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Starting late 2013 the Mormon Church began posting a series of essays on their website concerning "controversial" gospel topics. First vision, DNA, Polygamy, Blacks and The priesthood were among the essays. This was an attempt made by the Mormon Church at apologetics.
Church To Release Answers To Troubling Issues
Thursday, Nov 7, 2013, at 07:41 AM
Original Author(s): Mormon Think
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
MormonThink has learned from multiple reliable sources that the LDS Church will soon begin publishing on the official Church website a series of at least 13 essays addressing controversial historical Church topics. The rising tide of accurate, first-hand historical source documents available for faithful members to research on the internet has forced the LDS General Authorities to move beyond giving shallow answers to the issues these documents raise.

The essays addressing historical concerns will provide more extensive details and will attempt to re-contextualize the first-hand source documents regarding topics that the Church deems most problematic for its members. Among the first essays approved by the First Presidency and slated for release at this time will be the multiple, differing accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision -- a subject that will undoubtedly catch many lifelong members by surprise as most will learn about these alternate, conflicting First Vision accounts for the first time.

We are encouraged to hear that the Church leadership is finally acknowledging the reality of the varying historical accounts, and is making what appears to be a good-faith effort to share this factual information with the general Church membership. It is our hope that the growing availability of information that contradicts the Church's depictions of historical events will encourage the Church to break its pattern of marginalizing and trivializing accounts that challenge official Church versions (e.g., Book of Abraham translation issues, Book of Mormon historicity, polygamy). We hope that Church leaders will be forthright regarding all aspects of the historical record and do not merely summarize the issues and quickly dismiss them. As always, we encourage faithful members to explore the information and source documents objectively to determine if the interpretations the Church provides are the most probable or likely interpretations.

We at MormonThink will be certain to examine these essays for historical and contextual accuracy and provide the most relevant and accurate information to our readers for a balanced review of the topics addressed. We are hopeful that the Church, with its vast resources, will provide full and complete detail on each topic. If it falls short on this, you can be assured that MormonThink, with its small team of volunteer contributors, will correct any misrepresentations and fill in any identified gaps. Website's "Accounts Of The First Vision"
Friday, Nov 8, 2013, at 07:30 AM
Original Author(s): Curious_mormon
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
"A half truth is much worse than a whole lie because it makes it even harder to tell the difference between the two."- Gene Ruyle
What they got right:
  • At least 4 accounts over a 10 year period (real number is ~9)
  • 1838 account is in the PGP (more or less)
  • Joseph did present several accounts which changed over time.
  • Yes, the new testament has contradictions in it's stories.
What they lied about:

His accounts are contradictory and muddy the claim. They are not complimentary. In fact, the list of points they highlight were not shared between accounts. [1]
  • The age is different.
  • The personages who appeared are different.
  • The evil forces are different.
  • The catalysts that caused him to seek God are different.
  • The messages delivered by God are different.
  • The message evolved over time and eventually acted as a foundation for him to change the religion.
They claim Joseph wrote the 1838[4] version as the official version. He had at least 5 "official" versions penned by his own hand or dictated by Joseph specifically for history [2]. 1832 and 1835 were written explicitly for Joseph's history. All versions were published by 3rd parties. The 1838 version was written for his history as well, but it was published in the Times and Seasons. The 1842 version was the one translated into foreign languages and also published in the Times and Seasons.

The first vision that "began the restoration" wasn't even mentioned until 1832.

They claim that a second personage was present in the 1832 vision even though it wasn't mentioned. They leave out that at this time the LDS church and Book of Mormon were trinitarian or modalistic. Anyway, the actual line is "and I saw the Lord".

They are pretending that Joseph meant for the 1838 version to be "the version". They then ignore the 1840, and two 1842 versions. The latter of which was published in the Times and Seasons just as the 1838 version was.

They use the first vision as a justification for changing the religion. They claim it was "a statement implied in the other accounts but not specifically stated". This is an unverifiable claim, but it is unlikely when you read the content of the earlier claims.

What they missed entirely:

The famous stories are unlikely to have happened (i.e. the minister)

They admit to the early leaders saying an Angel told Joseph not to join the other churches. The apologetics are a clever. Saying that an Angel, Jesus, personage, or messenger could be interchangeable. It reminds me of Oak's attempt to defend the Salamander letter. The one where he said the "Salamander was a creature that lived in fire", like an angel. Too bad it was a forgery and hoax.

The actual accounts are missing. I guess they can't have a side by side comparison for obvious reasons.

[1] - Actual comparison of the first visions[1]

[2] - Fair's site (did this move somewhere or was it taken down?[2] . On this, compare the language. I can guess who had a heavy hand in writing this.

[3] - Here's another[3] first vision account that disappeared from FAIR.

[4] - They meant the 1839 version as that's when it was published.

Source Info On The Lds Church's Upcoming Defense Of The "First Vision(s)"
Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013, at 09:16 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
In another thread, a link was provided to a podcast of Grant Palmer's 2013 Ex-Mormon Foundation conference dealing with the three conflicting versions of Joseph Smith's "First Vision " and "how it [Smith's accounts of that purported 'First Vision(s)'] changed along with his views of God over the years."

("Grant Palmer Audio from 11-6-2013 Lecture," posted by "Grant Palmer Fan," on "Recovery from Mormonism" discussion board, 11 November 2013, at:

In the course of his lecture, Palmer mentioned a Brigham Young University professor of Mormon Church history by the name of Steve Harper, who Palmer said (based on Palmer's own source) was going to be part of a rollout by the LDS Church in the not-too-distant future designed to provide a faithful version of events surrounding the persistent and problematic elements posed by the various versions of Smith's "First Vision{s}." Palmer further said that, according to his source, BYU professor Harper would be contributing an essay on the "First Vision(s)'" troubling elements that would be designed to explain the contradictory parts of the "First Vision(s)" as being the result of Smith's alleged memory loss relating to some of this "Vision(s)'" details.

That got me thinking that it was time to get another informed assessment of this Mormon Church propaganda project. I have my own source (a very credible individual with a solid Mormon pedigree who knows Harper personally), so I contacted this person in order to get a reaction to the reported Mormon Church plan of response--particularly as it is said to involve Harper's apologetic essay in Smith's defense.

When I told my source that Harper's support of Smith's varying accounts of his "First Vision" would suppoedly adopt the line of defense that Smith was suffering from memory loss when it came to elemental details of the "First Vision(s)," the source replied:

"It's quite amusing that this is the seminal experience of his [Smith's] life and he can't remember what happened." He then laughed and said "Sorry."

I asked my source what he thought of Harper's reputation as an academic.

The source answered politely:

"The only thing I can judge is that he's a very nice guy. He's affable, he's friendly and he's smart."

I asked my source if they knew whether Harper would be writing the piece in defense of a memory-inhibited Smith.

The source replied:

"I wouldn't be surprised if he writes this. I think it's likely. This is the kind of thing he writes." He also said, "It seems to me that I have heard something that sounds familiar here [about Harper preparing an essay in defense of Smith's `First Vision(s)'], but I can't really say that this is going to happen because I don't pay much attention."

I asked my source what they thought of the merits of Harper's defense of Smith in this reportedly upcoming essay.

The source essentially repeated their previous assessment:

"He [Harper[ is very easy to interact with but don't I don't pay much attention to his work, for obvious reasons." Then in a comment that damned with faint praise, the source added:

"I really can't comment on his scholarship because I don't take it seriously enough to look at it."

In Harper's defense, however, my source commented:

"That doesn't mean he hasn't done credible work historically. He could still have:

"a) a good grasp of the history of the Mormon Church--the history he works on; and

"b) a careful methodology."

As to what could help make Harper's Mormon Church history work "credible," my source replied:

"He basically has done good work that is credible and publishable, as far as I understand.. I do know that he has published a lot of his work and that's the basis on which I have ASSUMED that he has done credible work." (emphasis added)

In order to verify that I was quoting my source accurately, I read back to the source the comments that they had thus far made to me. The source felt comfortable with how I had recorded them and then added, as a final assessment, the following:

"I think it's quite likely that the Church is going to address these issues and that they will address them in such a way as to shore of up the faith of their members who may be confused. But I doubt that they will engage their critics in a significant way."

Ya think? :)
The Strange History Of Mormon "Truths" About "Cursed" Blacks, Including Nelson Mandela
Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): Cdnxmo
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Ever wonder how esteemed South African leader Nelson Mandela and 100's of millions of other people of black African (Negro) ancestry ended up as the "cursed seed of Cain", according to the "restored gospel of Jesus Christ", a.k.a. Mormonism?andnbsp;Read on to find outandnbsp;(I've highlighted key bits, and bolded some text for emphasis):

On June 1, 1830, less than two months after Joseph Smith (JS) officially launched his religious movement, he wrote "Old Testament Revision 1", which said:

"Adam knew [had sex with] Eve his wife andamp; she conceived andamp; bear Cain andamp; said I have gotten [sired] a man from the Lord wherefore he may not rejectandnbsp;his words but behold also cain hearkened not saying Who is the Lordandnbsp;that I should know him andamp; she again conceived andamp; bear his brother Abelandnbsp;andamp; Abel hearkened unto the voice of the Lord andamp; Abel was a keeper of shee[p]."andnbsp; (Click here to see the digital scan of JS' written materialandnbsp;on the LDS Church's website.)

The next page of JS' OT Rev. 1 stated:

"(B)ut Cain was a tiller of the ground andamp; he loved Satan more than God... And it came to pass that Cain took one of his brothers daughters to wife andamp; they loved Satan more than God andamp; satan saith unto Cain swear unto me by thy throat andamp; if thou tell it thou shalt die andamp; swear thy brethren by their heads andamp; by the living Godandnbsp; that they tell it not for if they tell it they shall surely die andamp; this thatandnbsp; thy father may not know it andamp; this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands andamp; Satan swore unto Cain that he would do according to his commands andamp; all these things were done in secret andamp; Cain saith truly I am Mahon the master of this great secret that I may murder andamp; get gain(.) Wherefore Cain was called master Mahon andamp; he gloried in his wickedness andamp; Cain went into the field andamp; Cain talked with Abel his brother andamp; it cameandnbsp; to pass that while they were in the field that cain rose up against Abel hisandnbsp;brother andamp; slew him andamp; cain gloried in that which he had done saying I am free surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands...andnbsp;

"And the Lord said unto Cain where is Abel thy brother andamp; he said I know not am I thy my brothers keeper andamp; he said what hast thou done the voice of thy brothers blood cries unto me from the ground andamp; now thou shalt be cursed from the Earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brothers blood from thy hand when thou tillest the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength a fugitive andamp; a vagabond shalt thou be in the Earth...

"Cain said unto the Lord Satan tempted me because of my brothers flock andamp;andnbsp;I was wroth also for his offering thou didst except andamp; not mine my punishment is greater than I can bear Behold thou hast driven me out thisandnbsp; day from the face of the Earth andamp; from thy face shall I be hid andamp; I shall be a fugitive andamp; a vagabond in the Earth andamp; it shall come to pass that every oneandnbsp; that findeth me shall slay me because of mine oath for these things are not hid from the Lord andamp; the Lord said unto him Therefore whosoeverandnbsp; slayeth Cain vengeance shall be taken on him seven fold andamp; the Lord set a mark upon Cain lest any finding him should kill him andamp; Cain went out from the presence of the Lord andamp; his wife andamp; many of his brethren andamp; dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden andamp; Cain knew his wife andamp; she conceived andamp; bearandnbsp;Enoch andamp; he also begat many Sons andamp; daughters".

So, what was the "mark" that "the Lord" (Mormonism's Jehovah/premortal Jesus) "set...upon Cain"?andnbsp; JS provided the 'answer' in "An extract from the translation of the Bible as revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet, June 1830-February 1831", quoting the LDS Church's webpage for the Book of Moses (in the Pearl of Great Price).andnbsp;Specifically, verses 21 and 22 of Moses 7 say:

21 And it came to pass that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever.

22 And Enoch [Mormonism's ancient prophet Enoch, who was - apparently - not Cain's "cursed" son, Enoch] also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.andnbsp;

According to the LDS Church, JSandnbsp;"translated" chapter 7 of the Book of Moses in "December 1830."andnbsp;

How did Negroes survive theandnbsp;Biblical Flood that JSandnbsp;andandnbsp;many other people in the early 19th century believed happened, the worldwide catastropheandnbsp;that wiped out nearly all of ancient humanity, according to the Old Testament?andnbsp;The answerandnbsp;is related toandnbsp;Ham, one of Noah's sons,andnbsp;all of whom were aboardandnbsp;the life-saving ark (boat) built byandnbsp;their father, according to the Bible.

What otherandnbsp;'truths' about Hamandnbsp;have been taught by the Mormon Church? Its online dictionaryandnbsp;says thatandnbsp;Ham was a "Son of Noah", "cursed", and "his descendants...were the southern nations: from Cush came the dark-skinned race of eastern Africa and southern Arabia; from Mizraim the Egyptians; from Phut the Libyans; from Canaan the inhabitants of Palestine before the arrival of the Semitic races."

But there is a potentially 'inconvenient' problem concerning Ham's father, Noah, who was, according to the LDS Church, a "patriarch...andnbsp;ordained to the priesthood by Methuselah (Dandamp;C 107:52). He became a preacher of righteousness and declared the gospel of Jesus Christ... His life was sought by unbelievers, but he was preserved by the power of God (Moses 8:18, 26). He and his sons Japheth, Shem, and Ham, and their wives, making eight in all, were saved from the Flood by the ark he had built at the command of God (Gen. 6-8; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20). We learn from latter-day revelation that Noah is also the angel Gabriel (HC 3:386)... Noah, a righteous man, holds the keys of a dispensation and stands next to Adam in [priesthood] authority (HC 3:386)."andnbsp;

What's the problem?andnbsp;For his son, Ham, to be "cursed" and his progeny to be "the dark-skinned race of eastern Africa and southern Arabia", either Noah and/or his wife had to have had Negro genes. In other words,andnbsp;either one or both of them was/were the "seed of Cain." I'll return to this point in a moment.

Next, when JS "translated" the Egyptian papyri that he obtained in 1835 (his 'translation' became the Book of Abraham), he wrote in the first chapter, verses 21 to 24:

21 Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.

22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.

23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;

24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse [dark skin] in the land.andnbsp;

I'll get back to "the Canaanites" and "the curse" supposedly "preserved in the land" near the end of this post. For now, there's a crucial point to make: Noah could NOT have been "cursed" (i.e., been partly or fully Negro) because according to Mormonism, as one of the "seed of Cain" he could not have received the priesthood and used its 'spiritual' power to preach "righteousness" and declare "the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Bear in mind that generations of Mormonandnbsp;'prophets' and other LDS priesthood leadersandnbsp;taught that Negroes were "cursed as to the priesthood", an idea that stemmed fromandnbsp;JS' 'translation' in the 1830s of theandnbsp;Egyptian papyri that he acquired. In particular, Abraham 1:25-27 says:

25 Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal.

26 Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.

27 Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my [Abraham's, according to JS] father was led away by their idolatry;

A century later, LDS Church president Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of [the] Priesthood and the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover[,] they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning...

"But what a contrast! The sons of Seth, Enoch and Noah honored by the blessings and rights of [the] Priesthood!... And the sons of Cain, denied the priesthood; not privileged to receive the covenants of glory in the kingdom of God!"

In his encyclopedic volume, "Mormon Doctrine", LDS apostleandnbsp;Bruce McConkie wrote:

"Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty (Abraham 1:20-27). The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them... Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow there from, but this inequality is not of man's origin. It is the Lord's doing and is based on his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate."

"Certainly the caste systems in communist countries and in India, for instance, are man[-]made and are not based on true principles. However, in a broad sense, caste systems have their root and origin in the gospel [Mormonism] itself, and when they operate according to the divine decree, the resultant restrictions and segregation are right and proper and have the approval of the Lord. To illustrate: Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam [the rest of humanity] should not intermarry."

For Ham to haveandnbsp;been one of the "seed of Cain" and passandnbsp;along the skin color and priesthood "curses" to "the dark-skinned race of eastern Africa and southern Arabia", "the Egyptians", "the Libyans", "the inhabitants of Palestine before the arrival of the Semitic races", and "all the Egyptians", viaandnbsp;his daughter, Egyptus,andnbsp;per LDS scripture, Noah and/or Ham's mother had to have been "cursed."andnbsp;

However, according to the Mormon Church, Noahandnbsp;"was ordained to the priesthood" and "holds the keys of a dispensation and stands next to Adam in authority", ergo, he could not have been partly or wholly Negro for all the reasons previously explained. Therefore,andnbsp;we are forced to conclude that it was Ham's mother who wasandnbsp;among theandnbsp;"seed of Cain."

Was Noah's wife (the woman with him on the ark) the mother of "cursed" Ham?andnbsp;Or did Ham's Negro mother die when he was younger, and Noah re-married and Ham remained in contact with his non-"cursed" father and stepmother? Who was Ham'sandnbsp;"cursed" mother? The Bible doesn't say and, not surprisingly, no LDS 'prophet'andnbsp;hasandnbsp;provided any clarification, despite theirandnbsp;reputed ability to receive "revelations" from "the Lord."andnbsp;andnbsp;

Now, you might be wondering aboutandnbsp;the "cursed" Canaanites. The following is an "Extract from the prophecy of Enoch. andlt;Given by Revelation to Joseph Smith Jun.andgt;", according to the LDS Church's Joseph Smith Papers website:

"Behold the people of Canaan, which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them, that they shall utterly be destroyed; and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there but the people of Canaan: for behold the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth for ever: And there was a blackness come upon andlt;allandgt; the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people."

