Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vacant and Void?

While out on a drive today with the family we must have driven by at least 30 LDS meeting houses.  Which isn't difficult to do when you live in certain parts of Utah.

I noticed something which I notice every time I pass one of these buildings on days except for Sunday.  They are empty.  They sit vacant, and unused the majority of their life.  They are heavily used on Sunday, and occasionally get some use on a Tuesday night for youth activities, and occasionally on a Saturday morning for basketball or a funeral.  But by and large they don't get more than a day or two of full use a week.

I don't know that the Spirit regularly inhabits empty man made structures. Which means our chapels, our places of worship, almost start to resemble the rameumptom of the Book of Mormon, which were vacant on days except worship day, and void of the Spirit.  We too have a pulpit raised above the audience where we thank God for being the only true church.

If these chapels are built with donated tithing funds I can't see anyone frowning on the idea of using them for the Lord's purposes on other days of the week.  Or even at times of the day when every single LDS chapel in the world sits empty.  Which is from 10pm to 6am.

With that in mind consider this comment left on a blog post.

"If I owned the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first thing I would do is retrofit every LDS chapel worldwide with men's and women's showers. Then I'd invite the homeless to come to our chapels and bathe, get a warm meal, and sleep in our gymnasiums on church provided cots. We would focus on the least among us. Conversion would be only a by-product of others "seeing our good works and giving thanks to our Father who is in heaven" as the Lord taught.

I can't think of anything what would teach the church's members about the Lord's priority more than this kind of a program

What an idea.  A place of worship being used to serve the poor when they would otherwise sit empty.  Some might say but what about the cost?  Think of how much it would cost to provide that much food?

Then consider that the LDS church has recently spent billions of dollars on shopping malls, millions of dollars on commercial real estate, and vast amounts on real estate in Florida.  Not to mention the millions of dollars a month spent on advertising space in downtown New York City.  Millions, a month on advertising and marketing.  We advertise Christ, and market "mormonism" but we do we act like Him?  Do we prioritize like Him?

Think of the worldwide impact it would have if even 10% of those billions of dollars were spent on a program such as the one mentioned above with the chapels?  Imagine the suffering, hunger, and pain that could be eliminated by simply using Church structures in a way commended by scripture.  Instead of empty chapels and people sleeping on the streets, you would have full chapels and no one sleeping on the streets.

I often wonder what would happen, or what differences in spending would occur, if women had an equal voice in matters of any money spent by the Church.  Ponder that for a minute.

Great things happen when you live the Gospel.  But none of us are compelled to, we are free to spend money on that which has no worth, we are free to neglect the poor, and it's even prophesied that we in our modern day will do just that.  You get a very different view of our world if you look through the lens of scripture, rather than the lens of our current culture.

But we don't have to.  There are other options.  But not if we remain blind, and deaf to our awful fallen situation, and meanwhile pride ourselves at being on the path to Zion.  Zion is said to be a place where there "are no poor among them".  We are as far from that as ever.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New BYU and CES religious education curriculum

In a letter dated October 24th 2014 BYU’s College of Religious Education has accepted a new religious education curriculum. The official letter can be found here. Approval has been given to replace the old curriculum of courses as we know them, focused on the books of scripture (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) with four new “thematic” classes.

1. Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel: A study of the Savior and His roles in Heavenly Father’s plan as taught across all the standard works

2. Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon: A study of the teachings and doctrine of the Book of Mormon with emphasis on the Savior’s ministry

3. Foundations of the Restoration: A study of the key revelations, doctrine, people, and events of the Restoration

4. The Eternal Family: A study of the central role of the family in the plan of salvation as taught in the scriptures and the words of modem prophets

The older scripture-based classes will be phased out over the next few years. Apparently this curriculum will also be initiated in all BYU campuses, and throughout CES. Some sources say the faculty of Ancient Scripture initially voted 33 to 1 against this proposal.

I find this new curriculum shocking, but at the same time not surprising. There is already a sharp decline in scripture use and study in the Church. It's being slowly replaced by conference talks and other church approved manuals etc... This new change appears to be speeding up existing trends already under way.  Much of it leading scripture study in the LDS Church being nothing more than completely decontextualized proof-texting. Proof-texting: The practice of using isolated quotations from a document to establish a proposition.  So in essence, taking what we want students to conclude, and then back tracking with selected doctrines and quotes to support the desired conclusion.

