The Prophet Will Not Lead the People of the Church Astray

LDS apologist Michael Ash has an ongoing series at Mormon Times and the FAIR podcast called “Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith”. I was interested to hear him speak directly to the popular Mormon expression that “the prophet will not lead the people of the church astray.”

In his article on this issue he states

The purpose and mission of the church is to “invite all to come unto Christ” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:59). Prophets stand as leaders in this invitation and the things they do and say (as prophets) are intended to accomplish this goal.

How do we come unto Christ? The Book of Mormon gives us the six-point pattern: belief in Christ, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Spirit, enduring to the end and being found guiltless at the final judgment.

I’m glad to see someone putting some more meat on the idea and clearly defining the places in which a prophet might lead the people astray. It’s interesting that Ash chose to reduce the arena of possible prophetic negligence down to 6 messages that all serve to help us “come unto Christ”.

Based on this criteria we could assume the absolute worst about every LDS prophet and all of them would safely be in the bounds of doctrinal orthodoxy. For instance we could take the view that polygamy was indeed started to cover up Joseph Smith’s desire for extra-marital affairs, that the Book of Mormon was a fraudulent scheme to make money, that the priesthood ban was a blatant attempt to spiritually affirm racism or that Brigham Young collaborated and conspired as an active part of the Mountain Meadows Massacre; and still safely regard these men as prophets who never led the church astray. Perhaps some future prophet could use his pulpit to disband the priesthood, bulldoze under every LDS temple or even encourage all faithful LDS to invest in another failed banking venture and still it could be said that he “never led the people astray”.

I think the phrase has to mean more than a prophet’s ability to direct people into these six principles. If it doesn’t the unique voice and role of the LDS prophet quite quickly because functionally unnecessary. In addition, the LDS teaching of a great apostasy or its status as the only one and true church lose all significance.

I can’t think of a single time in Christian history when the majority of Christian churches were not leading their people in some form of this six-point pattern. As a non-Mormon, Ash’s argument leaves me unconvinced that I need something that only the LDS church offers. Further it opens the door to prophetic fallibility so widely that we can’t be certain that the every single unique teaching of LDS prophets and LDS scriptures (given to us by modern prophets) are nothing more than overstated opinions. If the truth claims of the LDS church are really only vital in regards to this six-point pattern of belief, there are no unique LDS doctrines that aren’t and weren’t being taught by other churches.

I understand that Ash’s role as an apologist is to reduce the surface area that critics might use to attack the LDS prophet, but he’s gone so far that he’s also reduced the unique role of the LDS church to nothing and entirely eliminated its evangelistic message. If the world needs modern prophets, their role must be for something more than what my pastor delivers every week. Orson and Parley Pratt took a tact of strongly embracing difficult teachings, I think Ash should reconsider his apologetic strategy before he leaves the LDS church with nothing more than an optional-belief-in-God.

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149 thoughts on “The Prophet Will Not Lead the People of the Church Astray

  1. I would be interested in a bit of citation and discussion of exactly where the phrase “the prophet will never lead the Church astray” came from. That way, I can more accurately determine whether I believe it or not.

  2. From the Fourteen Fundamentals of Following the Prophet

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6751

    President Wilford Woodruff stated: “I say to Israel, The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. ..” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-213.)

    “I say to all Israel at this day, I say to the whole world, that the God of Israel, who organized this Church and kingdom, never ordained any President or Presidency to lead it astray. Hear it, ye Israel, no man who has ever breathed the breath of life can hold these keys of the kingdom of God and lead the people astray.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 73, 74.)

  3. Brigham Young – “The Lord Almighty leads this Church, and he will never suffer you to be led astray if you are found doing your duty. You may go home and sleep as sweetly as a babe in its mother’s arms, as to any danger of your leaders leading you astray, for if they should try to do so the Lord would quickly sweep them from the earth. Your leaders are trying to live their religion as far as they are capable of doing so (DBY, 137).”

  4. Joseph Smith also stated “A prophet is only a prophet when acting as such.” in addition to defining what the word “astray” means we could use some understanding of when a prophet is not acting as such.

    It doesn’t appear to me that Joseph Smith is acting like a prophet when he practices polygamy and teaches it as normative Christian practice. So it would be nice to know when we can disregard him.

    I understand that Thomas Monson’s preference for American-made cars is not a prophetic teaching, but he also never offers it as such.

  5. I think that Seth is right. If you want to determine the validity of Ash’s apologetic a person should examine Wilford Woodruff and Brigham Young in context to see if they held a narrow view or a more expansive view of what it means to be led astray.

    Otherwise the point of Ash’s apologetic is over my head. I am not sure the purpose of limiting the areas that a prophet can lead people astray and then referencing prophets to prove the point. I imagine this is has internal aimed goal because to an outsider it seems self contradictory.

  6. That may well be Gundeck.

    I’ve never really made up my own mind about the extent of prophetic fallibility or infallibility.

    Thanks for the quotes Tim.

  7. How Mormon apologists think: “The Church may lead us astray, but never officially astray.”

  8. I would be interested in a bit of citation and discussion of exactly where the phrase “the prophet will never lead the Church astray” came from. That way, I can more accurately determine whether I believe it or not.

    This statement of Seth’s is much of what is wrong with Mormonism.

  9. For instance we could take the view that polygamy was indeed started to cover up Joseph Smith’s desire for extra-marital affairs, that the Book of Mormon was a fraudulent scheme to make money, that the priesthood ban was a blatant attempt to spiritually affirm racism or that Brigham Young collaborated and conspired as an active part of the Mountain Meadows Massacre; and still safely regard these men as prophets who never led the church astray. Perhaps some future prophet could use his pulpit to disband the priesthood, bulldoze under every LDS temple or even encourage all faithful LDS to invest in another failed banking venture and still it could be said that he “never led the people astray”.

    Well, to be fair, if the racism and the massacres and the adultery cause people to reject the prophet’s message because of the messenger, you could argue that it led the people astray.

  10. Yes Aaron.

    Just like how the Bible is the inerrant word of God – only when all the facts and context are known (Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics).

    Mind your own house.

  11. Seth, start minding Jared’s house.

    I talked at length with multiple young adults from a Mormon fundamentalist group this past week. One of them was named Jared. Why did they believe Adam-God? Because Brigham taught it.

    Even some of the folks at FAIR/SHIELDS/FARMS would agree: Brigham actually, really, indeed did teach it (unfortunately, the LDS Church has yet to exercise such integrity in publicly admitting such a thing). The facts are known. He taught it, people believed it, and still to this day little children are brought up in Mormon sects being indoctrinated with it.

    So I asked one Mormon apologist friend who came down for a few days: Did Brigham Young lead Jared astray? His reply:

    “No, Jared led Jared astray.” Adam-God was never official doctrine.

    But Jesus views Jared as an official person, and he matters. He has staked his whole life on the teachings of Brigham Young, which the mainstream LDS sect has since jettisoned.

    Jesus didn’t say, “You will recognize them [false prophets] by their fruit, but only when the fruit is officially canonized and institutionally binding upon all.”

    For Mormon apologists, Adam-God is just water under the bridge. But guys like Jared are in that water, drowning next to thousands of corpses who have staked their entire lives on the teachings of prophets much like Brigham Young.

    Jesus loves Jared. Mormonism wants to pretend Jared doesn’t exist.

  12. Right, just like Aaron would like everyone to believe that the Calvinist-Arminian deathmatch in Protestantism doesn’t exist.

    How about that Aaron?

    Seems to me that the question of whether we have free will, or whether we are all predestined for salvation or damnation are MUCH bigger issues that anything Brigham Young said about Adam.

    I’d be much more worried about that horribly unresolved question if I were you.

  13. Kullervo said

    Well, to be fair, if the racism and the massacres and the adultery cause people to reject the prophet’s message because of the messenger, you could argue that it led the people astray.

    I think this is an excellent point. People have clearly been led away from Christ because Joseph married Helen Mar Kimball.

    As to Seth’s point about the Calvinist-Arminian deathmatches (etc.), Protestants don’t claim that preachers can never lead the people astray. Quite the opposite, we acknowledge the existence of false prophets (ahem, Harold Camping) and try to help people understand a means of discerning them. Some times even those means of discernment are ill-fated and sinful (see for example, deathmatches). The deathmatches were wrong, sinful, immoral and damnable. They quite clearly led people astray.

    I’d be interested to hear Michael Ash expound upon which of Smith’s, Young’s or Woodruff’s teachings were fallible but nonetheless led no one astray. Perhaps Woodruff was wrong to claim that a prophet can never lead the people astray.

  14. Whats wrong with a good theological scrap. I think Zwingli could have taken old Arminius on his worst day. Of course neither claimed to be prophets.

  15. This statement of Seth’s is much of what is wrong with Mormonism.

    And once again I’m going to defend the average Mormon and assert that the average Mormon would never say crap like that. The average Mormon believes that the prophet will never lead the church astray. Full Stop.

  16. Seth, my Arminian and Calvinist friends fully and eagerly acknowledge each other as brothers in Christ and church members in good standing. We also have great teachers that we look to from both camps. And none of us look to either Calvin or Arminius as prophets of God.

    Tell us, Seth:

    1. Do you know of any living leaders or influential figures in the LDS Church who are known for being advocates of Adam-God?

    2. Has your Church explicitly, intentionally, and publicly admitted that Brigham Young actually taught Adam-God (as he really taught it)?

    3. When was the last time one of your leaders openly spoke of those who advocate the Adam-God idea, and what did he say was their spiritual condition and destination?

    4. What do you think the relationship is between the institutionally fostered idea that the prophet will never lead the Church astray, and the unwillingness of the LDS Church to publicly and explicitly admit that Brigham Young taught it?

    5. When LDS members went through the St. George temple in the time that the Adam-God teaching was integrated into the lecture at the veil, do you think they thought of Adam-God as a mere speculative, fun, off-the-cuff opinion from some crazy old uncle on the rocking chair in the attic?

    Again, what about Jared?

  17. David, I assume by “average Mormon” you’re excluding all the semi-active ones, or the just plain inactive ones. Or the RLDS. Or the ones who don’t hog the pulpit during Sunday services, or basically anyone who doesn’t fit your stereotype of someone in the Church.

