Oh Please… Drop the God card! (part 2)

temple painting

From August 2001 Ensign (page 22), in big bold print above a large colourful portrait of Joseph Smith, it reads:

“The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, ‘Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed.'”

This is from an article specifically on the temple ordinances.
To back up the Joseph Smith quote, it goes on to say:

“Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the last dispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations…. He set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them.” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol.4, p. 208

“As temple work progresses, some members wonder if the ordinances can be changed or adjusted. These ordinances have been provided by revelation, and are in the hands of the First Presidency. Thus, the temple is protected from tampering.” W. Grant Bangerter, executive

“…God is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today and forever… The great mistake made down through the ages by teachers of Christianity, is that they have supposed they could place their own private interpretation upon scriptures, allow their own personal convenience to become a controlling factor, and change the basis of Christian law and practice to suit themselves. This is apostasy.”
Prophet’s Message, Church News, June 5, 1965

“…the endowments have never changed and can never change; as I understand it; it has been so testified, and that Joseph Smith Jr., himself was the founder of the endowments.” Senator Reed Smoot, Reed Smoot Case, vol. 3, p. 185 (words in red not in original)

“…build a house to my name, for the Most High to dwell therein. For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood…. And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein… For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times. And I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof, and the place whereon it shall be built.” Jesus Christ Himself, Doctrine and Covenants 124:27-28, 40-42

“The Gospel cannot possibly be changed…. the saving principles must ever be the same. They can never change…. the Gospel must always be the same in all of its parts…. no one can change the Gospel… if they attempt to do so, they only set up a man-made system which is not the Gospel, but is merely a reflection of their own views…. if we substitute ‘any other Gospel,’ there is no salvation in it…. the Lord and His Gospel remain the same–always.” Prophet’s Message, Church News, June 5, 1965

PROPHETS MADE LYING A POLICY

That the church is still stuck with the addiction of lying – as described in Part 1 – can be demonstrated with one single example from the essay ‘Race and the Priesthood.’

Naturally, those who have only been members of the church for the last few years, will not recall the time before the 1978 Official Declaration 2 announcement…. when we were all told the Blacks could receive the priesthood. This is when Spencer W. Kimball claimed to have received a revelation from God. (Declaration 2 is located on page 293 of the 1981 edition of The Doctrine and Covenants, so it’s a canonized revelation).

From 1964 (when I joined) right up until this Declaration to the very recent and Official essay entitled ‘Race and the Priesthood’ of December 2013, I was taught with every conceivable channel of communication from the church (Lessons, sacrament talks, general conference broadcasts, stake conferences, visiting authorities, the Ensign and numerous books) why the Blacks had not received the Priesthood and therefore denied positions of leadership, ordination, temple covenants and sealings.

We were told repeatedly, this was a direct result of unworthiness through failure in the pre-existence to be valiant. Not only this, but multiple scriptures still printed in the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price, showed clearly that the doctrine (oh yes, most emphatically a doctrine) of the Black race being cursed with a dark skin, was a punishment since the days of Cain. This was the teaching of the Official church.

Joseph Smith started the prejudice by incorporating it into the LDS Standard Works of the church. Those who regularly read their scriptures will know these teachings. I wish to emphasize the insurmountable evidence of this teaching being well established and regularly spoken and written about by General Authorities for the many decades whilst I have been a member.

And just another rather nasty offshoot of the church’s racist attitude with the belief that the Blacks were suffering an earthly punishment of a black skin for their lack of valour in the pre-existence; it created an extension of judgement against all classes and races of people, with a suspicion that the origins of their birth (such as poor staving African children… or usually, poor displaced people anywhere, as well as the elite ‘white’ children of western born parents – especially those born into LDS families in the USA), as having somehow ‘earned’ their advantaged or disadvantaged birth. Please don’t suggest this was not a problem in the psyche of LDS members – I noticed it frequently. I even bought into it. One sad outcome was a less than normal aptitude for compassion for those in greatest need, because somewhere in their past, ‘they must have deserved it.’

THE INCREDULOUS DENIAL

That today’s church spokesman (sorry, not the prophet or apostles – they seem generally afraid to say too much) has told us that the concept, origins, record, history or reasons for the denial of the priesthood to Blacks, is not known. That is just absolute nonsense. We all knew! Yet we find the hierarchy clueless and dumb about how, why and when it started? The prefaced heading to Declaration 2 has the sentence: Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice.” What? Are you kidding me! No record – no written information in scripture, nothing in church magazines, curriculums, talks, or lessons? Not so, we all lived with a certainty of this well established doctrine and it has been thoroughly well documented – To repeat, we have 70 pages of General Authority quotes on WHY the Blacks did not and should not receive the priesthood.

Lee Baker (one time bishop) has compiled a list of such quotations on this doctrine: http://leebaker.4mormon.org/deliberate-racist-statements-from-the-mormon-church/ I have copied his list and it has filled 70 A4 pages. To repeat, that’s 70 pages of General Authority quotes on WHY the Blacks did not and should not receive the priesthood.

In addition, the Author Russell W Stevenson further sustains the availability of copious amounts of documentation in the form of records, talks, newspaper clipping, diaries, journals, etc.

: “. . . . I do expect–particularly in this day and age–a dogged commitment to the historical record. Original transcripts of all the relevant records. They are all available. In my book, For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism: 1830-2013, you can find full transcriptions of the Origin Documents for the Priesthood Ban (the only place where those documents have been collected in one place). The question is not whether we know the documentary record about the origins of the priesthood/temple restriction; the question is how much know–and what holes still need sewing up.”

My worry is, that members with lesser life experience with Mormonism, will look at this essay and conclude “We don’t know why there was a ban,” when in fact, they is a lorry-load of documented information.

THANK GOD, THE LORD IS NOT BEHIND IT

It is wonderful news that at last, the church admits in their 2013 Race and the Priesthood’ essay that the ban on the Blacks came from cultural prejudice in the days of Brigham Young. Oh thank God that the Lord had nothing to do with it! It was all just a reflection of the times in which they lived; just a bad understandable mistake. Prophets, after all, are just human and are subject to error or wrong decision making, but at least we know it was nothing to do with God.

“Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church . . . . The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority that had been used to argue for the legalization of black “servitude” in the Territory of Utah . . . . Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

 Just to remind ourselves, from Brigham Young, through all the successions of prophets and quorums of 12, the prejudice and restrictions were upheld. This was no small, insignificant law within the church. It was a ‘fundamental doctrine’ and from it flowed various restrictions (Policies) to enforce it.

What, then, was the affect of this racist doctrine upon black members?

Imagine yourself in their place…. devout black individuals or families, from generation to generation sitting in their LDS churches listening to all those talks and lessons about the importance of being sealed or endowed in order reach the Celestial Kingdom. Think of all those insufferable testimonies from the stand about some delightful temple experience… but YOU can’t go – probably never, before you die. Unless you were really stoic or superbly spiritual, you would sometimes feel depressed about the state of your own soul – your profound refusal to sustain God in your past life; your very skin – a reminder every moment of your day – every time you glanced in the mirror, of your blame and guilt.

This priesthood ban by successive prophets was a massive and colossal cock-up.

One of the things we were all taught about prophets was that they were – unlike us lot – in touch with the Lords will. They, above all people, had the keys and the ordination to discern the mind and will of God. We have been taught to trust them and to rely on their judgement. Such perceptions have been summed-up by variations on phrases, like: “When the prophet speaks, the debate is over.”

 We were also taught the following, which, in the light of church admissions about the real reason for the priesthood ban, now makes these statements utterly worthless and false:

  •  “Keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it. But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray’” (current Aaronic Priesthood Manual, Lesson 24 “Follow the Prophet”; Conference Report, Oct. 1960, p. 78; ). 
  • “There is one thing which we should have exceedingly clear in our minds. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord” (current Aaronic Priesthood Manual, Lesson 24 “Follow the Prophet”; Conference Report, Apr. 1972, p. 99) 
  • “The Saints can have faith in their leaders and vote unanimously on all propositions, knowing that the things presented for their sustaining vote were approved of the Lord to their leaders before being presented to the membership of the Church” (Ensign, May 1974, Alma P. Burton, BYU Professor of Church History and Doctrine).
  •  “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.” (1890 Wilford Woodruff)

Well, well, well. All false. You can’t trust prophets. Full stop. When such an immense failure of judgment carries on through the best part of 200 years against one class of people – causing them such heartache, anxiety and grief, then we must ask the question: Why follow or identify with such an awful institution as representatives of God? Also, how can such an organization ever be trusted to tell you the truth about what God wants for you? In light of such a blundering mess – such a monumental absurd mistake, is it any wonder the church continues from time to time issuing senseless, cruel and hurtful instructions – such as the new policy on Gay couples and their children?

WAS IT REALLY A REVELATION ANYWAY?

Firstly, consider that the church was under considerable pressure to do something about their racist discrimination. Some of the pressures upon them were:

  • Increased boycotting of games against BYU
  • A general mood of dislike in the country of LDS discrimination
  • Pressure from Boy Scouts of America against the church
  • Many missionaries ashamed of their church’s stance
  • Tax exemption status, threatened unless change occurred
  • Less and less likelihood of increased membership from African nations

In an interview with Elder Le Grand Richards on the 16th August 1978, where he was asked a number of questions about the detail of the deliberations to ascertain God’s will; he described the decision to lift the ban as a ‘negative revelation.’ This was confirmed later by other General Authorities. The following quote is found in: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#eventsleadingto1978 under the sub heading: Events before the 1978 revelation:

“We were told, by visiting General Authorities and others from the Church Office Building, that it was not a revelation, but a “negative revelation.” That is, the First Presidency and the Twelve decided to tell the Lord that they were going to change the policy regarding blacks and the LDS priesthood “unless He gave them a sign to the contrary.” In the absence of any sign, they changed the policy. No one officially coming over from SLC to the MTC at the time denied this story. It was later that I heard the word “revelation” actually used in conjunction with it. But Elder Le Grand Richard’s statements in his interview with Chris Vlachos and Wesley P. Walters supports this version of the events”

 THE PROJECTION OF BLAME

I’m glad the church has finally faced their responsibilities and admitted in their ‘Race and the Priesthood’ essay, that the ban was based on racial prejudice. However, rather like children who own-up to their naughtiness – they have partly endeavoured to shift the blame sideways onto anyone else, except themselves – especially all those ‘inspired’ dead prophets. Unlike the ‘Community of Christ’ (Once the Reorganized LDS church) they are still obsessed with image and can’t bring themselves to be super clean, super honest, utterly open – all a little bit too much for their present ego to bear (and the cynic in me adds:  also not ready for a big loss in membership and tithing) Thus, the LDS hierarchy used phraseology and words in this essay, which I find weird – to say the least. If you or I were owningup to a big mistake and giving an apology, we would likely use phrases like:

  • I told people wrongly….
  • I thought this was the correct course, but I was wrong…
  • Yes, I used to teach the following…
  • Years ago, I did not know any better…
  • I was just doing what everyone else was doing…
  • It was completely my fault…
  • So sorry for the hurt and pain I caused

But, what do we find in ‘Race and the Priesthood’ from the church?

This is some of the phraseology:

  • The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority….
  • According to one view, which had been promulgated….
  • Those who accepted this view believed that God’s “curse” on Cain….
  • The curse of Cain was often put forward as justification for the priesthood and temple restrictions….
  • Around the turn of the century, another explanation gained currency: blacks were said to have been less than fully valiant in….

It takes a profound lack of openness and humility to talk as if the problem (in this case – a shockingly terrible dogma and restriction, affecting an entire race) actually belonged to someone, or somebody else? As if it was some other church they were talking about? Look again and notice how they leave the impression of exoneration or detachment from any personal blame. It is stupidly confusing to admit that the ban was wrong, yet dump the blame on the members and society in generally. They essay does say: “Leaders and members,” but ‘members’ cannot be used to attach a reason or blame for this ban. Members ALWAYS take the lead, instruction, guidance and dogma from top leaders… if members promote ideas about black unworthiness, or having beliefs and views which ‘appear’ racist, then it has come direct from the top. Mormonism has always dumped blame, sin and failure to be blessed on its converts – Smith started it in the D&C for the same reasons: to save face and personal embarrassment for his blunders.  So, the senseless nature of this communication is the denial of the real origins, or reasons for the ban. In supposedly ‘coming clean’ the church cannot resist weaving additional deception and self exoneration into the essay that is supposed to be about the REAL TRUTH of what happened.

I find the expressions of Lee Baker, a past bishop, to be right on the nail:

“. . . . the current Church Leadership’s inability to clearly and specifically reject its own racist teachings both in print and from its past Senior Leadership, has left the Black Race with only a short irresponsible and offensively juvenile Official Statement [2] that claims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knows very little about its own race-based policy that had lasted for well over 100 years: 

“It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but it has ended.”  

Maintaining a detailed and comprehensive history of every aspect and teaching of the Church has been both one of the hallmarks and one of the downfalls of Mormon Church.  Within the relatively young Church, authoritative documentation, however corrupt it may have been, has never been in short supply.  Each of the Senior Leaders of the Mormon Church has had several official biographers as well as an army of Church authorized historians to record for the faithful Mormon all facets of the History of the Church.  In fact, one of my first of many “Callings” in the Mormon Church was that of a Ward (Congregational) Historian, long before I became a Bishop.

The peculiar assertion that the Mormon Church itself does not know the details of its very own race-based policy of restricting the Blacks from holding the Priesthood is tremendously embarrassing for all Mormons and exceptionally degrading for anyone who actually believes it.”

GOD NEVER STARTED THE PRIESTHHOD BAN

So God never did inspire, or give a revelation to start the ban – and if He did not install it in the first place, what kind of revelation should Spencer W Kimball have expected back in 1978, when the Revelation (Declaration 2) was given?

You can answer that question….

If you were God and this entire immoral and hateful doctrine had been laid at YOUR door and you noticed 12 or 15 men supplicating in the temple to find out if you were ready to ‘restore’ that priesthood – what would you communicate? (Providing you actually were the God of such a bunch of twerps) What should we expect the Lord to say and what kind of revelation might explode in that temple? Well, the only facts we have to go on are the words of Spencer W. Kimball:

“. . . . the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple . . . . He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows there-from, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or colour. We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.”

Sincerely yours,

Spencer W. Kimball, Eldon Tanner and Marion G. Romney

The First Presidency

That happened in 1978, about 35 years before this arrogant and confusing ‘essay’ on Race and the Priesthood. But blame and denial apart, the LDS church at last admitted the priesthood ban never came from God and yet here they were above, trying to persuade us that God gave them a revelation where He – in effect, announces “the time has come” to restore the priesthood…. as if He, God, was simply complying with their united prayer to bring it back?

That strikes me as crazy. Any other ‘decent God’ would have thundered down with a severe element of anger and chastisement We should have had President Kimball saying something like:

“Brethren and sisters of the church, the Lord has revealed his will to us, his servants. We have been severely chastened for failing to live so as to understand and discern that He never intended his Black children to suffer so badly with the denial of the priesthood. He has warned us about obsessive worldliness, which has caused the heavens to weep. We have felt so bad to hear Him condemn our stupidity; nevertheless, the Lord has said He will forgive us, if we correct our past mistakes immediately.”

