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Steve Benson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. editorial cartoonist for The Arizona Republic. Benson is the grandson of former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and LDS prophet Ezra Taft Benson.
Who Among Us Had The Wondrously Wacky Experience Of Learning/squirming At The Feet Of Byu Religion Teacher Reid Bankhead?
Monday, Mar 6, 2006, at 07:47 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
Or, should I say "Bunkhead"?

The guy was such a nut. By comparision, he made my uncle Reed (and Bunkhead's partner in poppycock) look like Isaac Newton.

Or was it Fig Newton?

Scientifically illiterate and religiously zealous (always a dangerous combo), Bunkhead would show Christian fundamentalist filmstrips in his Book of Mormon 421 and 422 returned missionary classes, contending that Noah's Flood, along with the supposedly instantaneous freezing of Siberian woolly mammoths, was caused by an icy astroid being pulled into Earth's orbit a few thousand years ago (which also, by the way, suddenly created the world's major mountain ranges, due to this spacey invader's strong gravitational pull on our planet).

These absurdities were rooted in a book of bombastic bamboozlement--meaning, of course, that it was highly touted by Bunkhead (despite opposition from some outspokenly peeved students in his class who actually knew something about science). Authored by Donald Patton, it was entitled The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch and, when it came to woo-woo science, was Bunkhead's Bible.

(So, you can forget all about that Plate Tectonics thing--it's just a tool of the Devil).

Bunkhead also used to admonish his classes to give him the right answer by rubbing his chin, as he paced back and forth at the front of the room, shaking his head and muttering, "Now, elders . . . "

On his exams, we had to answer the questions in Book of Mormon scripture language--otherwise, he said, he could weed out the pretenders among us from those who really knew the Word.

Speaking of which, walking through the old Joseph Smith building one day with him and my uncle Reed, he vowed to "smoke out" evolutionists on campus and force them, he declared, to choose between Charles Darwin and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In that Salem-era witchtrial mentality of his, Bunkhead published a pamphlet entitled, "The Fall of Adam, the Atonement of Christ and Organic Evolution"--which purported to represent the official Mormon position on the subject.

Actually, it was nothing more than a clunky, selective, cut-and-paste propaganda piece, composed of wacky statements from wacking GAs that agreed with Bunkhead's wacky ideas about things scientific.

Word has it that Bunkhead eventually retired to his personal bunker complex in the foothills of Levan, Utah, where he died and is currently buried until the morning of the First Insurrection.
From The Witness Box To The Mormon Cult: "You Want The Cartoon Truth? You Can't Handle The Cartoon Truth!"
Monday, Mar 20, 2006, at 07:24 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
In my career as an editorial cartoonist, Mormon Church leadership, from the top down, has attempted to silence and otherwise discourage me in my critical commentary on LDS buffoonery.

Here's a brief summary:

--Two of my bishops requested private meetings with me to review my cartoons taking to task Arizona's eventually-impeached, racist, criminally-indicted and incompetent used car salesman of a governor, Evan Mecham.

---A stake president released me from my position as a high councilman because of a cartoon I had done critical of Mecham's obnoxious misuse of Mormonism to advance his political/theological agenda. (He did so after receiving a phone call inquiring on the matter from H. Burke Peterson of the Presiding Bishopric, as well as after hearing from an Arizona Mormon legislator who told him that I should not be on the stake high council).

--This same stake president later informed me that, in his opinion, my cartoons had gotten better since he had released me from the high council--prompting me to write him back, informing him that he was not my editor and that I would do the cartoon again, as circumstances warranted.

--Arizona's point man for media matters took me to lunch to complain about my Mecham/Mormon-related cartooning and also wrote me a letter, comparing it to Christian evangelists who were radio broadcasting Mormonism's secret temple ceremonies.

--Another stake president phoned me at my work, demanding that I justify to him my cartoon criticism of local Mormon right-wing political extremists whom I had specifically named for their bigoted opposition to the establishment of an official Martin Luther King holiday.

--This same stake president wrote me again (on official LDS stationary) to instruct me to stop denigrating the Mormon Church for a cartoon I produced criticizing the Mormon Church for its opposition to equal rights for LDS women.

--He wrote me yet another official stake letter, comparing me to Korihor, telling me that the Devil would abandon me once he had finished using me for his evil designs and threatening to out me as an unbeliever.

--My grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson (then-president of the Quorum of the Twelve), both telephoned and wrote me (also on his high office Church stationary)--in response to a cartoon I had done critical of the LDS response to the Mark Hofmann bombings--commanding me (via, ahem, "suggestion") to go easy on the Mormon Church.

By way of description, the cartoon showed a stereotypical Mormon P.R. man, sporting a flat top and conservative business suit, on the phone to his secretary, wailing, "Mad bombers, white salamanders, forgeries, con men! Golly darn, Sister Jones, that does it! Get me a cup of coffee!"

In responding to the cartoon, my grandfather first called me, telling me somberly that he had a cartoon in front of him which he wished to read aloud to me. After repeating the punch line, he paused dramatically and asked, "Why?" I was tempted to respond with a "Why not?" but thought better of it. Instead, I tried to explain that one of the best defenses in the face of criticism is an ability to laugh at oneself. My grandfather replied, "I still love you. Just go easy on us."

He then followed up with the letter, making the same point.

( For the contents of other personal correspondence sent to me by my grandfather, see: )

Jesus, Joseph and Jumpin' Mormon Jammies.

If the LDS Church can't handle little cartoons, how can one expect it to handle the really big stuff--like the utter bogusness of the Book of Mormon, the complete fakery of the Book of Abraham, the LDS Church's abuse of its tax-exempt status in pushing its political agenda and the non-prophetic antics of its cult-crusading leaders?

And that's just for starters.

The Kingdom of Almighty Whitey Elohim panics in the face of doodling done with a small brush and 15 cents worth of ink.

That should tell us something.
"A Legacy Of Deception:" The Monstrous, Manipulated Myth Of The Mormon Battalion
Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006, at 11:37 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
Interesting and revealing information has been posted on this board recently, detailing some of the malicious machinations of Brigham Young in his devious dealings with the Mormon Battalion:
Originally posted by Mrs. Estzerhaus:

PBS showed the film "Battalion" last night. The film was not made by the Mormon Church, but tried to be historically accurate. Many of the stories were directly from diaries kept by the solders. The men were told by Brigham Young that they would not be killed by bullets, but many of them got sick and died.

The Mormon Battalion's journey officially ended in San Diego, but part of the group went to Northern California to settle a dispute that later forced Mexico to give California to the United States. These men were told by Brigham Young not to come to Utah to be with their families unless they had money or a job waiting for them. These men were able to get work with Sutter's Fort Mill where gold was first discovered while building the mill. The film didn't go into the fact that Mr. Sutter's land was overrun by gold seekers when the Mormons let the secret out.

With saddlebags filled with gold on their way home, the remains of the Donner Party were found. Some of the men were ambushed and killed by Indian arrows. In Utah Brigham Young used the money that the men's families were supposed to get to bring in more converts. This angered some, and they left the church. Others finally made it to Zion only to find that their families were still at winter quarters or dead.

My g-g-grandfather was a second lieutenant in company B. His experience in the battalion was the reason Brigham Young sent him to scout out Arizona for a Mormon settlement several years later. This wasn't in the movie, but it's something I'm proud of even now :o) But enough about me...did any of you have ancestors in the Mormon Battalion?

Mormon Battalion Roster:

Here's the site for ordering the film and has a map of the trek taken:

Battalion story told in the Ensign:
Here are some more:


". . .[An] example of official deception by [Mormon] Church leaders has to do with the Mormon Battalion.

"[Mormons are] taught in Sunday School, seminary and priesthood meetings that . . . [in] 1846, the U.S. government demanded the services of 500 able-bodied Mormon men to help fight the war with Mexico.

"[Mormons are told that] [t]his cruel act, while the Saints were camped in Iowa on their way west [Mormons are told], caused great hardships and many deaths among the poor Saints crossing the Plains. The women and older men [so Mormons are told] who were left had no choice but to continue their struggle without help from these 500 young and stronger men."



" . . . [T]his distortion of Mormon history was all part of a legacy of deception.

"Prominent Church leader and historian, B.H. Roberts, finally told the truth about the Mormon Battalion in his six-volume Comprehensive History of the Church. But since this truth is not faith promoting, it has been ignored by those who write lesson manuals intended to indoctrinate young people . . .

"The truth is that Brigham Young secretly sent Jesse C. Little to Washington, D.C. to see President James K. Polk and other federal officials, with the proposal that the U.S. government send a company of 1,000 Mormons with the U.S. Army going to fight the war with Mexico.

"These men were to be paid fo a one-year enlistment and be able to keep all of their weapons and equipment at the end of their service.

"President Polk didn't want any Mormons in his army. The quota of 50,000 men had already been over-subscribed by three times and, besides, Polk didn't trust the loyalty, patriotism or military training of the Mormons.

"But after much persuasion, he [Polk] reluctantly agreed to send 500 Mormons."

[Comprehensive History of the Church, vol. 3, pp. 67-84; and History of the Church, vol. 7, pp. 611-15]

"When Captain James Allen, representing General Stephen W. Kearny of Ft. Leavenworth, entered the encampment of Mormons at Council Bluffs (Winter Quarters) Iowa in June of 1846, [Brigham] Young pretended to be surprised and angry but promised to raise the recruits as a demonstration of Mormon patriotism.

"500 men were enlisted and paid one year in advance. The money was turned over to . . . Young.

"The great hardships, suffering and even death that sending these 500 men caused would have been much greater if President Polk had granted Young's original request to send 1,000 men in order to divert the anger and resentment of Church members away from himself.

"Young [then] lied to his people and blamed the U.S. government for the entire episode.

"On September 13, 1857, . . . Young told a congregation of Mormons in Salt Lake City:

"'There cannot be a more damnable, dastardly order issued than was issued by the Administration [of President Polk] to this people while they were in an Indian country in 1846. . . .

'While we were doing our best to leave their borders, the poor, low, degraded curses sent a requistion for 500 of our men to go and fight their battles! That was President Polk; and he is now weltering in hell with old Zachary Taylor, where the present administrators will be if they do not repent.'"

[Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, pp. 231-32]

"[Then,] [o]n February 17, 1861, Brigham Young, the man who . . . is still revered by Mormons as a prophet of God, again lied when he told a congregation of Church members assembled in the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City:

"'Did Thomas H. Benton aid in gathering the Saints? Yes, he was the mainspring and action of governments in driving us to these mountains.

'He obtained orders from President Polk to summon the militia of Missouri, and destroy every man, woman, and child, unless they turned out 500 men to fight the battles of the United States in Mexico.

'He said that we were aliens to the Government, and to prove it, he said, "Mr. President, make a requistion for 500 men, and I will prove to you that they are traitors to our Government. . . . We turned out the men and Mr. Benton was disappointed.'"

[Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, pp. 335-36]

"Neither Thomas Benton nor the Missouri militia had anything to do with enlistment of the Mormon Battalion. Nor was the U.S. government threatening to exterminate all of the Mormons. This entire sermon is but another example of the many, many lies told by Brigham Young and other Church leaders in order to deceive and manipulate their people.

"As it turned out, despite high U.S. military casualties in [the Mexican] War, the Mormon Battalion was not used by field commanders. The Mormon Battalion didn't have to kill anyone nor did [it] suffer any casualties.

"But Brigham Young didn't know in advance that many of these young men wouldn't get killed when he volunteered their services.

"He was willing to jeopardize not only their lives but also the lives of their families who were left shorthanded crossing the Plains for his own selfish purposes.

"Then he lied about it.

"What kind of a person does it take to something like this?"

(the above from Arza Evans, "A Legacy of Deception," Chapter 13, in The Keystone of Mormonism [St. George, Utah: Keystone Books, Inc., 2003], pp. 149-51), original emphasis
Male Pattern Smugness: Decades Later, Is The Manhandled LDS Church Still Opposed To The Equal Rights Amendment? Um, Is The Prophet Mormon?
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006, at 07:36 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
Onward, Mormon Muggers: The Relentless Misogynistic LDS Church Crusade Against Women's Rights

In an earlier post, "jen" asked:

Is the Morg STILL against the ERA? I've heard many people here state that the church is against the equal rights ammendment. I realize that this was the case in the 60's, when the ERA was first introduced, but are they still actively against it? Why were/are they? What's the official stance on this?
Even when I was a regularly attending TBM, I never reallly heard a word about this. Perhaps it was because I wasn't in Utah?

("Is the Morg STILL against the ERA?, " post by "jen,", Recovery from Mormonism board, 28 March 2006)

In answer to that question, Jessica Longaker, in her analysis, "The Role of Women in Mormonism," grimly concludes that genuine gender equality cannot be realistically achieved in the Mormon Church’s permanent patriarchal prison:

The Mormon Church of today is still clinging to the beliefs of the nineteenth century; ideas which are becoming more outmoded every day. A few women in the Mormon Church are trying to make a difference but they are usually swiftly excommunicated . . .

In Mormon magazines, which are full of advice for women from the heads of the Church, the message has changed in response to the feminist movement. In 1964, advice on marriage and divorce was fairly dispassionate; by 1972, these topics were addressed with increasing panic and harshness. . . . Feminists are described as “the Pied Pipers of sin who have led women away from the divine role of womanhood down the pathway of error.” . . .

Obviously, the Mormon Church is not going to alter its views on women in the immediate future. It is questionable whether it is even possible for Mormonism to equalize the roles of men and women because the oppression of women is so integral to the religion. Men and women cannot truly become equal in the Church, for the basic tenets of Mormonism are so fraught with sexism that equality would change the religion beyond recognition.

( , emphasis added)

Gordon B. Hinckley's Archaic Attitude Toward the "Dear Sisters"

If more nauseating proof of the Mormon Church's persistently patronizing, slave-holding attitude toward women is needed, all one has to do is read hibernating Hinckley's old school/old fool remarks to the assembled Relief Society sisterhood at General Conference:

My dear sisters, you marvelous women who have chosen the better part . . .

Many of you are mothers, and that is enough to occupy one's full time. . . .

You are housekeepers. . . . [W]hat a job it is to keep a house clean and tidy.

You are shoppers. . . . [W]hat a demanding responsibility it is to keep food in the pantry, to keep clothing neat and presentable, to buy all that is needed to keep a home running. . . .

You are the family chauffeur. You are driving your children about . . . hauling here, there, and everywhere as they pursue their busy lives. . . .

. . . [W]e have granddaughters who are mothers. They visit us, and I marvel at . . . their capacity to calm their children, to stop them from crying . . .

They drive cars, they run computers, they attend the activities of their children, they cook and sew, they teach classes, and they speak in Church. . . .

. . . [Y]ou dear women, I say thanks to you. . . . May your prayers be answered and your hopes and dreams become realities.

You serve so well in the Church. You think it is so demanding. It is. But with every responsibility fulfilled, there comes a great reward. . . .

We all worry about our performance. We all wish we could do better. . . .

Now, my dear sisters, . . . [y]ou are doing the best you can , , , Get on your knees and ask for the blessings of the Lord; then stand on your feet and do what you are asked to do. . . .

Now, we have a very diverse group . . . [that] includes young women who are . . . are single . . . [and] hoping to catch that perfect man. . . .

Some of you, unfortunately, will never marry in this life. . . . If that happens, do not spend your life grieving over it. . . . The Church needs your faith. It needs your strong, helping hand. . . . I see so many capable, attractive, wonderful women whom romance has passed by . . . but I know that in the plan of the Almighty, the eternal plan which we call God's plan of happiness, there will be opportunity and reward for all who seek them. . . .

May you [young mothers] be given strength to carry your heavy load, to meet every obligation . . . Nothing else you will ever own, no worldly thing you will ever acquire will be worth so much as the love of your children. . . .

Count your blessings; name them one by one. You don't need a great big mansion of a house with an all-consuming mortgage that goes on forever. . . . Weigh carefully that which you do. You do not need some of the extravagances that working outside the home might bring. Weigh carefully the importance of your being in the home when your children come from school. . . .

Now I speak to you single mothers whose burdens are so heavy because you have been abandoned or have been widowed. Yours is a terrible load. Bear it well. . . . Be grateful for any assistance that may come out of the quorums of the priesthood to help you in your home or with other matters. Pray silently in your closet, and let the tears flow if they must come. But put a smile on your face whenever you are before your children or others. . . .

You are the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no other organization to equal it. Walk with pride. Hold your heads up. Work with diligence. Do whatever the Church asks you to do. . . .


Boyd K. Packer: Mormonism's "Manly Man"

In male-manacled Mormonism, Packer is second to none when it comes to hating women. This modern-day Neanderthal is a pathetically insecure man who apparently has never met an independent woman he didn't like.

In a sermon entitled the "The Equal Rights Amendment," Packer puffed, prattled and preened in full priesthood pontification:

One might ask . . . if you are against the Equal Rights Amendment, then what are you for?

I am for the equitable enforcement of existing laws. There are sufficient of them to protect the rights of women and of children and of men. Or to enact judiciously and wisely any needed legislation to correct particular circumstances.

I am for protecting the rights of a woman to be a woman, a feminine, female woman; a wife and a mother.

I am for protecting the rights of a man to be a man, a masculine, male man; a husband and a father.

I am for protecting the rights of children to be babies and children and youth, to be nurtured in a home and in a family.

I am for recognizing the inherent God-given differences between men and women.

I am for accommodating them so that we can have physically and emotionally and spiritually stable, happy individuals and families and communities.
Without that, when the floods come, in the end what will really be worth saving?

May God bless us and preserve the sacred institution of the family, to the end that this generation and future generations can be preserved. May He bless fathers and mothers and their children to be happy in the life pattern He has ordained.

( , under "Ensign Articles," "Boyd K. Packer, 'The Equal Rights Amendment,' Ensign, March 1977, 6.")

Enter Sonia Johnson, the Mormon Priesthood's Worst Nightmare

Standing up to such condescending patriarchal abuse, Sonia Johnson--the courageous Mormon woman eventually excommunicated from the LDS Church for her vocal support of the ERA--offered a brutally realistic (and depressingly dismal) assessment of the official LDS position on equal rights for women--an assessment that is just as accurate today as when it was first defiantly delivered over a quarter of a century ago:

Saturated as it is with the anti-female bias that is patriarchy’s very definition and reason for being, the Mormon Church can legitimately be termed "The Last Unmitigated Western Patriarchy." . . . This patriarchal imperative is reinforced by the belief that the President of the Church is a Prophet of God, as were Isaiah and Moses, and that God will not allow him to make a mistake in guiding the Church. . . .

. . . [T]he men at the head of the [Mormon] Church are strong and the patriarchs have for millennia crushed those women who escaped from their mind-bindings. . . .

. . . [W]omen will not be safe from the Brethren’s capricious meddling with our inalienable human rights until we attain positions of power and authority in our Church; to control our own auxiliary money and program and to publish our own magazine for communication among ourselves have put women under total male control, requiring us to ask permission of men in even the smallest of matters. These rulings–which have seriously harmed women’s self-esteem, lowered our status, made us bootlickers and toadies to the men of the Church and destroyed what little freedom of choice we had–those rulings reveal the depth of the Brethren’s fear of independent, non-permission-asking women, the kind of women which are emerging from the women’s movement. And it is no accident that they were enacted just as the feminist tide in the United States began to swell. . . .