So, there you have it! A mythical Old Testament murderer (Cain) was supernaturally "cursed" byandnbsp;Mormonism's premortal Jesusandnbsp;with a "black covering emblematical of eternal darkness", quoting LDS Church president Joseph Fielding Smith. We're talking aboutandnbsp;Cain, a.k.a. "Master Mahan",andnbsp;according to the LDS Church, the Bible's first evil man, who became the father of a race of LDS-imagined incarnated spirits (Negroes-to-be), who all lacked "Spiritual valiance"andnbsp;duringandnbsp;a Mormon-concocted mystical realm called theandnbsp;"Premortal Existence", whichandnbsp;nobody on this planet remembers due to the fantastical Latter-day Saintandnbsp;"veil ofandnbsp;forgetfulness"!

And Mormons are puzzled that non-members think the LDS religion is weird!

According to the LDS Church, there were two females inandnbsp;Ham's family called Egyptus.andnbsp;From the March 1973 Ensign article, "Early Families of the Earth":

"34. EGYPTUS-Abr. 1:21-23. This woman was the wife of Ham and a descendant of Cain."

"39. EGYPTUS-Abr. 1:23-26. This Egyptus was the daughter of Ham and Egyptus and the mother of the first Pharaoh in Egypt."

To review, the Mormon Church's online dictionaryandnbsp;says that Ham was "cursed."andnbsp;According toandnbsp;'true' LDS doctrine, his "cursed" state made his daughter Egyptus "cursed", asandnbsp;well as all of her progeny (Egyptians, etc.) because the "curse" ("mark of Cain") was passed down throughandnbsp;her "seed."

Alternatively,andnbsp;the BoM's Laman and Lemuel were "cursed" by "the Lord" with dark (but not black) skin because of their "unrighteousness", not because there were partly or wholly Negroes (i.e., the "seed of Cain").

Considering that JS, the so-called "prophet of the Restoration", repeatedly disobeyed "the Lord" in relation to the "principle of plural marriage" by going after the wives ofandnbsp;several men,andnbsp;thereby committing adultery, as made clear in Dandamp;C 132:61, it's surprising that he wasn't "cursed" by God with dark skin!andnbsp;

Here's more info. on about the "cursed" Ham-blacks connection (emphasis in bold and highlighting below is mine):

"Section 58 The Land of Zion

"Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, (2002), 119-124

"Historical Background

"The Prophet Joseph Smith gave the following explanation of the coming forth of this section:

"'The first Sabbath after our arrival in Jackson county, Brother W. W. Phelps preached to a western audience over the boundary of the United States, wherein were present specimens of all the families of the earth; Shem, Ham and Japheth; several of the Lamanites or Indians-representative of Shem; quite a respectable number of negroes-descendants of Ham; and the balance was made up of citizens of the surrounding country, and fully represented themselves as pioneers of the West. At this meeting two were baptized, who had previously believed in the fulness of the Gospel.'"

My Response To LDS Church Leaders' Official Statement On Blacks And The Priesthood
Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013, at 07:20 AM
Original Author(s): Jeff Ricks
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
I had intended not to post anything more about Mormonism for awhile, assuming it would be at least a few weeks before LDS church leaders publish another official response to another embarrassing fact about Mormon history. My understanding is that 10 more are expected over the coming weeks. This one's about Mormonism's racist past.

True to form, the official response is riddled with misrepresentations and half-truths (which I might respond to later in more detailed form). In this post I want to draw attention to the characteristic lack of contrition shown. Never in my awareness have the church leaders ever apologized to anyone for behavior, policies, and doctrines of its past or present leaders. Instead, they rationalize, obfuscate, and lie in order maintain the illusion that LDS leaders have always been men of such high moral integrity and holiness that they even talk with God. But true men of integrity would sincerely apologize, not rationalize. They would clarify not obfuscate. They would tell the truth, not misrepresent. I'm not surprised by their response, but I am disappointed. Yes, they disavow the racism of the past but rationalize it as "theories," not what it was: Doctrine. I was hoping for something more respectable.

Yes, they now officially repudiate all racism, but it's easy when long AFTER the majority of the entire civilized world has already done so. If LDS church leaders were in fact the men they pretend to be then shouldn't they have been at least among the FIRST?

Here's a link to their official response:

To those who read the official response, the video below is a reminder of only a few of the ugly racist statements by past LDS church leaders, including Joseph Smith. As I've said in previous post, I'm not anti-Mormon, I'm simply pro-truth. If the LDS church leaders would simply, once and for all, do the right thing and tell the truth, then instead of this post I'd thank them for finally being the honorable men they pretend to be.

Follow up comments:

The LDS church leaders are such shortsighted "prophets" that they're exhibiting the same brand of misguided bigotry with regard to sexual orientation. Someday they'll call their official homophobic policies of today "theories" of the past too. Mark my words.

It just occurred to me that LDS church leadership maintained its racist, discriminatory doctrines even up tol 14 years AFTER the Civil Rights Act was passed, and now they're excusing it all as just theories. Prophet's? I think not.

Theres an article in the Tribune about the LDS church leaders' new statement titled "Race and the Priesthood." Of course, many are praising the statement as wonderful, but I'd like to know exactly what's worthy of praise?

1- Should we praise the Brethren for rationalizing the ban as socially accepted racism at the time?

2- Should we praise them for grossly misrepresenting Brigham Young's statement to the point of lying?

3- Should we praise them for suggesting that the ban was based on mere "theories" when in fact it was doctrine that was reaffirmed in an official statement by the First Presidency FIVE YEARS AFTER the Civil Rights Act was passed?

4- Should we praise them for stopping short of a long overdue apology?

5- Should we praise them for now finally admitting that Brigham Young was the source of the racist policy when just months earlier they publicly claimed they had no idea how it came about? "It's so wonderful, Brethren, that you're less dishonest about this than you were a few months ago!" Is that worthy of praise?

If anything is praiseworthy then we should also praise a bully for ending his long abuse of another when he walks away, without apology, and while justifying it as socially accepted abuse at the time.

On second thought, their statement has no spelling errors. Good job Brethren! We thank thee oh God for a prophet!
The Mormon Church's Essay On Blacks And The Priesthood Is A Lie
Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013, at 11:20 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
The Mormon Church's Essay on Blacks and the Priesthood is a Lie . . .

. . . one which the Mormon Church is currently and desperately employing in an unsuccessful effort to cover the tracks of its attack on Blacks in terms of both its:

a) historically official doctrinal status; and

b) its historically acknowledged tie-in to Joseph Smith.

The Mormon Church, on its official website, makes a grossly dishonest claim that the long-established official position of the Mormon Church banning Blacks from holding the priesthood was a policy and not a doctrine. In an essay entitled, “Race and the Priesthood,” the Mormon Church makes the following deliberately disingenuous and factually disproveable assertion:

“In two speeches delivered before the Utah territorial legislature in January and February 1852, [Mormon Church president] Brigham Young announced a POLICY restricting men of black African descent from priesthood ordination . . .

“ . . . [G]iven the long history of withholding the priesthood from men of black African descent, Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter the POLICY and they made ongoing efforts to understand what should be done.”

(emphasis added)

(“Race and the Priesthood,” at:

However, the highest authoritative decision-making body in the Mormon Church--the First Presidency (comprised of the Mormon Church president and his two counselors)--has directly and emphatically contradicted this latest lie from Latter-day Saint Central. The official position of the Mormon Church has historically, explicitly and unambiguously declared the Mormon Church anti-Black priesthood ban to be one of DOCTRINE, NOT POLICY.

Further, contrary to the ongoing false claims being made by the Mormon Church, there is documented evidence from the Mormon Church First Presidency itself that Joseph Smith was behind the DOCTRINAL Mormon anti-Black priesthood ban.

The proof:

--On 17 July 1947, the Mormon Church First Presidency wrote the following to Lowry Nelson, Mormon professor at Utah State Agricultural College regarding the status of Blacks in the eyes of the Mormon God:

"Dear Brother Nelson:

". . . The basic element of your ideas and concepts seems to be that all God's children stand in equal positions before Him in all things. Your knowledge of the Gospel will indicate to you that this is contrary to the very fundamentals of God's dealings with Israel dating from the time of His promise to Abraham regarding Abraham's seed and their position vis-a-vis God Himself. Indeed, some of God's children were assigned to superior positions before the world was formed.

"We are aware that some Higher Critics do not accept this, but the Church does. Your position seems to lose sight of the revelations of the Lord touching the pre-existence of our spirits, the rebellion in heaven, and the DOCTRINES s that our birth into this life and the advantages under which we may be born, have a relationship in the life heretofore. FROM THE DAYS OF THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH EVEN UNTIL NOW, IT HAS BEEN THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH, NEVER QUESTIONED BY ANY OF THE CHURCH LEADERS, THAT THE NEGROES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE FULL BLESSINGS OF THE GOSPEL.

"Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous [meaning 'marriage within a specific tribe or similar social unit']. Modern Israel has been similarly directed. We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this are, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between Whites and Blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.

"Faithfully yours,

George Albert Smith J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay"

(emphasis added)

Nelson responded on 8 October:

"The attitude of the Church in regard to the Negro makes me very sad. I do not believe God is a racist."

The First Presidency answered:

"We feel very sure that you are aware of THE DOCTRINES OF THE CHURCH. They are either true or not true. Our testimony is that they are true. Under these circumstances we may not permit ourselves to be too much impressed by the reasonings of men, however well founded they may seem to be. We should like to say this to you in all sincerity, that you are too fine a man to permit yourself to be led off from the principles of the Gospel by worldly learning.

"You have too much of a potentiality for doing good and we therefore prayerfully hope that you can re-orient your thinking and bring it in line with the revealed Word of God."

(emphasis added)

--An official First Presidency statement, dated 17 August 1949, again noting that the Mormon Church's priesthood ban imposed against Blacks was a clear matter of DOCTRINE, NOT POLICY:

"THE ATTITUDE OF THE CHURCH WITH REFERENCE TO NEGROES REMAINS AS IT HAS ALWAYS STOOD. IT IS NOT A MATTER OF THE DECLARATION OF A POLICY BUT OF DIRECT COMMANDMENT FOM THE LORD, ON WHICH IS FOUNDED THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH FROM THE DAYS OF ITS ORGANIZATION, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church BUT THEY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE PRIESTHOOD AT THE PRESENT TIME. THE PROPHETS OF THE LORD HAVE MADE SEVERAL STATEMENTS AS TO THE OPERATION OF THE PRINCIPLE. President Brigham Young said: 'Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death.'"

(emphasis added)

--During the 1960s civil rights movement where the Mormon Church was coming under increasing fire for its bigoted anti-Black priesthood stsand, Mormon church leaders circled the wagons and again issued another official First Presidency statement, dated 15 December 1969, invoking the words of then-Mormon Church president, David O. McKay and laying the orgins of the ban at the feet of Mormonism's inventor, Joseph Smith:

"To General Authorities, Regional Representatives of the Twelve, Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and Bishops.

"Dear Brethren:

"In view of confusion that has arisen, it was decided at a meeting of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to restate THE POSITION OF THE CHURCH WITH REGARD TO THE NEGRO BOTH IN SOCIETY AND IN THE CHURCH.

"A word of explanation concerning THE POSITION OF THE CHURCH.

"FROM THE BEGINNING OF THIS DISPENSATION, JOSEPH SMITH AND ALL SUCCEEDING PRESIDENTS OF THE CHURCH HAVE TAUGHT THAT NEGROES, while spirit children of a common Father, and the progeny of our earthly parents Adam and Eve, WERE NOT YET TO RECEIVE THE PRIESTHOOD, for reasons which we believe are known to God, but which He has not made fully known to man.

"Our living prophet, President David O. McKay, has said, 'The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God. . . . 'Revelation assures us that this plan antedates man's mortal existence, extending back to man's pre-existent state.' President McKay has also said, 'Sometime in God's eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the priesthood.'

"Faithfully your brethren,

"The First Presidency

" Hugh B. Brown N. Eldon Tanner"

(emphasis added)

Finally, for the DOCTRINAL, NOT POLICY, status which clearly and historically attended the Mormon Church's anti-Black priesthood ban, see "Mormon Racism As doctrine, Not Merely Folklore or Tradition,"

Here's their daily Mormon scripture study guide on the racism of their Mormon God, as noted in the article, "Racism as Doctrine, Not Merely Folklore or Tradition":

--"Mormon Scripture: God Curses Bad Races with Black Skin

"2 Nephi 5:21: 'And the Lord had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.'

"Alma 3: 6: 'And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.'

"3 Nephi 2:14-1: 'And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.'

"Moses 7:22: 'And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.'

"Abraham 1:21-24,27: 'Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.'

"The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land."

"'Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry.'

--"Official LDS Church Publications Explain Racist LDS Scriptures

"'The Book of Abraham is rich both in doctrine and in historical incidents. Of the latter the fact of the large influence (if not identity) of Egyptian religious ideas in Chaldea in the days of Abraham is established; the descent of the black race, Negro, from Cain, the first murderer; the preservation of that race through the flood by the wife of Ham--"Egyptus," which in the Chaldean signifies "Egypt," "which signifies that which is forbidden"--the descendants of "Egyptus" were cursed as pertaining to the priesthood--that is, they were barred from holding that divine power; the origin also of the Egyptians--these things, together with the account of Abraham migrating from Chaldea to Egypt, constitute the chief historical items that are contained in the book./ (;Comprehensive History of the Church,' vol. 2, Ch .47, p. 128)

“'From this it is very clear that the mark which was set upon the descendants of Cain was a skin of blackness, and there can be no doubt that this was the mark that Cain himself received; in fact, it has been noticed in our day that men who have lost the spirit of the Lord, and from whom His blessings have been withdrawn, have turned dark to such an extent as to excite the comments of all who have known them.' (Official LDS Church manual, 'The Juvenile Instructor,' vol. 26, p. 635)

"'We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. Some, however, will argue that a black skin is not a curse, nor a white skin a blessing. In fact, some have been so foolish as to believe and say that a black skin is a blessing, and that the negro is the finest type of a perfect man that exists on the earth; but to us such teachings are foolishness. We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God's favored servants being of a black race. . . . [E]very angel who ever brought a message of God's mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun.” (Official LDS Church manual, 'The Juvenile Instructor,' vol. 3, p. 157)

“'For instance, the descendants of Cain cannot cast off their skin of blackness, at once, and immediately, although every soul of them should repent,... Cain and his posterity must wear the mark which God put upon them; and his white friends may wash the race of Cain with fuller's soap every day, they cannot wash away God's mark;. . . . ' (LDS Publication, 'The Millennial Star, ' vol. 14, p. 418)

"Their skin is quite black, their hair woolly and black, their intelligence stunted, and they appear never to have arisen from the most savage state of barbarism.” (Official LDS Church manual, 'The Juvenile Instructor,'vol. 3, p. 157)

"'Is or is it not apparent from reason and analogy as drawn from a careful reading of the Scriptures, that God causes the saints, or people that fall away from his church to be cursed in time, with a black skin? Was or was not Cain, being marked, obliged to inherit the curse, he and his children, forever? And if so, as Ham, like other sons of God, might break the rule of God, by marrying out of the church, did or did he not, have a Canaanite wife, whereby some of the black seed was preserved through the flood, and his son, Canaan, after he laughed at his grandfather's nakedness, heired three curses: one from Cain for killing Abel; one from Ham for marrying a black wife, and one from Noah for ridiculing what God had respect for? Are or are not the Indians a sample of marking with blackness for rebellion against God's holy word and holy order? And can or can we not observe in the countenances of almost all nations, except the Gentile, a dark, sallow hue, which tells the sons of God, without a line of history, that they have fallen or changed from the original beauty and grace of father Adam?'(Official LDS Publication, 'The Messenger and Advocate' (March 1835), p. 82)

"'History and common observation show that these predictions have been fulfilled to the letter. The descendants of Ham, besides a black skin which has ever been a curse that has followed an apostate of the holy priesthood, as well as a black heart, have been servants to both Shem and Japheth, and the abolitionists are trying to make void the curse of God, but it will require more power than man possesses to counteract the decrees of eternal wisdom." (Official LDS Publication, 'The Times and Seasons,' vol. 6, p. 857)

"The LDS Church's racism isn't just from some isolated quote from one or two Church leaders. The racist teaching from the Mormon pulpit is prolific and consistent over time. If God didn't agree with his prophets teaching these things in His Church, then why did they continue over generations? There's a big difference between folklore and Mormon scripture. When the president and prophet of the church stands at the pulpit and teaches the laws of God, that isn't folklore. . . . .

"Some Church members make the mistake of dismissing the racist statements of 19th-century Mormon leaders as 'their own opinion,' 'not official doctrine,' 'products of their times,' etc.

"Those same Church members assert that the only 'official doctrine' is the Standard Works and official statements of the First Presidency, and that if some leaders said something that didn't come from those sources, it isn't 'binding on the membership,' and it isn't "canon" or "official doctrine."