By contrast, listen to Gordon B. Hinckley – then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve – remembering it this way:

“There was a hallowed and sanctified atmosphere in the room. For me, it felt as if a conduit opened between the heavenly throne and the kneeling, pleading prophet of God who was joined by his Brethren…. “

What we have been given is an embarrassment to logic and reason. It is also a complete contradiction. The church has now said the ban was NOT a revelation, but based on prevailing cultural attitudes of the times. Why then would they need to go and supplicate in the temple and ask God if it was His will to restore it? The whole scenario of the ban and God finally coming through in 1978 to tell his prophet in effect “fine, you can now go ahead and give them the priesthood,” must be false, in light of what they are now saying! What a total joke!

Something is badly wrong. The church is lying, or is suffering from some form of corporate dementia…. or maybe, just maybe, it is plain evil?

Advertisements

RECEIVING MY VERY OWN 1ST VISION

 

My 1st Vision

I have to tell you, I don’t pray any more.  Neither do I ever read scripture, or attend any church; I stopped all that after I got kicked out of the LDS church, but the evolution of getting my 1st Vision goes back maybe four decades and I suppose I had to learn to walk before I could run. I had always enjoyed Nature – watching wild life and just simply being in wild places – both day and night. I remember after I became a convert at age 18, Nephi inspired me greatly and then there was Enos, who hungered for God and went out into the wilderness to pray. So I did the same. I prayed like hell. I prayed in wild places every month – almost always in the dark, deep in the forestry commission woods where I lived in Kent, England. I actually made my own appointment with God on a set day and nothing would stop me going. I prayed intensely with enormous emotional yearning. It did not matter what the weather was like; it was sometimes clear and bright, sometimes very cold – even in the snow and frosts; on a few occasions, in lightning storms. These were moments when I felt great faith and connection, but it was primarily me with my shopping list, going through the ‘thank yous’ and the ‘requests,’ as we had been taught.

Throughout the years of church callings, a marriage, 6 children and a career, this went on. It seemed natural, therefore, to take ALL my worries, my fears and my anxieties to God – including my increasing doubts as to whether the church was true? Some GA or leader had once said: “Go and get your own revelation.” So I did, but it was a long time coming.

There was a day in winter when I had taken my kids to early morning seminary at the usual unearthly hour and rather than go home or stay there to wait, I decided to go to the woods nearby in my car to pray. In those days, I would have remained in the car, rather than kneel on the cold ground. There seemed in me an urgent need to get my testimony back, so as a glimmer of light was dawning in the east, I poured out my soul (crying all the while) about whether the church was true. And what happened? Nothing. Nothing at all, except a strange and sublime peace….

But there was something else…. a feeling of being loved so deep and so strong. It seemed to say to me: ‘It does not matter – you don’t need to change, or give a damn about this question… I love you – you’re ok as you are.’

What I have gathered from my Mormon membership – it’s rhetoric, teachings and culture, is that you get a gradual build up of perverse self esteem – a conviction of personal sin, fears, worthiness anxieties and many morbid misplaced feelings of guilt – and of course, ‘gratitude’ for your many blessings! The kind of gratitude that generates a moral sense of ‘obligation’ to God and the Brethren…. how could I ever disappoint them, succumb, appear rebellious and so forth? If you compare the church to a mother – this mother has a distorted love – too little, in fact. She wants you to remain at home, never marry, leave, or move on. She hopes your sense of GRATITUDE for her, will stifle your need for healthy independence; one feels so ungracious fighting such a positive attitude!  And then there were those bloody spine chilling scriptures invented by Smith, like:  “I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance,” working their intended awful magic, in making us feel shit about our desires, our motives and our imperfect perfection. So this feeling in the car: ‘You’re ok as you are,’ was the beginning of something that would gain power and intensity in years to come.

I would say my ‘1st Vision’ started to evolve around this time. I went in my car one day just down a little lane that led to the bottom of a field, which  I owned, and having sat there in the dark talking to God, I finished my usual shopping list and was about to turn the key in the ignition, when I paused a few seconds to listened to the SILENCE. (I had never heard my car clock before – now it sounded so loud!) I did not want to leave. It was so quiet and so beautiful – just me and God alone…. or was it just me alone? All I wanted to say was, “I love you.” I entered into another form of prayer, where the anarchy of my thought processes slowed right down into a silent awareness of something about to happen – like holding your breath with an expectant alertness. If you have ever been badger watching – waiting for a badger to emerge from its sett – you spend the entire time waiting for ‘one moment’ and with each passing second that ticks by – though NOTHING happens externally – it does on the inside. You wait because your whole soul is on edge of anticipation. In fact, every moment when NOTHING is happening – it could be – or is, the precise moment when something is about to occur. So my mind and heart lingered in a silence without words and without chaotic thoughts, on the edge of something…..

Leaders had reminded me through the years that I was DISCONNECTED from God; we were ALL disconnected. This ‘Natural man’ – this ‘enemy’ of God; this lust laden sexually charged body; this ego burdened alienated species – had, we were told, fallen from grace and was exiled on a plant. Since Eden, we had become unworthy and separated. Through Christ (and obedience) we could one day enter His presence – and not forgetting of course – all those essential sacred temple tokens and silly handshakes! But the more I sat alone, the more these notions of ‘Disconnection’ slowly started to crack. I saw doubts of the true church smashing through the thick armour of indoctrination – little shafts of light twinkling in the dark. If this LDS God – this source of light, power, energy and love, was so far removed as the prophets taught, that we needed lorry loads of purification, good works and conformity to redeem ourselves – how come He’s here inside me, telling me ‘I’m ok just as I am?’

These regular moments of silent meditation and contemplation stayed with me and continued until – years later, when my wife died and I felt isolated from my children – they really took off. I had gained the confidence to let go of my faith in Mormonism. Far from being too proud – as they claimed, I lacked the confidence to trust my own judgement and it was taking decades to break this down. In these dark days my Vision started to intensify. Maybe every moment of feeling alone with God…..  not that nasty, damn awful punitive thug of a god, we called ‘Father in Heaven,’ but something, somebody, or some power source; a universal energy, or harmony, which reached its most powerful crescendo in those times of darkness, when I was – according to LDS teaching – a morally bankrupt rebellious apostate. Indeed, I was breaking all the church rules – thoroughly unworthy of the Holy Ghost! But here’s the paradox:  in those moments of communion, silence and alertness, I was on fire with something stunningly beautiful. All Earth bound worries and anxieties fell away. Any pride or sense of self-accomplishment, including both the successes and disappointments of my life, disappeared. Self identified opinions about myself, as well as those attached by others – including all LDS labels and indoctrinations about being evil, needing to obey or purge myself, being weak or sinful, as well as all unacceptable traits, thoughts and desires – these evaporated into thin air. All judgements disappeared.

Then, I saw it like never before…. My 1st Vision. I was looking, or basking in my own spirit, or essence – my own soul. It was Pure and needed Nothing. It had always been pure, always connected and always wired-in to a universal harmony of which I was now One. The search for approval and efforts to impress no longer defined me. So called LDS sin – how it defines goodness and badness did not define me. I was reminded of Eckhart Tolle who describes a room. He said walls make a room and yet the room consists of Nothing – just empty space. It was as if my sense of what God was, had merged into me. I was also God, or part of an indestructible Selfhood. In a profound sense I was emptied and needed Nothing. I felt like I was disembodied and fused into a total unity with the universe. I knew then that ‘I’ was enough. There was nothing to prove, nothing to qualify, nothing to have, no answers required and nothing to obtain. I was caught-up in a sea of profound stillness and joy. Gratitude poured out like a thundering river down a mountainside; but this gratitude was not anchored in obligation, but relief and clarity. It felt to me like the entire house should shake with praise, but the praise was in me and was bursting out of my mouth with words I had had never heard before.

Do you seriously think that being approached by leaders – or, to be more precise – ‘reproached’ by leaders with advice on how I should try harder to please God, overcome my pride, avoid satanic influence and avert eternal separation from my family – had any influence over me? All these fear mongers – these GA’s strutting their dogma in the God-game of submission and control – the whole cult-like regime of purchasing our redemption through obedience came crashing down. The entire Eden separation thing, where we got cast out (temple video) and needed a crap church to get us back, was utterly false. I saw my True Self – the Real ME – my ethereal essence, and it needed no attachments and no redemption. I learnt, that feeling BAD about myself in the LDS culture, had been an un-mitigating waste of time and energy. I never was that bad, that discredited; I never was an ‘enemy’ to God; never was that weak or perverse and in need of holy rectitude, purification and sanctification. I learnt that I was already Wired-in, connected and shining like pure gold. It was always there – it just got buried in a pile of garbage we call indoctrination. It got lost. Sometimes even life itself can do it. Our deepest Self can be so shy and so reluctant to assert itself in the face of harsh body blows and coercion. Sometimes life has a way of smashing to pieces what is intrinsically innocent and delicate. Under that religious regime of identity eradication, the church as good as pissed on our spirit, until it vanished out of sight. Through self recrimination, labelled shame and the threat of eternal consequences, we were lost a while.

You may be wondering, do I still regularly meditate and pray? Yes, but only about once every 2 years (No kidding) And do I still believe in a God. Yes, but I cannot define what he, she or it, really is?  Neither do I think it is necessary or important. The experiences I have referred to above are so much bigger than Mormonism. All directly church related ‘spiritual’ experiences feel like dust under my feet, compared to the white hot connection to something beyond – yet so much a part of me. It is a burning memory which refuses to go away.

So, my 1st Vision was SEEING THE GOD IN ME – and by implication, the LIE that we are not good enough. Joseph Smith concocted and back-dated his last version of his 1st Vision, at a time when he needed to shore-up his waning authority, in consequence of some of his best leaders apostatising. The difference between my Vision and Smith’s, is that mine was real (to me) His was a blasphemous lie. Mine does not require anyone’s money, belief or their eternal soul – his did. Mine came after a lifetime of prayer, fasting, struggling and obeying; it came through the crisis of identity itself and what seemed like an ocean of tears.

Sometimes we do make mistakes and unintentionally hurt others, or feel legitimately ashamed of our behaviour. We ALL do things at times we shouldn’t – we are only human, but what we are NOT, is burdened with a psyche, body or spirit that requires constant thought policing, purification, or purging. Having our unique individualism stifled – having it condemned, re-aligned and abused, is regular practice in church. The whole damn regime of the LDS cult upon us was unhealthy, restrictive, corrupting and controlling.  Go and get your own revelation – even if that just means consulting your own amazing heart. Your opinion is so much better than Smith’s and all the idiotic prophets who succeeded him!

Priesthood Interviews

 

A letter I sent to some national papers in England a year or two back, but nothing came of it, because the one that did reply, wanted proof or evidence of abuse. Sam’s present crusade to highlight this subject is totally justified. I share this letter in support of his great efforts.

This letter is regarding the systematic SEXUAL ABUSE (on an EMOTIONAL level) of children from 8 years of age and upwards – throughout their teen years and beyond into adult life….

I have been a life-long member of the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) I was once a Bishop within this Church, but finally stopped attending (excommunicated) back in April 2006. I have written a book detailing how I discovered it was a false religion – built on lies and have since published a book entitled: ‘The Youngest Bishop in England.’ This, however, is not my point here…. I want to bring to your attention something which I feel duty bound to do something about if I possibly can.

It is NOT something which grabs attention when most people think, or mention ‘Mormonism.’ Usually, they think of tithing, or polygamy, or not drinking tea and coffee. What I want to tell you about is something all Mormons consider ‘perfectly normal.’ Now that I have become de-programmed myself, I can see far more clearly just how bad things really are…. It is the systematic SEXUAL ABUSE on an EMOTIONAL level, of all children from the age of 8 upwards and continues right through teenage years into adult life – for as long as a member lives.

This takes place during Church interviews, which are carried out routinely for all age groups, and for each gender, where one male priesthood leader sits alone with an individual in a private room and conducts a ‘worthiness interview’ with that member.

These interviews are conducted for various reasons. For example:

(1) A child is approaching their eighth birthday and is ready for baptism, so the bishop or one of his two counsellors needs to check they are prepared? Are they aware of the basic teachings and are they morally worthy?

(2) From the ages of 12 through to 18, each youth – male and female, are interviewed twice a year to encourage them to be ‘good Mormons’ and moral worthiness is checked.

(3) Every ‘calling’ requires a worthiness interview. (‘callings’ are voluntary jobs in the Church – and all adults have at least one. These change regularly)

(4) There are Chapels in every town, but only two Temples in this country… in order to be admitted to a temple, a person requires a ‘recommend’ (a piece of paper certifying worthiness) which is obtained after two interviews – one with a local leader and another with a higher ecclesiastic leader; these are renewed every 2 years. In both interviews moral worthiness is checked.

(5) At age 18, all young men are interviewed for advancement in the priesthood where moral questions are asked again

(6) A full-time 2 year mission is only possible after two thorough worthiness interviews (once more – by local and higher ecclesiastical leaders)

Apart from all this, the bishop or higher ecclesiastical leader, may interview anyone anytime for whatever reason they deem fit. In addition, any member who admits or confesses to some sexual sin (masturbation, fornication, pornography or adultery, or even naughty thoughts) will be thoroughly interviewed – repeatedly, if necessary, to encourage obedience and moral purity.

Consider these FACTS:

    1. Interviews are carried out on ALL individuals from the age of 8 onward, regularly.
    2. These interviews are held in private, behind closed doors
    3. The interviewer may well be a relative stranger to the person being interviewed
    4. The interviewer will always be male
    5. No proper training is given in order to conduct such interviews
    6. No police checks on the interviewer are ever carried out – no, not even thought of!
    7. No other adult, friend or parent is present
  • There are a number of questions in these interviews, which require a yes or no answer… such as:

 

  • Do you sustain your leaders?
  • Are you honest in all your business dealings?
  • Do you attend all your meetings at Church?
  • Do you have a testimony (a very strong conviction) that the Church is true? (the only true church divinely restored on Earth)
  • Do you pay a full tithing? (10% income if wage earner)
  • Do you keep the ‘Word of Wisdom’? (Health code: no tea, coffee, tobacco and alcohol)
  • Are you morally pure? (no naughty thoughts, pornography, masturbation or any sexual expression outside of marriage ­– including gay tendencies, or sexual distortions within marriage) and finally: Is there anything in your life that has not been previously dealt with, which should have been?

(this last question catches any past moral misdemeanours)

 The problem is so far bad enough, but it gets worse… If, for instance, a very young girl says she plays (innocently) with her genitals, or perhaps a teenager confesses some inappropriate sexual sin, then the leader doing the interviewing is perfectly justified in probing the ‘details’ of this confession to ascertain whether further ‘disciplinary’ measures need to be taken? He may indeed set up more interviews either weekly, monthly or quarterly, to check on progress and repentance. It is (and becomes) a gross infringement of what most people in the street would call normal and acceptable development, and in addition, a gross infringement of what most people would call a highly intrusive interference to individual privacy and freedom.

 I have no problem with interviews being conducted where purely religious matters are inquired about and general encouragement given, but I do have a problem with a person’s private, moral/sexual life being probed. It is evasive and highly disturbing that it should be happening at all in our post Jimmy Saville climate!

As a past bishop, I have conducted such interviews for 6 years and I have also (like all other members) been the recipient of this particular form of abuse. I have seen the consequences of this type of invasive interference on the lives of members… particularly the young. Can you imagine being a child or teenager and submitting yourself to a searching interview at such a tender age of innocent development – knowing perhaps you are not guilt free (remembering that much of the guilt is placed in a person by their religion and is not natural) and having someone whom you deem to be a ‘man of God’ tell you He (God) is not pleased with you and HATES your conduct, so you need to force yourself to be ‘pure’ in mind and body? There have been some pretty shocking stories where priesthood leaders have asked eight year olds whether they masturbate? Admittedly, this is rare, yet it highlights the insane situation where anything could be asked – even with the utmost sincerity and good intentions on the part of the leader!

