I would not have believed you could write such a searing indictment of Polygamy a few years back, but here it is! Well done brother, I am pleased you can now see what I have seen.
The area where we differ is your ability to reconcile this particular dogma, together with all other things of a dubious nature, involving LDS stupidity and bad practise, with an inexhaustible level of leniency for the justification of human error and weakness. Prophets are – you would argue – infallible. Somehow, virtually any and all forms of behaviour – whether small human foibles (forgivable) or more major errors of judgement and immoral conduct…. some spawning catastrophic consequences, like the priesthood ban and polygamy (not to mention Oaths of Vengeance and Blood Atonement in the temple) are, for some reason, never sufficiently bad enough to trigger a moment, where the skidding of mental brakes to an absolute stand-still, forces the big question into our minds: ‘How can the church be true when so much has been wrong?’
I think you have already conceded that the statement below has been a false promise and is now proven to be totally false:
“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.” (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)
Polygamy and the Priesthood ban, are of course, two big well known evils, but the ever increasing ‘mistakes’ of current leaders, like the fiasco back in November 2015 of the ‘Revelation from Jesus’ to persecute Gay families and then the farcical U-turn Revelation – again this year, illustrates how befuddled, adrift and frankly insane, current prophets are.
You have used a parallel to illustrate why God leaves the ‘true church’ to learn from its mistakes and slowly mature, without necessarily warning, stopping, or guiding through direct action, the leadership of the church – and you have given the example of God not stopping the slaughter in the 1st World war. You argue ‘He does not intervene,’ but this only digs you deeper into a hole. It confirms He really DOES NOT guide, correct, straighten-out and tell prophets His will. In fact, He says not a single word about today’s contemporary problems through His prophets. Such things as poverty, massive inequality, violence, planetary pollution, injustice and illness. All He communicates apparently is a silly and awkward name change and the alienation of LGBT people. Nelson gives lip service to ‘caring’ and being ‘accommodating,’ but the truth is, he cannot and will not accept the inner soul of a Gay person – WHO they really are. He, like other GA’s, are stuck in a time-warp of old, outdated, bigoted myths of dogmatic belief, which destroy and disable their otherwise loving capacity toward tolerance and kindness. As the cleric Jessop once said in his book ‘Law and Love,’ they turn Goodness into Badness, because their indoctrination dysfunctions their capacity for compassion, love and acceptance.
What we have today from prophets is cast iron evidence and irrefutable reasons to no longer trust their powerless and godless teachings. There is no evidence whatsoever to believe they have any better ideas on how we should live; what we should believe; how we should act – let alone contribute money to, wear and sacrifice, than we ourselves. In term of general wisdom and common sense, their judgement is really not much better than an old man who lives at the corner of any street. Most certainly, they have nothing from God that is better than our own soul’s inner compass.
Another point you raise, is your belief in general, that all leaders – past and present – have had ‘sincere motives’ and ‘the best of intentions.’ I think it is too easy for us exmormons to consider that all GA leaders are totally pretentious about ‘caring’ and actually have no integrity at all. This cannot be true, yet I find insurmountable evidence that ‘sincerity’ and ‘integrity’ has not been able to protect members from abuse, from shame, from heart ache, from suicide and from alienation – and that’s because ‘sincerity’ is not synonymous with a spiritual and an emotionally well balanced – not to mention, ‘sane’ individual. They say Hitler was sincere, but I damn well wouldn’t want to be in his shoes on judgement day!
But hang on a minute – why are we worried, or arguing about the credibility of the all these top leaders from Brigham down to Nelson? If Joseph Smith WAS a real prophet – like it or not, the church might be true? On the other hand, if his claims relating to his authority, visions and translations are FALSE, then the whole house of cards crashes down.
If it were possible to take an indoctrinated member and sit them down and ‘suspend’ their conditioning for an hour or so and review what is actually known about Joseph Smith – as if for the first time – and instead of the plastic account offered by missionaries, they heard the real truth; he would be rejected with indifferent suspicion.
Firstly, when we consider what Smith claimed to be – the latter-day restorational prophet, we really ought to expect some unparalleled perception in the head of the Almighty in discerning which person on Earth had the best and most unique character qualities… at the very least, a man of indisputable moral fibre and integrity, but what do we have in Joseph Smith?
- Entire family of low character estimation locally
- Family involved and steeped in occult/spiritualism-type activities
- Joseph obtained money by pretending to be skilled in finding treasure
- He utilized the same stone used to translate the Book of Mormon in order to fool people that he could find buried treasure – it never worked…. if it never worked, why should we believe it worked with pretended gold sheets?
- He appeared in court a number of times for ‘Glasslooking’ and for being a ‘Disorderly Person’….. all related to treasure digging – even after his so-called 1st Vision.
- Emma’s father clearly did not approve of his treasure digging and wanted him to earn money in an appropriate manner.
- Even in D&C 111 God says, that in Salem: “I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion.” (And a number of other predictions about the city) NONE of them came to pass, or happened. It was just Smith – still obsessed with his old addiction of getting ‘something for nothing’ through treasure digging. Let’s be clear D&C 111 is an entire and utter fabrication!
- Failed predictions of Joseph Smith are not the exception, but the rule. (You can find many, many dozens Online) In fact, I do not know of one single prediction he got right – even the classic prophecy on war is largely unfulfilled. On the old Testament basis – that if a prophet is false, his predictions will fail, then Smith is flat on his face.
- Later in his conman career he was arrested many times for other offences…. two of the worst were for directing assassination attempts and for the Kirkland Banking fraud.