"However, an official statement of the LDS Church First Presidency issued on August 17, 1951, reads:

"'The position of the LDS Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the pre-mortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality, and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the principle itself indicates that the coming to this earth and taking on mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintained their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes.. . . . '

"'Man will be punished for his own sins and not for Adam's transgression. If this is carried further, it would imply that the Negro is punished or alloted to a certain position on this earth, not because of Cain's transgression, but came to earth through the loins of Cain because of his failure to achieve other stature in the spirit world." (William E. Berrett's 'The Church and the Negroid People,' pp. 16-17)

"Since it's obvious from this official First Presidency statement that Church leaders taught and believed that people are born as Negroes because of their behavior in the pre-existence---

---"as well as being from the lineage of the 'accursed' Cain---

---"and the 'sign' of Cain's curse was the black skin and flat nose, according to Church leaders---

---"then the fact that Negroes are still being born by the tens of thousands every day tells us that the God of Mormonism has never lifted the 'curse of Cain,' despite having the priesthood ban rescinded.

"Church members are terribly mistaken when they say that the 'curse of Cain' teachings were 'folklore' and 'not official doctrine.'

"If the people of Jamaica can recognize the LDS Church's racism, why can't church members?: 'The Embarrassing Truth about Mormonism, by Mark Wignall, "The Jamaca Observer," 25 September 2005, at:; source for first article: at:

Today's Mormon Church seems to have an official policy of lying about its official doctrines.
LDS Doctrine: The Curse Of Cain
Friday, Dec 13, 2013, at 08:50 AM
Original Author(s): Danna
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
One of the hardest doctrines I had to deal with growing up was the Curse of Cain doctrine. Africans had been cursed with a dark skin and denied the priesthood. I have mentioned before how I felt when I discovered a singer that I had fallen in love with on the radio (I am pretty sure it was Michael Jackson) was African-American when I finally saw him in a video on TV. I was just sick to my stomach. My parents had explained this and I accepted it as, well, doctrine. But I knew inside that it just was not right. In 70s NZ I had never met any Africans, and the issue didn't really sink in until I was old enough to follow pop music. A problem exacerbated my parents 'no TV' policy for a period back then. Then all of a sudden some of my radio 'heroes' were unworthy.

Then the ban was rescinded and I detected a general feeling of relief from the adults. We were told in church that the last of the cursed people had died, and now worthy spirits were coming through the African line. Obviously this was a local speculation. There was no thought at all that the previous situation was an error. But the xenophobia towards a people most NZ Mormons had never met remained.

Mormon Maori (the vast majority of Mormons back then), inspired by the then Minister of Police, Ben Couch, a Mormon, were the largest, if not only, group of Maori supporting the 1981 Springbok rugby tour. The vast majority of the world's rugby nations banned sporting contact with South Africa over the apartheid issue. An indicator of the power of rugby in both South Africa and NZ can be seen in the recent movie Invictus where Matt Damon plays a post-apartheid Springbok captain. Under Brother Couch the police were equipped with long-batons and new riot gear and tactics (less well publicised is that most cops went out and bought steel-capped boots) to deal with non-violent protestors.

I was at Church College during the tour, and was advised to keep my views to myself if I wanted to avoid harrassment and/or discipline. Senior students boasted of physical altercations with (including stalking and attacking) protestors in the aftermath of the cancelled Waikato game. The situation was sickening. I was well able to rationalise that people acting badly did not mean the church was bad, and I retained belief beyond 1981.

However - I have come to realise the part church doctrine played in these events, and in the grossly unfair treatment africans have had from the church. I am amazed that Africans and African-Americans are joining. Recently my mum sent out an email showing happy Haitian members at church.

Even more stunning are claims that the curse of Cain doctrine, and 'blackness' being a curse was never official 'doctrine'.
Whitewashing The Women
Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013, at 10:41 AM
Original Author(s): David Twede
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
The LDS Church did it again. andnbsp;They caved to public peer pressure. andnbsp;They admitted that they illegally practiced plural marriages after they promised in a manifesto not to do so. andnbsp;They confessed this sin only decades after very meticulous and thorough historian D. Michael Quinn called them out on it in early 1985.andnbsp;

In their latest Topic article on plural marriage, the LDS Church confesses thusly:andnbsp;
"andnbsp;plural marriage...was instituted among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early 1840s. Thereafter, for more than half a century, plural marriage was practiced by some Latter-day Saints."
Understand, "more than half a century" from the early 1840s means that it continued past 1890 when LDS president Wilford Woodruff pronounced, "in the most solemn manner, declare that...We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice." andnbsp;

Now the LDS Church very subtly admits Woodruff, the fourth prophet, was a liar. The Topic confesses:
"On an exceptional basis, some new plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904, especially in Mexico and Canada, outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law; a small number of plural marriages were performed within the United States during those years. In 1904, the Church strictly prohibited new plural marriages."
In the last Topic on Race, they told us that 11 prophets from Brigham Young to the first part of Spencer Kimball's tenure as LDS president, their mouthpieces of God declared false doctrine and continued false practices of racism and denying their version of salvation to a large class of people. andnbsp;They admitted as well that their Book of Mormon, their Book of Abraham and Book of Moses are false concerning the dark skin curse they preach in the canon of scripture held sacred by LDS members. andnbsp;

Now, we find out they also lied about polygamy in their own scripture. andnbsp;Woodruff didn't qualify the exceptional basisandnbsp;or the Mexico and Canadaandnbsp;angle. andnbsp;He said "We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice." andnbsp;

I am very happy to see the LDS Church admitting that from 1890 to 1904andnbsp;their prophets lied. andnbsp;LDS president Woodruff in the most solemn manner declared that they weren't practicing polygamy. andnbsp;He even crossed his fingers when he said it, adding: andnbsp;"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray... If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray..."

Given this admission of a lie and the pronouncement that God would remove him if he lied, can we finally agree that since God didn't remove him or any of the subsequent liars--I mean prophets--that their God is absent, if not invisibly non-existent?

All that aside, what I really want to address is the whitewashing the new Topic gives on sexism. andnbsp;The plural marriage article says this:
"Women were free to choose their spouses, whether to enter into a polygamous or monogamous union, or whether to marry at all."
Hm. andnbsp;Let's examine one case. andnbsp;Thirty-seven year old Joseph Smith's attempts to "convince" Helen Mar Kimball, at age 14 (23 years his younger), to marry him after he'd already married several other women (including other men's wives) were coercion at best. andnbsp;Said Smith to Helen: "If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation andamp; exaltation and that of your father’s household andamp; all of your kindred."

Before he'd ensuredandnbsp;her of exaltation, Helen said of the idea of marrying an already married man, "my sensibilities were painfully touched. I felt such a sense of personal injury and displeasure."andnbsp;

After laying the guilt of her entire family's salvation on her accepting Joseph Smith's proposal, she said, "This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward." andnbsp;

She called herself an ewe lambandnbsp;and after marrying Smith, said she "thought myself andnbsp;an abused child, and that it was pardonable if I did murmur."

The thoughts of this young 14 year old girl break my heart, as a father of a young teen girl. andnbsp;Remember, she was just a newborn baby girl when Joseph Smith was 24, the year he published the Book of Mormon and began his designs on other women. andnbsp;I wondered, as I read the plural marriage topic article, if this was in the mind of the current Topic writers when they wrote:
"[P]lural marriage was a religious principle that required personal sacrifice. Accounts left by men and women who practiced plural marriage attest to the challenges and difficulties they experienced, such as financial difficulty, interpersonal strife, and some wives’ longing for the sustained companionship of their husbands."
"Virtually all of those practicing it in the earliest years had to overcome their own prejudice against plural marriage and adjust to life in polygamous families."
"Church leaders recognized that plural marriages could be particularly difficult for women. Divorce was therefore available to women who were unhappy in their marriages; remarriage was also readily available."
All the talk about how the poor polygamists's as if they're trying to turn them into victims. Well, at least they're half right. The women were victims of exploitative men. andnbsp;

The LDS Topic writers defend against this charge of exploitation, saying:
"Outside opponents mounted a campaign against the practice, stating that they hoped to protect Mormon women and American civilization. For their part, many Latter-day Saint women publicly defended the practice of plural marriage, arguing in statements that they were willing participants."

Really? andnbsp;Willing participants?andnbsp; This is hardly the case, when your core scripture reveals the following words of the Lord: andnbsp;andnbsp;
"For behold, I (God) reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned." (Doctrine and Covenants 132:4) andnbsp; andnbsp;
In that same section of LDS Scripture, Joseph Smith's first and only legal wife, Emma Smith, was told:
"But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord... But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundred-fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds. andnbsp;And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses." (Dandamp;C 132:54-56)

Emma was told that if she didn't accept polygamy and let Joseph marry other women, the Lord would destroy her and then Joseph would marry as many wives as he wanted. andnbsp;She'd better not take other men, and she'd better forgive him his trespasses in the barn with Fanny or else!

So, with this established doctrine on the frontiers of Utah in Mormon polygamy compounds, with no where in thousands of miles and no money to helpandnbsp;these wives escape,andnbsp;the LDS Church tells us the women had a choice and that they were willing participants. andnbsp;Right. andnbsp;

Sigh. The spin the LDS Historians put on this... It's as if they're whitewashing the women and spinning them dry. andnbsp; Sexism still reigns in Utah, in the halls at Church History dept, among the writers of essays trying to come clean. andnbsp;The dirtiness of their words still clings.

The Topic article never addresses the trespasses of child brides by several of the early LDS prophets. andnbsp;I won't get into the details, but this graphic which Bart at Mormoninfographics produced (we collaborated on it in August 2013) summarizes the child brides of prophets nicely.

Note: it's interesting how the historians writing the topic say, Outside opponents mounted a campaign against the practice, stating that they hoped to protect Mormon women and American civilization. andnbsp;This sounds suspiciously a lot like the justifications the LDS Church gives for its defense of traditional marriage.

“Again I told her [Emma] I heard that one night she missed Joseph and Fanny Alger. She went to the barn and saw him and Fanny in the barn together alone. She looked through a crack and saw the transaction!! She told me this story too was verily true.”

- William McLellin, 1872 letter to Joseph Smith III, see In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, by Todd Compton, p. 35
Plural Marriage And Families In Early Utah - The Latest In The Series Of Essays Dealing With Difficult Questions
Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013, at 10:45 AM
Original Author(s): Curious_mormon
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Can I preface this to say that this is likely the most deceptive of the essays yet. If they continue this practice then these essays will have a very short shelf-life.


  • They do mention that plural marriages were performed after 1890. Despite the attempt to focus on Mexico and Canada, it is technically correct.
  • Polygamists are excommunicated today.
  • Polygamy was a sacrifice for the members. Brigham himself is quoted as telling the women to stop complaining, and telling the missionaries to stop marrying converts on their way to Utah. The LDS church calls this "seek[ing] to develop a generous spirit of unselfishness". The FLDS would call this "keep[ing] sweet".
  • Polygamy was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and the US government made a large push to stamp it out over several decades.
  • Most leaders had a multitude of wives (It's not mentioned, but several had multiple dozens).
  • 30-50% of Utah were in polygamous households at any one time. (Napkin math: that puts unmarried men at ~15-25%) Note hinckley called this 2-5% on national TV. See:
  • It tries to word the 1890 claim as instigated by God rather than first and foremost a requirement by the state. To quote the manifesto: "Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise."
  • Peculiar people doctrine is true, but it wasn't always tied to Polygamy. It's also no longer in effect (see the I'm a Mormon campaign).
  • There are some accounts that are moderately supportive of polygamy, but the equating the "belief" of obedience = happiness with actual results are neither consistent nor common. I'd say anti-depressants = happiness if Utah is to be the guide. Likewise, Brigham's statement against women shows how "happy" everyone was. 1856 Speech[2] see:
  • It is true that Joseph Fielding Smith taught that everyone must accept polygamy, and that not everyone would be able enter into it; however, he also stated that you had to enter into it to get to the highest tier of the celestial Kingdom. It also leaves out that if you could practice, but did not, then you would be damned[3] See: . See more on this in the outright lies section.
  • The LDS church did claim sole right to gate polygamous marriages when speaking to the people; however, they also feigned ignorance when speaking to the Government between 1890 - 1910. See OD 1
  • They try to claim young marriages was typical in the frontier areas at the time; however, this wasn't a universal truth. Also, the age of first marriage was earlier in the 1950s than it was in the 1850s.
  • They claim women married at older ages as society matured, but left out the 15 and 16 year olds still marrying the LDS leaders; and they leave out those ages. A first time marriage would have been at the high end of 19 in the 1800s to about 24 for females and 27 for males in the 1900s[4] (See: - note that in any case, a 14 or 15 or even 16 year old marrying a 50+ year old man would have been exceptionally rare and practically unheard of outside of polygamous societies.
  • The rate of polygamous marriages does decrease in the 1870s and following years - they just leave out that this was because many of the polygamists were being arrested, especially the leadership. It's hard to enter a new marriage in the temple when you're stuck in jail.
  • The LDS church did encourage polygamists to stay outside of the US, but they try to spin this under a guise of building up the church in more areas or to "pursue opportunities". (Note that they later highlight these areas outside of Utah as Monogamous and explain how Monogamy was the right path).
  • The New Testament and Book of Mormon do teach that Monogamy is usually best; although, someone should remind them that the Old Testament is part of the bible. Also note that they claim to restore all of God's commandments, and one of those was polygamy. So it's less of a "specific time" matter and government said no matter.
Outright Lies:
  • Claims Plural marriage was implemented in the 1840s. Ignores Fanny Alger (1833-1835*), Lucinda Harris (1838), and advances towards 12 year old Mary Rollins (1831). That's just Joseph Smith.
  • Claims Joseph only instituted this after the President "held the keys authorizing the performance of new plural marriages". This is wrong. Fanny Alger was before the claimed 1836 return of Elijah and delivery of those keys.
  • Polygamous marriages did not result in more children per woman, as per their own source. They claimed overall fertility rate was improved based on polygamy having the potential of increasing children with an excess of women in the society; however, they leave out that there were unmarried men due to approximately equal male to female ratios. There would have likely been more children if they capped the number of wives and only married off the surplus insuring all men had a wife. That didn't happen.
  • Per-capita diminishing of wealth inequality is a myth. It assumes polygamous women were cared for by their husbands (see wife #19). Women were often left on their own with minimal support. A wealthy husband does not mean a wealthy family (many argued neglect) and extreme wealth was still an issue (see Brigham who could have single handedly paid off the church's debts - the ones they cited as the reason to stop paying bishops and stake presidents). They even mention financial difficulties later on, which did not affect the upper leadership.
  • "willing to endure ostracism for their principles". Who in Utah was ostracizing polygamists other than the US government? In fact, you would have been ostracized if you spoke out against polygamy, and that ostracism was from same government that scared them into stopping the practice.
  • They claimed, "Church leaders viewed plural marriage as a command to the Church generally, while recognizing that individuals who did not enter the practice could still stand approved of God." Bold Faced Lie. Several quotes countering this (incomplete sampling below):
  • I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned, I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that - Joseph F Smith JoD vol 20, p 31
  • He said to me that unless I accepted it and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people, would be damned and cut off from this time hence forth - Joseph Smith Jr
  • Yes, sir, President Woodruff, President Young, and President John Taylor, taught me and all the rest of the ladies here in Salt Lake that a man in order to be exalted in the Celestial Kingdom must have more than one wife, that having more than one wife was a means of exaltation. - Temple Lot case transcript
  • Now, where a man in this church says, `I don't want but one wife, I will live my religion with one.' He will perhaps be saved in the Celestial Kingdom; but when he gets there he will not find himself in possession of any wife at all.... and he will remain single forever and ever - Brigham Young, Deseret News, Sept 17, 1873
  • Plural marriage is the patriarchal order of marriage lived by God and others who reign in the Celestial Kingdom. - John J Stewart, Brigham Young and his Wives
  • Claims areas outside of Utah were bastions of monogamy; however, they're referencing the Mexico and Canadian[5] See: polygamist colonies. These were missions from Brigham Young for this purpose.
What's Missing:
  • DandC 132 linked to; however, they leave out DandC 101 entirely.
  • Nearly Everything from Nauvoo - the founding of polygamy - where most of the complaints come from. To quote the article: "This essay primarily addresses plural marriage as practiced by the Latter-day Saints between 1847 and 1890". This includes (again not complete):
  • All of Joseph's wives.
  • Polyandry.
  • Joseph's polygamous children.
  • Joseph telling a 12 year old that she would marry him.
  • Public lies about Joseph not being a polygamist.
  • Reasons for the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor.
  • Claims of Bennett performing abortions on Joseph's pregnant wives.
  • Joseph's advances on his servants and other very young girls.
  • Rightly so, they leave out Josephs 1831 revelation on marrying Native Americans to make their posterity white. Apologists use this as support for Joseph's early polygamy (despite being non-natives, and not about polygamy).
  • The supreme court found polygamy laws to be constitutional (mentioned), but it's left out that the LDS church was arguing for marriage between a man and multiple women with the same arguments used against homosexual marriage today.
  • Spiritual polygamy via sealings still exists through legal divorces or death.
  • The claim that God and Jesus are polygamists.
  • The FLDS were break-offs who believed polygamy should still be practiced.
  • The RLDS denied Joseph ever taught polygamy.
  • First presidency and apostleship teaching that monogamy is evil. (Credit to /u/HighPriestofShiloh[6] )
Unverified claims that I find unlikely:
  1. Increased ethnic intermarriages - they must be talking about an american marrying a European. Not a black marrying an Native American. Furthermore, this seems to run contrary to the last essay they published.
  2. 2/3 of men only had 2 wives.
Essay Covering Book Of Mormon Translation Uploaded To
Monday, Dec 30, 2013, at 04:41 PM
Original Author(s): Curious_mormon
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
This is more incomplete than the rest simply because there is so much being left out. The whitewash is blatant. While they give a few nuggets that most Mormons are unaware of, and that's good, they retcon and ignore much of the rest. In the end, the finish with testimony as that's apparently the only way to validate a record of a multi-million people civilization with technology and languages unknown to their world at the time. I'm mostly disappointed with the lost opportunity here.