The problem is, when someone asks a child or young teenager a question and they don’t understand the meaning, or the question, the person conducting the interview will then proceed to explain the meaning… thus, unnecessary distress and embarrassment takes place. Adults too suffer from such interviewing. My past wife (has since died of cancer) was very attractive and very shy… she hated these interviews, despite being ‘worthy.’ Fortunately, most of her interviews (for a temple recommend) were with a very kindly and sensitive male leader, who respected her character and shyness… but this is the point; it is so hit and miss. It is far from professional and the very idea of such intrusive and penetrating inquisitions being carried out where people’s private behaviour is scrutinised, is scandalous and even obscene. I have not even mentioned the humiliations that can, and often does occur when a particular ‘sin’ is confessed to a bishop, or when habitual tendencies which cannot be conquered, take place. In such situations, disciplinary Church courts will haul the individual up before a council of men, to examine the detail and determine punishment. Punishment might be excommunication, or disfellowshipment (loss of certain Church related privileges) Unfortunately, what was once ‘private’ becomes ‘public’ as other members notice a particular individual cannot attend the temple or is not permitted to take the sacrament. It adds additional shame and reproach to an already difficult situation. Under this priesthood inquisition will come self loathing. The Church’s paranoid scrupulosity for the moral purity of its members creates a strain of unbelievable self contempt, sadness, anxiety, guilt and self recrimination. Though some of the rhetoric is otherwise, sex still feels dirty in Mormonism. The sadness I feel is that so many young people grow up feeling that simply having a sexuality, is a sin and a burden! The inability to celebrate who you really are comes from being drowned under an ocean of distorted self appraisal. An appropriate and balanced perspective of being gifted, talented or decent is lost in a sea of guilt and madness. After all, God HATES what you are doing – and what you are doing so often feels like WHO you are… and inevitably, the two merge and become one! For gays, the strain is colossal. All gays are made to feel uncomfortable – not so much because all members are nasty or unkind – they are not, but because the entire Mormon theology is antipathetic to their nature. It is why Utah has the highest suicide rates for young people throughout America.

I’d be grateful if you can either pass on this info or refer me to anyone in the media you think may wish to expose this practise…. if I do nothing about it, I know I will always live with regret.

Lastly, it is not my intention to embarrass the Church (though God knows they need to be), but perhaps public awareness may make them more responsible and willing to change their policy and practise in this area.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie Bridgstock

FAITHLESS PROPHETS

Mormon leaders are essentially FAITHLESS.

They accuse members who have doubted and those who have left, with having a LACK of FAITH – a failure to TRUST. But consider this: Throughout our lives the leadership of the church has been constantly banging-on about the POWER of God – what He can do to save us; why we need Him and how the Holy Ghost can teach, inspire, protect, comfort and bless our lives, yet apart from the young children of Gay parents who are already (apparently) tainted by the environment of their home and thus not worthy to be baptized, there is one more insidious exception to this availability of God’s power, it is this one – dumb, cult-like, fear-based, qualification: ‘He cannot dwell in  unholy temples if we are not wholly circumspect.’ He departs. He can’t seem to stomach such contamination.

CS Lewis used to highlight this self-same ridiculous paradox, by saying that biblically speaking (and he’s correct) ‘Repentance is a Gift’ and the person who needs to receive this gift is required to gain access to the Holy Spirit first, but CANNOT in his unworthy state…. so how can he repent? Their teaching – that God departs from us when we become ‘unworthy,’ is one of the most despicably false dogmas I know. To suggest that any God worth His salt, should dump us when we need him most, is obscene and has brought untold misery to Christians and Mormons alike. It’s a cynical, nasty and constraining devise, to keep us in a sense of deserted spiritual destitution – a perfect malleable state for a controlling institution like the church.

Seemingly, God should be able to work through any means to pull us back to faith in Him – if this is His work? I mean, not just through obedience, but from any human condition of negativity, sickness, wellness, weakness, or temptation – including the simple condition of doubt and confusion. God can come to us through ANY form and in ANY state – a book, a computer, a stranger, a friend – through nature, art, music. No matter whether we happen to be totally messed-up, or basking in profound stability – whether in the grip of addiction, or so-called sin, God is supposed to descend to rescue at OUR level (or He’s bloody useless!)…. yet LDS leaders have NO FAITH in this, their proclaimed God, otherwise they would stand back, LET GO and see Him do miracles! They show incredulous disbelief and a pathetic inability to TRUST their God.

It’s as if there exists NO power – apart from themselves – to save us? They have so worried and fretted to ‘protect’ the membership, that they have repressed free and open enquiry, established secrecy, thought police and glossed-over the history – all because presumably, they think this God of theirs must be POWERLESS to Prove, Confirm, Bless, Sustain, Discern and Restore belief of Himself into the souls of members and doubters. It’s as if this God is totally impotent, paralyzed and neglectful.

Oh yes, they suggest members ignore epistemology and only strive for a ‘Spiritual Witness,’ but at the same time, they continue to sustain their cult-like environment throughout the entire church; it’s almost like an open prison!… that sense of a suffocating repression of our real identity and the denial of the genuine expression of true feelings, still prevails. When push comes to shove, they demonstrate ZERO FAITH that God has the power to change us, help us and confirm to any given member, His truth – that the church is true. Once again, their particular appeal to the ‘Spiritual Witness’ solution, exhibits their LACK of FAITH in a proper investigation of truth. They know their method produces a self-deluding, wishful-thinking reaffirmation of the ‘same old’ stuff. It’s a cheap trick they should be so embarrassed and ashamed to stand by. The bankruptcy of their FAITH that God can do it, is shown by the manner they try to override our freedom to try.  GA’s are demonstrably FAITHLESS about the supposed omnipotence of their self confessed God, because they seek through their domination, strategy and punishments to exert forms of influence that should have been left to God… but they don’t. It’s as if their faith in His almighty power – His love, His grace and His intervention on our behalf, cannot be trusted!

It’s rather like a wife feeling and wondering (after some considerable time) whether she has made a mistake in getting married and then – upon him hearing this – demanding she does not leave the house or seek any outside advice. His control of her demonstrates his fear of losing her and his LACK OF FAITH in her – as well as his inability to TRUST GOD to ENABLE HER to make the right choice.

Mormon leaders are essentially FAITHLESS.

 

 

BANQUET OF CONSEQUENCES

In a recent talk given at BYU by apostle Quentin L. Cook, entitled: ‘BANQUET OF CONSEQUENCES – The Cumulative Result of all Choices.’ He drummed up the predictable appeal to both ‘Fear’ and ‘Reward’ with the reminder of the existence of Satan – as an ever present danger to our souls. His warning was, that people today will say – like Korihor, that He (Lucifer) does NOT exist and He would cause us to twist badness into goodness and goodness into badness – thus, justifying many of our bad societal choices. Amongst a number of examples he cited, were abortion rates, the role of women in marriage and in the home (forgoing educational and vocational advancement, etc., to start a family), The Word of Wisdom (alcohol), alternative marriage choices (inferring same sex marriage as inappropriate for happiness).

devil-3He says the Devil will try and cause people (you, me and the rest of those heathens) to mischaracterize good gospel principles – as undesirably bad. He also said about materialism:

“Lucifer’s paradigm shift here is to elevate the seeking of great wealth and the acquisition of highly visible luxury products. Some seem absolutely driven to achieve the life-style of the rich and famous. Excess wealth is not promised the faithful, nor does it usually bring happiness.”

Well now, should we deem a comment like that as the height of hypocrisy, or as uttered by a man so close to the trees, he cannot see the wood?…. In case you didn’t know (he says stupidly) the church is drenched up-to-the-eyeballs in money, investments and assets. It is one of the largest land owners in the US and when asked why? They reply: “It’s for a rainy day.”

We have belonged to a very greedy – grubby little church, which has at its core, the lust of money. Oh yes, once upon a time, we saw LDS history as they intended – our bright and shiny Restoration – God’s Kingdom on Earth. But, bye and bye the mask slipped and the camouflage fell. We saw what was always there, that ulcerated mess of a body, covered then, in a beautiful crisp white shirt and those sharp dark suits. Our church disintegrated into ashes. For many of us, it came down like 9/11. Suddenly – as if from a dream – we awoke and were met by a cold reality.

Don’t let them fool you – it takes an awful lot of courage and faith (whether faith in Self to tackle the future alone, or in another God – who for some, must be out there?) It takes nerve, integrity and a conscience to prepare to stand alone.  We have run close to self-destructing all those attainments and securities that have been gained in life, than shaft our own souls with dishonesty.

imagesp4rh1fi1Bad choices, he insists, brings “A banquet with BITTER, RANCID, NASTY AND MISERABLE RESULTS.” Well, I’m so excited about my final destiny! Somebody called Smith said that it would be an indescribable Hell – so bad, that even God did not, or could not bear to talk about it!

As I have done everything so far to qualify (according to the D&C) as a ‘Son of Perdition,’ I’m just wondering whether I’ll get a hint of its misery now – in this life? Or perhaps a hint of  bitterness? Well, ok, I’ll give him that, I do often get cross and yes I’m sorry, but RANCID, NASTY AND MISERABLE? I can echo the same feelings as most of you who have left the Morg…. I’m happy, relieved, free, 10% better off, relaxed, healed…. and getting slowly ‘normal.’ I am no less compassionate, caring and full of the same old humour. I’ll keep looking for that Devil – if he’s out there? But as sure as hell, he’s not in here! (my heart)

As Mr Cook seems to think, (and probably quite sincerely) ‘we lot’ are possessed of the devil, and ‘them lot’ (the LDS faithful) had better take heed too. Let me quote a friend of mine – Jim Whitefield, from his 4th Volume of THE MORMON DELUSION ‘The Mormon Missionary Lessons – A Conspiracy to Deceive,’ about whether the devil exists? It’s worth reading:

temple-devil“Christian concept of ‘original sin’. The controlling influences of fear and guilt introduced by these concepts have manacled believers ever since. Christians in general just do not realise that the Old Testament or Tanakh do not include such a character as Satan. As previously mentioned, the Jews never did and still do not believe in such a creature and references to ‘HaSaTan’ in the Bible refer to an adversarial being who sits on God’s council and who cannot act without God’s permission. He is not evil. Likewise, ‘Lucifer’ is misinterpreted in the Old Testament by Mormons and also by many other Christians who do not understand the meaning, nor the fact that Christ effectively referred to himself as ‘Lucifer’ in the New Testament.

The Hebrew text in Isaiah was translated to the Latin word ‘Lucifer’ which actually meant Venus as a morning star. Isaiah was using this metaphor for a bright light, referring to the power of the Babylonian king which had faded. It was never anything other than that. It is now a serious problem for the Mormon Church which refers to ‘Lucifer’ as a character, particularly in the temple endowment ceremony. Some Mormon writers have tried to accommodate the error by claiming the text may have had a double meaning but it could not have done as the very concept of the character ‘Lucifer’ is non-Jewish.

blake_041It appears that early Christian scribes first deliberately created in the third century, and then perpetuated, the myth of ‘Lucifer’ through the interpolation of the word Lucifer to represent Satan or the Devil, in Jerome’s Vulgate in the fifth century. It was not the use of the word that was wrong; rather, it was the associated teaching that it was a name for Satan instead of the metaphoric description of the Babylonian king to whom the original Hebrew phrase “heleyl ben shachar” (which literally means ‘shining one, son of the dawn’) referred. This could be reasonably translated into Latin as ‘lucifer’ which really should be looked at more closely by the Mormon Church and admitted as a major error. As the Old Testament was written by Jews who do not and never did believe in the much later Christian concept of the Devil, it is therefore completely impossible that this verse referred to a ‘personage’ that Christians, and in particular Mormons, now term ‘Satan’.

Did the word Lucifer always exist? No, it most certainly did not. In the Hebrew language, the word Lucifer is derived from the Hebrew word …. (Hêlel). The term ‘Lucifer’ did not exist in biblical times. Lucifer is a Latin word. (L. lux, lucis = light/fire; Ferre = to bear/to bring). The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew, so the word Lucifer could not have been in their language.”

The Church of Chronic Denial and Dementia

spencer-1

 

Denial – a person, or group of people, faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

Dementia – a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, impaired reasoning, disorientation, mood and behaviour changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place.

WHAT WE ALL KNEW

The Institution of the Mormon church – its hierarchy, has lost its marbles. It has demonstrably shown that it has lost its corporate Memory and is suffering from Dementia. It also lives and breathes the blatant Denial of uncomfortable facts. It is both sick and guilty at the same time. Guilty, because it continues to deliberately disguise the mess and fantasy of its own dogmatic history into a delusion of legitimate idealism. And sick, because long exposure to its own cultural and spiritual environment has sustained the fallacy of thinking it KNOWS. But the knowing is just one expression of their intense desire to make the tale true. In fact, it is part of the barrier – the mental and emotional blindness, formalized through indoctrination – the inculcation of ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies and a survival methodology, with which to sustain a system of beliefs.

I think this can be demonstrated with one single example from their history – that of the Blacks and the Priesthood.

Naturally, those who have only been members of the church for the last few decades will not recall the 14 years before the 1978 Official Declaration 2 announcement…. when we were all told the Blacks could receive the priesthood. This is when Spencer W. Kimball claimed to have received a revelation from God. (Declaration 2 is located on page 293 of my 1981 edition of The Doctrine and Covenants, so it’s a canonized revelation).

From 1964 (when I joined) right up until this Declaration 2, to the very recent and Official ‘essay’ entitled ‘Race and the Priesthood’ of December 2013, I was taught with every conceivable channel of communication from the church (Lessons, sacrament talks, general conference broadcasts, stake conferences, visiting authorities, the Ensign and numerous books) why the Blacks had not received the Priesthood and therefore denied positions of leadership, ordination, temple covenants and sealings.

We were told repeatedly, this was a direct result of unworthiness through failure in the pre-existence to be valiant. Not only this, but multiple scriptures still printed in the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price, showed clearly that the doctrine (oh yes, most emphatically a doctrine) of the Black race being cursed with a dark skin, was a punishment since the days of Cain. This was the teaching of the Official church.

Joseph Smith started the prejudice – whether willingly or by default – by incorporating it into the LDS Standard Works of the church. Those who regularly read their scriptures will know these teachings. I wish to emphasize the insurmountable evidence of this teaching being well established and regularly spoken and written about by General Authorities of the church for the many decades I have been a member. Lee Baker (one time bishop) has compiled a list of quotations on this doctrine http://leebaker.4mormon.org/deliberate-racist-statements-from-the-mormon-church/ I have copied his list and it has filled 70 A4 pages in 12pt type. To repeat, that’s 70 pages of General Authority quotes on WHY the Blacks did not and should not receive the priesthood!

And just another rather nasty offshoot of the church’s racist attitude, in the belief that the Blacks were suffering an earthly punishment of a black skin for their lack of valour in the pre-existence. It created an extension of judgement against all classes and races of people, with a suspicion that the origins of their birth (such as poor staving African children… or usually, poor displaced people anywhere, as well as the elite ‘white’ children of western born parents – especially those born into LDS families in the USA), as having somehow ‘earned’ their advantage or disadvantaged birth. Please don’t suggest this was not a problem in the psyche of LDS members – I noticed it frequently. I even bought into it. One sad outcome was a less than normal aptitude for compassion for those in greatest need, because somewhere in their past, they must have deserved it.