    And Tim, I wasn’t talking about PREACHERS leading the people astray.

    I was talking about the BIBLE leading people astray – you know, the book Protestants claim holds all authority. The Bible.

    I wasn’t matching Mormon prophets with Evangelical pastors. I was matching Mormon prophets with Aarons inerrant Bible. And demonstrating that his own house is just as full of holes as what he attacks. His source of authority is just as problematic as ours is. In fact, I believe it to be more so.

    And this cannot be patched over with a few mutterings about how John Calvin never claimed to be a prophet. The problem isn’t Calvin’s wretched theology. The problem is the BIBLE that allowed it in the first place.

    And incidentally, as much as Aaron’s friends prize Calvin’s outlook and read on the text, he might as well be a prophet. I see no practical distinction. In fact, I regularly encounter Protestants for whom Calvin seems to trump the Bible (though of course, they’d never admit it).

    But keep in mind we’re talking sources of authority. So matching prophets with preachers is the wrong comparison. You have to match the actual sources of authority for each religion. Which is what I was doing. I was telling Aaron that his BIBLE has not provided him with a solid enough house to be throwing stones at Mormonism. Not his preachers.

  18. Hello

    I think think that what Brigham Young was speaking about was intentional deception. Just look at the one quote provided by Tim.
    “as to any danger of your leaders leading you astray, for if they should try to do so the Lord would quickly sweep them from the earth.”

    If they try, which would indicate an intentional attempt to lead the saints from the true gospel. This God will not allow (among the general authorities, not local authorities) and will remove the offenders before any real damage can be done.

    As to Wilford Woodruff, he was speaking only of the President and the First Presidency. He does not use the term prophet, and so to claim that this applies to all the general authorities (who are sustained as prophets) is a false interpretation. He is saying that for a man to be called as the President, or as part of the First Presidency, God knows that that man will never lead the people astray.

    As to Ash’s article, I think he is working on the same basic misconception that many members are. They confuse the term President and Prophet.
    Now, I think that Ash has a good point in his idea that a person who is well in tune with the spirit will not be led astray by anyone, which is also part of what Brigham Young said.

    Now, concerning the distinguishing of when a prophet is acting as a prophet and when he is not, it is a very difficult thing to do, especially with those prophets who are no longer with us, and our record of them is not as good as it could be. However, I find that there are subtle clues in their speech that would indicate their opinion rather than a prophetic pronouncement.
    such phases as “I believe,” “I think,” and similar ones that today we would take as a statement of opinion I believe are safe to assume as such. When we read such things as “Thus saith the Lord,” “Hear oh, Israel,” or other such statements that carry an indication of authority I think we are safe in assuming they were spoken as prophetic utterances.

    Example: The Adam-God doctrine. Before I continue, let me say that I neither accept nor reject this, as the evidence shows that at time Brigham Young did teach it, but at other times he taught contradictory to it. Without further evidence, or a statement from him as to his exact meaning, I defer judgment.

    However, I will say this; there are times in which I feel he is speaking prophetically on this subject, and other times when I believe he is giving his opinion.
    For instance (JOD 1: 51) when he stated that the father of Christ was the figure that “walked in the Garden” I believe he was stating this with authority and thus it is stated as a prophet. Of course this was also later reported as a misquotation, and that he actually said that “Jesus our elder Brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character who talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven,” giving a clearer meaning to his words.
    On the other hand, Brigham Young gave a sermon on the plains in October of 1854 (I believe) in which he talked a great deal about how Adam was a God before he came to this earth, and explained how he gave birth to mortal children, and a lot of other things concerning him. However, he opens this sermon by stating that he is going to speak about his speculation, because he had them just as much as every one else; and constantly throughout the lecture he is restating that this is what he surmises or thinks to be the case. As such the entire sermon can be (in my opinion) disregarded as his own personal opinions and not prophetic utterance.

  19. Kullervo, he never said everything he ever taught was “revelation.” You’re probably referring to his statement about his sermons, when written and verified by him, being as good as scripture. Since BY wasn’t a scriptural inerrantist this isn’t a problem. When he claimed his sermons as scripture he didn’t mean the word in the way you’re assuming. It actually upholds the view that, while BY claimed to be inspired, he never claimed himself or his teachings to be infallible.

  20. From page 89 of “Preach my Gospel” (emphasis mine)

    Truth is a knowledge of things as they really are, were, and will be. It does not change with conditions or time. Truth is the same in every age and culture. God is the source of all truth. We can have faith in Him because we know He will teach us only truth. God wants all His children to know the truth. Therefore, He reveals the truths necessary for salvation through prophets and apostles. He reveals truth to us personally through the
    scriptures and personal revelation.

    A prophet is called and chosen by God and is a righteous man with great faith. The Lord reveals truth to him through the Holy Ghost. He commands His prophet to teach truth to all people. Those who believe God’s words as revealed through His prophet are blessed.

    Christ’s Church is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets, who direct the Church by revelation. The Lord called Joseph Smith as the first prophet and head of this last dispensation. His successors who lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today are also prophets and apostles. The President of the Church today is a living prophet. We are to have faith in God’s chosen prophet, gain conviction of his divine calling, and follow his teachings.

    We have frequent opportunities to sustain Church leaders publicly. Sustain means to support. We are to prepare ourselves so that when the prophets and apostles speak, the Holy Ghost can confirm the truths they teach, and we can then determine to follow the counsel they give us.

    Those who listen to and follow the counsel of living prophets and apostles will not go astray. The teachings of living prophets provide an anchor of eternal truth in a world of shifting values and help us avoid misery and sorrow. The confusion and strife of the world will not overwhelm us, and we can enjoy the assurance of being in harmony with God’s will.

  21. Actually, David, that selection starts on p. 75. Ironically, my response to you is on the actual page 89, through 99, respectively. ;)

  22. Actually, David, that selection starts on p. 75. Ironically, my response to you is on the actual page 89, through 99, respectively.

    Correct. The pdf page is 89, the printed manual page is 75.

    As for your response, I’m sure all missionaries are told to tell the investigators to ignore the prophet whenever the Holy Spirit tells them to.

    Whatever.

  23. David, I’m not interested in your either/or caricature of a faith you no longer adhere to, and to be frank, your response isn’t very charming generally so we can just end the exchange on that note. :)

  24. You know David, when I was in fifth grade, I assumed that everyone thought I sucked. I also felt that they all thought this because they were too dim to “get it.”

    Unsurprisingly, I didn’t have a lot of friends at that period.

  25. Kullervo, he never said everything he ever taught was “revelation.” You’re probably referring to his statement about his sermons, when written and verified by him, being as good as scripture. Since BY wasn’t a scriptural inerrantist this isn’t a problem. When he claimed his sermons as scripture he didn’t mean the word in the way you’re assuming. It actually upholds the view that, while BY claimed to be inspired, he never claimed himself or his teachings to be infallible.

    You’re splitting hairs. And you’ve set up “infallibility” as a straw man here.

  26. Since BY wasn’t a scriptural inerrantist this isn’t a problem. When he claimed his sermons as scripture he didn’t mean the word in the way you’re assuming.

    In what way am I “assuming,” pray tell?

  27. OK, let’s remove the rhetorical side-project you’re working on and put it like this:

    When Brigham Young claimed his sermons could be taken by members of the Church as “scripture” he didn’t mean the word in the sense of being perfect, infallible, inerrant, forever unchangeable, etc.

    And no, he didn’t ever claim, as you falsely asserted, that “everything” he “ever taught” was “revelation.”

  28. It’s a very good indication that I’m wasting my time when concern for accuracy and context are negatively labeled as the act of “splitting hairs.”

    I expected too much. :)

  29. When Brigham Young claimed his sermons could be taken by members of the Church as “scripture” he didn’t mean the word in the sense of being perfect, infallible, inerrant, forever unchangeable, etc.

    I never said he did, and I never thought he did. That’s why this is a strawman. You’re imputing an argument to me that is different from the one I made.

    But either way, you’re left with “scripture” that you now reject as false doctrine. That’s problematic. How much other false doctrine is in your scriptures?

    And no, he didn’t ever claim, as you falsely asserted, that “everything” he “ever taught” was “revelation.”

    Please. I was paraphrasing because I couldn’t be arsed to go look up the quote. But it’s the same problem, no matter how anal-retentively you want to niggle on the precise wording. That’s my point: Brigham Young taught doctrines that you now repudiate. He also claimed that those teachings were scripture. So either you have scripture that contains false doctrine and speculation, or you have prophets that falsely canonize scripture.

    If your theology depends on hair-splitting technicalities, your theology is nonsense, at the very least because you’re still stuck with the insurmountable mismatch between language and object.

  30. Blair,

    I’m actually interested to hear more from you on this and I’m not looking to get into a debate on semantics.

    I understand your point that Brigham Young didn’t view the scriptures as inerrant or infallible, so if his sermons can be viewed “as scripture” than that means that they aren’t inerrant or infallible either.

    Help me understand your position from a larger debate. Do you think “The Fourteen Fundamentals of Following the Prophet” are useful and normative for Mormon belief? Do you ponder them when reflecting on the words of the LDS prophets or they counter productive to your search for insight?

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6751

  31. I’m sorry you didn’t have many friends in fifth grade Seth. I hope you have more friends now.

  32. I never said he did, and I never thought he did. That’s why this is a strawman. You’re imputing an argument to me that is different from the one I made.

    Which you then implicitly go on to argue nonetheless, despite labeling my response as referring to a straw man.

    Look, your argument is very simple. It goes something like this, I imagine:

    1- Brigham Young said his words were scripture. (Actually, you said “revelation,” and yes, to me there is a distinction between scripture and revelation, and an important enough one to call your attention to it. You’ve dismissed my comments as being nit-picky. That’s too bad, and in my mind, close-minded and short-sighted.)

    2- Brigham Young propounded an “Adam-God theory.”

    3- Mormons can’t easily dismiss Brigham’s statements, even if the mainstream church doesn’t promulgate them today, because he was a prophet and said his words were scripture.

    You go on to say my theology, whatever that may be, must be nonsense, based on our brief exchange here, which is quite an insulting, inflammatory, and overall ignorant way of saying “neener-neener to you.”