. . . [T]he [Mormon Church's] patriarchs . . . are either afraid to talk with those of us who are alarmed at their opinions and treatment of women or they do not consider us worth their time. . . . But what it says to those of us who have survived being Mormon women is that our sisters are silently screaming for help and that they are not only NOT finding it at Church, but that at Church they are being further depressed and debilitated by bombardment with profoundly demeaning female sex-role stereotypes. Their Church experience is making them sick.

(For the original posting of the expanded text of Johnson's paper, delivered to the American Psychological Association in New York City on 1 September 1979, together with the speech's footnotes, other commentary and subsequent observations from RfM contributors, see

Johnson’s Historic Speech, “Patriarchal Panic: Sexual Politics in the Mormon Church--How Women Have Been Made Bootlickers and Toadies to the Men of the Church"

To understand the deep-seated bigotry that persists against women in the LDS Church, one needs only to soak in Johnson's landmark, and timeless, war cry against Mormonism's femalephobia.

It was a stunning, compelling, no-holds-barred and complete dismemberment of Mormon patriarchy--one that, when it was delivered, blew the lid off of LDS maledumb's then-secretly organized, superficially disingenuous and patently dishonest efforts to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment.

Johnson–a brave, outspoken and Mormon male bashed-and-trashed torch bearer in the ultimately futile battle over passage of the ERA--was expelled from the LDS Church largely because of the bold and unapologetic remarks she made in a speech to the American Psychological Association (APA) in New York City on 1 September 1979.

Entitled “Patriarchal Panic: Sexual Politics in the Mormon Church: How Women Have Been Made Bootlickers and Toadies to the Men of the Church,” her speech was a powerful expose’ of the blatantly illegal, immoral and behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts by the LDS Church to prevent passage of the ERA in legislative statehouses across the country.

Break Out the Rash: Mormonism's Reactionary Response

A typcially then-and-now, reflexive, knee-jerk Mormon reaction to Johnson's speech came from--not suprisingly--a LDS male in West Jordan, Utah, who wrote:

In the case of ERA, the Federal government has lobbied for its ratification, the Church against it. I think it all boils down to whom do we trust?

The government or those whom we sustain as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators? Who do we consider the wisest--the President of the United States or the President of the Church? Whose motives, goals and objectives do we align ourselves with?

While it's true that members of the Church have a right to be pro-ERA, it is clear to me that this is the same as our right to smoke, drink, be inactive or withhold any contributions to the Church. It is not similar to our right to be a Republican, Democrat, Independent or whatever.

The Church says it is a moral issue, the world says it's political. Who do we believe?

Sonia Johnson and others apparently feel that the Church's opposition to [the] ERA is a "patriarchal panic" based on a chauvinistic desire to keep women under the thumb of men in the Church. The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have stated their reasons for opposition and we do them a terrible disservice in discounting their statements and suspecting instead various unholy ulterior motives.

Besides having the right to be wrong, Church members have the right to inspiration from the Holy Ghost (assuming personal worthiness). I submit that we should exercise that privilege rather than the former and find ourselves in peaceful agreement with those whom the Lord has charged with the great responsibility of leading us aright.


Speaking Truth to Priesthood "Power"

Johnson’s speech was clearly not meant to placate the priesthood but to defeat it. It was a defiant, accusatory and emboldening call to arms that ended up getting her ecclesiastically beheaded by the panicked Brethren.

As Mormon author Linda Sillitoe describes it:

[It was] the extreme, not the norm, of Sonia Johnson’s utterances and yet it identifie[d] clearly the heart of what ha[d] become her dilemma. It is in this speech that she crosse[d] the line between equal civil rights and the patriarchal system of the Mormon Church, a border also blurred by the Church by identifying the ERA as a moral issue upon which the Church [was] taking political action (in harmony with the July 4, 1979 statement of the First Presidency which explain[ed] that moral issues, so identified by the First Presidency and Council of Twelve, may be ‘worthy of full institutional involvement’). Thus it is no more possible to remove Sonia Johnson's promotion of the Equal Rights Amendment from a Church context than it was possible for her to remove the anti-ERA petition from her ward lobby.

As Sillitoe further notes, it was Johnson’s speech that, in fact, provided the final impetus for the decision of Mormon Church patriarchs to excommunicate her from its ranks.

At her trial, Johnson was accused by her inquisitioners of having "publicly taught that the Church is dedicated to imposing the Prophet's moral directives upon all Americans; when it is the doctrine of the Church that all people are free to choose for themselves those moral directives dictated by their own consciences."

Johnson’s unpardonable sin (at least to the covered eyes and ears of Mormonism's patriarchal and predatory prevaricators) was to blow the whistle on the Brethren’s secret political designs to torpedo the ERA.



The Text of Sonia Johnson’s Courageous Pro-ERA/Anti-Patriarchy Speech

Below is the nearly complete text of Johnson’s remarks before the American Psychological Association in September 1979. (Nearly in the sense that the copy of Johnson’s speech in my possession is a typed manuscript which appears to have been photo-reproduced many times, thus resulting in occasional illegibilities at the top of some of its pages. However, despite these relatively small and infrequent gaps, the meaning of Johnson’s message is not lost).

Johnson’s public exposure of the "panic" seizing Mormon male leadership in the face of rising calls for gender equality became an inspiring cry in Mormonism’s pro-ERA underground--particularly, of course, for women who to this day continue to be suffocated by the Brethren’s patriarchal grip.

September 1, 1979
Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Meetings, New York City
Sonia Johnson, Ed.D

Sexual politics is old hat in the Mormon Church. It was flourishing when my grandparents were infants, crossing the plains to Utah in covered wagons. Although different generations have developed their own peculiar variations on the theme, I believe my generation is approaching the ultimate confrontation, for which all the others were simply dress rehearsals. Mormon sexual politics today is an uneasy mixture of explosive phenomena: the recent profound disenfranchisement of Mormon women by Church leaders, the Church’s sudden strong political presence in the anti-ERA arena and the women’s movement.

Saturated as it is with the anti-female bias that is patriarchy’s very definition and reason for being, the Mormon Church can legitimately be termed "The Last Unmitigated Western Patriarchy." (I know you Catholics and Jews in this audience will want to argue with that but I will put my patriarchs up against yours any day!) This patriarchal imperative is reinforced by the belief that the President of the Church is a Prophet of God, as were Isaiah and Moses, and that God will not allow him to make a mistake in guiding the Church. He is, therefore, if not doctrinally, in practice "infallible"–deified. Commonly heard thought-obliterating dicta in my Church are "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done" and "when the Prophet speaks, the debate is ended." They forget to mention that the debate probably never even got started since in the Church there is little dialogue or real education. Indoctrination is the prime method of instruction because obedience is the contemporary Church’s prime message.

The caliber of character forged by this "education to obey" is illustrated by an encounter we had two summers ago [1977] in Lafayette Square after the national ERA march in Washington, D.C. Several of us were accosted by two Brigham Young University students, former missionaries for the Church, who tried to tear down our MORMONS FOR ERA banner. During the ensuing discussion, they solemnly vowed that if the Prophet told them to go out and shoot all Black people, they would do so without hesitation.

Another example: Under the Heavenly mandate against the Equal Rights Amendment, Mormons in Virginia last winter [1978], wearing their EQUALITY YES, ERA NO! buttons (a typical boggling example of patriarchal doublethink), lobbied not only against the ERA but against ALL bills for women–many of which were models of their kind.

The political implications of this mass renunciation of individual conscience for direction from “God” are not clearly enough understood in this country. The Mormons, a tiny minority, are dedicated to imposing the Prophet’s moral directives upon all Americans and they may succeed if Americans do not become aware of their methods and goals. Because the organization of the Church is marvelously tight and the obedience of the members marvelously thorough-going, potentially thousands of people can be mobilized in a very short time to do–conscientiously–whatever they are told, without more explanation than "the Prophet has spoken."

But Mormon anti-ERA activity, though organized and directed by the hierarchy of the Church from Salt Lake down through regional and local male leaders, is covert activity, not openly done in the name of the Church. Members are cautioned not to reveal that they are Mormons or organized by the Church when they lobby, write letters, donate money and pass out anti-ERA brochures door-to-door through whole states. . . . Instead, they are directed to say that they are concerned citizens following the dictates of their individual consciences. Since they are, in fact, following the dictates of the Prophet’s conscience and would revise their own overnight if he were to revise his, nothing could be further from the truth.

In addition, Mormon women, who make up most of the anti-ERA Mormon army (and the leaders refer to it as an army in true patriarchal style. . . ), are advised not to tell people that the men of the Church have organized them, but to maintain that they voluntarily organized themselves. "People won’t understand" . . . , their male leaders explain which in patriarchal doublespeak means: "People will understand only too well that this is the usual male trick of enlisting women to carry out men’s oppressive measures against women, hiding the identity of the real oppressors and alienating women from each other."

So many of us in the Church are so unalterably opposed to this covert and oppressive activity that one of the major purposes of MORMONS FOR ERA has become to shine light upon the murky political activities of the Church and to expose to other Americans its exploitation of women’s religious commitment for its self-serving male political purposes.

The reaction of the Church fathers to the women’s movement and women’s demand for equal rights has produced fearful and fascinating phenomena. In the mid-1960s, Utah’s birthrate was almost exactly the same as the national rate but by last year [1978] it was double the national average–evidence of a real patriarchal panic, a tremendous reaction against the basic feminist tenet that women were meant by their Creator to be individuals first and to fulfill roles second–to the degree and in the way they choose, as men do. In almost every meeting of the Church (and Mormons are noted for [next several words illegible] "good" Mormon woman, acceptable to the Brethren and therefore to God; messages calculated to keep women where men like them best: "made" . . . (created) to nurture husband and children, housebound, financially and emotionally dependent, occupationally immature, politically na´ve, obedient, subordinate, submissive, somnambulant and bearing much of the heavy and uncredited labor of the Church upon their uncomplaining shoulders.

Encyclicals from the Brethren over the past ten years [1969-1979] such as those which took away women’s right to pray in major Church meetings (this right has since been restored but women will not be safe from the Brethren’s capricious meddling with our inalienable human rights until we attain positions of power and authority in our Church); to control our own auxiliary money and program and to publish our own magazine for communication among ourselves have put women under total male control, requiring us to ask permission of men in even the smallest of matters. These rulings–which have seriously harmed women’s self-esteem, lowered our status, made us bootlickers and toadies to the men of the Church and destroyed what little freedom of choice we had–those rulings reveal the depth of the Brethren’s fear of independent, non-permission-asking women, the kind of women which are emerging from the women’s movement. And it is no accident that they were enacted just as the feminist tide in the United States began to swell.

But we have other, more direct, ways of knowing how badly threatened and angry our brethren are by the existence of women who are not under their control. In April [1979], we hired a plane to fly a banner over Temple Square in Salt Lake City during a break in the world-wide Conference of male leaders being held in the Tabernacle. The banner announced that MORMONS FOR ERA ARE EVERYWHERE. A reporter phoned the Jody Powell of the Church [Jody Powell was then-President Jimmy Carter’s White House press secretary] to ask how the Brethren were taking this little prank and was told that they found it "amusing." Then the Jody Powell-person suggested that the reporter put a cartoon in the next day’s paper showing our plane flying over the Angel Moroni atop the Temple (as the actual newspaper had) but instead of a trumpet, picture Moroni brandishing a machine gun. One does not need to be a psychoanalyst to understand how “amusing” the Brethren found our "little prank." . . .

More recently, when an Associated Press reporter interviewed President [Spencer W.] Kimball on the subject of uppity Mormon women, the Prophet warned that Church members who support the Equal Rights Amendment should be "very, very careful" because the Church is led by "strong men and able men . . . . We feel we are in a position to lead them properly." . . . The threat here is open and clear. We had better be very, very careful.

[Illegible] the men at the head of the Church are strong and the patriarchs have for millennia crushed those women who escaped from their mind-bindings. President Kimball is further quoted as saying, "These women who are asking for authority to do everything that a man can do and change the order and go and do men’s work instead of bearing children, she’s just off her base" . . . –a truly appalling revelations of ignorance about the realities of women’s lives.

But perhaps the image of greatest terror crawled from the psyche of Hartman Rector, one of the General Authorities of the Church, in response to my testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights:

In order to attempt to get the male somewhere near even, the Heavenly Father gave him the Priesthood, or directing authority for the Church and home. Without this bequeath, the male would be so far below the female in power and influence that there would be little or no purpose for his existence. In fact, [he] would probably be eaten by the female as is the case with the black widow Spider. . . .

Given this view of women, it should come as no surprise that despite the carefully calculated public relations campaign which portrays the Mormon Church as the last bastion (and probably the inventors!) of the happy family and fulfilled womanhood, all is not well in Zion: all is particularly not well among Zion’s women.

In recent years, considerable hue and cry has arisen over the subject of depression among Mormon women, inspiring a spate of documentaries and articles. . . . The Salt Lake Tribune in December of 1977 quoted local therapists as stating that up to three-quarters of their Mormon patients were women and that the common denominator was low self-image and lack of fulfillment outside the home. . . .This depression is endemic and begins at an early age: the incidence of suicide among teenaged females in Utah is more than double the national average and rising. . . . Seven of 10 teenaged brides are “premaritally pregnant” and 40 percent of Utah’s brides are teens. . . . The proportion of teenage marriages in Utah has been greater than for the nation each year since 1960, which might partially account for Utah’s divorce rate being higher than the national average. (The time of the beginning of the increase is also significant, as I have pointed out earlier). Alcoholism and drug abuse among women are problems in Mormon culture, as are child and wife abuse. In the last 14 years, rape in Utah has increased 165 percent and the local index of rape is 1.35 percent higher than the national average. . . . . Add to this the significant fact that attendance at Relief Society–the Church’s women’s auxiliary–and at the Young Women’s organization meetings has dropped off drastically nationwide.

What all this says to the patriarchs is anyone’s guess–they are either afraid to talk with those of us who are alarmed at their opinions and treatment of women or they do not consider us worth their time. . . . But what it says to those of us who have survived being Mormon women is that our sisters are silently screaming for help and that they are not only NOT finding it at Church, but that at Church they are being further depressed and debilitated by bombardment with profoundly demeaning female sex-role stereotypes. Their Church experience is making them sick.

Because Mormon women are trained to desire above all else to please men (and I include in this category God, whom all too many of us view as an extension of our chauvinist leaders), we spend enormous amounts of energy trying to make the very real but–for most of us–limited satisfactions of mother- and wifehood substitute satisfactorily for all other life experiences. What spills over into those vacant lots of our hearts where our intellectual and talented selves should be vigorously alive and thriving are, instead, frustration, anger and the despair which comes from suppressing anger and feeling guilty for having felt it in the first place.

Last summer [1978], a Utah woman wrote to Senate Hatch of Utah: “A sea of smoldering women is a dangerous thing.” And that’s what the Mormon patriarchy has on its hands: a sea of smoldering women. Those whose anger is still undifferentiated, who do not realize how thoroughly they are being betrayed–their rage is exploited by Church leaders who subvert it into attacks against feminist causes such as the Equal Rights Amendment, making scapegoats of women and their righteous desires, identifying women as the source of women’s danger (a patriarchal tactic for maintaining power that has its roots in antiquity) and trying to distract us from recognizing that where our real danger as women lies, and always has lain, is in patriarchy.

But women are not fools. The very violence with which the Brethren attacked an Amendment which would give women human status in the Constitution abruptly opened the eyes of thousands of us to the true source of our danger and our anger. This open patriarchal panic against our human rights raised consciousness miraculously all over the Church as nothing else could have done. And revealing their raw panic at the idea that women might step forward as goddesses-in-the-making with power in a real–not a “sub” or “through men”–sense, was the leaders’ critical and mortal error, producing as it did a deafening dissonance between their rhetoric of love and their oppressive, unloving, destructive behavior.

I receive phone calls and letters from Mormon women all over the country and each has a story or two to tell: how two Mormon women in one meeting independently stood and spoke of their Mother in Heaven, how they met afterwards and wept together in joy at having found and named Her; how a courageous Mormon woman is preparing to make the first public demand for the priesthood. “The time has come,” she says calmly, “for women to insist upon full religious enfranchisement.” This statement is the Mormon woman’s equivalent of the shot heard ‘round the world!

Our patriarchy may be The Last Unmitigated but it is no longer unchallenged. A multitude of Mormon women are through asking permission. We are waking up and growing up and in our waking and growing can be heard–distinctly–the death rattle of the patriarchy.
The Mormon Church Says It Doesn't Like To Be Called "Mormon" But Violates Its Own Damn Style Guide
Thursday, Mar 30, 2006, at 08:12 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
Go to the official Style Guide site for the LDS Church and there you will find the official LDS Church explanation for the official name of the LDS Church, along with official directions from the LDS Church on what names to use or not use when officially referring to the LDS Church:

Style Guide - The Name of the Church

The official name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This full name was given by revelation from God to Joseph Smith in 1838.

While the term "Mormon Church" has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use.

When writing about the Church, please follow these guidelines:

In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Please avoid the use of “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church” or “the Church of the Latter-day Saints.”

When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or “the Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged.
When referring to Church members, the term “Latter-day Saints” is preferred, though “Mormons” is acceptable. "Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon, Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Mormon Trail, or when used as an adjective in such expressions as “Mormon pioneers.”

The term “Mormonism” is acceptable in describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, the terms “Mormons,” “Mormon fundamentalist,” “Mormon dissidents,” etc. are incorrect. The Associated Press Stylebook notes: “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other ... churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.”,15606,3899-1---15-168,00.html (emphasis added)

So, you're not supposed to refer to the LDS Church as the "Mormon Church," because that's not the LDS Church's real name.

Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuze me but I just heard one of those LDS family "it's about time" radio spots and it referred interested listeners to, golly, guess what? . . .

So, when you go to , you'll see it's an officially owned and operated propaganda site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (you know, the Mormons).

Upon entering the site, viewers are hit up with the following greeting, front and center, written in lacey script and accompanied by a photo of happy-faced Mormons:

This site is for anyone interested in learning more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We invite you to view information about The Church itself or to explore our beliefs about Families, the Nature of God, and the Purpose of life. We also encourage you to view answers to Frequently asked questions.

So, the MORMONS and the MORMON CHURCH will getchya any way they can, even if it means throwin' out a hook with the worm "Mormon" on it.

Obviously, it must not bother them too much, as long as they can make a sale and reel you in.

Yup, anything to close the deal.

Wormy little liars.
The Latest In A Series Of Ongoing Updates On Hinckley's Health
Thursday, Apr 6, 2006, at 08:46 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
Below is a summation (with new developments added, as they become available) concerning Gordon B. Hinckley's condition--which isn't good--and which, despite Hinckley's recent public comments, appears to possibly be a matter of some institutionalized cover-up by the Mormon Church:

Hinckley Admits He's On His Last Legs

On Sunday, April 2nd, Hinckley informed his General Conference audience that he is in the final chapters of his life, as reported by the Associated Press:

SALT LAKE CITY--Mormon church president Gordon B. Hinckley said on Sunday he is in the "sunset of my life" and suffering from some residual health problems after undergoing major surgery earlier this year.