What's Correct:
  • The claims of what Moroni said do match some of what's found in the currently canonized "Joseph Smith History" (See:
  • Oliver was the primary scribe.
  • The bible is not consistent on how God talks to his chosen people.
  • Joseph was a treasure scryer. I take issue with their claim of making this a boy's game rather than a profession, but it's technically correct.
What's Partially Correct:
  • "had very little formal education and was incapable of writing a book on his own" is partially correct. He did have little formal education, and he didn't have the skills to write a good book on his own; however, the book is neither good, transcribed by him, nor was Joseph too dumb. He wrote quite a bit during and after that time that is left out here.
  • It did contain some LDS doctrine, but there was nothing new in the Book of Mormon theologically speaking. The new doctrine appeared in the DandC.
  • "he was called to render into his own language an entire volume of scripture amounting to more than 500 printed pages..." is mostly a lie. Yes he spoke english, but people in the 1830s didn't speak in King James English.
What's a Lie:
  • It's implied that Joseph was an uneducated dunce without the imagination to create or partially fabricate the hoax. He wasn't. (See:
  • They say that almost all of the present Book of Mormon text was translated during a three-month period. They need to say dictated. The book also wasn't translated. We can see the errors in the KJV copied word for word into the current book along with the rest of the KJV text they used to fill the gaps (See: . Then there's the "Cambelite influences" (See:
  • "This manuscript corroborates Joseph Smith's statements that the manuscript was written within a short time frame and that it was dictated from another language." Yes. The manuscript was dictated. Joseph's source material may not have been. The implicit lie is again that Joseph translated the plates into a manuscript within the timeframe claimed.
  • "Apparently for convenience, Joseph often translated with the single seer stone" - and here we see a blatant white wash. There's no mention of Moroni taking the Urim and Thummim because Joseph gave away 116 pages (See:
  • "The scribes who observed the process". [There were four first hand accounts](Source: and they don't differ in the ways suggested. Three of the four have him using a hat to scry, 3 of the four explicitly state he did not use the plages, 3 of the four mention one or more stones, and 1 of the four claim it was by pure inspiration.
What was left out:
  • The three / eight witnesses story is almost entirely missing. As are their subsequent recants and the fact that oliver penned the story and signatures of the 8 (who were both smiths and Whitmers).
  • Anything to do with Lucy harris, the loss of the plates, and the taking of the Urim and Thummim.
  • It does mention the claim that the characters appeared on the stone (See: ; however, it fails to mention that they were to be read off and confirmed before new characters would appear. It also fails to connect this with the changes it fails to mention.
  • Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was "the most correct of any Book on earth". This is true, but they did not mention the 3913+ changes to the content or recent header changes (See:
  • Joseph Smith did say an angel appeared on September 21, 1823. He named the angel "Moroni" in at least the 1832 History. It's also not mentioned that Joseph and others periodically called the angel "Nephi" (See:
  • There is no mention of the Angel telling Joseph the Lamanites were the ancestors (See: of the Native Americans (not some of or part of).
  • It's true the account claims Joseph was prayed and Moroni appeared. It's left out the many reports that had others saying he had a vision in a dream. Whitmer, Cowdery, Emma, Emma's cousin, Joseph Sr, Harris, and Pratt (See: To name a few.
  • Moroni claimed the book of Mormon had "the fulness of the everlasting Gospel as delivered by the Savior." Still though, this leaves out all of the things not mentioned or supported in the book. Endowments, Baptism for the dead, Polygamy, church organization, or most of the Law of Moses. To name a few.
  • In her last testimony, Emma did say that Joseph couldn't dictate a coherent letter; however, that testimony (See: had her blatantly lying about polygamy. This hurts her credibility. The writers also leave off the massive number of letters, missives, and documents written by Joseph in the next few years. It also leaves out the sheer number of religious discourses, his experience within a religious debate club, his being trained from the KJV, and that several members of his immediate family were teachers.
  • Oliver was Joseph's 3rd cousin (See: .
  • The original manuscript was partially damaged, but the printer's manuscript survived.
  • It almost comes out and says it. It's just there, but they aren't willing to say no first hand accounts have Joseph even using the plates, nor do they mention the stone in a hat was how Joseph translated. Also note that it says Joseph used the Urim and Thummim without mentioning that the Angel is claimed to have taken them (See:
  • I'm impressed. They mention one occult relic. Sure, they leave out that the Rod of Aaron was a divining rod. Sure they forget to mention the more recent examples such as juniper pendants or rodsmen. But it's a step.
Authorship Of The Mormon Church's Anonymous Essays On Blacks, Polygamy, Etc.
Thursday, Jan 2, 2014, at 07:50 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
I have had a recent, long, direct and informative discussion with a well-placed and highly-credible Mormon Church source, which focused on the question of who, specifically, authored the historically-revisionistic essays that the Mormon Church has now placed on its official website. Just let me say that these essays were not written by members of the Quorum of the Twelve or the First Presidency.

(My source is aware of the fact that I am posting this on the Recovery from Mormonism discussion board, since I told the source I would be doing so).

Per mutual agreement with the source, I will not, at this time, be disclosing the names of those who participated in the writing of the essays--although the identities of certain specific individuals were given to me who, directly or indirectly, assisted in the authorship of the essays.

Just let me say that these essays were not written by members of the Quorum of the Twelve or the First Presidency.

I was told that the directed goal of the essays' authors was to craft statements that would satisfy everyone--an assignment which the source said was their first mistake. These publicly-unidentified-authored efforts, I was further told, ultimately were required to pass what was described as the paranoid approval of the Quorum of the Twelve--a group that was also characterized as being full of egomaniacs who needed to be humbled.

The authors of these essays were said to represent a wide variety of people employed by the Mormon Church in the LDS Historical Department, some of whom are historians themselves. In authoring the essays, these individuals were also given the task of contacting others outside the Mormon Church Historical Department who were considered by the LDS Church's Historical Department to be experts and scholars, and from whom all kinds of input was sought. I was told that the Mormon Church, in present circumstances, was doing the best it could.

The source noted that these essays would not be laying blame at the feet of the Mormon Church's founder, Joseph Smith, because that was simply not possible to do at the present time. From the source's perspective, the decison not to take problematic issues back to Joseph Smith (especially on the issue of race) was understandable, given what were characterized as current complicated realities facing the Mormon Church--although the source said that they (meaning the source) was not pleased with the essay on polygamy.

I was told that employees of the Mormon Church Historical Department were given the assignment of hammering out statements in their essay documents that would:

1) repudiate racism and sexism;

2) create pronouncements that strike a balance; and

3) lay the groundwork for the release of new information in the future.

I told the source that the sooner the Mormon Church quit mischaracterizing the historically-doctrinal (not policy) nature of official Mormon Church positions--(particulary as related to its historically-racist ones that are currently embedded in the LDS Church's canonized scriptures, notably the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price, as well as in the officially-authoritative statements of the First Presidency that have traced Mormon Church doctrine directly back to Joseph Smith)--the better,

During the course of our lively one-on-one discussion, the source and myself did not agree on all points, although our discussion was quite cordial, as it typically is.

So, there you have it:

"Revealed" Mormon Church truth, brought to you by anonymously rolled out, correlated committees.

In the name of, "Is this all you folks have got?"

Church Historian Elder Steven Snow On The Authorship Of The New Historical Articles
Thursday, Jan 2, 2014, at 08:06 AM
Original Author(s): Curious_mormon
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-

Honestly, this is some of the most upfront language I've seen from someone so closely entrenched in the religion. There was an episode from Babylon 5 featuring a news anchor whose job was to do spread propoganda. He mentioned that he tries to sneak in truth between the lies, so let's try to apply that here. What is being said, or more specifically... what is not being said.

What was said: "Some members, many, are really surprised by some things."

Between the lines: We aren't telling our members everything.

What was said: "We've retained scholars outside of the church history department"; "known LDS scholars to do very extensive research."

Between the lines: We're unofficially paying apologists to do the job of actual historians.

What was said: "[The GAs + 'committee'] suggest some edits which are made with the permission of the writer"

Between the lines: We have left room to distance ourselves from these topics in the future.

What was said: "These arguments and issues have been around for decades, 150 years. It's the same material repackaged."

Between the lines: Past apologetics are disproven, so we have to come up with new apologetics.

What was said: "We understandably have not spent a lot of time in the past because our mission is to promote faith and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ".

Between the lines: The information destroys faith. We don't want to talk about it.

What was said: "But as the information age is now upon us, we feel with all of this information out there we owe it, particularly to the 'rising generation' to provide good, reliable information about these matters'.

Between the lines: We can't hide the information any more, and we confirm Joseph's second coming prophecy is false.

What was said: "Those stories, I feel, as they're woven together provide a beautiful background"

Between the lines: Notice the words not used. Comprehensive. Objective.

What was said: "If you stand back and view that in it's entirety, it's faith promoting."

Between the lines: This works as long as you don't look too closely.

What was said: "If you look at it very closely, you'll have some threads that you have a question about".

Between the lines: We can't answer the problem. Our only hope is to distract with a beautiful story.

What was said: "If you focus on the threads that may seem different, then you'll miss the beauty of the tapestry."

Between the lines: We know it doesn't hold itself up. Essay: Spaulding Manuscript
Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014, at 07:06 AM
Original Author(s): Curious_mormon
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Editor Note: This article is 1.5 years old and is not one of the current published essays.

On a personal note, I agree with others who have said that the Manuscript Found theory is as close to exmormon apologetics as you're going to find. It's not gospel truth or a serious attack at the religion.

The LDS church is smart to take this on as it's mostly belief arguing belief. I'm surprised it wasn't first on the list. I am disappointed that they ended up strawmanning the argument. It shows their nature, I guess. They had a chance to educate, inform, and show why the entire theory is based on a document that we don't have. Instead, they confused the point, altered the argument, and couldn't help but slip in a few lies. They missed an opportunity they may never get back. So close.

Then again, maybe they don't want to make too many comparisons to their own scriptures. Every argument against manuscript found (not manuscript story, but I'll get into that later) is equivalent to arguments against the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham.

  • Spaulding's education and professional history.
  • Theories have been tossed around regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon.
  • Manuscript Found was one of the earlier theories.
Bold-faced lies:
  • "This claim has been discredited many times by people inside and outside of the Church." - To my knowledge, the claim has never been discredited. It has been apologized for, but not discredited. I'm hesitant to mention this, but they opened the door with this claim. Stanford (See: postulated (in a peer reviewed journal) that Spaulding was an author of the Book of Mormon based on their computer analysis. Note that I highly discourage accepting these models or stylometrics as gospel truth. I only mention it as it shows the theory has not been discredited by external sources. It's also worth mentioning that Brodie expressed suspicion with the testimony, but that's not the same as discrediting the theory.
  • So many strawmans. They constantly reference "manuscript story" with "manuscript found". It's happening so much that I have a hard time believing it was by accident. It's a textbook strawman. They redefine the theory and then show how the new theory is wrong. The 1886 manuscript was not considered the origin manuscript for this theory. To quote wikipedia (See:, "The second 'lost' manuscript purported to exist by Howe has never been discovered."
  • "Joseph was an unlearned man." We've already discussed this in a prior essay, and I would love for this myth to die.
  • "Eleven witnesses saw the plates". It looks like they're borrowing from other essays again. 8 testimonies were penned by Cowdery, the 3 were claimed to have rebutted their theory, and the 12th (Mary Rigdon) claimed to have seen the plates carried by angel Nephi. So we really only have 4 people + Joseph claiming to have seen the plates, and that takes some hand waving (See:
What was missing:
  • Sources. There is not a single citation in this essay.
  • Information on manuscript found, or information beyond what's found on wikipedia on manuscript story. It's interesting how they avoid discussing any details of the actual theory (See:
  • Details on the contemporary claims, such as Spaulding's widow saying that Nephi and Lehi were still fresh names in her mind (having read them previously in the manuscript), or the 1834 expose presenting the claim (See:
New Essay: Book Of Mormon And DNA Studies
Monday, Feb 3, 2014, at 07:58 AM
Original Author(s): Simon Southerton
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
A few quick responses on the essay. Unfortunately I don't have the resources of a PR company and an army of apologists at my disposal so its pretty rough.

LDS Newsroom:

The conclusions of genetics, like those of any science, are tentative, and much work remains to be done to fully understand the origins of the native populations of the Americas.

Simon Southerton:

The DNA science is not tentative or inconclusive. It is consistent with scientific conclusions about Native American origins from numerous other scientific disciplines.

LDS Newsroom:

Scientists theorize that in an era that predated Book of Mormon accounts, a relatively small group of people migrated from northeast Asia to the Americas by way of a land bridge that connected Siberia to Alaska. These people, scientists say, spread rapidly to fill North and South America and were likely the primary ancestors of modern American Indians.

Simon Southerton:

The truth is that Native Americans have occupied the New World for at least 13,000 years. This is an indisputable fact that the LDS Newsroom: overlooks. They widely colonised North and South America for TEN THOUSAND years before Lehi allegedly arrived. For over a century mainstream archaeologists, geneticists and anthropologists studying Native Americans have believed there ancestors migrated from Asia across dry land (Beringia) exposed during the last ice age. The DNA evidence suggests a slightly earlier arrival date of about 16,000 years ago. It hasn't changed things much.

LDS Newsroom:

The Book of Mormon itself, however, does not claim that the peoples it describes were either the predominant or the exclusive inhabitants of the lands they occupied. In fact, cultural and demographic clues in its text hint at the presence of other groups.

Simon Southerton:

The claim of the first sentence is demonstrably false. 2 Nephi 1:8-9 "And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance. Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever." We are not told what the cultural and demographic clues are. But we are meant to accept the "clues" and overlook the scripture above.

LDS Newsroom:

At the April 1929 general conference, President Anthony W. Ivins of the First Presidency cautioned: "We must be careful in the conclusions that we reach. The Book of Mormon . does not tell us that there was no one here before them [the peoples it describes]. It does not tell us that people did not come after."

Simon Southerton:

I find it hard to pay attention to the words of a member of the First Presidency from 85 years ago because the words of many, more recent, prophets are RINGING IN MY EARS.

LDS Newsroom:

At the present time, scientific consensus holds that the vast majority of Native Americans belong to sub-branches of the Y-chromosome haplogroups C and Q and the mitochondrial DNA haplogroups A, B, C, D, and X, all of which are predominantly East Asian. But the picture is not entirely clear. Continuing studies provide new insights, and some challenge previous conclusions. For example, a 2013 study states that as much as one-third of Native American DNA originated anciently in Europe or West Asia and was likely introduced into the gene pool before the earliest migration to the Americas. This study paints a more complex picture than is suggested by the prevailing opinion that all Native American DNA is essentially East Asian.

Simon Southerton:

The 2013 study in question was on nuclear DNA (not mitochondrial or Y-chromosome) isolated from 24,000-year-old remains recovered in Siberia. It was observed that about one-third of the individuals DNA originated in Europe or West Asia. That is not very surprising for someone living 24,000 years ago in Siberia and it certainly does not challenge any of the conclusions derived from mitochondrial or Y-chromosome DNA.

I hate to be picky but Native American DNA is essentially Siberian, not East Asian.

LDS Newsroom:

While Near Eastern DNA markers do exist in the DNA of modern native populations, it is difficult to determine whether they are the result of migrations that predated Columbus, such as those described in the Book of Mormon, or whether they stem from genetic mixing that occurred after the European conquest. This is due in part to the fact that the "molecular clock" used by scientists to date the appearance of genetic markers is not always accurate enough to pinpoint the timing of migrations that occurred as recently as a few hundred or even a few thousand years ago.

Simon Southerton:

Clearly, this section of the essay was written (or at least approved) by Rodney Meldrum, who is making a small fortune on the back of misleading molecular clock claims. In the early years of dating using DNA there was considerable debate about which method was the most accurate. The debate has been resolved for 15 years but Rodney Meldrum insists on dragging out a paper from 1998, the peak of the debate, and using it as evidence that dating is unreliable. Meldrum doesn't understand the science he writes about. He is a snake-oil salesman exploiting elderly Mormons.

The "Near Eastern DNA" being referred to here is the Native American mitochondrial X lineage. LDS scientist Ugo Perego, who has undoubtedly helped in the writing of the essay, has dated Native American X lineages using very robust modern methods, and it arrived in the New World about 15,000 years ago. I wonder how Perego felt about the essay undermining his own research?

LDS Newsroom:

Scientists do not rule out the possibility of additional, small-scale migrations to the Americas. For example, a 2010 genetic analysis of a well-preserved 4,000-year-old Paleo-Eskimo in Greenland led scientists to hypothesize that a group of people besides those from East Asia had migrated to the Americas. Commenting on this study, population geneticist Marcus Feldman of Stanford University said: "Models that suggest a single one-time migration are generally regarded as idealized systems. . There may have been small amounts of migrations going on for millennia."

