THE MORMON CURTAIN
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CHURCH TEACHING MANUALS
The Mormon Church creates a single manual that all Mormons must be taught by. Each lesson is carefully sanitized to hide the embarrassing reality of Church history. Polygamist prophets from the past are cleaned up to appear as if they had only one wife. Embarrassing history is completely omitted. These manuals are further indoctrination tools.
| Since my wife is still TBM, I had a chance to browse the new Joseph Smith Sunday school manual. Why can't they just be even partially truthful once in awhile?
The best fiction of this manual is on page 529 which talks about the martyrdom of JS.
It says the Nauvoo Expositor was an anti-Mormon news paper printed by enemies of the church that slandered JS and the Church.
The truth: The Nauvoo Expositor was a news paper printed by disaffected members of the church who had no bad blood against the church per say, but against JS and his lies about polygamy. The so-called slander was that the Nauvoo Expositor was going to blow the lid off of Joe and his Cronie's practice of marrying other men's wives and daughters and lying about it.
The lesson manual goes on to say that the Nauvoo City Council ordered the press destroyed because they feared the slanderous paper would incite mobs to come and destroy them.
The truth: Joseph Smith (the man who wielded all authority in Nauvoo) ordered the destruction of the press. The reason being he did not want the juicy stories of his philandering to be made public.
The book then says Joseph and his Brother Hyrum were arrested and awaiting trial when a mob stormed the jail and killed them sealing their testimony in their own blood.
The truth: The Gov of IL. dropped the ball on ensuring JS' protection. The mob stormed the building and JS and company did all they could to stave them off. JS fired a pepperbox pistol through the door into the mob hitting 2 men. JS ran to the window to shout the Mansonic distress call in hopes of being saved. JS was then shot and fell out a window.
Why does the church never mention JS's gun and his cry for help? Isn't natural for anyone in such a situation to try and save their life? What about JS's epistle to his Legion Commander demanding that he bring an army down to break JS out of jail?
Can't they just even be a bit truthful once in awhile? It really is an insult to the members in my opinion.
| Another week, another lesson that focuses on Personal Revelation. Oddly, this lesson is also filled with backtracking statments about how revelation is recieved, and warnings about what revelations are correct and which are wrong.
You see, only the church can tell you what revelations are valid. Your personal relationship with God is secondary to the church's relationsip with you.
As always on these posts, all quote boxes are pulled directly from the Gospel Doctrine manual, unless otherwise indicated.
Let's get started:
This lesson is intended to help class members learn how to recognize personal revelation from the Holy Ghost.
Well, we see what we are dealing with here. I'm sure the church will put together a nice, logical pathway to recognize personal revelation.
Explain that revelation can come in many ways. Some of these include appearances by the Lord or His messengers, voices from the Lord or His messengers, visions, and dreams. Usually, however, revelation comes as the Holy Ghost communicates thoughts to our minds and feelings in our hearts. The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. He is a revelator who teaches, comforts, warns, strengthens, and guides us.
Interesting. I'm not seeing any effort by the church here to clearly lay out the difference between the spirit and your own thoughts and feelings.
Suggestion for class disruption:
Ask the teacher at this point how to tell the difference between intuition and the spirit. With the right follow up questions, and the right classmates, true believers or not, you might be able to get this debate to fill up the whole hour, and not get any further in the lesson. That would really cheese off your teacher, who prepared for the rest of the lesson getting taught.
A. Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3; 85:6. (He uses a still, small voice to communicate to our minds and hearts.) See also 1 Kings 19:12; 1 Nephi 17:45; Helaman 5:30.
Ok, so the church is establishing that one way to recieve inspiration is from a still, small voice. Backed up with five scriptures from four different books. Sounds pretty solid, eh? Finally, some clarity!
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: "Visions do happen. Voices are heard from beyond the veil. I know this. But these experiences are exceptional. … Most of the revelation that comes to leaders and members of the Church comes by the still, small voice or by a feeling rather than by a vision or a voice that speaks specific words we can hear. I testify to the reality of that kind of revelation, which I have come to know as a familiar, even daily, experience to guide me in the work of the Lord" ("Teaching and Learning by the Spirit," Ensign, Mar. 1997, 14).