"I am totally in the hands of the Lord," Hinckley said, addressing the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the second day of the faith's twice-yearly conference.

Hinckley, 95, was hospitalized in January after doctors discovered a cancerous growth on his intestine during what was called a routine medical examination. He had surgery and spent nearly a week in the hospital recovering.

Hinckley, now in his 11th year as church president, has acknowledged he is slowing down with age. But he also made it clear that his sense of humor is as sharp as ever and that he didn't want church members to over-interpret his health concerns.

"I trust you will not regard this as an obituary," he said, drawing a laugh. "Rather I look forward to the opportunity of speaking to you again in October."

Despite an Earlier Operation for Colon Cancer, Hinckley Still Has Cancer

Actually, it's no laughing matter and his condition appears to involve more than just residual after-effects of his previous surgery for colon cancer.

As I noted here last week, a reliable source recently informed me that Hinckley is presently suffering from cancer and that, due to the serious nature of his condition, his family had gathered from across the country in an unusual move to be with him at Conference.

I also have been informed quite recently that, according to sources in medical circles, Hinckley definitely has cancer. However, the claims of these sources have, I am told, yet to be reliably confirmed.

Hinckley's Current Condition, as of Yesterday: Mum from Mormondom

According to a source with whom I have been in recent contact and who is closely following developments on Hinckley's health, the Mormon Church yesterday released a statement on Hinckley's condition in which it said, essentially, that Hinckley has nothing more to say (at the moment, at least) about his physical condition.

The LDS Church Denounces Internet Chat About What Is Reportedly Disseminated in Mormon Church Meetings

According to this same source, the same Mormon Church statement also decried Internet chat, warning Latter-day Saints not to spread information they believe they have heard in Mormon church settings.

Spinning Ballard's Comments on Hinckley's Condition

This warning is particularly interesting, given that a Mormon e-mail has recently been making the rounds, in which statements attributed to Apostle M. Russell Ballard point to the serious state of Hinckley's health--and which strongly hint that Hinckley might not be around much longer.

The e-mail in question (also recently posted on RfM) reported the following:

I was talking with my friend in North Salt Lake this morning. He lives in a ward with 3 Apostles and the Stake President is Elder Ballard's son-in-law. They had Stake Conference this past Sunday and Elder Ballard, who just had both knees replaced, came and spoke.

Among other things, Apostle Ballard said that General Conference this April (2006) may well be our last chance to hear Pres. Hinckley speak. He said that Pres. Hinckley is suffering from a very serious illness and that, much like King Benjamin gathering his people around to address them one last time, we would do well to listen as intently as the people of that time. It is sad to think that we may lose President Hinckley soon but thought it would be good to know this and treat his testimony even more reverently.

With regard to Ballard's reported comments above, my source says that what Ballard shared about Hinckley's health has now been reconfigured by the Church to mean nothing more than an encouragement from Ballard that everyone should, as always, listen attentively to what the prophet as to say.

Yeah, right.

Stay tuned.
"Justice" For The Victims Of The Bennett / Wheeler Sex Abuse Case: Yavapi County Style
Thursday, Apr 6, 2006, at 09:01 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
From The Flip-Flop-It Prophet: Hinckley Defends Historic Doctrinal Mormon Racism But Says He Doesn't Understand The Basis For It
Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006, at 06:42 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
women, prophetic revelation, LDS group-think, garments, the Book of Mormon, LDS Christianity, full-time missionary aversion to sex, politics, Internet smut, the 1950s, other churches, coffee and--last but not least--God's wife).

We Thank Thee, Oh God, for Mumbo-Jumbo

Below are extraordinarily egg-faced excerpts from an exchange between David Ransom, of the Australian Broadcasting Company news show "Compass," and LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley.

First, Hinckley's defense of Mormon racism against Blacks:

Blacks Didn't Deserve the Priesthood in the Past but Hinckley Doesn't Know Why

DR: Now up until 1978 I understand Blacks were not allowed to be priests in your Church?

Gordon B. Hinckley: That is correct. Although we have Black members of the Church. They felt that they would gain more in this Church than any other with which they were acquainted and they were members of the Church. In 1978 we (the president of the Church) received a revelation under which all worthy men would receive all the blessings of the Church available to them as well as to any others. So across the world now we are teaching the Gospel to Blacks, Whites, everyone else who will listen.

DR: So, in retrospect, was the Church wrong in that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: No, I don’t think it was wrong. It things, various things happened in different periods. There’s a reason for them.

DR: What was the reason for that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I don’t know what the reason was. But I know that we’ve rectified whatever may have appeared to be wrong at that time.

DR: Is it a problem for the Church that it it still has a tag of being racist?

Gordon B. Hinckley: No, I don’t think so. I don’t see that anywhere. I’ve been to Africa. I’ve been to other places. I don’t see any evidence of that any more. There’s some misconception of course that among some people. But I don’t see much evidence of that any more.


Continuing on the subject of Mormon prejudice, here's what Hinckley had to say about not giving LDS women the priesthood:

"Happy" Mormon Women Don't "Agitate" for the Mormon Male Priesthood

DR: At present women are not allowed to be priests in your Church. Why is that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: That’s right, because the Lord has put it that way. Now women have a very prominent place in this Church. They have there own organisation. Probably the largest women’s organisation in the world of 3.7 million members. And the women of that organisation sit on Boards. Our Board of Education--things of that kind. They counsel with us. We counsel together. They bring in insight that we very much appreciate and they have this tremendous organization of the world where they grow and if you ask them they’ll say, "We’re happy and we’re satisfied."

DR: They all say that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes. All except, ah, oh, you’ll find a little handful one or two here and there, but in 10 million members you expect that.

DR: You say the Lord has put it that way. What do you mean by that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I mean that’s a part of His program. Of course it is, yes.

DR: Is it possible that the rules could change in the future as the rules are on Blacks ?

Gordon B. Hinckley: He could change them, yes. If He were to change them that’s the only way it would happen.

DR: So, you’d have to get a revelation?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes. But there’s no agitation for that. We don’t find it. Our women are happy. They’re satisfied. These bright, able, wonderful women who administer their own organisation are very happy. Ask them. Ask my wife.

Gordon B. Hinckley: Are you happy? (to his wife . . . )

Mrs. H: Very happy! (laughs)


On the matter of how Hinckley gets revelation directly from God to run the Mormon Church, Hinckley says the Church actually doesn't need much of it:

God Reveals Things to Hinckley By Whispering to Him, Hinckley Thinks God Hears Him When He Prays, He Thinks It's "the Real Thing," but He Can't Say How For Sure Often He Gets These Revelations

DR: As the world leader of the the Church, how are you in touch with God? Can you explain that for me?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I pray. I pray to Him. Night and morning. I speak with Him. I think He hears my prayers. As He hears the prayers of others. I think He answers them.

DR: But more than that, because you’re leader of the Church. Do you have a special connection?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I have a special relationship in terms of the Church as an institution. Yes.

DR: And you receive--

Gordon B. Hinckley: For the entire Church.

DR: You receive?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Now we don’t need a lot of continuing revelation. We have a great, basic reservoir of revelation. But if a problem arises, as it does occasionally, a vexatious thing with which we have to deal, we go to the Lord in prayer. We discuss it as a First Presidency and as a Council of the Twelve Apostles. We pray about it and then comes the whisperings of a still small voice. And we know the direction we should take and we proceed accordingly.

DR: And this is a revelation?

Gordon B. Hinckley: This is a revelation.

DR: How often have you received such revelations?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, I don’t know. I feel satisfied that in some circumstances we’ve had such revelation. It’s a very sacred thing that we don’t like to talk about a lot. A very sacred thing.

DR: But it’s a special experience?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I think it’s a real thing. It’s a very real thing. And a special experience.


On the subject of intellectual freedom, Mormons are allowed to question, but they really prefer the higher road of conformity:

The Mormon Church Has Only a Few--Specifically, "One Or Two"--Dissidents

DR: There does seem to be [among Mormons] . . . an uncritical acceptance of a conformist style?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Uncritical? No. Not uncritical. People think in a very critical way before they come into this Church. When they come into this Church they’re expected to conform. And they find happiness in that conformity.

DR: But not allowed to question?

Gordon B. Hinckley: If what?

DR: They’re not allowed to question?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, they are allowed to question. Look, this Church came of intellectual dissent. We maintain the largest private university in America.

DR: And that continues to this day?

Gordon B. Hinckley: 27,000 students.

DR: And that dissent continues to that this day?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. We expect people to think for themselves. Now, if they get off and begin to fight the Church and that sort of thing, as one or two do now and again, we simply disfellowship them and go our way. But those cases are really very, very few.


Then there's the magical Mormon underwear, which Hinckley admits to wearing for what he thinks might be its possible protective properties:

Hinckley Sports "The Spirtual What?" (His Term for the Garments) Because, Among Other Things, He Thinks They're Comfy and Just Might Shield Him from Harm

DR: Um, look, I don’t want to be indelicate here but this, um, American ‘60 minutes’ program did deal with this business about the spiritual undergarments. I must ask you, what are they? And do you wear them?

Gordon B. Hinckley: The spiritual what?

DR: The spiritual undergarments?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, well, that’s simple--Many people wear particular types of clothing. Many religions. The Jews do. Vestments of various kind worn by other Religions. It isn’t an unusual thing at all. It’s sacred. We regard it as such. It’s a token as it were of our membership in the Church and our eligibility to go to the Temple.

DR: And the sacred undergarments protect you?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, I think so. Yes.

DR: Do you wear them?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes.

DR: All the time?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes.

DR: And, and have you--

Gordon B. Hinckley: They’re very comfortable.

DR: Have you ever received protection from them?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Protection from them? Oh, I think so. I’m 86 years of age and going on 87 and I’m still here.


About the Book of Mormon, Hinckley says there's really not all that much historical proof for it and, well, the gold plates are missing:

People Didn't Write Much Anciently That We Can Figure Out and, OK, We Don't Have the Gold Plates Anymore

DR: Now the Book of Mormon tells about Christ’s dealings with ancient people in America. I know that’s a long story, but can you put that in a nutshell for me?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Well, He said when during His ministry other sheep I have which are not of this fold, and that they those He would visit following His death, following His resurrection. We believe He appeared to the people on the American continent and ministered to them for a brief period. Talked to them much the same as He talked to people in Palestine. Just as the Bible is a Testament of the Old World, so the Book of Mormon is a testament of the New World.

DR: So, Jesus went to America and taught there. Is there any historical proof of this?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, I don’t know there are many confirmatory evidences of that civilization. The record of theses people, we think, is a testament or remembrance of that occasion. Yes, to that degree. But not a lot. Most people didn’t write very much that we’ve been able to decipher. Now.

DR: But this information came to--?

Gordon B. Hinckley: The Book of the Mormon.

DR: Er, through Joseph Smith?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Correct.

DR: Now, I understand these revelations came on golden plates. Can you tell me something about that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes. This was a book written in the language of the Egyptians on golden plates and they were hidden away in a hill in western New York and Joseph Smith was led to that hill and those plates were delivered to him and he translated from those plates what has become the Book of Mormon. Here it is. You can hold it in your hands. You can heft it. You can read it. You can feel the spirit. You can try to explain it. But when all’s said and done, it’s there.

DR: So, where are the plates now?

Gordon B. Hinckley: The plates are not here. The angel who delivered them took them back.


Are Mormons Christian? You bet, Hinckley says:

The LDS Church is Christian and Other Churches Are, Too--As Long As They Say They Are

DR: . . . [H]ow does your faith sit with other Christians?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Let me say first that the Book of Mormon becomes a second witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. We carry the name of the Savior and the name of the Church. We are Christians in a very real sense.

DR: And others are not?

Gordon B. Hinckley: And others are if they chose to call themselves such.

DR: But--

Gordon B. Hinckley: The term "Christians" in a generic vein.

DR: Do they need, though--

Gordon B. Hinckley: A group of people who believe in Jesus Christ.

DR: Do they need though to believe in these new revelations to be truly Christians?

Gordon B. Hinckley: They will get great satisfaction [if they] believe in, in these new revelations. They will have in their hand a second witness for the reality and validity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

DR: So, how do you respond to those who say that you’re not really Christians?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I simply say that’s a that’s a misconception. We are Christians in a very real sense. And that’s coming to be more and more widely recognized. One time people everywhere said we’re not Christians. They’ve come to recognize that we are and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.


On the subject of Mormon missionaries out in the field, they simply do not give in to sexual or television temptation:

"Nothing Happens" When Mormon Elders Are Distracted By Girls or TV

DR: After you leave here, you’ll go out and you’ll talk to 450 young missionaries. Does it bring back memories for you?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, yes indeed. As a missionary in the British Isles about 65 years ago. It was a great experience, a tremendous experience.

DR: Tough?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, yes. You know the English. They’re tough, but they’re wonderful.

DR: I meant the rules that apply. I understand that, um, as a missionary you, er, you can’t, er, be alone with a member of the opposite sex. You can’t watch television, no listening to music, apparently--other than listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. No swimming. No dating. It sounds like a tough call.

Gordon B. Hinckley: You’re looking at it the wrong way. You’ve got the wrong end of the telescope. You have to look at it the other way. Here they are. They’ve consecrated two years of their lives. To go in, out and serving other people. To doing their missionary work. They concentrate on one thing. As their whole objective is to teach the Gospel. They don’t bother with these other things. They don’t get in the way of them. They are consecrated and devoted to this great work of teaching the Gospel. They don’t need to be bothered with these other things and they’re not. You don’t miss them when you’re in this work. Really you don’t. You just so [inaudible] all fired up over teaching the Gospel to people and nothing else matters. It’s strange to you, David, but it’s so.

DR: You can tell it’s strange, I know. If they are distracted by TV, by music, by girls, what happens?

Gordon B. Hinckley: What happens? Nothing happens. They just go forward with their work. When they go home they get back and, er, social life. There’s plenty of time for a young man. He’ll take care of those things naturally. He’ll be back in school, most of them. And, er, he’ll date, he’ll go on into marriage. And they’ll be happy and productive citizens.


And another thing--the Mormon Church doesn't get involved in politics:

The LDS Church Doesn't Have Anything to Do with Politics--Just Moral Issues

DR: . . . {I]n Australia, as in the US, I understand you [inaudible] government on social issues. Especially in the name of protecting the family. What sort of things would you like to change as far as Australian society is concerned?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I don’t know much about, er, your social structure here. I’m only, I only come as a visitor and so I can’t say very much but I was sorry to read that the great emphasis being put on gambling down in, er, Victoria? Victoria, yes.

Institutionally, the Church speaks out on moral issues. Other than that we draw a strict line of separation of Church and State. The Church institutionally does not get involved in politics. Does not endorse candidates, does not endorse parties. We encourage our people as citizens of the land to exercise their franchises individuals. And to be active in these things, but as an institution the Church maintains a strict line of separation of Church and State speaking out only when there is a moral question at issue.


Oh, and about that dang Internet:

Despite Internet Sex, the Mormon Church is Full of Wonderful Young People

DR: You put forward an opinion, I understand here, about the, the sex on video and about, um, the Internet and the effect that may have on society?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, yes, all of these things are downgrading. There isn’t any question about it. These are one of the causes for what’s happening. The illegitimate birth way up, er, dropping out of school up, many things. We put great emphasis on education, for instance.

DR: And you believe the reason for this is a sexually permissive society?

Gordon B. Hinckley: It’s a permissive society in which we live, yes. And, unfortunately, parents are largely responsible for that. They’ve taken an indifferent attitude towards the action of their children. We’re trying very hard and I think we’re succeeding in maintaining the traditional family life. And we have a great, huge number of young people who’re growing up in the faith and who are just wonderful.


On the subject of other churches, Mormons are a blast from the past and couldn't be nicer:

Mormons Love the 1950s--and They Don't Talk Badly About Other Religions, Either

DR: Just looking at the [LDS] missionaries as I came in today, it reminded me very much of the fifties. The sort of values of the fifties in Australia.

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yeah.

DR: Do you agree?

Gordon B. Hinckley: It's cleaned up. The shirts on. White shirts, ties, suits. Conservative dress. Does remind you of the fifties. Contrast that with what you see today and you get the whole picture.

DR: Do you think the fifties were a better time?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I think the fifties were a good time and I think this is a great time. I don’t think we’ve retrograded across the world. I think there are many good people everywhere. And our appeal is to those people. We don’t down grade any Church. We don’t speak disparagingly of any Church. We simply say to people of other Churches, bring all the good that you have and come and let us see if they if we can add to it. Now that’s all there is to it.


On coffee, fill it to the rim with "Milo:"

"Nobody"--That's Right--Nobody "Needs Coffee"

DR: . . . [Y]ou do condemn so many things that are commonly accepted. For example no sex before marriage. No tobacco, no alcohol, no gambling not even coffee.

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yeah, that’s right.

DR: And very, very strict.

Gordon B. Hinckley: That’s wonderful. And you live longer. And you’re happier. And you’re healthier.

DR: What’s wonderful about not drinking coffee?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Oh, ah, coffee has all kinds of caffeine in it, other things. You don’t need coffee. Nobody needs coffee. You can get along without it, David (laughs).

DR: Not even early in the morning for an interview like this?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I had a cup of Milo.

DR: And that worked?

Gordon B. Hinckley: That worked.


On God's marital status, Hinckley's, well, not quite sure:

The Mormon Prophet Can't Say With Certainty If God Actually Has a Wife

DR: . . . God has a wife?

Gordon B. Hinckley: I don’t know, but I suppose so. As we have a Father, I assume we have a Mother.

DR: I understood your teachings said that God has a wife?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes. Well, we . . . yes, we have a Mother in Heaven. We believe so. We’re sons and daughters of God.


Thus saith the Lord.

And if that's the case, then God help us.

("'Compass' Interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley, Australian Broadcasting Company, aired 9 November 1997, at
This Month's Spiritual Living Lesson: Knowing The Mormon Church Is True Through "Cutis Anserina"
Thursday, Apr 13, 2006, at 07:28 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
Otherwise known as "goose bumps."

They are the follicles of our faith.

The whisperings of Frosty the Snowy Ghost.

They speak to us in the chill small voice that "goosiness is next to godliness."

Listen, then, and learn, oh ye of little goose bumps:

Understanding the Tickling Testimonial of Tingling Flesh

. . . [G]oose bumps [are] a temporary local change in the skin when it becomes rougher due to erection of little muscles, as from cold, fear, or excitement.

The chain of events leading to this skin change starts with a stimulus such as cold or fear. That stimulus causes a nerve discharge from the sympathetic nervous system, a portion of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. The nerve discharge causes contraction of little muscles called the arrectores pilorum (the hair erector muscles). Contraction of these muscles elevates the hair follicles above the rest of the skin. And it is these tiny elevations we perceive as goose bumps. . . .

Goose bumps are also referred to as "gooseflesh." A fancier term for this familiar phenomenon is "horripilation." Horripilation was compounded from the Latin "horrere", to stand on end + "pilus", hair = hair standing on end. . . . Medicine has a special term, "cutis anserina" for goose bumps. But it goes back to the goose again, since "cutis," skin + "anser," goose = goose skin.

