledge the possibility of prophets.

 

2: Speaking Only to Ancient Israel

The three Mormons mention a common belief among many Christians that God did not speak to anyone outside of Ancient Israel. Now, the video does point out that this is not a universal belief, and so I think it should be amended to God has not revealed His Gospel to anyone outside of the Ancient Middle East. This is a better way of putting it because it is not only more in line with mainstream Christian beliefs, but because most of the Book of Mormon was God speaking to Ancient Israel, just a branch that was not in the Middle East.

However, I think that the main point that the three are trying to make is valid, though somewhat poorly worded, so let me re-iterate the basic meaning they were trying to get across. The LDS believe that God has visited members of many nations and revealed his gospel directly to them, calling prophets out of each nation to preach to the people of that nation. Again, it was poorly worded by the three Mormons in the video. However, they quoted 2 Nephi 29: 7-8 which does state this very clearly.

In the response the bearded first claims they are ignorant as to Biblical understanding and then points out times in the Bible when God spoke to non-Israelites. The problem is that none of his examples actually stand up against the point being made. The video did not deny that God, at times, sent prophets to preach to other people in the Middle East or Mediterranean areas. Rather they are saying that most Christians do not believe that God had an organized religion among these other peoples until an Israelite was sent to preach to them. God did not call a Ninevite to preach, but sent the Israelite Jonah. He did not call a Spaniard to be a prophet, but sent the Israelite Paul. And most Christians would say that God never called a prophet to preach to the America’s, but sent the European Christians.

Another topic on this point is Other Sheep: The original video quotes John 10: 16 and point out that it is talking about Christ personally visiting the other sheep, and thus the work of the apostles cannot be what the passage is talking about. The response wrongly claims that Christ taught the gentiles, as Christ never did. He blessed them at times, but he never taught them. In fact, in Matthew 10: 5 He tells the apostles not to go the the gentiles. Then in Mark 7: 27, when a Greek (gentile) woman approaches him to heal her daughter he calls her a dog and declares that the children must come first. Then there is the story of Cornelius in Acts 10, which is the first recorded baptism of gentiles and something that other leaders in the church (even some apostles) questioned. If Christ had been teaching gentiles all along why would the Apostles, all of whom had known and traveled with Christ, have been shocked at Peter’s actions.

As to the Samaritan woman, the Samaritans were of the House of Israel, though of mixed descent. Thus to teach the Samaritans was still to teach Israel.

On a final point the bearded one sets up a straw man argument with his saying that we don’t include the people of Asia and asking who is included in the other flock. This shows his ignorance, as we include every branch of Israel that was a separate nation at the time of Christ. Christ explained this to the Nephites. In 3 Nephi 16: 1 he declares “…I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister….” So, clearly before Christ visited America He visited other lands as well, and yet more lands after He visited America. Many lands are included in this, and while we don’t know every place He visited, we are confident that He visited all the House of Israel. This would include those living in the East (where the Wisemen came from) as well as the Lost Tribes in the North, and likely others.

 

3: Eternal Families

I am not going to make any comments on the scriptural nature of the doctrine, or on the passage that is debated (you can read the passage here or here). So I make no other comment here, as this is all that the bearded one talks of in the video.

 

4. Degrees of Glory

On this point the original video kind of rambles and again fails to effectively portray the topic. But the response to this is only to say “You haven’t proved it so I won’t believe it.” Not really effective either.

After that the bearded one makes a reply to something that was said under the topic of eternal families, and it is something that needs to be addressed. That is the idea that Heaven would not be heaven without our families.

Now, in the video it is implied that to have this opinion is to not truly love God. After all, it says in Luke 14: 26 that if we are to come to God we have to hate everyone else. The problem here is that the the bearded one does not actually understand what Mormons mean when they say that heaven would not be heaven without our families.

First, please note that every member of the church, who takes their faith seriously, is willing to give up their family for Christ’s sake. Truly, many members have had their families break over their conversion and have lost loved ones to become a disciple of Christ. Christ is the most important and His gospel is the only way. If following that means losing our families than we are prepared to do so.

Secondly, there will be many who enter the Celestial worlds without all of their family. It will still be heaven to them, even without their families. However, at the same time we all love our families and want to be with them forever. It is not so much that we wouldn’t feel it was heaven without our families, but that we cannot believe that Heaven would not at least have the possibility of our families remaining together.
Heaven would not be heaven without families; that is true. God Himself recognizes the eternal nature of families when He asks us to refer to Him as Father. Individuals may not have all their family with them, and some very unlucky ones may have none of their immediate family with them. But families will exist, and thus there is the possibility and the hope that our families will be with us. That is what makes it heaven. None of this puts Christ as second in our devotions. Rather it strengthens our devotion to Him, as what He has made possible is truly glorious.

 

5: Baptism

If you noticed the response also altered it to 4 1/2 things on the list rather than 5. This is the one they want to cut in half. The bearded one says that most Christians agree with the point, but then states that they don’t.

Just to clarify, the original video listed number five as “Mormons believe you should get baptized in the same way Christ did.” That is the statement, which is then clarified as ‘full immersion’ and ‘by fire of the spirit.’

The response video says that most Christian are going to agree with this, and then immediately says ‘we look at it and say that ultimately the way and the method that that’s done isn’t really important…’ The problem here is that the way and the method are exactly the point of the original video. It has to be by immersion, in the exact manner that Christ was baptized. The 3 Mormons even discuss to some extent the different methods and ideas surrounding baptism, and point out that Mormons don’t agree with them. So while most Christians may agree that you should get baptized, they do not agree that it should be done in the same way that Christ was baptized.

 

Sorry this is so long. I really didn’t want to break it up and I had a lot to say.

Little Known Propaganda: 16 – Apostates Become Wrinkled and Black

5 Sep

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13a, #13b, #14, #15

 

FACT #16. Brigham Young claimed that those who leave the Mormon Church would turn “wrinkled” and “black.”

The following curse was pronounced by Brigham Young:

“. . .but let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332)

There have been tens of thousands of people leave the Mormon Church – Where are the “black and wrinkled” ones?

 

As much as some may hate to admit it, this is an actual quote from Brigham Young. However, I see no problem with it, when you understand the full context of his comments. This is truly just another example of the author twisting the words of great men in order to make it appear as if they are guilty of something they are not.

So, here is the full context of the quote.

I feel to bless this people, and they are a God−blessed people. Look at them, and see the difference from their condition a few years ago! Brethren who have been on missions, can you see any difference in this people from the time you went away until your return? [Voices: “Yes.”] You can see men and women who are sixty or seventy years of age looking young and handsome; but let them apostatize, and they will become gray−haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil.

Notice that Brigham Young is not speaking of just the physical characteristics of a person, but also of general appearance, or what could be called the countenance. Countenance is generally defined as “appearance, especially the look or expression of the face.” It is also true that Black has several uses, one being “boding ill; sullen or hostile; threatening.” This meaning is also used in the Bible by the prophet Jeremiah. He uses such phrases “For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black” (Jeremiah 8: 21), “they are black unto the ground” (Jeremiah 14: 2), and “Their visage is blacker than a coal” (Lamentations 4: 8). Some of these refer more to sullen or gloomy dispositions, but they are still used to describe the attitude, or countenance of the person rather than their physical features.

So, Brigham Young is saying that those who live the gospel of God are blessed with good health and vigor, and that their very appearance is brighter. On the other hand, those who apostatize are not so blessed, but will show the signs of age more acutely, and their expressions and mannerisms will be sullen or hostile; or, in other words, black.

 

Now, the author points out that many people have left the church, and asks where the black ones are. But in doing so he is trying to force the reader into believing that Brigham Young used the term as a physical description, and not in the way he was actually using it.

On another note I will admit that Brigham Young uses the term wrinkled, but since he has specifically referenced those who are 60 or 70 years old, I think wrinkles are hardly surprising if one is showing their age.

 

Also, leaving the church and apostatizing are not exactly the same thing, as the author implies. Leaving is a simple falling away and disinterest. Apostasy is much more involved, and those who truly are apostates do tend to become very hostile to the church. I have met some apostates, and I would describe their demeanor and basic character as black, as their only real goal seems to be tearing down and destroying what they once believed. They have no real desire to bring others to believe in Christ in anyway. As long as they can destroy the faith that they have come to hate, that is all that matters. This is a black character, and these kinds of people generally show their age more acutely, largely because such hatred stresses the body and wears it out faster.

Little Known Propaganda: 15 – Shake a Messenger’s Hand

4 Sep

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13a, #13b, #14

 

FACT #15. Mormons are taught to “shake hands” with a messenger to determine if he is from God or if he is the devil.

The following information is found in Mormon scripture:

“When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. . . . If it were the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.” (Doctrine and Covenants 129:4, 5, 8)

Rather than trusting in “feelings” the Bible commands us to: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)

 

On this point I think a closer, and more thorough, look at the passages in question is in order. After all, this Fact quotes only three verses. Thus a little more context will shed light on the matter; and section 129 of the Doctrine and Covenants is only 9 verses long.

1-3. There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.

Here we are taught that there are two types of heavenly beings. This is very significant. We are also taught what these two types are, and what the difference between them is. This is a radical idea, and shocking to some, for Joseph Smith is talking of heavenly beings as being men who once lived in mortality and have been glorified by God. It is a very new idea to many.

After this explanation of the types of heavenly beings, Joseph Smith then proceeds to tell us a means by which we may know which type they are, or if they are heavenly messengers at all.

4 When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.

This is a very simple thing, and, like Naaman the Syrian, many people in the modern day are offended that such a simple, and obviously mortal act, could be used to discern heavenly messengers. But, as Naaman learned, it is by simple means that God does some of the greatest work.

5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.

What could be more logical than the idea that it is possible to feel the hand of a being that has a physical body? If it is physical than surely it would be perceptible to the physical senses? So, what more natural way to determine if a messenger is an angel, who has a physical body?

6-7 If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message.

And here is how a ministering spirit is known. Just as it is logical to assume that a being with a physical body can be felt, it is just as logical that a being without a physical body cannot. Knowing this a ministering spirit from heaven will not shake hands.

Now, it says this because it is contrary to heaven for him to deceive you. But how would this be a deception? It would merely prove that he is not yet resurrected, wouldn’t it? But this is explained next.

8 If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.

Devils, ever seeking to deceiving, will try to convince a person they are an angel from heaven by shaking your hand. But, as they are spirits, never having the privilege of being born into physical bodies (Bible Dictionary: Devil), we cannot feel them. This is just as logical as everything else stated in this section.

The reason ministering spirits are forbidden to shake hands is because the devils do try to. Thus, if the ministering spirits did they would be causing confusion and strengthening the deception of the devils. After all, it would be much harder to discern between a devil and ministering spirit if they both shook your hand and you didn’t feel it.

As I said, this is a radical idea to many, and may very well shock those who are not acquainted with the church and what it teaches. But is very logical in how it is presented, and the means given cannot be easily dismissed.

 

The author seems to want to refer us back to Fact #9, and his objection to inner feelings as testimonies of truth. While I have, in that article, shown that such inner feelings are biblical, they have no bearing on the issue at hand. This teaching is talking of physical sensation, not an emotion reaction. It is an attempt on the author’s part to mislead the reader by making a false association.

However, the author does give a biblical quote in an attempt to show that the bible teaching things differently. He quote Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians where he exhorts them to “Prove all things.” So, I would ask “How do we prove all things?” After all, Paul doesn’t actually give us any processes whereby such proof can be obtained. He simply tells us to obtain it.

How do we prove things? Well, in the case of ministering angels and spirits, we prove them through a handshake. There is nothing contradictory here. Joseph Smith has merely provided the means by which we may do as Paul has exhorted us.