THE INCREDULOUS DENIAL

denial2-copy

That today’s church spokesman (sorry, not the prophet or apostles – they seem generally afraid to say too much these days) has told us that the concept, origins, record, history or reasons for the denial of the priesthood to Blacks, is not known. That is just absolute nonsense. We all knew! Yet we find the hierarchy clueless and dumb about how, why and when it started? The prefaced heading to Declaration 2 has the sentence: Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice.” What? Are you kidding me! No record – no written information in scripture, nothing in church magazines, curriculums, talks, or lessons? Not so, we all lived with a certainty of this well established doctrine and it has been thoroughly well documented – as the 70 pages of evidence reveal… and that’s just one man’s collection.

But hang on a minute… Yes, it is wonderful news, that at last, the church admits in their 2013 ‘Race and the Priesthood’ essay that the ban on the Blacks came from cultural prejudice in the days of Brigham Young! Oh thank God that the Lord had nothing to do with it! It was all just a reflection of the times they lived in; just a bad but understandable mistake. Prophets, after all, are just human and are subject to error or wrong decision making, but at least we know it was nothing to do with God….

“Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church . . . . The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority that had been used to argue for the legalization of black “servitude” in the Territory of Utah . . . . Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

 Just to remind ourselves; from Brigham Young, through all the successions of prophets and quorums of 12, the prejudice and restrictions were upheld. This was no small, insignificant law within the church. That it is now referred or suggested to be a ‘policy’ change and never an actual doctrine, is totally ridiculous – a complete lie.

What, then, was the affect of this racist doctrine upon Black members?

Imagine yourself in their place…. devout Black individuals or families, from generation to generation sitting in their LDS churches listening to all those talks and lessons about the importance of being sealed or endowed in order reach the Celestial Kingdom. Think of all those insufferable testimonies from the stand about some delightful temple experience… but YOU can’t go – probably never, before you die. Unless you were really stoic or superbly spiritual, you would sometimes feel depressed about the state of your own soul – your profound refusal to sustain God in your past life; your very skin – a reminder every moment of your day – every time you glanced in the mirror, of your blame and guilt.

This priesthood ban by successive prophets (in God’s so-called true church) is a massive and colossal cock-up.

One of the things we were all taught about prophets was that they were – unlike us lot – in touch with the Lords will. They, above all people, had the keys and the ordination to discern the mind and will of God. We have been taught to trust them and to rely on their judgement. Such perceptions have been summed-up by variations on phrases, like: “When the prophet speaks, the debate is over.”

 We were also taught the following, which, in the light of church admissions about the real reason for the priesthood ban, now makes these statements utterly worthless and false:

  •  “Keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it. But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray’” (current Aaronic Priesthood Manual, Lesson 24 “Follow the Prophet”; Conference Report, Oct. 1960, p. 78; ). 
  • “There is one thing which we should have exceedingly clear in our minds. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord” (current Aaronic Priesthood Manual, Lesson 24 “Follow the Prophet”; Conference Report, Apr. 1972, p. 99) 
  • “The Saints can have faith in their leaders and vote unanimously on all propositions, knowing that the things presented for their sustaining vote were approved of the Lord to their leaders before being presented to the membership of the Church” (Ensign, May 1974, Alma P. Burton, BYU Professor of Church History and Doctrine).
  •  “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.” (1890 Wilford Woodruff)

Well, well, well. All false. You can’t trust prophets. Full stop. When such an immense failure of judgement carries on through the best part of 200 years against one class of people – causing them such heartache, anxiety and grief, then we must ask the question: Why follow or identify with such an awful institution as representatives of God? Also, how can such an organization ever be trusted to tell us the truth about what God wants for us? In light of such a blundering mess – such a monumental absurd mistake, is it any wonder the church continues, from time to time, issuing senseless, cruel and hurtful instructions – such as the new policy on Gay couples and their children?

WAS IT REALLY A REVELATION ANYWAY?

Firstly, consider that the church was under considerable pressure to do something about their racist discrimination. Some of the pressures upon them were:

  • Increased boycotting of games against BYU
  • A general mood of dislike in the country of LDS discrimination
  • Pressure from Boy Scouts of America against the church
  • Many missionaries ashamed of their church’s stance
  • Tax exemption status, threatened unless change occurred
  • Less and less likelihood of increased membership from African nations

In an interview with Elder Le Grand Richards on the 16th August 1978, where he was asked a number of questions about the detail of the deliberations to ascertain God’s will; he described the decision to lift the ban as a ‘negative revelation.’ This was confirmed later by other General Authorities. The following quote is found in: http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm#eventsleadingto1978 under the sub heading: Events before the 1978 revelation:

“We were told, by visiting General Authorities and others from the Church Office Building, that it was not a revelation, but a “negative revelation.” That is, the First Presidency and the Twelve decided to tell the Lord that they were going to change the policy regarding blacks and the LDS priesthood “unless He gave them a sign to the contrary.” In the absence of any sign, they changed the policy. No one officially coming over from SLC to the MTC at the time denied this story. It was later that I heard the word “revelation” actually used in conjunction with it. But Elder Le Grand Richard’s statements in his interview with Chris Vlachos and Wesley P. Walters supports this version of the events”

 THE PROJECTION OF BLAME

man-buries-head-in-dry-earth1

I’m glad the church has finally faced their responsibilities and admitted in their ‘Race and the Priesthood’ essay, that the ban was based on racial prejudice. However, rather like children who own-up to their naughtiness – they have endeavoured to shift the blame sideways onto anyone else, except themselves. Thus, the LDS hierarchy used phraseology and words in this essay, which I find weird – to say the least. If you, or I, were owning-up to a big mistake and giving an apology, we would likely use phrases like:

  • I told people wrongly….
  • I thought this was the correct course, but I was wrong…
  • Yes, I used to teach the following…
  • Years ago, I did not know any better…
  • I was just doing what everyone else was doing…
  • It was completely my fault…
  • So sorry for the hurt and pain I caused

But, what did we find in ‘Race and the Priesthood’ from the church?

This is some of the phraseology:

  • The justifications for this restriction echoed the widespread ideas about racial inferiority….
  • According to one view, which had been promulgated….
  • Those who accepted this view believed that God’s “curse” on Cain….
  • The curse of Cain was often put forward as justification for the priesthood and temple restrictions….
  • Around the turn of the century, another explanation gained currency: blacks were said to have been less than fully valiant in….

It takes a profound lack of openness and humility to talk as if the problem (in this case – a shockingly terrible blunder, affecting an entire race) actually belonged to someone, or somebody else? As if it was some other church they were talking about? Look again and notice how they leave the impression of exoneration from personal blame. It is stupidly confusing to admit that the ban was wrong, yet dump the blame on the members and society in generally. What also compounds the senseless nature of this communication is the denial of the real origins, or reasons for the ban.

GOD NEVER STARTED THE PRIESTHHOD BAN

So God never did inspire, or give a revelation to start the ban – and if He did not install it in the first place, what kind of revelation should Spencer W Kimball have expected back in 1978, when the Revelation (Declaration 2) was given?

You can answer that question. If you were God and this entire immoral and hateful doctrine had been laid at YOUR door and you noticed 12 or 15 men supplicating in the temple to find out if you were ready to ‘restore’ that priesthood – what would you communicate? (providing you actually were the God of that church)

What should we expect the Lord to say and what kind of revelation might explode in that temple? Well, the only facts we have to go on, are the words of Spencer W. Kimball:

“. . . . the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church. President Kimball has asked that I advise the conference that after he had received this revelation, which came to him after extended meditation and prayer in the sacred rooms of the holy temple . . . . He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows there-from, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or colour. We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.”

Sincerely yours,

Spencer W. Kimball, Eldon Tanner and Marion G. Romney

The First Presidency

That happened in 1978, about 35 years before this arrogant and confusing essay on Race and the Priesthood. But blame and denial apart, the LDS church at last admitted the priesthood ban never came from God, yet here they are above, trying to persuade us that God gave them a revelation where He – in effect – announces “the time has come” to restore the priesthood…. as if He, God, was simply complying with their united prayer to bring it back?

That strikes me as crazy. Any other decent God would have thundered down with a severe element of anger and chastisement (even if He afterwards showed an increase of love). We should have had President Kimball saying something like:

“Brethren and sisters of the church, the Lord has revealed his will to us, his servants. We have been severely chastened for failing to live so as to understand and discern that He never intended his Black children to suffer so badly with the denial of the priesthood. He has warned us about obsessive worldliness, which has caused the heavens to weep. We have felt so bad to hear Him condemn our stupidity; nevertheless, the Lord has said He will forgive us, if we correct our past mistakes immediately”

By contrast, listen to Gordon B. Hinckley – then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve – remembering it this way:

“There was a hallowed and sanctified atmosphere in the room. For me, it felt as if a conduit opened between the heavenly throne and the kneeling, pleading prophet of God who was joined by his Brethren…. “

Despite my own anger and disillusionment with the church, such a revelation, which I have just suggested, would have been pretty impressive and real. And this is the major hurdle and problem I have. What they gave us in the summer of 1978 was in complete contradiction with their admission in 2013 ‘Race and the Priesthood.’ The church has acted as if God had APPROVED and DIRECTED the racist ban on the Blacks in the first place!

What we have been given is an embarrassment to logic and reason. It is also a complete contradiction. The church has now said the ban was NOT a revelation, but based on prevailing cultural attitudes of the times. Why then would they need to go and supplicate in the temple and ask God if it was His will to restore it? The whole scenario of the ban and God finally coming through in 1978 to tell his prophet in effect “fine, you can now go ahead and give them the priesthood,” must be false, in light of what they are now saying!

Something is badly wrong. Some form of Dementia is affecting the hierarchy. Blatant Denials or loss of Memory… either the church is lying, or is suffering from some form of Corporate Alzheimer?

Suffering Children

 

Back in November last year (2015) Christopher D. Cunningham wrote an article on ‘The 9 Facebook Myths About the Church’s New LGBT Policy.

http://lds.net/blog/buzz/lds-news/myths-on-new-mormons-and-gays-policy/

This my response to most of it…. please note: The Capitals – mainly at the outset, are from the article above and are Christopher’s words, not mine.

 

“EVEN THOUGH THESE ARE PROCEDURAL CHANGES THAT REAFFIRM A CORE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH, THE CHURCH’S OPPONENTS HAVE WASTED LITTLE TIME IN BEGINNING THEIR ATTACK” Just ‘procedural changes,’ so shouldn’t really be a big deal to either member or ex-member? Well, what if another procedural change, was to place all children of Gay parents at the front of the primary opening exercises once per month so that kids from Straight parents can laugh them to tears? Ok, I know – I know, a rather bazaar idea, yet if such a silly rule should be adopted, how terrible for those children! Just to excuse it as a mere ‘procedural change,’ is a complete denial of its significance and cruelty – as if those who oppose it are being picky…. such a trivial thing to object to! So, the cruelty, isolationism, stigmatization and insensitivity toward children, that came as revelation, is just a ‘procedural change,’ Oh, that’s ok then.

Myth #1 THESE CHANGES PUNISH CHILDREN

“THE MOST PERVASIVE MYTH YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THESE CHANGES IS THAT THEY PUNISH CHILDREN. ALL PEOPLE CAN RECEIVE ALL THE ORDINANCES OF SALVATION AND EXALTATION. AND ALL CHILDREN CAN ATTEND ALL CHURCH ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS. THERE IS NO DEGREE OF PUNISHMENT THAT EXISTS IN THESE NEW CHANGES. CHILDREN MUST SIMPLY WAIT UNTIL THEY CAN LEGALLY MAKE THEIR OWN DECISION TO JOIN THE CHURCH, RATHER THAN RELYING ON THEIR PARENT’S APPROVAL.” Oh that’s wonderful too then – thank goodness that children of say, 3 to 8 are actually mature enough – who must, it seems, be quite capable and adequately adjusted in life to deal with the stigma and sense of shame that comes as naturally and as effortlessly, as sewer water through a pipe – distilling disapproval and contamination upon their pure souls, as they struggle to identify why they and their parents are part of a systematic persecution program?

“WHILE A PARENT IN A SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIP COULD THEORETICALLY APPROVE OF THEIR CHILD’S BAPTISM, QUESTIONING THEIR MOTIVATION TO DO SO WOULD BE PRUDENT SINCE THEY HAVE SO PROMINENTLY REJECTED THE TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH.” What a judgmental stance: ‘rejected the teachings.’ Oh my word, they must have completely thrown the towel in? Erased their entire testimony; dumped years of profound influence of making wise and loving choices; eradicated the affects of study, prayer, past sacrifice, association and service….. thus making them so unfit to know whether their child is ready for baptism? What a sanctimonious and altogether dismissive thing to say. Shame indeed.

But we learn here also, that the church is merely trying to ‘protect’ children? In my opinion the church absolutely had no such intentions, but if they can latch on to a benefit, this nasty and abusive rule will appear kinder. The truth is, the church has not the slightest idea what is good or harmful for a child and acts generally within the confines of religiously dogmatized ideas, that acquiesce to whichever parent is most active and whatever expands membership.

Myth #2 TREATS LGBT PEOPLE WORSE THAN OTHER SINNERS

What is clear, is that the church regards all moral transgressions (whether Straight or Gay, single or married) with their ongoing paranoia of purity codes. In this respect, fornicating youth can meet the same discipline as elicit single Gay sex.

However, Straight youth are not penalized for ‘appropriate sex’ once married – Gays are; they can NEVER find any approval or acceptance from the church, in either having, or celebrating a permanent loving relationship. It is not a myth to maintain, that in general, children from within Gay relationships ARE treated worse. If the hierarchy believes in Christian teachings, then they will recognize the concept of ‘Sinfulness’ within all members, or what they often refer to as: ‘The Natural Man,’ It is endemic. Every Saint is a sinner with a daily baggage of little transgressions. (I might add, these are no longer my ideas, but they are nevertheless canonized into Mormon philosophy and scripture). Such things as anger, hatred, greed, arrogance, conceit, ingratitude, indifference, harshness, abuse, jealousy, envy, dishonesty and sustained unkindness…. All these, and many more, are aspects of the same mess which share the same body as inner beauty, love, goodness, humility and unselfishness. But, there is no significant ‘badness’ or ‘goodness’ in us, which should especially penalize these little children, or their guardians. But the church with its harsh purity codes, seeks to always label and punish. Targeting children is another new low for Mormonism.

We should not be shocked by this. The church has always failed to value people from the perspective of their deepest and innermost condition. Sexual orientation, sexual transgression – even on the mildest level, is magnified so greatly in the eyes of the hierarchy that they are blind to the shining identity of each soul. Children and suicidal youth are now their latest victims.

“Myth #3 VIOLATES THE CHURCH’S 2ND ARTICLE OF FAITH

I’m not really interested in this argument, either for, or against.

“Myth #4 REQUIRES CHILDREN TO REJECT PARENTS

The idea that this requirement does not, or will not, cause tensions, a sense of disloyalty, conflict and possible damage with their parental relationships, is false. Of course it will cause problems. It reminds me of the cursed policy to deny non-member loved-ones, access to witness temple marriages…. only the church’s continuing and relentless unkindness, and their nasty tendency toward arrogance and control, stands in the way.