Well… maybe it's not a still, small voice that you can hear… but it's still a voice, right? or kind of like a voice?
Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: "These delicate, refined spiritual communications are not seen with our eyes nor heard with our ears. And even though it is described as a voice, it is a voice that one feels more than one hears" (That All May Be Edified , 335).
Oh crap. Not a voice at all then? What was the purpose of this section of the lesson? Seriously, you have scriptures saying, "The spirit will speak to you with a still small voice" and two prophets saying, most charitably "not always" and most critically "Oh no it doesn't!"
Basically, the church refuses to take a hard stand on how the spirit talks to you. One would think this would cause some reason for concern to members of the church.
Anyway, maybe the next section will make things more clear.
B. Doctrine and Covenants 6:15; 11:13-14. (He enlightens our minds.)
Well, no apostolic backtracking here, but I fail to see how the process described is any different than intuition. Here's another good place to get in that class disruption.
• In what ways does the Spirit enlighten our minds?
Answers could include that the Spirit can enlighten our minds with new ideas or insights, flashes of inspiration, and strong feelings or impressions (see, for example, DandC 128:1). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that revelation may come as "sudden strokes of ideas" that flow into our minds as "pure intelligence" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 151).
The church makes no attempt to define the difference between inspiration and intuition. It in fact, would appear to be attempting to hijack the definition of intuition and make you think that any time you use your intuition, it is actually inspiration from the Holy Ghost.
In short, the church is saying, Intuition equals Inspiration.
If the church was correct in this theory, then it would follow that fallen members like me, or anyone who rejects God, would not have access to the Holy Ghost and Inspiration/Intuition.
No fallen member, and no atheist, would ever have intuition. I can testify that as a fallen member and an atheist, that I still have intuition.
C. Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23. (He brings peace to our minds.)
Ok, the spirit brings peace to answer prayers? Let's look at the scripture mentioned here to see exactly what the lesson means by this.
Explain that Oliver Cowdery stayed in the home of Joseph Smith's parents for a time before meeting the Prophet. During this time, Oliver had prayed and received a peaceful assurance that Joseph's calling and work were divine. Oliver then traveled to Harmony, Pennsylvania, and began his labors as scribe for Joseph in the translation of the Book of Mormon. Soon thereafter, Oliver desired a "further witness" of the assurance he had received earlier (DandC 6:22).
• What did the Lord reveal to Oliver Cowdery about his desire for a "further witness" of the Prophet's divine mission? (See DandC 6:22-23.) Invite class members to tell of experiences when the Spirit has spoken peace to their minds. How can we become more trusting of the peace that the Spirit speaks to our minds?
DandC 6:23 - 23 Did I not speak apeace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?
Wait… who's talking here? Purportedly the revelation is from God speaking through Joseph, but if it was from God, wouldn't that last word read "Me" instead of "God"? I think what we have here is another evidence that Joe was making everything up.
As for the "peace", I personally find peace through meditation, no prayer or Gods necessary.
D. Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-8. (He may cause a burning in the bosom.) See also Luke 24:32.
Ok, looking at these two scriptures, It is pretty clear that a burning in the bosom is to be felt in answer to prayer. Or if you hear the words of God.
Wait… did I say "Clear"? Why do I get the feeling that the church is about to muck things up? Ok, I confess, I read ahead already:
Point out that although the context of DandC 9 has to do with Oliver Cowdery's attempt to translate the Book of Mormon, the principles also apply to personal revelation. Emphasize that a burning in the bosom is only one way the Holy Ghost can communicate with us. You may want to use the following quotations to help class members understand this way in which the Spirit communicates.
Oh. Well, so the spirit may produce a burning in the bosom. And let's forget the DandC quote the lesson just gave… that only works for Oliver.
Maybe a modern apostle can clear things up.
President Boyd K. Packer explained: "This burning in the bosom is not purely a physical sensation. It is more like a warm light shining within your being" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 77; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).
Oh. Not a physical sensation, even though the scriptures describe it as one? Let's get a second opinion:
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said: "I have met persons who told me they have never had a witness from the Holy Ghost because they have never felt their bosom 'burn within' them. What does a 'burning in the bosom' mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom. Surely, the word 'burning' in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity" (Ensign,Mar. 1997, 13).