Simon Southerton:

Scientists are well aware that many small-scale migrations have occurred and may even still occur in sub-Arctic populations. The Bering Strait is not a complete barrier to migration (if you have a kayak or two) and Eskimo/Inuit groups have crossed in both directions over recent millenia. This is what the 2010 Paleo-Eskimo paper was about and that is the context of Marcus Feldman's comments. He wasn't talking about Amerindian migrations down south.

LDS Newsroom:

One reason it is difficult to use DNA evidence to draw definite conclusions about Book of Mormon peoples is that nothing is known about the DNA that Lehi, Sariah, Ishmael, and others brought to the Americas.

Simon Southerton:

No. The problem is all that Asian DNA (99.5%) which arrived in the Americas in excess of 15,000 years ago. The only non-Asian DNA (0.5%) is either European or African and derived from post Columbus admixture. We don't see any orphan DNA lineages which may have come from somewhere else. It is also ridiculous to claim that we know nothing about the likely DNA lineages of the Book of Mormon founders. They came from the Middle East so they would have carried Middle Eastern DNA lineages, which are well characterised.

LDS Newsroom:

In addition to the catastrophic war at the end of the Book of Mormon, the European conquest of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries touched off just such a cataclysmic chain of events. As a result of war and the spread of disease, many Native American groups experienced devastating population losses. One molecular anthropologist observed that the conquest "squeezed the entire Amerindian population through a genetic bottleneck." He concluded, "This population reduction has forever altered the genetics of the surviving groups, thus complicating any attempts at reconstructing the pre-Columbian genetic structure of most New World groups."

Simon Southerton:

Yes, the genetic landscape was changed but are we to believe that Lamanites died out at a much higher rate than other Native Americans? Over a thousand DNA lineages have been determined from pre-Columbian ancient remains. All the lineages to date come from Asia.

LDS Newsroom:

Moreover, the shuffling and recombination of autosomal DNA from generation to generation produces new combinations of markers in which the predominant genetic signal comes from the larger original population. This can make the combinations of markers characteristic of the smaller group so diluted that they cannot be reliably identified.

Simon Southerton:

Twice in the last 3 years scientists have discovered hidden ancestors in our autosomal DNA. They discovered that people in non-African populations have a small percentage (1-4%) of Neanderthal DNA in their genome. Then more recently it was discovered that Melanesians and Australian Aboriginals carry a small proportion of DNA from Denisovans, a related hominid species that lived in Asia. These small proportions of "foreign" DNA entered our lineage 30-40 thousand years ago. If Middle Eastern DNA entered Native American populations in the last 3 thousand years there is no reason to believe that Middle Eastern markers would disappear completely.

LDS Newsroom:

Genetic profiles may be entirely lost, and combinations that once existed may become so diluted that they are difficult to detect. Thus, portions of a population may in fact be related genealogically to an individual or group but not have DNA that can be identified as belonging to those ancestors. In other words, Native Americans whose ancestors include Book of Mormon peoples may not be able to confirm that relationship using their DNA.

Simon Southerton:

This is complete nonsense. If people are genealogically related they MUST share genetic material, especially autosomal DNA.

LDS Newsroom:

As Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles observed, "It is our position that secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

Simon Southerton:

Then why the essay?

The Book of Mormon makes scientifically testable claims that science has continuously shown to have no basis in fact. The DNA evidence has exposed the true ancestry of Native Americans with amazing clarity and also, unfortunately for the LDS Church, the dubious history of the Book of Mormon.
The Limited Geography Theory Is Become The Vanishing Doctrine Theory
Monday, Feb 3, 2014, at 09:56 AM
Original Author(s): Jesus_smith
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
If the DNA Topic Essay article taught us one thing, it's that the church is sold on limited geography for many of the historical events recounted in their scripture.
  • The Book of Mormon lands were really limited to such a small region, we can't find them...yet.
  • The Nephites and Lamanites were really a small group and only became millions when they wandered out of their very limited, unique geography, and were swalllowed up in a massive indigenous population--all but vanishing their DNA.
  • The Garden of Eden existed in a bubble, surrounded by a massive earth-laboratory of God's evolution experiment. That bubble vanished somewhere in Missouri, without trace.
  • The Flood happened in a very localized region, and only accounted for the local population and animals. The earth's baptism by water was in fact, only a local sprinkling, but it's not the same as the Catholic sprinkling, so stop that!
  • The Tower of Babel was actually only about three stories high and confounded perhaps a half-dozen people who fell from the top and then couldn't talk coherently for days. But they all died anyway.
  • The supply of money at the Church Offices are limited and we need more!
These limited arguments will eventually vanish the church as it's known today and magically transform it into just another christian church with a strange but forgotten past. This is the Vanishing Doctrine Theory.
The Lamanites Are Headed For The Mormon Doctrine Which Shall Not Be Mentioned File
Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014, at 06:59 AM
Original Author(s): Drw
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Are the unfortunate Lamanites headed for the Mormon doctrine which shall not be mentioned file, along with the Curse of Cain and Kolob? After all, President Newsroom managed to get through the entire essay on DNA and the Book of Mormon without once using the word Lamanite. Could it be that things aren't looking so good for the imaginary Lamanites?

Several on this board have referred to the fact that Neanderthal DNA can still be detected in European lineages, some 40,000 years after Neanderthals ceased to roam the Earth. The Denisovan DNA that Simon mentioned remains in the genome of some modern human lineages more than ten thousand years after Denisovan hominin became extinct.

Yet, DNA from the Lamanites which, according to the author of the Book of Mormon and founder of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith Jr., comprised the Western Indian Tribes of 19th century America, is nowhere to be found.

Europeans who carry Neanderthal DNA are not considered Neanderthals. Australians who carry Denisovan DNA are not considered Denisovans. Yet, for some 180 years, faithful Mormons have been expected to believe that American Indians and Polynesians, in whose genomes not a trace of Lamanite DNA can be found, are nonetheless to be considered Lamanites.

Not to worry though. If the words of President Newsroom are any indication, it looks as though another silly Mormon doctrine might be headed for the doctrine which shall not be mentioned file, and not a moment too soon.
The Amazing, Magical, Shape Shifting Lamanite Nation
Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014, at 07:02 AM
Original Author(s): Craig Paxton
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Throughout the history of Mormonism the territorial setting for the Lamanite Nation has ebbed and flowed to fill which ever changing worldview is seemingly most plausible to believers at the time. Much like a gas that disperses to fill its environment…Lamanite geography has expanded or shrunk to fill the ever changing theories to explain away the lack of support for its existence. LDS General Authorities, church apologists and even members have promoted various models through the years to set the Lamanite Nation, only to have the latest and greatest hypotheses fall out of fashion when it fails to comport with the archeological, linguistical and genetic realities found in real time and space.

What members of the church are left with is a wack- a- mole circle of conflicting theories that are rolled out in turn as each successive theory is dismissed. Yet despite this game, not one member of the LDS church can point to a single square foot of earth in this world using any of the theories and say with any degree of credibility that here…this is the place…where an actual living Lamanite walked.

Over the years three conflicting theories have emerged. The Limited, (suggesting that the territorial setting for the Lamanite nation took place within a small limited geographic location; the Hemispheric (suggesting that it took place throughout both North and South America) and the heartland (suggesting a limited setting in the environment familiar to Joseph Smith i.e. Ohio, New York, Missouri, Illinois, Great Lake region) This post will not go into the various conflicting details of these theories…just know that they are mutually exclusive.

Now the LDS Newsroom has spoken and driven a stake in the ground declaring that the Lamanite Nation is both nowhere and everywhere. It was both limited and hemispheric. It was both regional and continental. It is a shape shifting to fill whatever geography theory that is currently in vogue.

When there is no evidence of any gas…one can claim that the gas is both everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

So now we have a new geographic theory for the setting of the Lamanite civilization…the Shape-Shifter Theory…Finally the church can claim that Lamanites both existed and didn’t exist...they were everywhere and no where...all pre-Columbians desended from Lehi and None of them desended from Lehi

Fortunately for the church when you know the answers to the questions before they are even asked you have the luxury of stating with a straight face that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Because the Lamanite nation has shape shifted to the size of a flee sitting on the 50 yard line of an NFL football field…the very fact that we cannot see it does not mean that it isn’t there.

Unfortunately by reducing the Lamanites to untestable levels creates its own problems… But that as they say is a question for another day…
Do Church Leaders Think Members Are Stupid? The Essays...
Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014, at 07:17 AM
Original Author(s): Bazooka
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
This is a list of the recent 'essay' editions to the Gospel Topics section:

"First Vision Accounts"

"Are Mormons Christian?"

"Book of Mormon Translation"

"Race and the Priesthood"

"Plural Marriage and Families in Early

"Book of Mormon and DNA Studies"

They are supposed to be faith promoting responses to questions that are troubling members.

They are diabolical.

1. They are not faith promoting. They simply serve to confirm that what the ant-mormon critics have been saying for years is, in fact, accurate.

2. They are not truthful. Historical information is either missed or has been written in a deliberately misleading manner.

3. They are not good scholarship. They are riddled with serious error or unsupported conjecture. They cherry pick data and information. They rely on some very shoddy non official sources.

4. They are badly written and prompt more questions rather provide answers.

5. They are published online anonymously and undated and are therefore easy to disavow when the time comes. They are yet to be published in the Ensign. Giving the impression that the Church wants members (now or in the future) to stumble across them and have the impression that they've always been available.

6. They treat the reader as if they are 8 years old and will swallow anything the Church feeds them.

In short, having read all of them, they are probably the worst thing the Church has produced in a very long time. I would be interested to know what other people think of them as a collection and wether or not the leadership is pleased with how they are being received in the pews.
Thoughts On The Book Of Mormon And DNA Studies Essay
Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014, at 07:19 AM
Original Author(s): Tim The Enchanter
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
My thoughts.

Nothing is known about the DNA of Book of Mormon peoples
Why not? We know where Jared, Lehi, and Mulek came from and at what time and we know about the genetic makeup of people from that particular time and place. The Book of Mormon even identifies Lehi's ancestry.

The Book of Mormon provides little direct information about cultural contact between the peoples it describes and others who may have lived nearby.
Little? It contains none. The text states that the land was purposely left empty by God so Lehi's family would have the land as their inheritance.

The Book of Mormon itself, however, does not claim that the peoples it describes were either the predominant or the exclusive inhabitants of the lands they occupied.
Bullcrap. 2 Nephi 1:8-9 contradict this statement. "And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance. Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever."

Finding and clearly identifying their DNA today may be asking more of the science of population genetics than it is capable of providing.
If the science isn't settled, why back track the introduction to state that the Lamanites are "among" the ancestors of the Native Americans?

Genetic variations are introduced through what geneticists call random mutation.
I wish they would have said 'so called' random mutation. Hehe.

Even if geneticists had a database of the DNA that now exists among all modern American Indian groups, it would be impossible to know exactly what to search for.
Why can't they search for the type of DNA that existed at the time and place that Jared, Lehi, and Mulek came from?

It is possible that each member of the emigrating parties described in the Book of Mormon had DNA typical of the Near East, but it is likewise possible that some of them carried DNA more typical of other regions.
What is the possibility that Jared, Lehi, and Mulek had DNA that did not look like the DNA from the other people in time and place they came from? I think they use the word "possibility" here because they don't want to talk "probability."

The effect of drift is especially pronounced in small, isolated populations or in cases where a small group carrying a distinct genetic profile intermingles with a much larger population of a different lineage.
So were the Jaredites, Lehites, and Mulekites supposed to have existed in small, isolated areas or are they supposed to have intermingled with the people that were already here (that the Book of Mormon says didn't exist). Also, earlier they said the distinct genetic profile was "possible." Now, the article acts like it's a given.

Much as critics and defenders of the Book of Mormon would like to use DNA studies to support their views
I love how they act like they are taking to task defenders of the Book of Mormon too. The truth is, they don't want members getting into the DNA debate at all. They want the members to forget about the DNA issue. That's why they act like they are harping on Book of Mormon defenders too. This sends a signal to the members that studying the issue is a waste of their time and that they shouldn't bother looking into it further.

Nothing is known about the DNA of Book of Mormon peoples.
I'm not a geneticist, but that's just wrong, right? If we know the DNA of the people from the time and place that Jared, Lehi, and Mulek came from, we know what their DNA should look like. Right?

Their promise to all who study the book "with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ," is that God "will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." For countless individuals who have applied this test of the book's authenticity, the Book of Mormon stands as a volume of sacred scripture with the power to bring them closer to Jesus Christ.
Let's forget about all this science stuff, okay? It's enough that it makes you feel good, right? It brings you closer to Christ, right?

The most glaring omission to me is that the essay completely ignores the verses in the DandC that reference the Lamanites. If the Lamanites existed when and where the DandC said they did, the bottleneck theory is garbage.'s "Book Of Mormon And DNA Studies" Article Vs. The Wentworth Letter
Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): 1point21gigawatts
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Although many great responses to the Church's "Book of Mormon and DNA Studies" essay have been published, to me the most damning piece of evidence against the arguments advanced in that essay is the Wentworth letter.

The reason the Wentworth Letter is so damning is because it flatly contradicts the notion in the Church essay that other people existed in the Western Hemisphere contemporaneously with the Book of Mormon peoples.

Joseph Smith wrote the Wentworth letter in March 1842 to John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat. In the letter, Smith provided a brief personal history, including his visitations from the Angel Moroni and his translation of the Book of Mormon. Smith wrote that the history of Ancient America consists only of the Jaredites and the Nephites/Lamanites. Smith also wrote that the remnants of the latter race "are the Indians that now inhabit this country."

While these quotes are damaging enough, even more damning is that Smith claimed to have been taught about the origins of current American Indians by the Angel Moroni: "I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country [America] and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments...."

Thus, apologists cannot claim that Joseph Smith was mistaken when he described the history of Ancient America, because Smith was taught that history by the Angel Moroni.

Thus, to believe that other civilizations existed in the Western hemisphere contemporaneously with the Book of Mormon peoples, you would have to believe either (1) that Angel Moroni (himself a former ancient American inhabitant and current angel) was uninformed; or (2) that God mislead Joseph Smith. To me, either of those stretches mental gymnastics beyond their breaking point.

The church also can't really back down from the letter since they had a general conference address on it in 2002. See:

The teachings of Joseph Smith also talks about it and that basically tells us the letter is accurate, offical and by the hand of the Prophet himself, Its even compared to the book of Abraham and the facsimiles. See:

I feel like we should include the actual quotes from the letter[1] .
On the evening of the 21st of September, A. D. 1823, while I was praying unto God, and endeavoring to exercise faith in the precious promises of scripture on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a far purer and more glorious appearance, and brightness burst into the room, indeed the first sight was as though the house was filled with consuming fire; the appearance produced a shock that affected the whole body; in a moment a personage stood before me surrounded with a glory yet greater than that with which I was already surrounded. This messenger proclaimed himself to be an angel of God sent to bring the joyful tidings, that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel was at hand to be fulfilled, that the preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel, in all its fulness [fullness] to be preached in power, unto all nations that a people might be prepared for the millennial reign.

I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of his purposes in this glorious dispensation.

I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country, and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people was made known unto me: I was also told where there was deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgement [abridgment] of the records of the ancient prophets that had existed on this continent. The angel appeared to me three times the same night and unfolded the same things. After having received many visits from the angels of God unfolding the majesty, and glory of the events that should transpire in the last days, on the morning of the 22d of September A. D. 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into my hands.

In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.
New Topic : Becoming Like God/Deification
Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014, at 07:19 AM
Original Author(s): Curious_mormon
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
By far the best essay; albiet, the bar is pretty low. They take the weird doctrine, and then they almost own it. My only complaints are how much was left out (which I'll have to do a post on later), again the sourced apologists are not mentioned by name (but we can probably figure them out from the arguments), and how they are trying to appease everyone by playing both sides of the fence. In half the article, you're a God, glory be to you, while the other half is all "God" isn't really what you think it is.

For those who didn't read it:

Section 1 [Not God] is all about how we aren't physically Gods, but instead spiritually created. It is interesting to mention that they

Section 2 [God] goes into how the early christians knew you would be Gods, and how other christians are wrong that it was all metaphysical (PS: look at the 1990 endowment ceremony changes where the LDS church taught that this was "simply figurative")

Section 3 [Maybe God, Maybe not] goes into how it's unclear what the early christians knew about godhood. (PS: Notice the comparison to Eastern Orthodoxy. It's flawed, and MRM has a few things to say about it).

Section 4 [Firmly God equal to God the Father] goes into the history. It touches on Joseph's claims that we would be equal to God. It is so well documented that it's undeniably Mormon Doctrine. In my opinion, this is why we have seen this doctrine embraced here (even if it's not elsewhere).

Section 5 [Still undeniably God] continues this theme with modern leaders. Quotes on becoming God or like God.

Section 6 [Equal is a funny word] backs away from earlier claims. It says God will always be above you, and it tries to ingratiate itself with other christian denominations. It redefines equal as sharing the same goals. This is key

Section 7 [You're not going to be one of those "planet" type of Gods] is all about redefining Godhood to be anything but what God the father is. It speaks in generalities of things we'd normally consider good such as compassion, reproduction, or awe of the grand universe. It stops just short of defining the covenants it hints to.