Some biologists believe that goose bumps evolved as part of the fight-or-flight reaction along with heart rate increases that send the heart racing while blood rushes to the muscles to give them additional oxygen. A similar phenomenon, bristling, in fur-covered animals may have made them look larger and more frightening and kept them warmer by increasing the amount of air between hairs which traps body heat.

But in people there seems to be no practical purpose for goose bumps except, of course, to make our skin crawl.

The Glory of God is in the Goose Bumps

Ever hear a song on the radio that makes your arm hair stand on end? Does thinking about your child being born also give you goose bumps? Memories are tied to emotion, and emotion triggers your body to release adrenaline and endorphin. Your brain responds to that hormonal rush by, among other things, giving you goose bumps . . .

Goose bumps also pop up when you are cold. The body responds to the temperature change by releasing adrenaline, which causes the tiny muscles connected to hairs to contract. The response is the same with emotion. Adrenaline is released, the brain responds, and you get goose bumps. In extreme emotional situations, such as the birth of a child, the brain receives such a surge of hormones, the body's response can move beyond goose bumps to all-over shaking.

It does not matter whether the emotional event is live or recalled from memory. The bond between emotion and memory is so strong, we can hear a song that reminds us of our past, or think about emotional events, and give ourselves goose bumps. . . .

However, the brain cannot distinguish between pleasure and a dangerous emotion. The reaction to hearing a memorable song on the radio or spotting a bear in your backyard will be the same: goose bumps. . . .

I say these things in the name of our Lo-Lo-Lord and Shiv-Shiv-Shiverin' Savior, even Gee-Gee-Gee-Geezus Christ, It's Cold!
Joseph Smith: Prophet Of The Lard From The Mental Ward
Monday, Apr 17, 2006, at 06:58 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-

Mormonism's founding flake was--to put it bluntly--a walking, talking testament to mental illness whose personal psychological issues, combined with his genetic predisposition to brain disorder, produced a dingbat with a head in a hat who manifested classic signs of being deranged, strange and unarranged.

To put it mildly, the evidence seems--(how best to put it?)--overwhelming, as noted in the examinations below.

Woo-Woo Unto You: Mormonism's Over-Sexed, Polygamous, Hallucinating, Moody, Manic-Depressive Prophet

Dr. Lawrence Foster [hypothesized in a 1993 Dialogue article] . . . that Joseph Smith may have been mentally ill. . . . While it may be true that Foster did not use the specific words "mentally ill . . . ," he very strongly implied that Joseph Smith had a serious mental problem.

Foster's hypothesis is that Smith suffered from manic-depression, which is certainly a form of mental illness. In his article . . . Foster wrote:

"In no area were Joseph Smith's manic qualities more evident than in his efforts to introduce and practice polygamy during the last three years of his life. The point at which Joseph Smith began systematically to introduce polygamy to his closest associates has strong suggestions of mania. . . . his subsequent surge of activity with the sixteen or more women with whom he appears to have sustained sexual relations as plural wives . . . is even more suggestive of the hypersexuality that often accompanies manic periods." (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter, 1993, pages 4, 7, 9-13)

Quoting again from his article, Foster further explains his hypothesis that Smith's involvement in polygamy may, in fact, have been rooted in his manic depressive state:

"To place this issue into a larger context, let us return to the perspectives of William James . . . and realize that religious prophets, including Joseph Smith, are is some sense, at least initially, 'sick,' 'disturbed,' or 'abnormal.'. . .

"Why did Joseph Smith feel so preoccupied with introducing plural marriage among his followers . . . Was there some hidden psychological key that could help make sense of this seemingly obsessive drive? . . .

"A variety of factors including . . . Joseph Smith's own strong sex drive all made plural marriage an idea with considerable power for the Mormon prophet . . . Was Smith, as some of his previously most loyal followers at the time asserted, losing touch with reality during his final months in Nauvoo?

"A compelling psychological approach to explaining this and other puzzling features of the Mormon prophet's behavior during this period was suggested to me by a Mormon psychiatrist, Dr. Jess Groesbeck. . . . gradually the explanatory power of the interpretation came to seem more and more compelling to me.

"Groesbeck argued that many aspects of Joseph Smith's behavior, especially during the last years of his life, appeared strikingly similar to behavior that psychiatrists associate with manic-depressive syndromes.

"Although one could understand that any individual under the pressures Joseph Smith faced might have experienced substantial mood swings, in the Mormon prophet's case those mood swings appear so severe that they may be clinically significant.

"Groesbeck also pointed out that there is substantial evidence that tendencies toward manic-depression tend to be inherited. Although many people are aware that one of Joseph Smith's brightest and most appealing sons, David Hyrum, tragically lapsed into insanity and spent the last years of his life in a mental institution, few realize at least six other male descendants of the Mormon prophet also have suffered from psychological disorders, including manic-depression. . . .

"According to Harold I. Kaplan and Benjamin J. Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry: . . . 'The increased activity often takes the form of sexual promiscuity, political involvement, and religious concern. . . . Delusions and hallucinations are not unusual. . . . It is quite common for the person to communicate with God and to have it revealed that he or she has a special purpose or mission. Patients frequently describe themselves as an 'organ' of God through whom God speaks to the world.'

"In the various forms of manic-depressive illness, the manic highs alternate in bipolar fashion with periods of depression. . . .

"How do descriptions of psychological mania square with Joseph Smith's actions during the last three years of his life[?] . . . To anyone who has worked closely with the records of the Mormon prophet's life during those final years, the parallels are striking. . . .

"Most obvious is the Mormon prophet's extraordinary expansiveness and grandiosity throughout this period. During the last year of his life . . . Smith served as mayor of Nauvoo and head of his own private army, became 'king' of his secret Kingdom of God . . . ran for president of the United States . . . and was the 'husband' in some sense of dozens of wives. . . .

"In no area were Joseph Smith's manic qualities more evident than in his efforts to introduce and practice polygamy during the last three years of his life. The point at which Joseph Smith began systematically to introduce polygamy to his closest associates has strong suggestions of mania. . . . his subsequent surge of activity with the sixteen or more women with whom he appears to have sustained sexual relations as plural wives (the full number may have been much greater) is even more suggestive of the hypersexuality that often accompanies manic periods." (Dialogue, pp. 4, 7, 9-13) . . .

If the First Vision is viewed as an hallucination, and the revelation to establish polygamy as a natural result of manic-depression, then one can be more sympathetic with Joseph Smith's strange behavior. Under this hypothesis many things about Joseph Smith can be explained.


One Peepstone Short of a Full Hat: Fits of Uncontrolled Anger

. . . Foster stated that [manic depression] could account for "Joseph Smith's ferocious anger in . . . the last couple of years of his life." It could also help explain why Smith became the "head of his own private army, became 'king' of his secret Kingdom of God... [and] ran for president of the United States . . .

Joseph Smith . . . was [certainly] prone to violence. While Mormon writer John J. Stewart claimed that . . . Smith was "perhaps the most Christ-like man to live upon the earth since Jesus himself," this conclusion is not supported by Joseph Smith's History: "I am not so much a 'Christian' as many suppose I am. When a man undertakes to ride me for a horse, I feel disposed to kick up and throw him off, and ride him." (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 335)

Unlike the gentle and soft spoken man portrayed in the Mormon film, "Legacy," Joseph Smith was without question a fighting prophet. He not only liked to wrestle and prove his strength, but he sometimes kicked people and struck them very hard. Historian D. Michael Quinn observed that Smith was a "church president who physically assaulted both Mormons and non-Mormons for insulting him . . ." (The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, 1994, pp. 261-262)

Jedediah M. Grant, a member of the First Presidency under Brigham Young, told of "the Baptist priest who came to see Joseph Smith. . . . [T]he Baptist stood before him, and folding his arms said, 'Is it possible that I now flash my optics upon a man who has conversed with my Savior?' 'Yes,' says the Prophet, 'I don't know but you do; would not you like to wrestle with me?' That, you see, brought the priest right on to the thrashing floor, and he turned a sumerset right straight. After he had whirled round a few times, like a duck shot in the head, he concluded that his piety had been awfully shocked . . ." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, pp. 66-67)

Joseph Smith's close friend, Benjamin F. Johnson, made this observation after Smith's death:

"And yet, although so social and even convivial at times, he would allow no arrogance or undue liberties. Criticisms, even by his associates, were rarely acceptable. Contradictions would arouse in him the lion at once. By no one of his fellows would he be superseded.... one or another of his associates were more than once, for their impudence, helped from the congregation by his foot. . . . He soundly thrashed his brother William . . . While with him in such fraternal, social and sometimes convivial moods, we could not then so fully realize the greatness and majesty of his calling." (Benjamin F. Johnson, letter to Elder George S. Gibbs, 1903, as printed in The Testimony of Joseph Smith's Best Friend, pp. 4-5)

Mormon writer Max Parkin refers to a court case against Joseph Smith in which Calvin Stoddard, Joseph Smith's brother-in-law, testified that, "Smith then came up and knocked him in the forehead with his flat hand -- the blow knocked him down, when Smith repeated the blow four or five times, very hard -- made him blind -- that Smith afterwards came to him and asked his forgiveness . . ." (Conflict at Kirtland, citing from the Painesville Telegraph, June 26, 1835)

Parkin also quotes Luke S. Johnson, who served as an apostle in the early Mormon Church, as saying that when a minister insulted Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, Smith, "‘boxed his ears with both hands, and turning his face towards the door, kicked him into the street,' for the man's lack of charity." (ibid., page 268)

In the History of the Church for the year 1843, we read of two fights Joseph Smith had in Nauvoo:

"Josiah Butterfield came to my house and insulted me so outrageously that I kicked him out of the house, across the yard, and into the street." (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 316)

"Bagby called me a liar, and picked up a stone to throw at me, which so enraged me that I followed him a few steps, and struck him two or three times. Esquire Daniel H. Wells stepped between us and succeeded in separating us. . . . I rode down to Alderman Whitney . . . [H]e imposed a fine which I paid, and then returned to the political meeting." (ibid., p. 524)

On August 13, 1843, Joseph Smith admitted that he had tried to choke Walter Bagby: "I met him, and he gave me some abusive language, taking up a stone to throw at me: I seized him by the throat to choke him off." (ibid., p. 531)

After he became president of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young commented, "If you had the Prophet Joseph to deal with, you would think that I am quite mild. . . . He would not bear the usage I have borne, and would appear as though he would tear down all the houses in the city, and tear up trees by the roots, if men conducted to him in the way they have to me." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, pp. 317-318)

In addition to choking, kicking people out of houses and churches, knocking them in the head, boxing their ears, and tearing their clothing, the evidence indicates that he threatened people's lives. For documentation see The Mormon Hierarchy, pp. 91-92.


Holy Hallucinations and Hereditary Epilepsy

The idea that Joseph Smith was mentally ill has been around for a long time. In discussing theories about the origin of the Book of Mormon, Francis W. Kirkham, a Mormon writer, mentioned one of the anti-Mormon theories: "The Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith, a person subject to epileptic fits in early life and later to other pathological mental conditions." (A New Witness For Christ in America, 1951, vol. 1, p. 350). . .

Dr. Kirkham . . . [then cites] the following from the [1902]book, The Founder of Mormonism, written by Isaac Woodbridge Riley . . .:

"Thurlow Weed, when first Joseph submitted to him the Book of Mormon, said that he was either crazy or a very shallow impostor. There is no call for so harsh a judgment . . . There is a truer and, at the same time, more charitable explanation -- it is, in a word, that Joseph Smith, Junior, was an epileptic."

. . . [I]t does seem that there was something seriously amiss in [Smith's] life.

It is interesting to note that Joseph Smith's grandfather, Solomon Mack, seemed to suffer from fits. He even wrote a book detailing some of his fits, "severe accidents," and unusual visions he received. In his book, A Narrative of the Life of Solomon Mack, Joseph Smith's grandfather wrote:

"I afterwards was taken with a fit, when traveling with an axe under my arm . . . I was senseless from one until five p.m. When I came to myself . . . I was all covered with blood and much cut and bruised. When I came to my senses I could not tell where I had been nor where I was going. But by good luck I went right and arrived at the first house . . ." (as cited in Joseph Smith's New England Heritage, by Richard L. Anderson, 1971, p. 43)

Although Dr. Anderson mentions that, "[t]here were also 'some fits' among his later disorders," he rejects the idea that he was "afflicted with hereditary epilepsy, which too neatly explains his grandson's visions as epileptic seizures, with flashing lights and lapses into unconsciousness. But the case of neither grandfather nor grandson fits such speculation." (ibid., p. 13)

In a footnote on page 166, Anderson says that "[i]t is even possible that Solomon used 'fit' in the early sense of 'a mortal crisis, a bodily state (whether painful or not) that betokens death."

Nevertheless, Solomon Mack described so many accidents in his book that it would make one wonder if there was something seriously wrong with the man.

In any case, in the official account of Joseph Smith's First Vision he wrote:

". . . I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith -- History, v. 15)

Joseph Smith described the remarkable vision he saw and then went on to say: "When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up to heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home." (ibid., v. 20)

While Joseph Smith claimed that he saw an actual vision, there is a similarity to his grandfather's experience in that both of them were overpowered and passed out. Interestingly, both Joseph and his grandfather used the expression, "When I came to myself" (compare v. 20 with Solomon Mack's account cited above).

Another account of the [First] [V]ision appears in Joseph Smith's 1835 dairy. This account contains some eerie material about a strange noise Joseph heard that was not published in the official version:

"My tongue seemed to be swol[l]en in my mouth, so that I could not utter. I heard a noise behind me like some person walking towards me. I strove again to pray but could not. The noise seemed to draw nearer. I sprung up on my feet {page 23} and looked around, but saw no person or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking." (An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, edited by Scott H. Faulring, 1987, p. 51)

It is interesting to note that some of those who suffer from epilepsy claim they hear "peculiar sounds" just prior to an attack (see The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide, 1987, p. 289). Whatever the case may be, the fact that Joseph Smith claimed he heard the sound of "some person walking towards" him whom he was unable to see is certainly weird.

Some critics of the LDS Church claim that the spooky elements of the [First] [V]ision, such as Joseph Smith being "seized upon by some power which entirely overcame" him, the "thick darkness," and the attempt to "bind" his tongue prove that the vision was demonic. Mormons, on the other hand, maintain that God thwarted an attack by Satan and gave Joseph a wonderful vision.

Foster . . . gives another alternative: Joseph Smith may have suffered from an hallucination.

Joseph's First Vision experience was not the only time that he passed out. Later, Joseph Smith claimed he was visited in the night three times by an angel who told him about the gold plates. Joseph wrote:

"I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of that day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a long time was quite unconscious of anything.

"The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger . . ." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith -- History, v. 48-49)

It is also interesting to note that both Solomon Mack and Joseph Smith claimed they prayed for God's forgiveness. Both maintained that they had a spiritual experience in which they saw a bright light in their house on more than one occasion.

Mack wrote:

"I was distressed to think how I had abused the Sabbath and had not taken warning from my wife. About midnight I saw a light about a foot from my face as bright as fire; the doors were all shut and no one stirring in the house. I thought by this that I had but a few moments to live, and oh what distress I was in. I prayed that the Lord would have mercy on my soul and deliver me from this horrible pit of sin. . . . I was in distress.

"Another night soon after, I saw another light as bright as the first, at a small distance from my face, and I thought I had but a few moments to live." (as cited in Joseph Smith's New England Heritage, p. 54)

Joseph Smith wrote that after he had his First Vision, he was severely tempted:

". . . I was left to all kinds of temptations; and mingled with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. . . . on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies . . .

"While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside . . . The room was exceedingly light . . . He called me by name . . . He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates . . .

"After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around . . . the room was left as it had been before the heavenly light had made its appearance.

"I lay musing on the singularity of the scene . . . when in the midst of my meditation, suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith -- History, v. 28-30, 32-34, 43-44)

Joseph Smith, of course, also asserted that when he had his [F]irst [V]ision he "saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun . . ." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith -- History, v. 17) . . .

[If Foster is correct in his hypothesis regarding manic depression], the fact that Joseph Smith wrote, "When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven" (v. 20) could be significant.

As he was lying there on the ground the rays of the sun may have seemed like a blinding light shining in his eyes. Since Smith claimed the vision occurred in the woods early in the spring, and that he was "looking up into heaven," it is certainly possible that the sun shining down through the branches could have given him the impression he was having a vision.

In addition to these parallels, both Smith and his grandfather had an experience in which they believed they were addressed by God or Christ. Solomon Mack wrote: " . . . I was called by my Christian name . . ." (pp. 54-55) Smith also stated: "One of them spake unto me, calling me by name . . ." (v. 17)


When It Comes to All Those Contradictions, What a Haywired Brain Could Explain

If Joseph Smith experienced hallucinations, . . . it would go a long way towards explaining why his story of the First Vision contains so many glaring contradictions. In the first account, which he wrote in 1832, he said there was only one personage present in the vision: the Lord Jesus Christ (see An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, pp. 5-6).

In the version written in 1835, Smith maintained that there were two persons whom he did not identify. In addition, however, he also said that he "saw many angels in this vision . . ." (ibid., p. 51) Finally, in the official account published in 1842, Smith claimed that he saw both God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ! This account omits the presence of angels in the vision.

Besides a number of other contradictions, Smith claimed that the vision occurred at the time of a revival in the Palmyra-Manchester area. In his official account he claimed that the First Vision took place "early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty."

Wesley P. Walters, however, demonstrated conclusively that there was no such revival in the Palmyra-Manchester area. In fact, Walters found hard evidence that the revival did not occur until the fall of 1824. . . .

If Joseph Smith suffered from seizures and hallucinations, it would make it easier to understand why he could not tell a consistent story about the First Vision. As we have shown above, in Joseph's official account of the vision he said he felt that he was "doomed to destruction." He also revealed that he "was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction . . ."

In his book, Hearts Made Glad: The Charges of Intemperance Against Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet, LaMar Petersen wrote the following:

"Joseph's associates sometimes spoke of his paleness when 'in vision' or when receiving a revelation. A daughter of Adaline Knight Belnap recorded her mother's impression of the Prophet in an instance of spiritual (spirituous?) passivity. 'How well she remembers one day before her father died (Vinson Knight) of a little excitement in school. The children were busy when the school room door was carefully opened and two gentlemen entered, carrying the limp form of Joseph Smith. The children all sprang to their feet, for Brother Joseph lay helpless in their arms, his head resting on his brother's shoulder, his face pale as death, but his eyes were open, though he seemed not to see things earthly. The teacher quieted them by telling them that Brother Joseph was in a revelation, and they were carrying him to his office above the schoolroom." (Hearts Made Glad, 1975, p. 206)

While there is no question that Joseph Smith and other early Mormon leaders did use alcoholic beverages . . . , this strange incident could be viewed as evidence supporting Foster's hypothesis of manic depression.