Myth #5 PLACES NEWBORN CHILDREN IN STATE OF APOSTASY

No, children are just pawns the church uses; the considered ‘apostates’ are the parents. The church and its spokespeople are mealy-mouthed with words of love and caring; how opposite are their real intentions, or at least, the actual effect upon people. Only deluded fools will follow the line that all this is to protect children. The truth is – this policy antagonizes the relationships it purports to safeguard. Why should such children have to ‘disavow’ the status of their parents? It is just a technicality, to suggest they are not required to say a word about their parents, when we all know very well, that that is what, in effect, they are being asked to do! Will they also be asked to ‘disavow’ Black prejudice, blood atonement, polygamy, or suicide bombers? Will ALL adults seeking to be baptized be asked such questions? If not, why not? It’s a policy of alienation, but the church is not honest enough to admit it.

“Myth #6 CHURCH IS DEPRIVING ITSELF OF LGBT MEMBERS

I share John Dehlin’s view, that the church is indeed depriving itself of so many great LGBT people. In addition, it deprives itself of so many Straight ex members, who might have stayed, had they felt unjudged and valuable. The logic of course is that this is a myth because LGBT members who persist in their life style choice (as with any other cohabiting members) create their own barrier through their own sins.

Whether it is a myth, depends on one’s fundamental beliefs about God, the church, human beings and individual conscience. Ironic to me, is the realization by many, that Joseph Smith himself was ‘sin personified’ in the area of moral behaviour. I would say without hesitation, that to trust God on the topic of Smith’s claimed character, is to be twice bitten, in claiming the church’s present policy represents the Divine Will. I remember that first cosy chat between Elder Christofferson and their own PR representative – announcing this new Revelation and how Christ was immediately dragged in as if to vindicate their pernicious definition of ‘caring’ and ‘love.’ Once – now deceased – an old English Cleric by the name of Jessop, who had the wisdom this church seems to have lost, coined a phrase most suitable. He, speaking of Law and Love, used the phrase: “The Badness of Goodness.” It describes that strange situation of a religious body being so paranoid about ‘righteousness,’ that they create badness.

“Is there anything so implacable as moral rigour? In its secular form it is harsh enough, but when it is part of a religious life, deriving its sanctions from God, it can be inexorable to the point of fiendishness . . . . . They had a view of life that made particular affection often wrong and general duty always right. In them moral rigorism showed its perfect fruit, goodness consistently leading to bad­ness.”

“Myth #7 THIS HURTS ME PERSONALLY

Yes indeed, I agree – axe murderers and child rapist might also think that their feelings matter too. Interestingly, those who have ‘Come out,’ as well as those who have become ex members, have, generally, been on the ‘inside’ of Mormonism for decades (I myself for over 40 years) We have known the experience of conversion, the sacred and the holy. We were part of the same spirit and we KNEW what it meant and what it felt like to be wholly immersed in the LDS culture. Now we have come upon a different shore where we have found our more authentic selves. Contrary to the actual myth still perpetuated by the church – that we have LOST the spirit – I assure you we never LOST anything! Everything we ever did, everything we ever felt and everything we ever experienced was locked down in memory and is part of who we are. We have a white-hot memory; a vivid recollection of both the good and the bad; the tears, the fasting, the obedience and the sacrifices. We remember what it felt like to both think and feel as LDS. We have one single advantage over those who never stood apart for long enough to re-evaluate what was once chosen. And what strikes me is how naïve and stupid I was. I had no idea how badly my brain was dulled and reality distorted. What I have noticed so frequently with orthodox LDS, is the fact that most (I did not say everyone) seem disabled and incapable of seeing a hand in front of their face! As if they are quite blind! For ex-members or Gays to express any feelings of hurt, embarrassment, anxiety or fear, in any sincere attempt that appears to challenge (by design or default) the church, inevitably falls on deaf ears. The church must be right, so in the end, your feelings don’t matter – you are part of the problem. Your hurt can never be registered – they are not capable. No wonder then, that in the face of apparent charisma, priesthood authority, smooth words, threats and intimidation, Smith got away with murder. Sacrifice, tears, endurance and obedience, come from souls who have surrendered to a religious body who are hot on rhetoric but pigmies with compassion. Yes, bleeding hearts don’t necessarily justify the persons who claim rightness, but sadly, apostles and prophets are so badly prejudiced against common sense and clear thinking, that they blunder from one fiasco to another.

“Myth #8 THE CHURCH LOST AND SHOULD MOVE ON

I think that any church to stick by its principles is good, despite popular trends. However, the church staggers forward for contradictory leverage with past U turns on all kinds of things, like temple changes, polygamy, obeying the law, Black prejudice, phased out dogmas, moth-balled doctrines, political intimidation and financial greed. Not a very shining example. Even Mr Bushman has recently stated that the church needs to adapt. I don’t actually think the church really does stand on principles anyway – it stands on its own prejudice of distorted truth and will continue to struggle until it becomes totally clean.

“Myth #9 THESE CHANGES ARE ETERNAL DOCTRINE

Part of the fear in religion is to talk about ‘Eternal Doctrine.’ It usually manages to scare the pants of most members and lull the rest away into dreams of glorious kingdoms. Bless them.

EXCOMMUNICATION -The Blame Game

As Jeremy Runnells resigns from the LDS Church just as they were about to kick him out, I reflect again upon the whole concept of Excommunication….

THE SECOND DEATH

Back in the days when I was involved in funeral work, I remember reading some guidelines which enabled us as employees to better understand how mourners come to terms with death. “The Burial,” it said, “confirms to the bereaved, that death has occurred.” That’s a bit of an odd thing to say, but it’s true. Seeing someone you love discarded into the ground, does sort of bring it home that death has actually happened!

When I stood before my disciplinary council, I was already ‘dead’ – that is, I already had experienced the ‘death’ of my faith in Mormonism. I knew I was dead, because when–at midnight–I heard the stake President announce my excommunication… at that moment, I knew (according to Mormon dogma) that my beautiful and lovely wife Norma (having died a year earlier) was severed and separated from me for all eternity and yet…. not one single nerve ending flinched in my body! Not one emotional cell trembled on the Richter scale! Here was my emotional proof that I simply did NOT believe in their absurd punishment for unworthiness; the dogma of ‘separation’ or ‘segregation’ of families. So, you would have thought, that standing there and hearing their verdict of excommunication, would (for me) be a mere formality of indifference. Not so. Believing, or feeling the church is false, is not the same as feeling rejected! The difference is that I was now being discarded, dumped, or disposed of… ‘Buried.’ One might call excommunication the 2nd death; the confirmation that you have died. Even as I write about it here, my eyes are swimming with tears. I remember the sense of utter abandonment – like a little boy discarded by his mother. I ask myself the question: What must it feel like to be buried alive, still holding faith… still believing, yet simply guilty of wanting answers and confronting a wall of silence.

PURGING AND PURIFYING MENTALITY

The fact is, that the vast majority of LDS excommunications are for immorality. I would not dispute that at one time or another, we all do things for which we should feel ashamed or guilty. That’s healthy and normal, but the entire concept of the LDS church regarding the management, disciple and punishment of our human nature, is not only obscene, but intrinsically unhealthy.

I am not talking about legitimate guilt or shame for some unbecoming conduct. I am talking about the whole principle and reason the church wants to hold a court in the first place…. the attitude and rigidness that forces an organisation to exclude rather than embrace; the compulsion to humiliate, abuse, embarrass, punish and believe God approves – is the very antithesis of Christ. I find it ironic indeed, that a church – one which eventually got the name ‘Christ’ in its title, has established procedures regarding ‘sin’ or ‘apostasy,’ which are diametrically opposite to the whole ethos of Christ, so that they–the church–have become the greatest Blasphemous of His name! ‘Courts of love’ is a relatively recent description, perpetuated by General Authorities in the hope of portraying this nasty business with a more caring and loving approach to human frailty. That is a complete deception.

Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest – an international speaker and author, wrote the following in his book ‘Hope Against Darkness’….

“ . . . . it is amazing that institutional Christianity ever created the very concept of excommunication. Only the individual can do that to himself, and we had best not make it our corporate concern. Hinduism, the oldest religion in the world, has never excommunicated anybody”

In his book ‘Everything Belongs’, he also says:

“All other systems exclude, expel, punish and protect to find identity for their members in ideological perfection, or some kind of ‘purity.’ The contaminating element always has to be searched out and scolded.”

Projecting blame and guilt upon individuals, reminds me of something he pointed out about ‘scapegoating,’ which was a practice in ancient Israel of placing all the sins of the people upon the head of a goat on the Day of Atonement, which was then cast out into the wilderness. We think of that word now as meaning someone on whom we may place ‘blame’… usually unfairly. To quote Richard Rohr again:

“Scapegoating depends upon a rather sophisticated, but easily learned ability to compartmentalize, to separate, to divide the world into pure and the impure. Anthropologically, all religion begins with the creation of the ‘impure’ and very soon an entire moral system of taboos, punishments, fears, guilt’s and EVEN PRIESTHOOD TO ENFORCE IT emerges. It gives us a sense of order, control and superiority, which is exactly what the ego wants and the small self demands. The absolute religious genius of Jesus is that he utterly refuses all debt codes, purity codes, religious quarantines and the searching for sinners. He refuses the very starting point of historical religions. He refuses to divide the world into the pure and the impure, much to the chagrin of almost everybody – then and now.” (My capitals)

That’s what Mormonism does – it separates, divides and punishes… the very opposite of Christ. The church talks about Gods love but demands the very opposite of what Christ demonstrated on earth – it blames, punishes, excludes, and demands conformity and absolute purity.

MORMONISM IS IN DENIAL OF GREY.

Those of us who have lived a while understand the mystery of living with Paradox and Contradiction. We are beings of inconsistency and ragged ends. We feel intimately and terribly our brokenness and if we do not, then we either do not think at all, or we have not passed through serious temptations or suffering. We all live rather badly with our Shadow Self – much more so when bullied and cajoled by a given priesthood to eradicate and purge our human nature. Experience and exposure to priesthood council has taught me that Mormonism is blind to ‘neutral tones’ – it only sees Black or White. As an artist, I wish to inform you, that the expression of REALITY is within the tones of Greys. The nearer we get to fundamentalism and extreme ideologies, the more comfortable we are with Black and White thinking, or living in Unreality.

“Black-and-white, simplistic thinking. This is one of the predominant symptoms of religious addiction. You see life in terms of right or wrong, good or bad, saved or sinner. You never see the grey areas. Your need for order, perfection, or control is so strong that anything that is not clearly black or white confuses or perhaps frightens you. Those who turn to religion as a means to avoid error are no doubt attracted to the black-and-white aspects of a rigid dogmatism . . . . You limit and stunt your life by rejecting anyone or anything that does not fit into your narrow frame of reference. You become abusive of others who do not share your views because difference, variety, and change all fall into the ambiguous grey areas, with which you cannot cope. Such shades of grey become the uncontrollable elements in life that Nakken says all addicts are trying to master. You increase your pain, he says, by becoming more rigid, harsh, and dogmatic the more you are confronted with situations that fall outside your simplistic views.” (Unknown author)

The church can’t live easily with the ambiguity, contradictions or paradox (our Grey areas), so we are asked to get rid of them – hide them, expel them, or we may be expelled. This is why they also cannot tolerate their own messy, dirty grey history… they live in denial and suppression for the same reasons – blindness to the Grey. Now we begin to glimpse their arrogance and hypocrisy, in maintaining at all costs the ‘Good name of the Church.’ We, however, are not allowed to remain ‘worthy’ and ‘obedient’ at the same time as learning to ACCEPT our own inconsistencies. Either we must have control NOW, or they will take control. My excommunication is a point in fact. Patience with disobedience and weakness cannot be tolerated. Change MUST be immediate. Failure to get it together (get it out the way) means punishment. Graciousness (Grace) is abandoned.

“There are no perfect structures and there are no perfect people. There is only the struggle to get there. Patience comes from our attempts to hold together an always-mixed reality, not from expecting or demanding a perfect reality. That only makes us resentful and judgemental, which is what has characterized much of Christian history. I agree with Bishop Spong when he says: “I don’t like religious people very much.” Who likes people who can never deal patiently with darkness and shadow – which is just about everything?”

Richard Rohr, ‘Hope Against Darkness’ Page 164.

Mormonism does not deal easily or adequately with this Darkness within you. It is very frightened of it and ashamed of it. It tends to either force you to fix it, or failing that, it wants you to bury it… to deny it… to suppress it – just so long as it is hidden from view. In the case of Kate,  John and Jeremy – who were not guilty of any immorality, it (the church) will make little differentiation. It will be equally unable to deal with their ‘diversity,’ and ‘authenticity.’ The same blunt hammer will be used.

ACCEPTANCE OF SELF

But in general, this is the essential Paradox – we appear to be good and bad, clean and filthy, beautiful and ugly, innocent and guilty, the same yet different – all at the same time. Our inherent weaknesses and nasty little habits collide with good aspirations and kindly characteristics. That is the Contradiction – the Paradox of life – the Grey tones.

We are messy creatures and a religion that demands ‘purity’ will not tolerate contradictions and disarray! You must become Black or White, but NOT grey – not both! If you should stray into your Shadow Side, you will be punished.

We once wanted to believe we had high ideals and good moral character. We wanted a clearly defined dogma – to know exactly what God expected from us. We wanted a precise understandable description of what God was – all the procedures and regulations necessary to please Him. We wanted to submit to the control and proscribed regulations to virtually guarantee our salvation – with rewards and punishments to keep us safe and sound. Living under a fabricated idealism required that we virtually denied the real face of life with all its contradictions, mess, hypocrisy, sin, weakness, and suffering – a world which is both broken and whole at the same time – both good and bad…. WE ARE this contradiction… so is the ‘official’ church.

“My religious experience has taught me the importance of distinguishing between religion and spirituality, the former basically believed in or adhered to, and the latter primarily experienced. Not to make the distinction can lead to a repetitious, stifled, irresponsible life confused easily with service to God. Many religions with the original intent of leading to spiritual growth or harmony with Divine consciousness have come to make their structure, ritual, tradition and authority more important than the people whose consciousness they intended to influence. In doing so, they incite to conformity with a doctrine based on sin and fear of punishment—an unfortunate approach that, once believed, is eradicated only with difficulty. Such negative motivation inhibits creativity and freedom . . . . “

Catholic priest Arthur Melville from his book, ’With Eyes To See’

The Institutional Church of Mormonism has not done what the Christ they claim to believe in, has done. He took the Dark side and without blaming, denying or punishing, allowed the love of God to absorb and transform it. Despite its rhetoric, Mormonism fails on the same ground. As a supposedly spiritual refuge or shelter for its members, it should hold their pain and embrace the brokenness and ache in their lives, but sadly, it won’t do anything that is strange or chaotic – anything that acknowledges ACCEPTANCE of life’s contradictions – its greyness. It still persists in the denial of its own sins – the dark side of its own arrogance, suppression and deception, and yet it demands the same of its members; It asks them to eradicate (quite often impossible) or repress (deny) or it will blame and punish, separate, exclude, stigmatise and scapegoat, until it gains control.

The likes of Kate, John and Jeremy, are holding up a mirror to the hierarchy, and they should be ashamed of what they see.

 

 

 

 

 

Image

You mean… you think you Know the Godhead.