    For some reason unbeknownst to me you also think all scripture must harmonize easily, that all the words of all the prophets of all time must somehow make one single, logical, harmonized, accurate-for-all-time “theology” which Mormons would have to follow, else they are hopelessly trapped by nonsense. I think this is a massively simplistic understanding of prophets, scripture, and revelation altogether.

    In short, you sound sort of like a jerk, you don’t seem to understand my perspective, and you sort of annoy me. I suggest changing tack if you want to have a fruitful interreligious discussion. As it seems right now, you just want to pick Mormonism apart. Have fun with that. :)

    Tim: I don’t really pay much attention to the so-called “fourteen fundamentals,” no. Oddly enough, they were spoken by a man who wasn’t then the prophet anyway, and they made the then-current prophet somewhat uncomfortable. (See Ed Kimball’s bio of his dad, “Lengthen Your Stride,” not sure of the pg. number, very limited time right now.)

    This whole thing is a variation on the criticism that Mormons must blindly follow their leaders and so forth. Here are some quotes from Brigham, since he’s the main focus of what I was responding to originally, which encourage members to pray and seek personal revelation, although he expected them to take words of leaders very seriously:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Blood_of_the_Prophets:_Brigham_Young_and_the_Massacre_at_Mountain_Meadows/Omissions/Total_submission_to_Brigham_Young#Brigham.27s_statements

    That’s all I have time for at the present. Take care everyone. I thought this blog would be a bit more hospitable than it turned out to be. Oh well. :)

  33. Which you then implicitly go on to argue nonetheless, despite labeling my response as referring to a straw man.

    How am I arguing for inerrantism in any way?

    1- Brigham Young said his words were scripture. (Actually, you said “revelation,” and yes, to me there is a distinction between scripture and revelation, and an important enough one to call your attention to it. You’ve dismissed my comments as being nit-picky. That’s too bad, and in my mind, close-minded and short-sighted.)

    I understand that there is an important distinction between “revelation” and “scripture” to you. But the distinction is irrelevant to my argument. Whether he said his sermons were “revelation,” “scripture,” or “special candycanes from God” doesn’t matter. Brigham Young explicitly said that his teachings were spiritually authoritative, and whether he said “scripture” or “revelation,” the implication is that they are backed up by God and/or ultimately came from God.

    For some reason unbeknownst to me you also think all scripture must harmonize easily, that all the words of all the prophets of all time must somehow make one single, logical, harmonized, accurate-for-all-time “theology” which Mormons would have to follow, else they are hopelessly trapped by nonsense. I think this is a massively simplistic understanding of prophets, scripture, and revelation altogether.

    When did I say anything of the sort?

    As you have pointed out, my argument is simple: (1) Brigham Young said that his teachings were scripture. (2) Brigham Young taught the Adam-God theory. (3) That means either (a) the Adam-God theory is true and the Church is in apostasy by denying it, or (b) your scriptures contain false doctrine and/or personal speculation. And if (b) is true, then you also had a prophet who canonized false doctrine and/or personal speculation as scripture, which means he very well–depending on your definition–may have been a false prophet.

    Nowhere in there do I inist that “all scripture must harmonize easily, that all the words of all the prophets of all time must somehow make one single, logical, harmonized, accurate-for-all-time ‘theology’ which Mormons would have to follow, else they are hopelessly trapped by nonsense.” That’s a straw man again: you are characterizing my argument as something other than what it is, and dismissing your caricature of my argument instead of dealing with what I am actually saying. I am perfectly open to you taking a nuanced stance vis-a-vis scripture or revelation or other spiritually authoritative teachings. But you have not yet done so.

    Was Brigham Young lying, exaggerating or otherwise prevaricating when he said his teachings were scripture?

    If he was lying or exaggerating about the spiritual authority of his teachings, how was he not a false prophet?

    If he was not lying or exaggerating, does that mean his teachings are in fact scripture?

    Does that mean the Adam-God doctrine is scripture?

    If so, does that mean that scripture can contain false doctrine?

    If scripture can contain false doctrine, how reliable is scripture?

    If scripture can contain one false doctrine, how do you know it’s not full of other false doctrines?

    Alternately, if scripture cannot contain false doctrine, does that mean that Mormons should believe that the Adam-God doctrine is true?

    If the Adam-God doctrine is true, what about subsequent prophets who rejected it and called it false doctrine? Were they in apostasy?

  34. In short, you sound sort of like a jerk,

    Fair enough.

    you don’t seem to understand my perspective,

    On the contrary, I think I probably understand it really well. But I think it is vulnerable to criticism. I am not making the inerrantist arguments youa re accusing me of.

    and you sort of annoy me.

    The feeling is mutual.

    I suggest changing tack if you want to have a fruitful interreligious discussion.

    Who says that’s what I want at all?

    As it seems right now, you just want to pick Mormonism apart. Have fun with that.

    I don’t want to pick Mormonism apart so much as I want to pick bad and dumb ideas apart. I think I have more than established by “equal-opportunity-BS-calling-creds” around here. I call it like I see it.

  35. Was Brigham Young merely “speculating” or giving his “opinion” when he integrated Adam-God into the lecture at the veil in the St. George temple?

    The funny thing about prophets giving their “opinions” and “speculations” in General Conference addresses and having them integrated in sacred temple ceremonies is that… people tend to believe them.

    “I personally believe that [Brigham Young's] theology was a disaster for the most part…” (Blake Ostler)

    “You will recognize them by their fruits, but only when the fruits are officially canonized into the Standard Works and are unanimously voted upon as binding doctrine upon all.” (Matthew 7:16)

  36. PS- The simple fact that the Adam-God theor(ies) aren’t taught today in the LDS church, and that certain people back in the day didn’t accept them either, including apostles, sort of flies in the face of Aaron’s assertion about conference talks, temple ceremonies, and what people “tend to believe.”

    Besides, according to Aaron’s view, people only tend to believe what God decreed they’d believe from the beginning to all eternity. So who cares? God decreed it. Quit kicking against the pricks.

  37. Blair, Brigham taught it, hundreds of thousands have believed it, and thousands to this day still believe it. Including official persons like Jared.

  38. “The simple fact that the Adam-God theor(ies) aren’t taught today in the LDS church”

    Apparently there aren’t any official people in other LDS sects?

    “You will recognize them by their fruits, but only when the fruits are officially recognized by your favorite Mormon sect.” (Matthew 7:16)

    All of those people in fundamentalist sects who actually believe what Brigham taught? Yeah, those people don’t matter.

    Just water under the bridge.

  39. So Aaron.

    Care to explain how your perfect source of revelation – your book – screwed up badly enough to leave you with such a hopelessly confused mess of a theological situation – far worse than ANYTHING Mormonism has to deal with?

    Or are you hoping no one noticed?

  40. If BY had never taught Adam-God, and people over the centuries were simply misconstruing him to have taught it, then I’d chase that red herring with you.

    But Brigham Young actually did teach Adam-God.

  41. Aaron, I restricted my remark to “the LDS Church,” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Other restorationist/Mormon views don’t concern me here. The fact of the matter is that you were massively oversimplistic in claiming that something spoken from the pulpit or taught in the temple would be automatically believed by Mormons of whatever stripe. Luckily for me, I don’t see people who might believe in an Adam-God theory today as being destined for hell (or predestined, as you would say) so it doesn’t carry the same amount of rhetorical weight for me as you think it ought.

    Yeah, those people don’t matter.

    “Those people” seem to matter a great deal to you, in that you’ve made them into tools by which you seek to advance an argument in your attempts to proselyte via overt and constant criticism of the beliefs of others. Your random and undocumented statistics mean nothing to me. (Hundreds of thousands blah blah.) Seth R. rightfully points out how you fail to hold the Bible to the same standard you seek to hold Mormon prophets to. Fancy that! ;)

  42. But Brigham Young actually did teach Adam-God.

    To this day I’ve yet to see a convincing and rigorously historical explanation of BY’s Adam-God teachings which coherently accounts for all the statements he made regarding Adam, Elohim, and Jehovah. That doesn’t really bother me, though, aside from being a point of intellectual curiosity.

    You’re quite confident that BY “actually did teach” Adam-God, but you’ve frozen whatever interpretation you have of it in time, forgetting shifts in belief, thought, etc. This sloppiness is largely due, I suspect, to your desire to turn it into a proselyting tool as opposed to an honest inquiry into BY’s beliefs and teachings.

  43. “Other restorationist/Mormon views don’t concern me here”

    If Brigham Young’s teachings led other LDS sects astray, then it should concern you. Brigham Young led people astray by publicly teaching false things about the nature of God. Spencer Kimball called it “false doctrine.” Bruce McConkie called it deadly, damnable heresy.

    Mormon apologists just call it the cute ramblings of crazy Brigham on the rocking chair in the attic.

  44. Actually the only cute crazy ramblings I’ve seen of late have been yours, really.

    Again, your problem is that you think people’s beliefs will save or damn them (and that, based on what God decreed long ago).

    I really can’t believe you’re still hammering away with the very same points you were obsessed with 3 years ago or however long it has been. Asked and answered.