Mental Problems from Head to Toe: Infected Leg to Infected Mind

. . . [I}t is certainly possible that traumatic events he experienced could have had a serious effect upon him. For example, when he was just a young boy, he had an extremely bad infection in his leg. According to his mother, it finally came to the point that the doctors were convinced that "amputation is absolutely necessary in order to save his life." His mother, however, requested the doctors make "one more effort" to save the leg.

Joseph's mother went on to state that he refused to take any brandy or wine before the operation. Consequently, he had nothing to kill the pain. According to Mrs. Smith, the operation was horrific. The surgeons had to bore "into the bone of his leg, first on one side of the bone where it was affected, and then on the other side, after which they broke it off with a pair of forceps or pincers. They thus took away large pieces of the bone. When they broke off the first piece, Joseph screamed out so loudly, that I could not forbear running to him. . . .

"When the third piece was taken away, I burst into the room again -- and oh, my God! what a spectacle for a mother's eye! The wound torn open, the blood still gushing from it, and the bed literally covered with blood. Joseph was as pale as a corpse . . ." (Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith The Prophet, and his Progenitors for Many Generations, by Lucy Smith, 1853, pp. 63-65)

Although Joseph Smith dictated his recollection of the operation for his History of the Church, it was never included in the published History. . . .

Joseph Smith claimed that the illness came upon him when he "was five years old or thereabouts" and said that he "endured the most acute suffering for a long time . . ."

When amputation was suggested he responded: " . . . as young as I was, I utterly refused to give my assent to the operation, but consented to their trying an experiment by removing a large portion of the bone . . ."

Smith went on to claim that he suffered persecution at this early period of his life, which, of course, was years before he had his First Vision:

". . . I was reduced so very low that my mother could carry me with ease.

"After I began to get about I went on crutches till I started for the State of New York where my father had gone for the purpose of preparing a place for the removal of his family, which he affected by sending a man after us by the name of Caleb Howard . . . We fell in with a family by the name of Gates who were travelling west, and Howard drove me from the waggon and made me travel in my weak state through the snow 40 miles per day for several days, during which time I suffered the most excruciating weariness and pain, and all this that Mr. Howard might enjoy the society of two of Mr. Gates daughters which he took on the wagon where I should have rode, and thus he continued to do, day after day through the Journey and when my brothers remonstrated with Mr. Howard for his treatment to me, he would knock them down with the butt of his whipp. -- When we arrived at Utica, N. York Howard threw the goods out of the wagon into the street and attempted to run away with the Horses and waggon, but my mother seized the horses by the reign . . . On the way from Utica, I was left to ride on the last sleigh . . . I was knocked down by the driver, one of Gate's Sons, and left to wallow in my blood until a stranger came along, picked me up, and carried me to the Town of Palmyra."

[Joseph Smith, 'History,' Book A-1, pp. 131-132, LDS Church Historian's Office, ibid., p. 480]

In her book, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, p. 69, Mrs. Smith did mention the trouble she had with Mr. Howard and also stated that he mistreated "my children, especially Joseph. He would compel him to travel miles at a time on foot, notwithstanding he was still lame."

Interestingly, however, she says nothing about her son's incredible claim that he walked in his "weak state through the snow 40 miles per day for several days . . ." Moreover, Mrs. Smith is silent with regard to the fact that Joseph claimed he was "knocked down by the driver . . . and left to wallow in my blood until a stranger came along, picked me up, and carried me to the Town of Palmyra."

The question might be raised as to whether Joseph Smith was exaggerating or hallucinating. On the other hand, although it is difficult to believe, his mother may have forgotten the incident.

It does not seem possible that Joseph Smith, who was "still lame" from the operation, could have walked "40 miles per day for several days" in the condition he was in after his operation. Mormon writers state that the operation was so severe that Joseph Smith walked with a slight limp for the rest of his life.

Joseph Smith's statement that he "was five years old or thereabouts" when he had the operation is incorrect; he was actually just over seven years old at the time. Mormon writer LeRoy S. Wirthlin shows that Joseph's mother places the date in "1813" and notes that Joseph's claim of being "about '5 years old or thereabouts'. . . would not have placed the family in Lebanon" at the time of the epidemic (see Brigham Young University Studies, Spring 1981, p. 146).


Mentally Mad and Persecutionally Paranoid

. . . Lucy Smith . . . claim[ed] that one evening when Joseph "was passing through the door yard, a gun was fired across his pathway, with the evident intention of shooting him. He sprang to the door much frightened. We immediately went in search of the assassin . . . The next morning we found his tracks under a wagon, where he lay when he fired . . . We have not as yet discovered the man who made this attempt to murder, neither can we discover the cause thereof." (Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, p. 73)

While one might think that this had something to do with Joseph Smith's work on Mormonism, Mrs. Smith made it clear that this was before his First Vision.

Besides these experiences, in 1832, Joseph Smith was actually tarred and feathered by an angry mob. Fawn Brodie stated that the mob, "dragged Joseph . . . They stripped him, scratched and beat him with savage pleasure, and smeared his bleeding body with tar from head to foot. . . . they plastered him with feathers. It is said that Eli Johnson demanded that the prophet be castrated, for he suspected Joseph of being too intimate with his sister, Nancy Marinda. But the doctor who had been persuaded to join the mob declined . . ." (No Man Knows My History, 1971, p. 119)

Interestingly, Nancy Marinda Johnson later became one of Joseph's plural wives.

At any rate, it seems possible that the combination of the horrendous operation and the cruel mobbing could have resulted in Smith having some serious problems. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, for example, is caused by very shocking experiences. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, p. 424, gives this information:

"The essential feature of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury . . . Traumatic events that are experienced directly include . . . violent personal assault . . ."

It is obvious that the mobbing of Joseph Smith was a "violent personal assault" upon him that could have affected his mental state. If he was prone to manic-depression, as Foster seems to believe, it could have had a devastating effect on his conduct. . . .


As Bright as the Noonday Sun: Joseph Smith was a Certifiable Kook Case

In the interest of historical fairness (and we all know just how FAIR Mormon apologists can be), ". . . FARMS-BYU scholars . . . should . . . inform their readers that . . . Joseph Smith . . . may have been mentally ill."


Just like the world "may" be round. (click on "#90 Messenger, 'Joseph Mentally Ill?'")
Getting It Off Your Chest: Not Only Resigning Your Membership But Telling The Cult Why
Wednesday, Apr 19, 2006, at 07:14 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
A soon-to-be official ex-Mo friend of mine (who has given me permission to post this here) recently sent his letter of separation to Mormon Cult headquarters.

Before dispatching it, he asked me what I thought of what he had written. I told him I thought it was "powerful and direct," but that the bureaucrats in the bowels of the de-membering office probably wouldn't bother to read his reasons for deciding to bolt the Cult.

I responded:

". . . While I think it is important for you, personally, to explain why you are having your membership terminated, the bureaucrats in the name removal department frankly don't give a rat's a[**]. They probably will merely skim over that part of your letter, if they read it at all.

"My advice? Think about not casting your pearls before swine. Just order them to get you the hell off the records of their cult, tell them you understand the consequences and ramifications (blah, blah, blah) and tell them to do it now, dammit."

"Then get down here so we can go motorcycle riding."

My friend replied that he knew that was most likely the case but wanted to lay it out for, in nothing else, his own benefit.

He answered thusly:

"I had the same thought of casting the pearls, but that part was more for me. I guess I want it to be matter of record, even if the don’t give a rat’s a[**]. I’m sure that it is all getting mechanical for them, anyway.

"I had visions of GBH reading it and weeping, but then I woke up. . . .

"My kids . . . are sending in their letters also in a few days. Maybe we should get the bulk mail rate.

"I am anxious to get back on my bike. . . ."


Enjoy the liberation launch of another freedom-finder, as he told the Cult to take a hike:

"Member Records, LDS Church
50 E North Temple Rm 1372
SLC UT 84150-3810

"RE: Resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

"This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is effective immediately. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to Church rules, policies, beliefs and 'discipline'. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the Church.

"I have given this matter considerable thought. I understand what you consider the 'seriousness' of my actions. I am aware that the Church handbook says that my resignation "cancels the effects of baptism and confirmation, withdraws the priesthood held by a male member and revokes temple blessings.' I also understand that I will be 'readmitted to the Church by baptism only after a thorough interview' (quotes from the 1999 Church Handbook of Instructions).

"My resignation should be processed immediately, without any 'waiting periods.' I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind.

"I am asking for a simple administrative procedure under my constitutional right to practice freedom of religion. I expect this matter to be handled promptly and with full confidentiality. If my friends, family or neighbors learn of my resignation through anyone but myself, I will consider it invasion of privacy and I will consider taking legal action against the Church.

"After today, the only further contact I want from the Church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that my name has been removed from the membership rolls of the Church.

"My reasons for taking this step are too many to list, but fundamentally, I have had doubts and concerns from the time I joined the Church that I have tried to suppress and I found I could no longer do that anymore. As I began my search for answers I turned to the early teachings of the Church, being the foundation of its teachings, and made the mistake of reading the Journal of Discourses w/ Brigham Young’s talks and then followed up with History of the Church. I was appalled by the declarations made by Joseph and Brigham. I tried to assuage my concerns that they were in the formative years of the Church and had to make the declarations that they did to spur on the members.

"I have always been bothered and embarrassed by polygamy. I tried using the pat answers that we don’t practice it any more and brushed it under the rug. The reality is that we do still practice it by teaching that we will have multiple wives in the Celestial kingdom. I think the whole idea is a 'crock.' I believe that Joseph Smith was 'hormonally' inspired in this teaching. I believe it was anatrocity to seal himself to women that had husbands in the mission field. I believe that in most cases that families that practiced polygamy suffered emotionally and psychologically.

"And furthermore to have the declarations by the Brethren that polygamy was required of it’s 'worthy' members and that the policy would never cease, and then to abandon the policy under political pressure to gain Statehood. It falls under the same category as the standing on Blacks. They held firm to a ridiculous mentality until the pressure was to great and then they abandon another 'never-to-change' policy.

"The list goes on from the way women are viewed and treated as 'baby machines' to the pompous attitude the members have that if you’re not a member of the Church, you’re inferior. I know too many non-Mormons that are far superior to me that are perfectly happy and fulfilled in their pursuit of happiness.

"There’s always the Church’s convenient denial of its own history. Negating comments that don’t coincide with today’s teachings by the earlier brethren, like Brigham Young, by stating that he was speaking for himself and not the Lord. Brigham claims that he never uttered a word that didn’t come from the Lord. If the Church would at least acknowledge the discrepancy and say, 'Yeah, that’s was then, but we need to evolve or change.' Something, other than denial.

"What is a person to believe? I can’t keep up anymore. I can’t do the juggling act. Most importantly, I don’t buy into the 'motivation by guilt' method imposed by the Church, the dangling carrot of eternal increase. The stress in the member’s lives is greatly enhanced and augmented by the Church. I don’t believe this is the Lord’s plan.

"I have shed the mantle of control by the Church and I feel liberated. I now longer acknowledge the Church’s influence in my life. The Church has many great programs and has a lot to offer, but the belief system is incongruent with what I feel in my heart. I have made this a matter of fervent prayer and found peace in this decision. Please respect my wishes.


Paying The Pied Pipers: How Mormon General Authorities Have Suckled Support From Unsuspecting Church Members
Wednesday, Sep 13, 2006, at 06:37 AM
Original Author(s): Sourcerer
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
In answer to the question, "Do the Mormon General Authorities get paid?," in a nutshell:

Hell, yes.

Indeed, the Mormon Church hierarchy has a repetitive, disingenuous, embarrassing and often greedy history of billing its rank-and-file members for their support--while attempting to make the less-than-convincing claim (clearly designed for public consumption) that its presiding officers are on humble financial par with the Mormon Church's vast lower-level uncompensated lay clergy.

In his book, "The Mormon Hierarchy--Extensions of Power," Chapter Six, "Church Finances," D. Michael Quinn lays out the LDS Church's senioritized system of paying its presiding officers from the earnings of regular Church members.

Under the heading "Paid Ministry and Voluntary Service" are telling excerpts. (Subtitles have been inserted for smoother reading):

Mormon Scripture Cited for Hiring Joseph Smith and Subsequent General Authorities

". . . Before the church even had a tithing requirement, it had a paid ministry. In November 1831 a revelation declared: 'He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire . . .' (DandC 70:12). This was the doctrinal basis for giving financial support to Joseph Smith, and later to a hierarchy of general authorities." _____

Mormon Church Justifies Monetary Assistance to General Authorities, Including First Presidency and Other High-Ranking Officers

"In May 1835 an official church council voted that the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and First Council of Seventy 'have particularly to depend upon their ministry for their support, and that of their families; and they have a right, by virtue of their offices, to call upon the churches to assist them.'. . . When Bishop Edward Partridge gave the first definition of tithing in December 1837, part of the tithing was for 'remunerating the officers of the church for the time which they were necessarily employed in doing the business of the same.' Six months later the stake high council voted 'to instruct the Bishop to pay the First Presidency, J. Smith, and Sidney Rigdon, whatever sum they agree with them for.' However, there was 'such an uproar' over this decision that the First Presidency dropped its request for a fixed annual salary. . . . " _____

Church Patriarchs Paid for Giving Blessings and Eventually Authorized to Accept Donations

"For several decades only the patriarch had a set compensation, while other general authorities depended on haphazard donations from the rank-and-file or ad hoc appropriations from general church funds. In 1835 the Presiding Patriarch was authorized a salary of $10 a week, plus expenses. . . .

"Both the Presiding Patriarch and local stake patriarchs charged a fee. In the 1840s the fee was $1 per patriarchal blessing at Nauvoo; by the end of the nineteenth century it had increased to $2 per blessing. . . . Joseph Smith, Sr., gave patriarchal blessings without payment of a fee, but would not record them. . . . 'Uncle' John Smith commented that he 'lived very Poor ever Since we Left Kirtland Ohio' in January 1838 until January 1844. Then his nephew Joseph Smith ordained him a patriarch 'through which office I Obtained a Comfortable Living.' . . .

"Financial incentive is another explanation for the fact that individual Mormons received more than one patriarchal blessing in the nineteenth century, often at the invitation of the patriarch. In October 1877 John Taylor criticized the monetary motivation of some stake patriarchs. He said they were using their patriarchal office as 'a mere means of obtaining a livelihood, and to obtain more business they had been traveling from door to door and underbidding each other in the price of blessings.' . . .

"In addition, patriarchs received fees for giving unrecorded blessings of healing to the sick. In fact, Apostle Francis M. Lyman commended Patriarch Elias Blackburn for 'doing a great deal of good among the sick, without receiving very much pay for his services.' . . .

"Patriarchal blessing fees ended in 1902, although patriarchs were allowed to accept unsolicited donations. . . . Not until 1943 did church authorities prohibit patriarchs from accepting gratuities for giving blessings. . . ." _____

Local Mormon Church Leaders Also Lived Off of Tithing

"In the nineteenth-century American West, local officers of the LDS church obtained their support from the tithing they collected. As early as 1859 Brigham Young wondered 'whether a Stake would not be better governed when none of the officers were paid for their services.' . . . During Young's presidency, ward bishops drew at will from the primarily non-cash tithing Mormons donated. He complained at October 1860 general conference 'against a principle in many of the Bishops to use up all the Tithing they could for their own families.' . . ." _____

Full-Time Mormon Missionaries Also Lived Off of Tithing

"Even full-time missionaries benefitted from tithing funds in the nineteenth century. The senior president of the First Council of Seventy commented in 1879 that the families of married missionaries should be supported from tithing funds. . . . However, at best that practice barely kept struggling wives and children out of abject poverty while their husbands and fathers served two-year missions." _____

Salaries Ordered for the Quorum of the Twelve

"In 1884 church president John Taylor limited bishops to 8 percent of tithing they collected (now primarily cash), while stake presidents got 2 percent of tithing collected by all the bishops of the stake. In 1888 Wilford Woodruff established set salaries for stake presidents and provided that a stake committee would apportion 10 percent of collected tithing between the bishops and the stake tithing clerk. At April 1896 general conference, the First Presidency announced the end of salaries for local officers, in response to the decision of the temple meeting 'to not pay Salaries to any one but the Twelve.' . . ." _____

Temporary Suspension of Salaries for Stake Presidents

"Nevertheless, ending salaries to stake presidents in 1896 was temporary. For a while stake presidents and their counselors were allowed to draw 'from the tithing fund . . . no more than the limit which had been previously specified, and not to entertain the idea that a stipulated compensation attached like a salary to certain offices in the Church.' By April 1897 the First Presidency spoke about 'the subject of compensation to presiding men' in a meeting with stake presidents and other local officers. The First Presidency urged 'the brethren to give their services so far as possible to the church without remuneration.' In 1898 'the regular 10% of tithing [was] allowed Bishops and clerks for handling the same,' but the First Presidency balked at allowing even more to cover expenses for supplies. . . .

"By 1904 set salaries were back again for stake presidents, who were allowed $300 per year. . . . As late as 1910, local officers continued to receive 10 percent of locally collected tithing 'for handling tithes.' . . . Recently a Mormon said that his father received a cash allowance as bishop in the 1920s, which was a later period of such compensation than my own research has verified. . . ." _____

Retirement Allowances for Stake Presidents and Bishops

"In addition, since the 1880s stake presidents and bishops of long tenure had received retirement allowances in monthly or annual payments. . . . In 1901 even the parsimonious church president Lorenzo Snow said that a financially struggling stake president 'ought to receive his remuneration after he was released as well as before.' Retirement allowances for stake presidents continued into the early 1900s. . . ." _____

Systematic Payouts for General Authorities at the Expense of the Rank-and-File Members

". . . [F]inancial compensation for church officers began with the general authorities in the 1830s but did not become systematic until 1877. During these decades there was evidence of rank-and-file dissatisfaction with the Mormon hierarchy's financial privileges. In 1847 Brigham Young told a public meeting: 'Be cont[e]nted with your lot and station and stop whining and babbling about the 12, saying that Brigham oppresses the poor and lives off their earning and that you can't see why you can't have some of his good living, and so on. Did Brigham Young ever get anything from you, did you ever help him to any of his fine living, you poor curses, or was it through Brigham's influence that thousands of the poor have been fed?' . . . After Young and the apostles spent the next twelve years directing the expanding settlements of the Great Basin, 'Erastus Snow spoke Concerning the feelings of many of the people against seeing the Twelve prosper in Temperal things.' . . ." _____

Church Leaders Bow to Pressure and Scale Back Their Financial Demands for Personal Monetary Support--But Not for Long

"Following discussion of this criticism in February 1859, the First Presidency and apostles restrained their financial activities. For the next five years Salt Lake County's annual assessments showed a steep decline in the wealth of Brigham Young, his counselors, and the apostles. By contrast the assessed wealth of the Presiding Bishop and his counselors initially increased and then only gradually tapered off during the same period. The rank-and-file expected the Presiding Bishopric to have extensive financial activity. . . . In fact, the pendulum had swung so far that in December 1865 Apostle John Taylor 'Prophesyed that the Twelve should be delivered from the bondage of poverty under which they have been weltering for years.' . . ." _____

Massive Personal Wealth for Brigham Young and His Counselors

"Although the rate of this financial decline had been equivalent for the First Presidency and apostles, the burden was far less on Brigham Young and his counselors who had massive personal wealth compared to the apostles. In 1859 Young's own property assessments were only slightly below those of the entire church for Salt Lake County. Young's totalled $100,000, while the Trustee-in-Trust's was $102,250. . . . In 1860 first counselor Heber C. Kimball 'observed that Mormonism had made him all that he was: he was worth $20,000 now; and if he had remained in the States he would have been a poor man to this day.' . . . Brigham Young estimated his personal wealth at about $600,000 in a legal deposition of 1875. That was three years after he paid $100,000 in 'the tithing of his own personal means.' . . . By contrast, during Young's presidency the Twelve's average assessed wealth reached a high of $6,672 in 1874, and several apostles individually had only $500 to $2,000 in assessed wealth annually from 1860 to Young's death in August 1877. . . ." _____

General Conference Announcement of General Authority Payments

"At the October 1877 general conference, the hierarchy announced a policy of 'reasonable recompense for their services' to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and to the First Presidency, when organized. In John Taylor's view, this was actually a way of stopping the previous abuses in the personal use of tithing funds. 'Some of my brethren, as I have learned since the death of President Brigham Young, did have feelings concerning his course,' Apostle George Q. Cannon wrote. 'It is felt that the funds of the Church have been used with a freedom not warranted by the authority which he held.' . . . Of general authorities still living, Joseph F. Smith wrote in December 1877: 'One man, for instance, who has drawn $16,000 per year from the tithing office for his support, has been cut down to 2,000 per year. Thus some of the leaks are plugged up and we hope to be able by and by to build the temple.' . . . Smith was apparently referring to Brigham's son John W. Young, who served as his father's counselor for thirteen years (first secretly and later with public acknowledgement).