150px-St-thomas-aquinas[1]A Response to Elder Holland’s Jan 2016 Ensign article.
Recently, something struck me as completely ironic; it was an article in the January 2016 Ensign, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland – a repeat of an address entitled ‘The Godhead,’ delivered during a seminar for new mission presidents at the Provo Missionary Training Centre on June 23, 2013. This Ensign article was entitled ‘Knowing the Godhead.’ In it, Elder Holland starts by reminding the Saints that a CORRECT idea of the Godhead and their attributes, is essential to worshipping properly and being saved eternally. He wrote:
“The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God.” Furthermore, he added, “I want you all to know Him, and to be familiar with Him.” We must have “a correct idea of his … perfections, and attributes” and an admiration for “the excellency of [His] character.” (bold emphasis mine)
He goes on to write that a CORRECT understanding about God is essential from those who know the truth:
“Many of those “fish” (referring to missionary contacts) in our expanding frontier do not know who God is or what His Fatherhood is actually like; they do not know who Jesus Christ really is or why His is the only name given under heaven whereby we may be saved (see Acts 4:12); they do not know who the Holy Ghost is or why this member of the Godhead “was sent forth to teach the truth” . . . . . Ultimately, “true and saving worship is found only among those who know the truth about … the Godhead.”
Then, after describing the LDS God and how He should be worshipped, he states:

“Few of our investigators will know that kind of God now, in or out of contemporary Christianity.” He then depicts other types of God as possibly: “ethereal mist or vague philosophical First Cause, or a deistic absentee landlord” (bold emphasis mine)
He also quotes Elder McConkie to reinforce his point:
“Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminded us that Lucifer understands the significance of such doctrine, even if we don’t. He said:
“There is no salvation in believing … false doctrine, particularly a false or unwise view about the Godhead or any of its members.…
“It follows that the devil would rather spread false doctrine about God and the Godhead, and induce false feelings with reference to any one of them, than almost any other thing he could do.” (bold emphasis mine)
So why is Elder Holland’s message so ironic?
It is ironic, because Smith himself declared and gave witness of a ‘Protestant type God’ for the first 18 years after his ‘Visitation of Angels’ (changed later to the ‘First Vision’) A thoroughly Trinitarian concept–along biblical lines–as attested by the Book of Mormon, which absolutely taught (originally), that the Son was basically the Father ‘incarnate’ and the Holy Ghost being simply the ‘Mind of God’ (not a personage). The Church of course, has since altered specific verses in the Book of Mormon to make the Godhead appear separate. They have said it made for greater ‘Clarity.’ What! Clarity? More like Confusion. It was a total identity change – a complete makeover from ‘One Eternal Father’ to the ‘Father AND the Son.’ Just to give you one of many examples that could be used:
1830 Edition: p.25 lines 10-11. And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!… (One God incarnate)
1981 Edition: 1 Nephi 11:21 And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!… (Two Gods)
That makes God in the first edition, a different person in the next edition! Also, the Book of Mormon has always declared God to be a personage of ‘Spirit’ (not having a body with flesh and bones, nor 3 personages – just one). Jim Whitefield said:
“The truth is that Smith originally wrote the Book of Mormon monotheistically, because at that time, he believed God and Jesus Christ were indeed one and the same being, just as mainstream Christians do. It wasn’t the Nephites who were confused or didn’t record things accurately; they were a figment of Smith’s imagination. It was Smith’s creative mind that kept introducing new ideas, some of which then conflicted with his previous thinking and therefore his earlier writings. It was only later that his ideas controversially evolved into polytheism, by which time much had already been written which contradicted Smith’s new theology. His writings are still interlaced with many unaltered monotheistic (Trinitarian) statements.” (The Mormon Delusion Vol.2)
It is true, there are verses here and there – in both the Book of Mormon and the New Testament, where Jesus appears separate from the Father – such as when praying to the Father. Nevertheless, the ‘three in one’ Trinitarian concept is very strong in both books. The ‘Lectures of Faith’ penned by Smith and now discarded from the D&C, taught the same Trinitarian view. Jim continues:
“An integral part of the original Doctrine and Covenants was the Lectures of Faith. Whilst these lectures were removed from canonised scripture in 1921 and no longer form the ‘Doctrine’ part of the D&C, the seven lectures were once deemed the very foundation of Church doctrine. Following them being taught in the School of the Prophets, they were actually supposed to be memorised, such was their doctrinal significance. Lecture Five in particular, became an embarrassment for the Church and although still available today, the lectures are seldom referred to and are now largely ignored and conveniently forgotten.
. . . . . Smith still believed God was a spirit without a body and Jesus alone had a resurrected body. In his mind, they constituted one God. The tradition of the trinity was firmly held by Smith. As already discussed, D&C 130:22, which was written on 2 April 1843, confirmed Smith’s new theology, which appears to have evolved from around 1836-1837 onwards: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” The Mormon Delusion Vol. 2 (bold emphasis mine)
Notice above – in 1843, Smith states the Holy Ghost is a ‘personage of spirit.’ Previously he had thought and taught that the Holy Ghost was merely ‘the Mind’ of God. You notice Smith did not say what form this personage took? The idea that this spirit was an un-embodied ‘male’ personage was not known or suggested by Smith, nor was it suggested by any Prophet; that is, not until 1893 when three intellectual LDS theologians – B.H. Roberts, James E. Talmage and John A Widtsoe, became the chief architects of a New (and officially approved) Church alteration in the very nature of the Godhead!
According to Thomas G. Alexander, in his ‘THE RECONSTRUCTION OF MORMON DOCTRINE’ these three men: “established the Church’s basic doctrines of the Godhead and had undertaken a reconstruction which doctrine [went] far beyond anything described in the ‘Lectures on Faith’ (by Smith) or generally believed by Church members prior to 1838.”
To add to the madness, Brigham Young adopted what Smith (late in his life) had taught: that Adam was God, the Father of our spirits. This concept of God’s identity was no surprise to the saints from 1844, till Young’s death in 1877, (though some odd leaders struggled against it). It was even utilised by Young as part of a ‘lecture at the veil’ in the temple endowment ceremony. However, no sooner was Brigham cold in the grave, when successive leaders began to distance themselves from his Adam/God teaching. Finally, the three afore mentioned theologians, put it to death and completely dispensed with it.

The Church today say it was never a doctrine, but it was; just as in these days, the Church has produced an essay on ‘Race and the Priesthood’ wherein they use language in blatant denial of their clearly defined past reasons for withholding the Priesthood from the Blacks – as if it were all based on member speculation and supposition – as if it was nothing to do with them! I find their shrouded repudiation extraordinary.
But think for a moment…. Smith claimed a ‘First Vision’ of the Godhead, which was the first opportunity for God Himself (since the apostasy and Dark Ages) To verbally and properly declare His identity – thus saving the entire world from ongoing confusion?  So God failed miserably. Then, to cap it all – for nearly 2 decades, Smith taught us about a DIFFERENT Godhead in ALL his original Church scripture – including the Lectures of Faith, Book of Commandment and Book of Mormon. And God never bothered to correct him. 
Why ?

Because he never had a Vision of the Father and Son. He simply back-dated a new brain-wave idea in 1838 and slotted it into a 1820 pretended experience (a time when he only spoke of seeing angels, Moroni and gold plates – not the Father and the Son). Such a claim in 1838, lent him a greater authoritative power, during a period of alarming apostasy with a number of his key leaders.
So, Smith’s ‘Protestant’ God, utilised from the cultural beliefs of his time – right up till 1835 -1842, was far removed from the present day reconstructed Mormon God. The God of Smith’s later life was diminished into the concept of a glorified man – a plurality of them – strewn across the infinite universe. This was about the time he invented ‘The Book of Abraham’ as well. Also, the time he was heavily into sex with anybody’s wife and anybody’s daughter. This entire rotten concept of the female role in heaven as spirit breeding machines to patriarchs, further promoted the misogynistic abuse of women in his lifetime. In fact, Smith, Young and all other prophets, merely reflected the anthropomorphic God within them – who they were.
Hence, the nastiness, pettiness and prejudice of Smith’s God and Young’s God. By contrast, I remember the kindness of one prophet in my own lifetime (1964) David O.McKay. Someone on the Mormon Curtain remembers President McKay as I did. The anthropomorphic God of McKay was manifestly different, as can be detected in this very simple comment:
“When people complained about some girls in the July 24th parade being in swimsuits and “not dressed appropriately, McKay said, “I didn’t see anyone who wasn’t beautiful.”
If men like Oaks, Ballard, Nelson and Monson had the same soul as President McKay, perhaps today’s same-sex couples might have been more celebrated and their children less persecuted? Instead, we have seen the callous – sometimes vicious God, which these men mirror. In his article Elder Holland includes the rhetoric of kindness and tolerance of other faiths, but his message is very different – it has that same harsh ‘we are true’ – ‘you are false’ emphasis. What is even worse, he proclaims other beliefs and other non-LDS methods of worship as ‘not real’ which cannot have the same result as an LDS belief. As always, arrogance is not far from any form of fundamentalist certitude.
Holland lambasts other ideas of the Godhead thus:
“Many evolutions and iterations of religious creeds have greatly distorted the simple clarity of true doctrine, declaring the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, immanent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable; without body, parts, or passions; and dwelling outside space and time. In such creeds, all three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted “mystery of the trinity.” They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who is incomprehensible.”
When reading such words, I think of the Nicene Creed, given in 325 A.D. and written to express the ancient Church’s teachings about the Trinity and the affirmation of their historical belief in the realities of Jesus’ life. As many as 1,800 bishops, priests and deacons met to hammer out a number of matters during the occasion of the Nicene Creed. One line from the Catholic News Herald, intrigued me:
“Many of the bishops had the marks of persecution on their faces – they had faced the threat of death for their faith and they were sensitive to details of doctrine. These were not wishy-washy men.”
In the Catholic bashing days of Talmage and McConkie (authors of ‘The Great Apostasy’ ‘Articles of Faith’ and ‘Mormon Doctrine’) the Nicene Creed was derided. And yet, this founder Joseph Smith believed and established the self-same Trinitarian concept of God but I never saw it, till I stood back from Mormonism. If you read the Book of Mormon and the Lectures of Faith – looking for this type of God, He will jump out of the page at you! I find it quite laughable and ironic that Holland brags and promotes the LDS God that can save the world, yet fails to see the same ‘man-made’ evolution of Deity within his own Church?

Lastly, from Holland….
“So no investigator can come into this Church with a real testimony, with real conversion, with what we are seeking for and calling real growth in each convert, unless he or she has had at least the beginning of some personal, spiritual, true experience with God. That kind of true experience can come only when there is the realization that He is a real being, an actual person, a literal Father of flesh and bone who speaks and sees and feels, who knows all His children’s names and all their needs, who hears all their prayers, and who wants all His children in His Church.” (Bold emphasis mine)
Correction Elder Holland: Real conversion, Real growth and True spiritual experiences have been claimed from all kinds of believers within all kinds of faiths with all kinds of possible Gods… and if they happen to bring communion, deep peace and meaning, then they are as valid as any other sales pitch on the Almighty.

Some helpful links to my remarks:

Adam/God theory:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%E2%80%93God_doctrine
David O’McKay:   http://mormoncurtain.com/topic_davidomckay.html
‘THE RECONSTRUCTION OF MORMON DOCTRINE’ By Thomas G. Alexander: http://www.lds-mormon.com/changod.shtml
Elder Holland’s Ensign talk:   https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/01/knowing-the-godhead?lang=eng
Origins of the Nicene Creed:  http://www.catholicnewsherald.com/our-faith/200-news/roknewspager-yearfaith/2718-the-nicene-creed-and-its-origins?showall=&start=1

Article 2. The coming and going of Lyman Johnson

32493_000_01_Title.qxd

Where Lyman lived – the Johnson home

Smith stays a year at the Johnson home

The revelation entitled ‘3 Degrees of Glory’ (Section 76) was received by Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon on 16th February 1832 at John Johnson’s home, at Hiram. (father to Lyman and Luke Johnson) Sydney Rigdon and his wife were lodged across the road in a log cabin. The Johnson property estimated 300 acres of farmland and was a big enough residence for Emma, Joseph and their two twins to stay. And they did for one year. It served as a haven in which the Prophet could live and work in peace. This was where, with the assistance of Sidney Rigdon, he laboured on the translation of the Bible.[1]

“From this home in November 1831, Luke and Lyman Johnson were called to fulfil missions. This occupied much of their time for the next six years . . . . After Joseph was tarred and feathered, however, continual harassment by the mobs forced the Johnsons to leave Hiram and move to Kirtland. In Kirtland they were given opportunities to mature spiritually and to give leadership and financial help to the growing Church . . . . In 1834 Joseph Smith organized Zion’s Camp, and Luke departed from Kirtland with a group. In a few days, Lyman and others joined them, and the two brothers marched, learned, and grew under the tutelage of the Prophet of God. They learned their lessons well and proved themselves worthy to be called, in February 1835, to be two of the original members of the Quorum of the Twelve . . . . Lyman had the privilege of being the first apostle to be ordained and set apart as member of that quorum in this dispensation. (See History of the Church, 2:187–88.)

Three months later the Twelve Apostles left on missions, departing from John Johnson’s inn in Kirtland. As members of the Twelve, Luke, Lyman, and Orson spent much of their time on missions, bringing many into the Church.”[2]

Things start going wrong at the bank

It might be less known fact, that John Johnson gave $3000 to Smith to help with the work and ministry of the Church. His sons Luke and Lyman Johnson, also John Boynton, were amongst the first apostles of the restoration. They gave great sacrifice to the Church, fulfilling missions and being obedient – that is, until the collapse of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Bank. Lyman had placed $6,000 in this bank and lost it all.

The failure of the Kirtland Safety Society, a bank founded by church leaders, led to widespread dissent in 1837. The church held a high council trial on September 3, 1837, which ejected Johnson, his brother Luke, and John F. Boynton from the Quorum of the Twelve. Boynton explained that his difficulties with the church resulted from “the failure of the bank” which he had understood “was instituted by the will and revelations of God, and he had been told that it would never fail.” [3] (Bold emphasis mine)

article-2423315-1BDF8510000005DC-427_634x261[1]

It would seem that Boynton, Lyman and Luke started to appreciate the contrast between what Smith had predicted was going to happen to the bank, with what actually did happen. Believing and saying that the bank “was instituted by the will and revelations of God, and it would never fail” was purely from Smith’s imagination. Imagination and Vision are much the same thing. He was, after all, gifted with a powerful and fanciful imagination and over time, probably lost the ability to discern the difference between reality and illusion. For those who would like to read the lies and the truth about Smith’s bank, in more detail – see footnote [4] below.

The ‘Zion Camp’ failure

Furthermore, Lyman had witnessed first-hand, the utter failure of ‘Zion’s Camp’ (Smith’s army) to rescue the Saints in Missouri from persecution and bring about the redemption of Zion (Jackson County) This whole fiasco had occurred after Parley Pratt and Lyman Wight returned from Missouri bristling with news of the Saint’s suffering and pleading and arguing with great enthusiasm to return with an army of men to defend the Saints and reclaim their lands. This came after many months of indecision by Smith, who finally feels ‘inspired’ to receive a revelation as follows:

“Behold I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must need be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm.” D&C Section 103:15–17

The interpretation the member’s came to (including Lyman Johnson) was the same that we would have come to – reading such language… that God was going to do it with power through the instrumentality of this army. Their fellow Saints in Missouri would see the hand of the Lord and be restored to their stolen lands and property. Smith had hoped for 500 men. In the end, only 100 could be mustered – including some females and children. The march would be 900 miles. The weather, lack of provisions, fatigue, sickness and wear and tear on wagons, added to the strain on everyone. In general, Smith was no better behaved than anyone else and the utter failure for him to complete or fulfil one shred of God’s ‘predicted’ redemption, must have been stored in Lyman’s mind and perhaps why in 1837, he was excommunicated and never returned – though he did visit a few times.