  45. Crazy Brigham, laughing in the attic, rocking, rocking, rocking in his chair. Some LDS saints just couldn’t get his public, explicit teachings out of their minds:

    “There still remains, I can tell by the letters I have alluded to, an idea among some of the people that Adam was and is the Almighty and Eternal God. He is the father of his race, of course, the great patriarch over the human family, and being begotten unto him, he is the father of us in our earthly condition, in our mortality, and stands as the primal patriarch. But God says He put him there… [T]he notion has taken hold of some of our brethren that Adam is the being that we should worship. This has been explained, I think, from this stand several times, but notwithstanding that, peculiar ideas get into people’s minds, not always because they are stubborn and willful and wicked or that they desire anything that is wrong, but because it gets into their heads and it is a very hard job to get it out of their heads, like the Scotchman who asked the Lord to keep him in the right path so that he might not go ‘wrong, for the Lord knew that if he once got anything into his head, it would be a mighty hard job to get it out of him.’ That is the way it is with lots of our folks, not because they are all Scotchmen, however, the idea has obtained in the minds of some of the brethren and we ought to get right concerning it. I am sorry that has not been rectified long ago, because plain answers have been given to brethren and sisters who write and desire to know about it, and yet it still lingers, and contentions arise in regard to it, and there should be no contentions among the Latter-day Saints. It is all right for people to have their own views and express them, if they will do it in a proper spirit; it is all right for people to stand up for what they really believe to be true, but when this spirit of contention comes, then, as we are told in the Book of Mormon, it is of the devil. Now, if Adam, as claimed by some of our brethren, is the being that we should worship, to whom we should pray, who was that person that put Adam at the head of his race? … I want to draw a clear distinction between these individuals that we may stop this discussion that is going on to no purpose. Who is Adam? Adam is our father, certainly. He is the great father of the race, but we have had fathers that corrected us at home and we gave them reverence. Yes, that is right, but do we worship them and pray to them? Oh, no. Then why should we want to pray to Adam, who away back in the remote centuries was at the head of his race and in that sense is our father? … God help us to see and understand the truth and to avoid error! And don’t let us be too strong in our feelings in regard to our opinions of matters.” (Charles W. Penrose, Conference Report, April 1916)

  46. Aaron, if the Bible was unclear enough to lead all these Arminians astray from such crucial truths as total depravity and unconditional election, it should concern you.

    Or are you telling me that those Arminians don’t matter compared to your concerns with Adam God?

    It seems to me that questions of whether we actually have any personal say in going to hell or not matter a LOT more than the idea of Adam being in some sense divine (especially considering that the Bible already states that our aim is to become divine in some sense or other).

    I’m really worried about this idea Aaron – because it simply matters more. Doesn’t it worry you that after centuries of debating it, you guys STILL haven’t gotten your act together and figured it out?

    Or is the real difference between the Bible and Brigham Young that Brigham Young actually bothered to be blunt about some of his views, while the Bible is just playing games with us and being deliberately ambiguous?

    You seem to think that the Bible is off the hook just because it didn’t bother to explain itself adequately on crucial issues. I’ll remember that next time I have to compose an email instructing one of my clients how to plan their bank accounts properly for filing bankruptcy. What could go wrong?

  47. Peter was proved a false prophet by Paul because they just couldn’t get their teachings straight. There goes Christianity.

  48. Take it easy Blair. This isn’t a message board. Give him time to get back to us. I’ll try to speak to Seth’s challenge as well when I’m not on my phone.

  49. At least this isn’t his blog Blair.

    Over on Mormon Coffee, he used to delete people who tried to mention the Calvinist-Arminian divide. Or tell the people, as an admin to stop mentioning it.

    Apparently he didn’t like the Mormons mentioning traditions within Christianity who were more similar to Mormonism, and threatening to damage the “united front” he wanted to maintain against the Mormon-menace.

  50. To this day I’ve yet to see a convincing and rigorously historical explanation of BY’s Adam-God teachings which coherently accounts for all the statements he made regarding Adam, Elohim, and Jehovah. That doesn’t really bother me, though, aside from being a point of intellectual curiosity

    How is that even relevant to the discussion? Whether you can go in after the fact and construct a theology you’re comfortable with based on a bunch of haphazard claims made by Brigham Young or not is not at issue. At issue is whether he taught those things, whether he claimed they were spiritually authoritative, and what that means for the reliability of Mormon prophets and Mormon scripture generally.

    Unlike Aaron, I’m not actually trying to trap you into a corner with a “gotcha.” I’m open to a nuanced explanation, but you’re still not giving one. You accuse me of insisting on scriptual inerrancy (which, PS, is absolutely ludicrous), but then you don’t come out with an alternate view of scripture.

    Granted, if your nuanced explanation is BS or is inconsistent with other Mormon positions, we’re going to have further conversation about it.

    You’re quite confident that BY “actually did teach” Adam-God, but you’ve frozen whatever interpretation you have of it in time, forgetting shifts in belief, thought, etc.

    And how is that relevant, either? Shifts in belief and thought are not at issue here. We are in fact freezing the moment in time and asking what that means in terms of Brigham-Young-as-a-prophet, and consequently for the Church that is built on the foundation of Brigham Young’s prophetic authority. Furthermore, we are talking about the nature and understanding of spiritually authoritative text and doctrine in a religious tradition that placed high importance on an open canon of spiritually authoritative text and doctrine.

  51. Asked and answered.

    So does Aaron always just ignore people when they point out his blatant double standards?

    This ain’t the MAD board LoaP, and that crap doesn’t work around here. Though I suppose you can be forgiven for thinking so, we are discussing MAsh’s latest turd after all.

    Also, enough with the damn smileys (again, this isn’t the MAD board, LoaP). When you act like an a-hole, and then put smileys at the end, you still come across as an a-hole.

  52. Also, enough with the damn smileys (again, this isn’t the MAD board, LoaP). When you act like an a-hole, and then put smileys at the end, you still come across as an a-hole.

    AMEN.

  53. Yes, and let’s get an “oh snap!” up in here, as well.

    It’s been a while since I spent much time at the (formerly-named?) MAD board. Strangely enough, this little blog “conversation” reminds me so much of that place, though. The general attitude, the lack of rigor, the high-fiving, the arrogance as opposed to seeking of understanding, the general cock-sureness of former Mormons who seem to think their experiences demand to be taken as representative for Mormonism in general, etc. I suppose the biggest difference is that Aaron Shaf’s shallow and obvious double-standards are overlooked by the majority of the participants here, whereas at MAD the dog-pile would be directed at him, not me.

    Apologies for dropping in. It was clearly a mistake, and I certainly didn’t represent the best of myself. W.O.T. for all concerned.

  54. “This ain’t the MAD board LoaP”

    That’s right Blair.

    Now be on your way.

    You’re interrupting Kullervo and David’s personal therapy session.

  55. Gads, BHodges, cut that crap out. It seems like every other comment you say something like “I thought this blog would be a bit more hospitable than it turned out to be. Oh well.” or “Apologies for dropping in. It was clearly a mistake, and I certainly didn’t represent the best of myself.”

    If you don’t want to take part in the conversation, just don’t take part in it.

  56. Actually Kullervo, that pretty much is my assessment of your involvement around here in general.

    It’s certainly my take on David. This place seems to be like his personal dumping ground for how bitter he feels about life in general.

    I don’t find it very constructive generally. And it tends to drown out any other voices that want to participate here. Even I’m getting pretty tired of it, and haven’t been participating here as much.

  57. I have a weird habit. When I announce an exit from an e-conversation I can usually bet on certain people casting a few stones at my back on the way out. Sometimes I turn back around and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes my impulse control just doesn’t succeed. Especially when email updates are coming through. (Note to self: just unsubscribe next time!)

    In this case, you seem so hell-bent on getting in the last word that I can’t resist denying you the pleasure, if only for a little more time.

    Maybe we can shift the discussion further toward who is the bigger “a-hole.” Or maybe I can resist the urge to return to this thread, recognizing that I failed to post under my best behavior. We’ll see.

  58. Actually Kullervo, that pretty much is my assessment of your involvement around here in general.

    That’s your prerogative. But I call ‘em like I see ‘em.

    I have a weird habit. When I announce an exit from an e-conversation I can usually bet on certain people casting a few stones at my back on the way out.

    Nothing makes a person look more ridiculous than announding an exit and then coming right back. If you want out of the conversation, just stop posting.

    Maybe we can shift the discussion further toward who is the bigger “a-hole.” Or maybe I can resist the urge to return to this thread, recognizing that I failed to post under my best behavior. We’ll see.

    Or maybe you can just address the issues that have been raised. Like I said, I’m not trying to proselytize, and I’m not trying to paint you into a corner with a “gotcha.” I have raised the issue with Brigham Young’s teachings, and I’ve been crystal clear that I am willing to accept a good explanation that doesn’t contradict other Mormon positions.

    You are so intent on anticipating an agenda I don’t actually have that it’s like you’re pre-emptively throwing a temper tantrum.

    I do think that Brigham Young is the weak link. To me it’s pretty plain that whatever kind of a mystic Joseph Smith was, Brigham Young wasn’t. To me it seems clear that the modern LDS Church is Brigham Young’s church, not Joseph Smith’s, and I think the modern Church has a lot of inconsistent theological positions as a result, which is problematic because that amount of inconsistency undermines the Church’s claim to exclusive revelatory authority and special status as God’s One True Church.

    I realize that a lot of people who are not stupid come to different conclusions. But I’m not going to cut someone any slack who resolves the problem by ignoring it and then pitches a fit at me when I refuse to do likewise.

    I’m a former Mormon, but I’m not a Christian, and I am also not an atheist. I don’t get my jollies by tearing Mormonism down. I’m not dead-set on finding fault with the Church at any cost, and contrary to Seth’s BS, I am consistent about that both here and on my own blog.

    In fact, to my chagrin, I find myself defending Mormonism fairly often against ridiculous and unfounded criticism. But the Church has influenced my life and it continues to influence the lives of people I love, and so I have no compunctions about calling out Mormonism’s actual crap.

    I just ignore Aaron S because I think he is insanely boring. I am not somehow morallly obligated to engage everyone in the world on every topic.

    So there you go. My agenda is on the table so you can stop accusing me of having a different one. Now, you want to get back to the topic? The OP was about the prophet leading the Church astray, and Brigham Young’s problematic teachings are the elephant in the room.

  59. Nothing makes a person look more ridiculous than announding an exit and then coming right back. If you want out of the conversation, just stop posting.

    It really is remarkable how consistently you refuse to be the bigger person. At this point I’m wondering how long we can take it. Now I’m invested!

  60. As for the tenor of comments on this post I think everyone is to blame. Blair, you’ve more than done your part. I think we can recover but everyone should seriously count to ten, walk away and take a breath.

  61. It really is remarkable how consistently you refuse to be the bigger person. At this point I’m wondering how long we can take it. Now I’m invested!

    Come on now. I haven’t announced an intention to leave. I’m in the conversation (and I’ve been in the larger conversation of this blog for over four years now). As long as you keep contributing and it stays interesting, I’ll keep responding. There’s no “bigger person” about it.

  62. Come on now. I have announced that intention, yet you still keep tossing statements in my direction. Why? Again, you seem hell-bent on getting in a last word. You keep doing it. Now you want me to provide some sort of full-bodied response to the OP.