- The whole gold plates and translation story is rife with suspicious claims… The fraudulent stone in a hat; no visible plates – always out of sight or hidden. After all the trouble engraving them as told in the Book of Mormon; their preservation in a hill and finally, Smith’s preparation to receive them – yet he puts his head in a hat and the plates are not even present! The entire thread of historical events directed and preserved by God through the ages… plus murdering Laban, turns out to be an utter waste of time and a total nonsense. One is forced to acknowledge repeatedly that either Smith is a liar, or God is a bundling fool?
- The claims he ran home through the countryside for a few miles, holding all the plates under one arm (with his normal gammy leg) and fought off 3 men who assailed him – the first hitting him with his gun. It is estimated that the plates would have weighed between 30 to 60 lb? (One LDS scholar even estimated that if they were solid gold, they could have weighed up to 200 lb!) This story stretches credulity into fantasy.
- The angel or spirit gave instruction to Smith that Alvin (his older more worthy brother) should accompany him to get the plates from the ground in one year’s time. Unfortunately, God must have forgotten to let Alvin live long enough to fulfil His command?
- The Witnesses testified to ‘seeing’ the gold plates and the angel, but later claimed it was not really physical – it was all in their heads – with their ‘spiritual eye.’ The church knew these things, but allowed it to sound as if it were literal. In fact, some of the Witnesses said Smith coerced them to sign.
- So many phrases and verses in the Book of Mormon, as well as the general plot, are identical to phrases, sentences and the storyline found in ‘The Late Wars’ and ‘The Book of Napoleon.’ B. H. Roberts, a noted Mormon leader and scholar, wrote a manuscript in 1927 listing eighteen parallels between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews…. and failed to get an explanation from the quorum of the 12 nor the 1st Presidency.
- What is clear is that there is an utter lack of supportive archaeological evidence for the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon and generally a complete contradiction to known scientific data related to ancient America.
- Add to this, the discovery which wholly refutes the specific claim within the book, that the American continent was ‘Preserved’ for a special people and it sights the Jaradites (2000BC) and Lehi’s family in 600BC, as its occupants, whereas, we now know it was infiltrated across the Bering Straits, or land bridge, some 10 to 20,000 years ago and that such people were the ancestors of the American Indians – absolutely not as the Book of Mormon claims.
- DNA further disproves Book of Mormon claims (As well as Spencer W Kimball) that ALL occupants of America (Nephites and Lamanites) were remnants of the House of Israel.
- Smith told us repeatedly that he ‘Translated’ the Book of Abraham. Only LDS leaders suggest now it was ‘revelation’. We now know the B of A was a complete cock-and-bull story too. All specialist non-Mormon Egyptologists agree that Smith got it wrong…. and if he fabricated that – what about the Book of Mormon and the D&C?
- He also got took-in by the ‘forged’ Kinderhook Plates. After being brought to him by church members, he proclaimed them authentic and said they contained the genealogy of an ancient Jaredite, dating him back to Ham the son of Noah – all utter nonsense.
- Despite what FAIR say about Smith living in the culture of the American West, there is no excuse for the abuse of women and forcing girls half his age to marry him. It was NOT normal for someone to propose to 14 year olds – especially not when 37 years of age and claiming God told him to. By law, he was already married and was therefore a bigamist and polygamy was also illegal.
- His threat of character assassination toward women who refused him, pretty much sums up his deplorable moral degeneration.
- Telling lies was no problem to Smith (As well as breaking his own Word of Wisdom)
- A man of inflated ego – he could not easily tolerate the idea that someone else might be better than himself. He loved to dress up in full military costume and strut around on his charger as Lieutenant General Joseph Smith, of the Nauvoo Legion. A man, I think, who crossed over the void between the world of reality and delusional self grandeur. What can you say about a person who organised himself in secret, to be crowned ‘King of the World’ by a Council of Fifty?
- Previous versions of the Book of Mormon, as well as Smith’s Lectures on Faith, show most clearly that his early views on God’s nature were Trinitarian – three in one. It was only in his 1835-1838 backdated 1st Vision description that he decided to include ‘two’ Beings in the grove. The Lectures on Faith are so Trinitarian and were part of the D&C and voted on as ‘scripture.’ However, in 1921 the church decided to delete them; embarrassed probably by an ever changing God?
- The church has continued to use character assignation till this very day, in an attempt to vindicate itself and change church history to suit its false story-line. Smith started it – they perpetuate it. Thus in the LDS book ‘Essentials in Church History,’ we have the cry of foul, when the local community claimed a low opinion of the Smith family and Joseph in particular. So we have an attempt to blacken the character of all those who strongly opposed God’s work. Such men as Thomas B Marsh and William Law – though painted by the church in vary unflattering colours as rebels and apostates, were no such persons, but far better characters’ than Smith ever was! Thus Marsh’s exodus story from the church is false and when he did return to the church later in his life, Brigham’s public ‘welcome’ of him, was not only appalling, but arrogantly cruel and conceited beyond belief – showing what an ungodly and vicious bastard he was.
Law’s background was of a highly successful gentleman and family man, with good solid Christian principles, who was ‘take-in’ by Smith’s smooth talking claims, but as he entered the inner circle and realized how morally corrupt Smith had become over his secret polygamy (not to mention Smith’s suggestion to swap with each other’s wives now and again) he pleaded with him to desist – even begged him, but Smith would have none of it and demoted him. When Law went public and printed Smith’s immorality and corruption for the whole world to read, Smith sent a mob to smash-up his printing presses and thus brought ruin upon himself.
There used to be a phrase constantly repeated back in the old days of my church membership, which GA’s don’t use any more: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” We knew nothing of any other narrative – it was all so seamless, pure, holy and untarnished.
Look at it now? If the church were compared to a once beautiful woman (as God once portrayed Israel) then she has become a dishevelled mess. Not only has her clothing become dirty and cheap, but her very soul seems to be ulcerated. I can hardly bear to look at her. Once my love and my dream, she became the essence of death and decay.