"However, Taylor's 'reasonable recompense' of 1877 did not cover the needs of the apostles. At an apostles meeting on 3 May 1880, 'The question of over running salaries was brought up. Several of the brethren had overdrawn their allowance . . . ' They voted to forgive the overdrafts and to increase their annual allowance. In addition, the apostles decided to give an allowance to the Presiding Patriarch in addition to his per-blessing fee. . . ." _____

Fixed Salaries Established for General Authorities

"In September 1887 this became fixed allotments, which one apostle opposed with the comment: 'it was repugnant to the people to have the 12 [apostles] draw a salary.' . . . In April 1888 the First Council of Seventy also began receiving financial allowances, to which one council member replied: 'I would prefer to receive no salary.' A 'permanent' allowance to members of the First Council of Seventy was not established for another decade. . . ." _____

Church Presidents and Their Guilty Consciences

"Nevertheless, LDS presidents themselves expressed discomfort about using their allowances. When the First Presidency and Twelve discussed the salary system again in 1896, President Wilford Woodruff said that he had not drawn money from the church until after 1877. Apostle Lorenzo Snow, Woodruff's presidential successor, said that despite the allowance system, he had not drawn from church funds for forty years. . . . This resistance to making personal use of church funds reached its climax in President Heber J. Grant, who rode public street cars rather than use tithing funds to have an automobile and chauffeur for the First Presidency. . . ." _____

Guilt Aside, General Authority Salaries Continued to be Authorized

"Despite discomfort over receiving tithing funds for living allowances, a salary system for LDS general authorities continued without significant interruption from 1882 on. As indicated by Joseph F. Smith's 1877 letter and by Wilford Woodruff's diary, the apostles received $2,000 to $2,500 annually during the first five years of the salary system. Then significant financial stratification occurred, with the senior apostle receiving $5,000 annually, apostles of middle seniority $3,000, and junior apostles $2,000. In September 1887 the apostles adopted a uniform compensation, with each receiving $3,000. Although there was not yet a fixed allowance for the First Council of Seventy, in 1888 the Presiding Patriarch's 'annuity' increased from $1,000 to $1,250. . . ." _____

Salary Levels of Mormon Top Leadership Determined by Power and Seniority Rankings

"By the turn of the twentieth century, the hierarchy's allowances were stratified by ecclesiastical position and seniority. In 1890 the monthly allowances of the Quorum of the Twelve and Presiding Bishop were identical, with the counselors in the First Presidency receiving $50 more a month and the church president receiving another $100 monthly. By 1907 the monthly allowances were stratified into a six-tiered system: (1) the lowest allowance for junior members of the Seventy, (2) the next higher allowance to mid-level members of the Seventy and the Presiding Patriarch, followed by (3) the eight junior members of the Twelve, (4) the Presiding Bishopric, two senior members of the Seventy, and four senior members of the Twelve, (5) the counselors in the Presidency, and (6) the president of the church. In those 1907 allowances, $100 monthly separated the top two tiers, and only $50 monthly separated each of the lower tiers. By 1932 there were only four strata in the monthly allowance system: (1) the lowest allowance was for counselors to the Presiding Bishop and for the entire Seventy, (2) an extra $50 monthly allotment for the Presiding Bishop, the Presiding Patriarch, and all members of the Twelve, (3) an additional increase of $100 monthly for counselors in the First Presidency, (4) and a $150 monthly bonus for the church president.76David O. McKay's presidency (1951-70) adopted uniform allowances for all general authorities, regardless of quorum or seniority. . . ." _____

Miscellaneous Fees for General Authority Services Rendered

"There were also miscellaneous fees which the general authorities collected for ecclesiastical services. Brigham Young charged men 'ten dollars for each divorce' or cancellation of sealing, which policy continued until the end of the century.78 In addition, until 1899 the general authorities charged a fee for setting apart all departing missionaries. . . ." _____

General Authorities Complain That They Aren't Getting Enough

"Periodically the Mormon hierarchy has made a significant increase in monthly allowances to general authorities. In 1950, for example, there was a 30-percent increase. . . . Nevertheless, in view of the financial empire administered by the LDS general authorities, their compensation from church funds has always been paltry compared to the salaries and perks of corporate America. In 1949 First Presidency counselor J. Reuben Clark wrote that 'the General Authorities of the Church get precious little from the tithing of the Church. They are not paid as much as a first-class, stenographic secretary of some of the men who run industry.' . . . That disparity was probably the reason for the next year's increase in allowances to the general authorities.

"For example, as a newly appointed Assistant to the Twelve in 1941, Marion G. Romney found that his church 'allowance amounted to less than half of what he was earning from his law practice when he was called as a General Authority.' . . . Appointed an apostle that same year, Harold B. Lee found that his financial allowance was less than the salary of some staff members at LDS headquarters. . . . As was true in the nineteenth-century hierarchy, a significant drop in income and personal wealth occurred when a man accepted the calling of LDS general authority. . . ." _____

Lucrative General Authority Book Bonuses

"Although not a formal salary, general authorities can also receive significant income from the books they publish. When he published 'The Way To Perfection' in 1931, Joseph Fielding Smith specified that all its future royalties would go to the LDS Genealogical Society. However, he was not as generous with the royalties from his dozens of other books. For example, when President Smith died in July 1972, his royalties from Deseret Book Company totaled $9,636 for the previous six-month period.85 Presiding Bishop (and later apostle) LeGrand Richards set a remarkable example by accepting no royalties for his 'Marvelous Work and a Wonder' which had sold 2 million copies by the time of his death in 1983. However, a president of the LDS church's publishing company has observed that very few general authorities have declined royalties for their books. . . Mormons purchase books written by general authorities primarily because of the church office the author holds, rather than for the book's content. Although many general authorities do not write books, such royalty income is a direct consequence of being an LDS leader." _____

Hinckley Hides Reality of Extent of General Authority Living Allowances

"Speaking of LDS church-owned businesses and stock-portfolio in 1985, First Presidency counselor Gordon B. Hinckley said that 'the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people. . . . However, tithing was the source of these 'living allowances' from the 1830s until the church's corporate success in recent years.

"Moreover, President Hinckley's description of the hierarchy's income as 'very modest' depends upon one's own concept of wealth. For example, when Joseph Fielding Smith died at age ninety-five in 1972, he had worked nearly all his adult life at LDS headquarters, first as a paid employee in the Historian's Office and then as a general authority with a church living allowance. At his death, President Smith had $245,000 in bank deposits, $120,000 in cash, $120,574 in stocks/bonds, and $10,688 in uncashed checks (including Deseret Book royalties of $9,636). Even twenty-five years after his death, few rank-and-file Mormons have such "modest" amounts of cash and liquid assets available to them in old age. . . ." _____

Church Presidents Use of Church Funds to Cancel Their Personal Debts

"The LDS ministry is still a volunteer, lay ministry. In the twentieth century, church offices have become unpaid to a degree they never were in the nineteenth century. Of more than 160,000 ecclesiastical leaders at the beginning of 1996, fewer than 500 were authorized a living allowance from church funds. . . . Many of these LDS officials decline to use their authorized allowances.

"However, on occasion church presidents have personally benefitted from church finances by simply cancelling their indebtedness to church funds. On 23 April 1834 a revelation ended the Kirtland United Order and distributed its real estate assets among Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Martin Harris, Newel K. Whitney, and John Johnson. The revelation said, 'it is my will that you shall pay all your debts' (DandC 104:78). However, Joseph Smith privately required Whitney to balance 'in full without any value recd.' the $1,151.31 Whitney had loaned to the prophet, as well as $2,484.22 of the other men's debts to Whitney. Bishop Whitney had to personally absorb this loss 'because Joseph said it must be done.' . . .

"The next two church presidents did likewise. Three weeks before he died in August 1877, Brigham Young obtained a cancellation of his debts in Ogden, Utah, extending back to 1849.91 Despite the previously stated objections of his own counselor, John Taylor also persuaded the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1880 to allow him a $10,000 claim for sugar machinery, which claim Brigham Young had refused since 1853. . . ." _____

Allowing Tithing Monies to Be Loaned to Prominent Mormons

"By contrast, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith did not use their office as church president to cancel their personal indebtedness, yet they allowed tithing funds to serve as a loan pool for prominent Mormons. In a sharply worded report in 1911, the church auditors noted: 'If certain members of the Church are entitled to borrow money for private ends, is this not a right of all members, for the same purpose? If this policy is admitted, would it not result in confusion, jealousy, loss and consequent wrong?" The committee observed that "the debtors frequently look upon their obligations as being due to a rich and indulgent relative, to be paid (if at all) at their own convenience.' Among the debtors was Apostle Heber J. Grant for a 'cash loan of $34,000.' In 1913 the committee renewed the subject of church loans to individuals, and commented that 'it is not within the purview of the Trustee-in-Trust to make advances of this kind . . . And any loans made on plain notes are legally uncollectible.' . . .

"It is important to recognize that general authorities borrowed from the church's general fund because their living allowances were insufficient to meet their needs. In 1910 Apostle Anthony W. Ivins recorded that the following members of the Twelve were in debt: Francis M. Lyman, George Albert Smith, Heber J. Grant, Rudger Clawson, Hyrum M. Smith, George F. Richards, and David O. McKay.94Grant was the most candid about his apostolic indebtedness: 'A president of the stake begged and pleaded with me to quit paying tithing. He said I did not owe any tithing until I got out of debt. Would not that have been a fine record for a man who now stands as president of the Church, not to have paid tithing for thirty-two years?' . . ." _____

General Authorities Declare Legal Bankruptcy Rather Than Pay Their Personal Debts

"Many general authorities repaid their debts after long years of effort, while others died in debt. On the other hand, some chose to declare legal bankruptcy. In 1842 Joseph Smith, his counselor Sidney Rigdon, Presiding Patriarch Hyrum Smith, and Presiding bishop-designate Vinson Knight sought relief from their indebtedness by filing for bankruptcy. . . . Seventy's president J. Golden Kimball was the next current general authority who filed for bankruptcy. In 1899 he had $11,126 in debts but only $2,031 in assets. . . . By 1902 the First Presidency was unwilling for a member of the Presidency or Twelve to declare public bankruptcy, and Apostle Reed Smoot quietly persuaded the creditors of John W. Taylor to settle the apostle's $140,000 debts at ten cents on the dollar. . . ." _____

General Authority Acceptance of Stock to Pay Personal Debts Drains Church Finances

"On 27 December 1919 recently sustained Heber J. Grant obtained the approval of his counselors to accept $30,000 worth of his stock (at par) in the Utah-Implement Vehicle Company to cancel loans he received as an apostle from the Trustee-in-Trust. . . . However, accepting stock to cancel personal loans caused enormous losses to the church during Grant's administration. In 1930 first counselor Anthony W. Ivins computed that the church lost $900,000 in personal loans to Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley. Upon his appointment as second counselor in the First Presidency in 1925, Nibley had used stocks and bonds to repay his indebtedness to the church. . . ." _____
Doubting General Authorities Really Have No Place To Turn
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2006, at 07:13 AM
Original Author(s): Sourcerer
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
They are mired--alone and at the top--in a system that is:

--intolerant of dissent;

--that operates on imperially judging a person's self worth based on their willingness to jettison their inherent right to individuality and, instead, to comply with top-down commands that they be blindly obedient;

--that generates compliance through application of the grinding gears of intense pressure to conform and behave as the high-profiled leaders of a primitive cult who are looked to for guidance and example by adoring followers who harbor unrealistic and impossible unexpectations of their leaders;

--that isolates even its most elevated leaders from ready access to genuine and accepting confidants in whom they can turn in moments of personal doubt; and

--that brainwashes even its leading elite into at least wanting to believe The Lie, to suspend critical thinking and to submit to authoritarian rule in order to receive temporal reward, approbation from the Mormon masses and, ultimately God's blessings of salvation.

Consider the anguishing circumstances that must have been the cause of silent, internal turmoil for the following closet doubters at the top of the Mormon patriarchally-gripped pyramid of power, struggling, as they must, with fact vs. faith: _____

--Member of the First Presidency Hugh B. Brown confided to LDS archeologist Thomas Ferguson that he (Brown) had concluded Joseph Smith did not possess the ability to translate ancient Egyptian.

Behind-the-scenes, Brown also secretly opposed, and lobbied against, the official anti-Black doctrine of the Mormon church but was unsuccessful in getting it reversed.

--Member of the Seventy B.H. Roberts, in a personal, private and lengthy study of the Book of Mormon that languished for decades without being published after Roberts' death, voiced telling concerns that Joseph Smith may well have plagiarized--in addition to have resorted to sheer invention--in order to produce the Book of Mormon, rhetorically suggesting that Smith possessed an imaginative but spiritually immature mind.

--Apostles Bruce R. McConkie (to BYU professor Eugene England) and Dallin H. Oaks and Neal A. Maxwell (to grandson of Mormon president Ezra Taft Benson, Steve Benson) privately confessed that Brigham Young taught false doctrine about Adam supposedly being the God.

--Oaks also confidentially admitted to Benson that scholarly critics of the Book of Abraham currently have marshalled arguments in their favor against the book.

Oaks also acknowledged, based on his own sermon preparation, that the Book of Mormon arguably suffers from plagiarized imperfections, some of which can be traced to the New Testament writings of Paul.

Oaks, in the same conversation further confessed that his ultimate faith in the Book of Mormon comes from a warm "knot" in his heart, not from any actual evidence--and a few weeks following that private admission openly acknowledged at a FARMS banquet in Provo, Utah, that the Book of Mormon could neither be historically proven or disproven.

--Maxwell depended on faxed material that he personally had requested from FARMS to defend the Book of Abraham, rather than relying on his own testimonially-rooted ability (assuming it actually existed) to defend the book against compelling evidence that it was manufactured by Joseph Smith out of whole cloth, bearing no relation whatsoever to ancient Egyptian language, culture or history.

Maxwell also told Benson said that the Mormon God would wait until the last moment to come forth with proof of the Book of Mormon, as well as admitted that a main mission of FARMS was to keep the Church from being the victim of an end-run by its critics.

--Both Oaks and Maxwell failed to offer (even in the face of Benson's specific request) their own personal testimonies of their supposed callings as special apostolic witnesses of Christ--relying instead on personal testimonial experiences they had in their college days or in early childhood, respectively.

--First Quorum of the Seventy member Marion D. Hanks, whose liberal, open-minded, tolerant and educated views on such subjects as organic evolution resulted (according to reliable inside Mormon sources) in him eventually being marginalized by Mormonism's high-handed handlers, where today he quietly fades away in ill health and seclusion, reportedly watching from the porch of his home as his wife mows the lawn.

Brown, Roberts, McConkie, Oaks, Maxwell, Hanks . . .

Certainly there are more where they came from.

These are some of Mormonism's highest doubting Thomases--closet questioners with deep, nagging concerns who have covered their insecurities with brave-sounding bravado but who, sadly, have done so because they have had no place to turn in their private moments of second-guessing--forsaken, isolated and even victimized by a relentless, unforgiving cult that is more interested in control than in comprehension.

A cult that, sadly, has entrapped them personally and entombed their questions within their own, troubled hearts.
Should Mormon Women Just Be Humble, Grateful, Shut Up And Follow? After All, The LDS Church Finally Let Women Pray In Sacrament Meeting
Thursday, Oct 5, 2006, at 08:06 AM
Original Author(s): Sourcerer
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
Shannon Weber, in her recent and powerful article, "A Woman's Unanswered Questions" (excerpted below), addresses the lack of equality and respect for women that continues to shackle and suffocate females in the Patriarchally-Gripped LDS Church:

"A few months ago I committed to fully explore my angst with women's role in the Mormon Church. I was nudged forward in this quest by simple but unanswerable comments from my children. My six-year-old daughter complained, 'It is better to be a boy!' When asked why she explains 'Only boys can be "the President, the prophet or pass the sacrament.' I know the Church-sanctioned responses but I am unable to pass the vague one-liners and untruths to my kids. I replied, 'One day a woman will be president and you will come with me to vote for her. Women were prophets and I'm not sure why we've stopped talking about and looking for them.'

"I was stumped in responding to her observation of the sacrament. No plausible explanation came to my mind. Another day my five-year-old son proudly tells me 'It is better to be a boy because you can pee standing up and when you get bigger you get the priesthood.'

"I'm aghast to consider the priesthood (governing in the Church and home, access to inspiration, the powers to act in God's name) as such an entitlement. Clearly the rift between what I know and what my children have learned is larger than I had realized.

"Changes for Women in My Lifetime

"I have been waiting with faith and hope my entire adult life for change. . . . However, an analysis of the changes for women in my lifetime shocked me. The results:

"--1) Women allowed to pray in sacrament meeting (1978)

"--2) Married women allowed to go to the temple without their husbands (1978)

"--3) The temple ceremony changed from women 'obeying' their husbands to women 'following' the counsel of their husbands (1990)

"--4) The Proclamation on the Family (1995)

"--5) Standards for women's grooming (2001)

"Much of this change is not progressive and the sights not on equality. . . . Equality does not mean 'sameness' or putting male expectations on females.

"Equality is the expectation and the support for women to be whom they are, who God made them to be. Christ aptly modeled equality in his teachings, parables and interactions with women while gently going against the cultural norm with Godly behavior toward all humans.

"Women's Sanctioned Roles

"The cookie cutter approach, with narrowly prescribed roles, doesn't fit for every woman. I see the rejection of women in their 'other' roles as many women struggle with situational and clinical depression, women living in situations other than the preferred nuclear family, women who work outside the home and women unfulfilled by motherhood.