Uhm… so there's no burning at all. Nevermind this whole section of the lesson.
It is odd that in the two sections that point out specific ways to communicate with the spirit, all the quotes from modern apostles are contrary to the principle being taught.
It's almost as if there is someone in the lesson department is secretly non-believing and is choosing quotes purposely to show how ridiculous the church is.
E. Doctrine and Covenants 98:12. (He often reveals things "line upon line, precept upon precept" rather than all at once.)
Ok, so God will reveal things to you one piece at a time, until you have your full answer?
"When we seek inspiration to help make decisions, the Lord gives gentle promptings. These require us to think, to exercise faith, to work, to struggle at times, and to act. Seldom does the whole answer to a decisively important matter or complex problem come all at once. More often, it comes a piece at a time, without the end in sight" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1989, 40; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, 32).
Ah, but God may choose to never end the revealing, in effect, never answer your question. Good thing we have modern prophets!
Ok, This is getting out of hand. I'm now past 1600 words, and I'm only about halfway throguh the lesson. I will cut things off here for now, and come back with another post this week on the second half of the lesson, where the church goes to all lengths to warn you against taking your personal revelation seriously.
Where have we come so far? We've established how you recieve revlation!
- Still small voice. Not according to the apostles, though.
- Intuition equals Inspiration. Hah!
- Peace is an answer. Because peace can't possibly exist outside religion.
- A burning of the Bosom. Again, not according to the apostles.
- Line upon line. An excuse for the reason God rarely fully answers prayers.
| For those of you who don't keep up on the new lesson manuals, they are very deceptive indoctrination. They are out right deceptive. This particular lesson makes it look like the bank failure in Kirtland was just a bank "started by members of the church", rather than by JS.
It also places the blame on a banking problem that swept the whole U.S. rather than say that it was fraudulent right from the start. Then it states that most of the members kept faithful to the church, ignoring that witnesses to the BoM left and so did the first counselor to JS.
The person giving the lesson included all of those points in the lesson. I was so pleased to hear it included, as I had read the lesson and was pissed that it was so overtly deceptive. The guy giving the lesson fixed all the deception and added truth to the discussion.
If you know church history, the lessons are unbearable because it is so deceptive every week. I mean, making it sound as if JS had nothing to do with the bank?
It was a good lesson, but the Elders Q Pres took him aside after the meeting all formal like into an empty room. We'll see what becomes of that. I'm still going to please my wife, so I'm still keeping up with all of this craziness.
He also gave examples of people leaving the church that went on to have good happy lives, and that it wasn't all necessarily doom and gloom.
| Michael Langone, "Mind-Manipulating Groups: Are you or a Family member a Victim? in CULTS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE: A RESOURCE GUIDE" (American Family Foundation, May 1998). |
Dr. Langone suggests: “If you check many of these items, and particularly if you check most of them, you might consider examining the group more closely. Keep in mind that this checklist is meant to stimulate thought, not ‘diagnose’ groups.”
• The group is focused on a living charismatic leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
• The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
• The group is preoccupied with making money.
• Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
• Mind-numbing techniques (for example: meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group or its leader(s).
• The group’s leadership dictates - sometimes in great detail - how members should think, act and feel.
• The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).
• The group has a polarized, “we-they” mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.
• The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, clergy with mainstream denominations).
• The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means (for example: collecting money for bogus charities) that members would have considered unethical before joining.
• The group’s leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.
• Members’ subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family, friends, and personal pre-group goals and interests.
• Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.
• Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
| Earlier threads about LDS church lessons made me curious about what these manuals actually said, so I looked them up (having not been for about a decade) Lesson 24 from the DandC Gospel Doctrine Manual talked about the deceptions of Satan that could lead us into apostasy. Ohhhh scary. What are the ways Satan tries to deceive us and lead us to apostasy? According to the manual they are:
THIS IS REAL. I did not make this up. It's on page 124. Assuming the rest of the manual is like this, I'm surprised anyone goes at all anymore.