    If you re-read my entrance to this discussion I initially took issue with your mischaracterization of Brigham Young, saying he claimed “everything he taught” was “revelation.” You were wrong on both parts of that claim.

    Then you dismissed what I said, saying I was trying to “split hairs.” I don’t see it as hair-splitting at all. Still don’t. Brigham Young simply never claimed what you said he claimed, period.

    I also lent you a hand by referring to the quote I suspected you were misremembering. I also provided other statements from Young regarding his words, scripture, revelation, and personal revelation generally.

    By then things had devolved enough for me to lose interest in engaging closely. Instead, I merely echoed the belligerent tone, tossing a few emoticons in the mix.

    But you’re still dodging the topic at hand.

    Think on the atmosphere. Do you like having conversations during a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert? Or are you more inclined to join in the dance? You enjoy exposing dumb ideas, cutting through the crap? Cool. Try using a scalpel next time instead of Ghallager’s mallet and you’ll probably have more success.

  63. IMHO- the “prophet will not lead the church astray” doctrine is as solid as the “bible is inerrant” doctrine. Both are used to coalesce a group, both seem a bit of a stretch.

    LDS use similar techniques to qualify their doctrine as do protestants.

    What I actually like about Mormonism is the room it leaves for creative thinking about all kinds of theological matters. Inconsistency and incompleteness are rarely as objectionable as forced consistency.

  64. If you re-read my entrance to this discussion I initially took issue with your mischaracterization of Brigham Young, saying he claimed “everything he taught” was “revelation.” You were wrong on both parts of that claim.

    Then you dismissed what I said, saying I was trying to “split hairs.” I don’t see it as hair-splitting at all. Still don’t. Brigham Young simply never claimed what you said he claimed, period.

    Right. Go back and see what I said in response. Whether BY claimed everything he said was “scripture” or “revelation” is not irrelevant as a general matter. But for my purposes, the distinction is insignificant: either way, a religious leader to whom global ecclesiatical authority is imputed by Mormons claimed that his teachings–which includes teachings like Adam-God that the Church now repudiates or ignores–were spiritually authoritative.

    I don’t see how it’s less problematic for this purpose that he said “scripture” and not “revelation,” because I am not arguing that BY falsely claimed revelation.

  65. If I’m understanding Seth’s objection correctly, it could be stated like this:

    1. The LDS Prophet can never lead the people astray in the same way that the inerrant Bible could never lead people astray.
    2. People have been misled by the Bible (Arminians and Calvinist both).
    3. It’s inconsistent to hold the LDS prophet to a standard that the Bible can’t even be held to.

    I think this objection is comparing apples to oranges. Christians have consistently held that the Bible won’t lead people astray but that people can be led astray by bad interpreters, false teachers, and false prophets. Aaron and I would both agree that Mormons have been led astray based on spurious readings of the Bible. But we don’t fault the Bible, we fault the corporation/prophet/church teaching the Bible.

    One of the evangelistic arguments I hear most for the LDS church is that we need something more than scriptures. We need an authoritative interpreter to tell us what the Bible means. The solution to our dilemma is a living prophet. It’s the LDS church that is extending God-inspired revelatory authority on to the interpreter.

    Seth’s argument breaks down further because as strongly devoted to Calvinism as Aaron might be, he stays in fellowship with Arminians (in his own church). He would not call Arminianism a heresy and for sure he wouldn’t call it a “damnable heresy”.

    Getting back to the original post, Ash basically posits that the LDS prophet could never lead the church astray in matters of salvation. But then there’s that word “damnable” that McConkie chose to use concerning Adam/God. . .

    Continuing to teach Adam/God IS something that will get you excommunicated in the LDS church. The Mormon Fundamentalist chose to apostate from the living prophet in order to keep to Adam/God (among other things). Even in Mormonism, that’s the one thing that can most certainly send you to hell.

    A better comparison to the Calvinist/Arminian debates would be something like “heavenly Mother” or the “multiplicity of gods”. Those are things that people may strongly disagree on, but there can be an open debate about them in Sunday School.

    Ash’s apologetic says not only do we need an interpreter to tell us how to trust the Bible, we also need an interpreter to tell how to trust the Prophet; unless it’s on matters of salvation. In which case, he’s taken all the air out of Mormonism.

  66. What I actually like about Mormonism is the room it leaves for creative thinking about all kinds of theological matters. Inconsistency and incompleteness are rarely as objectionable as forced consistency.

    Amen to that. It’s the only position that is not plainly ridiculous when we’re talking about something as impossible to pin down as God.

    But I think the problem is that the reality you are noting–room for creative thinking about theology–is inconsistent with the Church’s authoritative claims.

  67. Also, the only way to reconcile the Brigham Young teaching with current teaching is to admit that prophets can be dead wrong on certain things and that we can ignore teachings that don’t jibe with the spirit, science, or further revelation. Many Mormons do this.

    Plenty of the Bible is ignored, qualified or minimized to nothing because of this.

    The delusional strategy is to cling to the idea that it was never said or written to uphold the inerrantist view.

  68. I’ve noticed that people get a lot more upset when I take on the currently popular apologetic argument than even if I challenge specific beliefs of the church.

  69. My main beef with Mike Ash’s article is not with any theological inconsistency, but with an inconsistency between his ideas and actual practice.

    Let’s suppose that Mike Ash is correct, that as long as the prophet doesn’t contradict the few basic principles he outlines, the prophet has not lead the church astray. Why then the following:

    Why constantly sing hymns like “We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet”, “Praise to the Man,” or “Follow the Prophet?” If the prophet merely dispenses plain vanilla Christianity, and can and has dispensed all kinds of really bad advice, why the gratitude? It seems much more consistent to be thankful for someone who does something other than what is done in the average conservative Evangelical church on a weekly basis.

    Where does this leave Mormon missionary work? It seems to me that if the missionaries were to consistently apply Ash’s ideas in their preaching they would be left with nothing but a bald-faced legalism. The words of the prophets become good advice, but mostly irrelevant to salvation. The only point left for the missionaries to emphasize is sacerdotal exclusivism. The message reduces to “We have authority, you don’t.”

    This reduces the idea of the great apostasy to more sacerdotal legalism. On Ash’s account, the great apostasy is not about ideas or doctrines (since those ideas have always been preached in Christianity), but about loss of authority. And the loss of authority seems to become completely haphazard, the authority was lost because the last apostle standing couldn’t quite make it to conference to give the authority to someone else.

    Now, before people jump all over my butt, I actually hope the LDS church runs with Mike Ash’s ideas, makes them official, and matches praxis to Ash’s ideas. To be honest, they aren’t that far from my own take on Christianity, that apart from a few essentials, Christians should take differences of opinion in stride and accept each other as brothers and sisters. If most of what the prophet says or has said is seen to be non-doctrinal good advice, that is a definite win for Mormons.

  70. I’ve noticed that people get a lot more upset when I take on the currently popular apologetic argument than even if I challenge specific beliefs of the church.

    It’s generally the apologists who get more upset when apologetic arguments are taken on. The average church member doesn’t really care much about apologetic arguments; my wife rolled her eyes when I told her about Ash’s article.

  71. The message reduces to “We have authority, you don’t.”

    I think this is the end game for much of current Mormon apologetics. It comes down to a naked power grab for exclusive priesthood authority. That puts it in the same place as the Church of Christ International. And suddenly we’re back to Sidney Rigdon leaving Alexander Campbell.

  72. I think this is the end game for much of current Mormon apologetics. It comes down to a naked power grab for exclusive priesthood authority.

    I think so, and I think this is the direction that the Church’s PR obsession is taking it. But I think there’s a major tension between this direction and the big heap of doctrinal distinctives that are still deeply held by many (most? almost all?) Mormons.

  73. Kullervo

    I have read most of the posts since I placed my single (though lengthy) comment, and I have found that you have raised a valid question, but it seems that no one seems to really want to address it and every post since has just been a back and forth verbal battle that can have no real end until everyone simply shuts up concerning it.

    As to your question, I believe that I did state that I do not think we have a clear enough understanding of what Brigham Young taught to declare that he taught what is generally understood as the Adam-God theory. However, after a fair amount of reading on this particular subject I can offer what I believe he was teaching, and show how it compares to the rest of LDS doctrine. I do not have references to his quotes at this time, so I am just going to say what I remember him saying.

    I will do this in a few posts.

  74. 1. Adam is our father and our god, and the only God with which we have to do.
    Now, this does not necessitate him being the God that we worship, or the Father of Christ. All it means is that he is our father, which is true, for he is the great patriarch of our race; and that in the eternal worlds it will be him that he are more directly answerable to.
    It says in D&C 78: 16 that Michael (or Adam) holds the keys to salvation, which he uses under the direction of Christ.
    While I cannot right now find the reference, I do know that Joseph Smith taught that when Adam sits as the Ancient of Days he will restore all the keys and authorities to Christ, but shall retain his standing as the father of the Human race.
    On this earth our fathers are our primary leaders. Even the President of the LDS church has no authority to direct the actions and activities of a family when the father is present. All Authority is deferred to the head of the family.
    Adam is our father, and as such all authority to direct the actions and activities of the human family rests in him (which is why Joseph Smith also taught that all angels act under the direction of Adam). Christ is still the great head of the Church and it is through him that salvation is attained, but Adam still retains his authority as our father, and as such he is the one that we will be interacting with in general.

  75. 2. He also taught that Adam was member of the grand counsel in which Christ was chosen to be the savior, and he played an important roll. He referred to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost being perfectly represented in Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael.

    Now, the basic doctrine is that he was part of this counsel. I have no problem with this, and very little is actually revealed as to how this counsel operated, or how many times they met. I have heard it speculated that the gods met by themselves first, than presented their plan to those spirits who were leaders among their children (the Noble and Great ones) and then presented it to everyone else. In truth, we just don’t know, so this particular doctrine cannot be proved or disproved by anything taught in the church.
    However, the fact that Adam did play an important part in the pre-existence is shown in the book of Revelation when it says that “Michael fought and his armies” against Satan and cast him out (Michael being Adam).
    However, this particular teaching also hints at the idea that Adam may have been the third member of the Godhead. It does not state this directly, but the insinuation can be made. However, as it is a vague insinuation it can also be effectively dismissed, as we don’t really know if this is what he meant.