Section 8 [Hey Look over there] is the information dump without the information. It's mostly a sales pitch without going into detail on anything they're trying to sell.

Section 9 [Obfuscation] is about insuring your less sure about the doctrine when you leave than when you arrived on the page. It's the "conclusion" that doesn't really give any conclusion. It's ambiguous and not clear.

Conclusion: (done right) I honestly believe that they were trying to own this doctrine. The problem with apologists is that they're too used to defending the faith and are unwilling to just outright say anything that can be used against them later. They always need to write in an out (children in spirit, early leaders believed lots of things that were wrong, and "God" doesn't really mean you're going to be a "GOD" God like God the father.
New Essay Means It's Once Again Time To Share My Favorite New Era Article
Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014, at 07:33 AM
Original Author(s): Judyblue
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
"People on Other Worlds"

by Kent Nielsen - April 1971

For all the TBMs saying that the belief that we would all get our own planets some day is just a "caricature" or fringe belief that has no basis in doctrine.

Select quotes pertinent to the "Becoming Like God" essay:
When you look up into the heavens at night and see the countless numbers of stars, it is easy to imagine other people "out there" being tested and tried and experiencing struggles and joys somewhat similar to those we are going through. But the most exciting thing about this whole basic and fundamental concept is that it is true. Totally and completely true. People growing, developing, and finding fulfillment-out there!...

Long before our God began his creations, he dwelt on a mortal world like ours, one of the creations that his Father had created for him and his brethren. He, with many of his brethren, was obedient to the principles of the eternal gospel. One among these, it is presumed, was a savior for them, and through him they obtained a resurrection and an exaltation on an eternal, celestial world. Then they gained the power and godhood of their Father and were made heirs of all that he had, continuing his works and creating worlds of their own for their own posterity-the same as their Father had done before, and his Father, and his Father, and on and on...

The great hope of the gospel for us is that we may come to a oneness with our Lord and our Father and partake of this same work and glory and godhood. Being joint-heirs of all that the Father has, we may then look forward to using those powers to organize still other worlds from the unorganized matter that exists throughout boundless space. Creating other worlds, peopling them with our own eternal posterity, providing a savior for them, and making known to them the saving principles of the eternal gospel, that they may have the same experiences we are now having and be exalted with us in their turn-this is eternal life.

We do not know how extensive is the order of heavens that pertain to our Lord Jesus Christ and that were created by him. It may consist of the local group of stars to which our sun belongs, or of our whole galaxy, or of our cluster of galaxies, or of all of the galaxies we have so far discovered.
The LDS Essay On The Book Of Mormon And The First Vision
Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014, at 07:18 AM
Original Author(s): Joan
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
There are many problems with the LDS essay on the First Vision:

And the book of Mormon:

I will start with a few issues that instantly come to mind.

The largest problem, which I see as an extremely deceptive writing tactic, is that they separated the first vision from the book of Mormon/gold plates. By doing this they strategically leave out any incriminating details that might easily link the deception if it were in the same essay.

They also gloss over and omit large amounts of information pertinent to either topic. For example, they mention the very first angel vision as related to Joseph learning about the gold plates, but they don't offer all the accounts.

The First Vision essay does offer various accounts but they leave out the incriminating ones listed below (there are different sites offering the accounts but I'll use this site below):

By reading the accounts and the details all together it is easier to spot discrepancies and deception, but that is no doubt why they chose to write about them separately.

An account says it was an 1823 revival that led him to go to his bedroom (not to a sacred grove) and pray "if a Supreme being did exist" and to know that "he was accepted of him." An angel (not a deity) is then reported to have appeared and told him of his forgiveness and of the gold plates. (Messenger andamp; Advocate I, pp. 42, 78).

The above account was of course omitted from both essays.

Joseph's mother, likewise, knew nothing of an 1820 vision. In her unpublished account, she traces the origin of Mormonism to a bedroom visit by an angel. Joseph at the time had been "pondering which of the churches were the true one." The angel told him "there is not a true church on Earth. No not one" (First draft of "Lucy Smith's History," LDS Church Archives).

Furthermore, she tells us that the revival which led her joining the church took place following the death of her son, Alvin. Alvin died Nov. 19, 1823, and following that painful loss she reports that, "about this time there was a great revival in religion and the whole neighborhood was very much aroused to the subject and we among the rest, flocked to the meeting house to see if there was a word of comfort for us that might relieve our over-charged feelings" (p. 55-56).

There is plenty of additional evidence that the revival Lucy Smith refers to did occur during the winter of 1824-25. It was reported in at least a dozen newspapers and religious periodicals. Church records show outstanding increases due to the reception of new converts. The essay downplays this by focusing on data that claims there were revivals in 1820 and earlier and thereby distract the reader from the glaring discrepancies and issues surrounding the first visions and the book of Mormon origin. The essay apologist may try to downplay differing dates by saying it's normal and even commonplace to confuse dates. The problem is that the entire timeline would be inaccurate and impossible to fit in if the first vision happened in 1823 or 1824.

Even Oliver Cowdery recanted the date claiming it happened in 1823 stating that 1820 was a type error. Unfortunately Joseph himself used too many differing dates and data to cause the date error to support any or all story variations, as did Lucy Smith.

1832 Joseph Smith, Jr. began an account of the origin of the Mormon Church (the only one written in his own hand) that contradicts the official First Vision story he dictated some six years later. The account was never finished. (See the text in BYU Studies, Spring 1969, pp. 278ff. and is also included in Dean C. Jessee's The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984, pp. 14ff).)

Joseph writes: "by searching the Scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament (Personal Writings, p. 5).

Six years later, when Joseph set forth his official First Vision account, he changed his story. Instead, he said that the Father and the Son told him that all the churches were wrong and he must join none of them.

An excerpt from the essay:
"The angel charged Joseph Smith to translate the book from the ancient language in which it was written. The young man, however, had very little formal education and was incapable of writing a book on his own, let alone translating an ancient book written from an unknown language, known in the Book of Mormon as "reformed Egyptian." Joseph's wife Emma insisted that, at the time of translation, Joseph "could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictat[e] a book like the Book of Mormon."
Emma apparently had a very different opinion of her husband than he had of himself.

Joseph writes: "by searching the Scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament (Personal Writings, p. 5).

Joseph claims that he could read and analyze clearly enough to decide that the "Gospel: of Jesus Christ wasn't in existence." This wasn't an uncommon or unusual claim in his era; many other religions arose before Mormonism due to similar observations, but he certainly was coherent whether his ability to write reflected it or not. History is full of countless people who were very intelligent but had poor written skills. For example, the story of Jesus could be used as an example: according to the new testament Jesus was able to read, was a remarkable and charisatic orator but didn't write anything..he had scribes for that. Even a number of his apostles didn't write, but attained Roman or Grecian scribes to write the stories for them.

The authorized and accepted lds first vision states that he also read in the new testament and asked god pertaining to questions that arose after reading and studying. He wasn't college educated and as a farm boy his lack of writing skills were obviously apparent to Emma, but the apologists like to claim that he was a stupid farm boy who couldn't have possibly written the book. Smith may have not been well educated, but he was cunning and clever enough to read, study, ask questions and form a story foundation for a religion. How many people do you know who are that smart and clever? Let us not make the lds mistake of confusing school education with intelligence or cleverness. He was smart enough to surround himself with educated people who could help him in areas where he lacked abilities . Now that is clever!

Orsamus Turner, an apprentice printer in Palmyra until 1822, was in a juvenile debating club with Joseph Smith. He recalled that Joseph, "after catching a spark of Methodism ... became a very passable exhorter in evening meetings" (History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, 1851, p. 214).

Smith's orator skills were good enough to be noted by a local and mentioned in documentation. He may not have been educated to write, thereby securing scribes, but he could verbalize well enough; which verbal stories, leadership skills, organizational abilities and orating skills are further evidenced in his leadership of the Mormon group. The essay omitted this entirely while focusing on the fact that he had little formal education and incapable of writing a book on his own. Lack of writing skills clearly didn't detract from his vivid imagination nor from his ability to organize scribes and financiers to assist him in accomplishing his desires and career pursuits.

The LDS essay attests to his verbal skills when they write, "Of his experience as scribe, Cowdery wrote, "These were days never to be forgotten-to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven." His orator skills were so profound as to cause Cowdery and many others to be utterly smitten; enough to sign affadavits without ever having visually and literally seen the plates. This was not some unintelligent man unable to put two sentences together as this LDS apologetic essay would have the reader believe.

"The other instrument, which Joseph Smith discovered in the ground years before he retrieved the gold plates, was a small oval stone, or "seer stone." As a young man during the 1820s, Joseph Smith, like others in his day, used a seer stone to look for lost objects and buried treasure. As Joseph grew to understand his prophetic calling, he learned that he could use this stone for the higher purpose of translating scripture."
Of course he needed a gimmick - he couldn't write! Stones were his gimmick of choice. He had used them previously, therefore it is not surprising he would be "given" one to help convey his book of Mormon story. It's too coincidental that he'd be given the very thing - a stone - to help him form a book when the stones had also assisted him with his treasure hunting forays.

The essay omits the damaging stories that as a young man he was driven from locations for being a fraudulent treasure hunter. They divert the reader by saying "like others in his day". In this way they hope the reader will be led to believe that others did it therefore it was okay. The old phrase, "nothing to see here folks, move along" comes to mind. While it is true that others did it, many Christians viewed it as being in league with the devil.

Furthermore, the manner in which Joseph attempted to convince people that he could find treasure on their land for a fee is NOT something that others in his day did. Taking money and not supplying the promised treasure is not something every other person did. It was not a common career choice. That specific type of activity was a career that was reserved for conmen and hucksters.

The article also doesn't disclose his court case for money digging in 1826. Not just EVERY treasure hunter gets charged for fraudulent treasure hunting. Note the date, 1826. He was involved in scamming and treasure hunting months before he claimed he received the plates. At this point he wasn't just "a young man". He was a 21 year old man. In those days it was common for a boy to be sent to work as a teen and like many others from his era, he had been working for years. The point they fail to make is that not all the "young men" of his era chose fields of work that would claim they could find treasures on your land for a fee; leading up to a court case. That field of work was generally left to conmen, which is why he had a reputation as a conman and was run out of numerous communities and thought of with suspicion. He did not have a trustworthy career or reputation which reflects his character on the whole. At age 21 he was certainly old enough to know better - not a kid playing around and getting into trouble. He was a man.

"Apparently for convenience, Joseph often translated with the single seer stone rather than the two stones bound together to form the interpreters."
The previous paragraph in the essay tried to make him seem like an unintelligent person who couldn't write his name much less a book. Now they say he was such a good and clever translator that he didn't need the two stones, but managed with one stone.

The lds apologists continue to mislead people by trying to convince them that smith was not intelligent enough to write, or was too young, and therefore could never write the book of Mormon. They try to make him out like every other "young" man. He was not acting and behaving like every other man. Oh, he was extremely intelligent and clever - he just wasn't taught to write due to a farm environment producing an absence of school education. History is full of people who got grade 3 educations and went on to be brilliant in specific fields. It happens that Smiths field was that of conning people with storytelling. He didn't need to write to do that; which is why he secured a scribe. All he needed was a fantastic imagination and charisma, and he had that in spades. He had enough intelligence to secure influential people who could assist him in areas he needed help with regarding his career. The transition point of his career was in using stones and stories to dig for treasure on farmers land vs stones and stories to present a book which he would use to get money from in various ways.

"Some people have balked at this claim of physical instruments used in the divine translation process, but such aids to facilitate the communication of God's power and inspiration are consistent with accounts in scripture. In addition to the Urim and Thummim, the Bible mentions other physical instruments used to access God's power: the rod of Aaron, a brass serpent, holy anointing oils, the Ark of the Covenant, and even dirt from the ground mixed with saliva to heal the eyes of a blind man."
It's not the physical instruments that most people balk at. It's all the many issues surrounding it that we balk at. As the essay even mentions that the stones were just an unnecessary prop, which he had used all along in his career. Once he saw that his audience was trusting and believing he wouldn't have a need for such props, and the essay states that he indeed didn't use them even though they were there for the specific purpose of helping him read this bizarre language on the plates.

The writer pulls out one situation that can be correlated with bible stories and uses it to verify that smith was authentic. This is a clever tactic to omit big issues surrounding the translation event and divert the reader to associate the translation event with other bible references, even though the majority of the comparison is completely invalid and doesn't pertain fully to the example they are referencing. In other words, they take snippets of things that can be referenced, such as the case of the bible examples and hope that the reader will focus on that, rather than the many details they've purposely left out.

Now they've offered the reader a few pertinent details, while leaving out big details.

"In the preface to the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith wrote: "I would inform you that I translated [the book], by the gift and power of God." When pressed for specifics about the process of translation, Joseph repeated on several occasions that it had been done "by the gift and power of God" and once added, "It was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the book of Mormon."
"Nevertheless, the scribes and others who observed the translation left numerous accounts that give insight into the process. Some accounts indicate that Joseph studied the characters on the plates. Most of the accounts speak of Joseph's use of the Urim and Thummim (either the interpreters or the seer stone), and many accounts refer to his use of a single stone. According to these accounts, Joseph placed either the interpreters or the seer stone in a hat, pressed his face into the hat to block out extraneous light, and read aloud the English words that appeared on the instrument. The process as described brings to mind a passage from the Book of Mormon that speaks of God preparing "a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light."
Nobody ever saw the plates with their physical eyes. They saw an object under a cloth and were told it was plates. There was a blanket in place between Smith and the scribe during many of the sessions until Smith learned that his audience trusted him explicitly and had courage to take down the blanket. A list of the people who believed him is either colleagues from Masonry, relatives, or gullible folks like Martin Harris. The rest of the people denounced him as a fraud and conman and ran him out of their community and spoke or wrote articles that reflected their complete disbelief in these stories.

When you put your face in a hat you begin to use up oxygen in the hat. Loss of oxygen is called hypoxia. What happens to the mind when oxygen is low?

The link data describes light headedness in similar situations as physical exertion. Consider that many ancient tribes purposely traumatize themselves to create states of stress and shock to help the body and mind induce visionary states. Traditionally these states are often induced and called Dream Quests, or Vision Quests. These deprivation stimulation techniques are still practiced in eastern culture today. Could Smith have experienced a form of hypoxia causing endorphins and other chemical hormones to activate and assist him with his visionary abilities? It is a far more probable explanation than to convince me that it was a gift from God and "It was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the book of Mormon."

"The process as described brings to mind a passage from the Book of Mormon that speaks of God preparing "a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light."
The writer of this LDS essay has been taught that Joseph Smith did not create the book of Mormon story, but that it was real, therefore the comment of the stone from the book of Mormon is an ancient revelation foretelling Smith and his peepstone shining in the dark hat.

Non-mormons would recognize that the book of Mormon was fabricated by Smith's creative imagination, based on his past creative imaginative stories and he inserted the stone story in the book of Mormon as he imagined and created the story. I can see it now.. Harris says, "Joe, you've taken the blanket down. I can see your head is in a hat. Why is your head in a hat?" Joe lifts his head out of the hat as his next `translation' is, "God will prepare a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light." From then on the stone went directly into the hat. Why would he say he put a stone in a hat if the essay also says that he didn't have to use a stone but received his ability through a gift of God?

"According to Emma, the plates "often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen table cloth."
Why didn't Emma look under the cloth and make a statement that she physically and literally saw the plates? Instead the affidavits are written by friends and relatives who didn't physically see the plates.

How reliable is Emma, his wife?

The date Smith first claimed to receive the plates is 1827. I will remind you that in 1826, he was brought before a court in Chenango County, New York, for "glass-looking", or pretending to find lost treasure. The result of the proceeding remains unclear, as different first-hand accounts of the trial report various conflicting outcomes. For a survey of the primary sources, see Dan Vogel, "Rethinking the 1826 Judicial Decision", Mormon Scripture Studies.) At this time there was NO mention in this trial data of Smith finding gold plates. Certainly it is suspicious that he wouldn't defend himself in the trial by saying that he already found gold plates and was continuing to treasure hunt due to his previous success. It is even more suspicious that the court wouldn't have known about such an acquisition of previously finding gold plates. This alerts me to suspect that he never did find gold plates and corroborates that his story is made up much later and events and dates inserted back in time.

In 1826, while boarding at the Hale house in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Smith met Emma Hale and began courting her. When Smith asked for Emma's hand in marriage, her father, Isaac Hale, objected because Smith was "a stranger" and had no means of supporting his daughter other than money digging. There is no mention of Joseph telling her parents that he wasn't just a money digger, but he had dug up a treasure in the Hill Cumorah, on instruction from an angel. Surely this would have been noteworthy information that would not have escaped Isaac Hale should he have heard about it. Instead Isaac Hale is concerned that Joseph has no reputable means of supporting his daughter other than that of money digging. Joseph obviously had to find a career and a means of making money in a more reputable fashion than money digging. He showed the steps he took to secure a more acceptable career by starting a new religion. But he couldn't be a minister founder of a new religion, oh no, he had to be a prophet. His career was always out of the normal no matter which way he pursued it. His money digging segued into an opportunity to develop a religion as he saw the ideal backdrop for a new religion. After he claimed to dig up the gold plates he no longer had any need for treasure digging and his past imaginative skills for story telling took the foreground as he established the basis for his new religion.