- Not recognizing the prophet as a source of revelation for the church (example: False Prophets)
- Pride (example: two mormon ladies in Missouri got into a feud about allegedly stolen cream, the bishop decides in favor of one, the other appeals her case all the way to the top, in some sort of mormon theocratic court system- she is denied the cream, and she and her husband apostatize)
- Being critical of leaders imperfections (example: someone apostatized because their name was misspelled on a mission call)
- Being offended (example: member apostatized because, even though he had given $700 to build the temple, he couldn't get into the dedication of the Kirtland Temple because he was late)
- Rationalizing disobedience (no example)
- Accepting the false teachings of the world. (example: the idea that the commandments of god are too restrictive, immorality is acceptable)
Anyway, we start with the unproven and, and many would argue, false premise that "Satan" is a real person. Things go down hill from there, by also assuming Satan, if he is real, wants us to apostatize from the Mormon church. Maybe Satan supports the mormons and wants us to become Southern Baptists.
Number 1, "not recognizing the prophet as a source of revelation for the church" i.e. false prophets. Again, this assumes there is such a thing as a prophet who speaks for god and that there is a god. It assumes Smith was not a false prophet.
The fun continues with Number 2, Pride. The example suggests only silly people who fight over cream would leave the church.
The example given in the next one, being critical of leaders' imperfections, is a spelling error. Really? That is the best example of a leaders' imperfection you could come up with? The most imperfect thing about Smith is that he misspelled a member's name? What about the fact that he did teenage girls and married other guys' wives? What about his numerous stories involving the first vision? What about the numerous criminal convictions and lawsuits? What about his ordering the destruction of the Nauvoo press? What about the Kirtland Bank? Are these imperfections or are they fraud? Mmmmm.
Same thing with the "being offended" example, the implication being that only a totally shallow idiot would apostatize.
The last two reasons for apostasy are rationalizing disobedience and accepting the "false teachings" of the world. Again, only evil sinners who want to drink beer apostatize. The "false teachings" example again assumes what they are trying to prove. It assumes the world's teachings (as if all the knowledge of the humankind through history could be summarized and dismissed as the "world's teachings") are false when they contradict mormonism.
Overall, I really have a hard time believing that any even semi-thinking person could swallow this nonsense without a great deal of conditioning and mental gymnastics. I know that is not a very politically correct attitude and I honesty love and respect many mormons, but COME ON! Really? People only leave because they get into a fight about cream and want to drink beer? I can respect individual mormons, and even some of the good things mormonism may do and promote (of course that is all subject to debate), but I will never accept stupid ideas, bad logic, infantile explanations, and let's face it, prejudice against those who no longer believe.
This lesson misses the entire point. It doesn't mention the crucial issue because it is something Mormonism just can't accept or deal with in a healthy way. It is the simple truth that people leave because they no longer believe. This is, of course, the most valid reason people leave, the most popular, and the most difficult. Mormonism: why don't you put that in your manual?
| This new set of changes makes me wonder; will the witness be the same for new converts as it was with new converts of 10 years ago? When I was reactivated into the collective, I got a 1992 version of the book and poured through it. I memorized most of it and had a very strong testimony of those words. That book is nearly worn out, but I keep it for its sentimental value.
As my faith became challenged by the real story of the church, my bishop called me on my testimony. Much of it was based upon the teachings that were reflected in that book. As I mentioned in the other thread, just this spring he condemned my lack of faith and loss of blessings-those same topics and promised blessings are now unavailable to the new convert of 2010.
I recently obtained JSFs 1954 Doctrines of Salvation 3 vol set.
Those teachings were the basis for gospel indoctrination in my youth and in FHE at home. My parents' testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel was based on those books. Many of those teachings are no longer available as they've been tossed in favor of new and acceptable revelation.
The new convert will be shielded from many of the 1992 teachings in the Gospel Principles handbook, and their witness of the [new] truthfulness will be profound.
Yet those who are aware of the changes, as they go though their class will be subconsciously troubled by the subtle differences. Their witness from the Holy Ghost will be different. Just like the different spirit you feel when reading an 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon.
It makes me wonder how to tell if the spirit is witnessing of the truth. You feel bad reading the truth from years ago. Yet in our youth we felt good about those same teachings.
Tomorrows convert will feel threatened if they get ahold of todays manual, and will be told that it is the adversary trying to harm their testimonies. Yet our faith and conviction was based on that same book.
| I've got to admit, it worked on me for a long time.
I thought the new manuals were just fine. Not thought provoking or anything, but just fine.