"The Proclamation on the Family is a rigid and exclusionary pattern for family living. I watch women struggle with the defined roles. . . . At times the struggle lands women squarely within the Church defined measures of success.

"Other times the struggle results in depression, marital conflict, feelings of inadequacy and lack of fulfillment. There is little comfort for women who are single, celibate lesbians, and/or childless. . . .

"Doctrine and Culture

. . . In reality, both [Mormon Church] doctrine and culture are offensive. The omission of discussion regarding the cultural tendency to oppress women speaks loudly. A culture that thrives under a patriarchy isn't inclusive or progressive. Doctrine that requires perfection would support a culture that is open to change, growth and betterment.

"Assuming the culture, not doctrine, is the problem, there is no avenue or mechanism for advocating for cultural change in breadth or depth. Additionally, as the Mormon Church is a 'way of life' Church, members sign up for both culture and doctrine even though there can be discrepancies. For many members the difference between the doctrine and culture is indiscernible.

"Culture aside, there are significant deficiencies for women in the doctrine.

"Women and the Temple

". . . The Second Article of Faith says we will be punished for our own sins. And yet in the temple film after Eve lowers her eyes when chided by God, women must covenant to follow their husband's counsel as he follows God's counsel. This is problematic at face value.

". . . Plus the lack of allowance in the covenant for women who are single, married to non-members or temple non-attendees, married to jackasses, or widows. This covenant further enforces the notion that only/primarily men communicate with God.

"Furthermore, how does this telling of the Garden of Eden story reconcile for those who feel Eve was framed or that the story is part of the bad Bible translation. Or those who take an interpretive view of the Garden of Eden story much like the Church has taken an interpretive view of the rest of the creation story, i.e. a day really meant a period of time, not 24-hours. The credibility issues of the Book of Abraham further complicate the Garden of Eden story.

"Another paradox is the notion that women hold the priesthood in the temple. While whispered among liberal- minded Mormons, this doctrine is never taught in Church, general conference, missionary discussions, the Ensign or even priesthood lessons. President Hinckley and other General Authorities do not acknowledge women holding the priesthood when questioned by the media about the exclusionary male priesthood.

"If indeed women hold the priesthood in the temple, it is held and practiced in secret. Why are we ashamed? Other priesthood functions are boldly performed and even offered to non-members such as the healing blessing or grave dedication.

"This women-priesthood is only held near the temple bathrooms. One is not allowed to hold this form of women priesthood while having young children as women are forbidden to be temple workers during this time of life. This woman form of priesthood is not something women are set apart to do, nor are they sustained by their peers.

"There is no Sunday instruction for this woman form of priesthood. Women early in this dispensation were encouraged to use their priesthood for healing blessings and ordinances inside and outside the temple (Joseph Smith, History of the Church: Volume 4, pages 602-603.)

"Early women leaders were told and believed that they were building up a women's organization after the same pattern of the priesthood. It was not until the 1900's that women's autonomy was denied and the presiding authority of the Relief Society usurped.

"The process for getting to the temple is problematic for equality-minded members. It is male priesthood leaders who determine who is worthy to go to the temple and to become one of these woman holders of the temple kind of priesthood. To enforce this practice of males determining worthiness, a male temple worker checks each temple recommend at the door.

"Women and Polygamy

"A discussion of the temple must include polygamy. The 'new and everlasting covenant of marriage' or 'celestial marriage' is polygamy. This is doctrine. The current living recommend policy reinforces the practice as men are allowed to be sealed to more than one woman while a divorced or widowed and temple-sealed woman is only allowed to be sealed for time. . . .

"The history of polygamy deserves exploration. . . .

"--1. Joseph Smith manipulated women and their families. He lied to Emma. For him the new and everlasting covenant of marriage also included polyandry and over 30 wives.

"--2. My God does not take advantage of or herd women.

"--3. Polygamy doctrine vs. polygamy culture has never been reconciled. This may be impossible to clarify yet the Church carries on with a murky history and double-standard temple practices.

"--4. The whole notion of a group of women bowing their head and saying yes to one man, bringing him more glory, makes me uncomfortable.

"Power to Act in the Name of God

"If the question is 'What is the priesthood?,' the seminary answer is 'The power to act in the name of God.' In reality, I observe two types of priesthood: The Power to Act in the Name of God (PANG) priesthood and the Priesthood Leadership (PL).

"It would be great to know and identify the difference between PANG and PL. Would one say, 'Welcome to the Power to Act in the Name of God Executive Committee meeting?' Or, 'Thank you for coming to Sunday School. You are excused to Relief Society and your respective Power to Act in the Name of God classes.'

"It is nearly impossible to reconcile the difference between a young woman attending a class titled 'Beehives.' while an emotionally less mature 12-year old boy will attend his Aaronic Power to Act in the Name of God class.

"Is it the PL or PANG that determines all worthiness? Which deposits the offerings, takes sacrament attendance, counsels, extends callings, calls people to repentance, decides the boundaries of wards and stakes, runs BYU (if there were a female president of BYU would she be called Sister or President?), organizes missions, leads LDS Social Services and church welfare at all levels, signs the food orders, etc.

"Why call it PANG or PL when it most often materializes as patriarchy? While there is certainly patriarchy in the world, in other arenas we are allowed to speak out and find alternatives.

" . . . [S]ome placate themselves with the thought that motherhood equals priesthood. In the same pattern as putting women on a pedestal, this notion marginalizes fathers and diminishes the majority of women's lives that are not spent in active parenting. For women who are unable or choose not to have children, the equation is terribly lopsided.

"Church history is replete with sanctioned women's Power to Act in the Name of God. Open teaching and practicing of women-delivered healing blessings is documented in Church history. . . . The bottom line is women don't need to be given PANG by the laying on of hands, and it is certainly not a power exclusive to men.

"What, then, of women and Priesthood Leadership? I don't care to run a ward, sign checks, pass out the worship program, or determine other's worthiness for such activities.

"But the fact that it requires a penis to qualify is stifling.

"I want my kids to see women in leadership roles. I want my views and my kids' needs represented at every level. I want single moms, lesbians, grandmas, mentally-ill women, handicapped women, etc. represented in my Church's goals and activities. While men can certainly represent women's needs and vice versa, having all the stakeholders at the table holds participants accountable for their words and deeds. The loss as a result of excluding women from leadership positions is incalculable. With inclusion, the potential is grand.

"Abuse of PL power is overt and covert. Abuse of power happens because there is no differentiation between PL and PANG. If there is an opportunity with low probability of consequence there are those who will abuse. When we give power to an individual and don't arrange a mechanism for quality control, there will be negative consequences. Let this kind of machine run for over 150 years and serious problems will fester. . ..

"Meaningful inclusion of women would lessen the opportunities for abuse, broaden the pool of leadership participants, and add a level of accountability that is now absent.

"God's One True Church on Earth and How to Untwist the Pretzel

"Believing I belonged to God's one true Church, I have felt pressure to conform, to participate, and to excel. . . . My recent exploration along with melding the daily with the spiritual has been like untwisting from a pretzel. Or what it may feel like for a butterfly to first flap her sticky, new wings. . . .

"Ultimately I believe in inclusion and equality. I don't believe in culture or doctrine that is not inclusive. The gospel and Church should work just as well for the weak as the strong. The true Power to Act in the Name of God will protect (not just in word, but in daily deed) and represent all of Mother's children. While the Church-defined role may work for many women and some women feel liberated by the doctrine or culture, I am morally opposed to the exclusive belonging and requirements that do not work for all women. This is counter to Christ's teachings and my belief that Heavenly Father and Mother want each child to return.

"Why now? I want to give an inviting, inclusive and advocating legacy to my children. Establishing this legacy and gently handing off to the next generation may not be possible while twisted in a pretzel."
Anybody's Guess: Just Who Was It That Snuck Up On A Jittery Joseph Smith While He Was Trying To Get The Divine Goods In The Woods?
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2006, at 06:15 AM
Original Author(s): Sourcerer
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
In an early version of the First Vision, found in a November 1835 journal entry of Joseph Smith, as recorded by Warren C. Cowdery, Smith describes meeting up with mysterious, threatening forces while attempting to pray for guiding light in a darkened world:

"I called upon the Lord for the first time in [the silent grove] . . . or, in other words, I made a fruitless attempt to pray My tongue seemed to be swoolen in my mouth, so that I could not utter, I heard a noise behind me like some one walking towards me. I strove gain to pray, but could not; the noise of walking seemed to draw nearer, I sprang upon my feet and looked round, but saw no person, or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking. . . ." (Dean C. Jesse, "The Early Accounts of the First Vision," BYU Studies 9, no. 3, 1969, p. 6, original punctuation and spelling)


So, just who was this mystery intruder who walked up on Joseph Smith when he was busy trying to unswell his tongue and talk to God in the trees behind his house?

An Egyptian mummy?

The disembodied Lucifer, making rustling noises with his invisible feet?

Casper the Holy Ghost?

A Relief Society sister bringing cookies?

Church security?

A Founding Father asking to be baptized for the dead?

A lost Lamanite, poking around for his lost DNA?

A squirrel looking for nuts?

A frisky Fanny Alger looking for a roll in the Sacred Grove?

A fuming Emma looking to kick Fanny's fanny?


Give it your best shot.
Staying "In" Despite Being On The Outs: The Fate And Faith Of Dissidents Grant Palmer And Michael Quinn
Thursday, Oct 12, 2006, at 06:15 AM
Original Author(s): Sourcerer
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-
Questions have been raised on this board recently about the nature of the faith and committment of excommunicated Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn and disfellowshipped LDS educator Grant Palmer:

"Subject: Quinn and Palmer: a question Date: Oct 11 13:53 Author: levine Mail Address:

"I was just wondering if authors like Quinn and Palmer have a master plan to try to stay in the church so they can influence as many people as possible.

"Wouldn't more TBM's read their books if the authors are still mormons? I've wondered why Q and P would want to remain members. Or maybe the reasons are just personal ones."



Reliable sources inside Mormonism, positioned both to know and verify, report that Palmer is living in modest retirement, in a small home in San Diego--and has been privately relaying information to interested parties regarding details on the resignation from Mormon ranks of certain prominent members. ______


With regard to Quinn, he is no longer a member of the Mormon Church, having been excommunicated for apostasy in 1993 for his published research on post-Manifesto polygamy.

Quinn is a friend of Steve Benson (who voluntarily left the Mormon Church in 1993) and who, according to Benson's account of personal visits with Quinn, has nonetheless remained a faithful believer in what Quinn regards as the restored truthfulness of the Mormon Church.

In a previous RfM post made in July 2005, Benson wrote of Quinn's situation, as follows:

"Michael Quinn . . . has chosen to remain a believer in the supposed truthfulness of Mormonism.

"I have known Mike as a personal friend for several years and admire him greatly, both as an individual and as a scholar, although we disagree on some fundamental matters.

"After I left the LDS cult in 1993, I had more than one occasion to talk directly, and in person, with Mike about his own perspectives and beliefs pertaining to Mormonism.

". . . Mike shared his testimonial belief with me that the Book of Mormon was a literal historical record of ancient and accurate vintage, that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to reveal His divine truth to the world, that through Joseph Smith the golden plates were translated and that following the death of Joseph Smith the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fell into apostasy through the corruption and sin of its leadership--and that this 'falling away,' if you will, of the Mormon Church from the purposes and designs of God's original 1830 restorative act, has continued up to the present time.

"Mike told me that it was his belief that a second Restoration (i.e., one coming after the initial return of God's true Church to the earth in 1830 through the hands of Joseph Smith) was necessary in order to rehabilitate the Mormon Church and again make it the organization through which God would lead and guide His children on earth.

"I asked Mike how he could believe such things, especially given what many have considered his devastatingly revealing historical dissection of Mormon origins and its extensions of power.

"Mike acknowledged to me that he knew that his belief in Mormonism did not sound logical but that he nonetheless possessed a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon, of the prophetic calling by God of Joseph Smith and of the truthfulness of the Mormon Gospel as God's one and only true Church." ______


In a further RfM post, also in August 2005, Benson noted some information about which Quinn had himself spoken publicly--namely, that Spencer W. Kimball had promised Quinn that if he remained faithful, one day he would be an apostle:

"Mike [spoke of] . . . a promise made to him by then-apostle Spencer Kimball, at the time Mike was still an active, temple-endowed, well-respected member of the Church.

"Mike said that Kimball promised him that if he continued in faithfulness and obedience, he, too, would one day become an apostle.

"'Mad_Viking' then asked me [Benson], 'So, was it your impression that he held on to his beliefs of Joseph Smith's divine mission, despite his admission of it being illogical, simply because of this statement made to him from Spencer W Kimball?'

"I replied:

"Mike Quinn told me he had a testimony of the Mormon Church as God's true Church; the gold plates as genuine, translated artifacts; and the mission of Joseph Smith as being God's chosen prophet of the Restoration.

"Mike did not tell me that he held on to those beliefs in the hope that he would someday become an apostle (as then-apostle Spencer W. Kimball promised him, if Mike remained faithful), and I did not draw a link between the two because Mike did not make one. His belief in Mormonism seemed more personal and much deeper than any anticipation of advancement through the ranks. It was a quiet, soft-spoken type of conviction about which Mike did not make a big deal--but to which he appeared truly committed.

"I found Mike's testimony startling, incongruous and at significant odds with his unparalleled research that clearly, in my opinion, exposed the fraud, frailities and fictions of Mormonism.

"But Mike's ultimate testimony in Mormonism seemed to rest on his belief that it was initially restored by God's hand in pure and true form, then became corrupted through the human-caused downfall of its leaders who subsequently followed Joseph Smith into power in the post-Smith era.

"Mike Quinn holds on to the belief that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remains God's true Church on the earth--but that it is in dire need of a complete restorative overhaul in order to bring it back to its original integrity, purpose, luster and exaltation-providing power.

"What is all the more amazing about Mike's deep-rooted faith is to see how his devotion to the basic claims of Mormonism has remained strong, despite all that he has been through.

"At the peak of his career as an historian, Mike was a highly-regarded profesional in his field, both in out and of the Church.

"Then, Mike's daring and ground-breaking research on the Mormon Church's deceptive practice of post-Manifesto polygamy (which the Church tried hard to keep hidden from the public) led to his excommunication on the grounds of apostasy. Dallin Oaks, in particular, was bitterly incensed at Mike's decision to air his findings and told me personally that Mike was a person without character who could not be trusted.

"Mike's stake president also darkly hinted to him that he was being investigated on "moral" charges (relating, in all probability, to Mike's honest acknowledgement of being gay).

"Mike told me that his home phone was tapped (most likely by Mormon Church security), and that, moreover, he was able to verify the power drain on his telephone line (indicating a deliberate intrusion) through the use of special phone equipment. He said that the likelihood of the drain actually being a tap was supported by employees at the local SLC phone company.

"Mike was also the subject of death threats. His heterosexual marriage of many years ended in divorce and his teenage son committed suicide by hanging himself in one of Salt Lake City's surrounding canyons. Mike's professional career subsequently took a nose dive. He found himself unemployed and without the necessary grant funding to continue his historical research.

"He moved to Mexico for a time to live with a friend and, at one point, was literally living day-to-day, hand-to-mouth.

"Through it all, Mike has maintained his testimony in what he believes to be the truthfulness of the Mormon Church. This bespeaks a personal devotion greater than any hoped-for call to Mormon apostleship. At this point in his life, Kimball's promise to Mike in that regard seems, shall we say, a tad out of reach.

"Nevertheless, Mike's sincere belief in the LDS Church--a Church which in its depraved and destructive state has persecuted and maligned him--remains firm.

"Go figure." _____


In another RfM post in August 2005, Benson provided background details on the reasons why Quinn was excommunicated from the LDS Church--including the privately-expressed vitriolic reaction (behind closed doors of a Mormon apostle's office) to Quinn's published writings on post-Manifesto polygamy:

"Inquiries have recently been made . . .about what constituted the basis for the excommunication of D. Michael Quinn from the Mormon Church for supposed 'apostasy.'

"Not coincidentally, prior to getting the ecclesiastical axe, Quinn--a noted historian and former tenured BYU professor--had written at least six articles for the LDS Church’s premiere magazine, the Ensign, as well as had published several more in the LDS-owned and operated journal, BYU Studies. _____

"As to what exactly prompted Quinn’s expulsion from Mormonism’s ranks, RfM poster, 'Mad_Viking,' asked the following:

"'In light of [Quinn's post-excommunication expression of his personal testimony in the truthfulness of the Mormon Church], it is simply amazing that he would maintain faith. I amhonestly baffled by it.

"'Is the research that got him excommunicated available to the public?'

(Mad_Viking,”Re: No, that was not my impression," Recovery from Mormonism Board, 4 August 2005, 1438 hours) _____

"Yes, Quinn's research on the subject is publicly available.

"In a nutshell, Quinn’s 'sins' were having had published in the Spring 1985 issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, a devastating historical account of the shell game played for decades by the Mormon Church in its deliberate campaign of misdirection and misinformation.

"Quinn’s Dialogue article has been praised thusly:

”'This essay is one of the best pieces of Mormon literature we have. [Quinn] went to Gordon [B.] Hinckley before he ever published this essay and showed him what he had. He then told . . . Hinckley that if he did not want it published then [Quinn] would not publish it. . . . Hinckley toldMike that he needed to do what he felt best so [Quinn] published it because he felt it dealt with a very sensitive issue that needed to be addressed.' _____

"Quinn himself explained the post-Manifesto reasons for his excommunication in his article, 'On Being a Mormon Historian (and its Aftermath)':

“'In 1985, after Dialogue published my article "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890 - 1904," three apostles [Boyd K. Packer, Mark E. Petersen and Ezra Taft Benson] gave orders for my Stake President to confiscate my temple recommend. Six years earlier, I had formally notified the First Presidency and the Managing Director of the Church Historical Department about my research on post-Manifesto polygamy and my intention to publish it . . . Now I was told that three apostles believed I was guilty of "speaking evil of the Lord's anointed." The Stake President was also told to ‘take further action’ against me if this did not ‘remedy the situation’ of my writing controversial Mormon history. . . .

"'I told my Stake President that this was an obvious effort to intimidate me from doing history that might "offend the Brethren" (to use Ezra Taft Benson’s phrase). . . . The Stake President also saw this as a back-door effort to have me fired from BYU. . . .

“'At various stake and regional meetings, Apostle Packer began publicly referring to "a BYU historian who is writing about polygamy to embarrass the Church." At firesides in Utah and California, a member of BYU’s Religious Education Department referred to me as "the anti-Christ of BYU." . . . Church leaders today seem to regard my post-Manifesto polygamy article . . . as "speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed" because they themselves regard certain acts and words of those earlier Church leaders as embarrassing, if not actually wrong. I do not regard it as disloyal to conscientiously recreate the words, acts and circumstances of earlier prophets and apostles. . . . .

“'No one ever gave me an ultimatum or threatened to fire me from Brigham Young University. However, University administrators and I were both on the losing side of a war of attrition mandated by the General Authorities. . . .