On January 18, 1827, Smith and Emma eloped to marry, and the couple began boarding with Smith's parents in Manchester. On September 22, 1827, Smith made his last annual visit to the hill, taking Emma with him. This time, he said, he retrieved the plates and placed them in a locked chest, which he had Willard Chase make for him in advance. He said the angel commanded him not to show the plates to anyone else but to publish their translation, reputed to be the religious record of indigenous Americans, which the book of Mormon refers to as Lamanites. (Quinn (1998, pp. 163-64) Smith had presumably learned from his stone that Emma was the key to obtaining the plates; Bushman (2005, p. 54) (noting accounts stating that Emma was the key).

It's impossible to believe that he would not have previously told Emma, Emma's parents, with the hope that he would find favor in their eyes and not have to elope. He would have told the court in his treasure seeking hearing of March 20 1826; but no, one and a half years after his court hearing Smith takes his new bride, Emma, to the hill where he retrieves the plates. Emma does not mention that Smith previously told her about the plates during their courtship which would have corroborated the story happening previous to 1827. Instead Smith said that God told him not to show the plates and not to tell. However, he could now tell Emma. He could also now tell other people in the hope of financially securing money for his future endeavors. How strange it is that God would have went to all that work, provided angels to instruct him, had an ancient man put gold plates in a hill for joseph to find. That God would declare this the most important book and religion - the most true and correct book and religion - on the face of the earth, but God wouldn't have had the forethought to ensure that additional gold was put in the stone box, along with the stones, so Joseph could sell the gold and financially be provided for as this true book and true religion was being organized. It simply does not make sense.

Smith later told Emma's parents that his treasure-seeking days were behind him. Although Smith had left his treasure hunting company, his former associates believed he had double-crossed them by taking for himself what they considered joint property. They ransacked places where a competing treasure-seer said the plates were hidden, which caused Smith to decide to move from Palmyra.

I suspect the phrase "Emma was the key" is another way of saying that marrying Emma was the root of his motives. My theory that his desperate need to provide an income and a more acceptable career as a husband caused him to stretch his imagination a little further, and make a jump from a treasure hunter to "treasure hunter extraordinare". Which is why 1827 is the magic year for him, the year of his marriage and why the stories were confused and contradictory.. ..they were back inserted later hobbled together with inaccurate dates and details because it didn't really happen.

The Mormon final story is that on 22nd of Sept. 1823 the angel showed JS the plates, and instruments, meaning the urimm and thummim stones. The stones are another recurring part of his life. He couldn't get them in 1823, but apparently had them up until 1826 to treasure hunt when he was charged in court as a `glass looker'. How could he have stones in 1826 to find treasure when he was not allowed to take the box and treasure until 1827 when his wife was pregnant with their first son? This man surely did have the use of stones in his life.

I posit that his family knew nothing of the plates because it was an invention born out of desperation from his 1827 marriage.

Family secrets aside, it is noteworthy that both Emma and his past associates knew nothing of the gold plate treasure even though his mother Lucy knew enough of Joseph's spiritual endeavors. In the story as it appears in Mormon scripture, Joseph says that in 1823, three years after the 1820 First Vision, he was visited by an angel Moroni or nephi. The angel tells Joseph about the gold plates but says he must wait four years before obtaining them. Is it coincidence that the 4th year coincides nicely with Joseph's marriage to Emma? If Emma was the key why didn't he get the plates in 1826 when he first met Emma?

My connect-the-dots theory make rational sense that Smith needed money and a career that would be more honorable than a treasure-seeker who was taken to court. He needed to impress Emma Hale's parents if he was to win her hand in marriage. This is why they eloped. This is also why the entire story came after the book of Mormon was written. He needed a backdrop for the plates that represented his new religion, of which he was the preacher and prophet orator. Where does a young man with debate and orator skills go to make money to impress his in-laws and have a viable career for his new wife? For Joseph, who was enthralled with religion, his choice was to start his own religion. Later Joseph shows this same trait when he didn't want to join another men's club - the Masons, he wanted to start his own, which he did in the form of the Mormon temple. He didn't want to be a preacher for another man's religion, he wanted to start his own and be a prophet no less, which he did with Mormonism. Now the desperate scheme to obtain money and a career began through a different approach.

Yes, I think his marriage to Emma was the key, but his desperation to attempt to turn over a new leaf was impossible as he still used conman schemes and approaches applying them within the Mormon organization.

This is where the plot becomes more desperate....

In October 1827, Smith and his pregnant wife moved from Palmyra to Harmony. Their first child, Alvin, was born June 15, 1828. A little math indicates that Emma was pregnant around September 1827, one month before they moved.

Desperation indeed!

Eight months after he elopes with Emma he retrieves the plates on September, 1827 - the same month he discovers Emma is pregnant with their first child. In this case the phrase: Desperation is the mother of invention, couldn't be more applicable. How does a conman with no basic skills, but a creative vivid imagination and good oral skills secure an income to impress his in-laws and provide for his family while making a living that suits his history and style? In this case vperhaps Emma wasn't the key, but rather his new found discovery that she was pregnant; which would require money and a job to appease his in-laws. This also explains why he got on the plate interpretation story after he met Emma. I don't think Emma was the key at all, I think his nervousness of discovering Emma was pregnant and being a first time father was the key that got the ball rolling, or as Bushman might say, "got the stone rolling. "

They left Palmyra aided by money from a comparatively prosperous neighbor, Martin Harris. The Martin Harris relationship tells of stories communicated by Smith in desperation to secure money. Harris's wife was suspicious and wanted to catch Smith in his lies. Unfortunately Harris was a rather gullible man who wasn't easily dissuaded from parting with his money.

With a financial benefactor in the form of Martin Harris, a pregnant wife, and a new career, Smith moves near his in-laws.

His character didn't seem to be too concerned about honesty or obedience. Consider his lies to Harris when attempting to acquire a source of money income....

Remember, Smith needed income and some type of job to support his wife and child on the way, not to mention appease his in-laws. But he couldn't just create a branch-off sect like the Quakers, or the Campbellites, or Mennonites, no in true Smith Grandeur he had to be involved in something spectacular; just as he couldn't make a living as a farmhand or other reputable incomes, he had to be a treasure hunter with a looking glass. He had a penchant for the spectacular and dramatic, which shows in his encounters with Harris.

The following account of Harris to Reverend Clark contains many similarities to Harris 1859 testimony:

In the month of June, 1827, Joseph Smith, Sen. related the first known story to Willard Chase. (5 months after he and Emma eloped.) Was Smith desperate for money necessitating people as a staged backdrop for his story? Willard states that Joseph approached Martin Harris, a man with money, to say that God has given Joseph a commandment that Harris is the one God wants to assist financially in producing the Book of Mormon. The father knew the story l and spoke of it to Willard in 1827, but if he had known the story in 1823 why didn't he speak of anyone about it until 1827, when his son was now married and desperate for an income and more reputable career than treasure hunting.

An interesting part of the account:
"He (Joseph Jr) again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box something like toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head. - Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his fright, he inquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders."
Joseph Jr or Sr weren't concerned about asking the spirit why he had transformed from a toad. This didn't appear to be of concern to Joe who considered it a trifle! He did describe concern at being struck and sent flying and hurt; but after he recovered from his fright at being knocked down he didn't ask why he had seen a toad, or what the angel did this for, instead he asked why he couldn't obtain the plates? To which the spirit replied, because you have not obeyed your orders.

This is a convenient reference to Harris' requirement for obeying orders, recalling that God has given Joseph a commandment that Harris is the one God wants to assist financially in producing the Book of Mormon. Establishing the tactic of fear and obedience to God was widely used in establishing Mormon doctrine and is still used among Mormons when teaching doctrines. If enough people could believe that God told Harris to obey a doctrine then the fear and obedience to that commandment might be established more easily. Fear and obedience is now and has always been a powerful driving force within Mormonism.

"...In the fore part of September, (I believe,) 1827, the Prophet [Joseph Smith] requested me to make him a chest, informing me that he designed to move back to Pennsylvania, and expecting soon to get his gold book, he wanted a chest to lock it up, giving me to understand at the same time, that if I would make the chest he would give me a share in the book.

..."A few weeks after this conversation, he came to my house and related the following story: That on the 22nd of September, he arose early in the morning, and took a one horse wagon, of someone that had stayed over night at their house, without leave or license; and, together with his wife, repaired to the hill which contained the book. He left his wife in the wagon, by the road, and went alone to the hill, a distance of thirty or forty rods from the road; he said he took the book out of the ground and hid it in a tree top, and returned home. . He then observed that if it had not been for that stone [Joseph's money-digging seer stone], (which he acknowledged belonged to me,) he would not have obtained the book. A few days afterwards, he told one of my neighbors that he had not got any such book, nor never had such an one; but that he had told the story to deceive the d-d fool, (meaning me,) to get him to make a chest. His neighbors having become disgusted with his foolish stories, he determined to go back toPennsylvania, to avoid what he called persecution. His wits were now put to the task to contrive how he should get money to bear his expenses. He met one day in the streets of Palmyra, a rich man, whose name was Martin Harris, and addressed him thus; `I have a commandment from God to ask the first man I meet in the street to give me fifty dollars, to assist me in doing the work of the Lord by translating the Golden Bible.' Martin being naturally a credulous man, hands Joseph the money."

Note the date he was asked to make the chest was in the autumn of 1827.

Fueled by Harris' money and support Smith transcribed some characters which he said were engraved on the plates, and then dictated a translation to his wife.

Smith continued to dictate to Harris until mid-June 1828, until Harris began having doubts about the project, fueled in part by his wife's skepticism. Harris convinced Smith to let him take the existing 116 pages of manuscript to Palmyra to show a few family members, including his wife. Harris lost the manuscript-of which there was no copy.-at about the same time as Smith's wife Emma gave birth to a stillborn son. Their firstborn, Alvin, didn't live through the day of June 15, 1828. He was born with un-described birth defects.

Smith said that as punishment for losing the manuscript the angel took away the plates and revoked his ability to translate until September 22, 1828, when Smith said that the plates were given back to him. ((Phelps 1833, sec. 2:4-5) (revelation dictated by Smith stating that his gift to translate was temporarily revoked); Smith (1832, p. 5) (stating that the angel had taken away the plates and the Urim and Thumim stone); Smith (1853, p. 126).)

They worked full time on the manuscript between April and early June 1829, and then moved to Fayette, New York, where they continued to work at the home of Cowdery's friend Peter Whitmer. When the narrative described an institutional church and a requirement for baptism, Smith and Cowdery baptized each other. Dictation was completed around July 1, 1829. (Bushman, p.78)

Smith did not earnestly resume dictation again until April 1829, when he met Oliver Cowdery, who replaced Harris as Smith's scribe.

These men, and more, assisted Smith in the book of Mormon.

Dictation started somewhere around autumn of 1827 and ended July 1829, taking around 2 years to complete.

According to Smith, the angel Moroni took back the plates after Smith was finished using them.

"The principal scribe, Oliver Cowdery, testified under oath in 1831 that Joseph Smith "found with the plates, from which he translated his book, two transparent stones, resembling glass, set in silver bows. That by looking through these, he was able to read in English, the reformed Egyptian characters, which were engraven on the plates." In the fall of 1830, Cowdery visited Union Village, Ohio, and spoke about the translation of the Book of Mormon. Soon thereafter, a village resident reported that the translation was accomplished by means of "two transparent stones in the form of spectacles thro which the translator looked on the engraving."
Oliver Cowdery left Mormonism and denounced the Dandamp;C. By denouncing Mormonism he was able to put a gap between him and Mormonism in his new social circles. He didn't denounce the book of Mormon however. To do so could have meant his lynching, at the worst, or ostracizing at the very least. If he held onto his belief in the book of Mormon people might only think him under the spell of a conman, deluded and gullible, much like non-mormons think of Mormons today. Denouncing it as a scam would have been another story altogether, since he had signed an affidavit stating its authenticity. To denounce it would have been potentially dangerous in an era when a man's word was his honor and a scammer could get linched. Oliver was no fool. Neither were the other friends and family members who signed the original affidavit claiming the book of Mormon was real while having never actually seen it with their physical eyes; rather they had a spiritual vision of it. Harris was an example of a man under the charismatic spell ofa leader and this is documented. It becomes easy to see how much power Smith had on his relatives and friends and why they couldn't denounce their original affidavit even though they would leave the religion.

" Joseph Smith consistently testified that he translated the Book of Mormon by the "gift and power of God." His scribes shared that testimony."
We are supposed to believe this and not the other contradictory comments that Smith and his followers shared? Parsing out the lies becomes a tedious affair. Essay:
"The angel who brought news of an ancient record on metal plates buried in a hillside and the divine instruments prepared especially for Joseph Smith to translate were all part of what Joseph and his scribes viewed as the miracle of translation."
Smith Translated without the instruments. Again, the divine instruments are given and prepared yet Smith doesn't even need them? Why would they have been prepared anciently in prophesy that Smith would need them to translate if Smith didn't use them?

"When he sat down in 1832 to write his own history for the first time, he began by promising to include "an account of his marvelous experience."
If his own story was so important why didn't he finish it and why did he tell conflicting stories. The contradictions are very serious even though the lds try to downplay them.

"The truth of the Book of Mormon and its divine source can be known today. God invites each of us to read the book, remember the mercies of the Lord and ponder them in our hearts, "and ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true." God promises that "if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."
The essay ends with a testimony that claims it is true. It asks the reader to ask God if these things are NOT true? I asked and asked and I was given answer and data upon data. These things are NOT true. I am continually manifested of the truth vs the deception and again this essay bears witness to me of yet another on-going deception in the name of God.

Let's make a modern day comparison. If a man told you that he could pull gold coins out of your ear, and proceeded to do it, claiming it was by the gift and power of God, would you believe him? Let's say you can't figure out how he gets gold coins to come out of your ear. People press him and want to find out what his trick is? How does he do it? He says, "I'm not supposed to tell the world all the details of how it's done." If he adds, "God told me NOT to tell the world details of how it's done" would you believe him? If he adds to that, "you must have faith and believe that the coins came out of your ear by the power and gift of God and will know eventually if God deems it right for you to know." What would be your response? Are people still this gullible and stupid that this type of thing is still used in an article and can still work on people in the 21st century? Apparently the writer of this essay thinks so and includes it in an attempt to convince the reader. No wonder Joseph Smith was considered a Charlatan by non Mormons then and now as well!

"Joseph Smith testified repeatedly that he experienced a remarkable vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Neither the truth of the First Vision nor the arguments against it can be proven by historical research alone. Knowing the truth of Joseph Smith's testimony requires each earnest seeker of truth to study the record and then exercise sufficient faith in Christ to ask God in sincere, humble prayer whether the record is true. If the seeker asks with the real intent to act upon the answer revealed by the Holy Ghost, the truthfulness of Joseph Smith's vision will be manifest. In this way, every person can know that Joseph Smith spoke honestly when he declared, "I had seen a vision, I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it."
They already assume that every person is going to get an answer to know that Joseph Smith spoke honestly. They have qualified the answer by inserting their own outcome. This is a programming trick that has worked on innocent minded people in the past and they hope it will continue to work in the future. The purpose is to tell the person that research isn't going to work, but rather that the person needs to pray and find out that Smith was honest and that it was true. It states that Joseph Smith spoke honestly. This approach sets the outcome in your mind. If you already have an allegiance to your Mormon family, or if you have something to gain by associating with Mormons, or if you will somehow benefit by joining mormonism, you very well may be the type of candidate who can pray and get the answer they tell you to get. The final paragraph is a type of hypnotic suggestion method. If you were to practice the art of hypnotism you would find that the hypnotic suggestions are implemented in a similar way, by presenting the final outcome that they want you to have. Your mind may be more conducive to believe it and accommodate by accepting the pre-suggested outcome.
LDS Essay - No More Mormon Gods
Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014, at 07:18 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
With the latest essay released by President Newsroom on the website - Mormons becoming Gods after death has now been thrown under the bus. Instead of becoming a God, Mormons now only have the "potential to become like their Heavenly Father".


So any current Mormon who believes they will become a God in the afterlife is now wrong. Sad, when I joined Mormonism in 1986 this was doctrine that was taught to me. It was in the handbooks, it was in Mormon Doctrine, it was Priesthood, Sacrament, HTs and VTs - it was well known doctrine. Sadly this doctrine now falls under the "I don't know that we teach that" statement.

Lorenzo Snow was the 5th Mormon Prophet and in June of 1840 he claimed "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become." President Snow's declaration has now been ruled either "speaking as a man" or "wrongly interpreted doctrine". Shame, really.

Let's drag out some previous prophets the Mormon Church has now thrown under the bus with this new doctrine:

Doctrine and Covenants Section 132: "1-6, Exaltation is gained through the new and everlasting covenant; 7-14, The terms and conditions of that covenant are set forth; 15-20, Celestial marriage and a continuation of the family unit enable men to become gods; 21-25," - You all know that the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage is plurality of wives and is the sealing covenant in every temple for marriage.