  76. That’s another possible valid answer, I guess: accepting that BY said x, but arguing that when he said it, he meant something other than what I understand to be the plain meaning of x.

    I don’t love this approach, but I do think it is a pretty consistent Mormon interpretive strategy.

  77. 3. There is also the quote to the effect that the father of Christ was “the figure who walked in the garden of Eden.”

    Now, by itself this does not necessitate Adam, for it is reported that while in the garden Adam walked with God. As such either one could be the figure that Brigham Young was referring to.

    However, on this particular quote we have some clarification.
    “Elder Charles C. Rich, of the Council of the Twelve, was not present on the day when President Young gave an address that was wrongly reported as saying Adam was our Father in heaven. (See JD 1:51)…In a copy of the Journal of Discourses Elder Ben E. Rich, son of Elder Charles C. Rich, referred to the misquotation as it appears in the Journal of Discourses, and in his own hand corrected the statement to read as follows: ‘Jesus our elder Brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character who talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven.’ In this same statement Ben E. Rich worte ‘As corrected above is what Prest. Young said, as testified to me by my father, C. C. Rich.’ JAS
    PUBLICATION : Petersen, Mark E. Adam – Who is He? (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979): 16-24.

    So, in this correction of Brigham Young’s words we get a direct statement that Adam is definitely not the father of Christ; but that the Father of Christ, and our Heavenly Father, is the one who talked with Adam in the Garden. This is all perfectly in Harmony with the rest of LDS doctrine.

  78. 4. The only other direct teaching that I can recall that Brigham Young taught was that Adam was already a God before he came to this earth, and by eating food of this earth turned himself mortal again. This was taught in a discourse on October 8, 1854.

    This is the one that I referred to earlier (for which I now have a reference available) in which he states from the beginning, and throughout the discourse, that he is simply telling his thoughts and conjectures. As such, as I said before, I do not think it needs to be accepted by anyone, which he himself declares in the discourse.
    You can find this discourse in the Essential Brigham Young, starting of page 86 (I was e-mailed a copy from of this sermon from Church archives).

    However, in asserting this he never once claims Adam to be Elohim, or the head of the Gods that we worship, who is the Father of Christ. He specifically says that Elohim gave Michael a world on which to place his children so they could progress. So, while he was teaching a rather unusual idea (that of Adam having been a god before being on this earth) he never declared Adam to be the one we worship.

  79. Now, you say that Brigham Young claimed everything he taught was revelation. I would love to see the quote so that I can verify the context in which this was said, and read a little more of his words at the time.

    However, BHODGES does make one good and valid point. This would apply only to his actual words, as verified by him. The problem with most of the quotes from the JOD is that the publication was not generally verified by the speakers, but was recorded by the clerk at the time of speaking and prepared for printing based on his skill taking dictation. Especially in regards to Brigham Young, who, according to record, did not generally write out his sermons before standing at the pulpit to speak, which made verifying his words even more difficult.

    Was all that he taught scripture? It may be, and as such it would carry the authority of the spirit with it. However, the record of everything he taught would not be, and due to the potential for errors in such a record, it could not be taken as inerrant and thus does not have the authority of the spirit behind it.

    Now, you also mentioned that in making this statement he may have canonized false doctrine. This itself shows a lack of understanding as to what the canon of scriptures is. For scriptures to be canonized in the church they must be excepted by the membership as binding through a covenant to believe and follow their teachings. The JOD discourses, though published by the church, and though it be the words of the prophets (and thus scripture in at least some sense) is not canonized for the membership have not accepted it through a covenant and thus belief in it is not required by the members.

    All canon is scripture, but not all scripture is canon.

  80. Kullervo

    You said “That’s another possible valid answer, I guess: accepting that BY said x, but arguing that when he said it, he meant something other than what I understand to be the plain meaning of x.”

    I never made this argument, so I have to ask why you are mentioning it.

  81. Tim said:

    I think this objection is comparing apples to oranges. Christians have consistently held that the Bible won’t lead people astray but that people can be led astray by bad interpreters, false teachers, and false prophets. Aaron and I would both agree that Mormons have been led astray based on spurious readings of the Bible. But we don’t fault the Bible, we fault the corporation/prophet/church teaching the Bible.

    The fact that the Bible is not crystal clear and subject to multiple interpretations means that it will invariably lead people away from any particular interpretation.

    There are all kinds of honest disagreements you can have when interpreting the text that could lead you in very different directions theologically.

    Not “faulting” the bible and faulting the poor slobs who were confused by its ambiguous messages is simply a preference.

  82. kullervo said:

    But I think the problem is that the reality you are noting–room for creative thinking about theology–is inconsistent with the Church’s authoritative claims.

    There has always been tension between the free-thinking/personal revelation strain within Mormonism and its authoritarian structure. The tension has recently ramped up significantly due to the more authoritarian style the church has adopted over the years. Lucky for many, the church tolerates a lot of disparate views, even while it continues to correlate and qualify its “official” or public facing stances on things.

    As noted before, its sortof like the common law but decisions are never explicitly overruled, just qualified or ignored.

  83. Tim, the main problem with your response to my point is that you are trying to compare revelation embodied in the Bible (on your side) with men like Brigham Young (on my side).

    Wrong comparison.

    What we are comparing in the source revelation. You have to compare your revelation as contained in you Bible with the revelation as contained in my prophets and think about HOW the revelation got there in both instances.

    So it is completely irrelevant to throw in “misguided preachers” as some sort of shield from the problem. Revelation is always being channeled, conveyed and interpreted.

    In the case of Brigham Young – the revelation goes through Brigham the MAN, gets slapped with his assumptions and viewpoints, then goes out to the people, the historians, the scribes, and whatnot – who further interpret the revelation being channeled through him.

    And the revelation being channeled through the Bible has exactly the same problems. Scribes, word of mouth, preachers, audiences, and all that good stuff. Except that in the case of the Bible, the interpretations, misunderstandings, biases, and so forth had a heck of a lot bigger consequences than anything Brigham Young did.

    We’re just talking about two different ways of channeling the same idea of revelation. And both methods are equally flawed. Your response doesn’t really change the analysis.

  84. Not “faulting” the Prophet and faulting the poor slobs who were confused by his ambiguous messages is simply a preference. . .

    . . .and doesn’t seem to be at all consistent with “The Fourteen Fundamentals of Following the Prophet” which has been more oft repeated and preferred by the official outlets of the LDS church than Ash’s view.

    At the end of the day Ash’s viewpoint turns out to be the same as StayLDS.com and Mormon Matters. “YOU (and whatever you think you hear from the Holy Ghost) are the ultimate and final interpreter of what is from God. Accept or reject whatever you want, just keep the organization together and stay Mormon.” Unfortunately the church does have orthodoxy and orthopraxy requirements for full activity.

  85. Tim, the final destination for revelation is always the person. So the people always have final say over the message, don’t they?

    This doesn’t change by using a book instead of an oracle.

  86. People always have the personal choice about whether they want to believe.

    But I don’t think the answer to “Who is the ultimate authority on God?” can be answered with either “YOU” or “ME”. Otherwise we’ve got 7 billion “ultimate” authorities running around. That quite quickly makes nonsense out of truth claims.

    The LDS church claims it is Thomas Monson. I claim it is the Bible. We agree that someone other than the “hearer” is a better judge on the nature of God and Man. Michael Ash wants to relieve the LDS prophets of that duty though I don’t see them willing to hand over the reigns.

    Even given Smith’s statement that “a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such” leaves many of the statements of Smith and Young in a questionable place. Nobody is really picking on them for horsemanship or their taste in fashion (a prophet would never wear that!). The discussion is always on things they did or said while acting as a prophet.

    Perhaps I misperceive the Mormon attitude toward Thomas Monson. Maybe he’s never acted as a prophet. Maybe Brigham Young never acted as a prophet either. Perhaps Mormons should just sustain Thomas Monson as someone who has the ability to be a prophet.

  87. But I don’t think the answer to “Who is the ultimate authority on God?” can be answered with either “YOU” or “ME”. Otherwise we’ve got 7 billion “ultimate” authorities running around. That quite quickly makes nonsense out of truth claims.

    Indeed, it does. Tough cookies.

  88. Sure. But it doesn’t mean you can eliminate the destination input either.

    And it also doesn’t address my point that the Bible has just as many problems as a conduit as Brigham Young does.

    The solution is to abandon the fundamentalist paradigms that demand certainty before faith can be exercised.

  89. Perhaps I misperceive the Mormon attitude toward Thomas Monson. Maybe he’s never acted as a prophet. Maybe Brigham Young never acted as a prophet either. Perhaps Mormons should just sustain Thomas Monson as someone who has the ability to be a prophet.

    I think this final statement is actually pretty accurate. Monson and the first presidency and members of the quorum of the 12 are all considered to be “prophets, seers, and revelators” but in the LDS paradigm they are not necessarily all acting as such (or ever act as such). They hold the “office” of prophet, have the “keys to exercise the gifts” but only occasionally act as prophets, seers and revelators.

  90. Tim — I actually agree with the main point of your original post: By taking the approach he does, Ash basically guts the meaning of what it is to be a prophet/seer/revelator. I think it’s lousy apologetics (although I have appreciated some things Ash has said elsewhere).

  91. Thanks Eric, I appreciate you interacting with the questions actually posed in the post.

    In your opinion, where can the line be drawn? What sorts of things can the LDS prophet lead the people astray on? Has the LDS prophet ever led the people astray? Is it possible for him to?

  92. I can’t give a clear answer, and I’d agree with Seth R. that “[t]he solution is to abandon the fundamentalist paradigms that demand certainty before faith can be exercised.”

    I tend to view the promise about not leading us astray as a long-term thing; where mistakes are made (a corollary to the premise, which I believe, that Church leaders aren’t infallible), there are mechanisms for correcting them (one of them being that doctrines that don’t make sense end up being ignored).

    Although I wouldn’t want to be held to a belief in scriptural infallibility, I do think it is telling that most of the particularly strange doctrines, and certainly ones that people like Aaron S. like to bring up, have never been canonized.