“'On 20 January 1988, I wrote a letter of resignation, effective at the end of the current school semester. . . . I explained [that] "the situation seems to be that academic freedom merely survives at BYU without fundamental support by the institution, exists against tremendous pressure and is nurtured only through the dedication of individual administrators and faculty members." . . .

“'Three months after my departure, it angered me to learn to learn that BYU had fired a Hebrew professor for his private views on the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Although I personally regard the Book of Mormon as ancient history and sacred text, I told an inquiring newspaper reporter: "BYU officials have said that Harvard should aspire to become the BYU of the East. That’s like saying the Mayo Clinic should aspire to be Auschwitz. BYU is an Auschwitz of the mind." . . .

“'When BYU’s Associate Academic Vice-President asked me if that was an accurate quote, I confirmed that it was. "Academic freedom exists at BYU only for what is considered non-controversial by the University’s Board of Trustees [meaning the Quorum of the Twelve] and administrators," I wrote. "By those definitions, academic freedom has always existed at Soviet universities (even during the Stalin era). . . .

“'"It is . . . my conviction that God desires everyone to enjoy freedom of inquiry and expression without fear, obstruction or intimidation. I find it one of the fundamental ironies of modern Mormonism that the General Authorities, who praise free agency, also do their best to limit free agency's prerequisites --access to information, uninhibited inquiry and freedom of expression.” (Quinn, D. Michael. 'On Being a Mormon Historian (And Its Aftermath).' In Smith, George D., ed. Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1992], pp. 91-95). _____


"Quinn's essay on post-Manifesto polygamy that so propelled paranoid Mormon leaders into hanging him can be found at: . . . " _____

In a subsequent RfM post in August 2005, Benson referenced the following additional, published information about Quinn's excommunication:

"After tape recordings and transcriptions of Quinn's talk, 'On Being a Mormon Historian,' began to be published and circulated without his permission, national attention to Quinn's views was heightened by a February 1982 issue of Newsweek headlined, 'Apostles vs. Historians.'

"From that point forward, the Mormon squeeze play on Quinn began in earnest.

Writes Quinn:

"'A few days [after publication of the Newsweek article], a General Authority invited me to his office. He warned me that he found Elder Packer to be easily offended and vindictive years afterward.

"'In May [1982], my stake presidency informed me that five former bishops had recommended me to be the ward's new bishop but that Apostle Mark E. Petersen had blocked the appointment. He asked the stake presidency, "Why is Michael Quinn in league with anti-Mormonism," apparently referring to the unauthorized publication of my essay by the Tanners.

"'Elder Petersen arranged for the stake presidency to bring me to the Church Administration Building at 47b East South Temkple to meet with Apostles Petersen, Benson and Packer. The second counselor in the stake presidency accompanied me. The Apostles were careful not to ask me a single direct question. In order of seniority (Apostle Benson first, me last), each of us expressed his own views of the Newsweek article, the "problems" of writing Mormon history and the effects of all this on the faith of LDS members. The meeting was congenial and supportive.'

"That seeming support was to eventually evaporate, as those same three Apostles began a deliberate pressure campaign to have Quinn discredited, isolated and deposed, despite the fact that Quinn had proven himself to be a highly regarded researcher and acclaimed educator.

"Notes Quinn:

"'In the spring of 1986, graduating history majors at BYU voted me 'outstanding professor.' That fall BYU's administration had my name dropped from a list of participants in an upcoming celebration of Mormonism in Britain. Then, for the second year in a row, BYU's administration denied my application for "Professional Development Leave." This time the college dean invited m to his office to explain why. He said the Apostles on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees had prepared a list of faculty members and research topics which BYU administrators were forbidden to support. "I have always hoped that one day BYU will become a real university," the dean said, "but this makes me feel that that day will never arrive."

"'By January 1987 pressures on me increased. BYU's administration required the History Department and Charles Redd Center for the American West to withdraw funds they had promised me to give a paper on general American religion at the University of Paris. It did not matter that the advanced text of the paper, entitled "Religion, Rationalism and Folk Practices in America to the mid-19th Century," made no reference to Mormonism. I paid my own way to France to represent BYU.

"'Despite all tha that had happened, until January 1987 I could not yet believe that my life's hopes were at an end. A new department chair let me know that my situation would improve only if I stopped doing research which implied Mormon studies. . . . Abandoning Mormon history may have been safe in the climate of repression but it as unacceptable to me, especially as an option of duress. "Publish or perish" is the experience of scholars at most universities, but for this Mormon historian it was "publish and perish" at BYU.

"'After publication of my Early Mormonism and the Magic World View in mid-1987, two members of BYU's History Department circualted the rumor that my stake high council was excommunicating me for apostasy. The rumor was completely false but more important, I had thought these rumor=mongers were my colleagues and friends. When a student asked the Dean of Religous Education if BYU was going to fire me, he replied that the Board of Trustees had decided against it. "Like stirring up a turd on the ground," he told the student, 'firing Mike Quinn would only make a greater stink.' At this point, I began applying for research fellowships that would allow me to leave BYU. . . .

"'On 20 January 1988, I wrote a letter of resignation . . . At the time of my resignation, I had tenure ("continuing status"), was Full-Professor of History and was Director of the History Department's graduate program. My letter of resignation represented my formal acknowledgement of failure--personal and institutional. . . .

"'I again addressed [the issue of academic freedom] in 1991 after a rarely-used joint declartion by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles condemned the annual Sunstone Symposium. . . . Those who questioned this statement were being summarily dropped from Church positions and both Church and BYU administraive pressure was directed against a junior professor of anthropology at BYU who had given a symposium paper. I observed in a newspaper story, "Consistently, from the beginning, the [LDS] Church leadership has always been uncomfortable with open forums that have been organized by the rank and file." However, I added, "in the 19th-century, the leadership recognized the existence of a loyal opposition and the 20th does not.". . .

"'Since leaving BYU and Utah, I have been an independent free-lance writer. I still do Mormon history. People of various persuasions still seem eager for it.'"(D. Michael Quinn, 'On Being a Mormon Historian (and Its Aftermath),' in George D. Smith, ed., Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1992], pp. 89-90, 92-96) _____

Eventually, Benson met with two Mormon apostles in private conversation--where the ugly truth behind Quinn's excommunication became apparent in raw, personal terms:


"Additional sordid details behind the excommunication of Quinn seeped out some eight years after his post-Manifesto essay was first published.

"These facts were provided by two of the Mormon Church's highest henchmen–'Apostle-ologists' Neal A. Maxwell and Dallin H. Oaks.

"On 9 September 1993, my wife Mary Ann and I met with Oaks and Maxwell in Maxwell's Church office, #303, located in the Church Administration Building, in downtown Salt Lake City. We had approached them with a list of detailed and wide-ranging questions about fundamental doctrines, teachings, practices and policies of the Mormon Church that significantly troubled us--and about which we felt we deserved credible and straight-forward answers.

"In the broad sense on the polygamy question, we wanted to know from these pre-eminent damage controllers why the Mormon Church had not been more forthcoming and honest with its history with regard to the official practice (and later blatant denial of) polygamy.

"Then, specifically, we wanted to know about what I have subsequently referred to as 'the mystery of history, and those who tell the truth about polygamy--without permission.'

"In that meeting with us, 'good cop' Maxwell offered unconvincing rationalizations for the Mormon Church’s failure to be honest and forthcoming about its practice of polygamy.

“'Bad cop' Oaks followed up by launching a shockingly shabby attack on Quinn’s personal integrity. _____


"In answer to the larger inquiry, Maxwell cagily replied by noting that the process of writing history is frustrating, complex and incomplete.

"He handed us a photocopy of a sermon. (The copy turned out, I discovered later, to be a talk Maxwell himself had delivered during the 1984 October General Conference entitled, 'Out of Obscurity.' However, the single sheet excerpts that he handed to us contained no title or author, although it had been marked up in red ink for our benefit. Maxwell’s address ultimately appeared in the General Conference issue of the Ensign, 10, November 1984, p. 11).

"Quoting from a 'Tribute to Neville Chamberlain,' delivered in the British House of Commons, 12 November 1940, Maxwell’s sermon declared:

"'History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.'

"The sermon then addressed what Maxwell verbally described to us as the definition of history: a collection, he said, of 'floating mosaic tiles':

"'The finished mosaic of the history of the Restoration will be larger and more varied as more pieces of tile emerge, adjusting a sequence here or enlarging there a sector of our understanding.

"'The fundamental outline is in place now, however. But history deals with imperfect people in process of time, whose imperfections produce refractions as the pure light of the gospel plays upon them. There may even be a few pieces of tile which, for the moment, donot seem to fit . . .

"'So, belatedly, the fullness of the history of the dispensation of the fullness of times will be written.

"'The final mosaic of the Restoration will be resplendent, reflecting divine design and the same centerpiece–the Father's plan of salvation and exaltation and the atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ.'

"What Maxwell’s excuses lacked in clarity, Oaks’ made up for in character assassination _____


"While Oaks was much less colorful than his charming so-charlatan Maxwell, he was much more direct in dealing with the substance of our question.

"Oaks acknowledged that he had read Quinn's article on post-Manifesto polygamy, covering the period from 1890 into the early 20th century.

"Oaks also confessed that the Mormon Church had not, in fact, been honest about its practice of polygamy during that time. He admitted that the case, as laid out by Quinn, was, in fact, true. Oaks admitted that, in his opinion, lies had indeed been told by Mormon Church leaders about the continuing practice of polygamy after it supposedly was ended by the Manifesto of 1890.

"But enough of admitting Church wrongdoing.

"Oaks then proceeded to attack Quinn personally by accusing him of breaking his word.

"Oaks said that Quinn had been given access to all of J. Reuben Clark's papers for the purpose of writing a book on Clark's years of Church service. Oaks said he had assured the Church that Quinn was credible, in order that Quinn could be given access to those records. Oaks noted that shortly after Quinn's research was published on Clark, out came Quinn's article on post-Manifesto polygamy.

"Quinn, Oaks told us angrily, had violated Oaks' confidence. He accused Quinn of having taken more information out of Church archives than he had been given permission to examine and research, going in.

"Oaks said that Quinn was not an innocent victim in this affair. Oaks informed us that he subsequently wrote Quinn a letter, in which he expressed his "deep disappointment" with him and telling Quinn he had exceeded the limits of their original understanding.

"In that letter, Oaks further said, he told Quinn that he now regarded him as someone who could not be trusted. Oaks added that Quinn would not tell us about these things, if asked, because of Quinn's involvement.

"On that last point, I wanted to see for myself.

"In August 2001, in a personal visit with Quinn at a gathering in Fort Worden, Washington, hosted by a group of gay Mormon fathers (where Mary Ann and I had been invited to speak), I recounted to him Oaks' version of events and asked him for his own recollections.

"Visibly agitated but in a controlled and quiet voice, Quinn emphatically denied that he had violated any research agreement with the Church Historical Department.

"He told me that it was clearly understood going in that he had open access to archival materials."

[see: , Part 4] _____


"Dallin Oaks and Neal Maxwell, I know Michael Quinn.

"Michael Quinn is a friend of mine.

"You are no Michael Quinn."
Brent Metcalfe: By His Enemies Ye Shall Know (And Respect) Him
Tuesday, Oct 17, 2006, at 06:00 AM
Original Author(s): Sourcerer
Topic: STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10   -Link To MC Article-

A person's reputation and character are determined, in significant measure, by his or her enemies.

If, in this case, the enemies happen to be deviously devoted Mormon apologists (who, by their very nature, perpetuate lies, falsehoods and excuses in behalf of the manipulative LDS cult), then the person these snarling Mormon pit bulls are ripping apart has obviously struck a nerve of truth with them that they cannot handle.

Which brings us to Brent Metcalfe and his enemies.

While some on this board are obviously displeased with Metcalfe's ExMo conference presentation, it may do well to remember that Metcalfe is ridiculed and hated by high-ranking Mormon authorities and their minions.

Which means he must be doing something right.

Brent Metcalfe is an inately intelligent and thoughtful individual, a gifted and careful writer, a dogged and tireless researcher, an agile and adept thinker and a respected and reputable (albeit largely self-made) scholar whose historical studies, doctrinal conclusions and other Mormon-related observations are the result of his determined efforts at understanding and interpreting the LDS world in empirical, rational, methodical and responsible ways.

That Mormon apostles (as well as their hand puppets at FARMS) have frantically ripped Brent Metcalfe up one side and down another is telling proof of just how effective Metcalfe has been at undermining Mormonism's fabrications--and just how much, as a result, insecure Mormons fear and loathe him. _____


Apostle Neal Maxwell, in a private conversation with Steve Benson in Maxwell's Church office in September 1993, viciously attacked Metcalfe, as recounted in Benson's published account of his meeting with Maxwell:

"Maxwell attempted to defend the Book of Mormon via 'critical textual analysis'--as well as through personally attacking one of the most outspoken critics of the Book of Mormon at that time, former Church security employee and excommunicated LDS researcher, Brent Metcalfe.

"Maxwell said that the first critical textual analysis of the Book of Mormon was soon to be published by Royal Skousen, a BYU professor of English and linguistics, whom Maxwell described as being in 'the intellectual wing of the Church.' (At the time, Skousen was in the process of examining the original English 'translation' of the Book of Mormon, based on the surviving 28% of the original manuscript held in the historical archives of the Mormon Church).

"Maxwell said that, unlike Metcalfe's [then-]recent critique of Book of Mormon authenticity, Skousen's treatment of the Book of Mormon was 'deep.' (Metcalfe was editor of a newly-released book, New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1993]. The work billed itself as an outline of 'the broad contours of contemporary scholarship which continue to examine issues of antiquity . . . from the standpoint of physical and cultural anthropology, geography, linguistics, demographics, literary forms, liturgical context, theology, and evolution of the original manuscript to published work,' front flyleaf).

"Unimpressed by Metcalfe's efforts, Maxwell derisively described the difference between Metcalfe's approach and that of Skousen's as being like 'the difference between seagulls hovering over garbage thrown overboard and seagulls that know how to fish.' Speaking in condescending and disparaging terms of Metcalfe, Maxwell said, 'We pat him on the head and say, "Little boy, you haven't even scratched the surface."'

"Despite his acerbic personal attacks, Maxwell nonetheless said that 'we shouldn't proclaim we've won the game with every piece of positive evidence. We should avoid being tossed to and for by every doctrine.' , Part 18 _____


Benson, in a RfM post made in January of this year, also wrote of FARMS equally vicious attacks on Metcalfe:

"FARMS apologists, reviewers and 'researchers' are infamous for savaging critics of the Mormon Church for supposedly being puerile and unsophisticated in the conclusions these skeptics reach about LDS doctrine, practice and history.

"Case in point: FARMS premiere offensive lineman (and we do mean 'offensive') William Hamblin--in ridiculing Jerald and Sandra Tanner's work, Covering up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon--pompously declared:

"'[T]hey [the Tanners] simply refuse to deal with recent serious Latter-day Saint arguments . . . a perfect picture of the Tanners at the height of their ineptitude . . . completely fails to deal with [current LDS scholarly] interpretation of the Book of Mormon geography and archaeology . . . incapable of seriously dealing with academic studies and issues surrounding questions of archaeology and geography of either the New or old World. . . . [they should] stick to their . . . .facile, ad nauseum demonstrations that Latter-day Saint doctrine bears little relationship to fundamentalist Protestant doctrine.'

"Hamblin is the last person to be chiding others for not being serious.

"Hamblin himself is about as serious as a whoopie cushion in a church pew.

"John Weldon, writing for the 'Apologetics Index,' points to the stupidly childish FARMS case of 'Metcalfe Is Butthead,' which exposed Hamblin's breathtaking immaturity in dealing with Mormonism's critics:

"'FARMS is, as we know, an acronym for the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.

"'Unfortunately, after reading their reviews, etc., and examining their methods, an acronym equally suited for FARMS would often be: 'Frequent Artless Ridicule Made Simple.'

"'This is particularly so in light of the 'Metcalfe is Butthead' acronym fiasco, and similar matters. We mean no disrespect toward the more balanced FARMS writers, but FARMS style and antics are often less than scholarly.' _____

"Just what, exactly, was this 'fiasco' and how was Hamblin involved in it?

"An answer to that question exposes the FARMS boys as engaging (and eventually being caught in) some of the most infantile, imbecilic antics imaginable.

"Lecturer John Hatch, in an address at a Sunstone symposium entitled 'Why I No Longer Trust the FARMS Review of Books,' detailed this extremely unprofessional and embarrassing moment in the history of FARMS's juvenile and scurrilous attacks on Mormonism's critics:

"'Mormon book collectors know there is one issue of FARMS Review of Books that is extremely rare. It is the first statement of issue 6:1, the issue that was almost entirely dedicated to reviewing Brent Metcalfe's book, "New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology."

"'The amount of space spent reviewing Metcalfe and his book is almost three hundred pages.

"'However, the important point for book collectors is the review by William Hamblin. In his review, Hamblin originally included an acrostic. An acrostic is something of a code or puzzle hidden within a set of paragraphs or lines. When one takes the first or last letter of the line or paragraph and puts them together, they form a word or phrase, similar to an acronym.

"'In this instance, by taking the first letter of every paragraph in the first few pages of Hamblin's review the phrase, "Metcalfe is Butthead" was formed. After the publisher of the book threatened a lawsuit, FARMS reprinted the issue rewording several of the paragraphs.

"'It was an incredibly unprofessional and downright immature move on the part of FARMS. Again, the question of "why" springs to mind. Why is such a childish and personal attack necessary?

"'Another disturbing facet of this story is the fact that the reviewer obviously spent the vast majority of his time trying to form the code that would spell out 'Metcalfe is Butthead' rather than trying to formulate a competent, persuasive review.


"'That is the question I have for FARMS that has never been answered. Why do they feel that scholars, church members, and even human beings can act the way they have at times and still be taken seriously and have the respect of others?'" _____

"As Hamblin the Hypocrite so amply demonstrates, walking through a FARMS review is like attempting to cross through a farm's barnyard.

"You're quite likely to get some unwelcome material on the bottom of your boots."



Excommunicated Mormon Brent Metcalfe is a solid, seasoned amd substantial critic of the LDS Church who lost both his LDS Church job and eventually his LDS Church membership because he was personally honest and open enough to do probing, persistent and public research that exposed the lies of the LDS cult.

That Metcalfe may not express views that are in line with what some other ex-Mormons think is appropriately "ex-Mo" is simply an example of what Metcalfe does best: namely, challenging people to think outside the box.

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5,709 Articles In 365 Topics
TopicImage TOPIC INDEX (365 Topics)

  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 1 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 2 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 3 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 4 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 5 (25)
  · BOB MCCUE - SECTION 6 (19)
  · BOY SCOUTS (22)
  · BOYD K. PACKER (33)
  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
  · BRUCE C. HAFEN (4)
  · CALLINGS (11)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 1 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 2 (21)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 3 (24)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 4 (22)
  · COMEDY - SECTION 5 (37)
  · DALLIN H. OAKS (100)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (23)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (8)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DNA (23)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · FARMS (30)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITES (36)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TITHING - SECTION 3 (13)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VIDEOS (30)
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