“In retrospect, dissenters would trace the origins of their opposition to the prophet right to the day the church was formally organized in 1830, but the first significant outburst of discontent appeared in the wake of the failure of Zion’s Camp to redeem Zion in the late summer of 1834. The camp had been born of a revelation, and it began with great excitement, mixing the exhilaration of a crusade to redeem the holy land from the infidels with righteous indignation over infringe­ment of the Saints’ republican rights. However, the spirited enthusi­asm of the brethren wore thin along with their shoes as the long hard march from Ohio to Missouri progressed. The irritation of many camp members turned to outrage when Joseph Smith called off the return to Jackson County in the face of the Missouri governor’s opposition. Although Smith attempted to mollify his followers by declaring that God had accepted their journey as an acceptable sacrifice, the whole adventure seemed a tragic farce when a deadly epidemic of cholera swept through the camp. Even recalling these events many years later, the prophet’s brother, William Smith, could find nothing redeeming in them, describing his experience as “a very fatiguing, dangerous and difficult journey; without having accomplished the object for which we undertook the task; except to visit the brethren in Missouri, suffer a great deal of trial and trouble, and come back penniless once more.

Many felt a great deal angrier than the prophet’s brother. Some loudly proclaimed their disbelief in the Book of Mormon, while others simply left the church) . . . . Smith, himself, confirmed the impression, writing on August i6 to the elders in Mis­souri, “I was met in the face and eyes, as soon as I got home, with a catalogue of charges as black as the author of lies himself . . . . [5]

Once more, Smith had been dreaming; playing Captain Moroni with his crusading war games, but when the time came to actually ‘fight’ and trust this predicted POWER of God, he capitulates. To the astonishment of his warriors, he worm’s his way out with new magic promises from his ever changing God. He promptly issues a new revelation: “Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a LITTLE season, for the redemption of Zion. For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion . . . . I will fight your battles.” D&C105: 13–14

Well, that was 181 years ago, with no signs of fulfilment? This command to wait a LITTLE season’ is the exact opposite of the revelation ordering them to form an army and rescue the members in the first place? As God would have known in advance it would fail, why did He wait till his servants had walked 900 miles in near exhaustion, with 13 dead, before He changed His mind?

Smith was a magician. And he employed the self same deceptive tactics to fool people into trusting him. His past character and trade involved expeditions of deliberate deception to find treasure. When they failed (no record of any success) he employed the same types of excuse: (1) The incantations performed at the site were not quite correct (2) The guardian angels of the treasure had moved it further down (3) A curse has been placed upon it, etc., etc. He then pacifies them with a ‘definite’ date for Zion’s redemption: “within three years they should march to Jackson County and there should not be a dog to open his mouth against them.”[6] Very shortly he set the official date for the redemption of Zion as September 11th 1836” [7]

We are still waiting! The apologist’s tell us that Smith had long left behind his treasure seeking days, which were a mere youthful pastime – not so, two years after this cock-up, in August 1836, he pretends to receive another revelation (D&C 111) to secure riches and treasures under a house in Salem, which once more, was a complete failure.

Perhaps this bungling crusade was lodged in Lyman’s mind and would at least be a later reminder that the so-called prophet was just a man, who could get things wrong – get things so very seriously wrong! As always, when Smith failed, or when the Saints failed to get some predicted blessing, the blame was dumped squarely upon them. It is nauseatingly seen throughout most pages of the D&C. It came either as an accusation by God of some form of sin, moaning, selfishness, pride or unbelief. Alternatively, Smith’s failure was sometimes excused as merely a ‘TEST OF THEIR FAITH.’ He used this face-saving method when rejected by women, whom he had preyed upon. Indeed, this is still how the Church salvages the ‘Zion Camp’ reputation – it was a refining TEST to recognise those whom Smith could trust as his future leaders.

Lyman_E._Johnson[1]

Lyman Johnson

Misinterpreted suffering

Interestingly, at the end of Section 76, (3 Degrees of Glory) the ‘D&C Commentary’ issues a salient warning to all those who would desert the faith, by naming brother Lyman Johnson as a particular kind of apostate’ who “never had a really happy day” after leaving the fold and ended up drowning in an accident….

“In one portion of this Revelation the eternal misery of a certain class of apostates is graphically set forth. But if such opponents of the Kingdom of God would tell the truth about themselves, they would reveal the fact that their sufferings have already commenced. Lyman E. Johnson, the first to be called to the Apostleship when the first Council of Twelve was organized, left the Church, but he never had a really happy day after that. According to President Brigham Young he, on one occasion, said, at a meeting of the Council:

“Brethren, – I will call you brethren – I will tell you the truth. If I could believe Mormonism – it is no matter whether it is true or not – but if I could believe Mormonism as I did when I travelled with you and preached, if I possessed the world I would give it. I would give any-thing. I would suffer my right hand to be cut off, if I could believe it again. Then I was full of joy and gladness. My dreams were pleasant. When I awoke in the morning, my spirit was cheerful. I was happy by day and by night, full of peace and joy and thanksgiving. But now it is darkness, pain, sorrow, misery in the extreme. I have never since seen a happy moment” [8]

Did we ever lose the spirit?

Notice what Young did?… like all prophets and apostles till this present day, he promoted the false idea that apostates CANNOT be happy, have sinned and are, and will, be punished.

In this supposed statement by Lyman Johnson, we might find some echoes from our own lives, coming away from a faith that once held so much value, meaning, and cherished associations. Whenever I’m talking to someone (non member) about my views on Mormonism, they don’t seem to understand ‘why’ and ‘how’ active members can do the things they do and believe the things they do? To answer, I find myself explaining their joys, their faith, their outlook, their happiness….what makes them remain… what makes them tick. I fall back on my memory – what it was like for me… what I felt like.

The advantage for us ex-Mormons, is that we now see both sides of the same coin… what made it right for us to be in Mormonism and what made it wrong to remain – what I have called ‘Double-Angled-Vision,’ being able to see BOTH sides. When we look backward, there are things we remember with nostalgia and happiness. Yes, we were – to some extent, living through a dream and we have now woken up, but when members accuse us of ‘losing the spirit,’ they mean, completely losing what we felt. But what we felt is locked into memory. It is stored forever. It is part of what has made us what we are – who we are. Orthodox Mormons do not understand that we ex Mormons have lost NOTHING. Indeed, it is by the retrieval of our past MEMORY sensations, plus past information (when we were in that spirit) that we have been able to re-evaluate and see the CONTRAST of our own mental reactions and emotions, compared with hitherto previously unknown facts.

To put it poetically (and I think, very beautifully) is John O’Donohue:

“As we journey onward in life increasingly spaces within us fill with absence. We begin to have more and more friends among the dead. Every person suffers the absence of their past. It is utterly astonishing how the force and fibre of each day unravel into the vacant air of yesterday. You look behind you and you see nothing of your days here. Our vanished days increase our experience of absence. Yet our past does not deconstruct as if it never was. Memory is the place where our vanished days secretly gather. Memory rescues experience from total disappearance. The kingdom of memory is full of the ruins of presence.

It is astonishing how faithful experience actually is; how it never vanishes completely. Experience leaves deep traces in us. It is surprising, that years after something has happened to you, the needle of thought can hit some groove in the mind and the music of a long-vanished event can rise in your soul as fresh and vital as the evening it happened. Memory provides such shelter and continuity of identity. Memory is also fascinating because it is a subtle and latent presence in one’s mind. The past seems to be gone and absent. Yet the grooves in the mind hold the traces and vestiges of everything that has ever happened to us. Nothing is ever lost or forgotten . . . . it is only through the act of remembrance, literally remembering, that we can come to poise, integrity and courage . . . . We need to retrieve the activity of remembering, for it is here that we are rooted and gathered . . . . ” [9]

It seems to me, that just as orthodox Mormons today are palpably disabled from understanding the anger, betrayal and outspokenness of ex-Mormons, so in Brigham Young’s day–they were equally incapable of understanding men like Lyman Johnson. How he could voice a regret that he no longer believed and how could he re-live his memories of how things used to be, yet not remain with the Saints? You notice he would have loved to have retained belief and admitted the loss of an emotional peace that comes with the crutch of religion. He is virtually acknowledging that it was so nice to have been in delusion (in a deep contented sleep). I wonder what Lyman (who clearly saw that God’s predicted promises had failed) would have made of today’s Church? What would he say if he saw an even wider perspective of its corruption and deception and failure in 2015? I have a notion his rhetoric would be less kindly! Lastly, you notice that this man felt at home and missed some of his LDS associates – the sociality and culture. It is why he wanted to visit occasionally – retaining friendly warmth toward the members, whilst at the same time, unable to compromise his own honesty and conviction that his religious institution was a fraud not the people.

distressed-man[1]

What have you been doing wrong?

Brigham Young’s profound misunderstanding and ill informed judgement on the cause and effect of his suffering, has been continually taught and indoctrinated ever since. The very first question thrown back at me over 4 decades ago, when I admitted to a Stake Presidency Counsellor, that I no longer could say I knew the Church was true, was: “What have you been doing wrong?”

These days, it has been officially acknowledged on odd occasions, that perhaps ‘doubting,’ ‘questioning’ members, may not, after all, be guilty of any particular sin, or neglect, but just sincerely troubled, honourable Saints.

One of the most absurd and erroneous teachings, still flourishing amongst members–fed from on high–is the idea that apostasy equates with sin, laziness, rebellion or pride. Mormons are taught this explicitly through the story-line of Book of Mormon. It is endemic and imbedded into their thinking. Also endemic, is the insidious teaching that Satan will infiltrate their minds and hearts should they read, watch or listen to anything which seriously challenges their faith – particularly if it is written by an ‘apostate.’ Interestingly, all cults and dictatorships do the same to their citizens or members – limit or ban the Internet, as well as cut-off (wherever possible) or discourage correspondence with the outside world.

Under Smith and Young, the idea that the world was WICKED, (explicit in the D&C) that only SAFETY and SANCTURY could be found in Zion, and that the Wicked World would shortly be destroyed as Christ returns, was intense, but it was a lie. The legacy of this still remains amongst LDS; there is still the tendency to believe that the world is ‘wicked.’ In addition, the Church knows that if members are kept ‘busy’ with large families and working all hours for the Church, they’ll have little time to read or re-evaluate what they were once taught. If they read any non-fiction at all, it will be LDS books, LDS magazines, or LDS scriptures, or their lesson manuals. The fear, NOT to look at ‘anti Mormon’ sites or books, has been successfully engrained, but is starting to crumble.

Naturally, when members of a Mormon family see one of their own ‘apostatize’ from the faith, those suspected elements (sin, laziness, rebellion and pride) are still attached to that person. This causes accusation, confusion and loss of respect. Indeed, the possibility of the defaulting or deserting apostates ‘disease’ affecting others can be so frightening that wives will divorce husbands and husbands – their wives; prevention from seeing children and general isolation. And all this, from a church which brags about the IMPORTANCE of families?

“It will tell you that the man (husband or father) is the head of the home and should be respected in that position, yet it has been a sad reflection that after I was excommunicated I was no longer permitted to take part in any baptismal services for any one of my 20 grandchildren. I would not claim to be a superlative grandparent, but I have attended virtually all their baptisms since excommunication and watched others in my family read verses, give little talks and offer advice to the newly baptised child, but I had to remain silent. I could not offer a prayer, read a verse, extend appreciation, give direction or express profound gratitude from the stand. This is a “normal” exclusion for an excommunicated person within Mormonism. Such a person is not allowed to be thus involved. I knew this mentally as a member years before, but I had never been “emotionally” subjected to it previously, so I did not see the cruelty in it – especially for someone like me who did NOT want to come back, but still loved his family and wanted to be part of all they were doing.

wersm-facebook-distressed-657x360[1]

I have since thought how odd it is that once you are excommunicated, it is as if all respect or reverence for your capacity and roll as father or grandfather is denied – as if you did not have any further usefulness or any further value. As if you did not exist. How very kind and Christ-like all this exclusion is! You would have thought that despite not being able to use the priesthood, I might have been permitted to take part in other simple ways, in order to support, encourage and inspire my grandchildren’s belief in fatherhood. In excommunication, you lose the Priesthood, but that never bothered me. I never really understood this invisible authority I was repeatedly told I must magnify anyway? Teachers and leaders would say: “use you priesthood to love your wife,” or “use your Priesthood to be gentle”… to this day it seems so ridiculous. Surely we love and are kind to others through our own heart and the natural disposition we’ve developed during our life time – not through some intangible ‘authority.’ The very concept of ‘Priesthood’ is merely another layer of control and domination… a sad pathetic need of satisfying religious males.” [10]

It took 6 years for Lyman to realise Joseph Smith was not the man he thought he was (since his baptism in 1831) On May 29th 1837 he and Orson Pratt brought the following charges against Smith:

  • Lying
  • Misrepresentation
  • Extortion
  • Speaking disrespectfully about members

Investing and losing $6,000 in a bank, confidently asserted to be “instituted by the will and revelations of God” was a reality wake-up call for Lyman. He understandably became bitter when that money was lost and blamed it on the Prophet. After filing charges against him, and as a result of his behaviour towards the Church, Lyman was first disfellowshipped, then later excommunicated on April 13, 1838. He continued to remain friendly with members of the Church and regretted that he no longer believed or was part of the organization.” [11]

Many members brought accusations against Smith, but he wielded unprecedented power amongst the Councils of the Church and would bring his own ‘character assassination’ against his accusers…. that is, until William Law decided to print Smith’s iniquities from the housetop! Then Smith went absolutely bonkers and persuaded the Council to destroy Laws printing shop. Joseph Smith was a man who could not tolerate being opposed, contradicted or defied.

So, it seems Lyman had the spirit of apostasy – but how could this be? Did not the Brethren prophecy he would be:

(1) Protected from Satan

(2) Live to see the gathering accomplished

(3) Be like Enoch (power over death) and

(4) Live to see the Saviour’s second coming (as were many others!)

Lyman E. Johnson: “no power of the enemy shall prevent him from going forth and doing the work of the Lord and that he shall live until the gathering is accomplished… and he shall be like unto Enoch; Satan shall tremble before him and he shall see the Savior come and stand upon the earth with power and great glory.” D.H.C., Vol. II, pp. 188-191. . . . But, three years later, he apostatized and “was cut off (excommunicated) from the church” (D.H.C., Vol. III, p. 20). Furthermore, the “gathering” to Missouri (D.&C. 84:1-5), still has not taken place, and he was not like Enoch who never died (Gen. 5:24), because Johnson died in 1856” [12]

If the priesthood works and was true, why did these key predictions upon Lyman fail?

If he was to be PROTECTED from Satan – why did he leave the Church? Why was there not the completed gathering, or Christ returning, in his life time? In its February Ensign article, the Church does not say what failed Lyman? They just accuse him of greedy financial speculation and criticising the prophet. All apologetics tarnish ‘apostates’ with character assignation, whilst the real villain (Smith) is always and every time, exonerated – no matter WHAT he does. Like Oaks today… it would seems Smith had too much vanity and arrogance to apologize about anything! But interestingly, some of these ‘nasty apostates’ like Lyman Johnson, actually confess quite humbly to their own accusations, greed and grumbles.