I had no idea how deceptive it all was till I had to give a lesson out of it that mentioned the Kirtland Bank failure. I knew by then from reading No Man Knows My History that the lesson was so deceptive. It pissed me off to be expected to teach such deception, and I put too much truth into the lesson and got fired for it.
At that point I knew the manual was deceptive, I just didn't know there was a much larger systematic manner of trying to deceive us with all of those manuals. Systematic to the point of polling people from many different wards to see if the desired effect took hold in their responses.
Feeling the pressure to lie while teaching a lesson was the end for me.
| The following is my summary of the worldwide leadership training:
1. New Handbooks, Red and Blue. Only Bishops and above have the blue one.
2. New rules on who can do priesthood ordinances. Other than baby blessings, Baptism, Confirmation, Aaronic Priesthood ordinances, everyone must have a temple recommend to use the priesthood (can you say MONEY!. Even these aforementioned ordinances require consultation with the Bishop. If you don't have a recommend you may stand in the circle to give your son the Melk Priesthood, but can't be the voice. You can't do any other ordinances without a temple recommend.
3. Less power in Bishop, more in auxiliary leaders. Ward counsel now the preeminent meeting. Priesthood Executive Meeting now sidelined, and said it could be handled before ward counsel in a few minutes. According to the meeting, there is revelatory power in counsels. We can receive inspiration in our counsels for others, even outside our zone or responsibility. This is because we are acting under our Bishop. Responsibility should shift from the Bishop. We need to act without him to reduce the Burden. Men need to realize women are an integral part of this. Women can have input on home teaching assignments.
4. We need to teach people to be less dependent upon the church for financial support. Leaders, members and home teachers need to take care of these needs, and not have every need go to the Bishop. (In other words, too many people are seeking assistance from the church for money, and individual members need to address the need).
5. No activities committee. Ward activities need to have a purpose, and be controlled by the ward counsel.
6. Members and especially ward counsel have responsibility for member retention and activation. (Trying to stop the bleeding from the church).
7. Elders Quorum Presidents will have increasing responsibility (I am a EQP... so this sucks). This requires us to be delegators, not workers. May have to stop moving people to get it done. (In other words, EQP is accountable for the losses of ward members).
| From Religion Dispatches:
Last week, I reported here at RD that copies of the new LDS Church Handbook of Instructions, a two-volume, 400-page tome detailing Church doctrines, policies, and procedures (call it a Mormon Talmud) previously reserved only for local and regional Church leaders had been leaked on the Internet days before its official release at a special Saturday meeting satellite-broadcast from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
Before last week, in a whole lifetime of Mormonism, I can only remember seeing the CHI once, when I was a teenager, in the home where I grew up. Because my dad had served a few terms as a bishop--a lay minister in charge of a Mormon congregation--we had a copy in the house. The memory is fuzzy, but I believe it was my mom who brought it out so we could check out the juicy parts: church policy on birth control. Not that my mom needed a refresher course in Church policy. My mom knows these things by heart; she's a professional Mormon.
The inaccessibility of the CHI to regular members only heightened its power and significance, so much so that anyone who could quote authoritatively from the CHI during a Sunday School lesson, for example, held a special sort of status in the community. (In Mormonism, the demands of lay ministerial service do convey certain privileges as well.)
So imagine how LDS web crawlers felt last week when we found ourselves staring at a blog published by a self-described Mormon "Martin Luther" who had scanned the entire CHI into two giant PDF files and put them on the internet. For just anyone. For free. A few hours later, a fully-searchable edition of the CHI started to make the digital rounds. And by Friday, much to our astonishment, the LDS Church published the entire second volume on its own website. (The first volume remains officially restricted to lay clerical leaders.)
| In lesson 12 of the Aaronic Priesthood Manual for 2012, a quotation is used approvingly from a sister who wrote an article in the New Era:
"When the prophet speaks ... the debate is over."
I don't know what the full quote is--i.e., what comes between "speaks" and "the debate" because the lesson manual chose to omit it so the sentence reads as it does above.
The lesson then asks:
What did Sister Cannon mean when she said that when the prophet speaks, the debate is over?
Please answer. Here is the link to the lesson: http://www.lds.org/manual/aaronic-pri...
Why is this so important to us?
Once again this is being taught.
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