    I have no doubt that God is at work through the leaders of the Church. But that doesn’t mean they’re doing his work perfectly, nor am I ever absolved of any responsibility to seek truth for myself and/or to seek confirmation of what I am taught.

  93. I have no doubt that God is at work through the leaders of the Church. But that doesn’t mean they’re doing his work perfectly, nor am I ever absolved of any responsibility to seek truth for myself and/or to seek confirmation of what I am taught.

    The problem is that what you just said can be said by any Christian, of any stripe, provided that “the Church” refers to their own church and not the LDS church.

  94. I tend to view the promise about not leading us astray as a long-term thing;

    Can you define “long term”? Can mistakes be taught for one person’s entire lifetime? Can they go on for more than a generation? Or is it limited to the length of office of one particular prophet.

    I can identify a long-slide into Protestantism that is happening within Mormonism. It may take another 200 years to complete, but at the end could Mormons say “See the church was never led astray, we corrected all of our mistakes”?

  95. I think the message of the history of theological zig-zagging by prophets may be that theological correctness is not critical to the church. It might never be possible to explain all the intricacies of pre and post earth life correctly, or even who God is. But it may not matter precisely what we believe about him if we experience his love.

    The doctrine seems to have arisen when Woodruff was speaking at a time when the Church was split due to polygamy and he was assuring that he was not mistaken on this move.

    The only “big” decisions regarding doctrine that post-Joseph prophets have made were more more like policy decisions. Subsequent adoption of new doctrinal discussion was quite limited, which may explain why BYs thoughts were abandoned.

  96. SHEMATWATER

    If the church has nothing to differentiate itself from other churches (in terms of teaching correct doctrine), then don’t claim that it does.

    I think I also need to make it clear that for the GAs and the vast majority of all members, the LDS church is lead by prophets who will not lead it astray and that there is a major difference between the LDS church and all other churches. However, this whole thing has mostly been an exercise in counterfactual thinking, courtesy of Mike Ash.

  97. I have an honest question. Eric says, “I do think it is telling that most of the particularly strange doctrines, and certainly ones that people like Aaron S. like to bring up, have never been canonized.”

    What exactly does this mean? I’m all for letting the LDS determine what their theology is. You can change it every six months at conference, no sweat. Don’t beat me up over Servetus and Dabney and I won’t beat you up over polygamy and Mountain Meadows, it seems completely fair to me.

    The difference is I have to acknowledge that Calvin allowed (I’m not sure he could have stopped it) Michael Servetus to burn and I have to remember that Dabney’s racism is part of my heritage that still creates a wedge. I cannot blow these events off with the claim that the theology behind them was not canonized or part of the Westminster Standards. I have to confront them and explain them in their theological and historical context. I don’t get this it’s not canonized doctrine concept, why not just repudiate doctrines that are off the wall and take responsibility for your theology?

  98. I said:

    I tend to view the promise about not leading us astray as a long-term thing;

    To which Tim responded:

    Can you define “long term”? Can mistakes be taught for one person’s entire lifetime? Can they go on for more than a generation?

    I’m certainly open to the possibility that that the denial of the priesthood to men of African descent was a mistake. I’m not sure I’d be as likely to envision a fundamental doctrine — for example, creation ex materia — as continuing for such an extended period of time. So that’s kind of a weak “yes” answer.

    I said:

    I have no doubt that God is at work through the leaders of the Church.

    To which D.C. responded:

    The problem is that what you just said can be said by any Christian, of any stripe,

    So?

    Gundek — I’m not sure what your question is to me. AFAIK, I’ve taken full responsibility for my theology.

  99. Eric said,

    I have no doubt that God is at work through the leaders of the Church. But that doesn’t mean they’re doing his work perfectly, nor am I ever absolved of any responsibility to seek truth for myself and/or to seek confirmation of what I am taught.

    To which David responded,

    The problem is that what you just said can be said by any Christian, of any stripe, provided that “the Church” refers to their own church and not the LDS church.

    shematwater and Eric both asked what David’s point was. (I did, too, but since the query had been posted, I didn’t feel like making a “^ this” comment.) David responded,

    If the church has nothing to differentiate itself from other churches (in terms of teaching correct doctrine), then don’t claim that it does.

    My take: I have difficulty believing that anyone in any religious organisation would not make the initial claim. Why be a part of a faith community if you did not believe God was at work through the leaders of that community? This has nothing to do with one community differentiating itself from another. It is about the members of the community, the adherents, believing that, imperfect as the leaders are, God truly is working through them.

    There is clearly much to be distinguished between any number of denominations, faith communities, etc. But that shouldn’t stop any members of those groups from believing that God is at work through them. I believe God works through the leaders of other churches to bring about much good in the world, just as He works through the leaders of my church. The distinguishing claim of the LDS church is two-fold: first, the LDS church claims to have the fullness of the Gospel (as opposed to only parts), and second, the LDS church claims to be the only organisation on Earth authorised to perform sacred ordinances via the Priesthood.

  100. I don’t understand what a canonized doctrine is. Often discussion with the LDS center on if doctrines are “official” doctrine, or “currently taught” doctrine. These are categories I can understand. That, “doctrines change over time in Mormonism” is not controversial claim for me.

    My understanding is that the canon is the where doctrine comes from or how doctrine is assess to be true. Doctrine is derived from the canon and as such cannot be canonized. Canonized doctrine is a new category for me and I am trying to wrap my head around what it means.

  101. Thank you Seth, your post was helpful but it does not address “canonized doctrines”. “The Canon”, “official doctrine”, “unofficial doctrine” and “Canonized doctrine” may be distinctions that do not exist or I may be using language to precisely.

  102. Something is not canonized in the LDS Church until it has been presented to the collective body of the membership of the Church and voted on. The process is presumed to be done by the collective witness of the Spirit to all members.

    No vote – no canon.

  103. Canonised doctrines are those found in the canon, the Standard Works of the LDS Church: Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine & Covenants. Since our belief in continuing revelation allows for new revelations to be accepted into the canon (such as Sections 137 & 138 and the two Official Declarations in the Doctrine & Covenants), we can speak of doctrines being canonised. All doctrines in the Standard Works have been canonised, and more doctrines can be added.

    I don’t think there is a distinction between official doctrine and canonised doctrine, but I would say that “unofficial doctrines” are not actually doctrines in the first place. I think it is also very important to distinguish between doctrines and policies/procedures. There is no doctrine, for example, that full-time elders must wear white shirts and ties, but that is certainly a well-known procedure.

  104. I think Alex has done a great job of addressing two current questions, and so I will leave this alone.

    I will say this in regards to what former Prophets have taught and the idea that they cannot lead people astray.
    As I said before, I think the idea that Prophets cannot lead the people astray speaks to intentional deception, not accidental misguidance.
    To give an example: I know the story of Joseph Smith saying that if you could reach the North Star you would find the lost ten tribes. He did in fact say this, but it was said in sarcasm in response to continual hounding from members who believed a little too firmly in his prophetic powers. However, there have been many then, and some now who actually believe what he said to be the truth, for he is a prophet.

    So, did Joseph Smith lead people astray? The argument can be made, for it was through his words that they believed false doctrine. However, his intention was not to lead astray, and it was more due to the peoples poor spiritual senses that led them astray (which I think was the point of Mr. Ash’s article.

    A prophet can never intentionally lead a person astray, for if he should try he would be removed from his position, either by higher authorities in the church or by God himself. However, if the people are not in tune with the spirit they may lead themselves astray by blinding accepting sarcasm or opinion as fact.

  105. Fascinating thread. FWIW, I would have gone after BY’s blood atonement and endorsing castrations of rivals as demonstrations of his false phophethood of leading people from Christ long before bringing-up Adam-G-d. Me thinks BY has well earned a place in Hell (not that I make such judgments).

  106. Sure Steve.

    None of which we have a convincing argument was actually done in 1800s Utah. Which seems to relegate the whole lot of these statements to rhetorical excess, and nothing more.

  107. Seth,

    At the very least, BY did teach blood atonement, which is an antithesis to the Gospel of Christ and leads people from Christ. So even by Ash’s limited criteria, BY is demonstrably a false prophet. Moreover, it is hard to argue reports of blood atonement are apocryphal when even into modern times Utah offered the option of firing squad for capital crimes to fulfill BY’s blood atonement if the condemned so desired. Quinn documented BY’s endorsing castration of sexual rivals, and I’m not aware of anyone refuting it. Lastly, I’ll add BY’s nonsense about nobody getting to heaven w/o JS’s say so, total non-Christian rubbish. In short, Adam-G-d just seems so far down the totem pole. The guy was a false prophet on steroids.

  108. Well, if you’ve been taking Quinn as the gospel truth, I guess that explains a few things.

  109. Actually… belay that comment.

    I might be confusing Quinn with someone else.

  110. Ash is totally wrong. What about Brigham Young’s prophetic statement that the practice of polygamy would never be removed from earth, and if it was, you could be sure that the adversary had taken control. I could list 1,000 others. Need I? The idea that the prophet will not lead the people of the church astray has been debunked time and time again.

  111. Who says the adversary hasn’t taken control Scott?

    And who says the practice of polygamy was ever removed from the earth? Seems alive and kicking to me.

  112. And incidentally, the FLDS are actually not a majority of the Mormon-origin polygamists out there.

  113. Interesting comments,all. Being a Mormon as an adult & having grown beyond mere reverance to a prophet’s words, I have come to realize it is not my church that is at fault, but rather the misguided teachings of leaders who have collectively over many years since the time of Joseph Smith, lead us to the presipise of believing the ultimate lie. A lie that only God can & will correct in the minds of those willing to hear the truth when it is finally delivered to them by a true prophet sent by God, and not elected from among a group of family related bussiness men who have distorted the true Gospel for the sake of protecting their $ interest in a huge corporation of well paid bussiness exects who claim to promote God’s cause for free.

    There HAS been a distortion of the truth as it was first established. And as the scriptures tell us…God will soon remedy that. He allows it to continue for a time for several reasons. One being that, He allows man & prophets the lattitude to excercise their free agency to conduct themselves as they choose. God also allows the sheep the opportunity of looking over their shepherd and insuring themselves they are continuing to follow a man they can trust.