All those who are counted worthy to be exalted and to become Gods, even the sons of God, will go forth and have earths and worlds like those who framed this and millions on millions of others." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 17:143)

"Desirable as is secular knowledge, one is not truly educated unless he has the spiritual with the secular. The secular knowledge is to be desired; the spiritual knowledge is an absolute necessity. We shall need all of the accumulated secular knowledge in order to create worlds and to furnish them, but only through the 'mysteries of God' and these hidden treasures of knowledge may we arrive at the place and condition where we may use that knowledge in creation and exaltation" (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Reports, October 1968, p.131)

"Each one of you has it within the realm of his possibility to develop a kingdom over which you will preside as its king and god. You will need to develop yourself and grow in ability and power and worthiness, to govern such a world with all of its people." (Spencer W. Kimball, ". . . the Matter of Marriage" [address delivered at University of Utah Institute of Religion, 22 Oct. 1976], 2)

"We educate ourselves in the secular field and in the spiritual field so that we may one day create worlds, people and govern them." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 386)

"The real life we're preparing for is eternal life. Secular knowledge has for us eternal significance. Our conviction is that God, our Heavenly Father, wants us to live the life that He does. We learn both the spiritual things and the secular things 'so we may one day create worlds [and] people and govern them' (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 386)

"Brethren, 225,000 of you are here tonight. I suppose 225,000 of you may become gods. There seems to be plenty of space out there in the universe. And the Lord has proved that he knows how to do it. I think he could make, or probably have us help make, worlds for all of us, for every one of us 225,000" (Spencer W. Kimball, "The Privilege of Holding the Priesthood," Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1975, p. 80. Quoted in Doctrine and Covenants Institute Student Manual)

"That great blessing of celestial glory could never have come to us without a period of time in mortality, and so we came here in this mortal world. We are in school, the mortal school, to gain the experiences, the training, the joys, and the sufferings that we partake of, that we might be educated in all these things and be prepared, if we are faithful and true to the commandments of the Lord, to become sons and daughters of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ; and in His presence to go on to a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever, and perhaps through our faithfulness to have the opportunity of building worlds and peopling them." (Joseph Fielding Smith, "Adam's Role in Bringing Us Mortality," General Conference, Oct. 1976, reprinted in Liahona, Jan. 2006.)

"When two Latter-day Saints are united together in marriage, promises are made to them concerning their offspring that reach from eternity to eternity. They are promised that they shall have the power and the right to govern and control and administer salvation and exaltation and glory to their offspring, worlds without end. And what offspring they do not have here, undoubtedly there will be opportunities to have them hereafter. What else could man wish? A man and a woman, in the other life, having celestial bodies, free from sickness and disease, glorified and beautified beyond description, standing in the midst of their posterity, governing and controlling them, administering life, exaltation and glory worlds without end" (Lorenzo Snow, Deseret News, 13 Mar. 1897; quoted by Spencer W. Kimball in The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 246; See also Lesson 10 of The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A)

"Having fought the good fight we then shall be prepared to lay our bodies down to rest to await the morning of the resurrection when they will come forth and be reunited with the spirits, the faithful, as it is said, receiving crowns, glory, immortality and eternal lives, even a fulness with the Father, when Jesus shall present His work to the Father, saying, `Father, here is the work thou gavest me to do.' Then will they become Gods, even the sons of God; then will they become eternal fathers, eternal mothers, eternal sons and eternal daughters; being eternal in their organization they go from glory to glory, from power to power; they will never cease to increase and to multiply, worlds without end. When they receive their crowns, their dominions, they then will be prepared to frame earths like unto ours and to people them in the same manner as we have been brought forth by our parents, by our Father and God" (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 283; Journal of Discourses 18:259, October 8, 1876)

"Peter and John had little secular learning, being termed ignorant. But they knew the vital things of life, that God lives and that the crucified, resurrected Lord is the Son of God. They knew the path to eternal life. This they learned in a few decades of their mortal life. Their righteous lives opened the door to godhood for them and creation of worlds with eternal increase" (President Kimball Speaks Out [1981], 91). (See Ensign, November 1997, p. 60)
Two Topic Changes Just Posted
Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014, at 07:19 AM
Original Author(s): Whitethunder9
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Just as the earth was immersed in water, so we must be baptized by water and by the Spirit before we can enter the celestial kingdom.
Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives were the only people on the whole earth saved from the flood
See: So much for that "figurative" or local flood, eh? Of course, unnamed author is always speaking as a man.

Same Sex Marriage:
Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there.

As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God's commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them. We invite you to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths of the gospel, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society's future.
See: Essay On Same-Sex Marriage
Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014, at 07:19 AM
Original Author(s): Curious_mormon
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
I had stopped picking these apart because it felt like shooting fish in a barrel, but I can't help but to respond to this one mainly because this is the first new essay that's almost signed.
Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society.
Polygamy wants to be acknowledged.
Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation.
This should have read by loving mothers and father. To quote Brigham Young:
  • "Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned," - Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266.
  • "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy," - Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269.
  • "Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious." - Prophet Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128
  • "Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men." - Prophet Brigham Young, The Deseret News, August 6, 1862
And that's just Brigham. Don't even get me started on Pratt or Taylor or the Smiths.
Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established.
Polygamy again wants a word. Changes to civil law absolutely changed this practice, belief, and requirement for godhood. Likewise, the LDS church has long argued (even if they say this with a wink and a nudge) that they follow civil laws. So if the law bans an accepted material, let's say a mild drink made of barley, then they will follow suit. So much so that when the law allows it, they will retain the ban.
sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife
Again, a new rule. Polygamy was the wild west of marriages, and the mandatory practice for godhood if early prophets are to be believed.
We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully.
Of course, they're defining "respect" to be anything they don't do, or have we forgotten about the gay couple detained at temple square for a simple kiss[1] .
As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ
I'm pretty sure Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.
and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God's commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them.
And I'm pretty sure that the LDS church has lost every single social push where sexuality was involved. You see polygamy, women's rights, blacks, prop 8, and now they're likely going to lose the ban in Utah. Assume god exists, and assuming that he magically blesses his followers with success in doing his will, which side of the debate do you think he's on?
We invite you to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths of the gospel, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society's future.
Prayers as a means of intimidation?
The above text is drawn from a letter prepared by the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to Church leaders in March 2014.
A few subtle changes here. First, they actually attribute this to almost the first presidency. That's a great leap forward. Secondly, there are no sources. It seems like since this last week (Noah, and now this), sources are considered irrelevant. Maybe it made the new posts too obvious.

Essay can be found here:
Commentary On The New Essay On Plural Marraige
Thursday, Oct 23, 2014, at 12:40 PM
Original Author(s): Mithryn
Topic: LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS   -Link To MC Article-
Commentary based on

After receiving a revelation commanding him to practice plural marriage, Joseph Smith married multiple wives and introduced the practice to close associates.

Citation needed. We have no source for this revelation nor date it was received. There is the 1831 claim by an anti-mormon that polygamy was revealed to go to the lamanites (indians) and make their children white via marriage, but that is hardly the kind of historical document the church typically accepts. That word "After" is hard.

Fanny Alger's transaction was in 1832, Eliza R. Snow's documentation shows the marriage in 1836. The sealing power of the priesthood was revealed in 1835 in the Kirtland temple. How they can claim that he only practiced it "after a revelation" is direct deceptive if not an outright lie. It is supposition that is not supported.

Although the Lord commanded the adoption-and later the cessation-of plural marriage in the latter days, He did not give exact instructions on how to obey the commandment.

This should be a red flag. This is a god who revealed what part of a cow to burn, and how to sprinkle blood in the old testament. Who cares exactly what words are said over the sacrament. Who only will allow people to get married in a certain place at a certain time for it to count for eternity; who simply didn't bother with the details on polygamy? That's a whopper of a concept.

President Wilford Woodruff issued an inspired statement known as the Manifesto in 1890, which led to the end of plural marriage in the Church.

Demonstrably false. Apostle Ivins was told to continue the practice in Mexico and Wilford Woodruff himself married a polygamous couple after the manifesto. His son (an apostle) was also married polygamously post manifesto. The last record we have of an apostle getting married in the temple to a plural wife post-manifesto was 1905, 10 years after the manifesto.

Plural marriage was introduced among the early Saints incrementally, and participants were asked to keep their actions confidential.

This is the same as being told to keep it secret.

They did not discuss their experiences publicly or in writing

False. William Clayton, Wilford Woodruff and others discussed polygamy in writing. Joseph Smith himself sent letters to his wives for meetings while Emma was away. Maybe not publicly; but it was discussed in writing.

The historical record of early plural marriage is therefore thin:

Although I agree to some degree, I think a full list of known and accepted sources should be listed here. William Clayton's journal, for example, The sealing records in Nauvoo, and any other non-debated sources, for example.

later reminiscences are not always reliable.

This sentence needs to be added, "But were used legally by the LDS church in court cases in 1870 anyway".

The revelation on plural marriage was not written down until 1843, but its early verses suggest that part of it emerged from Joseph Smith's study of the Old Testament in 1831.

Ah, so it was revealed only to Joseph in his head. Totally legit. Because in the mouths of two or three witnesses every word is established. Neither does God do things in secret places. I guess at least it was revealed to His servents, the prophets, but not to more than one of them?

People who knew Joseph well later stated he received the revelation about that time.

Unless Fanny Alger was secretly native american, this revelation really isn't relevant or sorely misunderstood. Again, authority for sealing did not come until 1835.

In Joseph Smith's time, monogamy was the only legal form of marriage in the United States.

Solidly honest statement that Joseph broke the law. I'm pleased and impressed with this.

During the third and final appearance, the angel came with a drawn sword, threatening Joseph with destruction unless he went forward and obeyed the commandment fully.

This statement implies God is a rapist. He may, in fact; threaten your life if you do not comply with sexual acts/acts that are considered rape (Both in the 1800's and now) including marrying someone you do not wish to. In order to protect the image of Joseph, the LDS church is here clearly declaring that "God forced him against his will", which is rape.

Fragmentary evidence suggests that Joseph Smith acted on the angel's first command by marrying a plural wife, Fanny Alger, in Kirtland, Ohio, in the mid-1830s.

Here, "Fragmentary" means "Lots and lots of evidence from a lot of people connected to Joseph, Fanny, Emma and others. By using "Mid 1830's" they are glossing over that Emma caught him making a "transaction" (her words) in the barn in 1832; and Eliza R. Snow; who was intimately acquainted with everyone concerned listed the marriage in 1836.

Little is known about this marriage, and nothing is known about the conversations between Joseph and Emma regarding Alger.

But we do know that Joseph had to get Hyrum and Oliver to calm Emma down and that Oliver Cowdery called it a "Filthy, nasty, Affair". But I guess that is a truth thas isn't very useful?

On April 3, 1836, the Old Testament prophet Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple and restored the priesthood keys necessary to perform ordinances for the living and the dead, including sealing families together.

I'm impressed they discussed Fanny first. Really and truly they are admitting that Joseph, if married to Fanny, did so without proper priesthood authority.

By Joseph Smith's time, many couples insisted on marrying for love, as he and Emma did when they eloped against her parents' wishes.

Also note, Joseph told Emma that she had to marry him, or else he could not get the plates.

Latter-day Saints' motives for plural marriage were often more religious than economic or romantic.

[Citation needed] This is pure speculation and imagination on the part of the author. a better sentence might read "Publicly given reason for plural marriage were rarely romantic, but it is impossible to know the true reasons for each instance"

Joseph married many additional wives and authorized other Latter-day Saints to practice plural marriage.

At the rate of 1 wife every 25 days over the next two year period, including a 6 month break.

Participants in these early plural marriages pledged to keep their involvement confidential, though they anticipated a time when the practice would be publicly acknowledged.

Can you just say "Secret" instead of "Confidential" or whatever else? And can we admit that they gave signs that their tongues would be pulled out if they shared that information? Thanks.

A few men unscrupulously used these rumors to seduce women to join them in an unauthorized practice sometimes referred to as "spiritual wifery."

This is out of order. It is interesting they do not include that Joseph's assistant to the President by name John C. Bennett. He claimed that Joseph had told him about polygamy and he was authorized in the same. Joseph; at this time, was publishing that there was no polygamy and that it was all slanderous lies; (While actually practicing it). This is an attempt to tiptoe around the actual confusion caused by Joseph lying.

the rumors prompted members and leaders to issue carefully worded denials that denounced spiritual wifery and polygamy but were silent about what Joseph Smith and others saw as divinely mandated "celestial" plural marriage.

Outright lie. Joseph had published in the DandC prior to this denials of polygamy. He had also published it in the times and seasons prior to the "Spiritual wifery" accusations.

"The statements emphasized that the Church practiced no marital law other than monogamy while implicitly leaving open the possibility that individuals, under direction of God's living prophet, might do so.

Regardless; one need never lie for the Lord; which is what they are confessing to here. They were issuing statements to misdirect individuals about what was actually going on. And I find the idea that the statements had a "Cover your ass" clause a stretch.

Sealings for time and eternity included commitments and relationships during this life, generally including the possibility of sexual relations. Eternity-only sealings indicated relationships in the next life alone.

Eat that Brian Hales (Apologist who claims that Joseph's marriages were not sexual).

Evidence indicates that Joseph Smith participated in both types of sealings. The exact number of women to whom he was sealed in his lifetime is unknown because the evidence is fragmentary

Can you just say that the number not currently under dispute is 33? Thanks.

Most of those sealed to Joseph Smith were between 20 and 40 years of age at the time of their sealing to him.

Can we get a breakdown by age? No? I wonder why?

The youngest was Helen Mar Kimball, daughter of Joseph's close friends Heber C. and Vilate Murray Kimball, who was sealed to Joseph several months before her 15th birthday.

most people would say that as "14" unless one could be, ya know, another age if one was "Several months before she turned 15".

Marriage at such an age, inappropriate by today's standards, was legal in that era, and some women married in their mid-teens.

This is tough; the law of the land allowed the city to set the marrying age. Illinois's age of consent was 12. Joseph had the Nauvoo council set the age to 14 a month or so before he proposed to Helen. So yes it was legal...

Even if polygamy wasn't. Even if A mayor, general and prophet approaching a teenager wasn't. Even if it offended the sensibilities of the day and was very rare and looked down upon for a man in his 40's to marry a 14 year old... I guess it was technically legal for age of consent.

Following his marriage to Louisa Beaman and before he married other single women, Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women who were already married.

Polyandry, officially admitted to. Color me impressed!

Neither these women nor Joseph explained much about these sealings, though several women said they were for eternity alone.

... and others of the women discussed sexual relations. I guess we'll just not mention that bit?

There are several possible explanations for this practice. These sealings may have provided a way to create an eternal bond or link between Joseph's family and other families within the Church

This is impractical as an explanation because Joseph revealed the "Law of adoption" during this time period. People could be connected through sealing (Heber C. Kimball was sealed as a son of Brigham Young, for example) without any need for "marriage".

These sealings may also be explained by Joseph's reluctance to enter plural marriage because of the sorrow it would bring to his wife Emma. He may have believed that sealings to married women would comply with the Lord's command without requiring him to have normal marriage relationships.

One, this is pure speculation. Secondly, given that the commandment as written expressly states "to raise up seed"; this is unlikely unless Joseph intended to disobey God to keep Emma happy, while making her unhappy by marrying (And possibly banging) the neighbor's wife.

This could explain why, according to Lorenzo Snow, the angel reprimanded Joseph for having "demurred" on plural marriage even after he had entered into the practice.

Or Fanny Alger could have been a straight out Affair.

After this rebuke, according to this interpretation, Joseph returned primarily to sealings with single women.

Given we don't have a date for the rebuke (that I know of) a far more plausible explanation is that when Orson Pratt left a suicide note over Joseph trying to marry his wife Sarah, while Orson was out on his mission (Joseph married Nancy Hide, Orson Hyde's wife while he was on his mission as well), that it impacted Joseph. Joseph doesn't take any plural wives for about 6 months after the suicide note; and does only single women after for about another 6 months.

Living in a time when divorce was difficult to obtain, these women may have believed a sealing to Joseph Smith would give them blessings they might not otherwise receive in the next life.

Some discussion about how the women resisted marriage as well as the living husband's feelings on the subject should be mentioned in conjunction with this speculation. Otherwise it is nothing more than "Guessing".

Records of Emma's reactions to plural marriage are sparse; she left no firsthand accounts, making it impossible to reconstruct her thoughts. Joseph and Emma loved and respected each other deeply.

Ah yes, we don't know her thoughts, but we do know Emma loved and respected Joseph...

But Emma likely did not know about all of Joseph's sealings

Which violates the very revelation that Joseph wrote down in 1843

some directed at Emma.

That Joseph had asked to marry Jane Law, and Emma had asked to marry the "dear little man" William Law is just completely left out.

Nevertheless, toward the end of the revelation, the Lord said that if the first wife "receive not this law"-the command to practice plural marriage-the husband would be "exempt from the law of Sarah," presumably the requirement that the husband gain the consent of the first wife before marrying additional women.

Damned if you do; damned if you don't. "Permit it or it'll happen anyway" - what does this tell us about God?

God declared in the Book of Mormon that monogamy was the standard; at times, however, He commanded plural marriage so His people could "raise up seed unto [Him]."44 Plural marriage did result in an increased number of children born to believing parents.

This has been refuted by science

The precise nature of these relationships in the next life is not known, and many family relationships will be sorted out in the life to come. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to trust in our wise Heavenly Father, who loves His children and does all things for their growth and salvation

Despite us showing that the bastard will possibly have you raped in the next life; or command you to let someone fuck your husband while you stand by and know it is going on, and if you disagree he gets to fuck her anyway. Clearly He loves His children and does all things for their growth and salvation.

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  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 2 (25)
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