A trend happening is to use isolated scripture citations to prove what the speaker wants to say. Not what the scriptures themselves were communicating. By choosing themes it inevitably mingles philosophies with scripture.  It actually invites and promotes it.  And you can altogether let lots of scriptures go permanently unread.  This, in my view, is how you show absolute ingratitude for the scriptures, and create a body of members who does not understand them, nor study them as God gave them. It creates Gospel illiterates.  Dependent children who depend on the institution to tell them everything.  The above letter indicated that the current set of scripture based courses will continue to be offered as "elective" classes.  I guess scripture courses did have their demotion coming since "the words of the living prophet are more important to us than the standard works" (14 fundamentals of following the prophet, General Conference Oct 2010).   

The letter so very clearly stated:  "One of the things that makes BYU a unique university in all the world is a board of trustees comprised of prophets seers and revelators and inspired leaders of the church.  We need to trust that inspiration and honor their sacred responsibility."

Shocking, but not surprising if you actually read the scriptures they are now letting slip even further away.  Vain and foolish to rely on the arm of the flesh, that sandy foundation is being used as support for de-emphasizing the scriptures God gave.  Do not let signs like this pass you by.  Do not miss that men are replacing God as the guide, and those men are disregarding scripture in favor of themes which support those men's teachings.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The boat

And glorify your Father who is in heaven

3 Nephi 12:14-16

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

You can't pass along something you haven't received. Christ "gives unto you" first.  If your candle is lit by the fire of the Holy Spirit you can hold up His light.  "And glorify your father who is in heaven".  The alternative is setting yourself up as a light, which is priest-craft.  How can someone point to and glorify someone he/she does not know?  Hence we are invited to become his sons and daughters,"begotten" of Him (D&C 93:22).  Then we can let light shine in a way that will glorify our father which is in heaven.

For others to see your actions or behavior and give credit not to you, but to your father who is in heaven what would you need to do?  What would you necessarily need to avoid so people don't miss the mark and glorify someone else?

When acts of kindness or service are done completely anonymously, the recipient (not knowing the giver) is more inclined to attribute the goodness to God.  Look in your own life, when something totally unexpected happened, something very kind happened, and you have no idea who could have possibly done such a thing, the mind tends to turn to God. Hence Christ's teaching: "Let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth".  

If letting your light shine in a way that glorify's your Father in heaven was your intent, how many monuments would you want built to your memory? Policy changes attributed to you?  How many buildings would you want named after you on campuses?  How may statues would you want carved of your image and likeness and put on display for men to admire?

How different this teaching by Christ is from the mindset of popular belief, and even present day religion.  I personally think Moroni is not happy about being on top of the temples.       

Good works that you do, but which cause men to glorify God! What a deep thought.  It's what Christ would have us all do.       

Saturday, October 18, 2014

How To Become An Apostate In One Afternoon

Below is another eye opening and thought provoking post from a well respected blogger.  Posted with his permission.  I think it would be good if many many members read this.  They may disagree, but this kind of thing is worth being aware of.


Post shown below:

How To Become An Apostate In One Afternoon

Previously: The Problem With Denver Snuffer
If you'd like to see how difficult it can be to follow the counsel of Church leaders and still retain your membership in the church, take a look at what happened last Sunday to LDS blogger Adrian Larsen and his wife, Tausha. They were excommunicated for essentially heeding the advice of one of our apostles.

Apostle David Bednar has of late been concerned with how Mormonism is often wrongly perceived and misunderstood, and so last August Elder Bednar gave an address at BYU in which he encouraged individual members to flood the internet and social media, with the aim of correcting falsehoods about the church, 
promoting truth, and boldly testifying of Christ. This is what Adrian Larsen has been doing with his Mormon-themed blogTo The Remnant since early summer: correcting falsehoods, promoting truth, and boldly testifying of Christ.

But because Adrian did so, last Sunday a high council was convened in his stake and he was expelled from our society for the sin of apostasy.  So was his wife, Tausha, in a bizzare, highly unusual double-excommunication proceeding in which both were tried and sentenced together in the same proceeding.   Both had been devoted members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all their lives, yet in one afternoon representatives of that same Church officially declared them to be apostates and pariahs.

It is still not clear to either Adrian or his wife why Tausha was given the boot, since she herself had never blogged or written anything that anyone on the High Council ever alluded to. The only thing they can conclude is that Tausha was expelled because of guilt by association. She is the wife of a Mormon blogger. Apparently that is now an egregious sin, in and of itself.

It also wasn't clear to either of them from the proceedings what act of apostasy they were accused of having committed, for under the traditional definition, in order to be an apostate one must have at some point renounced his or her former beliefs and and actively fought against Christ and His church, something neither Adrian nor Tausha has ever been accused of.  Rather than accuse either of these good people of turning their backs on the faith, the High Council focused their interrogations on a particular post of Adrian's, the fourth part of a series on "Hearsay and Heresy" which he titled Never Led Astray. I found this post to be highly readable and extremely informative.  And frankly, I cannot find any factual errors anywhere in it.  This piece appears to be right in line with Apostle Bednar's charge to all of us to combat the pervasive misconceptions about Mormonism by countering them with truth.

Adrian has kindly given me permission to republish his controversial post below. Perhaps others reading it can detect where he has promoted falsehood rather than truth, or failed to adequately testify of Christ. If so, I hope you will help me understand what the controversy is by pointing those findings out in the comment section afterward.  

                                   Never Led Astray
                                                                     By Adrian Larsen

I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)
In the previous posts in this series, we've examined some manufactured quotes--falsely attributed to Joseph Smith--which are used to promote false doctrine. Among the ideas promoted:

  • The majority of the twelve can never go astray.
  • The records of the church can never go astray (not sure how they could...)
  • The majority of the church members can never be misled.
  • The majority of the church members will go to the Celestial Kingdom, and
  • Anyone who says otherwise is on the high road to apostasy.
Oh yeah...and the moon is inhabited by people that dress like Quakers.

Now make no mistake, the above ideas are FALSE, never taught by Joseph, not supported by scripture, and frankly really stupid if you think about them. They were made up in an effort to strengthen an agenda and win a historical power struggle with other branches of the restoration movement. Yet we persist in believing and teaching these ideas, even featuring them in our official church manuals. We find it more important to win an argument than to be on the side of truth.

Not good, but it gets worse. 

If we really want to get to the root of the problem we must consider the holiest of the holy grails of unbelief.

Warning: Confronting unbelief is never easy. You may find the following uncomfortable to consider. I sympathize with you; this wasn't easy for me, either. All I can do is plead with you to please hear me out. If you love God, value truth, and want to develop real faith, you'll need to confront your unbelief and seek truth above tradition. Saving faith can only be founded upon truth. If it is founded upon anything else, it is not faith. If confronting unbelief is the only way to know God, I'll gladly make that trade.
OK, on to the problem. This is the 800-pound gorilla of false doctrine that affects every part of the church from top to bottom. It is simply stated as follows:

The Prophet can never lead us astray.

The mantra begins in primary, where we march to the drumbeat of "Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, don't go astray."

By the time we reach adulthood, we take great comfort in the idea that no matter what, as long as we're following the prophet, we're A-1 guaranteed entry into the celestial kingdom, because there's just no way the guy can ever make a mistake.

So pervasive is this unbelief, that we've now placed the prophet in a place of priorityabove the scriptures, above the truth, and even above the Lord. These are bold statements to make, but they are absolutely true in our religious practice and beliefs.

For examples, look to Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, a talk given by the apostle Ezra Taft Benson in 1980. In this talk, Elder Benson asserted, among other things, that words of the prophet are more important than what is written in our scriptures, that anything that comes out of the prophet's mouth is revelation, and that even if the prophet tells you to do evil, God is bound to honor you for doing it. 

When this talk was given, it was roundly rejected by Spencer W. Kimball, who was the prophet at the time. In fact this talk very nearly earned Elder Benson a formal rebuke from the First Presidency, and he was required to apologize to the Quorum of the Twelve and explain himself to a combined meeting of all the general authorities of the church. In short, President Kimball was MUCH displeased with what was said, and considered it false doctrine.

Oddly enough, the same talk, filled with the same false doctrine, was just given inGeneral Conference in 2010, without a peep from the Twelve, the First Presidency, or the general membership of the church. Nobody bothered to address how the doctrine could be false in 1980, but true 30 years later. Did God change the doctrine? Or did someone else?

So consider this: Brigham Young taught many things that the church has since flatly denied and openly called false (polygamy, Adam-god theory, blood atonement, refusal to ordain blacks, for example.) Obeying Brigham in these items nowadays will get you excommunicated. Yet when Brigham taught these things, he insisted he was speaking the word of the Lord. 

Was Brigham wrong? Or is the church today wrong? Remember saving doctrine never changes. God does not vary. Somebody was wrong. Somebody misled you. Was it Brigham, or is it today's leaders? They can't both be right.

This deserves careful thought. Your salvation is at stake.

Since this series is about origins of doctrines, let's go back and take a look at where this particular doctrine of infallibility came from. Like many issues in our history, it all starts with polygamy.

As you may be aware, during Joseph Smith's day, the practice of plural marriage was limited and secret. But Brigham Young went public with the teaching in 1852, advocating plural marriage as a necessary part of the LDS faith, which he practiced with gusto.

Due to national backlash about this practice, government persecution threatened plural marriage in the LDS church. Seeking protection under the first amendment, Brigham began forcefully teaching that polygamy was not only part of the LDS religion, but afundamental part of the belief system--so essential, in fact, that exaltation was simply impossible without polygamy. It was polygamy or damnation. Period.

By insisting plural marriage was so fundamental a part of the religion, Brigham hoped the religious freedom guarantee in the first amendment would protect the practice. 

The church then commenced a 30-year series of court battles against various laws and attempts to curtail polygamy. Losses mounted for the church as government pressure and threats increased.

By 1890, in a final blow, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Edmunds-Tucker act, disincorporating the church and seizing church assets, including the temples. Though Wilford Woodruff, church president at the time, had previously vowed that the church would never give up polygamy, he found himself in a tough situation.

On the one hand, there had been 40 years of insistent teaching by prophets that polygamy was absolutely necessary for exaltation, that the church would never abandon it under any circumstances, and that the Lord would uphold the church against all its enemies. 

On the other hand, there was the U.S. government, which had already disincorporated the church, seized church assets, and publicly stated it was coming for the temples next. Meanwhile many church members and leaders were languishing in jail, facing court fines, and living in secret to evade the law.

Wilford Woodruff was indeed in a tough situation. 

Faced with the destruction of the church and no chance of statehood for Utah, under pressure from the government, he issued the press release now known as the Manifesto (Official Declaration 1), in which he stated that the church would no longer perform plural marriages. This statement was designed to mislead congress into believing the practice would actually stop. 

Not to be misled, congress insisted that the statement not only be published in the press,but actually presented at General Conference and sustained by the church membership as a binding policy change.

And so it was that on October 6, 1890, Wilford Woodruff found himself standing at the tabernacle pulpit, before the church and the world, reading a statement that said he now intended to do what he swore he would never do, and which he himself had taught the Lord would never allow. He intended to publicly abandon polygamy. But he needed political cover for this fundamental change in the very foundation of then-practiced LDS mormonism. As one doctrine was abandoned, he needed another to justify it. 

So he said the following:

"I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty."
And thus was invented the doctrine of infallibility, now applied to each President of the LDS church. 

Why can't the President lead you astray? Because he said so.

Of course, the doctrine has since grown and expanded to the point that rational people actually believe they can safely entrust their salvation to another fallen mortal man, despite pointed scriptural warnings to the contrary. They actually consider it safe to surrender their agency to another, not realizing that this was Lucifer's plan from the beginning!

The doctrine teaches that it is impossible for the prophet to lead us astray, and that if he attempts to do so, the Lord is obligated to kill him. Seriously. And we're OK with that? Knowing how many mistakes I make, I'm sure glad I'm not the prophet...

This doctrine is not scriptural. This doctrine did not originate with Joseph Smith--Joseph actually taught the opposite. I'd say more along these lines, but there's no way I can possibly hold a candle to the summary given by Rock Waterman in his blog, Pure Mormonism:
"You can search the scriptures and the general conference archives until your eyes swim and never find one instance of a recorded revelation from God declaring the prophets will never lead us astray, or that God wants us to "follow" them.  We didn't get that doctrine from God. We have it because one fine day in 1890 Wilford Woodruff just pulled it out of his butt." 
Not much I can add to that. 

Wilford said it, he got the vote he needed to convince the congress he was serious, even though he wasn't (the church secretly continued polygamous marriages until at least 1904), and Utah got statehood. 

As a by-product, we were left with a lie.

We've since repeated the lie so often and so well, with so much passion and embellishment, that it's become THE new foundational doctrine of the LDS church. A recent example from General Conference states, "We have the Lord’s personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray." I'd love to know when and where the Lord made that "personal promise." But all I can find is an apocryphal premise.

We've replaced polygamy with infallibility. 

Today, the prophet can do no wrong, and therefore, by extension, the church can do no wrong. And if it's impossible for the church to be wrong, then there's really no need for individual LDS members to do anything other than "follow the prophet" right into the Celestial Kingdom. 

We've traded the Savior's injunction of "Come, Follow Me" with Satan's imitation, "Go, follow him."

Cursed, indeed, is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)

Speaking of our day, Nephi said, "...they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (2 Nephi 28:14)

Therefore, in our day:

  • ALL are astray
  • Except a few who are humble followers of Christ
  • And these humble followers are misled by their leaders in MANY INSTANCES.
Therefore if you're not astray, you're likely misled. 

So what's the solution?

There's really no need to despair. The gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to save you without the need for a man to act as the intermediary between you and God. Remember, "the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel, and He employeth no servant there." (2 Nephi 9:41) Salvation is an individual endeavor between you and God. It always has been. 

Certainly the church offers important things we need: Ordinances, opportunities to serve, a community of believers to love--in short, a lab in which to practice the gospel. 

But when it comes to the one you should follow, you can go to God yourself. You can receive the revelation you need. You can even commune with angels and know the Lord face to face. The most important first step is to actually receive the Holy Ghost. Know why? Because the Holy Ghost is the one who truly can't lead you astray.

I'll talk more about that in a future post. Until then, ponder this:

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3)

 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:5)

                                 Afterward by Rock
Since the members of the stake high council that excommunicated Adrian and Tausha Larsen acted in violation of scripture, outside their proper authority, and contrary to the counsel given to members by an actual apostle of the Lord who encouraged us all to be actively engaged in countering false information, we can always hope these excommunications will be overturned on appeal to the First Presidency, right?

Well, I wouldn't hold my breath.  In spite of the numerous assurances by official ChurchSpokespersons that there is no effort to tell local leaders to keep members from blogging or discussing questions online, Adrian Larsen is only the latest of many who have been disciplined for blogging and discussing questions online. Take a look at this transcript by Brett Larson after he was ex'd, or consider the appalling disposition of Mormon bloggerWill Carter's appeal here.

What is supposed to happen after an excommunication when either party is dissatisfied with the result is outlined in our Doctrine & Covenants:
“Should the parties or either of them be dissatisfied with the decision of said council, they may appeal to the high council of the seat of the First Presidency of the Church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted, according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made.” (D&C 102:26-27)

But the Church doesn't operate according to scripture anymore.  What happens these days is that the Brethren in Salt Lake never do review these cases. Instead they automatically defer to the local leaders as having made the right decision.

When you have been officially declared an apostate by men in your stake who hold high callings and important titles, that means they're right and you're wrong.  No further review is necessary.  Shut up and wear that Scarlett 'A'. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

False Prophets, False Priests, and False Teacher Encyclopedia

The post below was written by someone I recently met.  It's good.  It's from htttp://seekthisjesus.com/ did. This is re-posted with author permission.

By  | October 13, 2014

There are many who claim to speak for the Lord in these the last days. Many who take upon them His name, yet He doesn’t claim them. The Lord gave us a measurement to test those who claim such high regard.
15 ¶Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 ¶Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I say, Ye never knew me: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt 7:15–23)
With that in mind I thought I would compile a list of traits or characteristics that makes one a false prophet, priest, or teacher. Not all of the characteristics need to be demonstrated, but be leary if any one of them are being demonstrated. Here is the list of corrupt practices that help us identify corrupt fruit.
  1. They preach that which they term to be the word of God. (Alma 1:3)
  2. They teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost. (2 Nephi 28:4)
  3. They deny the power of God. (2 Nephi 28:5) (Mormon 8:28)
  4. They teach that God hath given His power unto men. (2 Nephi 28:5)
  5. They lie, and deceive with vain and flattering words. (2 Nephi 28:7–8) (Mormon 8:31) (Mosiah 11:7) (Isa 9:15) (Jacob 7:2–4)
  6. They do not warn people of their sins. (Lamentations 2:14) (Helaman 13:27)
  7. They teach that all are saved at the last day, all are redeemed, all have eternal life. (Alma 1:4) (2 Nephi 28:7–9)
  8. They teach for doctrine the commandments of men. (Isaiah 29:13–14) (Mark 7:5–9)
  9. They teach the precepts of men instead of God. (2 Nephi 28:5–6)
  10. They teach false, vain, and foolish doctrines. (2 Nephi 28:9)
  11. They reject the commandments of God, to keep their own tradition. (Mark 7:8–9)
  12. They are puffed up in their hearts, and full of pride. (2 Nephi 28:9) (Mormon 8:28) (Alma 1:6)
  13. They seek deep to hide their counsels from God. (2 Nephi 28:9) (Isa 29:15)
  14. Their works are in the dark. (2 Nephi 28:9) (Isa 29:15)
  15. They set themselves up as a light to the world. (2 Nephi 26:29)
  16. They seek the praise of the world. (2 Nephi 26:29)
  17. They seek not the welfare of Zion. (2 Nephi 26:29)
  18. They teach that they ought to become popular. (Alma 1:3) (Luke 6:26)
  19. They set their hearts upon the things of the world. (D&C 121:5)
  20. All their works they do for to be seen of men. (Matt 23:5)
  21. They love receiving greetings in the markets. (Matt 23:7)
  22. They love to be called of men, Prophet, Prophet. (Matt 23:7)
  23. They teach they ought not to labor with their hands. (Alma 1:3)
  24. They seek and conspire to get gain. (2 Nephi 26:29) (Ezekiel 22:25–27)
  25. They charge money for worship and forgiveness of sins. (Mormon 8:32)
  26. They teach they ought to be supported by the people. (Alma 1:3) (Helaman 13:28) (Mosiah 11:6)
  27. They accept support and money from the people. (Alma 1:5)
  28. They wear very costly and fine apparel. (Alma 1:6) (Mormon 8:36)
  29. They focus on outward appearances of themselves and others. (Matthew 23:27–28)
  30. They cause people to build up churches. (Alma 1:6) (Mosiah 11:5–13) (4 Nephi 1:34)
  31. They build up a church, but not unto the Lord.  (2 Nephi 28:3)
  32. Their churches are lifted up because of pride. (2 Nephi 28:12)
  33. Their churches are corrupted. (2 Nephi 28:12)
  34. They use their church to produce a profit. (Mormon 8:33)
  35. They adorn their churches with that which hath no life. (Mormon 8:37)
  36. They build many elegant and spacious buildings. (Mosiah 11:8–9)
  37. They ornament them with fine work of all manner of precious things. (Mosiah 11:8–9)
  38. They build pulpits in order to speak lying and vain words. (Mosiah 11:11)
  39. They cause all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple. (Mosiah 11:10)
  40. They build large buildings near the temple to overlook the land. (Mosiah 11:12)
  41. They love the uppermost rooms at feasts. (Matt 23:6)
  42. They love the chief seats in the synagogues. (Matt 23:6)
  43. They build seats set apart for the high priests, above all other seats. (Mosiah 11:11)
  44. They are deeply concerned with seniority and hierarchy. (John 8:9)
  45. They aspire to the honors of men. (D&C 121:5)
  46. They envy others in higher positions within their own churches. (Mormon 8:28)
  47. They have priesthood conferred upon them. (D&C 121:37)
  48. They undertake to cover their sins, gratify their pride, and their vain ambition. (D&C 121:37)
  49. They exercise control, dominion, and compulsion on the souls of men. (D&C 121:37)
  50. They enforce their priestcraft and destroy those who threaten it. (Alma 1:12)
  51. They prevent others from entering the kingdom of heaven (Matt 23:13)
  52. They will not enter into the kingdom of heaven themselves. (Matt 23:13)
  53. They are blind seers and blind guides. (2 Nephi 27:5) (Isa 30:9–10) (Matt 23:16) (Hel 13:29)
  54. They follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! (Ezekiel 13:3)
  55. They speak a vision of their own heart. (Jer 23:16) (Ezekiel 13:2)
  56. They prophesy false dreams. (Jer 23:32) (Zech 10:2)
  57. They prophesy in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 7:21–23) (Jer 23:31) (Jer 27:15) (Jer 29:9)
  58. They cast out devils in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 7:21–23)
  59. They do many wonderful works in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 7:21–23)
  60. They cast out and stone those who are true prophets. (Matthew 23:37)
  61. They always arise to oppose the true prophets. (TPJS 365)
  62. The world always mistakes false prophets for true ones. (TPJS 205)
  63. They discredit miracles and God’s work. (2 Nephi 28:6)
  64. They profess they know God, but in works they deny Him. (Titus 1:16)
  65. They will not openly testify of having received Christ. (Mormon 8:38)
  66. They don sheep’s clothing but are actually ravening wolves. (Matt 7:15)
  67. They rule their flock with force and cruelty. (Ezekiel 34:4) (D&C 121:34–40)
  68. They are intoxicated with self deception. (Isa 28:7)
  69. They trod and destroy the vineyard. (Jer 12:10–11)
  70. Their spiritual feasts offer only vomit, or partly digested food. (Isa 28:8)
  71. They feed themselves instead of the flock of God. (Ezekiel 34:1–5)
  72. They persecute the saints, and fight against God. (D&C 121:38)
  73. They neglect the widows, the poor, and the orphans. (Matt 23:14)
  74. The hungry, needy, naked, sick, and afflicted pass by them unnoticed. (Mormon 8:39)
  75. They neglect the weak, the sick, those driven away, and those who are lost. (Ezekiel 34:4)
  76. They do not seek out the lost sheep. (Ezekiel 34:6)
  77. They are cursed by their own words. (Jar 14:15)
  78. They stray, err, and blunder. (Isa 28:7)
  79. They cause their followers to err. (Isa 9:16) (2 Nephi 13:12) (2 Nephi 28:14) (Jer 23:32)
  80. They cause their followers to do all manner of iniquity. (4 Nephi 1:34)
  81. Their followers idolize them. (Mosiah 11:7)
  82. Their followers have itching ears. (2 Timothy 4:3)
  83. Their followers want to hear smooth things. (Isa 30:9–10)
  84. Their followers prefer fables over truth. (2 Timothy 4:4)
  85. Their followers will not endure sound doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:3)
  86. Their followers are blind. (2 Nephi 16:9–10)
  87. Their followers are deaf. (2 Nephi 16:9–10)
  88. Their followers dwindle in unbelief and wickedness. (4 Nephi 1:34)
  89. Their followers are led into darkness. (1 Nephi 8:5–8)
  90. Their followers are broken off and driven out. (1 Nephi 21:1)
  91. Their followers are scattered and devoured by beasts. (Ezekiel 34:5)
  92. Their followers are destroyed. (Isa 9:16) (Jer 14:16)
  93. Their followers inherit the Telestial Kingdom. (D&C 76:98–100)
  94. Their followers are many. (D&C 76:109)
  95. They are many. (Matt 24:5,11) (Mark 13:6) (Luke 21:8) (2 Timothy 4:3) (1 John 4:1) (D&C 121:34)
“Woe! Woe! be to that man, or set of men, who lift up their hands against God and his Witness in these last days.–for they shall deceive almost the very chosen ones–my apostate enemies say that I have been a true prophet–& I had rather be a fallen true prophet, than a false prophet; when a man goes about prophesying and commands men to obey his teachings, he must be either a true or false prophet;
false prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets, and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones.” – Joseph Smith (TPJS 365)
“The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men.” – Joseph Smith (TPJS 205)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Truth will cut it's own way

"If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear down on them? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better. I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by force or reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation, which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship. I am just as ready to die defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination." (July 09, 1843, Joseph Smith diary kept by Willard Richards)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Conference Contrast

Two contrasting viewpoints to consider:

First Marion G Romney: (Originally spoken 1960, then quoted again in the First Presidency Message in June of 1981).  

"I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home…Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: 'My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.' Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, 'But you don't need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.'" (Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78).

Contrast that with this:  

Joseph Smith: “We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them even if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves" (Millennial Star, Volume 14, No. 38, Pages 593-595).