    Only GOD can tell us if that man has intentions of leading us astray, not the man HIMSELF, for whom he has a vested interest in remaining the man people listen to.

    More than one prophet has lead us down this slippery slope to Hell. Most have done it with good intentions meant to be a reflection of that prophet’s best judgment as a MAN & NOT a prophet. But there are some today who are INTENTIONALLY setting us up for a big decision we must make when the BIG LIE is presented to us. ( Read 2 Thessalonians ch. 2 )

    God will ALLOW us to make our choice….The “LIE & DELUSION”, or the true prophet who is sent to proclaim the truth & EXPOSE the “Man of Sin” for who he & his followers really are.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority we are told, will choose the “LIE”, based on a FALSE premise that a prophet would “NEVER or BE ABLE” to lead us astray. There are ALWAYS QUALIFIERS to such a statement, such as….As long as WE THE PEOPLE obey God.

    It’s like the mess we now find ourselves in with our political leaders who have become a REFLECTION of our own national false pride, greed and immoral desires we display as citizens. God’s Covenant people are no different. And the Lord WILL & IS allowing them a dose of their own bad medicine. And soon God will offer an alternative that most of His Children will turn down.

  114. It’s no coincidence that two of the most prominent people in America today who are touting the conservative view, are Glenn Beck & Mitt Romney, both Mormons. Glenn reflects those who are capable of thinking for themselves & Mitt Romney reflects those bent on supporting the status quo.

    One group finds truth based on rational discovery, while the other group accepts a relative truth based on face value without close scrutiny or inspection.

    Both of these perspectives manifest themselves in every walk of life and in every church. Most lean on false popular assumptions and altered traditions as being the manifest truth. A few don’t fall for such ignorance.

    The truth of all things will eventually be made clear by God sending a true prophet to serve as a Plumb Line with regard to interpreting truth from error. This prophet will possess enough personal Righteousness and Truth of God, that there will be no wiggle room for error in his words that will determine what is true and what is a lie.

    God will ensure this as a fair chance for us to decide who we will follow…A Man of Lies or a Man of Truth. Destruction comes to those who refuse the truth, and Redemption & Salvation will come to those who accept it.

    This prophet will prepare the way of the Lord’s Return and resolve the errors that now permeate the best of man’s intentions of interpreting the truth. He becomes the Plumb Line that will separate the Righteous from the Wicked in preparation for the Wheat to be stored safely in the Barn, while the Tares are bundled for the Judgment Fire.

    It’s not rocket science, it’s God giving us a fair shot at repentance & redemption from Judgment, once a suitable alternative to the many lies that have been presented to us is opposed by a man of GOD’S CHOOSING and not our own.

    No politition or man of world renown will be selected for this purpose. It will be a man of humble origins & life whom God has preselected & prepared for this purpose. This way there will be NO DISPUTE as to authinticity of God’s offer to Redeem us from Judgments to come & use those willing to repent, in establishing His Kingdom prior to the Lord’s Return.

  115. I also see there are quibbles between the fractured portion of the church with those as it was originally established. If the original group has gone astray as I believe we have, what gives a fractured splintered group the authority to claim having the truth and power to bring about the cause of Zion ?

    All you have to do to realize this, is to use our collective rational that tells us Good Fruit can not come from a Bad tree…Viz-a-vee Protestants holding more truth & authority than Catholics. That is a RELATIVE statement confined to the Precepts of MAN’S truth & not God’s.

    God’s truth BEGAN as the Church Jesus established it among His Apostles. Later to be HI-JACKED by Rome. The truth and church of God as it was REESTABLISHED in our day, has again fallen to being Hi-Jacked by a group of Bussiness Exects who preach the WORD of God to their ardent followers who have come to idolize their positions of leadership among the Lord’s People, and have also grown to worship the Church over it’s maker. All the while….Our leaders are doing exactly as Malichi proclaimed they HAVE….They have ROBBED the Lord of His Tithes & Offerings by establishing a Mega Corporation of worldly wealth that handsomely benefits it’s CEO & PROFIT. And all those assigned to positions as Board Members and High Managers of the many Church owned Companies. While CLEVERLY disguising their true intentions by proclaiming to preach the word of God for FREE as their “ECLASTICAL” duties IMPLY.

    This also is not rocket science to figure out, if a person is willing to stem the tide of personal belief & worship of men and their High Positions, & focus upon very BLATANT FACTS that are backed up by MANY SCRIPTURES, Ancient & Modern, that FORECAST & WARN US of these things.

    Therefore the scriptures quoted to Joseph Smith by Christ Himself concerning the Doctrines and Precepts of men being their own & not of God, are again REPEATING themselves within the Lord’s Established Church and MUST be purged before the Lord can REESTABLISH the FULL TRUTH & ZION.

    The scriptures plainly explain this to us if we have “EARS TO HEAR” & EYES THAT TRULY SEE”.

  116. There is no arguing among those who can “See & Hear” the truth. The truth has been spoken to us in scripture. Tis better to KNOW them than to QUOTE them. And listen to the SPIRIT of Truth, as opposed to the arguments of men claiming to hold or know it. It speaks for ITSELF when properly interpreted & presented, & has a “Familar Tone” to it.

  117. A few final points of reason with regard to a prophet not being able to intentionally lead us astray…

    One: To say that is impossible because God would not permit it, is to DENY that Prophet his free agency. It also would absolve his followers from the RESPONSIBILITY that God has given us to CONFIRM that prophet’s words with the Lord Himself.

    Two: Why make provisions for a Church Law that provides the REMOVAL of prophets that could never lead us astray ?

    Known Principles of free agency & Church Law CONTRADICT the notion of a MAN’S desire that his followers should believe him NO MATTER WHAT !

    In NONE of the language used by Wilford Woodriff or WHO EVER drafted that Manifesto, is there even a HINT of God speaking those words. He makes a preface to it by RATIONALIZING as a MAN would. And something as important as suspending a Law that the Lord said should never be suspended & has caused so much controvery among the members, would seem to WARRANT a “THUS SAITH THE LORD”. Or was it that Jesus was just very busy that day and decided to let Wilford make the call…” I have CLOSED the eyes of the Prophets”.

    This means they are left to their OWN devices & judgment to solve problems for the church. And THAT’S what he DID.

    And as far as Plural marrige being an abomination to God & Joseph Smith having barked up the wrong tree…Tell that to Abraham, Jacob & others who have practiced that law with God’s Blessings.

    Every time I hear the names David & Solomon in reference to God’s hatred for this practice, IMUPRE MOTIVES & ACTIONS on David’s part, & an INFLATED EGO on the part of Solomon gone mad, are NOT reasons for denying what God OBVIUIOSLY deems NECESSARY to ENSURE that every worthy Sister has a Husband to make her a QUEEN IN HEAVEN with children of her OWN.

    And BOM references to it’s being an abomination should be held in the context of the LAW OF MOSES to which the people of that time were obligated to honor. And God has established this practice at HIS desire, time, & among WHOM EVER He pleased to do so.

    We have been informed that the Great Patriarchs that preceeded the Law of Moses, where in fact living a much higher law and much CLOSER to God.

    The argument over Plural Marrige should NOT EVER be an issue. Only it’s Proper Implementaion & Pratice as prescribed by GOD, through WHOM EVER God chooses.

    And WHAT did God say He was to do in the Last Days with regard to restoring His Gospel ? Was it to Restore ALL things INCLUDING Plural Marrige, or was that just a joke ?

    Every lame justification given from scripture to point to true Plural Marrige as being an abomination to God, is drawn from examples of the ABUSE of a True & Correct Law & Principle, designed to provide EVERY person the opportunity of Celestial Exhaultaion as a MARRIED COUPLE.

    Does anyone truly believe the numbers of men and women entering the Celestial Kingdom are EQUAL ? And if I had to guess at who would out number who…I would have to give WOMEN the edge.

    Why let PERSONAL FEELINGS regarding that subject, stand in the way of Good Logic & Reason ?

  118. And if the notion of plural marraige as an OPTION to exhaultation that REQUIRES a Husband, is appauling to a person, then that very person may eventually be required of God to do what Joseph was reluctant to do because of His SAME feelings toward it. But eventually approached the Love of His life with a commandment from God that tried them BOTH.

    Personal feelings of this Most Sacred Law will have to be resolved in the Minds & Hearts of those who reject it. Elsewise, that person would be passing judgment upon those to whom God has commanded to take part in.

    Would a person of ill feelings be willing to give up their OWN exhaultation for the sake of DENYING it to a Sister in NEED of it ?

    Laws of God are based on NECESSITY & NOT OPINIONS of men. And a man ought to get used to that idea, or sacrifice his own eternal future.

    It certainly wouldn’t mean God would require this of every man & woman. But the man who doesn’t, ought not to falsely judge the man who does.

    God will REINSTATE this practice when it comes time to move on to Building the CITY of Zion. And not merely assume that it has ALREADY been established among a SCATTERED body of Saints as our leaders would have us believe.

  119. Zack, are you quite done spamming this blog with your disjointed thoughts yet?

  120. Honestly, they were too tedious and rambling to read all the way through. I honestly gave it a shot, and just got bored.

  121. “I can identify a long-slide into Protestantism that is happening within Mormonism.”

    Tim, do you have a previous post somewhere on this thought?

  122. “Mind your own house.”

    Seth, I finished a book tonight entitled, Martin Luther’s Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment (2012) by distinguished Luther scholar, Eric W. Gritsch. It’s remarkable in presenting historical tragedy but not demonizing the man. Very helpful for me in being confronted with the racism and sinful mistakes of a man I highly respect.

  123. Matthew 22:40 – On these two commandments hang ALL the law AND the Prophets.
    What are these 2 commandments? well first love the Lord your God with all your heart,soul and mind and the second is like unto love thy neighbor as thyself.
    Im a Mormon I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. everything in my faith is just a help to this…if a prophet or president of the church says something that doesnt hang on these 2 things I dont believe in it. nor should any one…we are not a cult, this is a reason why people might think we are, prophets are not infallable or divine I dont put my trust in flesh, any flesh if you do he will fail you. When you put your trust in the Lord he will never fail you

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