A Church which prays for punishment and curses upon others

Further to the idea and teaching that the WICKED were to be ‘punished’ or ‘cannot prosper,’ we find a whole array of blood thirsty curses and prophetic judgements levelled against the world in general, as well as for those who murdered the prophet and Hyrum. The Doctrine and Covenants is particularly nasty in this regard: “The whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin” D&C 84:49. The world does NOT lie in sin. Yes, it has some nasty and unsavoury characters in it, but the general mass of people are pretty much like you and me – reasonably decent people who are busy caring for their families. What is also noticeable in The Doctrine and Covenants is that Smith keeps ‘using’ God to pretend reasons for his failures – his failures with prophecy regarding the redemption of Zion or gathering places, or safety, or prosperity – you name it. It was ‘their’ fault God did not prosper them, protect them or help them. Too little faith; too much sin; not enough humility; not enough effort; too much contention. The truth is, Smith made it up as he went along and dragged naïve souls through unnecessary suffering – and for the most part, they believed him…. we all once believed him.

Temple

It really is quite blasphemous, that a Church which boasts such allegiance to Christ and is called by His name should have a mandatory ‘CURSE’ set-up (by the prophet Brigham Young) in their temples for 85 years (1845 till 1930) which was repeated at every session:

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.”

Yet Jesus said: “. . . . Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

“Holiness to the Lord” is engraved over the door of each temple, yet inside they ignore the words of their God and replace them with prejudice, hatred and blood oaths.

Of the fate of the persecutors who murdered the prophet, Jim Whitefield said:

“Unfortunately for Smith, from all of the evidence available, it appears the Lord never actually did anything at all about any of these people. Had the Lord really been speaking, we would expect to see at least some results of people subsequently being ‘dealt’ with. Some authors have tried to find such evidence concerning those responsible for the death of Joseph Smith. A few decades ago, a book was published by N. B. Lundwall under the title of “The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith” which I read and blindly accepted as a member. It contained some gory detail but turned out to be full of nonsense and the claimed ‘evidence’ just speculative. The book has just been republished (May 2011) with Lundwall as ‘editor’ and a foreword by John A. Widtsoe.

Obviously, the concept of the Lord’s retribution is still popular. However, no matter what is claimed or argued, such a thing as the Lord ever ‘dealing’ with people ‘in his own due time’ has never demonstrably happened. There is no documented or substantiated record of any such retribution by the Lord regarding anyone that Smith ever claimed the Lord would deal with in his own due time.” [13]

I too read that book and noticed how the author delighted in each suggested punishment.

IMG_0057

Speaking also on this very subject, Alex Beam, on page 264 of his book, ‘American Crucifixion’ explained:

“But in the main, the “respectable set of men” who murdered Joseph and Hyrum thrived in the middle of the nineteenth century.” Mark Aldrich, Jacob Davis, William Grover, Chauncey Higbee, Robert F. Smith, William Law, Thomas Sharp and Orville Browning, went on to live long and productive lives. For instance: Higbee – a man portrayed by Mormon history as a nasty piece of work – “lived a long life in Pittsfield Illinois. He worked as a judge, banker, and a State Senator. He had a high school named after him in 1908.”

William Law has been vilified by ‘official’ LDS history, as another nasty piece of work – he sticks in the gut of all indoctrinated members (at least those who have read anything) What was my surprise on leaving the Church, but to discover he was a far better man than Smith; a far better principled person – as was his wife also….

William Law and his family moved to northern Illinois, and then to Shullsburg, Wisconsin, where he practised medicine until his death in 1892 at age eighty-three. His wife Jane, and his brother, Wilson, who farmed in the area, died in 1883 and 1877, respectively. Five years before his death, the elderly, white-haired doctor spoke at length about Joseph Smith and the Saints with German journalist Wilhelm Wyl. “The greatest mistake life was my having anything to do with Mormonism,” Law told his visitor. “I feel it to be a very deep disgrace and never speak of it when I can avoid it.” Jane had long ago set fire to their only copy of the Book of Mormon, and the family had abandoned the faith. “It never was a Church of Christ, but a most wicked blasphemous humbug, gotten up for the purpose of making money,” Law said. “I have no doubt thousands of honest, virtuous people joined the Church not knowing anything of the wicked workings of the leaders, and thousands (probably in ignorance) still cling to the delusion.” [14]

John_F._Boynton[1]

John Boynton: Like Lyman Johnson, he was one of two apostles able to shed Mormonism. He became a legitimate celebrity of the 19th century, with inventions, 4,000 lectures and fame as a naturalist doctor. His ultimately unsuccessful marriage to a much younger woman in 1865 was illustrated in Harper’s Weekly. He died in 1879 in Syracuse, N.Y.[15] (Bold emphasis mine)

Lyman Johnson lived another 18 years and became a successful pioneer lawyer in Iowa and was one of the town fathers of Keokuk, Iowa.[16]

Have you noticed how ‘Graceless’ Smith’s God is?

If you want to find rhetorical descriptions of the many ‘merciful’ ‘kind’ and ‘gracious’ attributes of the Godhead in scripture, then there are thousands of them – including The Doctrine and Covenants, but, if you want to find the LEAST demonstrable example of such qualities in scripture, then dump that last Canon. You may not have noticed, but Smith’s God is ruthless, petulant, petty, unfriendly, impatient, changeable, silly, ungrateful, and plain egotistical…. or was this God just an invention – an anthropomorphic mirror of Smith?

Well anyway… let me continue. You remember those moments in your life when you failed or hurt someone? Perhaps you did not intend to, perhaps you were just tired or were caught on a bad day? The point is, you felt terrible and expected some form of retaliation, or repercussion. Then the person you let down so badly communicated with you… with love! They totally disarmed and relieved your anxious mind with kindness and forgiveness. How did you feel? (if normal, you would have felt gratitude, relief, warmth and increased friendliness toward that person – even a greater love or devotion)

People who demonstrate such traits of meekness, we call Gracious. Graciousness is being courteous, kind, and pleasant, especially towards someone of lower social status. In the religious sense, Grace is unearned. It is a love given when technically, you don’t deserve it, or you have not paid the price for it. It is Gift. In the traditional Christian sense then, God is ‘meant’ to be full of Gracetotally rammed full of it. And his servants are meant to reflect His character and follow his example.

Question: what do we find in the God of Smith – the one revealed and manifest through the pages of The Doctrine and Covenants?

Answer: A God that does not give an inch. A God so destitute of love, He is Grace-less. Almost on every page, this god (yes, he’s not worthy of a big ‘G’) is scalding, moaning, deserting and treating his little children as if they were made of solid steel – where no shred of compromise, weakness or fatigue is allowed; where forgiveness, graciousness and acceptance, is alien to him.

If one of your infant children came home from school with their first painting on a scrap of paper, would you accept it with appreciation and love, or would you say: “I’m not prepared to accept this – it is not good enough?” Well, that is Smith’s god. He rarely ever ‘accepts’ the feeble yet sincere efforts of his Church. For him, the Church is just not good enough. A reward from his god is ALWAYS contingent on absolute obedience. Grace does not enter the picture. But if there is a God, he must (by Christian definition) be filled with Graciousness.  He is NOT. I am astonished at the stupidity, perversity and childishness of Smith’s god. How those Saints ever stuck with Smith is actually no real credit to him, but to their inherent goodness, tenacity and courage – Smith did not invent that, he just harnessed it and abused it.

The legacy I’m afraid has continued. A graceless excuse for a Church has arisen…

“We are then set up for a clerical system that says: ‘We are the God-appointed and singular dispensers of grace. Get on your knees and you may get some from us.’ The sins of the institutional Church are clearly encouraged by a theology of grace-scarcity, an ideology that separates nature from grace. In these circumstances religion plays dangerously with temptations to exaggerate its self-importance: it is no longer servant but master and it easily succumbs to an inflated ego about the exclusivity of its place in the world. What follows is a praise crisis as well, for when grace is scarce, so too are joy and praise.” [17]

Notes:

[1]http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi- bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=tsmith&id=I166

[2]A House Divided: The John Johnson Family’ Ensign Magazine February 1979 https://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/02/a-house-divided-the-john-johnson-family?lang=eng

[3] (Kirtland Council Minute Book, pp. 184–86)

[4] In the first example, the Mormon 2008 Priesthood Manual, Chapter 27, makes the following statement about the Kirtland Bank failure of 1837:

“As that year wore on, a spirit of apostasy grew among some of the saints at Kirtland. Some members became proud, greedy, and disobedient to the commandments. Some blamed Church leaders for economic problems caused by the failure of a Kirtland financial institution established by Church members. This failure occurred in 1837, the same year that a banking panic swept across the United States, compounding the saints’ economic problems. As many as two or three hundred members fell away from the Church in Kirtland, sometimes joining with those who opposed the Church to torment and even physically threaten the saints. Some apostates openly claimed that the prophet was fallen and tried to have other men put in his place.”

Reading the above text, if accepting it as the truth, consider what loyal and unsuspecting Mormons today will think must have happened. Some Church members set up a bank – which failed, partly due to the economic situation encompassing the whole country. Some greedy members blamed the Church leaders for their subsequent economic problems, although Smith could have done nothing about it. Some even called him fallen, as he did not foresee the problems they consequently faced. A spirit of apostasy led some members to inappropriately oppose or even try to replace Smith.

This is nowhere close to the truth which is deliberately excluded from the 2008 manual. The following facts clearly identify outright lies as well as lies by omission in the above account. Deceiving members in this way is unforgivable.

It was Joseph Smith himself, along with Sidney Rigdon, Smith’s First Counsellor, who set up the bank, originally to be called The Kirtland Safety Society Bank. Smith sent Apostle Orson Hyde to the Ohio legislature to obtain a bank charter and at the same time he sent Oliver Cowdery to Philadelphia to obtain the plates to print money. Cowdery duly returned with the plates but Hyde failed to obtain a charter. Undeterred, Smith opened an illegal bank anyway, on 2 January 1837, as a joint stock company to serve as a quasi-bank. He added words to banknotes so the title now read The Kirtland Safety Society Anti Banking Co. The worthless banknotes were as illegal as the bank itself.

Members were encouraged to deposit all their money and property in exchange for notes, with Rigdon as Chairman and President, Warren Parrish as signatory, secretary and teller, and Joseph Smith as the cashier. There was never a chance that the bank could succeed, as the capitalisation far exceeded the resources available from the backers. However, that was nothing compared to what Smith and his cohorts did themselves which completely destroyed it.

Joseph Smith had launched a huge (and illegal) company, capitalised at $4 million when the capitalisation of all the Ohio banks combined was only just over $9 million. They issued notes with no restriction, so they bore no relation to the capital and assets. The project was thus knowingly doomed from the start. Within weeks, writs were issued against Smith and Rigdon for issuing unauthorised worthless bank paper. Most assets were in property rather than the silver which depositors had assumed and after the earlier boom, property prices were falling fast. Within a month, Smith and Rigdon had resigned from the bank, knowing full well that it would fail completely.

On 23 May 1837, Apostle Parley P. Pratt angrily wrote to Joseph Smith complaining that Smith had been wrong to turn over to the bank Smith’s personal notes for his debts to Pratt, thus effectively illegally evading them. Pratt complained Smith was “taking advantage of your brother by undue religious influence”. Smith used the illegal bank for his own purposes, reneged on personal debts, absolved himself from the bank and then left it to inevitably go under. By July it had done just that.

Thirteen suits were brought against him [Smith] between 1837 and April 1839, to collect sums totalling $25,000. The damages asked amounted to almost $35,000. He was arrested seven times in four months, and his followers managed heroically to raise the $38,428 required for bail. Of the thirteen suits only six were settled out of court – about $12,000 out of the $25,000. In the other seven the creditors either were awarded damages or won them by default. (Brodie 1963: Ch. XIV).

These were debts due to creditors outside the Church. There were many more due to Church members who were never paid. Smith and Rigdon got out early but Smith did not entirely get away with what he had done. It was not greedy members and apostates who were angry at Smith; it was actually half of his Quorum of Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders who (correctly) accused Smith of improprieties. Apostle Heber C. Kimball stated that the bank’s failure was devastating and afterwards “there were not twenty persons on earth that would declare that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.” (J. Tanner 1988: Ch 7. Insight on Hoffman). Members were clearly aware of what Smith had done. On 24 October 1837, an appeals court confirmed the conviction and $1,000 fine each, of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, for operating an illegal bank. Many trusting Church members lost absolutely everything they had through Smith’s bank when he asked them to invest in it. Members left the Church in droves when they realised Smith had conned them. Smith ran away in the night with his brother Hyrum, not from mobs, but from faithful Mormons who were up in arms that he had illegally taken them for all their money. Also not mentioned in the manual is the fact that Smith set up the bank by revelation which “like Aaron’s rod would swallow up all other banks.” 39 As with most Church history, the facts are very different from the fiction taught to Mormons today. Rationalise these facts with item 39 (on p.41), Honesty and Integrity. There is no honesty or integrity; none, absolutely none.

A reading of Fawn Brodie’s No Man Knows My History, Chapter XIV, or of Tanner’s Joseph Smith’s Kirtland Bank Failure (at http://www.utlm.org), will provide a comprehensive, historically accurate picture of what really transpired regarding Smith’s illegal Kirtland Bank scam. Comparing that knowledge with the statement made in the 2008 Priesthood Manual provides conclusive proof that leaders continue to knowingly lie concerning Church history. It is an ill-conceived notion that deliberately lying to members is an acceptable form of behaviour for men claiming to represent God. God would disown such men.  The Mormon Delusion’ Vol. 3:41-44

[5] Exiles in a Land of Liberty – Mormons in America 1830 –1846 by Kenneth H Winn. Page 108 https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ESwIEefhOWwC&pg=PA108&lpg=PA108&dq=was+lyman+johnson+part+of+zions+camp&source=bl&ots=y4Xf6YksXi&sig=as_aIVeuxOyf2C2pMm4Mu-jyde0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDwQ6AEwBWoVChMIntXikdG6xwIVaQjbCh3bFwEo#v=onepage&q=was%20lyman%20johnson%20part%20of%20zions%20camp&f=false

[6]According to Reed peck, a member of the army. The original of the Reed Peck manuscripts, dated Quincy, Illinois, September 18, 1839 and published by L. B. Cake in 1899, is now in my possession. It was furnished me by Peck’s granddaughters Mabel Peck Myer and Hazel Peck Cass, of Bainbridge, New York.

[7] Letter from Joseph Smith to the High Council of Zion, dated August 16, 1834 History of the Church, Vol. 11, p. 145

[8] The D&C Commentary’ page 470 (Jour. of Dis., Vol. XIX., p. 41).

[9] John O’Donohue ‘Eternal echoes’ – exploring our hunger to belong.

[10] Robert Bridgstock ‘The Youngest Bishop in England’

[11] http://www.mormonwiki.com/Lyman_E._Johnson

[12] (Deseret News Church Almanac, 1989-1990, p. 49) (Bold emphasis mine)  http://thetruthaboutmormonism-creeksalmon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/original-lds-so-called-12-apostles.html

[13] (Page 489 ‘The Mormon Delusion’ Vol. 5 Doctrine and Covenants – Deception and Concoctions)

[14] Alex Beam ‘American Crucifixion’ page 264

[15]http://www.standard.net/Staff-Columns/2014/05/14/Lost-Apostles-an-interesting-history-of-Mormonism-s-originals-who-left-the-quorum

[16] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman_E._Johnson

[17]Natural Grace’ by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake