Tag Archives: the church

Little Known Propaganda: 10 – Total Obedience Required

6 Dec

Little Known Propaganda: 10 – Total Obedience Required

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

FACT #10 Mormon leaders demand total obedience regardless whether they are right or wrong.

The ward teacher’s message for June, 1945, stated:

“When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan it is God’s plan.” (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354 – page 36 of the link)

Herber C. Kimball, First Councilor to Brigham Young, clarifies further:

“But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 32)

The Bible warns us in I John 4:l:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

The truth is that the prophet of God is not wrong for he is speaking for God, and God is never wrong. It is not that they demand total obedience regardless of whether they are right or wrong. It is simply that if one truly believes them to be prophets of God than they would have faith that their counsel will always be right. So, regardless of what an individual member may believe regarding a particular thing, they should have enough faith to accept that the prophet is delivering the truth from God himself.

This is the same attitude that is praised throughout the Bible.

When Korah and his companions led a rebellion against Moses they didn’t accuse him of any serious crimes. They simply claimed the right to lead Israel with equal authority as Moses. But Moses was the one chosen by God as Prophet and leader of Israel. The rebels who challenged this were destroyed by God when the earth swallowed them and fire consumed 250 more. (Numbers 16)

When the Israelites spied out Canaan the men sent declared that Israel was not strong enough to concur the people. This was said despite the fact that Moses had told the people that God had commanded them to go in and take the land. The people listened to these people more than to Moses to the point that they were ready to choose their own leader and return to Egypt. As a result of this rebellion the people were denied entry into their promised land. (Numbers 14)

Perhaps the most famous example is that of Naaman the Syrian. When he went to Elisha to be cleansed of his leper Elisha sent a servant to tell him to wash in the Jordan and be healed. Naaman was angry at this, and only at the persuasion of his servants did he wash and was cleansed. (2 Kings 5)

And, lest people say that things have changed since the advent of Christ, this is the same attitude displayed by the early saints, as shown in the account of the controversy over circumcision. People argued and debated both sides, but when Peter stood and declared that the practice was no longer required everyone sat down and stopped arguing. The prophet had spoken and there was nothing left to be said. All that was left was to spread the word, which was soon agreed upon and men were chosen to do just that. (Acts 15)

Now, this is the kind of faith that is being talked about in the quotes given. When the prophet tells us to do something we should accept that he has greater authority from God and the power to speak the will of God, and so we should simply act. If they declare a doctrine we should accept it as the will of God and the truth of heaven. That is the very nature of their calling. Just as those in scriptural times were expected to follow the prophet so we are expected to do so today.

So, yes, when the prophet tells us to do something we should do it, and we should not try to reason in our own minds whether it is right or wrong, nor should we wait for God to tell us personally. We read in the scriptures that those who followed the prophets without question are those who were blessed by God, while those who challenged the prophets found greater tribulation and hardship. We are expected to do nothing but what all the followers of God have been expected to do in any age that God has had a church on the earth. God speaks through his prophets, and if we are going to question that than why believe in the prophets at all?

Now, as to 1 John 4: 1, this does nothing to counter this principle. We are to try every spirit, but anyone who has chosen to join the church and continually sustains the leaders in our various conferences is assumed to have tried the Spirit of the prophets and found it to be a true spirit, and thus we can follow them without question. I have tried the spirit of the church and found it to be of God. I have sensed that spirit in the words of the prophets, and thus I know that they are speaking for God. I don’t need to know anything else.

Little Known Propaganda: 2 – No Salvation Without Joseph Smith

13 Jan

This is my second response 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

FACT #2. Mormonism teaches there is no salvation outside the Mormon Church and no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this statement:  “If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670)

The Bible, on the other hand, teaches salvation is in Jesus alone:  “Neither is there salvation in any other [Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

 

First, Mormon Doctrine is not an official source, as the compiler of the list claims. It is the independent work of Elder McConkie. You can read the report by David O. McKay that lists several things that the church did not sanction which the book contains.

However, that is incidental to the point being made. The obvious claim here is that the LDS place a greater emphasis on Joseph Smith than on Christ. While it is true that we believe one must accept Joseph Smith as a prophet to be saved, we also believe that one must accept Moses as a prophet, and Abraham, and Peter, and Paul, and all the other prophets. We can’t reject any prophet sent by God and expect to be saved.

Now if we read the entire quote from Mormon Doctrine we see a list of things that are needed for salvation. The very first one on the list is the Atonement of Christ. Others include the gospel, priesthood, miracles, angels, and other things mentioned frequently in the scriptures.

Salvation is made possible through Christ, and there is no one else who could have satisfied the law and brought about a forgiveness of sin. But a man cannot be saved in ignorance (D&C 131: 6) or without faith (D&C 63: 11; Heb. 11: 6). When there is faith there are miracles and angels (Moroni 7: 37), and where there is knowledge there is the priesthood (D&C 84: 19; 128: 11). So, all of these things must be present for salvation to be possible, but all of it hinges on the atonement.

Earlier in his book Elder McConkie makes an entry on the atonement, where he says “it is the most important single thing that has ever happened” and that “it is the foundation upon which all truth rests.” (pg 60).

Furthermore, in the Book of Mormon (much more official than Mormon Doctrine) it states “…that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3: 17) This is stated three other times in the Book of Mormon, though in different words: 2 Nephi 25: 25; 31: 21; Mosiah 5: 8. Every single one of these verses is cross-referenced with Acts 4: 12, which is the verse the compiler uses to try and prove our doctrine wrong.

Little Known Propaganda: 1 – All Churches Wrong

11 Jan

This is my first response 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.

 

FACT #1 The Mormon Church teaches ALL other Churches are WRONG; ALL their creeds are an ABOMINATION in the sight of God; and ALL their teachers are corrupt.

One of the Mormon Books of Scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, says this about non-LDS churches:  “…they were ALL WRONG; and the Personage who addressed me said that ALL their creeds were an ABOMINATION in his sight; that those professors were ALL CORRUPT…” (Joseph Smith 1:19).

 

Very true; however this is hardly a little known fact. Even in 2008 it was well known that we believe we have the only true church. So, to have it on a list of supposedly little known facts is not completely honest.

 

Also, it must be understood in its proper perspective. You see, we take Paul literally when he says there is but one church and one faith (Ephesians 4: 4-5). We do not hold to the view that the church is all Christians; rather we believe the church to be the organized system of religion that Christ established while on the Earth. When that system was lost the church was lost. Any religion that is not part of that organization cannot be the true church. Paul also described this organization, listing as offices within it Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4: 11-12).

So, any church that does not contained these offices, duly appointed by God as was Aaron (Hebrews 5:4), cannot be the true church that Christ established. As none of the churches at the time of the First Vision had these offices, or the authority to appoint them, all of them were the wrong church.

 

As to the creeds, anything that tends to lead men away from God and the fullness of his glory would be an abomination to God. God wants all his children to share in his glory; anything less causes him sorrow. So, those creeds that teach false doctrine and thus lead men to a lesser glory would be detestable to God as they frustrate his desires.

 

Having said all this it must also be understood that just because a church is not the one true church that does not mean that all the doctrine that it espouses is wrong. All churches have a measure of truth, some more than others. It is also true that the followers of the different religions are most often good people who have simply been deceived.

Little Known Propaganda

11 Jan

I have recently come across another list that someone has tried to use against the church. It is titled “17 Little Known Facts About the Mormons.” It was 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.

When I first came across Damon’s blog I read only four or five of the facts with the response and the rebuttal. I was not satisfied with either, and so I have decided to write my own response. I will give only one fact per blog, so this will consist of many blog entries. I invite everyone to discuss the points.

I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said. If you want to read what they have to say the links are above, and if you desire you may refer to their comments in any comments you make here.

Now, for this entry I will focus on the title of the list, rather than any of the actual facts. I will also make general comments as to its composition.

 

First, the title, at first, seems a little misleading. It says these facts are little known, but with so many people publishing these kinds of lists, with these very items appearing on a number of them, it becomes difficult to believe that they are little known, especial to the online reader. Now, to be fair, this article was written on September 24, 2008, and thus they had not yet floated around quite as much. Even considering this many of these facts have not been ‘little known’ for decades.

Another claim that made is that “All quotes given are from official LDS publications or the Bible.” This shows that the compiler does not understand what an official source of the church is, showing his lack of understanding regarding the church itself. It also makes one wonder if they have actually read the sources given, or if they are just harvesting quotes from other sites and lists. For instance, they quote from the book “Mormon Doctrine” written by Bruce. R. McConkie. However, this book was his work, and his alone, which he states in the opening. In fact, Elder McConkie was censured for writing it and for some time the church would not let it be published. While I enjoy the book, and I agree with much of what it says, I would never hold it up as an official church publication.

There is also a frequent lack of understanding on the part of the compiler of this list. They present a single sentence snippet that is generally geared for sensationalism, not accuracy. On occasion the statement includes aspects that are completely false, but are included for their shock value. At other times the statements, though technically corrected, are worded so that the reader will get the wrong impression from the shock value of the wording.

So, none of this is for the simple purpose of conveying information, but is a propaganda piece designed to scare people away from the LDS church.

I also note that on occasion the compiler tries to use various Bible verses in an attempt to show that LDS doctrine contradicts the Bible. There are two problems with these attempts. Either the compiler misunderstands LDS doctrine or provides a verse that does not contract the doctrine.

 

So, with these things in mind I will begin to post responses to the 17 facts that the author lists.

False Prophecies: Temple In Missouri

26 Oct

This is the first in a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

 See also False Prophecies

Doctrine and Covenants 84: 2-3, 31

This is probably the most frequently cited prophecy by those bringing accusations against Joseph Smith. It is the second one listed at CARM, and I don’t know a list that doesn’t contain this reference.

They claim the prophecy is that a temple would be built in Jackson County, Missouri during the generation then alive. As this revelation was given in 1832 and there is still not a temple in Jackson County, Missouri the prophecy is obvious a false prophecy. With only a superficial look at the text their claim seems to be right; but let’s look at the text more closely.

Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased… Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses—for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed (Verse 2-3, 31)

In the above quotation the underlined portion is what is used to make the claims against Joseph Smith. But what are these verses really saying. Notice what is being stated in the beginning. The Lord is speaking to the church, and he lists the reasons why the church was established. He gives two reasons; the restoration of his people, and the gathering of the saints at the city of New Jerusalem.

Now, to make sure there is no confusing as to his meaning the Lord also tells us of New Jerusalem. It will be built centered at the temple lot, located in western Missouri and revealed to Joseph Smith and others.

After describing New Jerusalem the Lord then gives the following command.

Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. (Verse 4)

So, God commanded the saints to build the city of New Jerusalem, starting at the place of the temple. After giving this command God then gives the following prophecy.

For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. (Verse 5)

As we see, everything that came before this verse had nothing to do with the prophecy. The prophecy states only that a temple would be built; it does not specify where it would be built. It also states that a cloud should rest upon it and fill the house, which would be the glory of God.

Of course, the revelation doesn’t end with this. You will notice that those who criticize also reference verse 31. In this verse it states that “the house of the Lord…shall be built unto the Lord in this generation.” The claim is that this reinforces the prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri. However, as we saw that the references to Missouri were commands, not prophecies, this verse reinforces those commands, not the prophecy.

 

So, when we separate the command from the prophecy we can deal with each in turn.

Speaking of the command God excuse the saints from it. He said

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings… Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 124: 49, 51)

So, because of the persecutions that arose from the enemies of the church, God no longer required that generation to build the temple in Missouri.

 

Speaking of the prophecy, the Kirtland Temple was dedicated in 1836, four years after the prophecy was given. On that occasion many witnessed the glory of God as angels filled the temple. It is recorded in the History of the Church, volume 2, near the end of chapter 29, that

Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p. m.

It was soon after that that many ancient prophets appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and restored priesthood keys. So, as the prophecy stated, Joseph Smith’s generation did build a house unto the Lord, and the glory of God filled it. The prophecy was thus fulfilled.

Family Talks – Chryshal

19 Oct

On the 20th of September my family was asked to speak for Sacrament meeting, as well as perform a special musical number. They didn’t just ask me and my wife, but our three oldest children. This was a little unusual as our oldest is only nine, and the youngest of the three had just barely turned seven. However, my family all did a fantastic job. I am very proud of all my children, and so I am going to post the talks that we all gave, as well as the song we sang. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The second to speak was my nine year old daughter. She spoke on Temples.

I was asked to speak to you today about temples. Temples are where you get sealed to your family. Also if you die before you hear the gospel then you can have someone be baptized for you. I went one time to be sealed to my family in the temple and while I was there I got to watch a video on temples. The video said that temples are sacred places and we should care for them like Jesus cared for the people. There are 144 temples in the world that we must care for; the closest temple to us here is in St. Louis. When you go to the temple you can feel the Holy Ghost better than when you are at home, and I can read my scriptures better there. When you are at the temple you need to dress in white to be sealed as a family. When I was sealed to my family I felt like I was being joined as a part of each of my family members. I can’t wait to go to the temple again to be married to my future husband. When I do I will be making the circle of my eternal family even bigger. Temples are really beautiful places to be with your family.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Family Talks – Shem

17 Oct

On the 20th of September my family was asked to speak for Sacrament meeting, as well as perform a special musical number. They didn’t just ask me and my wife, but our three oldest children. This was a little unusual as our oldest is only nine, and the youngest of the three had just barely turned seven. However, my family all did a fantastic job. I am very proud of all my children, and so I am going to post the talks that we all gave, as well as the song we sang. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The second to speak was my eight year old son, Shem. He was just baptized this last summer, and he gave the following talk on the Aaronic Priesthood.

While translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry had questions about baptism. So they went into the woods and prayed to God for understanding. In answer to their prayer John the Baptist appeared to them and gave them the Aaronic Priesthood.

The Aaronic priesthood is responsible for the outward ordinances, and the temporal care of the church. It is through this priesthood that people are baptized into the church, and that the sacrament is blessed and passed each week. It is also the duty of this priesthood to ensure that the church building is kept clean, and that the members of the church are taken care of.

The Bishop is the president of this priesthood. In this calling he is responsible for the care of each member of the ward. But he is to be assisted by all those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood.

When I turn 12, if I am worthy, I will be ordained a deacon in the Aaronic priesthood. As a deacon it will by my job to help keep the building clean, but I will also be able to pass the sacrament.

When I am 14 I will be ordained a teacher and will assist the Bishop in caring for the members of our ward.

When I am 16 I will be ordained a priest. Then I will be able to bless the sacrament and baptize others.

I look forward to the time when I will be able to hold this priesthood and be counted worthy to assist the Bishop in doing God’s work.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.